FINALLY, A REAL CHANGE TO BUYING A NEW CAR!
It had to happen…you should have known that someone would figure it out…, but why did it take almost 60 years to do it?
We’re talking about the ridiculous process you have to go through to buy a new car! It has remained basically unchanged since the late 1940’s.
Everyone knows the game and some enjoy the jousting but the vast majority of consumers hate it. You know the drill…you walk into the dealership and immediately are pounced upon by hungry; “my kids are sick”, lot jocks that just won’t leave you alone. It certainly couldn’t be true that you are only there to ‘look’ at the gleaming sheet metal and leather. No, you are actually there to buy the car and they know it! What’s more, they are not going to let you leave the dealership without being tens of thousands more in debt and most likely having purchased something you may not have even wanted. Sound familiar? Indeed. Even today this still takes place, only now they act just a little bit better. You may still have to see 3 different managers before the price comes down, but so what. You can always down a bottle of Excedrin and the headache will go away.
Fast Forward to Today…
In 2007 24% of all automobile advertising dollars went into newspaper advertising but sold only 6% of the cars. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do that math. TV and radio advertising results are also shrinking dramatically due to various recording systems such as TIVO and satellite radio. In a recent NADA (National Automobile Dealership Association) survey the number of shoppers that do Internet research before visiting a dealership is now up to 90%. The reason is simple…that’s where the information is, so with the Internet in full bloom, you can now research and shop to your hearts delight and learn a lot more than you may have wanted to know, but at least you’ll be on a more even playing field when you do enter the lion’s dealership.
Get a free quote! Buy your car here! Get the best price! You see them all on page after page of search engines and car sites. And, after you’ve entered enough information to have your identity jacked, you’ll have 10 different dealers email and phone you saying they have just what you want – until you get to the dealership. So what’s changed? And who figured it out? And just how easy is it? Answers to follow.
Jed Virts just knew he wanted the new G37 Coupe from Infiniti and why not? It’s only placed Runner-up in a class with the Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG and CLK Black Series in Cigar Aficionado (October ’07 issue – courtesy of Paul A. Eisenstein of TheCarConnection.com site). A slightly re-designed (why change it too much?) body and 330 HP to boot. It really is one of the best cars produced for the money. But now, how and where to get one? Jed is a Nissan guy from the 240 days and currently owns a ’90 Nissan 300ZX and a Lexus so I guess you could call him a ‘car guy’. When starting the ‘looking’ process Jed said, “…it just can’t be as bad as they say it is… but after walking into the local Infiniti dealership, I was convinced it was worse! I just walked out frustrated and hoped there was a better way. My frustration with the local dealership involved a test drive of the new Infiniti G37 Coupe and an hour plus with the sales rep who gave me a blank look when I asked for the money factor and all costs in writing. He went back to his manager at least 3 times to get clarification on issues. He came back twice with numbers in felt pen. On the third trip from his manager to the sales office, the manager finally brought a computer generated cost summary. The money factor was called something else and was about 2 and 1/2 percent higher than the current Infiniti lease specials on Infiniti’s web site. They would also not come down from full MSRP on the Infiniti G37. That’s when I decided the dealership did not want my business and I was wasting my time. I got up and walked out. A lot of frustration has to build up before I will get up and leave. This type of frustration has a long memory. So does the contrast between that experience and the very positive experience with Luxury Auto Bids and Infiniti of Modesto.
I heard of Danny Mayer from his Grubbs Infiniti days and found out he had co-founded the almost-ready-to-launch version of LuxuryAutoBIDS.com. The concept was simple. I could ‘request bids’ anonymously from a nationwide dealer network and just sit in my den and wait for the numbers to come in; and that’s exactly what I did!VOILA…in just a few days bids for the exact car I wanted, at a really good price landed in my email box. I logged into LuxuryAutoBIDS.com and all I had to do was “accept” the bid.”
Well, you guessed it…he clicked on “accept” and Jed’s contact info was passed to Pete Johnson, General Manager at Modesto Infiniti in Northern California. One phone call from Brian Montoya, the Finance Manager and a new Infiniti G37 Coupe was on the way to Jed’s driveway. As Jed says, “It couldn’t have been easier and I didn’t have to drive all over the Bay Area, spending $4 / gal gas and having battle after battle trying to find the car I wanted. Just convenience at a competitive price. I actually can now see where people spend days and hundreds of dollars on gas doing what it took me about 20 minutes to do. And, I didn’t have to medicate first!
I was truly impressed by Brian Montoya. His professionalism was a big factor in the “hassle free” process. And having the car personally delivered to my home was also a big plus in dealer customer service.”
LuxuryAutoBIDS.com is the brainstorm of a 30 year automotive industry veteran and a sales and marketing expert. As co-founders, Danny Mayer and Steve Burhans, along with a team of Internet- marketing savvy web designers and developers, were able to launch a revolutionary way of buying a new car – anonymously! The dealer never knows who you are until you pick them by accepting their bid. As Jed and Pete can now testify, “…the patent-pending business model really does work!” Pete tells us that “…Infiniti of Modesto is a small dealership, kind of off-the-beaten path and this process fits in well with their business model. ‘Get the right car to the customer wherever they are’! In fact, 30% of our sold cars are delivered directly to the customer.” When Steve first called and discussed how the system worked I was intrigued and gave it a try. It works and really does cut down on the time-investment we have to make selling a car. I truly believe the customer is served well and my dealership is served well.”
Danny and Steve both knew that hundreds of companies purport to ‘generate leads’ for dealerships and they do, but the prices vary from $15 -$50 each and are sold to multiple dealerships and then the ‘track-them-down and skin-them’ routine begins. Nothing has changed. So now, one merely pays $14.95 to configure the vehicle of their choice and submits it to the LuxuryAutoBIDS network of dealers and then waits. Simple.
And now you ask, “What’s in it for the dealer?” Well, Pete Johnson of Modesto Infiniti has the answer. He says, “It took me 6 clicks to put the bid in the hands of the buyer. Of course I didn’t have a name, email address, phone number, etc. which in itself goes against the grain of a car salesperson, but I gave it a try. Although, I’m in my 90 day free period the monthly charge to be part of the network is only $250. In this industry that is Dirt Cheap when you think of how many people will be using this system in the near future and how many buyers I can touch for pennies! Today, with cost-of-sale being the buzzword in the car biz, this is great!”
Danny Mayer has been the automobile business since 1969. It has been his entire career and remains his passion today. He has sat in the chair of virtually every executive position in the industry, from single point franchises to the largest publicly owed automobile corporations. He has proven time and time again that “…creative, at the edge thinking drives success…” That is probably why General Motors of Canada tapped Danny to assist them in developing and introducing a new Customer Satisfaction program for that nation’s dealers and why Nissan Corporation asked him to participate, as 1 of 3 dealers nationally, in developing the Internet process for all Infiniti dealers. He knows the automobile business…he knows the Internet…and he cares about customers. He can be reached at [email protected].
Additional articles may be viewed via Danny’s “Street Talk” main page.