It is called customer service

MaxPower January 26th, 2009


The news in the auto business has been dire. The Big 3 in North America are asking for bailouts but they aren’t the only ones, all car manufacturers are suffering. No one is pulling the trigger on new cars over the past couple of months. Enough mainstream media reports with the word recession in them and people are stalling major purchases until they can see what 2009 will bring.

In recently quarterly reports, CN and CP rail said that auto trans-shipments across Canada by train were down 70% year over year.

The news doesn’t look good until at least Q3/09.

U.S. sales of cars and light trucks will rebound in 2009 from dismal levels in last year’s fourth quarter, but they still won’t match 2008’s full-year sales, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association predicted Sunday.

And the news is bad for all car dealers, especially the Big 3 but also Honda, Toyota and Nissan. According to the NADA, about 900 dealerships closed last year, largely due to the economy. Another 200 dealerships were opened, the association said.

So let me ask you this. Why do car dealerships remain CLOSED ON SUNDAY? Spare me the tired story about a day of rest, time off for families or other such anachronistic excuses, this is the 21st century, we operate in a 24/7 society. I went to check out a new car with some family members this Sunday, without really thinking the fact through that it was indeed Sunday. We pull up to a Honda dealership and notice a few people peaking in windows of cars outside. It was about -10. Try to open the door, no dice, closed. Driving back home we pass a Toyota dealership and I count 6 (3 couples) of people walking around the lot in the freezing cold looking in windows. Now, if I am running a dealership, the first freaking thing I do is open the lot on Sundays. Close on Monday, or Tuesday, who cares! You can keep service closed on Sunday and open on Monday, they basically run independently of each other anyway. Saturdays are a mad house at many dealerships because it is the only option for many people to actually get out and test drive a car.

It makes absolutely no sense to have dealerships closed on Sundays. People are out, doing errands, and maybe shopping for cars! Bailouts? Ha, open your dealerships on Sundays and maybe we will get somewhere.

Oh and there is this one dealership, I forget which one, I think it is a Toyota, which actually advertises on the radio in Calgary – “we are closed on Sunday so we can spend time with the family and you can spend time with yours”. Screw that, I was spending time with my family… we wanted to go look at cars. If grocery stores and malls and every other store in the city is open on Sunday why not auto dealerships?