Dealership Inventory Management Tips

September 12, 2023

Getting your inventory right is crucial to the success of any car dealership. Without suitable vehicles in your inventory and the right quantities of those vehicles, your sales may suffer. 

Inventory management is about more than just selecting the vehicles you hope to sell to customers. This process requires dealership owners to track their inventory over time, monitor the cars on the lot, and measure key metrics for deeper insights. 

If you’re looking to improve your dealer inventory management, this blog’s inventory management tips and tricks will help. 

What Is Inventory Mix?

The inventory or sales mix is the collection of various products or services that a company sells to customers. This term can also refer to the percentage of sales a single product makes up from a company’s total sales. 

In used car inventory management, your inventory mix is a crucial concept. Your collection of inventory should reflect your customer demand for various vehicles. For example, many dealerships stock higher proportions of cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda CR-V since these are exceedingly popular cars1. It wouldn’t be logical to stock an equal number of CR-Vs and a specialty car such as the Volkswagen Beetle at most dealerships. 

An inventory mix that is at odds with your customer demand will lead to you missing out on potential sales. Part of inventory management is understanding what your customers want so that you can accurately represent those vehicles in your inventory mix. Consider the variety of vehicles you currently have in stock and whether that assortment matches customer demand. 

3 Tips for Managing Your Dealership Inventory

1. Know Inventory Length

One of the key inventory management metrics is the time each vehicle sits in stock. If, on average, vehicles sit on your lot for two weeks before selling but one model tends to sit for months, that’s something to pay attention to. Looking at your dealership’s overall average for time vehicles spend in inventory and the same metric for individual models can be enlightening. 

Generally, you should stock higher numbers of vehicles that don’t spend much time in inventory or at least plan to replace them regularly. If certain vehicles sit in your inventory for an excessive amount of time, that’s a sign you may not want to stock similar vehicles going forward. 

2. Gauge Demand for Variety

Before you opened a dealership, you likely did some research to determine the general level of demand for vehicles in your area. Part of inventory management is doing more detailed research into the local demand for specific vehicles. 

Just because some vehicles are generally popular doesn’t necessarily mean they will sell with your local customers. The Ford F-series pickup truck, for example, was the best-selling vehicle in the United States in 2022, so dealership managers may be inclined to stock high numbers of these vehicles2. However, the high national demand for this vehicle does not guarantee that local customers in all areas across the country will want these trucks. 

Data about local vehicle demand should inform your inventory purchases. You’re not stocking your dealership for the average American consumer — you’re stocking inventory for vehicle shoppers in your area. Keep their tastes and preferences in mind. A good place to start researching is by looking at the vehicles people tend to drive in the area around your dealership. 

3. Monitor Key Inventory Data

Modern inventory management comes down to tracking and using key metrics about your dealership inventory. Don’t just track sales; track first-party data like customer demographics, inventory levels over time, success rates of various marketing channels, and data from your dealership website3. All this data can help inform your inventory decisions. 

If, for example, you see that listings for certain vehicles get a lot of views on your website, that may be a sign to start stocking more of those vehicles.

Navigating Inventory Management

Navigating all the data and procedures for inventory management can be challenging. Tackle your inventory management with the help of MAX Digtial's inventory management and merchandising solutions. We’ll help you make data-driven decisions to propel your dealership to new heights.


  1. Capparella, J. (5 Jan 2023). The 25 Bestselling Cars, Trucks, and SUVs of 2022. Car and Driver. Retrieved 4 August 2023 from, 
  2. Wayland, M. (7 Jan 2023). Tesla breaks into America’s bestselling cars list for 2022, but trucks still dominate. CNBC. Retrieved 4 August 2023 from, 
  3. Terreberry, J. (24 April 2023). Successful Dealers are Activating Their First Party Data…Are You? AutoTrader. Retrieved 4 August 2023 from,