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      11-13-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
Ateam
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Why can't we cut out the middlemen (dealers) in todays age?

So in today's age of technology and given you can run a nuclear submarine from a laptop most likely, why do we have to have the "sales" side of a dealer even exist anymore? They are simply a middleman who quite honestly also add NOT expertise to anything given they are always misinformed anyway. The internet (atleast in this case about cars) provides more accurate infor from knowledgable owners and the dealer should simply deal directly with a customer. Atleast at this point they should have the option of this to cut out the middle man.

I understand many still like the allure of going to the dealer to windowshop and drive a bunch of different cars etc etc. However they could scale them down to a big degree and half people wanting to order directly from BMW do it online and get the added savings that the SA, GM, dealer all take into their pockets.

Service obviously still needs to exist with a much scaled back sales division or only a used car sales division. Could account for a few thousand extra savings on every car bought and much more convenience and actual ACCURATE info if bmw (or any dealer) could expand on their online interface for people with tons more accurate info instead of the SA knowning nothing about anything (with exception of a few on this board and others of course!)
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      11-13-2011, 12:44 PM   #2
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Yes BMW makes great cars however the reason they are here is to make money. So even though its most likely possible for your idea to happen, BMW will not see that being anymore profitable then the way it is now.


I think the funnest part about getting a new car is going to check it out,sit in it,smell it, feel it. Now if you take that out of the equation then it does not seem fun anymore.

Maybe the younger crowd might like it but anyone who is not tech savvy might not like it.
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      11-13-2011, 12:54 PM   #3
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^^^exactly. Also how would u test drive the car before buying if it is scaled down to just a couple of dealership's? As much as we would like to save some money, dealership's r here to stay.
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      11-13-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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Without the salesperson in the middle too many potential customers will not buy a BMW at all, Internet or not.

Do not get confused with the high cost of BMW and the customer capapability of buying their cars on their own, like there is a direct proportion of capability somewhere. We as a whole are far from being that car-buying smart, IMO. Look at any BMW dealership showroom and you will see a lot of customers that really need physical assistance with even the most basic fundamentals of the car buying process.

These customers can even be considered part of the currently-maligned "1%" and still they need somebody to explain what they are actually buying.

This not demeaning, it is reality.
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      11-13-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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Again I am not saying eliminate them but rather give people the option if they WANT to avoid them to go directly to the manufacturer just like you can with tons of other products and buy them for a lower cost but at the same time the company (bmw) would also make more (basically you guys both benefit by cutting the middleman) You could actually leave the dealer how it is and not scale it back but just allow those who want to go direct to do so. IMO with people in the newer generation this would INCREASE sales if they did not have to haggle with the dealer in person.

Just like at the automatic checkouts at grocery stories or hardware or whatever. Sometimes there is a lineup just to use that even if the real people checkouts are open because fact is most newer age people today do not like contact with people! Not saying its a good thing but it is the way it is.

If I want to avoid the dealer than why cannot I pay a couple grand less and go to the manufacturer and why can't they save a couple grand by not having them do all the b.s that most of us do not need. ie-their "expertise", deliver prep (which is wrong half the time) or their "salesmanship" since we would be already buying the car and knowing what we want.

Not saying this is the only way but I promise you this will come down the pipelines, its just a matter of when. I hear you though about not being able to eliminate them, that was an error on my part to think that is even possible due to the things you guys mentioned!
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      11-13-2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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I dont see this happening anytime soon. My few car purchase I did not hagle with any salesman. I picked and chose the car I want, then had made arrangements before I even step in a dealership. All I had to do was sign and drive. By going through a dealer, they get you situated with sevice dept. Imagine if you ordered a car online and had it delivered to your doorstep. What would most people do when its time for service?
And bmw will more likelly loose money by bypasing dealers. As most dealers will close or choose to sell another brand. Belive it or not most of sales are made by people just wondering in window shopping.
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      11-13-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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No offense but if you cannot figure out how to pull into a new service driveway at a dealer and get there with a nav system then you probably should not be driving a car with 400hp or a car alone.
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      11-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #8
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I agree with the OP to some extend as well with some of the responses posted so far.

Unfortunately this is the age of capitalism and competition so the matter of greed comes into play and more and more customers are very disappointed in the way they are often teated.

Case in point; on my last trip across this wonderful North American Continent last year in a brand new Z4 I encountered 2 cracked rear wheels. ===> Click here and scroll down to Region Idaho

There you will see an example of incompetence and gross misrepresentation of a fine car such as a BMW. What was the result of this mistreatment and incompetence of this dealers Service Manager? Well I was in the market for a DD and my plan was (before this incident) to get the new X3 as our DD. Well BMW lost that sale to Mercedes since instead I got the C350 4MATIC.

Naturally I got rid of the Z4 and got into this M3, primarily because I once owned a M3 and was treated very well by a established BMW dealership. Will I ever purchase another BMW? well the jury is still out on that one.

Now we cannot (as stated by others here) eliminate the dealerships altogether. However, I strongly believe that a fine organization like BMW AG in Germany should better control and survey for quality assurance and handling of there fine engineered cars and products the dealership they entrust them to. How the interact with there customers, sell the cars and provide services. For example a dealership that is incapable to change a wheel and tire and refers there customers to the local tire shop to handle this task with untrained labourers should simply not qualify as a BMW Dealership. Such as I encountered in Idaho Falls at BMW of Idaho Falls.

Perhaps BMW does not care, if so I think that would be a big mistake. For the American manufactured cars look better every year.
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      11-13-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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Not my area of expertise but franchise laws have a great deal to do with it. At least in CA.
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      11-13-2011, 02:49 PM   #10
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It's only a matter of time before this happens
Dealerships add very little to the car buying equation. On the bright side this would mean the end of $1300 rust proofing and $1500 low jack installs etc
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      11-13-2011, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ateam View Post
No offense but if you cannot figure out how to pull into a new service driveway at a dealer and get there with a nav system then you probably should not be driving a car with 400hp or a car alone.
But how many will not go to a bmw dealer and instead go to an independent specialty shop?
Ohh and what does hp has to do with finding a service bay?
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      11-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #12
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I've thought of this a million times. I wish we had the option to buy online. Anyways, I ordered my m3 without ever test driving it first. My dealer only had a couple indoors and refused to let me put miles on them.

I try to stay away from dealers as much as possible...for service or purchase.
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      11-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #13
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assuming BMW could get out of their franchising contracts, which won't happen -

they still wouldn't do it because they would have to spend millions creating their own distribution network when the dealer network works just fine for their purposes.

and even that expense would pale in comparison to the costs and risks of carrying tens of thousands of cars' worth of inventory. currently the dealers bear all the cost of carrying unsold inventory, leaving BMW with a huge source of risk mitigation, very little obscolesence costs and steadier cash flows
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      11-13-2011, 03:27 PM   #14
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Options are good....One should be able to buy on-line if they choose. Others would never be comfortable with that - me being one of them.

A really good dealer can add to the brand experience too - in a way the internet cannot replicate.
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      11-13-2011, 03:34 PM   #15
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most car buyers do not hangout on internet forums
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      11-13-2011, 03:45 PM   #16
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Everyone made good points.
In the grocery store analogy, the price for the goods are the same for cashier and checkout. However, I understand the additional markups by the dealer. The analogy would be more equal if the dealer allowed one to purchase without the sales person.

The PC industry tried this too. Gateway computers open up retail stores and then shut the down. Yet Apple Stores are everywhere and you can buy online.
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      11-13-2011, 05:28 PM   #17
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what else can you do directly to the factory and cut out the retail side?
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      11-13-2011, 05:32 PM   #18
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Are you joking? Apple, sony, nike to name the first three that came to my mind in half of a second. Prices are not always drastically lower than retail but often are and much more convenient if you dont like having to go elsewhere.
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      11-13-2011, 05:46 PM   #19
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Because BMW doesn't want to deal with whining customers.
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      11-13-2011, 05:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L4ces View Post
Everyone made good points.
In the grocery store analogy, the price for the goods are the same for cashier and checkout. However, I understand the additional markups by the dealer. The analogy would be more equal if the dealer allowed one to purchase without the sales person.

The PC industry tried this too. Gateway computers open up retail stores and then shut the down. Yet Apple Stores are everywhere and you can buy online.
And those Apple stores are packed 24/7 too...
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      11-13-2011, 06:35 PM   #21
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You can cut out the dealer with European Delivery. They make no money off of that. They will only make money on the service.
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      11-13-2011, 06:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
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You can cut out the dealer with European Delivery. They make no money off of that. They will only make money on the service.
They do make money, this is not a free service. Anything from $500 to up to 7% over ED invoice, plus any financing incentives.
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