The last time I purchased a car was more than 16 years ago.
My aging and creaky red Mercury Tracer had lived a long life, but it was making plenty of noise, sputtering and complaining after just short drives. When I brought the old clunker in for a tuneup or repairs, my mechanic used to shake his head.
I had a limited budget but clearly needed new wheels. At that time, digital car shopping was not part of the equation. Instead, I visited a few dealerships, browsing their used-car options until I found a 10-year-old black Toyota Camry that had been well cared for and updated with necessary replacement parts. Thus began a long process of negotiation and a long afternoon at the salesperson's office. After holding firm to the price I was willing to pay (a few thousand dollars below Kelley Blue Book listed value), we shook hands and I bought my car.
Since then, technology has permeated nearly every part of the car-selling and car-buying process, both on the consumer-facing side and behind the scenes. While there is a long way to go, and some dealerships haven't fully embraced digitization, a lot of game-changing technology is already in place.
This week's newsletter references some of the companies changing the game in small and large ways. They focus on areas including customer experience management software, automation of dealership marketing, dealership management system improvements and more.
It's a work in progress.