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
I am in full support of automakers being allowed to sell direct to consumer. Currently an automobile is the only consumer good which one cannot be reasonably sure of the cost prior to engaging a salesperson, and the only consumer good barred from being sold direct to the consumer. It is evident by increased use of services such as TrueCar, price assurance through insurance companies, "haggle-free" sales, that the American car buyer is tired of the standard model for car buying. Allowing for a direct to consumer sales model also will allow car manufacturers to dictate standards of service and professionalism. There is little consequence for unscrupulous car dealers who while operating within the confines of the law are operating out of what has come to be expected when completing a transaction, especially one which is the second largest or largest purchase a consumer will make. Hidden document fees, transaction fees, useless add ons, third party warranties, and other means which seek to scam consumers are something that will not be reigned in under the current model. It will take either significant government intervention and regulation or given the scrutiny and PR importance, the automakers could take care of this themselves if they were running the dealerships. Removing this middleman between the customer and the automaker should also lower the cost of service parts which are marked up every step along the way of supplier -> OEM -> dealer -> customer. This does not mean that third party dealerships should be outlawed, but just that the alternative should be allowed. Also, free market, freedom, America.