Taking Care of Business, Chinese Style

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
taking care of business chinese style

BusinessWeek describes the experience: When you arrive at the dealership, you're checked in at the gate. You're escorted into the showroom, where you're greeted by name. Gentle tunes waft from a baby grand piano in the corner. In the service department, you find leather couches, coffee, snacks and internet access. When your new car is delivered, it's wrapped in a red ribbon and presented in a ceremony with friends and family present. Rolls? Bentley? Maybach? Nope. Toyota. In China, the Toyota Camry is a high-end car, and the dealerships treat customers accordingly. The salesmen don't pressure the customers because that'll make them think there's something wrong with the car, and they're available to take care of customers' needs 24/7. The down side? Even the top salesmen make only about $14 commission per car, and that's only if they manage to sell extras like GPS and backup sensors; otherwise they clear about $7. Perhaps they could make a bit more money running seminars on how to treat customers like customers instead of victims for their American counterparts.

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4 of 6 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Jan 30, 2008

    This is one of the many reasons to buy a used (aka "pre-owned") car from a private party. No pressure, no expectations and if you take it to a mechanic who knows what he's doing, you'll feel confident you're not buying a POS that a dealer isn't screwing you on.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jan 30, 2008

    Frank, You got the correct conclusion out of that piece of news! I need to learn more chinese. Those guys may need translaters.

  • Altoids Altoids on Jan 30, 2008

    Nice going Toyota! The Chinese market has a perceptible anti-Japanese nationalism, but most Chinese still seek out the best value for their individual dollar, which bodes well for the Japanese automakers. Landcrusher, I wouldn't sweat learning Chinese - there are 100 million Chinese who can speak English (not well, but well-enough). There are about 100,000 Chinese-speakers who come to the US every year, and become fluent in English (for example, me). My friends ask me if I think their kids should learn Chinese, and I tell them that unless their kids want to learn Chinese for fun, they'd be better off spending the time on math and science.

  • Coupdetat Coupdetat on Jan 31, 2008

    I wouldn't call the Chinese attitude towards Japanese "nationalism". It's not really excessive patiotism, it's just that many Chinese are still pissed at the Japanese for raping our women and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and Japan refuses to acknowledge it.