Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bad Auto Dealership Brands Are Good for Business!

This month I am participating in a lively discussion on branding auto dealerships over at Branding Wire. The following is part of that discussion:

Its been said that necessity is the mother of invention.

I was reading Derrick Daye's contribution to the discussion and a comment he made regarding Jiffy Lube got me to thinking that if it wasn't for the miserable brands of many auto dealerships a lot of very good auto service companies may not be in existence today. That means countless thousands of good customer driven employees would be out of a job - Ouch!

By extension, if if wasn't for the Big 3's contempt for giving the buying public fuel efficient cars back in the 70's, they never would have opened the door to imports who did exactly that and proved the public's desired for small fuel efficient cars. Now Toyota threatens their status.

The auto dealers traditionally high labor costs opened the doors to independent garages and chain repair shops. Their lack of respect for the very customers who keep them living large have over the years been responsible for the emergence of businesses who fulfill even the simplest of auto services - the oil change. Jiffy Lube thanks you for your arrogance.

If auto dealers were to clean up their brands and actually deliver a compelling service to their customers, would it not be BAD for the economy? What would be the motivation be for anyone to drop by a Belle Tire for some new rubber if their local autodealer provided them outstanding service, price and appreciation? Free coffee and magazine just isn't going to cut it in the face of sincere competence.

If auto dealerships actually earned the service awards hanging in their service bays, and could fix your cracked windshields with a smile while you waited, then what would the folks at Apple Auto Glass do to make a living?

If I were the after-market auto service industry I would be hiring lobbyists to help me maintain the status-quo with regard to auto dealerships. I certainly wouldn't be encouraging anything as stupid as correcting bad brands. I would even go as far as awarding them gold statues for keeping the auto service economy vibrant over these many decades. What good would it do anybody if they discovered that a loving customer could actually be a massive profit center for them?

What good indeed.

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