"Let's say consumers really liked buying from a factory store. That would put dealers in a tough spot because they've been saying for years that the franchise system is actually good for customers," [Jeremy Anwyl] says.
I think he hit the nail on the head. I would say the franchise system is only good for the franchise owners, not the customers.
Indeed. I hate having to deal with car dealers. I can safely say it is one of the worst shopping experiences ever given that the purchase being made is one of the costliest things in my life. And I'm not referring to any particular thing going wrong during the purchase, just the whole experience feels like walking through a field of landmines of gotchas.
Has anyone ever had a good experience at a car dealership?
I remember getting my first car when I was 16. I was so excited, I drove the thing home and didn't realize the car mats weren't in it. I called the next day: "Sorry sir, Car mats don't come with used Vehicles. We do sell them though ($350!!!)"
The thought of car dealerships going out of business and being replaced by a better business model feels nearly too good to be true. Here's hoping its not!
Actually when I purchased my MINI I had a great experience. I walked into the show room and the salesman asked me if I wanted to drive a car (they only sold 1 car with 3 options for engine and suspension tuning at the time). I said yes, he took my license and copied it then handed me the keys. Told me to go down the road and where to turn to get to some relatively empty roads. Then said see you later. I took the car out, drove it and knew that day I was going to get the car it was just a matter of figuring out manual or automatic and which of the engine options.
Fast forward a few days I walked in and purchased the car. They have it ready the next day. Problem is they forgot the temporary plates and we didn't notice that. I drove it 40 miles home and then discovered the plates. The salesman drove the plates out to my home address on his way home from work.
The Volkswagen dealership I've dealt with was not too horrible (though this is also in Canada, where car dealerships in general have a marginally less awful repuation). I think it's a you-get-what-you-pay-for kind of situation, in that if you're not buying a used Sunfire or something, the dealer is less likely to have to screw you over to make a buck.
A coworker had problems with his Mercedes SUV, opposite end of the spectrum from a used Sunfire. He had it checked out and came back to the office in a very sour mood. I asked to look at the quote - they planned to replace the plugs, wires, and coils (V8) for $3,600! I looked at it closer and saw a very common game being played. They used the numbers "from the book" for the hours required for each replaced component as if you would replace each component individually and added them all up. In reality, if you're replacing the plugs, you're already pulling the wires, so it adds no time to the work at all (maybe a few seconds per wire). There's not much to add for the coils if you're replacing the wires either.
After much prodding, I managed to get him to get a quote at a non-dealer shop and when he showed the guy his quote, he pointed out the exact same cons that I did. End result, he saved 2/3 of the dealer's quote.
I could tell you other (bait & switch, rudeness, etc.) stories about BMW and Audi dealers, including a coworker's experience trying to buy a brand new one.