Online vehicle sales cheat everyone

Mike Vaughan
Publish Date: 
May 23, 2013
By Mike Vaughan

Stabler stocks parts and has a fully staffed and trained service department. Unlike most dealerships where parts are stored in a room behind the parts desk, Stabler’s store features a 55 ft. long jewelry case displaying many of his available parts, including performance items. Behind the cabinet and mounted on slatwall are body kits, luggage, tires, rims and riding gear.

Stabler started his business in 2008 with a targeted growth rate of 100 percent per year. He says that sales this year are off to a great start: he’s now on track for a 150 percent sales increase for 2013.

It should be apparent that if you’re a dealer, particularly representing a Japanese, Taiwanese or Chinese brand, online sellers are impacting your business the most.

But all dealers are affected to some degree, whether it’s in lost sales or, on a larger scale, the negative impact online sellers have on the overall perception of our industry as purveyors of unreliable, un-repairable, unsafe and generally dangerous products.

I’d suggest that if you’re aware of these sales, you bring it to the attention of your state DMV that these businesses are operating outside the boundaries of the state’s motor vehicle rules and regulations, and that action needs to be taken to end this practice.

Both the NCMDA and the Motorcycle Industry Council are aware of online sales and their impact on legitimate brick-and-mortar dealers. No significant action has been taken by any association or government entity to date.

With dealers now able to join the MIC, perhaps enough pressure can be exerted through that organization to cause responsible government agencies to act.

This story originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Dealernews.