- June 4, 2009
Naples, with its wealthy demographics, can be fairly buffered when it comes to market conditions. But the pandemic has led even some higher-end buyers to be more cautious. Mercedes-Benz of Naples Managing Partner and General Manager David Wachs, for example, says some customers are looking at the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the upcoming election and deciding to wait to spend their money.
‘When COVID happened, most manufacturing plants shut down for two months or so. When they did open, they opened with a skeptical outlook and produced far less cars.’ — David Wachs, Mercedes-Benz of Naples
Another challenge comes on the supply front, with inventories at an all-time low. “When COVID happened, most manufacturing plants shut down for two months or so,” he says. “When they did open, they opened with a skeptical outlook and produced far less cars.”
Inventory is trickling in but at a much lower rate than usual. Wachs says Mercedes-Benz of Naples is receiving 10 or 15% of the inventory it used to get. He expects more cars to arrive in October or November. He says, “Do we have enough cars to survive until then? Somewhat. Do we have the right model mix? Absolutely not.”
Some customers have specific ideas of the equipment they want inside or the color scheme they’d like, such as a white exterior with a beige interior. Now they might have trouble finding exactly that.
Wachs, in combating the pandemic, says he's going to sell every car he can to every client who wants it because he can’t live in fear of selling out. “We can’t be so afraid of the future that it dictates our present action,” he says. “Clients need cars in real time.” When customers have a car accident, their car breaks down or their lease is ending, they need a car right then, not months later. Wachs says, “The game plan is to keep selling and selling and pray that everything is going to be fine.”