The Car Research
A few days ago, I decided to purchase a new car. I did most of my research online thanks to sites like Carwale and Team BHP. The Carwale site is a decent attempt. It helped me compare various car models across manufacturers and even listed the on-road prices for the cars. What it did not have were qualitative reviews from car owners. Most of the parameters listed were lifted straight from the respective models marketing broucher. What was the last time somebody actually cared about the car’s Kerb Weight or for that matter the Compression Ratio. I frankly think, no one gives two hoots about these parameters. What I care about is the size of the back seat in the car, or how does the Car X’s manouvering compare to Car Y’s, or what is the real mileage of a car X in city Y.
Anyways, I asked around a few people and compared that with what I found online. After the research was done, I decided to go for a Maruti. Surprisingly for a city like Mumbai (including Thane), there are only 6-7 dealers. The Maruti site doesn’t work on Firefox 3, so I had to Google a bit to find out the dealer’s websites.
Chasing the Dealer
Now, as I needed to test drive a vehicle, I went to the website of a very prominent dealer. It was so damn hard to locate the phone number of their showroom. Anyway, I found a “Test Drive” link. I filled out all my details and hit Submit. Guess what happened? The link didn’t work. It threw some random error message on the screen.
Finally, I got the phone numbers from a directory assistance service. The next step was to call up the dealer for a test drive appointment. When I called them, I was told that the staff was in a meeting and they’ll call back right after the meeting. The call never came. I called up again, and was promised a callback within 15 mins. It never happened. To make a long story short, I called up some other dealers as well for the pricing but they never called back as well. WTF?
I thought that now with so many foreign car players in the market, Maruti would’ve gotten it’s act together. But sadly they haven’t. Not at least in Mumbai. The dealers don’t chase you for a car purchase, it is you who call them persistently and chase them to provide you with pricing details.
Last week I test drove a Hyundai i10 Kappa and told the salesperson that I am eager to buy a car. He promised to get back to me, even he didn’t.
Why don’t these salespeople care to close the deal? Are they not willing to sell cars? Don’t the dealerships have sales targets to meet?
Haven’t purchased it yet. I was almost ready with my cheque book, but the dealers killed my enthu to go for a new car. Let’s see what happens next. So far I am sitting on the fence.