new car dealers, get a kiosk!

This weekend we walked around an auto center, exploring the possibility of buying a 2nd car. Living on one car as a family of 3 in Orange County, California, is not a cake walk.

So we checked out new cars at 5 dealers — we only took home 1 brochure. The other 4 said they ran out of brochures, and referred us to their website, but they didn’t say the website address. 1 salesman wouldn’t tell me their incentives or sales until I was ready to buy — he apparently wasn’t ready to sell.

What a disappointment!

Not that we are print-based people, after all I’m a blogger. They’re telling me to go to a website? Come on.

A suggestion to new car dealers: get an internet kiosk or two! When the brochures run out, walk over to the kiosk, click right over to the car of interest. Navigate the web browser with the customer, or offer the mouse to the customer, while standing by to answer questions. Custom design the car that the customer wants, and get it transferred from the network of other dealers, or built from the factory.

Look, the dealer showrooms have $25,000+ cars on display, some have plasma or projection TVs, but no kiosk to browse all the car options. Kiosks cost less than $3,000 if my math is right. What a lost opportunity.

At this point, here’s our top picks (cf. comparison chart):

  • Mazda 3 (blue)
  • orange Toyota Matrix (orange)
  • orange Honda Fit (orange)
  • Nissan Versa

The strike price is $20,000, and closer to $15,000 the better. Our time frame is May 2008 after another season of travels for me– but if the deal is right, we could get it sooner. From the styles of car listed above, you can probably infer that we are looking for a smaller hatch-backy 4-door car, to putter around more gas-efficiently than our solar yellow Xterra.

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4 Responses

  1. Justin says:

    Very cool; looking forward to seeing your decision. I still remember when you bought the Xterra.

  2. solomon li says:

    go with the fit dj.

    i have a friend who is a director of edmonds.com. that’s his pick, or one of the picks, of the year.

    it’s a smart, fun, and stylish car to have. the only drawback is power… however, living in so cal you don’t really need that while in traffic!!! it’ll save you with gas as well!

    just a suggestion. (btw… it seems nissan’s quality has gone down a bit over the years… but i think consumer reports gave a decent rating for the versa)

  3. betsy says:

    Did you look at any hybrids? I LOVE my Prius –
    It’s old, though. I haven’t tried any newer ones.
    plenty of room, cheap to run – we got it to be our ‘running errands’ car but now we use it even for long trips, because it’s comfortable.

  4. BellyK says:

    i also go with Xterra.

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