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Old 21st October 2016, 09:56   #1
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Default ETAuto Videos: Industry leaders speak on challenges & opportunities for Indian car dealerships

ETAuto recently conducted a retail forum event. In their words:

ET Auto Retail Forum 2016 will delve on challenges, opportunities, and threats faced by Automotive dealership community. It will act as a networking platform for open communication and learn from each other among the automotive manufacturers, dealerships and related participants.
Watch geniuses like Rakesh Srivastava talk about automotive retail. He mentioned how, at one time, 60% of sales were from dealership walk-ins; today, walk-ins constitute only 30%. Or on how he's looking forward to GST as his cars currently have to pass through checks in 6 states before reaching Delhi. Too much waiting, too much time wasted, he says.

It was also nice to see Vikram Pahwa and how he's been Harley-Davidson'ised . Smart attire in a sea of suits, and he spoke well too. Says that, at Harley, we live like the customer, we ride with the customer...

I haven't watched the other videos, but am looking forward.

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Old 21st October 2016, 11:03   #2
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Default Re: ETAuto Videos: Industry leaders speak on challenges & opportunities for Indian car dealerships

Very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing. Few call outs were lovely

- can we be our own customers?
- A consistent extraordinary customer experience
- Culture eats strategy for breakfast
and the one I liked the most - Quality is universal yet singular

Almost all of them spoke about "Customer Experience". Yes in real world there are horror stories too but good to see that everybody is on the same page - to give that experience. Hopefully it will transpire 'consistently' in the real world too. If only industry understands - it is the people who make the difference so pay for talent and passionate people. It's not just a transaction anymore !!!

And OEMs are putting in even more focus on Quality. Everybody aims for it but only few can deliver. The one major thing which can lead to a harrowing experience.

Surprised to see no Maruti on the panel. Any idea why?
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Old 21st October 2016, 14:55   #3
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Default Re: ETAuto Videos: Industry leaders speak on challenges & opportunities for Indian car dealerships

Talking mostly about great 'customer experience' is what you would expect in a public industry meet shown on a Business Channel, but privately (behind closed doors) things like revenues, profitability etc is what matters to these guys.

Car dealership is a tough business to be in because of high monthly expenses (salaries, rentals etc) and customer expectation of a Rs. 4,000 bill for the service of Rs. 10 Lac car. A restaurant has good pricing power (can increase the price of Masala Dosa from Rs. 30 to Rs. 45 if required), but a car dealership does not.

Car dealership revenues are primarily dependent on -

1) Good demand for product (new sales). Dealer does not have much control over this - ask Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan or Fiat dealers.
2) How good the sales advisors are in pushing unwanted stuff down the throat of customers.

The latter can really mess up customer experience. These days, visiting a car dealership for service is as fun as going to dentist or listening to the sales pitch of a "life insurance advisor".

1) I think the real challenge for the dealers is to somehow remove the perception that car service costs have to be equal to one full tank of petrol. Do a good job of servicing but charge appropriately.

2) Some sort of industry consolidation, entry of large players (Mr. MoneyBags) and listing in the stock markets to access public funds can help a lot in increasing profitability. Example: CarMax (NYSE) has $15 billion in revenues and $500 million in profits and a marketcap of $200 billion. There are many listed companies in Europe too.

When dealer is making decent money, customer satisfaction will generally go up. There is less incentive for the dealer to push for "teflon coating" or "brake cleaning" (and hence ruining customer experience) if he is already making decent profits.
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