There’s no stopping progress as car dealerships are soon to find out. For years, I’ve wondered why automakers don’t make buying a car online easier or more thorough. The reason is simple enough: The dealerships themselves don’t want it, and they’ll revolt at the mere thought of it.
Now manufacturers are tiptoeing into a greater expanse of online shopping, while still fearing the retribution of its bread-and-butter. Standing in their way is the National Automobile Dealers Association, making automakers hesitant to go full bore.
That’s why the CEO of General Motors backtracked on his statement that the automaker wants to make it easier to buy a vehicle online with its Shop-Click-Drive system. After making it a point on a recent earnings conference call, Dan Akerson said GM had no plans to “bypass our dealers.”
But it’s only a matter for time when they do and dealerships become more like retail stores – where you shop online, then pick the car up at the dealer. The customer is changing. No longer are customers willing to be held captive by car salespeople when online shopping is more preferred, especially by the younger set.
Going to a dealership to shop for cars is a miserable experience and consumers will do anything to avoid it. The model is simply outdated, with all the haggling and wasted hours sitting in an office while paperwork is being completed.
Once the automakers themselves get brave enough – and continue tiptoeing into online shopping – consumers will follow. You can’t stop innovation and, right now, automakers and their dealerships are fighting a losing battle.