Foundation with No House Saves Money?

The pictures above were from the same dealers lot and there were even more empty chassis here. This is all too common at many commercial truck stores--especially medium duty truck stores. I could see this as opportunity because of the sheer volume of chassis available right away, yet I see this as a serious flooring issue and a sales issue. I see the dealer looking at this and wondering what is going on with his money.

To me this is like building a housing project of 35 homes, except only the foundations are built to sell from. This isn't an intangible market any more than the truck market. I have stocked empty chassis, but in quantities typically not exceeding 2-4 units and then only rarely.

Some dealers I have known think that an empty chassis is good for their bottom line. I argue the opposite. It is very bad for the bottom line because dollars are tied up with no possible way to sell the unit without a body. It is an incomplete unit. They might as well stock cars without any engine and transmission.

Installing a body gives a good opportunity to make a sale--on purpose. There is the case for the extremely rare person who has a body to transfer to a new chassis. No big deal, trade for a chassis or get one out of a pool. In the meantime, the dealers money isn't tied up in a car with no engine or a foundation with no house.

What is even more interesting to me is seeing ads in the Big Truck Trader and other places with an empty chassis being offered. This is a total waste of advertising money to me. An empty chassis might be trade bait, but little else.

The remedy of course, is to install a body. With a complete unit, you now have something to sell--and, what's more important, it is something to sell with gross profit in it. I would now have a unit that I can market, demonstrate, put into a display, drive as a demo, and the most important thing of all: deliver it to a customer this very minute, deposit the contract and go sell another one. A somewhat faster turn, less expense and higher profits makes a happier, healthier commercial truck department.

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