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Flexibility is key to navigating disrupted auto industry

Auto demand shows no sign of slowing even as shortages continue

As peak season marches on, the automotive industry continues to struggle with pandemic headwinds. New car inventories are down significantly due to manufacturing slowdowns and parts shortages. Meanwhile, demand continues to surge, with the CarGurus index showing prices up about 27% year-over-year. 

“If you’ve got a slightly used vehicle, you can probably trade it in for more than you paid for it right now,” ACERTUS CEO Trent Broberg said. 

This ongoing imbalance between supply and demand is also impacting the car leasing sector. According to Broberg, one car manufacturer he spoke to recently reported that 89% of consumers are opting to keep vehicles once their leases run their course. While some of these consumers are no doubt keeping the vehicles for personal use, others are opting to sell them while the market is hot.

Low inventory and strong demand — coupled with growing consumer expectations surrounding visibility and delivery timelines — make flexibility in the automotive logistics industry more important than ever. ACERTUS offers a start-to-finish service, as well as various delivery options for all different needs.

“We’re trying to match the right equipment with the right vehicles at the right time,” Broberg said. “We’re pooling 7,000 carriers — everybody from a flatbed operator to a nine-car hauler — and trying to get them the most value out of their equipment that we possibly can.”

The automotive industry is also seeing huge growth in e-commerce, with both original manufacturers and used car dealerships meeting consumers online. This aligns with the wider trend of increased reliance on online shopping. This long-term trend was significantly accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, and consumers’ comfort level with making large purchases online is expected to continue growing. 

The increased prevalence of online car shopping has increased the need for individuals to drive single cars to their new owners. Just like with other types of vehicle deliveries, managing these special deliveries in a safe and timely manner often requires partnering with an experienced automotive logistics partner like ACERTUS.

This shift toward e-commerce also changes how vehicles are moved to dealerships due to the emergence of digital auctions, further increasing stress on an already-strained supply chain. 

“There is a big dynamic shift toward e-commerce and digital marketplaces,” Broberg said. “What we are seeing is a longer length of haul and more stops per carrier. Typically they’d go into a brick-and-mortar auction, pick up nine cars and head out. With digital auctions, you have more stops for fewer cars.”

ACERTUS boasts a hub-and-spoke model, a rarity in the automotive industry. This — combined with the company’s new Book Now automated dispatching — allows shippers and carriers alike to take advantage of unparalleled support, efficiency and flexibility across the nation.

Ashley Coker Prince

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She works with clients to develop sponsored content that tells a story. She worked as reporter and editor at FreightWaves before taking on her current role as Senior Content Marketing Writer. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.