So says motor industry consultancy Network Automotive, which adds that these skills are not necessarily the same as those which help business succeed in more affluent times.
Intriguingly, though, there could even an opportunity for dealers to grow their business.
MD Colin Bruder said: ‘Most dealers have been coping with the onset of the recession in a very reactive fashion, but the better ones are already planning how they will prosper in the new business climate.
It’s not just about having a plan, he says – but having the skills to enact that plan. Basics have been neglected.
‘A good example is the task of maintaining customer databases. Many dealers have let this slip in recent years, and now, when the database is really needed, some are finding that they have no-one capable of rebuilding it.’
Car dealers should also ensure they can broaden their skills, moving into new areas to seek out new revenues.
‘Dealers may plan to move into Motability or tax-free sales, but these areas require very specific skills and market information. This is an area where we have been helping a number of dealers in recent months, through training and other programmes.’