I have followed with interest the saga of dealers bashing J.D. Power for his remarks about the automobile sales business. As a consumer with absolutely no ax to grind (I'm a new-product development manager for an automotive aftermarket company), I feel obliged to comment.
As witnessed by Charles Altman's Jan. 26 letter, I feel dealers are missing the point. I don't know (or care) whether J.D. Power's information should be purchased or pilloried, but I believe his notion that the dealership/automotive distribution industry needs fixing is real and valid.
I don't have statistics, but I would bet that 90 percent of the car-buying public would agree. For the end customer, the process of purchasing a vehicle is right up there in popularity with tooth extraction.
I buy and sell one vehicle a year on average and though I am knowledgeable about both product and the automotive business, I still dislike the process. I can count on the fingers of one hand the dealers I trust even after 41 years as a consumer.
Maybe J.D. Power said it wrong or was the wrong person to say it, but the truth remains. The vast number of customers don't like the process and don't trust dealers. We buy vehicles out of personal need/want and, unfortunately, do it through an antiquated, layered system that almost no one but the dealers likes because it's the only way available.
As for all the indignant letters, perhaps Power struck too close to home, or, quoting Shakespeare, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."