I like what Andy writes as a generality but he should in this case give more thought to the several e-commerce failures that were set to change the world and bombed. Notably Virgin Cars and jamjar.com which he mentions but without any comment on why they failed.
Equally I am astonished that he cites BMW’s 37 model line-up as something of a disadvantage and a problem for the customer.
By coincidence I have in the last few days completed a new car purchase from Glyn Hopkin Ltd which was effortless, entirely satisfactory and completely enjoyable and there were a number of facets to the deal that made the role of the retailer indispensible:
1. It was a big purchase and I wanted to see who I was dealing with.
2. I wanted to get a real good feel for the car I had selected via my internet research and this needed several visits to the retailer.
3. I like buying local where possible to ensure good back-up service.
4. My previous car was being taken in part exchange and I wanted all the paperwork with the DVLA to be seamless and hassle free – quite apart from getting a reasonable price for it.
5. There was the significant matter of the right finance plan for the deal and knowing I was working with a company that has all the compliance subjects under control which collectively offer me a high level of security.
6. Say what you like, whoever you are and whatever your financial status, for most of us buying a new car is a significant financial decision.
Andy Sharman may think all six of the above can be dealt with by tick boxes during an online impersonal transaction. I beg to differ and for me the dealership network has a significant role to play for some considerable time yet.