With all the comments on the recent “Traders Tale” series of articles we published, it is fascinating to see that the issue of selling cars is as emotive as ever.
The fact is that in the “good old days” the reason car dealers made so much money was because people didn’t have the choice they do today or access to enough cars to form that choice. Auotrader was then a monthly magazine and local advertising attracted local customers so the effect was that people generally traded in their own area.
Not only do people now have the choice of so many more cars – which can often confuse the decision making process – but because of the quality of dealers and how they market and prepare their cars there is now more legitimate choice for customers of where they actually buy from.
They don’t need to buy from backstreet spivs or dodgy dealers when there are plenty of companies including independent motor traders doing the job properly.
The irony is that because of these factors it is clearly – during tough economic times especially – having an effect on some of our contributors who have committed years of hard work and expertise in providing a viable proposition to car buyers. Now they find those offering similar cars often for better prices are the ones that don’t have the overheads of our main or larger independent dealers and, as a result, perhaps their preparation standards are not as high.
I was recently back at a franchised car showroom I used to work in many years ago, it is in a central London location and they used to sell 100 plus used cars every month. Now they count themselves lucky to sell 40 per month, same location same passing traffic same amount of staff, so why? Simple there are more cars to choose from in terms of make and model and therefore by design more dealers selling them. Whilst it is easy to blame the internet or blame customers for wanting a champagne car for beer money, it is really quite simply just progress and unfortunately the companies with the deepest pockets will survive and the rest, apart from some local successes, will fall by the wayside often replaced with other idealistic souls who have not been tainted by years of being in this business.