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Uncle Joe's Make Over Diary

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
Now it's family member #2 buying a new car.
33 yr old male, factory manager, highly proficient in tech (knows SQL). He knows exactly what he wants (stuffed 13-14 Volt, in select colors). He knows it's a buyers market, he's shopping within a 200 mi radius.

He digs for days and days for a site that can help him be an intelligent buyer, and he finds:
http://gmauthority.com/blog/2012/04/2013-chevy-volt-receives-trim-package-changes-and-more-rpo-central/

Now he can spec his used car...

2013 Deletions
  • (AFC) Jet Black and Green seats
  • (AFF) Light Neutral seats
  • (UFV) Audio system with DVD-ROM navigation
  • (UPF) Bluetooth for phone
  • 30GB hard drive
  • (PCW) Rear Camera and Park Assist Package
  • (UD5) Front and Rear Park Assist
  • (RSB) 17″ 5-spoke forged painted aluminum wheels
New Features
  • (GWS) Silver Topaz Metallic exterior color
  • (AFK) Urban Premium Cloth
  • (AFJ) Urban leather-appointed seats with suede inserts
  • (UHQ) Audio system with navigation, Color Touch AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback capability, navigation and USB port, 7″ diagonal touch-screen display, GPS navigation system and Radio Data System (RDS)
  • (DA1) rear center armrest with storage
  • (PCM) Comfort Package, includes (KA1) heated driver and front passenger seats and (N30) leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • (V7X) Safety Package 1, includes (DD8) auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, (UD7) Rear Park Assist and (UVC) Rear Camera View
  • (V7Y) Safety Package 2, includes (UDF) Front Park Assist, (UEU) Forward Collision Alert and (UFL) Lane Departure Warning
  • (UD7) Rear Park Assist (included only with (V7X) Safety Package 1)
  • (UEU) Forward Collision Alert (included only with (V7Y) Safety Package 2)
  • (UFL) Lane Departure Warning (included only with (V7Y) Safety Package 2)
  • (UDF) Front Park Assist (included only with (V7Y) Safety Package 2)
  • (WQX) 17″ 5-spoke painted aluminum wheels
  • (PCV) Low Emissions Package (Enhanced AT-PZEV emissions)
  • NEW EV Hold drive mode (in addition to Normal, Sport and Mountain modes)
Changes
  • (D31) manual day/night inside rearview mirror is now standard and (DD8) auto-dimming inside rearview mirror is now included in (V7X) Safety Package 1
  • (UVC) Rear Vision Camera is now included only with (V7X) Safety Package 1
  • Leather-appointed seats change from perforated to non-perforated
  • Roof and liftgate now body-color


With this info, he knows what he wants, but, he can't find a classifieds site that'll allow him to select the Volt's options as he wants.

#Bam.
There it is again. OUR WEBSITES SUCK.

If I hear one more cube-dwelling technologist say "oh, everyone wants to buy a car online, just build it and they'll come".... :naughty::cursin::banghead:
 
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joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
For the deep thinkers out here.... here's another Tesla buyer's story
http://crosschannelconnection.com/2016/03/21/secrets-behind-teslas-awesome-customer-experience/
upload_2016-5-23_8-57-26.png


Her story filled with excellent insights about what's wrong and what's right with our industry. PLUS if you look deeply and analyze her narrative and conclusions, you can see the "dark cloud over our industry" that's coloring her judgement.



My high-level takeaways:
  1. She visits dealers to learn about the products (because our websites suck!)
  2. Commissioned sales reps are closers (not information assistants)
  3. She gets broomed.
Her Conclusion? Car dealers suck.

Can you blame her? Nope.

Who's to blame? IMO, it's not the dealers, it's the technology vendors (me incl'd). Who among us will HELP shoppers be smarter? If we solve this, I'd bet we'd have one less Telsa over the curb.
 
Reactions: Stefan

john.quinn

Sr. Refresher
Dec 2, 2009
979
580
93
First Name
John
For the first time in my life, I purchased a vehicle as a regular customer this month. Shopped like a regular customer, test drove like a regular customer, etc.

And while technology vendors very well may be partly to blame, lemme tell ya... it ain't all their fault!!

I started selling cars in 1996. Sad to report, while the world has changed a great deal in that time, not so true inside most of the dealerships I contacted.
 

BHavican

Refresher
Jan 11, 2013
116
39
28
First Name
Bill
Who's to blame? IMO, it's not the dealers, it's the technology vendors (me incl'd).
As quick as I am to normally defend dealers, there are many that could do a better job. I spend time each month mystery shopping my competition and some of the responses I get are incredibly bad, like I have no idea how they sell cars bad. If vendors could provide the technology I'm not sure it would have changed her experience.

The key thing that always seems to be present in stories such as this one is that the buyer agrees to the advertised price. A vendor such as yourself could create technology to mirror Tesla's and dealers could create a great experience (I used to be part of a group that had a team of Corvette sales professionals that did exactly what Tesla does) but what do you do about pricing? How do you get someone to agree to a price on a Mazda for example that has minimum advertised pricing guidelines? That's the million dollar problem/solution.
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
WTG Bill, this is some deep thinking!
The key thing that always seems to be present in stories such as this one is that the buyer agrees to the advertised price. A vendor such as yourself could create technology to mirror Tesla's and dealers could create a great experience (I used to be part of a group that had a team of Corvette sales professionals that did exactly what Tesla does) but what do you do about pricing? How do you get someone to agree to a price on a Mazda for example that has minimum advertised pricing guidelines? That's the million dollar problem/solution.

Now you're 'behind the curtain' where few ppl see. You see how our industry is unlike others. You see that factory stores (like Tesla & Apple) are nothing like car stores that are independently owned. It's this structure that influences everything that we see.

It's this structure that causes our dealership culture to be 'locked in time' (& so resistant to change).
I started selling cars in 1996. Sad to report, while the world has changed a great deal in that time, not so true inside most of the dealerships I contacted.

It's this structure that's made it nearly impossible for the internet to disrupt our industry.
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
Are car dealers evil and factory stores are like Disneyland?

I find it funny how people love how Tesla takes away shopper's choice... Comcast and Verizon come to mind. Dealing with these monoliths is nothing like Tesla and Apple.

2 weeks ago, I watched my sister-in-law fight with Verizon for an hour trying to get a small & logical change to the package. Listening to her frustration, I knew the Verizon factory store structure kept it's staff from caring about her needs. If Verizon stores had a car-dealer-like store structure, the local store owner would have been given the authority to be flexible with customer's needs (i.e. negotiate as needed)


In that theme, one of DealerRefresh's most popular blog post's ever speaks to this:
http://www.dealerrefresh.com/a-dark-cloud-over-the-dealership-industry/

upload_2016-5-24_10-19-56.png
 
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joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
More meat for deep thinkers... From my seat, Factory Stores do not solve shopper's problems. For example

Tesla & Apple are like Disneyland
(highly structured products and CX, serving a small and focused audience)

Comcast & Verizon are not.
(highly structured products and CX, trying to not become a commodity, serving a giant audience)


Where is the car industry?
With nearly 40 million car sales a year and >20,000 independently owned franchised stores AND each store is responsible for it's financial survival. It looks like 'organized chaos'.

I'll put forward that 'organized chaos' is self-correcting and shopper friendly.
My Aunt just bought a Ford Focus. Along the way, she had dealer experience with a lot rat that made her blood boil (maybe one of ruggles students ;-). This experience pissed her off so much that dealer reviews became the 1st filter to her shopping. She bought the car yesterday & just sent me an email this morning, she was GLOWING like a Tesla buyer glows. Chalk up one sale for the good guys!

'Behind the curtains' our chaotic industry is slowly evolving, driven not by dealers & vendors, it's driven by shoppers. As a vendor, it's my responsibility to listen very very closely to what shoppers are trying to accomplish and create solutions that'll make dealer and shopper have a happier and more productive experience (try to scale that across 20,000 stores ;-)

That was fun... now on to the biz at hand, we've got 133,330 cars that need to be sold today!
 

Stefan

Jr. Refresher
Apr 15, 2009
209
93
28
First Name
Stefan
In her post Paula tells us:
I have distilled the secrets behind why I think the Tesla customer experience is so great. It really has nothing to do with the direct-to-the consumer sales model. It has everything to do with Tesla’s skill at developing a customer-centric experience.
Can a dealer create a customer centric experience without collaboration from the OEM and vendors (partners)? I will adventure to say they can't! Yes we can improve the customer experience on our showrooms, we can even get better at responding to leads and answering incoming calls, we might even start calling people back after they visit our showrooms but thats not enough to call it a customer centric experience.

Nothing we do in our industry is Black and White, we have lots of Gray Areas and most of these gray areas find their roots in the Structure Joe is talking about.

Could the same franchise laws put in place to protect the dealer be the ones who will destroy it?
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
Can I have an AMEN?!!?? :bow:
In her post Paula tells us:

Can a dealer create a customer centric experience without collaboration from the OEM and vendors (partners)? I will adventure to say they can't! Yes we can improve the customer experience on our showrooms, we can even get better at responding to leads and answering incoming calls, we might even start calling people back after they visit our showrooms but thats not enough to call it a customer centric experience.

Nothing we do in our industry is Black and White, we have lots of Gray Areas and most of these gray areas find their roots in the Structure Joe is talking about.

Could the same franchise laws put in place to protect the dealer be the ones who will destroy it?

Stefan,
Will the franchise laws help our hurt our industry?

On a level playing field, an independently owned store can out maneuver a owned factory store all day long. IOW, If Verizon stores had locally owned franchises given the same financial freedoms & laws that car dealers enjoy, I'd bet Verizon would take share from it's competitors.
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,988
1,511
113
First Name
Joe
Now it's family member #2 buying a new car.
33 yr old male, factory manager, highly proficient in tech (knows SQL). He knows exactly what he wants (stuffed 13-14 Volt, in select colors). He knows it's a buyers market, he's shopping within a 200 mi radius.
Update: "Shake the Tree"
Family member #2 is down to 2 favorite used Volts. He's anxious, but his game plan is to assume that his 2 fav Volt's won't sell and he'll wait for a new arrival to be possibly better than the 2 he's watching... then... the his most favorite car went off line! He calls me "Damn!! I waited too long!"

He called that dealership, the car was still avail and it looks like he's going to buy it. :-)

This is what I call "shaking the tree". You can "shake the tree" by raising the price too. It works on any unit that is scarce (hard to find).
 
Reactions: jscole86