Make us your home page
Instagram

Hyundai pushes makeover of sales experience... to boost sales

In this Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, photo, a 2017 Santa Fe sports utility vehicle sits outside a Hyundai dealership in the south Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo. Battered by dramatically falling sales for the past five years, Hyundai is training its dealers to make the car-buying experience easier for consumers. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) CODZ212

In this Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, photo, a 2017 Santa Fe sports utility vehicle sits outside a Hyundai dealership in the south Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo. Battered by dramatically falling sales for the past five years, Hyundai is training its dealers to make the car-buying experience easier for consumers. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) CODZ212

DETROIT — Stung by falling U.S. sales, Hyundai is pushing its dealers to modernize the new-car shopping experience, conceding that customers are well-armed with information from the internet before they step on the showroom floor.

The Korean automaker on Tuesday announced that dealers will post "fair market pricing" on their websites that includes company discounts offered to consumers. Dealers, which are independent businesses, will be encouraged to add incentives they're offering to buyers. They'll also deliver vehicles to customers for test drives and allow people to do paperwork online, including calculation of monthly payments, loan applications and estimating the value of their trade-ins.

"They would rather spend less time negotiating, filling out forms and re-filling out forms for the second time," Dean Evans, the company's chief marketing officer in the U.S., said of car shoppers. "But they do want to spend more time getting to know the car and the features of the car."

Hyundai Motor Co. hopes the move will boost U.S. sales, which are down almost 13 percent so far this year, a far bigger drop than the overall market's decline of just under 2 percent. The company's U.S. sales have outpaced the market in only one of the previous five years, according to Autodata Corp. The decline is weighing on the Korean automaker's earnings. In the second quarter, profits were halved from a year ago to the lowest level since 2010 on falling sales in the U.S. and China.

To a large degree, Hyundai relied too much on car sales and didn't have enough SUV models as American buyers shifted dramatically away from cars. About 16 percent of Hyundai's global sales come from the U.S.

Before going to a dealership, buyers already know about incentives and what others are paying for vehicles from websites like Edmunds.com, TrueCar.com and Kbb.com, Evans said. Dealers will be encouraged to match average sale prices shown on those websites, Evans said.

The program, named "Shopper Assurance," will start in Miami, Orlando, Dallas and Houston and is expected to go nationwide early next year. Most of the company's dealers are expected to participate, Hyundai said. Even with the market pricing, buyers can still negotiate.

"We've listened to our customers and they want convenience and simplicity," said Andrew DiFeo, chairman of the company's U.S. dealership council who runs a dealership near Jacksonville, Florida.

Auto buyer surveys by Cox Automotive, which owns Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.com, show that satisfaction with the new-car buying process is falling, with only 76 percent of customers satisfied with their experience. Only 51 percent were happy with how long the process took.

"There's still so much uncertainty. There's still so much that feeling of just not a great experience," said Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland.

Moves by Hyundai to eliminate price uncertainty and haggling and to cut the time inside dealerships should help the company, she said.

No-haggle pricing has been tried before and failed to attract huge numbers of buyers, most notably by the now-defunct General Motors Saturn brand several decades ago. But the popularity of third-party pricing services and millennials who don't want to bargain are changing the process, Lindland said.

"I think there's opportunity to fundamentally change the car-buying experience, both in person and online," she said.

Hyundai pushes makeover of sales experience... to boost sales 10/10/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 4:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report

    Corporate

    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month

    Autos

    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.