Do you know that not all car buyers test drive their chosen vehicles before purchasing them? This is shocking but true: in 2012, Time reported that more than one in ten new-car buyers splurge on the auto purchase without taking the car out for spin. A 2012 Maritz Research survey also reveals that about 11.4 percent of car buyers didn’t take the car on the road before they bought it. The reason consumers don’t bother to test drive the cars is because they hate car salesmen. They would skip the test drive if it means spending less time dealing with the sales staff.
If you are a car buyer who resides in Seattle and would also rather not spend more time with the car salesman, you need not skip the test drive. Thanks to Tred, you can test your chosen vehicle out on the road without having to go to the dealership.
Launched on June 2013, Tred is a Seattle startup that delivers a test drive service. Instead of shoppers going to the dealerships to test drive cars, Tred brings the cars to the shoppers. Tred was founded by Grant Feek, who grew up in the city and worked at a local BMW dealership in the summers.
Car buyers can browse Tred’s site to select one or two cars they want to take for a spin at their chosen time and place. Then, Tred employees will bring the chosen vehicles to the shoppers’ home or office. The customer can take each car for a 15-mile test drive, and he or she will be accompanied by the Tred employee during the drive. The service clearly saves car buyers a lot of time and money, and spares them the pressure and stress that comes with dealing and driving with an auto salesman.
The service is currently limited to new cars and offered in Seattle only. Tred partners with 20 local dealerships and delivers vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Ford, Chevrolet, Lexus and Audi. The company makes money by charging dealers and customers alike a flat fee for every test drive. While the amount charged to dealers is undisclosed, the charge for buyers is $19.
A Novel Idea
Tred’s $19 is a reasonable price, considering the convenience that comes with it. The service was clearly designed with car buyers in mind. A 2011 Kelley Blue Book survey revealed that 56 percent of consumers would certainly schedule a test drive if the vehicle is brought to them and 70 percent favored to do a test drive alone or with someone else aside from the dealer.
Not in the Business of Selling Cars
Tred employees don’t only deliver cars and accompany shoppers in their test drives. They also offer helpful information about the vehicle as well as the dealer’s lowest price. It is important to note that Tred employees don’t sell cars and they don’t benefit if they do sell them. They give details that will help car buyers make a decision, then give the dealer’s best offer. However, the customer is not obligated to buy. According to Feek, the bonuses of his employees are based not on auto sales but customer feedback. All Tred employees are college-educated individuals with auto expertise, industry experience and clean driving records.
Assisting Auto Dealerships
Tred’s main goal may be to help car buyers, but in helping car buyers, they also help dealers. Interestingly, the test drive service allows dealers a unique opportunity to reach customers, even if the company intentionally keeps car buyers out of the showrooms. For instance, the test drive service enables busy folks to try out potential rides when they cannot find time to visit the dealerships themselves. If the customers like the way the vehicle runs, they can drop by the dealership to make the purchase. If there hadn’t been a convenient way to test drive the car, dealers may have lost potential sales.
Tred is without a doubt a novel idea, one recognized even by dealerships. In fact, its financial backers include former General Motors chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. If you will be buying a car, spending time in the dealership with annoying salesmen is unavoidable. However, with this test drive service, at least you can cut that time short.