I was thumbing through my Sunday morning Chicago Tribune (yes, I still get the paper - don't know why as I read it online before ever cracking open the usually-soggy paper) and came across an article about the uptick in automotive sales. It mentioned that a rebound was occurring. I found the article refreshing. No, not because I was enlightened with new information, but that there was ANY positive news about car sales. Media rarely reports any positive messages regarding our industry. We've been submerged in the doom and gloom scenario by the media outlets for months and months.
I am trying to decide (with your help) how much the media's negative coverage of our industry's shortcomings are affecting overall sales. If the entire sales volume decline equals 100%, how much of a percentage would you attribute to the media overwhelming the American public with negativity? 30%? 50%?
This bad publicity just makes consumers hold onto their cars a little longer. They are told to push forward another 6 months with their current vehicle, get it fixed, or step down to a pre-owned opposed to a new. Newscast after nightly newscast, the public hears negativity that they, sadly, believe empowers them to negotiate far beyond the boundaries of realism.
Obviously, the reason for this negativity is that it sells newspapers. Let's face it, the newspaper industry is the only one taking a bigger hit than home and auto sales. Still, as a "member" of the automotive industry, I would just like to hear more about the "uptick" in retail car sales opposed to the CONSTANT CONSTERNATION being heaped upon potential car buyers.
Allow me to also mention that I understand the media is in no way responsible for what we got ourselves into. I must say that automakers and, in some cases, dealers have sat "high on the hog" for quite a while and we were our own undoing. We know what the OEMs mishandled and we know that dealers lost the focus of customer service/retention and lost the desire/ability/need to professionally train their staff when times were good. Now, in a challenging time, dealers have had to rekindle the magic that it often takes to be profitable in automotive retail.
No matter the reason for the initial downturn, the media has played a significant role in how long it has lasted. So I ask again...
What do you think the percentage is?
How much is the media responsible for our ongoing struggles?
Put a number on it.