Defying stereotypes: It’s possible to have an easy, transparent car-buying experience

Oct. 28, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Luxury Auto Mall.

We all know what an old-school car-buying experience is like.

You’re pounced on as you enter the dealership. The salesperson has a goal to meet. If you find a vehicle you like, the song-and-dance begins: There’s the up-sell on a more expensive model. There’s the back-and-forth over the price between you, the salesperson and the mystery manager you never see.

If it’s enough to make you dread the whole experience that you keep putting more and more miles on your existing vehicle, you’re not alone.

“An experience like that does not make car-buying easy. And it needs to be easy,” said Mike Chaplin, general manager of Luxury Auto Mall.

“We strive to be the easiest people to do business with, and everything you experience when you visit us ties back to that.”

It’s a little hard to get your head around at first. If you’re skeptical, they’re used to that too. But here’s what you truly can expect when you visit Luxury Auto Mall.

Transparency in price

For many people, it all comes down to the price. And for decades, Luxury Auto Mall has stood by its One Price Promise.

“There are no catches,” Chaplin said. “It’s that simple. Whether it’s a new or a used car, when you come into the dealership, the price will be marked on the vehicle. We want this to be a relaxing experience where our customers feel they are treated fairly.”

The Luxury team sets a market price for each vehicle based on supply and demand. Then, they add in all available incentives that everyone would qualify for to determine the One Price.

From there, it’s possible some customers will still qualify for an even lower price. That’s why you need to meet with a Luxury sales consultant.

“We’re going to talk through a lot of questions to see what your wants and needs are, so we can not only make sure we get you the right car but that we get you the lowest price you qualify for,” Chaplin said.

“In some cases, there are additional incentives available – for instance, if you’re a military veteran or if you belong to certain professional organizations or if your employer has a discount program with us. So we will talk through everything available with you.”

The same One Price Promise also applies to all pre-owned vehicles at Luxury Auto Mall.

“It’s the same whether you’re looking at a $10,000 vehicle or a $100,000 one,” Chaplin said.

“If you think of it like playing poker, we’re playing with our cards up.”

Transparency in process

You know that scenario about being corralled by a salesperson as soon as you walk in? It won’t happen at Luxury Auto.

“We’re going to greet you, but it’s not about trying to see how fast we can get you to test-drive a car and continue to sell you from there,” general sales manager James Hueners said.

“We know you came in for a reason, and we’ll let you have your time and space to look around and be there to guide you when you’re ready.”

Here’s a big difference: The Luxury Auto team does not work on commission.

“Our whole process is designed to be customer-centric,” Chaplin said. “Your time is important. We don’t want your time wasted, and we want you to find the vehicle you really want and not the one we can stick you in. So our processes are designed to back our brand promises.”

And because the sales consultants are empowered to walk through the entire pricing process, “there’s no back-and-forth negotiating. The time is spent trying to find the right car,” Chaplin said.

“They’re not getting paid based on what vehicle gets sold or how much they can get you to spend. And that’s been our hardest crutch to communicate unless you’ve experienced it, but once people do, they really see the difference this approach makes.”

And what if you have a vehicle to trade in? There’s a transparent process for that too.

“We call it an interactive trade evaluation,” Hueners said. “The guest will go on a ride with our appraiser. It won’t be an appraisal that happens from the window of a manager’s office based on a number that comes up on a computer.”

The Luxury team will have a complete conversation about the vehicle, he said.

“I’ll find out how long you’ve had the car, how many miles it had on it, what type of maintenance and repair work has been done,” Hueners said.

“I’m doing all of this because if someone has just put brakes on a car that could have been due for needing them, I don’t have to do that, and I can offer more for the car. The real goal is the customer has an opportunity to sell us their car.”

Most people already have done some research and have an idea what range their vehicle is worth, he acknowledged.

“So our job in that interactive evaluation is to work with the guest and find out the condition of the car and figure out where in that range it lands. We want the guest to feel they were treated fair and that we’ve done a full evaluation on the car, and when we give them a number, it’s the real number. We’re going to respect their time by not making them initiate a negotiation.”

Transparency in financing

Just like in sales, when it comes time to talk financing, the team at Luxury Auto Mall works in an advisory role.

“An actual finance manager comes out and sits down with you,” Chaplin said. “There’s a sequencing form we will go through to understand your situation.”

From there, the team will recommend the option that could be most financially beneficial to the customer.

“So for instance, even if you tell us you’re prepared to write a check for the entire vehicle, we might tell you about a better way to use your money to maybe lease the car versus paying 100 percent for it,” Chaplin said.

Part of that conversation will involve how long you tend to keep your vehicle.

“We have financial solutions for today and for your future,” Hueners said. “Whether you come back in three, five or more years, we want to put you in the best position possible for your next vehicle.”

And here’s one last bit of transparency: The end of the year typically is when you’ll find the greatest values offered in the dealership. So stop in or browse online soon. 

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Defying stereotypes: It’s possible to have an easy, transparent car-buying experience

“If you think of it like playing poker, we’re playing with our cards up.” If that doesn’t sound like most auto dealers, you’re right. But it is how things work here.

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