A little while ago I was looking to purchase a car for my wife and a first car for my son.
My wife knew what model she wanted so I go straight to the carsales website to check on new car pricing and availability with a view to test driving and purchasing. She had made up her mind and wanted it now.
I was looking to purchase new so I search for the model in New Cars in Stock (actual car in stock at a dealer) and New Cars Available (not tied to a dealer and not necessarily in stock). This is where it got hard. There were no New Cars in Stock (in the make/model I was after) for me to consider as some Car Manufacturers and dealers put a ban on listing new cars in stock at their dealership on all 3rd party websites.
I then included in my expanded search “Demo” and “Near New Cars” and luckily there were some dealers that are getting around the OEM edict and listing their new cars in this category. At least then I could get a better idea of a real price and maybe, just maybe find a dealer in Melbourne that has one of the colour(s) I’m seeking in stock (as I don’t want to wait on order). No such luck so I reluctantly visit the local dealer on a weekend and ask what they have in stock to get their best price. Of course they had none in stock. Maybe it is 1995 I thought. Imagine an invention where dealers could list all the new cars they have with transparent pricing (including margin for them) so dealers didn’t have to have the “race to the bottom” and consumers felt like they were getting a fair deal!
I was stuck though, what do I do now because I don’t want to visit or call more dealers in hope. I know, I’ll put this task in the too hard basket and park it. There’s nothing wrong with what she had anyway.
My son’s car was a little different. We had to do a little research and come up with a consideration set that we could then look to “touch and feel”, realign the consideration set, test drive and select vehicle. We looked through carsales, refining the search parameters as we go about saving/modifying/deleting cars in the Saved Items section of our Members account, visited a few dealers, read reviews, re-defined the list of cars and finally were ready to test drive with a view to making a selection of a vehicle. We headed down the road to a few dealers to test drive.
After one of our test drives we decided to check out the dealer next door because we had some time. We straight away liked a model we had never heard of from the showroom floor. After a few questions we were out in a test drive and yep, my son loved it. I said to the sales guy that this model wasn’t even on our radar since we hadn’t seen it on carsales at all. In fact, I’d never heard of it. The response astounded me, “Oh no, our OEM doesn’t want new cars advertised on carsales”. What? Say that again!
Carsales has 4 million people a month to it’s network doing just like I was doing, trying to work out what to buy, how much to pay and where to get it AND the OEM won’t allow new cars to be part of the consideration process!! I was astounded. If I didn’t have 1/2 hour to spare to visit the dealer next door I would never had walked into THAT brand of dealership BUT if I could have included the model in my consideration set online, well, I would have had to.
Consumers will continue to come online and to carsales to figure out they what, how much and where. Every new car needs to have a chance to be in each consideration set lined up against other new cars, demo cars and used cars – after all, every car is a new car at purchase time!
Every day more and more people are buying from the choices that are presented to them online. But then again, maybe the Internet is just a fad.