Edmunds "Hackathon"

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
Auto industry insiders and other innovative thinkers are asked to save the dates of November 29-30 for Edmunds.com's "Hackathon." The two-day event being held at the company's Santa Monica, Calif. headquarters will inspire participants to identify problems with the car buying process, brainstorm ideas to solve the problems, and draw up blueprints for products or processes to execute the solution. What do you think are the issues the Hackathon should address? Have any ideas for possible solutions?

Edmunds.com Schedules Auto Industry 'Hackathon' to Identify and Overcome Car-Buying Obstacles


  • ashleypoagashleypoag Member Posts: 1
    Almost every vehicle you see on the road has been personalized to fit the driver in some type of way. But very few dealers offer the option to personalize at the time of purchase. Usually consumers have to go to an aftermarket shop or automotive parts retail chain. And, this could negatively affect the new car warranty. How can we get more dealers to offer personalization at the time of purchase that is covered under warranty? I work with a company that offers the software and training required for this to dealerships. So, I’m very interested to see what would convince dealerships to offer more warranty covered personalization at the time of sale.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Sure. Fly me out there. I'll have it all straightened out in no time.....
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 14,573
    Me too. fezo and I solve those issues post haste.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • arctestdrivearctestdrive Member Posts: 3
    Purchasing a new car is often an unpleasant an inefficient experience. On average, US consumers take 14.7 weeks to buy a new car. 59% said that they hate the car-buying experience. There is lots of space for improvement!
  • prlady1prlady1 Member Posts: 573
    So what's the first think you and fezo would want to address?
  • arctestdrivearctestdrive Member Posts: 3
    An average online shopper compares and contrasts 6 brands but according to Toyota customers only visit 1.3 car dealerships. We believe that the comparison cannot be done solely online! Buying a car is one of the most expensive investments most people do and it should be a pleasant, fun and easy experience.
  • prlady1prlady1 Member Posts: 573
    Agreed! We at Edmunds.com strongly believe in the importance of the real world test drive. What can we as an industry do to make the experience that much more appealing?
  • michaellnomichaellno Member Posts: 4,300
    We at Edmunds.com strongly believe in the importance of the real world test drive. What can we as an industry do to make the experience that much more appealing?

    I don't think it's an industry issue .. since the dealers are all independent, the manufacturers would have to rewrite the agreements to standardize this aspect of the car buying process.

    I've taken test drives that have lasted 30 minutes, and others took less than 10 (left ... left ... left ... left to the dealer parking lot).

    How many times have we read something on these forums written by someone who bought a car and, a few days or a week later, discovered something about it that they really dislike? A test drive should allow the consumer to use the vehicle in "real world" conditions (towing if it's a pickup, car pool for a van / SUV / CUV, etc.)
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited September 2012
    You could try to rent a comparable model but who wants to pay for a test drive? Not me.

    Left, left, left, left - was that dealer next door to a Nascar track? :D
  • arctestdrivearctestdrive Member Posts: 3
    I think the solution is very simple: Put the customer and the customer needs back in the focus of every business! Even in an industry that is as old as this one, there is room for creative solutions. We at ARC Test Drive hope to bridge the traditional interests of dealerships with the needs of modern customers and to increase value on both sides.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    It's a curious world the way it is now. First you have dealerships that are all over the map, from friendly, no pressure, "take the car home overnight" places to noes without test drives in all vehicles or, yeah, the salesman's guided tour which is frequently accompanied by "now isn't this a great car?" or other such blather while you are doing things that clearly need him to shut up. It happens when you are trying to listen for how noisy the car is with and without the stereo on. I've been fortunate to not run into that on any of the three convertibles I bought. Though I did run into it with the one time I test drove a convertible that I didn't buy. The salesman was trying to cover up a piercing whistle noise in the right rear passenger seat. My then young daughter was sitting in that seat. It wasn't like you could hide it. "Oh, yeah, we'll fix that. Great - but it won't be for me. If you don't have the car ready to deliver don't even put it visibly on your lot. I'm not big on a "we owe" page after you've committed. Invariably this is the dealer's lowest priority.

    Also interesting to me is how some of the best new cars are sold by the worst dealers. I started noticing this with Toyotas and Honda followed the same pattern. For years I just wouldn't touch Toyotas because of that and bought my first two Hondas used from another dealer. Ironically the first one was from a Toyota dealer.....
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • luckmt3luckmt3 Member Posts: 2
    I think this sounds like a great idea. It is working for Coca-Cola http://owened.co.nz/cocacola-gets-social-media as individuals want to take pictures with their own customized Coke. With such a high dollar purchase item, it should be easy to customize. However, there is a scale of customization and the customers that want true customization have to go to a 3rd party as any dealer/manufacturer option would never be truly customized as it would need to be available to the masses.

    For instance, Toyota tried to enter the customization field with the roll out of Scion. The brand offers customized accessories like your own entertainment unit selection, trim, seat types, etc. and are included at the time of sale and in the warranty. However, I believe these customized options did not satisfy the need for customization because they did not go far enough. In addition, the entire car sales industry in Europe (in particular in Germany) can be considered customization as the majority of cars are manufactured specifically for the buyer. Therefore, the buyer will choose their options and the car will be made for them. I think the European market is more prepared for customization than the US market due to the manufacturing flexibility and the customer behavior of waiting for their new vehicle.

    Depending on how you define customization you will satisfy a different customer base. However, I truly believe that customization will be essential to differentiate a product that is becoming a commodity such as a new car. I think a car dealership that offers customization built into their warranty can differentiate itself from the other competitors and should be looked into.

    If you have a product that will offer this customization, I would be interested as I am part of a family that owns multiple car dealerships and we are always looking into innovative ideas to offer more value to our customers.

  • luckmt3luckmt3 Member Posts: 2
    Hi Fezo,

    I think you make some great points, the level of service and test driving is very different depending on the dealer and the salesperson that you deal with. My family owns and operates a Toyota car dealership and although some of our sales consultants do a great job offering a non-confrontational test drive it is stressed to the sales consultants that the single most important factor in the customer's experience at our car dealership is the test drive. This is the time when the customer goes from being rational to being emotional about the vehicle. Therefore, some sales consultants try to be overly talkative and put on the sales pitch strong during the test drive.

    I think there is a balance between customer service and salesmanship and that boundary is dependent on the sales consultant being able to empathize with the customer. Each customer desires a different level of explanation and customer service. After going to ARC Test Drive and seeing their business idea about a non-confrontation test drive where customers test drive vehicles on their own, I think this is a great option for some customers. The customers that do not want all of the information to be sold to them. It is great for the do-it-yourself shopper that is internet savy and would prefer to get their own information from their own source. However, the product information is best known by the sales consultants at the car dealerships and there are many customers that go to the car dealerships to be guided through the process and to get the most in depth product information.

    Question to arctestdrive, how do you plan on offering the customer the same experience or a comparable experience to the car dealerships without having the product specialists that car dealerships have? And, at what point in the buying cycle are you targeting customers?

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,489
    my last vehicle purchase was pretty painless.

    About a month ago, I bought a new, leftover 2012 Ram Hemi. I was quoted an internet price of $17,499, which seemed too good to be true. Once I got in there, it turns out they threw every concievable incentive on to get to that price, some of which I didn't qualify for, and that price didn't include shipping, which was another $995.

    But, after a bit of back and forth, I got the truck for $20,751 out the door. They gave me $1300 for my uncle's poorly-aging '97 Silverado, so it ended up being his truck plus $19,451. And I got them to throw in a third key fob and a sliding rear window.

    Overall, I'm pretty happy, and would definitely consider this dealership again the next time I want a vehicle.

    Now, I'll confess that I didn't do much research. I knew what style truck I wanted...a fairly strippo regular cab, 8-foot bed model. I'll admit that I'm a bit pig-headed in that I'd rather push a Chevy than drive a Ford, but I'd rather have a Mopar than a GM. So, I didn't do any cross-shopping.

    But, a month and a day later, and I'm still happy. I figure if the buyer's remorse hasn't kicked in yet, it's not going to.
  • michaellnomichaellno Member Posts: 4,300
    But, a month and a day later, and I'm still happy. I figure if the buyer's remorse hasn't kicked in yet, it's not going to.

    Have you made your first payment yet?

    :D :P
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,489
    Yup...first "official" payment is due on November 7, but I made it on October 15. I also made a few extra big-chunk payments, and have the principal down to about $9100. I'm going to keep at it, and plan on having it paid off by March 2013.

    I have a feeling Chase Financial won't be too happy. :P
  • victor23victor23 Member Posts: 201
    1. Remove haggling from the process altogether. Transparent fixed prices. Make it "Macy's-like" or "Walmart-like": regular price, sale price, clearance price.
    2. Customization limited by only technical feasibility (for those who would like "made-to-order"). I mean, so that I don't need to buy V6/AWD/moonroof in order to get, say, heated mirrors or automatic headlights.
    3. Enable the option to buy directly from the manufacturer online, without contacting any particular dealer.

    I would be much surprised if there are many buyers who disagreed.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    You've shared your ideas. Here's a chance to make it happen and win some big bucks!


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    "The two 1st-place teams are Tegrity and My Motive.

    Tegrity's idea demystifies and humanizes the auto salesperson, giving he or she "a reputation and an identity" in order to create trust and loyalty.

    My Motive matches the car shopper to a salesperson via attributes and expertise such as truck specialist or green-car specialist to improve rapport and to create higher customer satisfaction at the point of sale."

    2013 Hackomotive Winners Focus on Building Trust in Car-Buying Experience
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited March 2014

    Don't text and drive a car, but text and buy a car.

    "A team that developed a digital tool that helps car dealers connect with customers using text messages claimed a $20,000 grand prize at competition aimed at finding better ways to sell cars.

    The Seattle-based Carcode.me beat out 11 other teams in Edmunds.com's Hackathon competition at its headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif. The goal is to develop ideas and products that make car shopping easier.

    Carcode.me's idea is to make a phone number available that car shoppers can use to text, rather than phone dealers."

    Digital contest explores better ways to car shop (USA Today)

    Carcode.me Wins Top Prize at Edmunds.com's Second Annual Hackomotive

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