Coffee, Food, Weddings: Car Dealers Offering More Services to Lure Buyers

Galpin Ford's Horseless Carriage

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?


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  1. Business in American knows that a certain percentage of their customer base are idiots who are perfectly willing to spend themselves into oblivion in service of their over-indulged egos. Heck, I bought a house last year from one of those folks for less than 1/3rd of what they paid for it two years previously. The only thing I want from my dealership is not having to deal with crooks and retards on the sales floor and in the service department. As for the Michigan caddy dealership, I know the one you’re talking about and I guess it says alot about somebody who’d pay that much for a GM vehicle.

  2. If these new services were free to those waiting around while negotiating or buying a car, I agree. If they are just an extra venue for dealers to make more money, I’ll happily watch Judge Judy while chopping as much money off my purchase as I can.

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