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Thread: Internet car sales

  1. #1

    Internet car sales

    I made a couple Internet dealer inquiries last Friday night, both with big-city mega-dealers. One of them got back to me bright and early Saturday morning... the other midday on Monday. The 'late' one is the same one that took three days to get back to me when I was Fusion shopping a couple years ago. To their credit, at that time they were the ONLY one that bothered to contact me... but in the meantime, I'd already bought one elsewhere.

    When you make an Internet inquiry, apparently Ford follows up with a 'marketing survey' call to see if you were satisfied, did you follow up with a trip to the dealer, would you recommend... etc. The lady was quite taken aback when I said no, I didn't follow up because it took them too long to get back to me, and no, I likely wouldn't contact them again or recommend them. Apparently, this was unreasonable on my part. Now, since I just bought the Taurus from those guys 3 months ago, I can state with certainty that they've got plenty of sales guys sitting around looking for something to do. While I was reasonably happy with my Taurus buying experience, I've been less than impressed with the followup service, and will probably go back to the small town dealer that's right around the corner next time I buy anything and let them go get it if they don't have it.

    So I ask the group... is it unreasonable to expect a next-day response??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Constable View Post
    ...So I ask the group... is it unreasonable to expect a next-day response??
    If I emailed them during normal business hours, I'd expect to get a response withing a couple hours, at the most. If it was after hours, or on a Sunday or holiday, I'd expect a response within a couple hours of opening on the next business day.

    After all, you're making an inquiry on what might be a $30K or more deal, and cars aren't exactly selling all that well right now. They oughtta be eager!
    Jim D.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Not unreasonable in the least. To me, it's no different than calling and leaving a message. I doubt they have a 3 day response time to phone inquiries.

    I suspect there may be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on here too. They may not focus much effort on the email sales leads because their close rate is low. Of course, the close rate is low because they don't put much effort into it.

    I think the surveyors use surprise as a method to elicit more information from you. I wouldn't sweat it though. Expectations are one area the customer is always right. A good salesman or system will manage those expectations and adjust them appropriately. I would agree with Jim that a couple of hours is appropriate. Where I work, it's 1 hour on the sales side, 4 hours on the support side.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    I used the internet for the last vehicle we purchased. The dealership actually had a sales guy dedicated to internet leads (I think he was also their fleet manager). I submitted a query late in the day on a Saturday. He responded back promptly that he was out of the office and would get back to me the next day with the info we reqeusted. The next day I received an email with information on the exact vehicle we wanted, with a lower price than I was able to come up with using some online tools.

    Needless to say we went and bought from him and it was a quick and easy transaction with no surprises.

    So, No, I don't think you were unreasonable at all.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I read an article on this written from a salesman's perspective. At many, if not most, dealerships the salesmen do not make a commission on internet sales. That is one reason the prices are lower, the salesman is cut out. And, most do not have a dedicated person for I-sales. That would explain the slow, or no, response. This is an evolving thing in the auto industry. I suspect before long most of us will be doing our new car selection via the 'net. Price and model are all that matter anymore. Click 'n pick is the way to go.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Kirk, I am with Jim i would expect within a few hours and i include after hours since there is the ability to forward email to someone for receipt on a blackberry style phone.

    Its all about attitude and service. These guys wonder why their industry has been under attack. They don't change with the times and then when they do it because they are being dragged kicking and screaming.

    Strange that we get better service from a tool company when we are buying a often less than 100 dollar item than a 30K vehicle.

    Stick to your guns there are good ones out there

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    I bought my last car in 2004 via the Internet. I decided what I wanted. Then I went to Edmund's and decided what would be a fair price. The I place an inquiry on a buying service for cars that was free to me. Something like 14 dealers in the area I specified replied back. All offered the car for more than I thought was fair. So I countered with my price. Three came back, two with a counter to my offer and the third with "what color did I want." They had three colors to choose from. This all happened within 2 days.

    The following day I went down (100 miles), looked at the three colors, took one out for a test drive. And drove it home within the hour, all paid for.

    The dealership had one guy full time on Internet sales. A couple of months ago I was in for routine service. They have a better oil change deal than Jiffy Lube. While I was waiting I looked into the Internet sales department and there were 7 people in there on the phone and on line. That dealership takes it seriously.

    I'll never buy a car the old fashioned way again. Besides, I used my initials, so they didn't know I was a female until I got there - with my brother. Yeah, sorry to say, that crap still is out there.

    Oh, no trade in. Cash out the door offer only. No to all the add-ons. Sold my pick-up truck locally. I did a cash sale for the car (which they hate!), but years ago I did my own finance deal with my credit union.

    I could tell you some funny stories about buying vehicles.... Only once did I think I got snookered. Didn't happen again, fer sure!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    My experience with Internet car purchases is that the people receiving the messages don't pay a lot of attention to what you say.

    I created a list of features that were important to me and put the list in rank order, most important on top, least important at the bottom, and told the salespeople that in my message. Color was pretty close to the bottom of the list, but GPS was probably the top item.

    So I get a message from one guy saying he can only find one car in my color but it doesn't have GPS. Perhaps I could use an after market GPS. I didn't even bother to respond to him.

    However, I do like the idea of Internet car shopping and hope it gets better. It absolutely can't be any worse than the "negotiating" at the dealership.

    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
    All the info available on line is making the 'negotiating' at the dealer a bit easier. I have a copy of the order guide for the 2011 Mustang that shows retail, dealer invoice, AND the holdback amount for each line item. It's the real deal, because I saw salesmen at two dealerships pull it out. Muuuuch easier to cut through the BS when you know the 'real' numbers they're working from. I don't mind them making a fair profit... but the definition of 'fair' changes when they know you've got the same info they have.

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