The State of Auto 2021: A Look at the Automotive and Dealer Industry Trends​

It’s no secret that the pandemic hit the auto industry hard. Production delays and chip shortages are just a few problems they had to deal with. However, the good news is that the automotive industry continues to recover as we pass the mid-point of 2021, and vehicle transaction prices are setting new records for dealers.​

It’s no secret that the pandemic hit the auto industry hard. Production delays and chip shortages are just a few problems they had to deal with. However, the good news is that the automotive industry continues to recover as we pass the mid-point of 2021, and vehicle transaction prices are setting new records for dealers.​  

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) 75 % of vehicles sold in mid-June were sold at MSRP or above (+39% from Pre-Covid average) with 31 days being the average time a new vehicle remained on the lot in July. This is six fewer days than June 2021. 

NADA is expecting a total of 16.5 million units to be sold in 2021 (down from previous forecasts in early 2021). With current production limitations and high customer demand, many dealerships are seeing growth in used auto sales. 

But, how consumers are buying new cars is changing – and it’s of utmost importance that auto dealers adapt to these new behaviors. For example, a 2020 study done by Cox Automotive found that 74% of franchise dealers’ customers are using more digital retailing tools since the start of the pandemic. These tools included Test Drive home delivery, purchased vehicle home delivery, and online credit application. Meanwhile: ​ 

  • – 76% of shoppers are open to a fully online buying process​ 
  • – 84% of dealers agree that customers expect more of the buying process to be done online than ever before​ 

Going Online is a Win-Win!​ 

With consumer’s wanting more of the car buying process to be done online, many dealers are seeing the benefits of adapting to this new customer journey, such as: ​ 

  • – 61% Reduced time spent on sale​ 
  • – 53% Improved customer experience​ 
  • – 47% Expanded customer reach/market​ 
  • – 46% Increased total vehicle sales​ 
  • – 46% More qualified leads​ 

What Does This Mean For Your Auto Brand’s Marketing Strategy? 

Developing strategies for how to meet consumer demand for online buying and at-home delivery can make a large impact.​ In a world full of uncertainty, there is one thing we do know: winning the digital engagement battles will be key to sustained success in a post-COVID-19 market.  

When paired with a strong brand strategy and a solid linear broadcast strategy, digital ad formats are going to align best with the consumer’s mindset, and to get them down the purchase funnel more effectively.​ An integrated campaign like this provides manufacturers and dealerships top-of-mind awareness when consumers are in-market.​  

How TEGNA Can Help Your Automotive Brand 

By partnering with TEGNA, your automotive brand can leverage our network of 64 stations in 51 markets to reach potential customers from coast to coast by placing brand messaging alongside local news headlines, weather and traffic reports, and behind-the-scenes local sports coverage.   

Auto brands can also leverage our Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming solution, which places brand messages alongside premium long-form, on-demand, and live streaming content on more than 125 branded networks.   

This brand messaging can also extend to TEGNA station’s local websites and apps. Meanwhile, our digital solutions include extensive targeting capabilities, including audience targeting, location (also known as geofencing), and search retargeting.   

Last, but not least, TEGNA provides actionable results so you can understand exactly how your marketing dollars are working now and in the future. TEGNA Attribution connects TV and OTT viewing habits with engagement metrics such as website visits (Website Attribution) and visits to a specific brick-and-mortar location (location Attribution), such as a storefront. This data can be used by clients to prove the value of TV/OTT schedules in driving business results, make optimization decisions, and maximize the efficiency of the paid media.  

Don’t just take our word for it. Watch the testimonial from Audi Wilsonville in Oregon.  



At TEGNA, we’re committed to serving the greater good of our communities. TEGNA Marketing Solutions is a one-stop shop that helps businesses thrive through an unmatched suite of services and solutions that reach consumers across through linear broadcast, over-the-top streaming (OTT), and digital solutions. Click here to learn more. 

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Maurice Baker, Manager of Community Relations, Georgia Natural Gas

I knew going with TEGNA and WTOL was the right call, just on the level of information they can provide and the measurement tools to prove whether a campaign is successful or not.

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Natalye Paquin, President and CEO, Points Of Light

TEGNA’s helped my dealership go from a top 20 dealership to the #1 dealership in Dallas.

Trey Russell, General Sales Manager, Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford Carrollton

In our work with TEGNA, we’ve been able to customize integrated marketing solutions using their technology, products, and services. TEGNA understands and supports our approach, working with us to determine what will work best for each individual clients’ needs, and then combining their resources with our expertise to develop solutions that ultimately meet clients’ expectations, and at times exceed, the highest return that we could expect.

Rick Defaut, Stern Advertising

“TV has been incredibly effective for us. It’s helped us position ourselves as a leading brand in the Denver marketplace. It’s really been instrumental in helping us be successful.”

Phil O’Dell, Director of Marketing, Lifetime Windows and Siding

We’re just selling more cars now, and being able to really attract new buyers to the Audi brand through using TEGNA and KGW, has been a game-changer for us.

Josh Kampmann, General Manager, Audi of Wilsonville

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