Jose Luis Contreras believes that during these uncertain times, luxury car consumers want a sense of clarity in a time of chaos.
“Guests are thirsty for solid direction. They’re looking for somebody who really knows what’s going on with the market and has their best interests in mind,” the North Park Lexus Rio Grande Valley General Manager said.
When the pandemic first began to disrupt supply chains in March 2020, the auto industry changed its game plan to accommodate a contact-less experience for its clients, online sales, and at-home deliveries. This became the norm throughout the industry.
Navigating through the pandemic, Contreras and his award-winning team at North Park Lexus RGV in San Juan believed it was essential to maintain a sense of normalcy during a very unstable time.
And now, the chip shortage — all a result of the pandemic. Some manufacturers are stocked with rows of built vehicles waiting for microchips. In fact, satellite images of this inventory have made the rounds on social media to underscore the extreme nature of the disruption to the industry.
The chips are essential in vehicles and a myriad of other items and impact everything from engine temperature monitoring, dashboard lighting, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and GPS navigation, to name a few.
Currently, industry experts hypothesize that vehicle production levels will continue to remain low through at least 2022 and as far as into 2023.
“This shortage and subsequent rise in demand has many dealers pricing common vehicles well above MSRP, price gouging — oftentimes, a lamentable and unnecessary practice,” Contreras said. “I understand a hot market, but this is all still part of a pandemic… a crisis.”
One point of pride for Contreras at North Park Lexus RGV is the Posted Price Promise.
“Customers can take advantage of what we offer without worrying about price gouging,” he said.
Contreras added that 85% of his new car inventory at North Park Lexus RGV is still priced at a discount.
Despite the challenges for consumers, including higher-than-expected prices this year, Contreras said his team is dedicated to looking at every possible avenue to find what best suits the guest.
The steep rise in value for used vehicles may present an advantage for consumers, he added.
“As a result of the crisis, trade values are at unprecedented highs,” Contreras said. “This poses an opportunity for many clients.”
He said above all else, his team at North Park Lexus, one of three Lexus dealerships in South Texas, prides themselves on their loyalty — working hard for the Rio Grande Valley market, community, and their guests.
“We’re people trying to take care of people. We’re listening because everyone’s needs are different. Circumstances are different. Some people might just have that itch and might be excited about doing something new — but it might not really make sense for them to do anything, right now,” Contreras said. “We’ll make sure to explore (the) best options before we just try to sell a car.
“It takes a team who truly cares for people and somebody who really understands what is currently evolving in this marketplace.”
Contreras said he and his staff are prepared for each guest’s individual circumstance, whether they were thrust into the market for a vehicle, or if they just feel like they might have a good trade-in opportunity. His team will guide them.
Conteras said North Park Lexus RGV always puts people first — always striving to take care of their guest’s best interests.
“Relationships are paramount,” he said.