Why are car showrooms open during the daytime?

Thanks to Telstar Logistics for the image above

I was recently considering leasing a new company car and hence I visited several main dealer show rooms to crawl around and test drive my short listed vehicles. I visited a couple of showrooms at lunchtime and others either at the weekend or after work. I couldn’t fathom out why on Earth it was near impossible to arrange a test drive for the times I (as a potential customer) could easily fit around my work commitments.

Upon a couple of occasions I took time out of work to visit a dealership during the daytime (in the week) and found the place full of staff and almost empty of customers.

Like many of you I’d researched my vehicle options by reading both reviews and specifications on the vendors websites – all I needed from the showrooms was the opportunity to explore the physical aspects of each and to drive them – the staff in the showrooms added very little value.

From where I’m sat it seems that the way car showrooms (in the UK at least) operate is a hangover from their past and if they were invented from scratch today the entire focus of the service provided would be would be to make it as easy and appealing as possible to select vehicles based on their physical characteristics and driving experience.

Surely dealerships should cater for test drives in the evenings and during the day on both Sundays and Saturdays – currently they’re closed soon after normal working hours and only have a skeleton staff on Sundays.

I wonder how many businesses are long over due for significant re-engineering of the way they interact with prospective customers – making the most of the opportunities provided by the Internet and social media.

Estate agencies face similar challenges and opportunities to re-invent themselves.

BTW: I can’t see a Cadillac being a sensible choice for me in the UK – I just liked the picture 🙂 In the end I purchased a second hand car.

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4 responses to “Why are car showrooms open during the daytime?

  1. About 7 years ago, I worked for a software house that is a sister company to one of the major UK dealership franchises.

    Two of the conclusions drawn from the data we gathered from all the different franchises we worked with was that (a) Sunday had the highest flow of potential customers; and (b) was the highest grossing day of the week.

    If any day of the week was a all-hands-on-deck day, it was Sunday. I wouldn’t have thought that pattern would changed that much.

  2. to quote PJ O’Rourke
    ‘There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women.
    Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible’

  3. It’s because they are independent, albeit badged by manufacturer, each operates as it’s own profit centre, so relying on mr and mrs smith if they still exist, you as a company lessor were very unlikley to buy be supplied from that dealer you were visiting, so unlikely they would embrace you, as underpaid c and a suited car salesman still need to earn..even if just peanuts, use of fuel, mileage depreciation on a demonstartor etc, all costs, you’re right the whole supply chain,as a customercentric xperience needs to change, in my humble opinion..invest 5m and areturn of 1 percent owning a dealer franchise, does’nt sound that appealing…and with the new added bonus of the manufacturer, not honouring any warranty claims that you’ve honoured as they go bust…all the more risk…, yep has to change..and will have to be owned by the manufacturer, as attempted by mercedes, and one or two others…but will take time..imho

    • Dear Kelvin,
      Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and interesting comment.

      Best Regards,

      Steve

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