An often overlooked aspect of dealerships is the business platform that they use. Car dealerships come in one of two varieties, franchise and independent. Franchises are dealerships that sell cars for a specific manufacturer. This is like going to an Apple Store to buy an iPhone. Independent dealerships can sell cars from any manufacturer through a contract with the automobile manufacturer. This is akin to buying that iPhone from Best Buy or Radio Shack. Franchises and Independent dealership business models vary in a number of ways. Backed by The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, as well as state organizations like the Virginia Independent Automobile Dealers Association, independent dealers are well trained, and well equipped to provide great service at a great price.
Why Go Independent?
Franchises require a lot of extras from a dealership such as specially designated waiting areas, franchise training, loaner cars, shuttle buses and other guidelines that eat into the store budget. Those extra costs get passed on to the customer. Independent dealerships don’t have this extra overhead, and they can pass that savings on to you!
See what The 'Du-Man' has to say about being Independent.
Independent Dealerships do not normally buy directly from the manufacturer. While this may at first seem like an independent dealer is a middle man, the reality is that a buyer can save a bundle in fees that may be found at a franchise dealership. Independent dealers often have a more diverse stock, as they purchase not only from a single motor company, but also from private dealers, auctions, private sellers, and other sources. If you are looking for a specific car with a unique package, an independent dealer may have access to the means to find that automobile for you.
Independent dealerships have greater flexibility in finance. While a franchise dealership may be restricted to using franchise finance companies, an independent dealership can and will be able to use outside sources of credit, and may well have their own in-house credit option. This is great news for folks who need to replace a car, but may not have spotless credit.
Franchise dealerships may have prettier waiting rooms, a better coffee selection, or better dressed salesmen, but none of these affect the cost of your car. Independent dealers are able to give customers what they need without all the frills, and just what they came in to see. Lower advertising budgets might make them less visible, but they pass those savings on to their customer base, and that makes them the buyer’s best choice. Before heading to the big box car store, take a look at what your local independent lots have in stock for you!