@GregCarrasco: Rebooting How Cars Are Sold

I’ve known Greg Carrasco for a few years now starting from his days at Newmarket Nissan, where he impressed me with his back story and his use of social media. Then when he moved to Oakville Hyundai where he sold my wife and I our Hyundai Tucson. Plus I’ve been on his radio show a number of times as well. Now he’s moved to Thornhill Hyundai and he’s doing something that is really going to change how you get your next car.

Now, frequent readers of this blog know that when my wife and I were shopping for a car, we hated the process. In fact, I was so frustrated by a trip to an Acura dealer that I wrote a story on the experience with these words:

I have a suggestion to any car dealerships that may read this. The process of buying a car sucks. You shouldn’t make your customers feel like they need a shower after they visit a dealership. Nor should you force a potential customer to do more than they want simply to hit your numbers. You should help the customer to make an informed decision about the car that they want and how to pay for it with no pressure being applied to them. This is why my wife and I hate buying a car and avoid it unless absolutely required.

My experience is not unusual and Greg Carrasco has likely heard this feedback from other people as well. That’s why he’s decided to reboot how cars are sold. For starters, he’s removed commission sales from his sales floor. Why? According to Mr Carrasco, commissioned sales people tend to be experienced negotiators. Customers are not experienced negotiators. Plus customers hate negotiating because given the fact that they know that are at a disadvantage right out of the gate and they are guaranteed to lose. If you remove commissions, the sales person’s goal is not to take huge amounts of money out of your pocket, but to take care of you. This leads to the customer liking the dealer, liking the process of buying a car, and it puts them at ease. One other thing that removing commissions creates is that Mr. Carrasco has a price advantage over other dealers as he can sell the cars for less due to the fact that he doesn’t have to pay a commission to someone.

The next thing he’s done is he’s made his sales people “relationship managers” who’s sole focus is to ensure customer satisfaction. They are tasked with helping customers the car that they need and not the one that they think they need by having customers buy less than they need, protect it, and ensure that they are able to drive it without having to make car payments as soon as possible. Not only that, he tends to hire people who do not have previous car industry experience as that would put himself in a position to take these people and have them unlearn every bad habit they’ve learned. However, he does admit that due to the growth of Thornhill Hyundai (where sales have doubled since he’s arrived), he has had to hire people with minimal car industry experience and who have worked for him before to shorten the development cycle of the dealership.

Finally, he’s moved to a one price policy for used cars. Typically when you see a used car at a dealership, it may have started out at one price. But the longer it sits on the lot, the lower the price gets. Not only that, when person “A” walks into a dealership for a used car, they can get one price. But person “B” may not do as good of a job at negotiating as person “A” and get a worse price as a result. Mr. Carrasco simply gives you the lowest price from the get go. The net result, used cars don’t sit on his lot very long (less than 60 days on average) and he has data to prove that the price you pay is the best value that you can get for whatever used car you are interested in. Best of all, it’s fair to everyone.

Now he’s not making friends in the car industry by doing this. While competing brands don’t seem to have a problem with what he’s doing, other Hyundai dealers do according to Mr. Carrasco. Now I’d think that he’s raising bar in terms of how customers are treated and that other dealers will want to do the same. But I’ve been around long enough to know that when you do something revolutionary, you tend not to make many friends. But he’s not doing this to make friends. He’s doing this because he believes that the car industry can and must do better for consumers. It’s also grounded in his belief of doing the right thing for his customers all the time. This is something that I can respect.

So, what’s next for Mr. Carrasco? He needs to expand Thornhill Hyundai as his success at this dealership is making the dealership burst at the seams quite literally. I saw that first hand as I watched people come to this dealership in droves looking for their next car. But in my mind, that’s a good problem to have and shows that he’s on the right track. He’s also still doing his radio show on AM640 in Toronto which is the number one car show on Canadian radio, and he’s still a star on social media with over 70 thousand followers on Twitter and growing. I’ll be keeping my eye on him to see how the revolution that Greg Carrasco has started progresses as it should be interesting to watch. And I think what he’s doing will eventually catch on and make the process of buying a car better for everyone as a result.


One Response to “@GregCarrasco: Rebooting How Cars Are Sold”

  1. Good on Mr. Carrasco for leading the change in such a manner. I also dislike the in-dealer negotiating experience, so this time around I sent email quote requests around to the different dealers and received a surprising number of replies. Took the lowest one, and signed the papers on my Tucson. Picking it up in a few hours 🙂

    Considerably more time saving and less-stressful than the conventional method.

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