Would You Get a Car If the Only Way to Buy It Was Online?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Mar 3, 2021 | Volvo

Yes, Volvo has joined the growing number of manufactures planning to go fully electric by the 2030s. What sets it apart, though, is that the manufacturer plans to sell its “completely new family of electric cars” entirely online.

Hoping to buy that brand-new, all-electric Volvo from the local dealership come 2030? No dice.

The press release doesn’t confirm this, but we wouldn't be surprised if Volvo follows a model similar to Tesla's, where the dealerships act as storefronts in which employees guide customers through an online buying process.

At any rate, Volvo’s brick-and-motor dealerships don’t seem to be disappearing any time soon, as the company's head of global commercial operations, Lex Kerssemakers, explains: “Online and off-line need to be fully and seamlessly integrated. Wherever the customer is in their journey—online, in a showroom, in a Volvo Studio, or driving the car—the customer experience needs to be top-notch.”

As part of its new sales strategy, Volvo will “invest heavily in its online sales channels, radically reduce complexity in its product offer, and with transparent and set pricing models.” The carmaker notes that all future models bought this way will come packaged with “items such as service, warranty, roadside assistance as well as insurance where available and home charging options.”

What do you think of this particular selling strategy? If you really wanted a particular car but the only way to buy it was through the manufacture’s website, would you still buy it? Or would you go to a different carmaker who still uses a dealership network?

Read the full press release below:

Volvo Cars is fundamentally changing how and where to meet its customers, and will transform the current wholesale model by moving online and with strong customer relationships.

It aims to be a fully electric car company globally by 2030 and will launch a completely new family of electric cars in coming years – all of which will be available online only.

As part of its new commercial strategy, Volvo Cars will invest heavily in its online sales channels, radically reduce complexity in its product offer, and with transparent and set pricing models.

Combined with online sales, Volvo Cars will focus on a complete convenient customer offering, all under the Care by Volvo name.

"The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth,” says Lex Kerssemakers, head of global commercial operations. “We want to offer our customers peace of mind and a care-free way of having a Volvo, by taking away complexity while getting and driving the car. Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do.”

The strategy is focused on the fastest-growing segment in the global car industry: the premium electric market. Volvo Cars is committed to becoming a leader in this segment and will focus on developing electric cars only going forward.

While Volvo Cars is investing heavily in online sales platforms, it will build stronger customer relationships together with its retail partners. They remain a crucial part of the customer experience and will continue to be responsible for a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering and servicing cars.

Online and off-line need to be fully and seamlessly integrated,” added Lex Kerssemakers. “Wherever the customer is in their journey – online, in a showroom, in a Volvo Studio, or driving the car – the customer experience needs to be top-notch.”

Care by Volvo, until recently known as the name for Volvo Cars’ subscription service, will be expanded into a broader customer offer aimed at increasing overall convenience.

When buying an electric Volvo online, it will come with a convenient care package that includes items such as service, warranty, roadside assistance, as well as insurance where available and home charging options.

On its flagship online store, volvocars.com, the company will radically simplify the process for, and reduce the number of steps involved in, signing up for an electric Volvo.

Customers will be able to choose from attractive pre-configured electric Volvos that are ready for simple and convenient ordering and quick delivery.

Further convenience and simplification comes through transparent and set pricing models. This eliminates the need for negotiations, increases transparency and builds trust.

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Comments
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John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/3/21 12:11 p.m.

I predict that the National Auto Dealers Assoc tries to sue Volvo out of existence. 

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/3/21 12:13 p.m.

Yes. 

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/3/21 12:14 p.m.
John Welsh said:

I predict that the National Auto Dealers Assoc tries to sue Volvo out of existence. 

I bet you $1 they will not be successful. 

Let's meet here again in 2031. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
3/3/21 12:16 p.m.

Sounds pretty great actually.  Select what I want, wait for it to show up at some location in my general area or it gets delivered to where I live, and I pay a price that probably isn't different from what it was advertised at?  No dingbat saying how he has to talk to his manager for 20 minutes before he can come back and lie to me some more?  

Sign me up.

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
3/3/21 12:17 p.m.

The dealership model is a dysfunctional, broken piece of E36 M3.

Why ANY manufacturer would allow a potential customer to be treated that way completely blows me away.

There's real opportunity in pulling the rug out from under the dealers.

Unfortunately there probably won't be the same deals available if you know how to take advantage of, or are willing to put up with the dealer nonsense to get what you want.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
3/3/21 12:22 p.m.

As long as I could test drive one somewhere sure.

No. But I don't buy new cars so...

 

cyow5
cyow5 Reader
3/3/21 1:03 p.m.

The last three cars I bought were sight-unseen from halfway across the country, and those were used. I *did* test drive an auto version of my Clubman to see how I liked it and to see if my 29er would fit in the back (it did! haha), but the other two were more like educated guesses. All three have worked out well.

 

If I was in the market for a new Volvo, I'd assume that all I would learn on a test drive is that it is as numb as it could possibly be, so yea, I'd buy one without the world's most boring test drive. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/3/21 2:10 p.m.

I'm glad to see that the general consensus is that this is a pretty good idea. I know some of us don't normally buy new cars, but the fact that many of us have bought used cars of various conditions mostly online is proof enough for me that this sales model can work.

Besides, I never really understood why the current dealership method of selling cars is the "preferred" method of selling cars.

dlmater
dlmater GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/3/21 2:21 p.m.

I would think for a car company without a current extensive brick and mortar dealer network, online/digital sales model would have advantages to reach more potential customers.  But for me, I would still need to see, feel, drive, taste... the car I was buying through some means.  However, my sons and their generation seem more comfortable and willing to buy big ticket items without the same level of interaction before purchasing.  I would not miss the current dealer based purchase process.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/3/21 2:24 p.m.

I mean...

 

I think the Tesla model works. You can go to a showroom to touch and drive the cars. But you don't have the idiotic rigamarole of trying to buy the thing. The price is the price and it's known and you don't have to waste anyone's time.

I think Ford is attempting to do this with the Mach E as well.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/3/21 2:30 p.m.
Peabody said:

Unfortunately there probably won't be the same deals available if you know how to take advantage of, or are willing to put up with the dealer nonsense to get what you want.

And that's exactly what keeps people  wanting to work with dealers. They think there's a deal available because they've read a website on how to outnegotiate a professional negotiator. In reality, all you can do is prevent yourself from being overcharged TOO badly. The dealer knows what their minimum price is, they're just trying to keep you from getting there.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
3/3/21 3:09 p.m.

I would need some way of doing a test drive first. While I can reasonably expect a new car to not have mechanical problems, I would need to make sure that the  seats are comfortable, that there is adequate head room and leg room, that the driving dynamics are acceptable, etc.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
3/3/21 3:20 p.m.

Assuming I was buying a new car?  Yes.  Absolutely.

spandak
spandak HalfDork
3/3/21 4:14 p.m.

I kinda did already. When we bought the Crosstrek almost 3 years ago we handled all of the negotiation and paperwork over email. A test drive happened at a local dealer and when our car was delivered. 

The model works if you know what you are getting. I dont think it works if youre just browsing. At least for people like us. I have friends that would buy cars purely on a photo and spec sheet. Im not sure I could do that but if the future of cars is the skateboard platform electric car and they all kinda do the same thing then maybe a testdrive wont matter.

FMB42
FMB42 New Reader
3/3/21 4:39 p.m.

Like it or not this is how most new vehicles will be purchased in the very near future imo. Dealerships will allow you to test drive a model that is more or less similar options wise. And from there it will be an online purchase. And some buyers won't even bother with a test drive.

jharry3
jharry3 HalfDork
3/3/21 4:40 p.m.

Saturn did the "one price no hassle" thing.  My wife bought a Saturn. The two door SC2.  (which looked pretty sporty but... let's say disappointing).

 Anyway: Lots of ladies bought Saturns. 

The ladies absolutely hated the dealer experience, the "let me talk to my manager" BS,  etc.  

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/3/21 4:50 p.m.

Oh, hell yes. 

I've already mostly given up on brick and mortar retail just because it so often disappoints.  Why drive across town only to have them tell you the item you want is out of stock?  I can find it online at a better price and have it delivered free to my door.  I've probably bought more stuff online than at stores for at least ten years.  Retail is dead.  

Why should cars be any different?

wae
wae UberDork
3/3/21 5:19 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
Peabody said:

Unfortunately there probably won't be the same deals available if you know how to take advantage of, or are willing to put up with the dealer nonsense to get what you want.

And that's exactly what keeps people  wanting to work with dealers. They think there's a deal available because they've read a website on how to outnegotiate a professional negotiator. In reality, all you can do is prevent yourself from being overcharged TOO badly. The dealer knows what their minimum price is, they're just trying to keep you from getting there.

I thought all I had to do was ask the salesman "what's the lowest you'll take?"

The dealers will continue to fight this, of course, and I'm not sure who I'd bet on in that fight.  I'd hate to be a volvo dealer right now, though, and find out that you've got about a decade to wrap things up and find something else to do.

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
3/3/21 5:47 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

For various reasons some people consistently do better than others. They’re not likely to benefit from such a scheme. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/3/21 6:04 p.m.

Yes, berkeley car dealers

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/3/21 6:28 p.m.

I would.  I've been buying cars at a fixed price for almost 30 years now, and that won't change unless I stop getting cars from a specific place.  

What sucks is that I still have to go through the long procedure to get the car- it should take a few min to turn in one car and pick up another- but it always takes over an hour.  I never get any extras, and they know that, but I still have to talk to that person.

Getting a car should not be stressful.  

Actually, another thing sucks, even though I get a car at a fixed price, and it should be that way all over this region, I still have found myself shopping around.  That's moronic.  And there are dealers who don't want to swap cars with other dealers, even though the name on the car is the same.  Beyond frustrating as a consumer.

On line only would take care of that.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/3/21 6:43 p.m.

The last time I bought a new car in person (in 2010), I had a fixed price as well. And it was still a PITA, as Alfa has said. 

Meanwhile, the car I bought online was supposed to be delivered to me. That wasn't going to happen by a specific date, so I changed it to pickup at a dealer in a different state with one phone call.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/3/21 6:44 p.m.
Peabody said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

For various reasons some people consistently do better than others. They’re not likely to benefit from such a scheme. 

Or maybe they will just benefit less than those who aren't awesome negotiators.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
3/3/21 7:12 p.m.

Only if they improve the process. 
 

Purchased a car from vroom in august. Nothing went well. Overcharged by $500 but had to wait over a month to be refunded, no updates on shipping, no updates on when I'd actually get a title(took 4+ months). Customer service that just used stock lines to tell me they couldn't assist me. Being put on hold for hours only to be disconnected. 
 

Reminded me of dealing with corporate America. If I can't get the answer for you in 30 seconds it's too difficult and I just won't respond. 

Trent
Trent PowerDork
3/3/21 7:30 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

Besides, I never really understood why the current dealership method of selling cars is the "preferred" method of selling cars.

Because the auto dealerships have a powerful lobby group to ensure that their broken model is the only one allowed. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
3/3/21 7:31 p.m.
jharry3 said:

"let me talk to my manager" BS,  etc.  

I went into a dealer recently to check out a Bolt.  I said up front "I just want to check the car out, I don't want to waste your time.  I am NOT buying one today.  You don't even have to let me drive it if you don't want."   I still got the "manager" talk at the end.  What a berkeleying pain in the ass.  Somehow I was at a dealer for 1.5 hours for something that should've taken 10 mins.

Every trip to a dealer has been a disappointment for me honestly.  Right now I am having a car shipped to me.  I wasted probably 8 hours on various dealer trips only to find out A) the car was sold before I got there, B) hidden fees, or C) miscellaneous time-wasting bullE36 M3.  I decided even if I overpay for the car, it is worth it for the time savings alone.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
3/3/21 7:37 p.m.
jharry3 said:

Saturn did the "one price no hassle" thing.  My wife bought a Saturn. The two door SC2.  (which looked pretty sporty but... let's say disappointing).

 Anyway: Lots of ladies bought Saturns. 

The ladies absolutely hated the dealer experience, the "let me talk to my manager" BS,  etc.  

And Saturn was very profitable because of it. The per car profit was double any other GM. People were walking in and paying sticker price for every car, yet no one sees it that way. 
 

Rons
Rons GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/3/21 8:29 p.m.

There will probably be fewer dealers and they will become fulfillment centres. Purchaser picks the fulfillment centre and the independent operator is compensated a flat rate say $500 for a PDI and services sort of like the compensation for a national fleet account. The dealer may work on selling finance options and various accessories. They may have range extenders for short term rental and be able to supply a rental truck if you have a car or perhaps a motor home or other weird but wacky conveyances. Book it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/3/21 9:31 p.m.
Steve_Jones said:
jharry3 said:

Saturn did the "one price no hassle" thing.  My wife bought a Saturn. The two door SC2.  (which looked pretty sporty but... let's say disappointing).

 Anyway: Lots of ladies bought Saturns. 

The ladies absolutely hated the dealer experience, the "let me talk to my manager" BS,  etc.  

And Saturn was very profitable because of it. The per car profit was double any other GM. People were walking in and paying sticker price for every car, yet no one sees it that way. 
 

The trick is to set the sticker price at a number that people are willing to pay instead of setting it 20% high so you can knock 20% off. Paying sticker is only a problem if the sticker is gouging. Which it is on most cars by design. 

MSRP is not a universal measure of value.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/4/21 8:47 a.m.
93EXCivic said:

As long as I could test drive one somewhere sure.

This.

There is no way I'm paying new car money without a test drive.  You can have a representative selection of testers available at a location somewhere, and I'll happily do all the rest online and take delivery from a rollback.  But I want to put my ass in all the seats and look under the hood and trunk and see how it feels on the road before I commit to buying it.

When we were car shopping to replace DW's TSX, based on our Acura experience and website shopping, we were absolutely ready to go buy a new AWD V6 TLX with a specific option package in a specific color.  We loved the TSX and this seemed to be a newer, nicer TSX.

And then we drove a TLX, more or less as a formality. Phbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbt.  We ended up buying a car we liked a lot better, from a completely different manufacturer, for less money, after we tried it more or less on a whim.  No way that would have happened without test drives.

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/4/21 8:56 a.m.
cyow5 said:

If I was in the market for a new Volvo, I'd assume that all I would learn on a test drive is that it is as numb as it could possibly be, so yea, I'd buy one without the world's most boring test drive. 

As an owner of 2017 and 2019 Volvos, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with this assessment.

Even DW's S60 Inscription, which has an absolutely standard design brief as a comfortable sedan to carry 4 adults, has excellent steering weight, driving ergonomics, suspension damping, and powertrain responsiveness.  The T5 AWD is plenty quick for 99% of the driving it will ever do.  Is it as visceral as my Miata?  No.  But it's also about 1000% more comfortable and pleasant to drive every day without being boring in any way.

 

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/4/21 8:58 a.m.

But without the dealer, how am I going to get my vin etched into the glass and find out that it's already on the car right as I'm reviewing the final paperwork?

Yes.  Absolutely.

I will say, aside from that particular blemish, the local Mazda dealer did a great job since I have S-Plan pricing.  No negotiation other than financing which was a "I'm approved for x.xx from my credit union, if you can beat that I'll finance with you instead." 

But yeah, I'm waiting for that particular model to die.  Car shopping should be fun, it shouldn't require a formal education on hostage negotiation to make sure you don't get screwed.  Go  Volvo!  And Tesla for pioneering the model.  

If you ever find anything as user hostile as car dealers (e.g. Healthcare, house sales, etc.), assume that there's someone lobbying big $$$ HARD to maintain that model so they can screw people who have no other recourse.   It shouldn't be that hard.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/4/21 9:14 a.m.

Why dealers suck, my experience.

 

show up, show phone with price and specific truck, pre approved through chrysler financial, say "i want this truck for this price i am trading in that truck, here's the loan payoff amount, already have a $4500 offer, get me that" and i still was held hostage with hangry kids for 7 hours.  It should have been a 30 minute transaction or at most a "we'll get the paperwork together and you can come back tonight before closing to sign and drive home"

even when you try to make it so simple a 5 year old could complete the transaction they just don't know how to break away from their system.  It's like a prepared buyer (not casual just looking hard sale guy) is something they're woefully unprepared for.  I love that particular dealer's pricing but will never go back

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/4/21 9:27 a.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

I hear people say stuff like that, but honestly I've never had that experience in 30 years of buying new cars.  It's never taken me more than half an hour to come to terms on the exact car and the exact price, and maybe another hour to handle all the paperwork and leave with the vehicle.  Sometimes handled on 2 separate trips, sometimes not.

I don't think that the dealer model is the best or only way, but I absolutely think that there are plenty of dealers out there who aren't hostile or intimidating.

WonkoTheSane (FS) said:

But without the dealer, how am I going to get my vin etched into the glass and find out that it's already on the car right as I'm reviewing the final paperwork?

Just went through that with the V60.  Salesfolk pointed it out on the car after we had a price negotiated.  I said I didn't want it and wasn't paying for it. Done.  Struck from the fees.  Same with the warranty upcharges. They offered, I said no, we both moved on directly.

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
3/4/21 9:32 a.m.
WonkoTheSane (FS) said:

If you ever find anything as user hostile as car dealers (e.g. Healthcare, house sales, etc.), assume that there's someone lobbying big $$$ HARD to maintain that model so they can screw people who have no other recourse.   It shouldn't be that hard.

I don't think they are lobbying to screw people.  They are lobbying to keep the business model in existence because consumers are happy to cut out the middle-man.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
3/4/21 9:36 a.m.
ProDarwin said:
jharry3 said:

"let me talk to my manager" BS,  etc.  

I went into a dealer recently to check out a Bolt.  I said up front "I just want to check the car out, I don't want to waste your time.  I am NOT buying one today.  You don't even have to let me drive it if you don't want."   I still got the "manager" talk at the end.  What a berkeleying pain in the ass.  Somehow I was at a dealer for 1.5 hours for something that should've taken 10 mins.

Every trip to a dealer has been a disappointment for me honestly.  Right now I am having a car shipped to me.  I wasted probably 8 hours on various dealer trips only to find out A) the car was sold before I got there, B) hidden fees, or C) miscellaneous time-wasting bullE36 M3.  I decided even if I overpay for the car, it is worth it for the time savings alone.

Pro Tip: You aren't required to continue talking to them.

Once we were trying to get my ex-wife a car, salesman pulled that BS. When he sat back down, we got up and walked out. His manager came out after us trying to talk to us, I just ignored him and got in the car. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
3/4/21 9:46 a.m.

I don't know if we are going to have a choice to buy the kind of cars we like from a lot anyway. 5 years from now used car lots are going to be 98% crossovers.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/4/21 9:51 a.m.
z31maniac said:
ProDarwin said:
jharry3 said:

"let me talk to my manager" BS,  etc.  

Every trip to a dealer has been a disappointment for me honestly.  Right now I am having a car shipped to me.  I wasted probably 8 hours on various dealer trips only to find out A) the car was sold before I got there, B) hidden fees, or C) miscellaneous time-wasting bullE36 M3.  I decided even if I overpay for the car, it is worth it for the time savings alone.

Pro Tip: You aren't required to continue talking to them.

Once we were trying to get my ex-wife a car, salesman pulled that BS. When he sat back down, we got up and walked out. His manager came out after us trying to talk to us, I just ignored him and got in the car. 

This.  Once - once - have I had a dealer try that "give us your keys and we'll evaluate your trade-in" bit.  I looked the salesperson right in the eye and said "If that's the kind of dealership this is, we're done right now" and went across town to another dealership of the same brand.

To paraphrase Nancy Reagan, just say no.  Unless you walked to the dealership on a broken leg, there's no reason to consider putting up with that kind of bullpuckey.  There are plenty of other dealers around that don't pull that crap.

 

Yourself
Yourself New Reader
3/4/21 2:04 p.m.

I have had really good dealership experiences (they got me exactly what I wanted from a dealership in another state and did it for hundreds LESS than what I was originally quoted) and really bad experiences (held my trade-in hostage, wait for manager, high pressure, paperwork didn't match agreed price, last minute add-ins, etc.).

But this topic is "Would You Get a Car If the Only Way to Buy It Was Online?", not dealer bashing, so...   My answer is: it depends.

Before I bought a new car online, I would have to:

  • Be able to test drive a representative vehicle (same model, drivetrain, seats) BEFORE ordering.
  • Be able to check out the actual vehicle before finalizing paperwork or paying.
  • Have a convenient LOCAL place to have any needed warranty work or recalls done.
  • Be able to test drive various competitor vehicles before deciding on one.

If the "online only" manufacturer had a vehicle I wanted and could meet the above at a decent price, I would consider their vehicles in my purchasing decisions.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 2:11 p.m.
Yourself said:

I have had really good dealership experiences (they got me exactly what I wanted from a dealership in another state and did it for hundreds LESS than what I was originally quoted) and really bad experiences (held my trade-in hostage, wait for manager, high pressure, paperwork didn't match agreed price, last minute add-ins, etc.).

But this topic is "Would You Get a Car If the Only Way to Buy It Was Online?", not dealer bashing, so...   My answer is: it depends.

Before I bought a new car online, I would have to:

  • Be able to test drive a representative vehicle (same model, drivetrain, seats) BEFORE ordering.
  • Be able to check out the actual vehicle before finalizing paperwork or paying.
  • Have a convenient LOCAL place to have any needed warranty work or recalls done.
  • Be able to test drive various competitor vehicles before deciding on one.

If the "online only" manufacturer had a vehicle I wanted and could meet the above at a decent price, I would consider their vehicles in my purchasing decisions.

FYI, Tesla checks all your boxes for my small town because they will come to your house for warranty/recall work. But you would not buy a Volvo, Mazda, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, Mini or Porsche because none of those have local dealers.

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/4/21 2:16 p.m.
Duke said:

WonkoTheSane (FS) said:

But without the dealer, how am I going to get my vin etched into the glass and find out that it's already on the car right as I'm reviewing the final paperwork?

Just went through that with the V60.  Salesfolk pointed it out on the car after we had a price negotiated.  I said I didn't want it and wasn't paying for it. Done.  Struck from the fees.  Same with the warranty upcharges. They offered, I said no, we both moved on directly.

Yeah, I was ready to torpedo the whole deal because of that stupid $140 or whatever it was, but it was already 9 at night, we had paid for a babysitter to pick up the car and my wife wouldn't let me drag it out further...  I got all of the other fees & services, etc. dismissed earlier but "we missed this one, haha!"

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/4/21 2:17 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
WonkoTheSane (FS) said:

If you ever find anything as user hostile as car dealers (e.g. Healthcare, house sales, etc.), assume that there's someone lobbying big $$$ HARD to maintain that model so they can screw people who have no other recourse.   It shouldn't be that hard.

I don't think they are lobbying to screw people.  They are lobbying to keep the business model in existence because consumers are happy to cut out the middle-man.

I do.  I honestly believe that any company/industry hiring lobbyists care not about the people it affects at all, only their own bottom line.   And remember that lobbyists are the ones writing the legislation most of the time.  

There's nothing better than an regulatory captured market for unfettered capitalism :)

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/5/21 11:10 a.m.

How soon before you can buy a new car via Amazon? 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 11:16 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

How soon before you can buy a new car via Amazon? 

And when the new BMW you ordered shows up, it's a used Kia that someone returned in the box for the BMW...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/5/21 11:20 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I wonder what this section of Amazon will grow into.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 11:30 a.m.

Oh, now that is interesting. It actually looks like a decent shopping tool, making it easier to do fundamental things like compare what's in different packages. And it's apparently been around for a while, the customer review for the Miata RF (I mean, what else am I going to look up?) is over two years old.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M6G49V1 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/5/21 11:58 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Yeah, I first saw it a few years ago. Can't say I have seen it promoted, though, so wondering what's in store. 

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
3/5/21 12:07 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Unfortunately nobody purchased me the Aventador or Miata I put on my wedding registry on Amazon. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/5/21 12:10 p.m.

In reply to Andy Neuman :

Hey, no one invited me. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 12:17 p.m.

The interesting thing to me is that it seems that the more "regular"[1] the dealership is, the more they play games.

Getting my Evo was a bit of a E36 M3 show - they "forgot" to tell me about their "no test drives on Evos" policy, so I did my best hangry German (not hard after a 5h drive) and pointed out to them that they were about to let a large wad of cash wander out the door if that policy didn't change with immediate effect. Oddly enough, the subsequent transaction felt quicker than I'd normally expect.

The Mazda experience was, well, meh. Like, the dealer delivering the car, but the delivery driver forgetting to bring important paperwork.

The Alfa experience - at a combined Maserati/Alfa dealer - was like you'd want it to be. We had agreed on a price beforehand, there were no shenanigans, and I think the whole testdrive paperwork took a bit more than an hour.

For an applicance, I'd still consider online shopping.

[1] As in, selling average priced cars and SUVs

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 12:24 p.m.

My last Mazda dealer experience was really good, mostly because they weren't involved with the sale at all. We ordered the car through a contact at Mazda before it was even announced. I was told the car was at the dealership, I picked it up on Saturday night at 8:00 and signed about three papers. It was basically the online experience, the dealer just delivered the car.

My parents' VW was more typical. Running around town, chasing prices, wanting to test drive but the battery was dead even though we'd called ahead to drive a specific car, etc, etc. No shenanigans, just annoying.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 12:31 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

My last Mazda dealer experience was really good, mostly because they weren't involved with the sale at all. We ordered the car through a contact at Mazda before it was even announced. I was told the car was at the dealership, I picked it up on Saturday night at 8:00 and signed about three papers. It was basically the online experience, the dealer just delivered the car

I was a tad disappointed by that, as I had picked a supposedly "good" dealer as well. The car had been pre-ordered (ND Launch Edition) so it should've been a "walk in, sign, agree delivery date so I don't have to pay CA sales tax" endeavour.

The fact that they had used the car for other people's test drives didn't go down too well either.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 12:46 p.m.

There's a fellow in the Miata community who decided he would be the world expert on the ND and somehow managed to arrange for delivery of the first Launch Edition. Living close to the docks probably didn't hurt. He showed up to take delivery with some other club members in tow for their own LEs to find a dealership employee touching up the paint around the fuel filler of one of the cars. They couldn't figure out how to pop the fuel cap so they'd started prying...

FMB42
FMB42 New Reader
3/5/21 12:52 p.m.

"They couldn't figure out how to pop the fuel cap so they'd started prying..."

Nope, not buying that one. The damage was like due to some crook trying to steal some gas.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 12:57 p.m.
FMB42 said:

"They couldn't figure out how to pop the fuel cap so they'd started prying..."

Nope, not buying that one. The damage was like due to some crook trying to steal some gas.

I doubt these cars had ever been parked outside. They came from the docks in town and spent just long enough at the dealership to get a PDI. And seriously, how much gas are you going to get out of a Miata? ;)

The fuel filler release on an ND is a "push in to pop" style. All other Miatas have had a release inside and there's absolutely no indication of how the door should be opened. It also won't open if the door is locked. This was the first time the dealership had seen an ND. It passes the sniff test.

Peabody
Peabody UltimaDork
3/5/21 1:02 p.m.

In my experience it's the sales person that makes the difference.

My last new purchase was quick and effortless. I walked in, told him what I wanted, he found me one, and we did the paperwork. There was a price promotion so there was no negotiation required, but I don't think it was longer than an hour - and I had a legit trade in.

The previous purchase was a nightmare of sales people either ignoring me or trying to sell me something other than what I told them I wanted. Until I went back to one of the dealers and dealt with a different guy. I told him what happened and he was pure business, no BS and it was effortless. He even saved me a grand on an incentive program I wasn't aware of and picked up the truck himself.

Last car I bought was from a one price, no hassle dealer and I'd definitely do it again, but the price has to be right. I usually know exactly what I want, so price is the only  factor.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/5/21 2:02 p.m.

I'm waiting for Sears to emerge from bankruptcy and reintroduce the Allstate nameplate.  Then I can order it out of a catalog and pick it up at the nearest railroad siding. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allstate_(automobile)

https://www.macsmotorcitygarage.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/1952-Allstate-color-lead.jpg

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
3/5/21 2:19 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
David S. Wallens said:

How soon before you can buy a new car via Amazon? 

And when the new BMW you ordered shows up, it's a used Kia that someone returned in the box for the BMW...

Or you find that somebody has opened a seller account and been sending various Chinese cars that aren't approved for street use in the US under listings for Fords and Toyotas.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
3/5/21 2:26 p.m.

^Ha, that is how it would work. And Amazon would just keep offering refunds rather than do anything real about it.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/5/21 4:00 p.m.

I would have been very sad if I'd bought a Civic from the early teens without a drive, because they need to come with a pillow to put between my knee and the park brake handle, or I am extremely uncomfortable.

I don't buy new cars anyway.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/5/21 4:25 p.m.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that cars will be purchased without a test drive, merely that you wouldn't have to actually do the transaction in person.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
3/5/21 5:50 p.m.

Best experience I had was last month from a Volvo dealer. I saw a S90 online, called to ask about it, they said they'd bring it to my office. Sales guy showed up an hour later, we drove it, said that works, done. It was a 1 price dealer and the price was good, so he went back, did all of the paperwork, then brought the car and paperwork back to my office. 
 

zero hassle, zero drama. Easier than deciding what I wanted for lunch. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/6/21 8:54 a.m.

I don't buy new cars.  Period.  Even if I were rich, I don't think I would buy a new car.  Off-lease, demo, maybe.  Having said that, I have bought used cars from new dealers, but only when I found something I really wanted and knew I was willing to get fisted without lube on the price.

The only car I will buy without putting my hands on it is a project or something that I am purchasing to customize/build.  I even had some minor panic with the van I just bought from NC, but the only reason I was willing to do it was because Secretariata (Steve) did such a thorough job of testing it for me.  Even then, I went to a local car lot and test drove a similar van so I knew what the driving experience was.

I remember in high school having a total stiffy for the 4DSC Maxima.  Sleeper, right?  Powerful V6 in a sedan body.  I test drove one and absolutely detested everything about driving that car.  Road noise, driving position, comfort, ergonomics... all of them sucked.  Dad said I should try a Sentra SE-R and I thought I would hate it, but it was super fun.  Quick little thing, and despite being an econobox, really comfy.

I can't imagine I'm in the minority, either.  I know a lot of people just buy something they think looks cool, but is an online-only thing even a viable model?  They'll have to find some way to do test drives.

Even in the "just buy whatever" camp, I can't imagine not having a brick-and-mortar place.  In 2016 my bestie went shopping for a car.  She likes VW so she went to look at Jetta/Golf/etc.  She completely became sucked in by a Beetle convertible with the Denim package in the showroom and bought it instead.  One of the things that makes the showroom so viable is the psychology behind physical interaction with the car.

I can just see it now.  In 10 years we'll be writing articles about how online shopping killed the car.  Manufacturers can slack off and build something pretty but not put as much emphasis on the fit and finish, or the assembly, because no one will actually see it before they buy.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/6/21 8:37 p.m.

I could see something like Carvana maybe going more mainstream: You pick out the car online, a truck delivers it, and you get to make the yes/no decision. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/7/21 6:32 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I don't think anyone is suggesting that cars will be purchased without a test drive, merely that you wouldn't have to actually do the transaction in person.

If that's the case, I'm all in.

 

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) New Reader
3/7/21 9:02 a.m.

Yeah, I'm all in for skipping the dealership 'experience'. 

iceracer
iceracer MegaDork
3/7/21 12:48 p.m.

I have purchased/leased cars from the same dealer for years, never a hassle until I leased the FiST.   Got the old sales manger spiel .  I had a trade in, I had done some research on trade in value.   He started with the low ball first, I laughed.  Going back an forth.  Then I stood up, picked up my keys.   Things changed in a hurry.   I had no real reason to trade my car, I just wanted the FiST, so I was willing to walk.

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