By Kyle S. Reyes, Carter Director of Marketing
My father and my little brother will tell you that I don’t know anything about cars. I don’t think that’s a fair statement. First of all, my dad worked for GM for years, so his vote is biased and doesn’t count. And my little brother is the Coast Guard equivalent of James Bond when it comes to fixing engines, so I’m ruling out his vote too.
I’m actually incredible talented when it comes to car knowledge. I can change a tire (by calling AAA) and check my windshield washer fluid level (as in….I know when it runs out). I’m also extremely talented at opening the hood of my fiancee’s car and pretending I know what I’m looking at.
What I’m getting at is that when I accepted the position as Director of Marketing for Carter Chevrolet and Mazda of Manchester, a lot of people thought I was out of my mind. They wondered why I would go into the car industry. And truth be told, I may have asked myself what the heck I was thinking before I started.
I assumed I was getting into a business filled with smoke and mirrors. I always dreaded buying a car because I figured everyone was trying to pull one over on me. And a few years ago, that may have been the case.
Turns out the hardest part about my job isn’t trying to figure out how to get people to come into a dealership so they can be fooled into buying a car that they poorly negotiated. It’s helping overcome that stereotype. And to do that….I had to learn a lesson myself.
When I started looking over the numbers for the dealership, I realized that there’s really little to no markup on new vehicles. It didn’t make any sense to me – I thought that when you buy a car, it’s a prerequisite that you learn how to negotiate. The staff at Carter Chevrolet and Mazda of Manchester told me that we almost always sell cars for our invoice price.
Shennanigans! How could that be? I figured they were trying to dupe their latest manager….until they explained it quite simply.
The internet doesn’t let you mark up vehicles like some dealerships may have done years ago. Our stores have to put the best price online….because if we don’t, people will buy their vehicle elsewhere. The internet has done magical things for consumers, giving them a wealth of knowledge from dealer invoice to what a dealership paid for added features.
It’s a difficult message to pass along to people who are conditioned to believe that they’re being fooled into paying too much. Luckily, General Motors is finally starting to realize that.
Started July 10, they’re promoting the heck out of Chevy Confidence. With their new program, they are promoting that the “price you see is the price you pay” and that there’s “no need to negotiate”. They’re also offering a “love it or return it”(read: I’m sexy and I know it) guarantee on 2012 or 2013 Chevrolets. The idea is that if you don’t love it within 60 days, you can return it (under certain reasonable conditions). If you decide to opt out of the guarantee, you get an extra $500 off the purchase.
If I can be candid (at the risk of losing my job!), I have to say that it’s about time Chevy is making a big push to promote what many car dealerships have been doing for years. Letting people know that they’re being given the best possible price – with full transparency – should have been done a long time ago.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that GM happened to release this program at the same time that they’re blowing out their 2012 vehicles. But I will be interested to see how it performs. I’ve seen the amount being paid for used cars climb significantly in this economy, as there’s a greater demand then there has been in years for pre-owned vehicles. Ironically, that’s what’s played such a big role in dropping the price of NEW cars.
I’m glad I didn’t enter into an industry filled with “slimy salespeople” like I assumed I’d find. I actually consider myself blessed to work in a company filled with more honest people than I ever would have expected. Carter of Manchester has promoted itself for more than 70 years as being filled with “Honesty, Integrity, and Value”. I’m happy to see GM supporting that with a similar message.