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CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE WILL DRIVE TOMORROW'S CAR DEALERSHIPS

 DETROIT, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Car buyers are demanding more convenience from automobile dealerships, forcing changes in their traditional role.
 Automotive News Insight, the magazine section of the leading trade newspaper Automotive News, describes the dealership of the future in the Sept. 13 issue. Among the predictions, based on interviews with experts and an exclusive national survey of future car buyers are these:
 1. Retail chains will sell more automobiles.
 2. Consumers will be able to order cars by mail, via catalogs and
 800-numbers open 24 hours a day.
 3. Consumers will order cars via their TV sets, a la cable
 television's Home Shopping Network, but with interactive TV
 technology.
 4. Instead of car lots and test drives, dealerships will use high-
 tech sales tools like virtual reality to simulate seeing,
 touching and driving specific models.
 5. Dealerships will get smaller -- and bigger. Smaller stores,
 such as off-site service centers, will open in locations
 convenient to customers. And mega malls -- big retail centers
 that combine many competing dealerships in the same shopping
 center -- will spread. But unlike today's auto malls,
 tomorrow's will have restaurants, stores and entertainment areas
 and playgrounds for children.
 Almost everyone agrees there will be fewer dealers in the future, as new ways of marketing and distributing vehicles evolve. Surviving dealerships will carry more brands of vehicles -- but there will be few cars and trucks to look at. Instead of dealers carrying large inventories ready for instant sale, they will custom-order what their customers want, to be built and delivered directly to the buyer within a week.
 Service departments also will get an overhaul for customer convenience. The new mantra is "Fix it right the first time." Nothing is more important to consumers, according to a market survey conducted for Automotive News by The Dohring Co. of Glendale, Calif.
 Dealerships will have to repair vehicles when customers want -- and they will attempt to repair customers' confidence in their vehicles and in the brands as well.
 Automotive News is published each Monday in Detroit by Crain Communications Inc., a privately held company that publishes 25 consumer, business and trade publications.
 -0- 9/10/93
 /CONTACT: Ed Lapham of Automotive News, 313-446-0339/


CO: Automotive News ST: Michigan IN: AUT PUB SU:

SB -- DE019 -- 0820 09/10/93 14:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 10, 1993
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