What Is A “Good” Car Dealership?

Being in the retail automobile business for over 17 years, I worked for a number of dealers  Some were good and some not so good.  The following article will spell out, in detail, what makes a car dealership a “good” dealer.  These are the dealers you should go to when buying your next car.

(1) Reputation

The most important factor in determining a “good” car dealer is their reputation.  The best car dealers are those that have been operating for many years.  Longevity is a sure-fire sign that the dealer is doing many things correctly, such as customer service, fair pricing, and well-trained dealer personnel.

(2) Good Service Department and Good After-Sale Service

A good service department has well trained service writers.  The service writers are very important because they are the first people that you see when entering the service department.  They must be “good with people.”  If you are a repeat customer they, inevitably, know your name and your vehicle.  They listen to their customers and write down what their customers ask them to do.  They recommend services that will keep your car running properly.  They do not try to force people into buying services that are not necessary or can be postponed.  A good portion of a dealer’s service business is “after-sale” service, which is the servicing of a new car recently purchased at the dealership or elsewhere.

Good service departments have factory trained and certified technicians.

How a service department treats their customers and how they service your car is a very important element in the dealer’s success.  A successful dealership must have a good service department.

(3) A Well-Trained Sales Staff

A successful dealer usually has a majority of its sales people long tenured.  These sales people are a vital “cog-in-the-wheel” of a good, established dealership.  The mere fact that they have been there for a long time means that they are “customer friendly.”  They are knowledgeable about the product and they help guide customers to purchase cars.  A good sales staff is instrumental in the success of the dealership.  Because they sell a high volume of cars and treat their customers well, many of these sales people have many customers coming back to buy cars after the initial purchase.  These customers recommend their family and friends who, in turn, continue to make recommendations.  A good sales staff is invaluable in building customer loyalty.

(4) All Used Vehicles Are Checked Before Being Put Out On The Lot For Sale

A service department that comprehensively checks out all used vehicles using a thorough inspection plan.  Many dealers have a 120 point to 160 point inspection program.

(5) Used Cars That Have Service History and Car Faxes

(6) Certified Used Car Program

A certified car is a low mileage, one, two, or three year old model that has a “certified” warranty, usually 7 years or 100,000 miles.

*Limited Powertrain warranties from the date sold when new

(7) Have Many Low-Mileage And Certified Cars To Choose From

(8) Have A Large Stock of New Cars and Trucks To Choose From

(9) Added Value Offers:

A.  Offer an exchange policy on used cars

B. Offer free oil changes for a defined period of time.

C. Offer free car washes for a defined period of time.

D. Offer free loaner cars and shuttle service.

(10) Accomodating Hours of Operation

Sales:     7 days a week, 4 nights per week, Sundays

Service: 6 days per week and 4 nights per week

(11) Competitive Pricing Of New And Used Cars

A dealer must be competitive with their prices as an automobile is a large expenditure that is not made every day, but usually every 4 to 6 years.

A large internet sales department.  Internet purchasing represents a sizable chunk of dealer sales.

(12) A High Better Business Bureau Rating

(13) Positive Dealer Reviews On The Internet

In this article I have laid out the most important factors that constitute a “good” car dealership.  So, in summary, a “good” car dealership is:

(1) A dealer that has an excellent reputation and has been in business for many years

(2) A dealer that has an excellent sales and service department

(3) A dealer that has a large inventory of cars

(4) A dealer that offers “competitive” prices on all their vehicles

(5) A dealer that has many “added value offers” such as free loaner cars and free oil changes.

So, do your homework.  Be prepared and study the guidelines above.  Go to a “good” car dealership when buying your next car or truck.


Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com and Vividracing.com.

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