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Dealership "Agent" model in U.S.?

Dealership "Agent" model in U.S.?

So VW retailers in Europe have agreed with an Agent model proposed by VW corporate for selling EV cars(ID.3). The approach is that customers will go straight to VW for ordering and selecting their preferred dealership. VW will handle financing, inventory costs, returns, etc. The dealership will only handle test drives, processing the transaction and handing over the vehicle. The dealership will have no control over the price and the commission will be fixed by VW.

So, the question here is not whether it will simply work in the U.S. but would this run afoul of the various franchise laws?

Just in case anyone would like some thread statistics:
As of this update there have been 22 response posts, 11 of which were totally OFF topic, 6 were directly ON topic, and 5 loosely fit in the other two categories.

Please stay on topic... The effect of franchise laws as it relates to any manufacture's ability to market and sell EV's vs gasoline or hybrid vehicles is an interesting topic for discussion.

FISHEV | May 21, 2020

Tesla's model doesn't look like one I'd want to see any manufacture emulate though the lack of communication and customer service that makes it a failure may be specific to Tesla.

With Mach-E coming out, I'm glad I'll have a nice friendly dealership I can talk to and visit if any issues.

Service at dealerships has become a bright spot, nice lounges, shuttles, rentals for long term. As we know, Tesla service centers are packed with vehicles needing service with weeks wait for non-emergent service, even for some emergent service. Service of out of warranty Teslas has become hugely profitable along with the charging.

Ford would be smart to put 4 x 150kw charging stations at all dealerships and, like Tesla, become the full service "gas" station for EV customers.

owlegrad2 | May 21, 2020

Is there anyone anywhere that believes going to a dealership is a treat?! Maybe someone who has never been to a dealership could believe that.

I guess some of the lobbies are kinda nice looking, I can give them that much.

andy.connor.e | May 21, 2020

The commercials certainly make the process look appealing. Its kind of like contractors. They want you to think everything is smooth, and then they dont communicate, do a half-ass job, and want to come back and redo your kitchen.

WW_spb | May 21, 2020

Went for oil change yesterday on our SUV spent 3 hours at dealership. Fck I don't miss dealerships at all.

akgolf | May 21, 2020

I love going to dealerships, almost as much as root canals and reading Fishy’s posts!

derotam | May 21, 2020

So far all the responses have not been related to the thread whatsoever....come on people, FOCUS!

owlegrad2 | May 21, 2020

How are dealerships not the topic of this thread? None of us are lawyers so I doubt anyone is going to know the ins and outs of 50 states worth of franchising and dealership laws.

derotam | May 21, 2020

@owlegrad2: Franchise laws are the topic of the thread as per the stated question. Dealerships in regards to whether U.S. Dealerships would agree to the same type of relationship with dealers is the topic... Talking about the Mach-E, service, charging stations is NOT the topic. No one here knows the ins and outs of anything on here really, yet everyone has an opinion on everything... point of a forum.

derotam | May 21, 2020

Here, since many people maybe failed to comprehend, here is the reference. https://electrek.co/2020/05/20/all-vw-retailers-agree-to-agency-approach...

Just in case that link doesn't work, maybe this will for copy/paste.... electrek.co/2020/05/20/all-vw-retailers-agree-to-agency-approach-to-selling-electric-cars/

jimglas | May 21, 2020

thanks derotam

derotam | May 21, 2020

It is interesting to think about how the Automobile Dealer Association would view this type of relationship and what changes might have to be made to franchise dealership laws would have to be made...Then, what would all that mean for Tesla....and would Tesla then perhaps be ok with that type of relationship and therefore allow for "proper" Tesla Dealerships...

Lots of little technicalities through all that of course.

TabascoGuy | May 21, 2020

So will states that block Tesla from selling directly to buyers also block VW?

derotam | May 21, 2020

Exactly.. There is the Catch 22 for dealers/manufacturers... Dealers have a hard time actively selling EV's because it kind of means chopping the head off of gas cars, so manufactures have a hard time shifting to EV's because there is no dealership driven consumer demand. Dealerships can steer people in different directions, it's just basic sales tactics. Now, if you put gas to $4-5 a gallon, that will create demand on it's own, but raw native consumer demand is a very hard thing to come by for all kinds of things.

Manufacturers can put out their own commercials to try to drive sales of EV's, but then you have the issue that as of now, you can't have a manufacturer directly tell a consumer to go order online which then pushes the dealers to do it which leads back to dealers undercutting gasoline vehicle sales.

Earl and Nagin ... | May 21, 2020

Tesla had an advantage the allowed them to slip through some loopholes in some states because they did not already have a dealership network. VW probably has franchised dealerships in all states.
NADA will likely fight this to their last breath if it even threatens to come to the USA.

rxlawdude | May 21, 2020

It will work out for VW just as well as their emissions cheating.

FISHEV | May 21, 2020

owlegrad2 | May 21, 2020 Is there anyone anywhere that believes going to a dealership is a treat?"

The fanbois here seem to love going to Tesla dealership.

Not a matter of loving it but when a car needs service, a nice lounge, shuttle and good communications are appreciated.

andy.connor.e | May 21, 2020

not sure how a fanboi can go to a non-existent Tesla dealership.

if dealerships didnt rub your d*** while you wait, you would never put up with their BS. just sayin

TranzNDance | May 22, 2020

I and people I know ask people to accompany me/them to a dealership when car shopping the way one would want to be accompanied while walking down a dark alley in a sketchy part of town. With Tesla stores, I could enjoy stopping by with my children while at the mall even when I wasn't car shopping.

owlegrad2 | May 22, 2020

You got me Fish, I actually probably would love going to a Tesla dealership. When one opens will you let me know?

blkice | May 22, 2020

Dealerships lie more than Trump. Every time I go to Toyota for “service” I know I will be lied to about something, so I have to “shift gears” and get ready to fight for truth and justice.@Fish everyone knows Ford dealerships lie the most, it’s just a true Fishfact

andy.connor.e | May 22, 2020

me too. i pretty much mentally prepare myself for:

"Hey! This, this, this and this need maintenance in order for your car to run properly!"

No thanks i just want the things done i came here for.

"Are you sure? This will keep your car running great, and everything we do gets reported to carfax so you can maintain the highest value of your car"

No. Please just take my damn snow tires off and let me go home.

$800 worth of fluid maintenance, rust under the brake pads, misalignment, they will ask you to replace your engine filter as soon as its not paper white anymore. I have to say, i love it.

Madatgascar | May 22, 2020

I really loved the Lexus dealership in Glendale. OMG, it has waterfalls, leather recliners, TVs, and free popcorn and pastries for the taking. I could draw the whole place from memory.

Ahhh... fond memories. That was 8 years and 5 Teslas ago! I don’t even know what the inside of Tesla’s current service center looks like - never been there.

My 2012 Model S needed service a few times, and it was pretty tough to get all the way to Santa Monica to that one small service center, but it was just a small EV upstart back then, so I forgave them. The cars now are so dependable, it just isn’t an issue.

Sure don’t miss the old dealer purchase process

owlegrad2 | May 22, 2020

Oh yes. I almost forgot about the mysterious cabin filter that manages to need to be replaced every single visit. Thankfully they are always running a special, only $80 if I replace today! Barf

To be fair I go to the local Toyota and they don't even have free food. They have a cafe but the food is overpriced and nothing special. Certainly no waterfalls. They do have TVs and the furniture isn't terrible. I think they have WiFi.

akgolf | May 22, 2020

My local dealership keeps calling me to offer an oil change special for my Nissan Leaf.

Now that would be special!

andy.connor.e | May 22, 2020

There is no such thing as a sale. What they're really trying to promote is:

For a limited time only, our products are not overpriced.

FISHEV | May 22, 2020

@Madatgascar | May 22, 2020 I don’t even know what the inside of Tesla’s current service center looks like - never been there."

I've been a bunch for various broken things which never happened on the Subaru. Last time was March with broke seat harness with onscreen threats it was shutting car down. Just like any other car dealership lounge, TV, Wifi, snacks, guys at service desks and some standup desks with more service guys in the drive-in area.

It's a car "dealership" doesn't really matter if mfg owns it or a dealer owns it from the customers point of view.

Tesla is starting to see a big profit from service as cars come out of warranty and high profit ratio service work is filling the service department.

fazman | May 23, 2020

While I commend Tesla/Elon on dragging the legacy manufacturers out of their comfort zone... I still see “Service Centers” by Tesla lacking when it comes to my personal experience with them so far since Nov 2018.

The entire car delivery experience also could have been smoothed out to be better. I wish I didn’t have to reject the first teo cars they matched me with and I wish I didn’t accept the 3rd car I was presented with just because it had the least of issues (But I still had 30+ pics for my delivery specialist to document). The “repair” process was also filled with some headaches that I was not expecting on a brand new car.

I will be a more picky buyer in any future tesla purchases and more than likely if I do get another tesla it will probably be a used tesla so its not such a bitter pill on shoddy quality to price value (i can live with the rattles/blemishes on a used/cheaper priced vehicle that I will use as a beater ride).