Top 10 Reasons Buying A Car Sucks
Buying a car makes you feel STUPID and depressed. Even when you "win" you feel like you "lost". I desperately need a new car, but I am MAD AS HELL and I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. Clearly I am not alone in that feeling. The problem is Detroit doesn't hear us. They are so insulated and CLUELESS. They fly to Washington in separate private jets to beg for our tax money. Thanks for the stark and clear demonstration that you (Detroit) could give a shit about me as a consumer. In a nutshell, executives from Detroit demonstrated what it feels like to try and buy a car. Anyone who has been inside of a car showroom in the last five years knows this feeling because it is the nasty, screw you attitude this entire business model employs every day.
WHY I HATE CAR DEALERS.
They are the most ridiculous 1950's JERKS. Car dealers care about one thing, selling metal, and believe the best way to do that is lie, cheat and steal. Note to Car Dealers, there is this new thing called The Internet where I can learn your costs, your salaries, and your past, present and future. Oh, by the way, your future doesn't look good. You know why? Because you are STUPID. Let's be clear about what is being rejected - YOU. Let's be even clearer. We are rejecting your inauthentic, smarmy attempts to take advantage of us. We've had it. The effect of all of those nasty belittling experiences is you will sell dramatically fewer cars this year than last and fewer still next year.
Not The Economy, Stupid
Car Dealers - you may get your 25 or 50 billion, but it won't be your last. As long you take advantage of us instead of taking care of us you will suffer. In fact, you may be beyond redemption. It may well be too late for your arrogant selfish business model. One thing is clear, you will never be the same. We are not rejecting your product, though that is part of it, we are rejecting YOU. We reject the already applied undercoating (great riff on that in Fargo). We reject making us sit for hours because your training says the more time we invest the more money we pay you. We reject paying extra so your retired employees don't have to pay an insurance co-pay when we've been paying one for years. We reject your arrogance, cruelty and shameful treatment of your most valuable assets - your customers.
3 Books For Detroit
Detroit is 30 books behind, but let's start slow. Here are three books you need to read fast:
- The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
- Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke et al.
- All Marketers Are Liars, Seth Godin
Cluetrain Manifesto could have saved you IF you read it in 1999 and came away realizing that treating people horribly has consequences and none of them are good. Stick Cluetrain in your jet and read it on your next trip to beg for money.
Any book by Seth Godin could help. I selected the Liars book because it stresses the importance of story and I thought Detroit could relate to the title. Detroit used to make stuff we couldn't live without. How do you lose your center so completely in so little time? You trick us and get away with it. More accurately, you set up dealer networks that trick us and get away with it. Thanks in large part to that dealer network, your (Detroit's) story becomes abusive and nasty. I am going to speak directly to Detroit now, so every time you see "YOU" think "DETROIT". You lose your innovative touch. You lose our support and encouragement. You lose your story and any credibility right along with it. Make cool stuff with passion, treat your customers like you care and LISTEN to us and you will climb out of this cave. Don't and nice knowing you Detroit.
DON'T BUY A CAR IN DECEMBER!
Despite needing a car, I will not buy one in December. I call on anyone reading this blog to join my protest. Clearly our rejection of this antiquated business model is not being heard. Nothing is changing. Detroit throws rebates and gimmicks at us as if this was a money problem. Certainly lower prices would be nice, but just LOWER THE PRICE DON'T PLAY GAMES. When you play games you signal NOTHING HAS CHANGED. We are smart. We know the only way to win your game is not to play, to keep our money in our wallets and purses. Keep playing games and you can keep your bleeping cars.
BECOME AN OUTLAW
Fletcher tells the Senator, "Don't piss down my back and tell me its raining," in the Outlaw Josey Wales. I think that is good advice for any company who wants to join the "buy a car now" crusade instead of my DON'T BUY A CAR NOW revolution. Fox 22 Raleigh just ran a strange commercial about why we should be buying cars now from local dealers. Here is what I wrote to the television station:
Just saw your strange commercial encouraging me to buy a car. I realize local car dealers must be big ad partners of yours, but do you really want to line up with them right now? Let's be honest, buying a car sucks. The process is unfriendly; dealers are nasty and act as if we can't know what they pay for the car. They think and treat us (consumers) as if we are STUPID. The old model has been dead for years but they refuse to change. I kept thinking they would want to keep up with the times, but they haven't. Instead they deny, deny and deny. If you want to help your dealers sell more cars tell them to change their model and fast. If they don't get smart they will be smoke and if you think a commercial from you will change anything you are as WRONG as you can be and as self deluded as they are. My advice to you is TEACH them how to get a clue. I suggest starting with an Internet browser. When you hit Twitter and FaceBook you’ve moved them to the NOW. If you want to keep them alive, and I assume that is why a television station would run a commercial telling me why I should buy a car, then help them or slap them. Let’s be clear here guys, we (consumers) are MAD AS HELL and we are NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE from car dealers. Adding television stations to that mix wouldn’t be that hard, so teach them or distance yourself is my advice. MartinIf Fox 22 wants to play Lifeguard my advice is to teach your charge how to swim. Using advertising to try and solve car dealer's many problems WILL NOT WORK and oh-by-the-way the television model is not all that secure either. You jump in to save local car dealers in the usual way and you may drown right along with them.
Instead of buying a car in December, I will write a series of posts about what might get me back in a car showroom. My next post will be the top 10 reasons why buying a car sucks and what Detroit can do about it (if they want to survive). I don't want people to lose their jobs as something we created, cars, becomes a foreign entity. I want Detroit to GET IT, FIX IT and join me in the 21st Century. If they can't change then I will be glad to buy another Japanese car. Q: Will buying a Japanese or German car still suck? A: Yes, but the car won't fall apart. My advice the Toyota and VW is reform or GM is your future too.
DON'T BUY A CAR IN DECEMBER.
Do you have ideas for Detroit or frustrations you need to excise? Please share your thoughts or alert me to articles you've written and I will link to them.
Response from Fox Station in Raleigh
I received your email communication. This is not a commercial. We are running it free of charge. As the only locally-owned television stations in this market, our goal with this campaign is to support our local dealers. The campaign is not intended to support or endorse any specific course of action as it relates to the automakers, and we make no reference to domestic vs foreign. Rather, we hope to remind those consumers who may be considering purchasing a new vehicle that now is a good time to do so… for the variety of reasons pointed out in the spot.
Thank you for your comments and for watching FOX50.
Here is my response to Fox:
Thanks for your note. I understand your position. I believe tough love is the only answer because car dealers are out of touch. Every "deal, deal, deal" commercial I see only reinforces just how out of touch they remain. It is as if they can't stop talking to themselves about themselves. We (consumers) have stopped listening.
Your local car commercial is well done and impassioned. It simply can not over come the hurdle those you are trying to help have created for themselves. Radical authenticity is the only fix for their problem. All the deals in the world will not put humpty dumpty back together again. Your commercial, while well intended and well done will not move the needle even a little.
The end of the Roman Empire wasn't a pretty thing. This "de-leveraging" will not be pretty for Detroit or us. You are obviously smart people with a vested interest in helping your local dealers. My suggestion is put together a one day seminar about what it means when someone can twitter every second of the negotiation she is having with a car salesmen. Imagine when the salesman leaves to go do the BS talk with his manager for no other purpose than to waste time and attempt to jack the price. Every moment he is out shooting the bull the customer is twittering on her cell phone simultaneously broadcasting to thousands. Those thousands flip the tweet to thousands more and some blog the tweet. Every car dealers sold in this way in the last ten years has been one more nail in their coffin. That game is over, done, gone. There will be no bringing it back. When your dealers realize that, when they stop screaming at me as if the way to get my attention is to turn up the volume on a message I've tuned out long ago, then I will buy a new car. Until then I will keep my money as I suspect thousands, tens of thousands of people will.
Here is my email to Squawk Box on CNBC:
I am as MAD AS HELL and I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.
That is the sentiment I think you guys are missing on why no one is buying cars. I wrote a blog post about why, even though I need a car, I am not going to buy one anytime soon. WE HATE BUYING CARS BECAUSE THEY TREAT US LIKE DOGS. No wait, I would never treat a dog this bad. When I saw that dealer on your air the other morning telling me why I was a bad American if I didn't buy a car from him it made me even madder. Car dealers knew this revolt was coming, they had too. Their attitude has been to go blithely on as if nothing changed. They could still dupe us (consumers) into paying too much for their non-special hunks of metal. Newsflash - We've (consumers) have had it. The tipping point has been reached and we are done.
I desperately need a new car. My 1998 Nissan Sentra has 150,000 miles on it and it makes strange sounds when I drive it (ghost in the machine). I have the money to buy a new car, BUT I REFUSE TO PLAY THEIR GAME ANYMORE. I loved the dealer this morning. He says, "we have great deals" as if that is what matters. All that says to me is you are doing exactly the same BS you've been doing for years and you think I am stupid and will continue to play. NOPE, not going to happen. Car dealers have no authen ticity, no authority. They are ranked dead last on just about every reputation poll and for good reason. They lie, waste our most valuable assets (our time) and cheat.
Note to car dealers. There is this new thing called The Internet you may want to check into. It is a place where I can know everything about yo u. I can tweet our negotiation. I can mash up your commercials. I can tell the TRUTH about what you do, say and are. My frustration can be merged, magnified and exploded out at the speed of light. I need a new car. Right after I wrote my blog post my "check engine" light went on (kind of spooky). I am not going to buy a new car because I AM MAD AS HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. I suspect there are a bunch of people just like me out there but not on your air. Maybe, and maybe is as far as I can go, if you put someone like me on your air to share our frustration the car dealers would GET IT. I don't want to be on TV, or at least not for this, but the missing side of the story is WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.