"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.
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!
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.
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.