It is not news to anyone responsible for vehicle acquisition that while vehicle demand has returned to pre-COVID levels, available inventory continues to lag. As we enter 2023 with supply chain constraints easing, out-of-stock purchases continue to be problematic. Inventory is still limited in comparison to three years ago, and dealers are expected to continue prioritizing retail sales over B2B sales. Since securing vehicles through dealer inventory continues to be difficult, you will want to factor this into your overall acquisition planning.
Tips for acquiring vehicles
We continue to experience longer timeframes to source out-of-stock vehicles. Much of what we are purchasing consists of inbound units, which can be delayed by as much as two to four months, or even worse, cancelled. Models that are especially difficult to source are cargo vans, Escapes (due to recall), medium and heavy duty trucks, all EVs and hybrids and luxury brands.
Therefore, if you’re looking for an out-of-stock purchase, you should communicate your “must have” and “can’t have” criteria in equipment, color and options. Also, being flexible to other packages, colors or specs presented for approval can help in sourcing and securing vehicles quickly. You may need to make some creative choices to meet your needs. The Wheels Donlen LeasePlan team will do their best to find vehicles that are as close to your requirements as possible, but also be aware that switching models often results in delays and in this climate inventory is selling quickly.
Be Aware, Be Ready!
In sourcing out-of-stock vehicles:
- Anticipate longer timeframes to source units.
- Expect located units to have higher levels of equipment
- Realize that some dealers are only quoting as retail sales—plan for increased pricing, often over MSRP
- Know that dealers may be unwilling to sell limited inventory to fleet customers which impacts our ability to secure a vehicle locally or one that matches the requested specifications
- Be ready. Once a vehicle is located, it’s important to quickly approve the sale before the vehicle goes to another buyer
If the timeframes are problematic, another strategy is to review your current inventory for options to cover time gaps in acquisition. Measures such as reviewing your turn-in units for assignment to other drivers or considering long-term rentals may help to cover the wait for out-of-stock units.
As always, Wheels Donlen LeasePlan is keeping a close eye on the situation and is in constant communication with OEMs and dealers. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Account Team to discuss options.