"Chrysler Listens": We Don't Need No Stinkin' Dealers
Many a member of TTAC’s Best and Brightest have publicly pined for the day when they can order their new car over the internet, bypassing those son of a bitch bastard dealers [not paraphrasing]. Our contacts within the Chrysler Listens consumer advocate board report that the three-headed marketing mavens are sounding out the possibility of losing all those pesky middle men and women eating into their [theoretical] profit. Not one, not two, but three polls sound out the possibility of online ordering or, to use their phrase, “reservation.”
The first question: “Would you reserve your Dodge Caliberor Jeep(R) Patriot via an online reservation system?” Then, “What size downpayment would you be willing to provide online in order to secure your resveration?” And finally: “How willing would you be willing to wait to receive your new custom order?” While the B&B may utter a huzzah, I don’t think Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep dealers will be too happy about that this train of thought is warming-up at the station . . . .
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I can imagine that buying a car on-line (or even through a mall retail outlet) would be like buying furniture online (like from Potterybarn, which I have done). Which would go something like this... You have already paid for the car or arranged for the financing. So it’s just a waiting game to see how long it takes? The manufacturer's fine print on their web site told you four to six weeks, or “depending upon availability.” Well hopefully it won't take that long! A delivery company ends up calling seven weeks later with the option of several delivery dates (Monday through Friday, only) next week for when they’ll be in your area. They tell you that they’ll call you at 7 am that day to let you know if it will be a morning or an afternoon delivery, either 9 am to 12 pm, or 2 pm to 5 pm. You have to be home to receive the car of course, and certainly you don't want your wife to do it for you! If you miss the delivery truck they warn you, then they’ll have to reschedule you for “some other week". No pressure there! When the delivery truck shows up just minutes before 5 pm, the guys are a bit rough and their probably making $8 an hour, if that you figure? They don’t work for the manufacturer and they really don’t care about your purchase, that it’s your dream car, or whatever. They only really care not to get yelled at for a scratch on the paint, a feature that you thought you ordered that didn’t show up, or backing over a bush in your yard. All they could care is that it’s the right make, model and color, and that you sign the delivery slip so that they can go home to their bachelor apartment, cold pizza and cheep beer. They then unload the car, carefully, as one guy reminds the other not to run over a bush as had happened at the previously delivery that got them chewed out by a cranky old guy. So now you have a few minutes to go over your new car before you sign for it. It starts okay, sounds great and much better then it did online through your computer’s speakers! One of the delivery guys impatiently taps his pen on his clip board while the other drips of sweat hoping to God that you accept it so again he can go home and get drunk. You then examine the fenders, sides and the bumpers which look shinny and very nice. The inside is clean and smells like a new car. The tires look kind of cheap like you’ll be replacing those in 20,000 miles! But not a big deal. "Oh no," you curse! After all this, there is a quarter-of-an-inch fine scratch on the hood! You’ve taken the day off to wait at home for your new baby, and have been excited for weeks! You didn’t even sleep much last night not wanting to miss the delivery call with the scheduled time! You ask yourself, should you just accept the car and let the poor guys go home? Or do you yell at them as it might have been their fault? Or should you call the manufacturer and yell at some customer service representative that earns even less per hour that may not even speak English? Well you sigh, and you go ahead and sign for the car, and to ease your mind you figure that the car will have a chip in the hood within the next month anyway. Something like that... :-)
thoots It would be nice to get a Ford dealer in the Detroit Metro area to even acknowledge what Edmunds TMV is. Their basic response is "we subtract your A/X/Z plan and rebates/incentives from MSRP and add tax/title/plates. We're not allowed to give any other discounts without being penalized by the manufacturer." What a load of hogwash. No wonder those I know that have dealt with Metro Detroit Ford dealers walk away laughing or cursing.