Time for dealers to “Polish” up their act?

I want to pass on to you a little story which unfortunately highlights why sometimes the motor trade gets the bad reputation it does.

An acquaintance of mine is a coordinator at a large main dealership in London and just happens to be Polish. He told me about a friend of his (also Polish) who is living and working in the UK.

His friend wanted (and could afford) to purchase a recent model, mid-range Diesel saloon but, for one reason or another, didn’t think he would be able to afford one from a main franchised dealer (even though his friend worked at such a place).

So he went to a car “supermarket” where not only did he pay well over the odds for the car he wanted but it had very high mileage and the cam belt needed replacing, so it ended up costing him even more money.

The idea of the “stack’em high sell’em cheap” supermarket is all well and good but only if you are able to grab yourself a bargain. However if they are not so cheap, as in this case, then the aftersales service (or distinct lack of it) does not make the patronage of such places worthwhile.

What our polish friend didn’t realise is that the model he chose was one that the dealership his friend worked for had purchased in bulk nearly 80 cars of the same type and were therefore able to sell them for at least £1,000 cheaper than their competitors and with a lot less miles on the clock than the one he bought.

So why am I recounting this story? Well mainly for the questions it leaves unanswered rather than any insight it gives us.

So how did this happen?
Did the polish man feel intimidated about entering a franchised dealer?
Was there a perception that he would not be able to obtain a car he wanted for a price he could afford?
Had he had a bad experience elsewhere?
Did he think he wouldn’t be able to obtain finance at the dealership?
Did the fact that he is foreign to these shores mean he couldn’t understand something about the dealership even though he has a friend that works in one and who is very fluent in English?
Has the time come with these hardworking foreign workers who are here in numbers to be specifically targeted in thier mother tongues when advertising etc.?

Whatever the reason the poor guy was indeed ripped off, no question and I have heard similar stories. Dealers should maybe take note, is there a large and growing community of affluent migrant workers who don’t feel able, for whatever reason, to approach new and used car dealerships and prefer to take their chances playing car supermarket roulette?


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