I recently started shopping for my first new car in a decade. I have looked at Infiniti, Audi, VW, Cadillac, Genesis, Tesla and BMW.
Something that really stuck out about the process was the different dealership experiences. The quality and happiness factor of each dealership seemed to coincide with the price of their cars.
The r/askcarsales subreddit is a great source of information about car buying and the inner workings of dealerships. Flaired users are verified to be actual salespeople, which makes for highly qualified car buying advice. They’ve helped a great number of people save money and help calm the adversarial nature of the buyer-seller relationship.
Buying a car is a big decision. We all like to think that we are unique in the choices we make and how we go about negotiating a sale, but buyer stereotypes do exist. When one subreddit user posted a question about typical buyers for each brand, many of the salespeople jumped in to offer their opinion on the type of buyer that shops each brand. Some of the opinions might cross into racial profiling territory, but many are just hard truths about the customer base each brand has built up.
“I do see people buying Chevy trucks all the time, but I call them victims, not customers. That’s different than what I’m trying to do.” Thus spake Scott Adams, known to most of us as the creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip. As someone who has made his living as a commercial UNIX sysadmin, I’m not much of a “Dilbert” reader, for approximately the same reason that Jodie Foster probably doesn’t read The International Journal Of Pinball Table Collectors. There’s only so much trauma that anybody should be forced to relive.
I do, however, read Mr. Adams’ blog, mostly because I’m fascinated by his particular approach to understanding the current Presidential election. In a pair of recent posts, he has taken a break from discussing the “Master Persuader” strategy to complain about the process of buying a new truck from a Chevrolet (or Ford) dealership. Mr. Adams describes himself as a “certified genius,” but as you will see below, the old dealership chestnut that “buyers are liars” applies to even those of us who find the WAIS-IV to be a trivial challenge.
Visiting a dealer’s Finance and Insurance office is usually the last excruciating step when buying a car. The F&I rep will go through an endless stack of documents to finalize the sale while attempting to sell as many pointless add-ons as possible.
Many of us know to avoid add-ons like pin striping, paint protection, and extended warranties since they are either overpriced or valueless — but we may be letting the worst offender of all slip by.
Car alarms seem like sensible choices, especially if they’re offered at a good price, but the alarm that many buy in the F&I office can barely be considered more than a dealer profit device. These alarms are often presented as add-ons to the factory alarm that are supposed to improve on the factory security system, but in reality are usually nothing more than a shock sensor and some hacked wires.
I’m back like a rebel making trouble with another installment of Dealers Are The Worst Businessmen. Today, we’ll be talking about the information that most dealers use to make every decision in the dealership, and how it’s completely and utterly useless.
To those of you who’ve worked in the dealership world, you already know what I’m talking about, right? Yep. The CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. Doesn’t matter whether it’s VinSolutions, DealerSocket, or any of the other popular software solutions on the market. Nowhere will you find a more prominent example of “garbage in, garbage out” than in the customer data mining that occurs at every dealer group. It’s a wonderful example of how most dealers spend thousands of dollars on tools they believe they need and then neglect to learn how to properly use.
But first, a story.
Every year, Pied Piper Management sends phony car buyers into dealerships to rank how much deal-landing prowess their salespeople can muster.
This year’s dealership effectiveness rankings put a number of high-end automakers at the top, but the industry’s most innovative company sits at the very bottom for the second year in a row. According to Pied Piper’s Prospect Satisfaction Index, Tesla Motors ranks last by a mile.
Why does an automaker that builds fast vehicles have so little hustle in the sales department? (Read More…)
It’s D-Day, so what better time to dish details on Cadillac’s secretive Project Pinnacle?
The luxury automaker plans to completely revamp how its dealers interact with customers — a strategy that even changes how its salespeople dress, according to a draft document obtained by Automotive News.
Under Project Pinnacle — the brainchild of brand president Johan de Nysschen — U.S. dealers will be grouped into five tiers based on expected sales. When the operation kicks off on October 1, car shoppers can expect a higher-end experience at their local Caddy dealership. Get ready to be coddled. (Read More…)
A pissed-off motorist wants the world to know that a service technician working at a dealership that might take rolled-up bills as a downpayment took his car on an alleged powder-fueled joyride. And he has dashcam video of the whole thing.
A revealing video posted to Youtube yesterday by user “Carrera Chris” documents the April 12 point-of-view journey of his vehicle as it leaves a Palo Alto Audi dealership with the technician behind the wheel. (Read More…)
The Napleton Automotive Group of Illinois tread a well-worn path to its lawyers yesterday, this time filing a suit against Volkswagen for damaging its business model.
Three Volkswagen dealerships owned by Napelton filed the suit, which seeks class-action status, alleging the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal amounts to “criminal racketeering,” Automotive News has reported.