ALAN STARLING, Chairman, Automotive Retailing Today, Washington. The writer also is president of Holiday Chevrolet in St. Cloud, Fla., and was 2003 chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
To the Editor:
The Feb. 6 column "Fixed-price selling: Its time has come" is singing an old song that is out of tune with today's auto retail marketplace. It seems that Samuel Harrison Chorches has based his entire case on surveys that were made in 1992 and 1999. I think the statute of limitations has expired on those surveys.
The 21st century car buyers are sophisticated in their use of the Internet. They research everything from vehicle features to pricing, options and performance. That enables today's buyers to feel confident and to make informed decisions about vehicles, financing options and their choice of dealership.
That confidence is reflected in Automotive Retailing Today's biennial surveys of vehicle purchasers. In fact, a 2004 survey by Harris Interactive for Automotive Retailing Today reports that customer satisfaction exceeded 91 percent with 81 percent saying they would return to the same dealership for the next purchase. That doesn't sound like they're agitated to me.
Car buyers tell us what they like and don't like every time they make a purchase -- from the vehicle they buy to the dealership they choose. Vehicle sales continue to be robust, and those numbers send the clearest message of all.