Lexus Dealers' New Strategy: Hang Out or Piss Off

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Did I or did I not just blog that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. Group Vice President and Lexus General Manager Mark Templin wants his customers to "hang out" down at the dealership? I did. WardsAuto now reports that the self-same suit says his dealers should learn from its Scion brand's customer relations– and give their customers the bum's rush a time-efficient service. "What Scion buyers want – and future Lexus customers will desire, as well – is a quicker purchasing and no-fuss service experience." Lexus' new goal is to make sure "customers who do come into the showroom to buy can get in and out fast, providing around-the-clock service facilities or offering pickup and delivery of vehicles needing maintenance." Templin sees no contradiction in these goals; the in-and-outers are young money, while the let-me-tell-you-about-my-hernia customers are old money. Can Lexus be all things to all demographics? No, but it can try. Oh, and we love that crack about the Newport Beach dealership “where each of the palm trees cost $100,000 apiece." Is that God's way of telling a Lexus dealer he's making too much money?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Kjc117 Kjc117 on Jan 26, 2008

    A good salesperson knows their customer. Some customers don't want to spend all day at the dealer while purchasing a car(like me). Give me the bottom line price, have the papers and car ready when I get there. Other dealers also have this policy, my local Honda and surprisingly VW dealers adapt very well to customers needs. Of course this is only when purchasing the car after is another story. I guess I'll test this strategy when I get my 350IS.

  • SAAB95JD SAAB95JD on Jan 26, 2008

    As an owner of a Saab, I think that the Saab dealers should be listening... they have the "atmosphere" right, but the people that work there and the level of service is no better than any other GM dealership, which is to say it is CRAP.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jan 26, 2008

    This one works well if you turn the tables on the dealer. Since I quickly realized that each visit to a stealership was a 30 minute nut, when I was ready to buy, I allocated the whole day. I had my cell phone, with my work calls forwarded to me, so I wasn't missing any clients. The fact that I politely excused myself to "do business" also made me look more substantial at the same time I made THEM the lower priority. I sat there. I did not get excited, even tho I'd decided on the particular car. I sat, I sat, and I sat (sorta like Horton on the egg). Eventually, they realized they could not "hook" me, and the price dropped to my level. Only then did I look for a pen. If you expect to sit, spend the time, and act bored (but remain polite), you can turn this side of the game to your benefit.

  • Cmdnyc Cmdnyc on Jan 27, 2008

    Each dealership has its own strategies on how to engage and retain their customers. My brother owns an ES350 and during his last service visit, while waiting for his car in the Lexus "media room" some guy was walking around talking about the football game the night before, engaging customers. My brother assumed he was just another customer. In reality he discovered, Lexus was literally paying for this guy to walk around the service area and engage customers in light hearted conversation.