FTC to Host Public Workshop Examining the U.S. Auto Distribution System Workshop Will Explore Competition, State Regulations, and Emerging Trends in the Industry, Project No. P131202
It seems to be the "Direct to consumer" model vs. the "Only at a dealership model" for selling cars is being billed as an either/or scenario. Why not allow both and let the consumer decide? If, as the dealers and their associations posit, consumer advantages to purchasing cars at a dealership are so overwhelming that it would be a folly to try them any other way; then allowing a direct to consumer model to compete alongside the dealership model will quickly and definitively show that the consumer prefers and is better served by the dealership model - and the direct to consumer business model will fall by the wayside on its own. On the other hand, if consumers prefer the direct to consumer model and find its advantages superior to the dealership model, then they should be allowed to spend their hard earned money in the way they feel is best for them and this would have the benefit of forcing the dealership model to up its game in order to enhance consumer satisfaction. There is no reason that the two models can't coexist. The most visible model is Apple. They have their Apple stores and many people choose to purchase iPhones, iPads, and computers at an Apple store. But many other consumers prefer to make their iPad purchase from Best Buy or online, while other consumers prefer to buy their iPhone from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. Consumers are, overall and in most cases, fantastically wonderful at selecting the method of purchase that is best for themselves. To deny consumers the choice does a disservice to the consumer, the manufacture, and even to the dealership model. Maybe I would prefer the direct model after weighing its benefits and its shortcomings. On the other hand, maybe I would prefer the dealership model after comparing its benefits and shortcomings. It has been a while since I've purchased a new vehicle, but when I do I would certainly like to have the freedom to decide how I would like to purchase it. Thank you for your consideration and allowing members of the general public to comment on this issue. I look forward to following this FTC "Public Workshop Examining the U.S. Auto Distribution System" and the follow up.