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...