Saturday, August 14, 2010

Consumer Reports gets it right...most of the time...

Ok so I couldn't help myself. First of all let me preface all of my remarks: as a car dealer who makes every attempt to be ethical I love the information age. I am not scared that most of our customers are more educated than myself on a specific model when they step into the showroom. I am excited. Cause if it's the right information and they are willing to let me make nothing more than a fair profit - than the transaction is going to be smooth and we have reduced the number of times someone would ever feel (dare I say it) "buyer's remourse."

BUT sometimes I read something from a consumer advocate service and it drives me nuts. It usually is something that means well but falls short of painting the full picture. So this time out I actually have written Consumer's Reports about some things stated in thier new 2011 New Car Preview.

I thought I would include the letter for all who follow this blog.

August 14, 2010

ATTN: Rik Paul, Editor “Consumer Reports”

Mr. Paul,

I simply wouldn’t feel like I was doing anyone any justice if I didn’t address your latest Consumer Reports Preview Guide. As a hard working, hands on, dealer principal in the car business I have found over the years that many of consumer reports teachings actually work adversely to the very same people you propose to help.

One simple example is found in this latest issue, “Don’t visit during special sales events solicited by direct mail. Those are often run by contracted specialists trained in techniques that increase the dealer’s profit.” You spend countless pages battering the word profit as if all other businesses in the world are non-profit. Being an industry insider like yourself you show no sympathy for the countless dealer closings and/or difficulties that have beset our economy and industry. It’s the information age Rik, “fair profit,” is more less the word of my generation along with being a responsible and ethical business man and dealer.

Now I will finally arrive at my point. Earlier on the same page you speak on “hard-to-track” dealer incentives. Being that I currently reside (and I might as well sleep here) in a General Motors store I do not deny that we don’t often receive incentives quarterly based on units and excellence in CSI (customer satisfaction). While it costs money to participate in this opportunity of earning these incentives (which we don't always reach) they are more often than not “passed on to the customer.” Oftentimes the best way I can communicate these “hidden” incentives directly to my previous customer base is through Direct mail.

I used to work in media. I understand that it is oftentimes a vacuum that needs to be filled. Why don’t you someday contract a current dealer to add a little true insight to your service? More often than not when the complete picture isn’t painted you do an injustice. In this case you’re hurting the very people who pay good money for your services.


Brett A. Morgan
Wade Raulerson Buick GMC