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When will dealers be replaced by The Internet?


dutchie01
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With another year almost behind us i am wondering how the future will look for Lexus dealers in particular and all dealers in general. 

I predict their future is bleak and do fear for their existence. The automotive landscape is changing rapidly and on line sales of cars are getting more common now. We do know Tesla is on line only but also Volvo at this moment has 25% on line already. The new on line sub brands Polestar and Lynk & Co not included. Most manufacturers expect 50 to 80% on line by 2030 ( only 8 yrs away!). Then there is the transition from fossil cars to Battery. Truly immense consequences for the garages. from 4000 moving parts to 40. hardly any maintenance and no fluids to sell, oils cooling etc. The business model of the large main dealers is just melting away and they are even under attack by their own supplier.

I expect the large manufacturers to start some massive experience centers serving a range of 150km. The rest will close shop. The local village garage will continue.

Any thoughts?

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Think further change is inevitable and it's not just sales of new cars but also used ones where franchised dealers are already facing competition from the likes of We buy any car and others.   Also, a very large part of a franchised dealers income/profit comes from servicing.  I read that some of the new all electric cars only require service every two years, then apart from brake fluid change it will probably mean a lot of just checking various things, so there will be less servicing overall.  Electronic maintenance could most probably be done  by electrical specialists.  But  there are still a lot of ICE cars and they are still being built so franchised dealers will be here for some time.

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3 minutes ago, Barry14UK said:

Electronic maintenance could most probably be done  by electrical specialists.  Yes, a lot of changes will happen. 

including perhaps some " at home " stuff with electronics adjustments from one's computer, laptop, desktop ........  maybe even your mobile phone too :unsure:

with input from " the Centre ", the manufacturer or whatever

BUT I'm quite sure that it's going to be a long long while until the average purchaser of new or old cars will not want to inspect it " in the flesh " before committing to a big spend ....  then the after-care when actual car delivery shows up imperfections and issues that weren't obvious on line

Malc

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22 minutes ago, Malc said:

BUT I'm quite sure that it's going to be a long long while until the average purchaser of new or old cars will not want to inspect it " in the flesh " before committing to a big spend ....  then the after-care when actual car delivery shows up imperfections and issues that weren't obvious on line

I think we are there already, when listening to friends and colleagues all they seem interested in is whether their phone will connect and can they get Airplay or whatever. Not a word about drive, comfort, reliability etc..

As for after-care, fix it when it breaks but otherwise just drive it.

Most now treat cars as another example of 'white goods' and pretty much disposable at that!

Remembering that those who post on car forums such as this tend to be 'into cars' and not representative of the majority.

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2 hours ago, Barry14UK said:

Think further change is inevitable and it's not just sales of new cars but also used ones where franchised dealers are already facing competition from the likes of We buy any car and others.   Also, a very large part of a franchised dealers income/profit comes from servicing.  A read that some of the new all electric cars only require service every two years, then apart from brake fluid change it will probably mean a lot of just checking various things, so there will be less servicing overall.  Electronic maintenance could most probably be done  by electrical specialists.  But  there are still a lot of ICE cars and they are still being built so franchised dealers will be here for some time.

Take a look at Teslas servicing recomendations https://www.tesla.com/en_GB/support/car-maintenance 

Nothing really beyond a cabin filter every 2 or 3 years and a brake fluid change - I'm sure the servicing schedules by the legacy manufacturers are being driven by the need to maintain the business model rather than a mechanical need.

I think more will move online with manufacturers selling direct yet near my office they have just built a huge new Land Rover dealership and the new Toyota / Lexus dealership is going up claiming to be biggest in the UK (and a new petrol station next to it)

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So in 20 years time dealers will no doubt be much diminished, but I wonder if the only ones around will be the specialists, whether that be the ones only selling those good old fossil fuel classic cars, and the ones who have an audience that want to be pampered to death while wandering around a marbled hall in Knightsbridge in their cheap as chips Loake brogues.  Mind you if I had money I might feel paying the extra to be pampered once in a while.

Having been a user of the Internet since day 1, of the first web browser still feel the need to touch and feel, though my kids less inclined they just do hours of internet research.  BUT strangely enough got me and the wife to go with them to suss out cars in the flesh, even though one of them lives 200 miles away.

I would add that having driven many  a car, test driving a range of cars for the kids was illuminating in that some cars were just plain awful once you drove them even for a 100 yards, and others were plain awful once you let the dealer go back to his hut so you could have a real good poke about (or poking through the rust)

 

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If i think back some 15-20 years buying a new car was a slow and sometimes cumbersome process. Getting an offer would mean sitting down with a salesperson and step by step build the car you desire, What color, wheels, ashtray yes or no and so on. The salesperson would explain all options and in the end the figure to pay was always higher than expected. Today everybody is better informed as internet so people know exactly what they want. I had numerous negative experiences with dealers throughout the years. Not interested or not knowledgable salesmen, others trying to talk me into a different car or simply tell nonsense. I had testdrives refused and was send away when i asked for an offer( had full spec i wanted with me). Since 6 years our company changed from buying to leasing and all this is digital. For me this has been a positive experience. I know what i want and a testdrive is arranged without problem. Since we also bought an ex-lease car privately and traded ours in. Very efficient process, fill in questionaire of current car take pics from all sides and interior, 4 wheels and odometer and same day they make you an offer. For me personally this is all fine although i do get it if others prefer a realationship with a dealer. Local village garages are different in my idea as all is built on trust. You see each other in the pub and at the butcher... 

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3 hours ago, dutchie01 said:

in the pub and at the butcher... 

.......butcher, baker ......   last time I bought a brand new car there was the candlemaker too .........:whistling:

Malc

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On 12/29/2021 at 3:28 PM, dutchie01 said:

If i think back some 15-20 years buying a new car was a slow and sometimes cumbersome process. Getting an offer would mean sitting down with a salesperson and step by step build the car you desire, What color, wheels, ashtray yes or no and so on. The salesperson would explain all options ..........

There is no way I would ever buy a car before test-driving it, just as I wouldn't buy shoes without first trying them on.  I must admit, though, that I have developed a tendency to keep conversations with the sales people who hand me the key for the test-drive as brief as normal politeness permits, meaning that what I want from a dealership is service and maintenance facilities and not technical advice and information which I can get elsewhere at my own leisure and probably more objectively.  The logical consequence is that I would be perfectly content to order a new car on the basis of an online configuration provided it allows for price negotiation.  I suspect this would also be the case with a lot of other long-time Lexus owners who generally already know what they are buying and why.

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I dont think there ever will be a time when its online only

Its actually made things worse in my opinion. Takes ages to get through to anyone on the phone, when you turn up to test drive a car or look at a car in the showroom there's barely any staff etc. Its fine for paperwork and configurations but I dont think it works for anything else. 

This was my recent experience with VW in Huddersfield - utterly *******.

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