It has long been a frustration for car buyers that they won’t get access to the best deals at their franchised local dealers without having first done the research and made the effort to compare deals with other dealers.
Naturally, from a car dealer’s position, they feel the culture is changing. The manufacturers and their brand partners are focussing far more on building value into the products on offer, and the service offered by the dealer, as part of an all round experience, is designed to keep customers coming back and spreading the word to others.
Whilst in the long term this attitude has to be the right one because of the large sums of money involved in buying new cars, during hard times there is something seductive for customers in deals with £000’s slashed off the “list price” of new cars and this is often more attractive than investigating the overall package. Also many car buyers will not even make the effort to visit a dealer unless they are confident they are going to get a comparable deal to one they have perhaps located at a dealer in another town.
Interestingly research tells us that although buyers are happy to research online and even get quotes from dealers nationally, a large proportion of car buyers would clearly still rather buy from a dealer closer to home because of the peace of mind of knowing they can go back to the dealer in the event of a problem meaning minimum aggravation.
Ironically it is during a downturn that the local dealer is more likely to look after his local customers and the manufacturers are more likely to provide extra incentives as part of a package which, in the long run, is often far more beneficial for a customer who buys from a dealer near them. This is despite the fact that many offers provided by car manufacturers, through the franchised network, are national offers.
For example with 3 years free servicing it is only natural that a dealer will prioritise the service they give to customers who have supported them by buying the new car off them in the first place, relegating the buyer who decides to buy elsewhere to “when they can be fitted in.”
Of course it’s not right but it’s just the way it is.
Some may argue that dealers are often complacent and blasé about how they treat local customers, believing that they are captive and will always come back, but as we all know, with all kinds of things, we in Britain often won’t say anything but will vote with our feet if the service is not as it should be.
A great deal on a car may not necessarily be a great deal when all the other elements are weighed up, but it is still important, wherever the car is to be bought and maintained, that the dealer understands and is sensitive to the needs of all customers.
This is especially the case with money being so tight and making sure customers experiencing the vfm factor when choosing where to buy their new car should be paramount.
Subscribe to Motor Trade Insider by Email