For many buying a car is all-day event. There is the test-driving the negotiating, and the waiting...and more waiting. Some dealerships use this waiting tactic to wear you down so that you will just accept whatever terms they give you in order get the hell out of there. Other dealerships are realizing that a customer that buys a car quickly is more likely to have a positive experience; that is why some stores are trying to accomplish "the elusive 60 minute sale."
From Automotive News-
"Shoppers, especially millennials younger than 30, have been conditioned by visits to Apple Stores and other top retailers to expect a smooth, professional buying experience that respects their time and research preparation, Filan said."
"Slow transactions can cost dealerships money, said Mark Rikess, a sales and process consultant to dealerships. Plodding transactions tie up the best salespeople so they can do, at most, a couple of deals a day during peaks, Rikess said."
Dealerships can only control so many factors when it comes to determining the time of a sale and they should work to find a balance between a pace that works for the dealership but also keeps the customer satisfied. Primarily, there is the issue with test-drives. Normally when you buy something like a computer or a cell-phone you don't need more than a few minutes to decide which one you want. If we are honest most of us have decided which one we will buy before we even enter the store. However, cars are different and despite the fact that most people do not really engage the test-drive process those that do should be given the opportunity to experience the car the best they can and not just a "spin around the block."
Although, there are two key areas where the process can be more efficient. The first is the introduction and "needs assessment" the article states-
"Best practice dealerships train sales staff to do a thorough needs assessment with the customer upfront. Taking maybe 10 minutes, that process can save time later by getting information right the first time, Rikess said."
Of course having a good variety of vehicles in the inventory is a major factor here.
The second and most important area that can be streamlined is the negotiation process. Some dealerships are moving towards a "no-haggle" or "one-price" approach, but as we have seen this does not always result in the best deal.
Any shopper with a smartphone can quickly find better prices from a competitor, this results in either the customer leaving to go elsewhere or the haggling begins. Where I have seen this "no-haggle" process work is when a dealership has an understanding of their competitors pricing and offers an honest price that undercuts others in the area. Notice I said "honest price," this means not including incentives that most customers will not qualify for, and not having some bogus "internet price" with ridiculous stipulations like this one-
Advertised price includes $1250 Hudson Auto Group Loyalty Discount (customer must have purchased a vehicle from Hudson Auto Group within the past 36 months and serviced that vehicle with us six times in the last 36 months). Hudson Auto Group loyalty discount and the terms are as follows: Any customer that purchased a vehicle from Hudson Auto Group and has serviced his or her current vehicle with our service department within the past thirty-six months (minimum six separate services) is entitled to $1250.00 credit towards the purchase of a new or used vehicle from Hudson Auto Group. General Conditions: 1. Requests for any customer loyalty discount must be made by the customer during the sales negotiation process. No requests for any customer loyalty discount will be honored after execution of a retail order form. 2. Hudson Auto Group reserves the right to discontinue the Hudson Auto Group customer loyalty discount program at any time.
Emphasis mine, so in order to qualify for a discount on a car I would have already had to buy a car from this dealership within the past 3 years and had it serviced a minimum of 6 times within those 3 years. These types of stipulations are big red-flags for me on how a dealership will conduct business.
Despite the horror stories and the old-school "stealerships" that are still out there, the dealership experience is changing. Dealers are beginning to recognize they have to contend with smarter car-buyers who want a good product, at a good price without the games.
Have any of you purchased a car in an hour or less?
I'm Tom and I run AutomatchConsulting.com; I also write articles about car buying. If you have any questions about the car-buying process feel free to drop me a line in the comments or find me on Twitter @AutomatchTom and Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting