Do You Like The Current Dealership Franchise System? Or Should We Follow The Musk Philosophy?

Earl Brown
yes, I know it is spelled Ziegler....and that I doubled down on the misspelling. lol
Brian Miller
Earl, You pose a great question, and I think the answer is "yes". We live in a multi-segmented world, driven by each customer's unique desires and expectations. I'll use the example of buying a new MAC Pro. This is a rather large purchase in the thousands of dollars and is a good comparison to the purchase of a vehicle. I have many ways to make this purchase depending on the demographic. I could opt to by the whole thing via the MAC website....but I want to smell and feel it first, as I've had my current one for 5 years. So I will likely go with the retail option instead, by choice mind you. I could go to Best Buy, or Micro Center and compare my MAC Pro to other machines, but in the end my questions will not be answered well. If I was purely price driven customer, these stores will do the job just fine (if I was really cash strapped I could even go to one of those used computer sores and by a pre-owned MAC Pro). Then there is the concern of service, sure it's under warranty, but the guys at the Geek Squad basically "Suck on Ice" when it comes to working on MACs. These stores do sell quite a few MAC every year to a certain demographic, but not mine. I am brand loyal, and have come to expect a certain level of expert knowledge, that only an Apple store (a franchised dealer if you will) can provide. I use my MAC pro upwards of 80hrs a week and my livelihood depends on it doing everything I need it to do with minimal down time. When it comes to warranty work, replacement parts, accessories, maintenance etc, the Apples store is the only place I can go with complete trust in the job being done right. Bottom line my answer is "Yes", all of the options you presented are appealing to me as they all cater to a different demographic. The good news is that the more expensive an item is, the larger the share of customers will think like I do about my MAC. They expect the manufacture to back their product with a face to face experience...and that face will always be the local franchise dealer.
Earl Brown
very well put Brian! Love that you related your own personal consumer preferences. The "face to face experience" will ALWAYS be necessary for me as well on big-ticket items especially...but, there are people buying homes and cars online TODAY sight-unseen. I just hope that most consumers are and will continue to STAY like you and I...because as soon as consumers stop demanding that face to face experience....I think the whole industry gets turned upside down
Mark Dubis
I am a fan of the new car franchise system. It has evolved and improved over the years and provides a valuable service to the OEMs, to consumers and to the local communities that depend upon local dealers to support charity programs and softball teams, etc. With thousands of parts, and warranty repairs done at local dealers, consumers would suffer greatly from a service perspective if they could not get repairs completed by competent technicians in a timely and professional fashion. Until they build cars that never breakdown we will always have a franchise system to provide the level of service that consumers demand.
Earl Brown
I sure hope so Mark, the day we switch over to the E-Bay model is the day I move to Europe or Canada to sell cars! lol
Christopher Murray
The CarMax or Wal Mart business model removes product and process knowledge for the brand! Perhaps the Franchise System is a bit "long in the tooth" and most certainly is headed to a major overhaul or even elimination so we, Franchised Dealers, need to look out beyond that point. "Since everyone is trying to put you, the Franchised Dealer, out of business from the customer all the way down to the Factory why not put yourself out of business first?" I heard that years ago fro the author of the Peter's Principle. His philosophy, at least back then, was to be in control of emerging from certain Armageddon within the Franchise System, which he predicted in 1998, and be in control of how you emerge and what you will look like as a business model. Act do not react. CarMax, et al, are nothing but giant versions of you! Really, examine it and you still see an organization that warehouses inventory, advertises, wholesales and retails, one car at a time to one customer at a time! That is what we do, is it not? If you focus too much on a future that you cannot control or influence what, then, is happening to your business today?

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