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The latest company updates, industry news, and expert analysis from FSG.

Why Now is the Best Time for Auto Dealerships to Upgrade Parking Lot Lighting

Looking back on all the times we’ve discussed the benefits of LED lighting for businesses with parking lots, we always point to the superior quality of the light, the dramatic cost savings and financial incentives, and the immediate reduction in long-term maintenance costs.  For us, these are the most important factors to consider, and most folks would understand why we choose to focus on the positives.

However, there are occasionally some uncomfortable, short-term challenges associated with LED lighting upgrades or retrofit projects.  For businesses with parking lots, an LED lighting upgrade can often involve boring and trenching work that temporarily interrupts the normal flow of traffic on the lot.  

Although these interruptions to normal operations are brief, and can usually be scheduled during off-peak times, they still represent a challenge for business owners.


Don’t Touch my Parking Lot!

For automobile dealerships, the thought of disruptions to normal parking lot operations is especially difficult to consider.  More than any other commercial business, auto dealerships depend heavily on their parking lots, which effectively serve as external showrooms for the vehicles they sell.

Auto dealership owners understand the benefits of LED lighting upgrades, and they appreciate the fact that a parking lot with bright, clear lighting helps their inventory of cars and trucks shine brighter than the competition.  They just hate the idea of interrupting normal business to get the work done.

Clearly, the timing of any parking lot lighting project is critical for these facility owners.  Auto dealerships need an experienced lighting contractor that can get in and out fast, with the flexibility to perform work during off-peak hours.  

Source: FSG

But even if they are working with one of the nation’s Top 20 electrical contractors, cars and trucks will still need to be moved around the lot to allow for temporary work zones.  There’s no other way to say it: this can be a bit of a hassle.

It stands to reason, then, that auto dealership lighting projects would be faster and easier to execute during extraordinary times, such as when interruptions to the global supply chain following a worldwide pandemic result in a dramatic short-term reduction in available inventory.

Or, to put it another way: right now.

The Low Inventory Blues…

Across the country, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most unusual years in memory for auto dealerships.  A recent issue of Car and Driver magazine included a feature article that tells the story in simple terms: lots are empty and these are strange days for auto dealerships and their customers.

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), August 2021 sales figures came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13.1 million units.  This number ranks August’s sales in line with June 2020’s total of 13 million units, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The month began with record-low inventory levels, and ended with total inventory reduced an additional 5.2%.  As August ended, the industry was facing a new all-time low inventory figure of 1.06 million units.

Source: iStock

Historically low inventory levels have forced car dealers and customers to accept a new market reality: if you want it today, you’ll have to pay.  The only real discounts available to customers in the current climate involve pre-orders and long wait times.  Everything else, selected from a small pool of vehicles in inventory, comes at the full manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

With manufacturers announcing more plant shutdowns amid the continued supply chain shortage, the remainder of the year will likely see even lower inventory levels at dealerships.  For the next few months at least, auto dealers and their frustrated customers will all be singing the same sad song.

…Sounds Like Sweet Music to Some Dealership Owners

Despite the ongoing disruption to the way auto dealerships normally conduct business, all the news from this extended supply shortage is not bad.  In many cases, the removal of traditional “factory incentives” and other discount programs has allowed auto dealerships to survive and even thrive a bit during 2021, as they continue to fine-tune the perfect balance of lower total transactions and higher margins per unit sold.  

For auto dealership owners, keeping the lights on during 2021 has involved creativity, hustle, and a reinvention of the traditional business model in the face of necessity.  But speaking of lights, doesn’t this season of low inventory and empty lots open up a rare window of opportunity for dealership facility owners?

If the goal is to explode out of the gates when normal inventory levels return, taking all the lessons learned during 2021 and applying them to a resurgent auto market, then now is the perfect time to upgrade the lighting in parking lots, showrooms, offices, and service areas.

Not Your Daddy’s LED’s

Surely we all know by now the clear and obvious advantages of LED lighting for auto dealerships.  It doesn’t seem possible that in today’s world there can still be dealerships making do with inefficient and inconsistent metal halide, high pressure sodium, or fluorescent lighting fixtures.  

The truth is, however, that there are still some holdouts among us.  For those last-adopters, there is some really good news about the latest innovations in LED lighting.

The first wave LED lighting technology delivered on its promise of lower operating costs and lower maintenance requirements.  Back in 2010, the auto dealerships with a pioneering spirit reaped immediate benefits and a considerable operational advantage over their competitors.

7 Lighting Best Practices for Auto Dealerships

Still, the facts just speak for themselves with modern LED lighting.  Today’s LED fixtures are smaller and more attractive than older technologies.  They have a long, durable life span and they emit natural, uniform white light. 

Like their first-iteration ancestors, the latest LED fixtures deliver dramatically lower operating costs.  However, unlike the first LED fixtures installed in parking lots, current LED fixtures offer omnidirectional and unidirectional light for every application.

Most importantly, there is this one fact: LED fixtures provide color rendering capabilities that bring out the finest features of shiny new automobiles.  To put it bluntly, new cars look better when illuminated with color-tunable LED light.  That really is the name of the game.

Lighting Upgrades in 2021: Setting the Table for Future Success

We understand business cycles and the factors that impact them, and we feel sure that when the current supply chain issues have been resolved auto dealerships will once again feature full lots of shiny new cars and trucks.  The question is this: will all that new inventory stand out from your competition?

Source: iStock

Individual auto dealerships, as well as automobile dealership groups, understand the importance of placing their best foot forward with smart, strategic lighting for their facilities.  For these customers, our capabilities are almost perfectly matched to their needs.

The difficult times we are living through are not all bad.  2021 is the perfect time for auto dealership owners to take advantage of low inventories and a generally slower business cycle, factors that remove many of the challenges normally associated with lighting projects.

FSG – The Best Part of Your Next Lighting Project

At FSG, we work hard today to ensure you remember us well tomorrow.  We are committed to being a rising tide on every project, lifting all parties along the way.   

Whether we’re working for a local dealership or a regional dealership group, we bring our national scale and distribution network to each job.  

That means our expert lighting designers and technicians are not limited to any one product line or service offering.  We are uniquely positioned to offer whatever lighting solution works best for your specific dealership location.  

For our auto dealership customers, we focus on providing long-term lighting solutions that perform flawlessly today as well as in the future when their specific application needs might change.

With flexible lighting designs and lighting fixtures that deliver color tuning, temperature tuning, and a wide range of programmable features, FSG gives dealerships the ability to make one lighting solution work across multiple seasons and applications.

We Want to Hear From You

If all you have is a question about how an LED lighting upgrade or retrofit project might work for your auto dealership, we would love for you to give us a call at (877) 293-6689Providing you with accurate information about your next lighting project would be our sincere pleasure.

When you call, our lighting professionals will inform you about the latest and best energy company rebates and incentives available in your location. Ask to speak to a member of our nationwide lighting distribution team and learn how FSG can leverage existing relationships with manufacturers to ensure the very best warranty protection for your new lighting fixtures.

Contact us today to find out how our expert service teams can quickly and efficiently execute your lighting project with a minimum amount of disruption to your normal operations.  

Together, our team at FSG – in the office, in the warehouse, and in the field – will make it our mission to deliver success on your next lighting project.  Take a look at some of the case studies posted on our website and see for yourself how FSG is in business to help our customers meet their goals.

FSG Case Studies

We believe that the time is right for automobile dealerships to get a jump on better days coming with the latest tunable LED lighting technology that saves money and delivers a superior customer experience. 

Auto dealers with sharp, bright lighting in their lots, showrooms, offices, and service areas – all managed with the latest energy-saving control systems –  will stand out in the minds of potential customers as the most professional and trustworthy option when the time comes to purchase a vehicle.

And that time is coming soon.  Will you be ready?

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