Dealership worker reveals what happens when a car just doesn't sell

@puyallupnissan/TikTok TOimages/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Nissan dealership still has a bunch of brand new 2023s’: Dealership worker reveals what happens when a car just doesn’t sell

‘It’ll sell when you set the right price.’


Brooke Sjoberg


In the last few years, the new and used car market has experienced a great deal of change. Car sales have dipped and risen since 2020, when the global Coronavirus pandemic precipitated a 14% reduction in car sales as consumer behavior changed with remote work. In the years since and amid a shortage of cars, buyers have returned to similar pre-pandemic purchasing behaviors.

These industry fluctuations may leave drivers wondering what happens to unsold inventory on car lots. Might the vehicles be sold at a discount? Or otherwise repurposed?

One car salesman at a Nissan dealership is answering the question for viewers on TikTok, based on the practices of his dealership, once and for all.

In the video posted to the TikTok account for Bill Korum’s Puyallup Nissan (@puyallupnissan on TikTok), a location in Puyallup, Washington, one of the salesmen at the dealership explains to viewers what their dealership does with unsold new cars that receive little interest from potential buyers.

“What happens when a car just doesn’t sell?” he says in the video. “Someone asked me that and there’s lots of answers to that question if it’s new versus used. But let’s talk about new cars. So when a new car just never sells—which hasn’t been a problem in the last few years, because of the car shortage, but there has been times where it was—and it’s most likely a car that we have a ton of like Sentras, Altimas, there’s a few things we could do. One, is to put them into loaner car service.”

He says that by putting the cars into loaner service, they can still be useful to the dealership and be sold as pre-owned vehicles down the line.

“Our service department services about 1,600 people a month, and sometimes people need a car to drive because their cars can be in the shop for a day or so. These two cars are good examples. We probably have multiple Altimas in that color, they’re probably over 300 days on the lot, Sentras as well. They’re not the hottest-selling car. The good thing about that is that when it comes out of loaner service, we could sell it as a pre-owned car, and [it’s] automatically qualified as a certified pre-owned. It gets extra rebates and some other benefits as well.”

Alternatively, the cars can simply be sold to rental car companies, or they may be sold to traditional car buyers after all.

“Then on new cars, sometimes we’ll sell them to rental car companies, or we just wait it out and they eventually do sell,” he says. The Daily Dot has reached out to @puyallupnissan via TikTok direct message regarding the video.

In addition to this practice of using the vehicles as loaners for drivers whose cars are in service and adjusting the price for the right buyer, some dealers might choose the additional option of sending their unsold inventory to auction, as well as selling or trading to another dealer who has those vehicles in demand.

Many viewers questioned why dealerships would not lower the price until it was more attractive to buyers. While this concern may come from previous experiences at other dealerships, the Nissan dealership replied to commenters letting them know that they have never priced vehicles above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

“Wny not just lower the price until it does sell?” one commenter wrote.

“If helps if you don’t mark it up $5000 more than the msrp,” another added.

“Maybe lower the price and it will sell,” a third said.

@puyallupnissan #servicecars #nissanaltima #nissansentra ♬ original sound – Puyallup Nissan

Some viewers shared that they had taken advantage of deals on cars that had been sitting in the lot of other dealerships, getting new cars at a fraction of their list price.

“I got a Mazda mx3 at half off… It was on the lot two years and didn’t sell,” one commenter wrote. “It was pruple.”

“I bought a 2014 Honda in 2017, 12 miles on it,” another commented. “I ended up paying just over half MSRP.”

“I just bought a special order bronco it was on the lot for 200 days,” a further user added. “I got a wicked deal on it.”

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