A flickering TV showing a rerun of Judge Judy. A coffee pot caked with burned-out coffee grounds and filled with lukewarm liquid that may have once actually been coffee. A gated-off “kids area” that is nothing more than a set of wooden blocks stained with oil from the hands of countless dirty children.
This describes the general ambiance of the waiting area in any car dealership I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit.
These places are an adequate form of shelter while negotiating the purchase of a new or used vehicle, but they are hardly welcoming and comfortable places to spend a few hours of your time. That, however, could change, as dealerships are beginning to add services that not only make them more comfortable, but could turn them into genuine destinations.
Restaurants, barber shops, hair salons, cafes, heck, even a Starbucks and a marriage chapel have popped up in dealerships to help lure customers and pamper the ones already there.
A Honda dealership in Florida has a café, a barbershop and a satellite county clerk’s office that provides services such as marriage license applications, driver’s license reinstatement and traffic citations payments. Plus, for couples who want to be as committed to each other as they are to Honda, the dealership has a chapel for wedding ceremonies. How’s that for one-stop shopping? Get a marriage license, get married and buy a car for the honeymoon all in one convenient location.
Cadillac shoppers in Michigan can enjoy time in a hair salon or eating at the dealership’s Ooh-la-la Bistro. Lexus buyers in California have the option of penthouse-level luxury dining at Vintana Wine + Dine, while the Corvette Cafe at a Texas dealer serves more blue-collar hearty American fare.
I like this trend. I think more dealers should get creative with the services they offer to buyers and shoppers alike.
Of course, as usual, the CarGurus used car listings can point you in the direction of a reputable dealer and help you find the best deal on your next vehicle purchase.
Would extra perks or services make you more likely to visit a car dealership, or would you rather they just focus on selling cars?