Show support for online sales

Show support for online sales

"I had a great time at the dealership today! The salesmen were courteous and I got a really good deal." said no one ever.

I was a naive boy growing up in a low income household with parents who could barely afford to get me a computer let alone a new vehicle. But as I grew I was aspiring to learn more about electronics and computers. One day a local Chevrolet dealer sent out a flyer promising a free mini toolkit for anyone who brought in that flyer. I was thrilled! I would finally be able to take apart smaller electronics that I would often find at garage sales and see what was in them. SO I headed out in the morning and arrived right before the dealer opened their doors. Steep up to the receptionist, handed her the flyer and asked if I could get the toolkit. It became obvious to me now that I am an adult it was a promotion for a salesperson bring in potential customers but the time I was young and naive so I often looked at the literal meaning of thing rather than the implied ones. I was instructed to wait, "the tool kits are in back, they just got here she said". I sat in the lobby from the morning into the late afternoon waiting. Every hour or so, a well dressed man would approach the receptionist and murmur something to each other. Eventually my parents drove up and insisted I return home. I was perplexed by this but also noted it. This was my first encounter with a dealership at the age of 12 but not the last.

The next time was during college, I needed a dependable car to get from my home to school. I was on my second year studying computer science. My parents have bad credit but they managed to scrounge up some extra money so that I could combine it with some money I made from an internship I had just come back from. The ad in a Hyundai dealership announced a base model accent for only $11k; I was hoping to pay half and see if I could finance the rest. When we arrived at the dealer it was around 1 p.m. We didn't leave until closing time that day. The salesman refused to show us the car in the ad at first insisting that it had been sold and there were no more. Then he went on to push a $17k model citing that the ad was incorrect and this was the actual model. We tried to talk to other salesmen but everyone avoid us. We eventually left disappointed and frustrated.

Fast forward to 2009, I have a well paying job for the government as a GS12 Computer Scientist. I've saved some money and I am hard headed to get a Nissan 370Z as a gift for completing my MBA. The first Nissan dealer wasn't too bad, the salesman was somewhat courteous but a bit impatient with me comparing the dealer price with the Nissan website and cars on auto trader. It wasn't till I got the second dealer that I was treated to a level of pressure and harassment that I had never experienced at any dealer before. The original salesman knew nothing about the vehicle other than the color of the paint. When she saw I wasn't interested in her cleavage she brought in another salesman who refused to let me walk out of the building. He kept insisting that I buy the car! He went so far as to twice get directly in front of me as I walked out the door. After that I had had it, I went on autotrader found a person selling their car and let the banks do all the work. In two weeks I had a brand new Z, a low interest loan, and a new outlook on buying cars online.

The Tesla Model S is in my opinion the next evolution of the motor vehicle. I cannot comprehend when a coworker spends $80k on a BMW or a Cadillac. I often think to myself "Don't you know! Don't your understand? The Tesla model s exists and it is wonderful!" Then I ponder about how much the price they paid was for the vehicle and how much of that was a markup from the salesman pitched as a discount to distort their perception as being one of getting the best deal for their dollar. I heart-fully support Tesla for selling online. Their entire sales model is genius and convenient. During the launch of the Chevy Volt, GM had a forum that was taking in suggestion as to how to market the volt. "A whole new vehicle, help us ell it in a whole new way" it said. I went on there an suggested an online sales model with dealers being just service and shipping points. To do this in order to lower overhead in order to reduce the base price and provide a consumer with a better buying experience. GM responded by saying that model would not work.


....and announce it if you ever put out an SDK for devs.

Benz | 6 May 2013

Thanks for sharing.

electrolight | 6 May 2013

Good article Canatividad.
I went to 9 different car dealerships lately & was amazed by how little the sales people
knew about the vehicles they sell. Asking many of them about hybrids & EVs was like asking if they had flying saucers. They knew not & had no desire to know about them.

FLsportscarenth... | 6 May 2013

When I went to a Ford dealership to check out the plugin C-max a few months ago the salesman knew very little about it, I had to explain to him the advantages of a plug in hybrid and the pointlessness of a 'light hybrid' - increased complexity for minor mpg gains and still petrol dependent! He never even heard of Tesla...

If you want to sell cars then you should at least have a passion for them and know the basics about the competition. At the end the fool tried to sell me a V6 SUV! Said it got 'great economy' at 26 mpg!

Never felt pressured at a Tesla store, they like you to check it out and 'kick the tyres' and know you will be back, the staff like to learn about and talk about the car and are very professional.

Is like night and day really. The Assistant Manager said that they sell themselves and was great to work in a place where nearly everyone who walks in likes the product (especially after a test drive).

alcassfast | 6 May 2013

I test drove a leaf and it was okay, the saleperson was enthusiastic and didn't try to "sell" me.
Then, I went to a Chevy dealer and sat in the Volt that was in the showroom (I thought the white dashboard looked like the inside of a McDonald's Restaurant, M.R. make their interiors so that people won't want to hang out for long) and finally some furtive looking salesman came over and told me if I was going to do a lot of driving, that I should buy a Chevrolet Cruze.
I thought that was very strange.

FLsportscarenth... | 7 May 2013

I like the Volt, maybe the one you sat in had a yucky interior scheme, the one I test drove looked pretty nice. The Chevy dealership was a little nicer than Ford but I knew more about the car than the salesman from browsing around on the internet, I suppose it depends what dealership you visit, but seriously these salesman have to learn more about their product, tired of 'teaching' them. Telsa staff at least have an interest in learning about things you bring up that they do not know, is it because they actually like their job??? hehehe

The Leaf seemed cheap and flimsy, its poor performance and ugly duckling looks did not help either...

canatividad | 13 May 2013

I like the Volt and the Leaf, I think their a step in the right direction. But I was disappointing that a business like GM didn't take advantage of their vast resources to produce something better. The Leaf is quite cool, for my MBA one my classes studied Nissan and how Carlos Ghosn changed the company to focus more on future tech. But the Leaf's low range is its biggest draw back.

It's unfortunate salesman can be overbearing but if you look at the way the business model of a dealership works it makes sense. The salesmen get paid by commission. There is a conflict of interest about pricing. They want to get a good commission. The ones I've encountered seem as if they don't know much about the product due to the high turnover rate of salesman. I rarely ever find anyone who works at a dealer fro more than 5 years.

Its because of these issues that the consumer get the short end of the stick at a common dealer. This is why I am over joyed that Tesla has this business model. Their doing what is obvious, what dealers have failed to realize, and something that benefits both the consumer and the business without insulting their intelligence.

DallasTeslan | 13 May 2013

I love the comment from GM about selling online not being a viable business model. If that were true traditional car dealerships everywhere should have no opposition to Tesla's business model since it is doomed to fail:)

On so many levels Tesla challenges what is wrong with the industry and I absolutely love it.

Telecom employee | 14 May 2013

Tesla and Mush are quite right about dealerships not wanting to push electric cars on their lots due to being worried about cannabalizing thier core business. I went to a three Ford dealers last year (and spoke with five) looking to test drive and possibly purchase the Azure Electric Ford Transit Connect and the dealers were absolutely not interested in informing me about the vehicle. I did get a test drive, which was awesome and blew me away, but the dealers didn't want to help me learn more about the vehicle at all, it was very disheartening. I work for a large telecom firm and was hoping to gain more information in order to sell my firm on the positive attributes of electric service vehicles (we typically drive under 100 miles a day anyway) as our fuel bills have been getting out of hand due to most our fleet being 1\2 ton vans. Of course, now Azure has gone bankrupt and the electric van is no longer an option. Our fleet has switched to Transit Connects, just not electric ones:(
Good luck to Tesla, kept at it, the world is starting to notice:)

David Haughton, ATI employee, Canada