On Motor Trade Insider, as regular readers will have noticed, we have a firm belief in what some may regard as a utopian vision; car buyers buying the right car at the right price from the right dealer. The other side of that particular mission statement is that for providing great cars followed by a first class service car dealers are rewarded with long term and profitable business.
Now whilst we realise that we are still some distance away from that utopia, we believe that great strides are being made by dealers and car makers alike to ensure this ideal is getting closer.
However it may seem harsh but, along the road to a better and brighter automotive industry, customers have their own responsibility to ensure that they actually buy the correct car and that they are happy with all the other aspects of the buying process.
We present many articles from a plethora of our insiders within the trade who are constantly baffled by being offered very late plate, low mileage cars through the trade. The subtext being car buyers, for one reason or another have simply made the wrong choice.
Unfortunately, unlike many other mistakes, there is almost always a massive financial cost in making the wrong car choice. I was reminded of this recently when asked by a family friend if I knew the best thing to do about the brand new hatchback a friend of theirs had bought which had less than 200 miles on the clock, had cost them the best part of £18,000 but in which the chaps wife could not ride in due to a long term back complaint.
Now forgive me for being a bit unsympathetic here but if any normal person was about to invest £18,000 of their money into a depreciating asset wouldn’t it be wise to have covered at least a few of the bases first?
Chief amongst these basic checks would perhaps be the comfort of the driver and any long term passengers.
It seemed that when this particular couple originally went to look at the car the dealer didn’t actually have the model they were interested in to demonstrate and so therefore took them out in a higher specified model in which everything was hunky dory. They signed up on the deal there and then and were happy to buy a car that they hadn’t actually had the chance of testing.
When they eventually took delivery of their new car it quickly became apparent that the man’s wife would not be comfortable in the car because of her back problem. Clearly the seats in the higher spec demonstrator model were far more accommodating.
As a consequence of this unfortunate “oversight” the couple lost £4,000 when changing the barely used car for a different make a few weeks later.
Now the interesting thing is they didn’t even bother to re-visit the original dealer to seek a reasonable solution such was their embarrassment at having made such a hasty (and ultimately costly) decision. I can think of no other time when a person could simply write off a huge sum of money for such an unnecessary mistake but the one thing it has made me believe, more now than ever, is that the message we are giving to customers and dealers alike is worth repeating regularly.
Do your research, make sure that you are totally happy with the car, the dealer, the package and price and the service before any money changes hands and don’t be afraid to walk away if you are not happy with any of the answers.
From a dealer perspective it may not matter to you in the short term whether someone makes the wrong choice because you have sold another unit. But remember, it is not the customers who complain that should concern you because you can always get a second crack at delighting them; it’s the ones that you will never see again that you need to worry about.