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AoA and their evil band of trolls (dealers) continually amaze me . . .
They ONLY want to sell new cars - preferably cars with warranties. If your
Audi is more than a very few years old and/or out of warranty, they don't
want to know you.
Now I *know* I will be corrected if I am way off base, but this is how it
appears to me:
Selling a new car is a slim-profit, high overhead business. Dealers must
haggle endlessly with sharp, persistent customers who (in many cases
justifiably) hate and mistrust them, and they need to hire assh*ole sales
droids to do it for them. Once they have the car sold, they get to fix all
sorts of PITA little (and big) problems for the customer for free, and then
they have to bill the factory for it, and get paid later - sometimes much
However . . . there are many, many more used Audis out there than new
Audis. All these used Audis could be a captive market for many parts, and
could also make a decent service department a PILE of money, because as we
all know, all older Audis ALWAYS have at least three "maintenance issues"
active at any given time. They also can get paid immediately for
When someone goes to the showroom to buy a new car, if the sales droid
annoys them enough, they'll go somewhere else or even (gasp!) buy a Buick
instead. New car prospects are NOT "tied" to any particular make - once
they are OWNERS, however, the parts pushers pretty much have them locked in
- the Buick dealer may be the nicest guy in the world, but he won't have
parts for your Audi.
Now: Just suppose we had an Audi dealer with the following mind-set -
1. New car sales are regarded as "seeding" the market for eventual
out-of-warranty parts and service sales. As such, profits from the sales
department don't need to be extremely high (and they aren't anyway). We can
also dispense with most of the sales droids and the fancy expensive
showroom - if we give people a REAL DEAL, they won't care too much about
the fancy showroom anyway.
2. Parts prices should be at least within shouting distance of reasonable,
especially for older cars (which take more parts anyway). A car that is
junked because the owner decided it wasn't worth putting an $1,100 steering
rack into it is a car that will NEVER AGAIN generate any more parts or
service revenue for the dealers or for AoA or Audi/Germany. Keep the older
cars on the road! They always need parts, and it also keeps the resale
value up, which keeps the value of the new cars up and makes them easier to
3. Dealers should offer service seminars! This will have a number of
results. First, attendees will realize that the service department actually
knows something about their car (or prove that they don't). It will help
the owner decide if he wants to do job X himself (buying the parts from the
dealer), or if he'd prefer the dealer do the whole job (buying parts and
labor from the dealer), or if he starts it and screws it up, then he pays
the dealer to finish the job.
Here's a matrix for you:
Finicky, undependable cars plus lousy dealer support: out of business (FIAT
Quirky, undependable performance cars plus lousy dealer support: Poor
resale value, mostly "enthusiast" owners (Audi), "bunker" mentality of
dealers (them against us). Porsche did this a few years ago and almost lost
their entire US market - the new word to the dealers is to speak to
worshippers and actually let them into the showroom sometimes!
Fairly good cars plus strong dealer support: Strong sales and strong buyer
loyalty (Lexus) - "partnership"
If you treat the customer as a partner instead of an opponent EVERYONE
wins!!!!! If you regard your customers as victims and idiots and pains in
the butt, eventually you won't have any more old customers, and will have
to advertise heavily and expensively to attract new ones. Marketing 101 -
your EXISTING customers are your BEST customers.
Anyone listening at AoA??????