Are Volkswagen dealers arrogant

Observations in the auto trade When is buying fun again?

Many car dealers are fighting in the market. But often with blunt weapons.

The other day on a Saturday. There are five sales desks in the dealership of a large volume brand. All empty. A single advisor is currently explaining their new compact SUV to Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Lieschen Müller. After the Müllers bought their first new car in 13 years, everything is explained. What is seat heating, what do you need electrically adjustable mirrors, etc.

It's very nice that you explain the car to customers in such detail. And that is not the seller's favorite job. Because our sample customers, a retired couple, must have paid for their car in cash. A car seller receives a commission in the amount of a two-digit euro amount (!). But certainly discussed with the two of them an hour or two before signing the contract, made countless soft coffees and reordered the color and rims several times. And then the handover on Saturday morning.

One or the other potential customer just leaves. Did any of you want to conclude a leasing contract with a maintenance package and insurance? With a high commission for the dealership and the seller? Where are the colleagues who work at the desks?

It's across the street, to VW. My door open / door closed on the Tiguan on display is at least not greeted by the seller with the hackneyed phrase “can I help you?”. Much better: "If you are interested - when do you need a new car". Then I promise three months later and am arrogantly waved off "you can forget the model, the delivery times."

So you stand there, not even offered a comparison model (don't you urgently need to get rid of a few Passats, keywords exhaust scandal and falling registration numbers?). Welcome back to the planned automotive economy.

Car manufacturers are investing millions in appearances at auto shows and holding road shows over and over again. With increasingly nasty contracts, car dealership operators are forced to invest heavily in new buildings, certain furniture and other corporate identity requirements. And then there is a lack of personnel management.

The specialist book "Management im KFZ-Betrieb" by Michael Zülch (here you can find information and order - this is an affiliate link) quantifies the number of new cars sold annually per seller at an average of 95 units.
So the volume target in the dealership where the Müller couple is currently working seems to have already been ticked off for the ladies and gentlemen. But how about an above-average performance?

In many cases, however, the crux is certainly not with the sellers. They are struggling with falling margins, test drive tourists (who absolutely want to test drive a station wagon spontaneously on Saturday - to IKEA and back) and pressure “from above”. It is the turn of car dealership chains and owners to make the customer experience more relaxed.

My suggestions:

Flexible working time models and opening times
Not all salespeople have to be present on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., but until 8 p.m. in the evening and on Saturday would be nice - if the ladies and gentlemen customers aren't sitting in the office themselves.

Distribution of tasks
Of course, personal contact is more important than anything else, but how about the salesperson handing our millers over to a product explanation specialist who makes the handover hour? Customers then receive the bouquet and the champagne bottle with the dealer label from the sales advisor.

Digital opening
Not every customer walks into the Glaspalast right at the beginning of the buying process. The Internet is becoming more and more important, sites like this blog, established media appearances and also platforms like mobile.de and autoscout24.de (to look at photos) often play the main role for customers. And retail, too, must address its potential - and existing customers - in a much more digital way.

More passion
There is a good example of this: A Kia dealer near Stuttgart maintains its Facebook presence, creates groups there with information and discussions about new models and can always be reached digitally. In addition, he also organizes very analog excursions, similar to a brand club. Organized on the net.

That passion for cars, Selling and selling cars should actually be part of good manners in retail. Because the always informed customer can rationally put a new car in their shopping cart at Amazon and Co. at some point. They will then definitely deliver to your home - again one contact point less.

I am happy to discuss. On Facebook. Or via email. The address is at the bottom.

Good buy!