The beginning of Skynet? Or the future of the auto industry...

nick
Mar 23, 2010

 My mother, who I have mostly trained not to send me forwards of any kind, sent me this YouTube video. I shows a highly-automated and very nifty VolksWagen factory. While I appreciate the robotics, I'm really more interested in the first part of the video which follows two people to the factory itself to buy their new car.

In the midst of all the sturm und drang over the auto industry, a few people have suggested that maybe a part of what needs to change for the American auto companies is the buying process — that maybe the dealer model, such as it is now is overly complicated. And I can't help but feel they have a point.

I am a car nut, and yet I still feel that the car buying process is just too much of a hassle. In the age of Wal-Mart and Amazon.com is a half-day of visiting four different dealers to look at the cars you're interested in and another half-day of hanging around the dealership while you finalize the deal really the best we can do?

After the Kindle launched Jeff Bezos mentioned one very telling thing in the interview. Kindle owners weren't buying fewer printed books. Instead, the total books they bought went up overall. Make it easy to buy things and people buy more — big surprise.

Obviously cars are more wa-a-ay more expensive, and they can't be treated just like books. And I realize that such an innovation wouldn't be good news for dealers, but business needs to adapt to the needs of the community it serves, not force people to waste their time watching promotional videos in the waiting area while the salesman "sees what he can do" with the manager...

Comments

Karl Hungus-Mr....

Nick, there is a new way to buy a car.  Over the internet.  I have bought 5 cars online now.  A Volvo, two Audis, and two VW's.  It is so incredibly easy to get the best possible deal doing it this way.  If you buy from a brick and mortar dealer you have no choice but to get ripped off. 

It takes time and it takes patience, but if you do your research you will always come out a winner.

Now, I know that there are people out there that say that they want to test drive the car and what-not.  I guess that you might have a point if you are paranoid, but I have never been let down.

This spring I decided to try it the old way again and went to a local Kasper dealer.  They wanted to add this fee and that charge and would not come down on the price of the car.  I pulled out my G1 Google phone and pulled up some online dealers and could see Kasper was trying to rip me off (it is all Kasper seems to know how to do).  I walked out and saved myself about $5,000.

meunknown1

Karl - I definitely agree with you...Kasper definitely knows how to rip their customers off.  Every dealership you go to (other than Kasper)  have customers telling them about all of the problems they have with Kasper not standing behind their warranty and workmanship.  Not only does it take a rocket scientist to read between the lines and understand their "Warranty For Life", which is crap, it's not worth the paper it's written on.  The sad part of it all is that the Managers and Owners even treat THEIR customers like the customers OWE them - that THEY are doing us a favor.  Hello???  If it weren't for the customers, they wouldn't be in business.