CarsGuide has done a very interesting article on the demise of the motor dealer as we know them today. Journalist Stephen Oatley reports
"Dealers will be gone eventually; it's just whether it's five, 10 or 15 years from now."
That's the view of one car company insider, who believes the days of car dealers are numbered, as we are currently in the middle of a revolution that threatens to fundamentally change the way we buy cars in Australia.
It has been going on in the background for years now, and after some tentative steps from one side, to see how the other would react, we are now faced with the potential for widespread change.
But in order to understand how it works fully, let's just take a quick refresher on how cars have traditionally been sold in Australia - the so-called 'Dealership Model'. This method is what you are probably all familiar with, your local car showroom will have a variety of stock, either on the showroom floor or in a yard.
This stock is bought from the car manufacturer, so the dealer is effectively a middle-man, facilitating the customers sales process and servicing of the vehicles.
You, the customer, can take a test drive and ask questions of the dealership staff. If you decide to buy the car, the dealer will want to sell you the car they have in stock.
The agency model is completely different, with the car company itself owning all the stock and holding it in strategically placed holding yards around the country.
Under this system, the dealership effectively becomes a venue for hosting test drives and deliveries.
Under the agency model, the actual purchasing of the new car is done online, with a centralised, carmaker-run website able to show customers around the country whatever stock is available.
The key selling point here is that because the carmaker has control of all supply, it's able to set a single price. That means there's no haggling for a better deal - which some consumers will be disappointed by - but it also means transparency and stops individual dealers marking up the price of supply-constrained models."
Tesla has always sold cars in this fashion, while Honda moved to the model in 2021 and Mercedes joined them at the beginning of 2022.
But surely car dealers future is assured because of the super strong second hand car market. Not everybody can afford or wishes to buy a new car?? Maybe the car dealer as we know it may have to be reborn and reformatted.
The one certainty in the motoring world is, nothing ever stays the same.
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