Why can’t I just buy my car online? Test drives still matter…

Brickelll Motors Mazda ShowroomWithout question, the digital age transformed the car buying experience. Today’s buyer has access to tremendous amounts of information about cars on the dealer’s lot. And sometimes it feels like the buyer, armed with tons of data from the manufacturer, dealer and third-party websites, could just purchase a car online without ever setting foot in a dealership.


While this may sound like a intriguing idea, I still think that it’s important and vital for a customer to come in and see the car, touch the car and feel the car at the dealership. Though customers know much more than they did 20 or 30 years ago, the information at times can become overwhelming and even be a little bit confusing. Is everything the buyer is consuming right, accurate and up to date?  Does the information you are getting actually suit your needs?


Sales associate as facilitator

Today when you visit a dealership, the experience is far different than it was in the past. First you will find much more refined and more professional sales associates. Today, the role of the associate has changed. Yes, they still want to sell you a car, but today’s sales associate’s job is to represent the product, better assess your needs and provide information that you may not find online.


If, for example, you’re looking for a pickup, what will that pickup be used for?  It’s the job of the sales associate to assess your situation. If you plan to haul cargo long distances or tow a large boat, you may not see the differences between a two-wheel drive that can only haul 4,000 pounds with six cylinders versus a four-wheel drive with a weight limit of 8,000 pounds. If you need even more power, then it’s the responsibility of the associate to explain the difference between a diesel and gas-powered V8 engine, for example. If you are planning on traveling on a consistent basis, let’s say 20,000 miles a year, you might be thinking about a hybrid or electric vehicle to save on fuel costs. However, it’s the sales associate’s job to explain the range limitations of a hybrid. While you might save on gas, hybrid technology at this point has limitations and some only have a range of 200 miles. The customer may come to realize that their online choice isn’t the right one, and the associate can direct you to a better choice.


The sales associate helps facilitate and give you better information. It’s not that the customer can’t eventually figure it out and make their own decision, but rather that the sales associate can make the process easier. The manufacturers do a great job hyping cars, generating excitement and selling the sizzle, while the local sales associate needs to help you address the practical components too.


Touch and feel your investment

Dealers concede that new cars depreciate, but they are big investments, nonetheless.  A car may be one of the biggest investments and purchases you make, outside of buying a home. If you are making a significant investment, you owe it to yourself to touch, feel, smell and, most importantly, drive it.  Buying a car should be a time of joy.  It represents mobility, freedom and, in some cases, accomplishment. I have said many times that my job is to bring joy to our customers. In my opinion, it’s nearly impossible to experience that joy in the long term without driving the car, feeling the comfort of the seat, experiencing the acceleration and hopefully falling in love with the car. For many reasons, dealers want you to be happy with the car as it leads to happy customers, positive reviews and repeat business.  Believe it or not, we want you to experience the joy of driving a car you truly love because it is a big investment and a big part of your life.


When the time comes for your next car purchase or lease, be sure to do your research but also visit one of our dealerships so we can help you make an informed decision, get a good deal and drive away in a car you will love.

Make it a Great Day!