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Discussion in 'Car Dealer Hangout' started by Dave Z, Sep 5, 2016.
More sales through smaller dealers
I found working at smaller dealerships more manageable, more laid back and with better inter-dept. communication. We almost didn't need an indoor/outdoor intercom.
Overhead seemed lower, we were more organized and empowered, it was a short walk anywhere on the premises, more personal attention was given to customers and everybody knew everybody else's name.
These white palace-mega-dealerships with restaurants and child care are just overwhelming and as a customer, I just want to get my car fixed and get out with the smallest bill possible.
We were next to a major interstate in a rural area and stayed plenty busy.
Over the years the phenomena of "bigger is better and more successful" has been the rule. A larger dealer with larger showroom, more lot space for more vehicles to "sit and rot" would tend to provide more instant, spur of the moment sales. But in the new millenium, using advanced sales techniques such at Facebook, internet email - chat, twitter in addition to the tried and true customer in the show room experience seems to be the new process.
Having acres and acres of vehicles and a large showroom adds overhead expense. With new technology and sales processes, a larger physical presence is not as necessary as in the past.
And yet it seems FCA is just figuring out that it helps to have a big showroom after it’s no longer true. Or maybe that’s just how long it takes them to move on a trend?
I think you are correct on that assessment. I have lived long enough to remember dealer show rooms since the late 1950s. It seems Ford and GM dealers had more open and airy showrooms than Chrysler - Dodge - Plymouth etc. Back then the manufacturers were more lenient in letting a dealer run an operation from converted buildings and even facilities in shopping malls. Chrysler facilities always seemed "poor boy" to me especially in small towns. Even dealerships were allowed to operate from converted gasoline stations and other repair facilities.
Such is not the case today for all the manufacturers. When a dealership changes owners, I believe a pre-requisite is to have more modern facilities. There is a small dealership in a small town of 5300 about 45 miles east of my location in NE Oklahoma. Twenty plus years ago the dealership was family owned and in a small, rather unglamourous setting. About 15 years ago the family updated the facade and bought space adjacent to the dealership to expand the selection of vehicles. I think that there was some pressure from the manufacturer to upgrade. Surprisingly the dealership remained open after bankruptcy and was not closed by Chrysler. In the last 6 years the long time family owners sold and it has had several different owners since that time.
There was a Chrysler dealership building facade initiative for the new millennium, some called it the Chrysler 2000 vision.
It involved adding arches, pillars and large glass areas. Like this:
This was all part of being 5-star. Inside the shop didn't change too much.
IC, you should swing by Finger Lakes CDJR in Seneca Falls sometime. Old building, wooden floors, you can see how the tires have worn down the interior wooden ramp.
I don't really think much of the new facades. They look... well... like car dealer facades. There are some nice designs I've seen for imports.
I do not like the larger dealers who have 300 new vehicles on the lot, and all the high pressure crap
My favorite dealership was closed in the 789 dealers who lost their franchise, and they were a charter
Dodge Brothers dealership from 1914, my second favorite dealer suffered the same fate, the dealers
that have taken their place one is kid of ok, the other one I won't deal with. I miss the old small time dealers
who would take time to chat with you whether you were there for an oil change, buy something from parts
or were wanting to see what they had as far as t-shirts or baseball caps, I hate not being able to buy Dodge
t shirts or caps anymore
I absolutely avoid the mega dealerships. Yeah, they may have a better selection, but the sales pressure is far worse than the local dealerships I've dealt with.
The dealership I've purchased our last 3 vehicles from is not a mega dealership - I'm guessing they have about 150-175 vehicles on the lot at any given time. No pressure. Interestingly enough, another dealer I use to go to (small mom-n-pop) now has a new owner. I haven't stopped in but his inventory is now much larger - so much that he has vehicles stored at another lot 3-4 miles down the road. Not sure if he is high pressure, but their "processing fee" is outrageous - $799. I doubt I'll be buying from them any time soon.
Problem is these big dealers have the fancy facades and big showrooms but yet their customer waiting areas suck.
Some of the little dealers with no facade and small showrooms... also have lousy waiting rooms.
I miss the quiet workstations, with power and Ethernet, back at Flemington Toyota in the year 2000... ya know what? they could also turn around a warranty repair in ONE HOUR.
I don't think the size of a dealer makes any difference, it is customer service. I work part time at a dealership that is owned by one of the largest dealerships in the area and CUSTOMER SERVICE is number one on their list.
They used to have a great Dodge dealer in Brockport NY called Barry Dodge . Bought many vehicles there until Chrysler took their franchise away during Dodges fight for survival. I still go there for service as they are honest and will not try to sell you stuff you dont need. smaller dealers are the best.
I bought my car from a small dealership precisely because it wasn't a mega dealership. I didn't feel like I needed to take a shower after dealing with them. Sadly, Chrysler forced them out and they had to sell about two years ago.
I think if they had more small dealers in rural areas they could have a real niche. Someone (Hyundai) will figure that out and get a lot of incremental sales.
Lol Dave - my current situation: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8RJZrn2F5SBcmlYbU5ORjhUQkU
Ah... the ridiculous-looking false front... our dealer put one up too.
The owner of the dealership where I bought my car believed Toyota and Honda would love to have the dealer penetration that Ford/GM/Chrysler have with deaerships in small towns all over the country. They're part of the community.