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Online Sales for GM EV (Electic models)


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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Online Direct Sales for GM EV's (Plus dealers or not?)

So with Tesla getting 400,000 orders in a bit over a week, should GM start thinking about its EV cars like the Bolt / Volt, and thinking about how many they want to sell, and how the can do those figures?

If people have the same experience as me when I went to a dealer, walked up to the Volt, asked how much, the guy literally ignored my request and asked me to come with him to show me a Cruze, I had to literally stand my ground and said no, I came here for a Volt, not a Cruze, he laughs and said did I want to Test drive a Cruze, I could not believe it. I ended up going home, phone another dealer and bought it over the phone. Did not want to go back to the dealer.

Now my Volt is out of lease, and I own it.

So then no Holden Volts or Bolts are available in Australia in RHD or otherwise, so after decades of driving GM cars, I can no longer buy the GM models I want. I wanted to buy two GM cars, the new Volt, and the new Bolt. So double the sales.

If GM only relies on dealers only for sales of EV's, who for the 95% or so of dealers , actively go all "negative" on EV type customers, that model of sales isn't going to do that well for GM. The main customers are going to be the ones that have to badger the dealer to get one in for them. Disclaimer; there are a few dealers who are active on this forum, and others who are just pro EV, so hat tip to them:)

So I found it quite a relief to just go on over to the Tesla website and order a car. Apparently 400,000 others thought it was easy too.
So, should GM have a meeting with their dealers and say, this existing model of selling GM Ev's through the dealerships can continue, but as a lot of customers are not happy with their EV sales purchase experiences through dealers, then GM is opening up the EV models to both internet sales and also dealer sales. Even auction houses have both , the internet , or " visit the auction room" type sales models nowadays. So two sales models.

I for one, would buy online, and pay the dealer for any work done. The dealer already gets paid for any warranty work done on their products by the dealer, plus any customer "wants " done by the dealer, the dealer profits from.

What would the dealers be upset about, well not the Volt or Bolt.. they aren't even interested in selling those, as is proved many times in this forum .

They would be scared that this might lead to their existing inventory of GM models being offered up as internet sales, so it would be up to GM to let the dealers know that the EV products are well thought of by the customers, but overall sales by dealers have not been that good, so for GM to get a return on investment for their EV models, they are just expanding sales to include those customers that wish to order online.
Orders online , where people are prepared to wait for a new model, as in the Tesla Model 3 success story (from a marketing perspective) would also give GM a better window of future parts ordering / manufacturing, like "we now have 400,000 online orders for this BOLT (name your GM EV model) so we need 400,000 battery packs withing ...years .. commencing on this date .. so many per month for assembly line manufacturing .. more streamlines from Marketing - Manufacturing - End user Delivery.

The existing marketing model is slower.. chew your nails and think how many should we make. .so guess.. then ask dealers to participate.. then wait to see if the dealer wants to actively sell it.. then wait till dealer sells some , then wait till those restocking place orders, then try and guess how many more to make for those dealers that are actually selling, then if the dealers say we don't want any more, the model gets stopped. During this old fashioned approach to sales, the parts suppliers also have to put up with a rather uncertain, last minute rush to produce parts .

So how about , just for GM EV's only, adopt a two pronged Sales Programme.. Dealer and Online.

Attention Mods: I could not correct the spelling of "would" on the last Poll question, could you fix that please? :) (Do not know how to "edit" the Poll.
Also could you change the "Poll Heading" Title to Online Direct Sales for GM EV's (Plus dealer Sales, or not?)
Also .. one more.. :) Poll results, the word in brackets should be "Electric" not Electic
 

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GM has (or had) an online ordering system that would send the final order to your chosen dealer, and lets the dealer complete it.
 

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My greatest hope and dream is that Tesla is able to break the dealership monopoly on selling cars. In many states it is illegal for car manufacturers to do direct sales to customers without letting a dealership wet their beak on the deal. I would much rather go to a GM "store" or Chevy "store" to pick up my new Bolt than have to go to a dealership... direct factory to my door delivery would be going too far, shipping damage is bad to deal with on a new laptop, it would be a nightmare on a new car without a "store" to take delivery and do final inspection before customer pickup.

Keith

PS: The car manufacturers need to pick a state with onerous dealership protection laws and crush it's dealership networks... stop sending them cars and file injunction after injunction after injunction to tie everything up in court until the dealerships cave or go bankrupt.
 

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I think the "GM selling direct" ship sailed many, many decades ago. Now it's state law enforced by deep pocketed dealer associations to the benefit of a hereditary class of business owners/cartel (dealerships are often passed on from generation to generation). That some states now want/try to enforce the dealership model on manufacturers without any dealers shows how bad it is and how entrenched the dealers are.

Even when GM tried to cut loose poorly performing/bad dealers they ran into a buzzsaw of lawsuits. So the most you can hope for is GM passing your "order" to a random local dealer. Might as well pick your own at that point.
 

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GM has (or had) an online ordering system that would send the final order to your chosen dealer, and lets the dealer complete it.
And that dealer gets just as much money for doing virtually nothing on the sale as they would if they worked with a customer for a week setting up a deal.

Keith

PS: If the majority of people on the planet were able to buy a new car and not feel screwed over in the process people would love the dealership system... for some reason people hate it... hmmm, wonder why people hate it?
 

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PS: If the majority of people on the planet were able to buy a new car and not feel screwed over in the process people would love the dealership system... for some reason people hate it... hmmm, wonder why people hate it?
I will say dealerships seem to be getting "better", but there's a lot of history to overcome. I've been getting Internet Pricing before going to the dealership since 2000, and would never go back to haggling. My Chevy dealer knew what I wanted, that the Volt features weren't available, looked before I came in and found that their dealership already had what I wanted on order, and didn't pressure me at all to commit to buying the car we test-drove. Really, it was just a fun drive with the salesman, and we talked a bit. He then showed me where his quote came from, including discounts, and the discounts that wouldn't apply. He then finished up mentioning the private offer on the Website, and that I should check that out as well while I wait for the Volt to come in.

I know this is atypical, but if all dealers worked this way, I'd have no problem walking into the dealership.
 

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I have a distaste for dealerships as well, but I have no reason to believe it would be any better if GM owned some kind of retail network for selling "direct." In fact, it seems like that would take some of the competition out of the equation, which usually means bad news for the consumer. Having multiple dealerships competing for my business and trying to earn my loyalty seems like the least worst case.

And if GM could sell direct alongside the dealership model, I am sure there would be contracts in place that would prevent GM from selling below MSRP, which is the case in other industries, so that would not help matters either.
 

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Well, the Largest Chevrolet Dealer in our area, whom I've bought 3 cars from including a 2016 Chevrolet Volt, will not even respond to an inquiry about the Bolt Ordering Procedure when it becomes available.

But they refused to order me a 2014/5 Camaro as well.

Chevrolet Dealers in my area hate customer orders. Mary Barra needs to fix this. It is broken, and has been since at least 2002.

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All I want is to fill out the order sheet on a GM website, then pick a dealer for delivery. The dealer makes money, Chevrolet makes money, and I get the car I want.

But Chevrolet lacks the management personnel to make it happen. They do not have anyone on the payroll who cares.
 

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I have a distaste for dealerships as well, but I have no reason to believe it would be any better if GM owned some kind of retail network for selling "direct." In fact, it seems like that would take some of the competition out of the equation, which usually means bad news for the consumer. Having multiple dealerships competing for my business and trying to earn my loyalty seems like the least worst case.

And if GM could sell direct alongside the dealership model, I am sure there would be contracts in place that would prevent GM from selling below MSRP, which is the case in other industries, so that would not help matters either.
The only reason there is competition is because you are circumventing the dealerships protectionist "territory" system. They do their best to have dealerships spread out enough that they will not be competing against one another, you bypass that with some research on the internet.

The very idea that dealers have "territories" worked into their legislation they pushed through their state legislatures is so silly in the modern age it just show how out of touch they are with reality. My "local" Mitsubishi dealership was the only Mitsubishi dealership in town, so their attitude was that they can charge what ever they want (over MSRP on new cars, less than bluebook on trade in) and people didn't have a choice. With the handy dandy internet and that new fangled device called a "telephone" I found deals several thousand less on new cars with several thousand more on my trade in. I saved somewhere between 5 and 6 thousand on the last new Mitsubishi I purchased... but they will guard their territory like a pitbull guarding his yard. Stupid out of touch Luddites many of whom are frightened of the internet and terrified of electric cars.

Keith
 

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^ your $5K savings is what I am talking about with competition. If all retail locations were owned by the manufacturer, you would not be able to find that $5K savings. You would get the same price and the same runaround at every location. That does not seem better than the admittedly screwed up dealer system.
 

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^ your $5K savings is what I am talking about with competition. If all retail locations were owned by the manufacturer, you would not be able to find that $5K savings. You would get the same price and the same runaround at every location. That does not seem better than the admittedly screwed up dealer system.
The price is already fixed. What people pay isn't. GM doesn't get a dime more even the dealer screws a customer out of thousands or gives them the best deal ever.
 

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^ your $5K savings is what I am talking about with competition. If all retail locations were owned by the manufacturer, you would not be able to find that $5K savings. You would get the same price and the same runaround at every location. That does not seem better than the admittedly screwed up dealer system.
So, do you think Tesla should be forced to use dealerships to protect us from their intentions to sell the product they manufacture at the price they think it is worth?

One dealership was trying to violate my rectum without lubrication... the other gave me a deal that was "only" a few thousand more than I would have paid if I could have purchased direct from the factory. In other words, the "nice" dealer bought me dinner and warmed me up before lubing up and violating my rectum.

GM already sets the price of the Volt, the Bolt, the Corvette, the Cruz... the price they set is the price that the dealership pays, and they are forbidden by law from passing that price on to the customer via a direct sale. I fail to see how anyone can think having a middle man involved would lower the price of anything.

The price is already fixed. What people pay isn't. GM doesn't get a dime more even the dealer screws a customer out of thousands or gives them the best deal ever.
Exactly correct. And greedy dealerships can really hurt the bottom line of a manufacturer. The most popular Mitsubishi's of the 90's were the AWD turbo Eclipses... but you couldn't purchase one without a dealer markup substantially over MSRP... so the model that would have been the most profitable to the manufacturer only sold in small quantities... so low that they concluded they were not popular and went to a FWD non-turbo format. Weather this was a great choice or a horrible one, it was based on screwed up data from poor sales where the sales were driven down by screwed up greedy dealerships.

We have exactly the same thing happening with Chevy and EV's. The majority of dealerships don't like EV's and will avoid selling them if at all possible. Because of CARB state mandates, GM will produce EV's no matter what the majority of dealerships want... without those CARB mandates the Volt would have failed and the Bolt would never have been considered let alone built due to the non-CARB state dealerships not wanting to sell EV's.

Keith
 

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No, I don't think Tesla should be forced to use dealerships. They should do whatever they want. Free market. I am not promoting the dealership model, just pointing out that the suggested alternative may not be an improvement.

Why do you assume a Chevy without dealerships would sell to the public at wholesale prices? That is not realistic and not what is seen in other industries. Wholesale and retail pricing are different even when the seller is the same entity. The cost of selling thousands of units to a single buyer is not the same as the cost of selling to thousands of buyers.
 

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To operate company dealerships like Tesla does:

You have to buy land, equipment, construction, training, and salaries.

So right now, Tesla is at a disadvantage because capital cost money permanently, and construction costs are single use, initial training is more. I can hire a Nissan Mechanic anywhere in the US with factory training. Tesla has to steal them from ... themselves and spend the money to train them, and hope they are talented. For every X number of employees you train, a fraction end up experts, a chunk are 'usable', and a portion must be let go during paid training or shortly afterwards. It's cheaper to steal them.

It probably cost Tesla more to sell 1 car than it does a large dealership because of these costs, even after the dealership profit. There is competition between Nissan dealers in most states, and a LOT of competition between Chevy dealers.

It is puzzling why Tesla would opt for the vertical integration on dealerships and not the body shops. Apparently the body shops are wildly profitable and the dealerships are not.

Money does not fly out a monkey's butt. There is no magic. There is a parasitic loss of a dealership because they operate on a profit in a competitive market. But that parasitic loss is offset by the high capital costs and startup.

Since Tesla Motors is cash poor, it was not a brilliant piece of planning to opt for Company Dealerships. I bet some even lose money, and unlike a franchise, you cannot just shut them down due to service radius/coverage. You need them whether or not they lose money. Franchises just close. You've seen it.
 

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To operate company dealerships like Tesla does:

You have to buy land, equipment, construction, training, and salaries.

So right now, Tesla is at a disadvantage because capital cost money permanently, and construction costs are single use, initial training is more. I can hire a Nissan Mechanic anywhere in the US with factory training. Tesla has to steal them from ... themselves and spend the money to train them, and hope they are talented. For every X number of employees you train, a fraction end up experts, a chunk are 'usable', and a portion must be let go during paid training or shortly afterwards. It's cheaper to steal them.
That's really just a general EV volume issue and it's exactly why there are so many dealerships that don't want to bother with Volts. And, as many here have experienced, even where there's a dealership tech, they often have to contact the company to get help.

It probably cost Tesla more to sell 1 car than it does a large dealership because of these costs, even after the dealership profit. There is competition between Nissan dealers in most states, and a LOT of competition between Chevy dealers.
No, it doesn't cost Tesla much to sell cars at all. But it probably adds to servicing costs.

It is puzzling why Tesla would opt for the vertical integration on dealerships and not the body shops. Apparently the body shops are wildly profitable and the dealerships are not.
The body shops aren't vertically integrated, but the servicing is.

Money does not fly out a monkey's butt. There is no magic. There is a parasitic loss of a dealership because they operate on a profit in a competitive market. But that parasitic loss is offset by the high capital costs and startup.

Since Tesla Motors is cash poor, it was not a brilliant piece of planning to opt for Company Dealerships. I bet some even lose money, and unlike a franchise, you cannot just shut them down due to service radius/coverage. You need them whether or not they lose money. Franchises just close. You've seen it.
You seem not to understand how Tesla is structured.

Stores/galleries: get information from staff; take test drives at stores
Online: reserve/purchase (you can do this in a store on one of the tablets); finance
Service centers: vehicle preparation and collection; repair; servicing

Tesla recognizes that sales and service have different needs and shouldn't be in the same place, and recognizes that there are large cost savings to be had in reducing the sales footprint, reducing unsold inventory, centralizing finance and moving it online, and separating service locations from sales locations.

There are a _few_ places where they have a combination store-service center with CPO inventory.

In some states Tesla has service centers, but can't have stores. In Michigan Tesla cannot have stores or service centers, but has applied to be dealer so that it can bring a legal challenge. I think that Tesla's key aim will be to force a change of law on service centers.

There are also some independent certified body shops that repair body work. They do not repair the vehicle systems.
 

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A dealership is a dealership. Changing ownership does not make the costs change.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Finding the stats on the Poll interesting.. did not think many would vote for "keep it only for dealers" as a sales model.
Regardless of state / country/ laws, the poll was put up to gauge what the actual public want. That's quite often what shapes the future, more so than current restrictions.. what people want changes the current thinking, albeit "down the track" .
I think GM needs to do more to encourage sales both ways .. on the net, as well as their dealerships. If they cant make it work at present, they need to find a way to make that happen. If they don't find a way, others will.
 

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A dealership is a dealership. Changing ownership does not make the costs change.
Yes and No. The basic infrastructure is still required. However, inventory management at franchised dealerships is CRAZY inefficient. Dealerships must purchase acres and acres of prime real estate for the lots. Those giant lots require paving, lighting, and maintenance. Then dozens of independent dealerships in the same town are required to purchase redundant inventory and carry the note on millions of dollars of inventory.

In a more carefully managed centralized model (like Tesla does or the Europeans do) that inventory is held in common in a central location in a lower cost/acre manufacturer lot. Redundancy is reduced, JIT lowers financing costs, and the retail shop density is more closely managed to remove overlap or gaps as often happens in the franchised model.

Just the reduction in real estate and inventory would lower cost considerably -- even if the sales office, sales staff, service staff, and other services are still duplicated.
 

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I'd just like something close to flat fee pricing. No reason to have to haggle so much. I would never pre-reserve a car from GM because my assumption would be they would not discount like they would later.
 
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