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Dealers Too Busy For OnLine Shoppers

richard15richard15 Posts: 1
edited March 7 in General
Last Friday I went through Edmumds Online Shopping service and contacted every Chrylser Dodge Five Star Dealership in San Diego County to get a price on a Dodge Magnum. It is now 5 days later and not one response. Things must be booming at the car lot with walk-in traffic (right) the dealerships are suffering yet they are not paying attention to real buyers.
Richard15- San Diego
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Comments

  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    and not to sound archaeic, but online buyers aren't perceived as real buyers - most dealers get hundreds of bogus or ridiculous inquiries through the internet.

    You can't test drive, sit in, or smell a car online, at least not yet. My suggestion would be to visit the store, make a point of contact, then if you want to discuss the deal and negotiate online, have at it.

    The old saying of "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" applies here - why scroll through a list of buyers trying to beat you out of every cent, when there are live folks driving onto your lot?
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...might be that the Magnum is a fairly hot seller now, so like drift said there's probably plenty of people walking into the dealer for them, and they'll get priority.

    Now, if you were looking for a Neon, you would probably have a dozen response by now, lol.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    The VAST MAJORITY of internet contacts are a big waste of time. Dealers know this and respond accordingly.

    If you are really serious, try the old fashioned approach and show up in person.
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    So is it time for Edmunds to retire already its (not it's) "Contact the dealer for quote" browser popup?
  • jhs70jhs70 Posts: 213
    Nice attitude.

    What's wrong with a customer wanting information or, god forbid, asking for a quote? Maybe the customer simply wants to get a feel for the market and maybe s/he wants to do in on-line. Just because that's a different way of doing business why is it so bad? How many times do you go online to see the price of something you're interested in, but you're not ready to jump? Why does this have to be different for cars? Are you saying that car dealers shouldn't provide a quote if the customer isn't committed to purchase right then and there? Like I've tried to point out, it doesn't work that way for other items people purchase. I'm confused.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    I am in the process of buying a new Subaru Legacy GT Wagon. I first went into the dealer, and could not get a good deal. I even had 'internet based' quotes where some dealers (fitzmall.com) give an online price. The salesperson responded with 'how do you expect me to make money?'.

    Well, I looked on the first dealers web site, and saw the so-called perfect car for me at a price comparable to FITZMALL's price. Right color and everything. I CALLED the internet department, came to terms quickly. I also let him know that I delt with salesperson X and my negative experience. I put a (refundable) deposit down over
    the phone.

    Now, I expect a blanket email would have given different results. Calling told the person that I was serious. The phone is a great tool in car shopping.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    been reading the posts here and i can see both sides of this story. but, i'm an online shopper too. i own a retail business with a friend - that means 2 things - first, i have very few days off (7 days a week here) and it's tough to make a 20 or 30 minute phone call about a car when you have customers looking at you needing assistance. i try to spot out my leads over the internet to see if their car has the options i want and if they possibly have a deal i can live with. additionally, i live in wv, when i started looking for my mitsu spyder, i had to shop online. there are 4 mitsu dealers in our entire state!! i try to explain that return e-mails are the only way i can effectively communicate, but most don't bother to do that. i guess it all works out, they won't communicate with me and i don't buy from them!!
  • ...all I ever get in response from either is an invitation to come in to the dealership anyways, and maybe some silly tricks to try to make me.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    While the internet or phone CAN work (it has worked for my family in the past), there's absolutely no guarantee that it WILL work. It's dependant on too many variables - the area you live in, the dealer business practices, the internet salesperson's skill/attitude, the type of car you want to buy, whether you have a trade-in (and what condition is it in), etc.

    It doesn't really cost anything to ask for an internet quote, but it doesn't change the fact that you should already know, ballpark, what's a good price.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    Nothing wrong with my attitude...at least I don't think so anyway...:)

    Someone asked a question and I answered it. Nothing wrong with this method if it works for you.

    A lot of dealers find the majority of internet "quote" requests to be a waste of time and anyone in the business will agree with me.
  • I sell Chevrolets in Suburban Chicago and do quite a bit of business over the Internet. We have an Internet Manager who distributes leads to us salespeople. I've been in car sales for almost 10 years. I sell 3-4 Internet Customers a month on average. They are usually minideals but they help with the month end bonus. Our website gets approx 7-10 thousand hits a month. These are all potential customers. Our dealership sees it as the future. Those dealers who don't adapt with the changing times will die. Granted a good chunk of our leads are bogus, but it takes 10 seconds to send an email or make a phone call to see if it is a legitimate up.

    One advantage of an internet customer is most of the work is done before they come to the store. They usually have picked out a vehicle from our inventory, agreed on a price, and qualified for financing by applying on our web site. Usually the only hold up would be a trade appraisal. I'm telling you my fellow slingers of American,Japanese,or German Steel learn to deal with the internet or find another line of work. It is the future and it's coming fast.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,744
    You can work the internet dept. I've done so when it was in it's infancy.

    I simply lack the patience and I know that!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,630
    a large dealer group near me (where I bought my last Honda) has been big in internet for quite a while. They have a dedicated group to handle the internet and buying group requests. Not salespeople, more like admin support.

    Anyway, when you submit a request through the system (no blast emails I don't believe), they quickly get back with an automated response with set pricing (based on invoice or MSRP). If you want to procede, you call the internet dept. They can give you current inventory, and set up an appointment with a salesperson, with the price already set.

    I assume they will do the conversation via Email, but I never bothered. it took about 5 minutes to talk to the person and get all the details set up.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    I wonder why the lifespan of an internet salesperson/manager is less than any other position in the dealership??
  • Internet only salespeople would starve taking only internet customers. At our store, we treat an internet customer like a phone up. Instead of a phone number, we get an email address. Our closing ratio on internet customers is around 15-20%.
  • rampedramped Posts: 358
    Really, the internet and email are the way to go if you know what you want to buy. I don't have the patience to walk into a dealership and stare at a four square anymore.

    The dealer I bought my car from last October didn't respond to my first email offer, so I called the next day, they looked it up, and we had a deal within 24 hours. They even did the trade over the internet with the accurate description I provided. I probably would never have walked into this store and tried to haggle since it is a high pressure, banner operation.

    But, all the numbers synched when I got there, and that was that.

    Things can go wrong over the internet, too, but the odds are the transaction will be more efficient for all involved.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    We are looking for a Honda Accord. I sent out three Emails to dealers this afternoon (Sunday) and already got three replies. One place offered an OTD price that was pretty much invoice + trans + ttl.

    I sent out two more Emails tonight so we will see how it works out.

    We are looking for a pretty rare car (silver EX sedan with a manual trans) so not all dealers have one in stock.

    At least it shows that the dealers here in D.C. respond to Emails.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    Wouldn't you rather have a 3 yo camry vith very low mileage? Just kidding. My deal is falling into place. I am buying a '05 Legacy GT Wagon from Stolhman (very convient for me). The price I am getting is good: 1K back from invoice, or 2k less than TMV. I contacted the internat department via the phone, and it went really smooth.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    the internet and email are the way to go if you know what you want to buy
    ...
    The dealer I bought my car from last October didn't respond to my first email offer, so I called the next day

    Ummm, sounds like email failed there, but phone worked...
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    I sent one of my Emails to your favorite Honda dealer right across from where you work.

    Are you sure a Subaru is your kind of car? Are you aware of its image?
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    I am aware of three aspects of its image. I am a libaral, so that is not a problem. While I am not a rainbow myself, I have no problems with rainbows, and frankly, I do not care. The GT is one hot car.

    Good luck on the Accord.
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    Are you sure an Accord is your kind of car? Are you aware of its image?
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 455
    I have my own perception of what a Subaru is but I would like the street low-down.

    What is the image of a Subaru ?
    And what kind of person would want a Subaru ??

    Please enlighten me.
  • Rainbows huh? lol
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 455
    Koba:

    Where have you been ? The whole car business is about very little except image. What are Luxury cars all about? What about the bigger-the-better SUV ??

    You are what you drive - or that's what they would like you to think.
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    What are Luxury cars all about?
    Well, luxury cars are about luxury, no? (next you will ask what "luxury" means - please ask the auto industry advertising agencies.)

    What about the bigger-the-better SUV ??
    They are about off-road abilities, safety and reliability.

    ...making an appointment to remove tongue from cheek ...

    To stay on topic, is there a variance in brands in how dealers handle on-line shoppers? Both Drift, who I believe had broad experience in this area, and Isellhondas, stated on-line requests are (usually) a waste of time. I don't remember opinions from members representing dealers of other brands.
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    As a Hyundai rep I will agree with Drift and Isell on this. We get on average about 30 internet leads daily which lead to about five sales per month. Now we may not do the best job with what we get, but it is difficult to retain an internet only salesperson. A lot of our leads don't even realize that they put in a request. They seem to be surprised and almost offended that a person would call them.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    someone takes the time to work up a quote, then calls at the contact number to have one of two things happen - either they leave a message for a call that never gets returned; or are told not to bother the person at work/home/suppertime/during a golf game.

    Waste of time, mostly - Dan has indicated that his store (been there, nice store, decent size) gets around 900 internet leads a month that generate into FIVE sales.

    So, you pay a guy $3k a month (minimum) to harvest all these leads, and he generates 5 deals, averaging $800 per - that's $4,000, and you pay him $3k....a thousand dollars for the store, not counting othat portion of overhead, utilities, fuel, etc?

    Not a winning proposal, by any stretch, even at 12-15 deals per month - that money would be better spent in outside advertising.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    I think that a lot of people must think that the quote process is automated ... they do not realize the amount of time necessary to respond.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    an automated program that would answer most of the e-mail requests I've seen - too off-the-wall...
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