Colonel Panic wrote:People whinge that car dealerships are a dreadful experience, and then they whinge when the dealerships are by-passed.
I think it depends on which brand, which dealership and where you are.
Certainly the last car (well, 7 seater sprog-shuttle) I bought was online from Germany, without seeing it. I did try to buy one here in Belgium via a shiny glass and chrome dealership, but one "importer" has a monopoly on several brands here - result was a quote for a car with less
options but would have cost 25%
more..oh, and the basic warranty when buying in DE was 3 years. In Belgium it was 2...
When I went to the dealer with my online quote - trying to get some sort of middle ground - he just gave a Gallic shrug and said he didn't care as most people were too scared to buy online and "import" a car themselves. I went first class by ICE to Frankfurt, then local train south for 45 mins and drove the car back on temp German transport plates. Import fee in Belgium was around 100 euro iirc, and involve some typical Belgian bureaucracy. Total import/transport cost was less than 400 euro
The car was delivered to an actual dealer in Germany, there was no way to avoid that - they were nice enough, but completely forgot I'd ordered winter wheels/tyres - so they had to have them shipped to me at their cost. That wouldn't have been so bad, but the car was built and delivered in winter...with summer wheels/tyres...
The biggest "risk" I had was I couldn't get an extended warranty here in Belgium. The local monopoly importer was the only one to offer it - and they point blank refused. Which was one more reason I was happy not to give them my money.
Had good,bad,horrendous experiences with dealers when I was still in the UK.
I see the option to buy "online" and have as much done at home/small franchised maintenance centres as inevitable.