Sacramento Auto Sales center in Sacramento,CA has decided that they will no longer let potential customers come in for free test drives as of earlier this week (Feb.20 2013). Instead the car dealership will charge the price for gas that they use as a fee before embarking on a test drive.
Manager’s stated that,
“We have to pay for all the gas and when you have 70, 80 different cars it gets real expensive”
In an economy where everyone is not immune from the price of gas, car dealerships especially feel the ever growing price of a barrel of oil. But in my honest opinion, this operating cost shouldn't be passed onto the customer. On one hand you have Saturday tire kicker’s who come in on a lazy weekend afternoon whose sole purpose is to test drive a car with no intention to buy. On the other hand, the idea of collecting money from test drivers making sure that it gets recorded correctly in the books and the potential for negative media makes this cost savings plan sounds like a recipe for disaster.
If dealerships do decide to charge a fee to test drivers to weed out the leisure time test drivers, they should at least donate the money to charity to shed some good light on what they are doing.
What’s to stop potential customers just going to another dealerships and bringing their business elsewhere. Whomever is working in the financial department of the Sacramento Auto Sales center needs to seriously reconsider this potentially customer killing strategy.
Source: Turn to 23