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The Evolution of Car Buying


See how car buying has changed over the years.

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      • 1897 – William Metzger opens the first independent car dealership in Detroit.

    • Originally sold Waverly Electric cars

    • Credited with selling the first Oldsmobile

      • 1861: 1908 – The Ford Model T enters the market.

    • 1915-1925 only available in black to make production faster

    • Over 15 million sold

      • 1925 – About ¾ of new cars in America are purchased on credit.
      • 1942 – Civilian car manufacturing ceases due to World War II.

    • Tires and gasoline severely rationed

    • Demand for new cars rises post-war

      • 1958 – Senator Almer Stillwell Monroney introduces the Automobile Information Disclosure Act.

    • Required dealers to put price stickers in car windows

    • Stickers included price, make, model, serial number and dealer information

      • 1960’s – Eustace Wolfington develops the modern car lease.

    • Previously, leasing was only available to businesses

    • Introduces the lease renewal for drivers to continue leasing the car

      • 1980 – 87.2% of American households own at least one car.

    • 95% of car sales in America were to replace a vehicle

    • 1990s – Lower gas prices lead to increased sales of larger vehicles like SUV’s.
    • 1991-1998 – Motor vehicle assembly labor output increases by 3.4% each year.
    • 2008 – Automotive sales fall drastically to 10-year low due to American financial crisis.
    • 2013-2017 – Trucks (SUVs, vans and pickups) outsell cars for the 5th straight year.



    Tesla VS the Franchise Model

      • According to franchise laws, automobiles must be sold through licensed dealerships.
      • Tesla Motors is fighting legal battles with several states to sell their electric cars directly to consumers.
      • The company creates custom cars, making it nearly impossible for a dealership to stock inventory.

      Car Buying in the Digital Age

          • It is still nearly impossible to buy a car entirely online.
          • Many third-party services exist to browse inventory from local dealers.
          • Buyers must still go to the dealership to test drive and buy the car.
          • Pros of online car sales:

        • Shoppers can look at a larger selection of inventory from multiple dealers.

        • New car buyers can customize their options, like color and upgraded features, in minutes.

        • Many consumers feel there is less pressure buying online.

        • Potential cost savings from online exclusive deals and pricing.

          • Cons of online car sales:

        • Buyers cannot physically see or drive the car before buying it.

        • Difficult to value a trade-in vehicle.

        • No salesperson recommendation on make, model or features.

        • Online sales do not create the personal relationship of face-to-face sales.

        • Financing can be more expensive as there is no salesperson to help you get a better finance option.



        Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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