Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I don't know why the cars come and go from the lot across the street.

I live across the street from D&H Motors, a Mercury-Lincoln car dealership. One of the managers owns a beige Lhasa Apso named Maggie who is very fond of Dizzy, so when she comes to work with him, we sometimes go over to say hi. The dealership backs up on woods, too, so sometimes we cut through the lot at night.

At least once a week, a car carrier arrives in the middle of the night (I hear it, especially if my windows are open), and cars are moved to and from the lot. Some weeks the lot is full of cars; some weeks, it might have no more than three or four.

I'm guessing that inventory management is an important part of running a car dealership, and I know (from Fargo) that the manufacturers keep close track of where the cars are at any given time.

What I don't know, however, is who makes these decisions. Does the dealership order cars, or does the manufacturer place them? Does the manufacturer take them away if they don't sell within a given period, or does the dealer have cooperative relationships with other dealers, where they send around the same group of cars depending on who expects to have the most business?

I also wonder how many of these small-town dealerships are managing to stay in business at all, since it doesn't look like anybody's buying cars these days, much less new ones. And I wonder whether there will be a surge in purchases of the last Pontiac model year, now that GM is discontinuing the brand.

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