Observation on Auto Dealerships - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    TheMeteor's Avatar
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    I am in a position in which I may need to purchase a new car before I had planned. So over the last two weekends I visited four different auto dealerships to just sit in the vehicles to get a feel for ergos, see the quality and features. In two of the four dealerships the models that they had sitting on the showroom floor and which I came to see had dead batteries. This meant in one car the seat was so far forward that i could not get into the drivers seat and the other vehicle was an SUV and we could not open the rear lift hatch.

    In both instances the salespeople shrugged thier shoulders and said, "wanna go for a test ride?". They seemed totally indifferent to the fact that shiny vehicle in showroom had no 'show' value. No, i was not ready to go through a freaking test ride. I just started looking and wanted a quick visit to narrow options. I don't want to go out in the cold and rain for half an hour with a sales person probing me.

    I mean, as a dealership, they each could only fit 4-5 cars in the showroom at a time. How hard is it to put a BatteryTender on overnight once in a while? As a dealership, the showroom is your place to showcase the vehicle and get a customer excited and passionate about the cars they sell. They have just marginalized one main value prop for visiting (see the vehicle) and sent me off elsewhere. Oddly, each also had several salespeople just sitting at their desks or the showroom. They weren't working with customers, working the phones or even appear to be working on their PCs. Couldn't one of them rally up a BatteryTender from Service?

    Bit of a rant (sorry) but it blew my mind. And these near-luxury brands.
    2009 F800ST (Night Blue Metallic) l 1999 SV650 (Naked & Red) l 2016 GSX S1000 (Naked & Blue)
    l 2012 G650 GS Sertao l 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT-S (Mrs. Meteor's...) 

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  4. #2
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    I noticed a lot of the time in car and motorcycle dealerships that I had more knowledge of their products than they did.
    You want fries with that?

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  6. #3
    WildWilly's Avatar
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    I was in a large motorcycle dealership (IndIan, Victory, Kawasaki, Honda and Suzuki) to look at new Indians on a snowy winter day. The owner of the dealership walked up and said "Can I help you?" I replied "I just want to drool on your new Indians" He said "OK" and walked away. Never spoke to me again for the 20 minutes I looked at Indians. Never asked if I had any questions and never said a word as I left. I worked in a motorcycle dealership and when a customer said they stopped in to "drool" on the bikes, I took that as a good sign. As Bob Dylan sang "The Times They Are A Changin'"
    2013 F800GT Graphite Metallic
    Not a 2nd childhood, still in the 1st 

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  9. #4
    Daboo's Avatar
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    I wonder what they had to do that was more important than to walk around with you? Maybe check their Twitter account...or their Facebook page to see how many "friends" they had...

    What that salesman doesn't realize is that there are alternatives in competition to what he has to offer.

    Cars are at the point where the difference between last year's model and this year's model is not that significant. In fact, the difference between the model from 10 years ago and today's is not that significant. I drive a 2005 Subaru Outback XT, not because I can't afford anything better, but because it had what I wanted. It's a top of the line model with a turbo charger. And it sits in the driveway 90% of the time while I ride my GT. It's fun...really fun...to drive. And while I'm missing a entertainment center for the kids in the back seats...I don't have the kids to appreciate it.

    Point is...I don't need that salesman. And I found that car, partly because a salesman I had knew how to steer me towards what I wanted, rather than leave me walking by myself in the car lot.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  10. #5
    TheMeteor's Avatar
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    To clarify, in these instances I was approached by salesperson each time and they offered a test ride. I was not ready for a test ride yet nor had the time. I wanted to do a quick walkaround and sit in to see seating comfort and capacities to narrow choices.

    You are very right on the buying model changing. Tesla being the biggest changer. You select the vehicle online (maybe view a vehicle if close to a Tesla store) they deliver it your house and you have X days to return it. Not sure what one does if they traded or sold their existing vehicle though.

    Also, I have seen a couple people in my neighborhood purchase from Carvana which is a similar experience but with pre-owned vehicles. They deliver to your house and you can buy online. There are also car buying services and brokers that eliminate the need to go to a dealership. You tell them what you want and how much money you have and they find you a car and do the paperwork, delivery, trade for you. Lastly, Costco Auto has been growing in which they negotiate the discount and you have little direct interaction and negotiation with the dealer.

    So much is changing in the car buying experience and the alternative options a customer has. All the more one would think with all the money invested in a showroom and salespeople that they would have the battery of the showroom car charged.
    Last edited by TheMeteor; 02-11-20 at 08:30 PM.
    2009 F800ST (Night Blue Metallic) l 1999 SV650 (Naked & Red) l 2016 GSX S1000 (Naked & Blue)
    l 2012 G650 GS Sertao l 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT-S (Mrs. Meteor's...) 

  11. #6
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    Similar experiences myself. The business model for cars (m/c's also maybe?) is changing radically. The previous "dealership experience" is pretty much on the way out. According to a friend who works in the business, most sales are made either online or over the phone. Folks walking into the showroom are limited to older folks, like me, or folks waiting for their car to be repaired and they are just killing time. I will purchase at least one, maybe two, new cars in a year or so and I plan to use the new procedure: will do all my research online and email my dealership of choice with the exact vehicle I want and the price I am willing to pay. I have already test-driven all the vehicles on my "short list" so I don't need to do that again with a salesman--who is woefully short of knowledge anyway--talking in the backseat. We'll see how it goes. I don't like it but I am willing to evolve with the world.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST
     

  12. #7
    Daboo's Avatar
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    There is something useful about going to a dealership. Back when my mother was alive, we went looking for a new car for her. I had an 84 Mazda 626 LTS at the time that I loved. Gutless, but handled well and was comfortable. Just what she would like.

    Well, we went to see the new ones, the 86 models and found they had screwed the car up. Little things like the electric window controls had been changed. On mine, you could operate all four windows from the center console and from either seat. On the new model, the driver's window was on the driver's door, and the other three on the center console. So if you got into a hot car and wanted to roll all the windows down at once to let the heat out, you had to use two hands. You sometimes can't tell these things from looking at a picture online.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  13. #8
    TheMeteor's Avatar
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    So I was on the road and came across a second Acura dealer and decided to see if i could look at the RDX there. It was a weekday in the late afternoon. Two salespeople and no one else in the showroom...so not real busy time.

    I was politely greeted as soon as I walked in and I said I stopped by to look at the RDX. He took me over to the one in the showroom. The seat was close to the steering and when I tried to move it back he said, "the battery is dead...". I said, 'so I cannot see the cargo area either?".

    He offered to pull one from the back and we can go for a ride. WTF. I thanked him and said I would look at them when in Philadelphia for the auto show and left. So 2 for 2 in Acura dealers and 3 for 5 overall on dead batteries.
    2009 F800ST (Night Blue Metallic) l 1999 SV650 (Naked & Red) l 2016 GSX S1000 (Naked & Blue)
    l 2012 G650 GS Sertao l 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT-S (Mrs. Meteor's...) 

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  15. #9
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    Its not just auto dealerships. I was on the road a while ago and stopped in to a McDonald’s to use the restroom and get a bite to eat. I don’t really like McDonald’s and haven’t eaten at one in a long while, but this time it was convenient. When I walked up to the counter to order, I was the only customer there. There were several employees just standing around behind the counter that just ignored me. When I finally got their attention and said I was ready to order, they told me to place my order at the self serve kiosk. I guess none of them knew how to run the registers that were still installed at the counter. Don’t really know why they needed all those employees if they don’t do anything. In my particular situation all that was required was a single cook to prepare my food. As soon as they come up with a robot that can do that McDonald’s wont need any employees at all.

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