Being the cheapest isn’t always the best

As we’ve said on more than one occasion the way cars are being bought, and therefore sold, is changing. As the motor trade adapts to this altering of customer interaction, it is probably worth remembering that despite the fact the internet has overtaken every other advertising medium for marketing cars, there is still, for the time being at least, the “traditional” way.

No one can say that advertising in the local newspaper motoring section is a thing of the past, it’s just that, for the costs involved, the coverage is very limited.

Advertising on the web is far cheaper, reaches far more potential customers and is therefore far more cost effective. Whilst we won’t bore you with statistics about the rise and rise of advertising on the internet, the truth is if anything gets the attention of a sales manager with a keen eye on his expense base it’s comprehensive coverage, the ability to market as many cars as they like and of course low costs.

Not to mention the fact that keeping up the website and updating the Autotrader feeds is very simple and easy to maintain and is mostly done “in house”. The problem likely to be encountered in the coming months and years is that by having an almost obsessive eye on ensuring your stock comes up on the first page of any model and price search, ensures that you may get lots of hits and may even sell cars, but perhaps not as profitably as you could have done if you had looked a little more at each used car on its individual merits.

It is just as confusing for customers who look at the likes of Autotrader to make their own price comparisons. If they find similar models in terms of age and specification and notice a massive price swing it could be a turn off.

In other words it doesn’t always pay a car retailer to be the cheapest as long as they are competitive, because if something seems too cheap to be true, it often is, and may be designed simply to catch the eye. “That particular model has been sold sir but I have this one just in…” either that or the dealer may have had it for many months and therefore has been forced to make it the cheapest to move it on quickly.

As a consequence of the decline in new car sales over the last couple of years and the more recent success of scrappage the supply of used cars will be short, and dealers will have to be a lot sharper with how they market their stock because clearly they will be unable to just sell on price alone for fear of being unable to replace a particular model, and from a buyers point of view you may have to pay higher prices to obtain exactly what you want.

The fact that car dealers can appeal to buyers from across the country via the internet means that it is a lot easier to sell cars in more wacky colours and offbeat spec. This has certainly empowered car dealers to be bold when buying on the wholesale market, to the extent where ‘s’ level models which can be easily replicated may represent the value but more ‘speccy’ cars will fetch the premiums.

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5 Responses to Being the cheapest isn’t always the best

  1. dealaday February 18, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    i find that people who search my stock on line are always talking about price before they even come down,the most profitable business is when punters can come in and browse,and then we go for the kill and they have nothing to compare with!! Ah those good old days,iam really happy just to sell cars anyhow these days.if you dont buy the ticket you can win the prize

  2. Mark Robbins February 20, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Couldnt agree more dealaday, what ever happened to those golden oldie days, internet customers are far far worse than any “out the paper” types, they want it for nothing, but with everything thrown in (including a cambelt and full service) and when you do occasionally agree their ridiculous price you are a lucky site indeed if they even turn up, hiding behind the computer screen and sending pointless e-mails is getting tedious and franky we for one are starting to give the hordes of timewasters short shrift indeed.If they want the best spec they are going to have to pay for it, because one things for sure, the way prices are going we certainly do!

  3. George Nanopoulos February 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    Buddy, you have got to move with the times. If you stay stuck in the dark ages you sure as hell wont be selling cars in ten years time, trust me on that. Why not open a mom and pop hardware store and you can talk to your aged clientelle about the good old days while selling them a bunch of tacks for 99cents. Move with the times not against them or you’ll disappear out of sight. I’m selling more cars now than ever (except maybe Toyotas!) and I engage with my internet customers one on one. try it, you never know what will happen.

  4. dealaday February 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    great george thanx for the good advice you may be selling loads more cars but are you working twice as hard for half the money? i,m quite happy to sell cars via internet but i just dont think its thebe all and end all,i also would like to engage with customers on line but how do you go about that and talk with geniune buyers who may value service as well as bst price!!

  5. Mark Robbins March 1, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    George, I dont want to be selling cars in Ten Yeras time! its bad enough now, in Ten Years time it will probably be impossible, oh, and this is England not America, having spent many years buying and selling in the states i have to say the american way of buying and completeing a deal is so very different to the way the british public buy their cars, come over and give it a try George, you may just adjust your way of thinking on that one.

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