Chris Poulos, HADA Chairman, West Point Lincoln of Sugar Land and West Point Buick/GMC, West Point Lincoln.
When you look back at the challenges we had last year with supply and inventory issues, I think you can still say we had a pretty good year. We battled through it and are starting to see inventories improve.
Through November, Houston area year-over-year auto sales were up by 9.4% from 20,258 units in November 2021 with an additional 1,911 units sold this year. That is trending in the right direction.
Dealership profitability has been good but we have seen some expected erosion in the 4th quarter. After seeing all-time highs back in the summer, we anticipated this dip in demand. Overall, I think profitability will be fine next year.
The biggest challenge for us going forward will be interest rates. With rates pushing nearly 10 percent the economy will slow down, along with people wanting to pull the trigger on buying a vehicle. I think we are going to have to get very creative about how we go about our businesses.
However, as I have said before, “adapt and adopt” are classic tenants for auto dealers. We are a resilient bunch who find our way through challenges of supply disruptions, inflation, rising interest rates, a pandemic, and whatever else might get thrown at us.
Now, as I close out my year as HADA Chairman, I want our 186 dealer members to know that we have an engaged group. The dealers add so much to this organization, as well as our associate members, and it is a great group. Thanks to all these members, we had a great year of events and luncheons too. This year’s golf tournament drew a full slate of golfers and sponsors to Sugar Creek and Riverbend Golf Clubs and the return of the Dealer’s Holiday Gala was a real treat!
It is encouraging to witness how supportive each of our dealers are at these events and I know we’ll need that teamwork for this upcoming legislative year. I’m looking forward to welcoming in the very capable leadership of your 2023 Chairman, Joe Chastang as he takes on this next year and all it holds.
Joe will get to kick off the year with the 40th annual Houston Auto Show, January 25-29, 2023, at NRG Center. Once again held in conjunction with the Houston Boat Show, attendees will have the opportunity to test drive multiple vehicles – including more EVs, admire past classic vehicles, as well as explore boating, fishing, camping, and watersports products. And don’t forget to save the date for the return of Preview Night, January 24th..
It has been an honor to be the Chairman of this organization and know it will continue to succeed for many years to come!