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BYD E6 - Click above for high-res image gallery

With the possible exception of a trip to the dentist, visiting a car dealership is the least pleasant activity in which we participate. Unless you walk in with mound of cash, you can be sure that using their cruel four square method, U.S. dealers have a quadrangled plan of attack to bend you over. But what if it wasn't like that?

China's BYD (known colloquially as Build Your Dreams) will begin selling cars in the U.S. within the year. That much we know. But where are they going to sell them? Put a better way, how are they going to sell them? According to USA Today, the big fear among other automakers and U.S. dealers is the latter question.

The possibility exists that incoming players like BYD or India's Tata or Mahindra could sidestep the middle man and sell vehicles directly to customers. Obviously, this would be a rather large selling point to those of us who don't enjoy the feeling of being cheated and fleeced during a round of three-card monte (i.e. the typical dealer experience). Another option might be selling the cars through big-box stores like Walmart or Costco. The shape of things to come is getting interesting, if nothing else.


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[Source: USA Today]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I totally like the idea of no salesman, no haggle price. Financing would need to be done before you go, putting a lot of business back into local banks. The paper work would have to be streamlined at the outlets. Repairs and service would need to be done at local shops. which would give more business to them. Used car dealers and the American two could keep using the old way of selling cars. As for china, look at everything in your home, you cloths, your shoes, and even some of your food. I think people do not realize how ingrained china is in the USA. Also , we owe a huge amount of our national debt to them. If they called in our debt and cut off our supplies tomorrow,.. good luck. we would have a huge problem.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Because car manufacturers are ethical, right?
      I'll stick to the 'unethical' car dealer who doesn't require me to bail them out with billions of tax dollars so they can show up to congressional meetings in private jets.
      Do your research, maintain your credit, and walk away from a situation that feels 'sleazy.'
      The combination of an auto manufacturer + walmart should scare the sh*t out of every rational thinking person.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Personally, I don't care how the Chinese sell their cars here because I won't be buying one. I'm not being jingoistic or xenophobic either, I've just made a conscious decision to quit being a blind consumer and to support the local and national economy whenever possible. I hold no brand loyalties and I certainly don't give a pinch about "status", but I'll be damned if I'll be a slave to the "lowest possible price" exclusive of all other considerations. Unlike other consumer goods like, say, buying a Dell computer with components made in China or an iPhone built entirely there, I fail to see how buying a Chinese car helps our economy in any way. Especially if they cut out the middle man and not even a local salesperson or business benefits from the sale. It's all pretty complicated and I suppose a Chinese manufacturer could be using some components made in the US or manufactured by a US company, but you got to draw the line somewhere.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's so good to read something like that. I hope that sentiment spreads. People don't really understand the cost of their low priced Chinese buying habits. It's more destructive to the economy and the environment than most of them will ever care to know.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Amendment: I suppose I could see how buying a cheap Chinese car could benefit the local economy due to the buyer being left with surplus cash to theoretically buy more stuff, but in reality the consumer would in all likelihood still be buying additional stuff no matter how much they pay for a car and who they buy it from. The difference is that buying a Chinese car will send profits back into the Chinese economy--especially if the Chinese are allowed to sell them directly to us--while buying an American or even Japanese car keeps some of that money in the US economy. And I don't care if the purveyor of Chinese cars happens to be WalMart. That company's become more of a burden than a boon to our long-term economy and their way of doing business isn't going to help solve any of our current and future economic issues.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope they all cut out the dealerships. I recently bought a car. All the salespeople at different dealerships kept asking, "what can I do to win your business?". The only thing I could reply was for them to offer the lowest price. I knew which type of car I wanted. All they had to compete on was price, since they all offer the exact same product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hopefully they use that highly successful Daewoo model.

      Oldsmoboi
      www.CheersandGears.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Obviously, this would be a rather large selling point to those of us who don't enjoy the feeling of being cheated and fleeced during a round of three-card monte (i.e. the typical dealer experience)."

      Is this true? I'd like to see the numbers behind this statement. So typically car buyers are getting robbed? Or is this just the perpetuation of a stereotype. The internet has gone a long way to level the playing field for buyers in all markets for all products. "Buyer beware" still applied, but we are talking NEW cars, not used. I do not believe the typical experience with a NEW cars ends up with the consumer being cheated and fleeced.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In my opinion, I'd much rather take the current dealer model than this.

      Basically, companies that have tried to use a similar model in the past (I'm thinking of the old days with Scion and Saturn) have done so in order to increase profit, rather than to be friendly to the customer. The idea of "no haggling" and no way for the dealer to "cheat and fleece" benefits the dealer, not the customer. See, the dealer doesn't want to haggle with you and cheat you, he would much prefer you pay the price on the window sticker. And that's why those business models failed because people didn't want to just pay the window sticker price, and Scion and Saturn both went back to traditional dealer methods.

      It's the customer who benefits from the haggling, and so the dealer has found ways around this haggling by doing the "cheating and fleecing" as this article puts it. I believe that any intelligent person can get through the dealer process with minimum hassle if he or she A) knows what he or she wants, B) makes it clear to the dealer that he or she WILL walk away if the deal isn't right for him or her, C) makes a reasonable offer, and D) can afford the car. What you can't do is ever believe a word the dealer says about their merchandise OR take the bait and go for the more expensive car that you can't afford or say "alright, i guess i can see if i can make that monthly payment."

      The way I read it, it's the company that will benefit from the model in this article, not the customer, because the company will be able to charge the window sticker price (always much higher than invoice) and there will be no negotiating.

      Anyway, the middle man thing can be good because you can deal with the local dealer if you have a lemon, other problems, etc. instead of being on hold with customer service at the corporate end of BYD who will tell you, "I'm sorry, it's supposed to do that," or equivalent.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But isn't it possible that the problems you mention of inflated pricing and a need to negotiate are born from the same model you say is needed to be able to do those things.
        Dealers, like everyone else, are individuals.
        I have dealt with some over the years who were great.
        I have dealt with others who mess with things when you are in for repairs so you will be back for more repairs sooner rather than later.
        There really doesn't need to be only one business model here.
        It is extremely cost prohibitive to work out the infrastructure of a dealer network for a place as big as the united states.
        I can see the chinese or indians or anyone trying to find a way around that initial cost of entry.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        I know, right? And being a responsible consumer, and arming yourself with information before you go to actually purchase something will help you get the best deal too.

        It pays to have a good credit score. I've met some REALLY F'ing STUPID people who got screwed by dealerships, but that's only because they were total morons to begin with. For example, I knew this guy who financed a Dodge Neon for 23% and was upside down on it like 6 years after he bought it! He was so stupid that he even put 18" RENT-A-RIM's wheels on it!

        Uninformed consumers have no right to complain when they get royally screwed over because they're idiots.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Watch out! Chinese try to invade America!
      Chinese dominate not only wallmart but also whole world!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really hope this happens. There is no real reason for any manufacturer to maintain the antiquated middle-man model dealer model. If BYD or Mahendra manage to pull this off expect the ubiquitous sleazy low-end dealerships to go Dodo. Good riddance. Let's start on realtors and lawyers next.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @pigeon

        Again, I do not understand what you are getting at. You keep stating the inferiority of Chinese made products as if we know what you are talking about. Yes, we are familiar with the quality issues. However, we're talking about cars here, not action figures.

        So, in what ways could these products be inferior?

        Is it a reliability issue? Then the market will see that, and chinese auto manufacturers will fail here.

        Is it a safety issue? The IIHS will see that, and insurance rates for these vehicles will be extremely high. Given the targeted audience of people looking for a cheaper car, there's no way they'll be able to afford the higher insurance rates, and thus, the cars will not sell.

        Is it a quality issue? Again, they'll have to improve their products, or fail yet again.

        Is it an intellectual property issue? If China had even half the IP-protection atmosphere the US had, they would not be able to get away with anything. If those Chinese manufacturers walk into the USDM with something even remotely infringing... they're walking into a minefield of lawsuits and FTC actions.

        I think our issue is that we are having trouble comprehending the source of your zealousness here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, I hope BYD simply sells on the Internet, and distributes through Costco or Walmart.

        Buying a car shouldn't be any more complex than buying a computer. Just fire up your browser, pick the car, buy it, choose a pickup site, and you'll get a notice when your car will arrives.

        Easy!
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin. WTF? The financing needs to be adjusted once a month? You want an adjustable interest rate on a car now!? That's the stupidest financial idea I've heard in a long time...

        And also, it's nice that you get that warm feeling from shopping at Best Buy, even though their pricing is BS. They do bend you over just like all retailers.

        Also, we're talking about Chinese automakers, and considering the kind of products that come out of China, don't be surprised if they replace their airbags with a bag of nails and screws.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Amen to that! I know we'll loose some jobs. But really, is ripping people off a real job? In terms of decency most would rank a garbage collector over a car sale "person".
        • 5 Years Ago
        Cutting out the middle men is like asking businesses like Amazon, Best Buy, and Sears and Home Depot to bugger off and go out of business. Imagine not having iTunes (I don't use them and not advocating one way or another).

        Now imagine being forced to buy everything from a manufacturer. No competition on pricing. You get what you pay for and nothing of value added. For instance, I buy a Blu-ray disk player from Costco because of their return policy, not the paltry thing the manufacturer gives you.

        Now, I am not defending the automotive dealerships. I trust none of them. But buying a car isn't as it use to be even a decade or two ago. Heck, in 1995 I did enough research to help my future wife buy her first new Honda. So well equipped (at the time, thanks to Edmunds.com) we got an Accord for $173 over invoice and brought our own financing.

        I cannot imagine with all of the car buying services out there, and the ability to negotiate from afar, that the dealerships present much of a buyer's threat. Heck, the credit union made more on financing interest than the dealership did on their front end.

        Maybe consumers just need to learn to get some gump and stand up for themselves. Then the dealership will learn to be less a-holey and more customer friendly. But I do like the idea of buying direct. I just wish the warranty was better. For instance, any dealership, or manufacturer, financing a sale for X number of years needs to provide X number of years in B2B coverage--minus wear items of course.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I read that in Israel, a country where driving is discouraged the margins are so low, manufacturers really can not afford to have a dealer, they ARE the dealer, no middle man everyone wins.


        You can not thrive when your consumer fears to buy your product. I love going to Best Buy, experience is great, when i guy something in there i do not fill like i was screwed.

        Also financing rates should be clear and adjusted once a month. All consumer needs to do is enter credit score, down payment and figure out what the rate is.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        The unknown? What exactly is unknown about doing business with China? Do you have any concept of just how unscrupulous BYD and Geely are?

        You need to get informed before you Wal Mart the auto industry to death by buying **** from China, and totally destroy what little bit of an auto industry the world has left! Get educated before you spew your ignorance in defense of things you obviously know nothing about.
        invisiblepigeon3
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good analogy with the teaching a pig to sing. That's what it seems like to talk to people like Paul34 and bakka, but it's not disinterested altruism on my part. Unlike the "selfless" who try to destroy their ego so they can become an average of a bunch of zero's, I actually have my own interests in mind, while realizing that that involves actually caring about other people, rather than the dog eat dog mentality that those people have.

        I don't want to live in a world where everything's made in China, and people are enslaved. It seems that the other people who've posted saying stupid things like bakka and Paul34 did just don't care what they eat, wear, own, drive, or how they live. It's a disgusting thing to witness, but it's become the rule rather than the exception. I wonder if they genuinely can't comprehend the deeper implications of the articles they're "discussing" and commenting on.

        What's it called when evil becomes the new good, good becomes the new evil, stupidity and mediocrity is treated as a goal to be aspired to, and greatness is looked down upon, when creating an illusion of happiness as a show to hide one's misery, is more important than acutally being happy?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The sale could be completed online, and the hundreds of close Saturn dealers across the country could be reconfigured as delivery centers. The customer could either build to order, or select from an inventory that would be shipped to the delivery center from a location on the west coast near where cargo ships could unload the vehicles. The delivery centers would handle maintenance, but should not be in the trade-in or used car business. Nothing but focus on keeping the customer satisfied in every part of the experience.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The $10 solution...
      Internet sales, service and warranty thru Sears Auto Centers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry, but, I just don't trust the Chinese to do anything above board. And remember, every major Chinese company is owned by the Chinese Army. They use "slave" labor and never abide by standard intl laws in intellectual properties or basic trade.

      I am not basing my disgust of the Chinese Government and it's companies on race, they are just sleazy and are always looking ahead to the time when they hope to dominate the world, and I do not want to live in that ,or, help them achieve it. We already pay for all of this through Walmart, etc., why add another nail in the coffin by buying their cars?
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