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Old 11th May 2016, 16:15   #1
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Default No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

For most of us, the best day of the week happens to be on a Sunday. Take a day out, spend time with friends and family, recover from Saturday parties, or even just to relax and do nothing in preparation of the extra work in store for Mondays.

When it comes to test driving cars and window shopping through all probable contenders within our budget - Yes, you guessed it - I prefer to do it on Sundays. Less traffic inside city limits, better test drive experiences than being caught up at signals one after the other, no work schedules to distract and easier to take family along for the big decisions too.

What really gets my goat is that none of the automobile manufacturers seem interested in selling you a car on this particular day of the week. Closed showrooms, negative replies for TD requests, understaffed showrooms, A/C switched off, printed materials locked away in compartments - these are common in various showroom irrespective of the brand if you visit them on a Sunday.

I did that last Sunday as well, and got the below responses from various showrooms. Not mentioning the dealer names and locations as that is irrelevant and I do not want the manufacturers to pin point only one single dealer in case they wish to bring in some change (hopefully positive).

1. Maruti Suzuki (Vitara Brezza)- 'Sir, the TD car went for an event (at some apartment complex) and is currently unavailable for a test drive'.
2. Honda (BRV, Jazz) - 'Sir, we'll call you back during weekdays and confirm the TD schedule'

3. Toyota (Innova Crysta) - 'Sir, we only have one staff today. Please wait (for 30 mins) in our crowded, non -AC (switched off on Sunday) showroom so that we can take you (Three customers waiting) for a test drive one after the other!' (This showroom is the best on weekdays though!)

4. Suzuki NEXA (Baleno, SCross) - 'Sir, no test drives available on Sundays. Can i call you back during weekdays?'
5. TATA (Tiago) - 'Sir, Sundays we do provide test drives, but we close TDs early and only showroom is open now with minimal staff. Will arrange for a test drive tomorrow or whenever convenient for you'


And all this, inside Bangalore City limits! Can't imagine the state in most of the smaller cities and towns. I would be surprised if the showrooms are open there, forget test drive cars being readily available. Gone are the days when the only film (and cartoons) available on Doordarshan used to play on Sundays and people used to stick to their houses to watch the shows.

So why our automobile companies are shying away from improving the sales experience on Sundays?

Some of the reasons that I could think of -

1. Less sales- Currently our manufacturers might not be doing enough numbers so as to justify having enough sales people to be available on Sundays. But I think it has got to do with the fact that people are used to showrooms being closed on Sundays ever since they remember. I believe more and more people will flock to the showrooms on Sundays provided the manufacturers take adequate interest in promoting such days with test drive programs, booking offers etc.

2. Weekend special drives- Dealers use weekends to target a wider audience, mostly by displaying the cars at shopping malls and apartments. And I agree that this gets them good visibility as compared to parking the car in the showroom on a Sunday. But my opinion is that both should go hand in hand.

For example- I have quoted my Toyota experience above. On normal weekdays, the sales and service experience in that particular showroom is in itself good enough to make people buy their cars, but on a Sunday it was just the polar opposite experience. With the a/c switched off, the showroom was hot. Moreover multiple customers were already in line for the test drives, and the one lady staff present was struggling to manage all these tasks and also publicly swearing at the (inefficient) drivers who were taking the customers for test drives. If I were to visit the showroom for the first time to purchase a 26L Innova, I would have looked elsewhere.

3. Unavailability of experienced staff - No one wants to work on a Sunday. Trust me, I've been working on weekends ever since I started my career and it has never given me any happiness. But that said, someone has to do it. If not me, another person will.

Manufacturers and their dealers would need to come up with alternatives and incentives to overcome this scenerio. Rotational shifts, weekend allowances etc are a few thoughts that come to my mind. Of course, all this till the sales volumes pick up as compared to regular working days.

4. Maintenance activities- Coming from an IT support perspective, I'm pretty sure that the support softwares used by dealerships could be having maintenance schedules and outages over the weekend, especially on Sundays. They also would need to carry out other showroom maintenance tasks like minor alterations, a/c system maintenance etc on weekends as well. So opening the showroom on Sundays might pose a bigger challenge, but none that other industries haven't overcome already in their quest for more sales and a better customer experience.

5. Increased focus on delivering services directly to home- Customers (especially from the premium segment) expect the cars to be made available at their home, rather than having to drive down to the showrooms. Which also affords them more convenience to take up these tasks on a weekday as well. Net result would be less interest in having a working showroom on weekends. However, I see this trend is mainly limited to high value less volume transactions like premium car sales. The sub-20L segment still witnesses a major chunk of sales from showroom footfalls.


Ten years ago, most of the shops in a small town used to be closed on Sundays. The practice is limited to only few sectors like the automobile industry for now.

Hopefully someone with a good working experience of running a dealership could comment on the actual issues being faced by the industry. And hoping other members have a similar thought process as mine- and would like to visit showrooms on Sundays as well.

I already have my plan set for the next weekend- Go early to the TATA showroom, and ditch the Maruti dealer mentioned earlier for another one nearby who seems to have a test drive car ready for weekends as well. And forget about the other two 'no Sunday' brands for now.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 12th May 2016 at 10:57.
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Old 12th May 2016, 11:13   #2
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

You hit the nail on the head, Crazy Driver! Superb points.

Sunday is the best day for retail. That's the day of the week everyone has free time on (doesn't apply to Saturdays). Go check out any mall and you'll see how they beef up staff & procedures for Sundays. I started my career in the Plywood business and Sundays were the busiest due to traffic from home owners (our weekly off, oddly, was on Monday!). I have a friend in the property business and his team is always selling homes on Sundays. That's his busiest day of the week.

You'd think car dealerships would put their best foot forward on Sundays. However, except for a rare positive experience here & there, you'll mostly see sleepy, uninterested salesmen in an under-staffed showroom.

I understand no one would want to work the Sunday shift, but it could be easily solved by rotation.

Last edited by GTO : 12th May 2016 at 12:12. Reason: Adding point
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Old 12th May 2016, 11:29   #3
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

It has been the across brands. Sundays they have skeletal staffing and the ones on the job would not be interested to do anything but spend the day in the confines of the sales office. Lame reasons come out when asked for test drives such as puncture, no fuel, test drive vehicle has gone for service, out for an event and what not.

Not everyone would want to buy or check out things on weekdays. Retail sale can certainly happen on a Sunday too. I think its more to do with the dealership on how it operates than the Manufacturer control on the Sundays.
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Old 12th May 2016, 11:31   #4
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Excellent post.

Most car dealerships stay closed on Sundays because of the lack of availability of experienced sales staff. The ones that are available are usually very disinterested in making sales pitches because they cannot wait till lunchtime when they can pack their bags and go home to enjoy evening outings with their families, or to honour their domestic commitments.

But, the same dealerships are open full-time on Sundays all through the FY-ending months such as February & March. Yes, sales are more in these months, but then the commitments from the dealerships to the customers to provide sales pitches and car deliveries are also more.

What dealerships need to do is to make a dedicated team who can operate on weekends with the same zeal and enthusiasm as the ones who work weekdays. Maybe club a sales team together for working Saturdays and Sundays and give them a couple days' off from the other weekdays, and ensure proper publicity and media attention that they are OPEN on Sundays as well.

This is one area where I see my local Maruti-Suzuki dealerships excel. They are usually open on the last Sundays of every month, highlight this through proper advertisements/brochures in the newspapers, and pick up some sales as well. No other car company dealership in my area bothers about Sundays, sadly.

Another good idea would be to identify a day (usually Mondays, since most of the working class is busy on a Monday) to give the dealership a complete holiday (the Service Center can remain open and usually is). That way the sales people won't feel too fatigued for working through Tuesdays till Sundays.

I absolutely agree that weekend crowds can result in more sales than normal weekdays. Car buying is usually a joint decision by the entire family, and what better way than to spend some quality time with your loved ones and taking their opinions on your favourite shortlisted car(s) for a future buy.

It's about time car dealerships woke up to this fact and did something about this. If anyone will read this thread and start being pro-active about this suggestion, be sure that it will be the Maruti dealerships first.

Last edited by RavenAvi : 12th May 2016 at 11:46.
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Old 12th May 2016, 11:49   #5
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Our mind is trained to think Sunday is a holiday. Its a day you want to do something you like. That includes watching TV or catching a movie. Having someone work on a Sunday irrespective of what the industry is, is such a demotivating experience. And mechanically mind is set to start getting things ready for week forward.

For folks living with parents and support it may not seem big but for those who are living with their spouse and children alone start their monday on Sunday afternoon including some cooking.

As a buyer i would never go visit a car showroom on sunday and i prefer doing that on a Friday or Saturday to have a day of rest or reboot before the boring week starts.
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Old 12th May 2016, 13:45   #6
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

The disinterest shown by sales folks could also be because
1. They are overworked and are simply tired.
2. They are meeting their targets without the Sunday deals
3. The product does not sell much and no pointing in wasting a Sunday over it!

Last edited by Venkatesh.C : 12th May 2016 at 13:45. Reason: Added details
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Old 12th May 2016, 13:59   #7
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

My personal Sunday experience with NEXA was quite disappointing. While the showroom itself was open, I don't think they actually managed to drum up much business on that day.

I had already decided to buy the S-Cross, wife just wanted another look at the car (and possibly a short test drive). On a Sunday afternoon, around 4pm, we went to our favourite chaat joint - which happens to be bang opposite the NEXA showroom. After we had our fill of yummy chaat, seeing that the showroom was open, we walked in.

None of the regular RMs were present. The sales folks who were there were all in "mufti" - wearing regular street clothes and not the light grey suit. All manner of people were wandering through, poking and prodding at the display cars. None of the so-called customers appeared serious, they were all in a "wander through the mall" kind of mood. It looked like organised chaos.

So, we also poked around the display car. Nobody approached us or asked us what we were interested in. No TD.

I think the showroom was kept open just to allow people to "have a look", and any sales staff were there only to take details if someone evinced interest, and keep the kids from destroying the display cars.
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:09   #8
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

I remember reading somewhere (or hearing about this from someone) that Sunday crowd at automotive showrooms are casual visitors and the %age sales vs footfalls is not worthwhile.

When I think of it, I tend to agree to the above point. A serious buyer will visit the showroom even on a weekday because he has a need. A time-pass / casual visitor will just go by to the car showroom on a Sunday, tagging along family & friends, just because he wants to check out a car as part of his weekend outing.
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:30   #9
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Spot on Crazy Driver, I totally agree with you.

I think Sundays are a great day since people are relatively free and the whole family can come visit the showroom and get a TD. Pity most manufacturers are not able to convert this opportunity to more sales due to their lack of preparedness on a Sunday.

I walked into a leading Maruti showroom on a Sunday at 4pm and wanted to TD a car, but the guy was just not willing. And this from a Showroom that I have patronized earlier. The regular guys are usually on leave on Sunday and the juniors fill in for them. They dont really care about sales and are just clocking time.

In case the manufacturers believe that most of the Sunday crowd is wasting their time, then shut the stores and save everyones time and effort. No point in keeping the lights on but not providing any services.
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:38   #10
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

A very good post.

I am inclined to agree with GTO.

The importance of Sunday for car sales, is very significant.
We need to find time to understand what we are buying, and most people preer to involve most if not all member of the family. Sunday is the one day one can coordinate the same.

A bulk of companies and MNCs have made it policy that some people must come on Sunday and take a different day as their weekly offs.

This effect is yet to trickle down to dealerships. Especially in this day and age, it's rather sad.
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:41   #11
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post

When it comes to test driving cars and window shopping through all probable contenders within our budget - Yes, you guessed it - I prefer to do it on Sundays.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Sunday is the best day for retail. That's the day of the week everyone has free time on (doesn't apply to Saturdays).

I understand no one would want to work the Sunday shift, but it could be easily solved by rotation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Sundays they have skeletal staffing and the ones on the job would not be interested to do anything but spend the day in the confines of the sales office.
I agree it is prevalent across all industries, but I had a different experience.

When I went to buy Z800 from Kawasaki Cochin, they were ready to give TD any time and also on sunday too.

What the heck, I got the delivery on Sunday as per my insistence. I believe moderator "Mobike" also got his Versys delivery on Sunday.
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:45   #12
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by null View Post
I remember reading somewhere (or hearing about this from someone) that Sunday crowd at automotive showrooms are casual visitors and the %age sales vs footfalls is not worthwhile.

When I think of it, I tend to agree to the above point. A serious buyer will visit the showroom even on a weekday because he has a need. A time-pass / casual visitor will just go by to the car showroom on a Sunday, tagging along family & friends, just because he wants to check out a car as part of his weekend outing.
How true!
Those who actually want a car, will try to find some time in the evenings or during lunch breaks. Or even better, the salesmen will come to the place on call with the car for TD. You don't actually have to take a leave or permission to look at a car.
When I booked my car, I did most of the discussions on my phone, and the only time I visited the showroom was to pay the advance (Rs.1000!), and this was done immediately after my TD. For TD, the SA came to pick me up on a Saturday. The next time I went to the showroom was to take the delivery only.

If the showrooms are left open on Sundays, there will be a lot of footfalls, and many will be simply casual onlookers - and try to kill time under a roof & ac, probably with a free coffee!
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:49   #13
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

It's not just in India, it happens all over the Western world too. I can't speak for India, but here in Australia (and in most of the Western world I assume) the reason why most things (not just car showrooms) are either closed or have very limited hours is because people who work on Sundays and public holidays are paid two-and-a-half to three times the normal hourly rate. Many employers are very reluctant to pay those wages to employees working on a Sunday. In the case of car showrooms/dealerships, this, coupled with the fact that most banks and government offices are also closed, leads to very few buyers actually going to a showroom to buy a car on a Sunday/public holiday.

(I have a very good friend who used to own a Ford dealership here and he used to open on a Sunday, but apparently the expenses far outweighed any profit he made from sales. Sundays and public holidays were apparently the slowest days - and he's had several weekends where not a single car was sold. So it did not make business sense to keep the dealership open on Sundays).
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:57   #14
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

Actually as a buyer my reason to not go on a Sunday is simply because buying a car is a tedious process. I am far away from treating this process as a simply pick and pay kind of transaction while some have actually mastered it.

And this personal constraint to details always derails my energy whenever it’s a car purchase. Not once, not twice but I am lucky and gifted to repeat the process thrice so far and its never decided in one day/one sitting or one ride. For this reason I like to do it on a day where there is a follow up day to simply rest and not feel over stressed.

Sundays - I am ok if it’s picking that car or doing paper work. But as someone said, customer service has gone up incredibly high that they usually travel to where you are to help you with paper work.

It’s a personal convenience for me to not waste that Sunday on a really stressful selection process. If it’s not stressful it’s not fun. This is the only activity where stress and fun go directly proportional to each other.
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Old 12th May 2016, 14:58   #15
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Default Re: No Sunday Funday! Why manufacturers are shying away from improving the Sunday sales experience?

With even banks operating on Sundays these days, why not car showrooms?

But I would not have purchased my Verna from the particular showroom, had I not visited them on a Sunday evening. Something worked, was it the less business / more personal chat with the sales rep, or the nearly empty and quiet showroom, or just placebo, I'm not at all sure

Two wheeler showrooms are even worse. My tryst with Honda two wheeler showrooms in Chennai especially, no test drives post 5pm and no customers post 6pm and showroom locked on Sundays. This makes me think, is this reluctance a symbol of market dominance?
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