Asbury Automotive Group Inc. has expanded a no-haggle sales pilot program, which it launched in 2011, to a third market.
The nation's seventh-largest dealership group launched its Asbury Preferred Selling model at Princeton Mini in Princeton, N.J., on June 1, COO Michael Kearney said. It's Asbury's fifth store out of 79 to switch to the approach. But with the sales force transition still in progress, it's too early to see results yet at the Princeton dealership, he said.
"It is a different approach," Kearney told Automotive News. "We recruit differently, and we hire a little bit different individual, so it takes a while to get them in, get them trained and get everybody on board. And it's a different kind of pay plan."
Asbury Preferred Selling began in 2011 at Acura, BMW and BMW-Mini stores in Richmond, Va., and expanded in 2012 to a BMW store in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, Ga. Under the program, sales associates are called product specialists. There are no sales commissions. They are paid a salary, plus bonuses that are based on customer satisfaction, owner loyalty and retention.
Vehicle prices are firm, though they are adjusted on a regular basis to keep pace with availability and prices seen elsewhere in the market. Asbury doesn't consider it a strict one-price model.
Kearney anticipates getting feedback from the Princeton pilot by this fall.
So far, the pilot continues to work well at the three stores in Richmond and the store near Atlanta, Kearney said, though he declined to disclose details.
"We're getting better at it," he said.
Asbury will continue to expand the approach. Asbury Preferred Selling will be piloted at a mass-market brand store sometime soon, Kearney said. He wouldn't disclose where or when.
The major factor in deciding where to roll out the pilot is the store's general manager.
"It's a very different process from a customer perspective," Kearney said. "So it's one where you want to have the individual running that store to understand how it's going to be and understand the effect it's going to have on that organization."