The car buying experience is changing long-term and it could mean less time at dealerships in the future.
Car industry experts say the pandemic has changed the industry.
“Consumers are going to expect home delivery,” said Ian Isch, executive director of sales development at Edmunds. Tthey're going to expect to get their transparent pricing and what their cars worth in the driveway right now from the dealership. They're going to expect quick text messages back they're going to expect video Facetime type things they're going to expect these different realities that came because of the pandemic in the future.”
Tesla shifted before the pandemic to selling cars entirely online.
Now Ford is expected to release new rules soon for how it will sell electric cars. Executives with the company hinted at selling electric cars online only at nonnegotiable prices, and not keeping a large inventory at dealerships.
They say dealerships would still be important, but they would be more specialized.
“Dealerships have been transitioning into that specialized model already,” Isch said. “However, in the future, they're going to continue to deliver that experience if they don't have to have as many cars on their lot. They don't have to have the yellow one the orange one the purple one, the green one, they can focus more on the education process and be very tailored to what you need on the online buying side.”
Isch said in his experience working with dealerships, he does not see them going away totally. He expects the car buying process to be more hybrid with shopping for your car online and then seeing it at the dealership.
Isch said he has heard from customers that they feel less pressure in the process this way. Not having extra cars on the lot can also save dealerships money on things like insurance.