prompted this rant.
If the executives at Chrysler had the balls to raise the price of their cars and trucks in 1990 by $300 to $400 and spend the money on QUALITY, they could have become The Big One and left GM and Ford in the dust.
1993 found me selling Dodges for a brief period. The GM and I didn’t get along even though I was #1 or #2 every month. The 1993 Intrepid blew me away, it was so much better than the competition.
Salespeople spend a lot of time as back seat passengers. Two things still stick in my mind about the Intrepid. Outside air leaked around the door handle which, coincidentally, was the height of a child in a car seat knee. Second, the thin flocked piece of cardboard behind the rear seat over the trunk allowed so much noise rear seat passengers had to raise their voices to be heard.
In the years ahead I often found myself responsible for overseeing used vehicle reconditioning. Please understand I have little brand loyalty. Cost/benefit drives me. Yes, that might be at odds with my criticism of the MOPAR executives. The key is critical thanking.
The goal was to sell used vehicles at a profit and do so with the customers being satisfied with their purchase. We had many, many repeat customers.
Other than VW, we wholesaled every European built car. They were, and remain, money pits IMO. VWs are the same but the public doesn’t think so. We’d give the buyers a good deal and made certain the buyer understood fully, AS IS, no warranty given or implied.
These numbers date from around 2004. Average reconditioning cost to make something “front line ready” for Japanese, $400, Ford $600, GM $1,200 and MOPAR $2,000. 4x4 Dodges always needed the front suspension and steering rebuilt. Always, there were electrical problems. Stupid electrical problems – fuses, relays, switches, etc.
Transmissions were always a weak area on everything. People seem to know about oil changes. Not so with transmissions.
I am a fan of Korean cars. They are reliable, durable, have a superior warranty, and are relatively inexpensive. They must be properly maintained. Timing belts don’t last forever. These are Kias Ford sold back in the day.
The news that recent Hyundai/Kia engines are causing vehicle fires saddens me.
After leaving retail automobile sales I worked for a period of time for Roush industries as a test/endurance driver and drove many different Hyundai/Kia prototype and pre-production cars. Mostly, I was impressed. Roush also tested Chrysler vehicles. Mostly, I wasn’t impressed, including Jeep. Same old same old, cheap shit little stuff.
As a side note, the reason Mercedes bought Chrysler had to do with the Hemi combustion chamber patented by Chrysler. Mercedes copied it, called it a “wedge”, and got sued. Facing losing the suit and millions in damage, they bought the company.
Should anyone in the retail side of the car biz be reading this, I will offer a bit of advice based on decades selling. Decades, I might add, where I was usually at the top of the sales chart and damn sure at the top of the gross profit chart. People come to a car lot to buy a car. Let them! Don’t make it hard. Listen, show them what they want to see, answer their questions and, otherwise, keep your mouth shut.
“Oh, I need to take control!”
Dummy, you always have control. They want the car. You have the car. Who is in control? Grow a pair. If you are working for a dinosaur brained manager, go to Down the Road Motors.
Were I to ever go back, it wouldn’t be selling new. That has become a screwed up mess and you can make more flipping burgers. Used? Still places for salespeople, IMO.
As always, YMMV