This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
Some people dread buying a new car. They have heard horror stories of high-pressure sales people. They agonize over makes and models. They worry if they got the right car for the right price. I started thinking about the car buying process and wondered if the Internet has really impacted and changed the way people buy a new automobile. So, I went to visit with Mike MacDonald, the president of Bountiful Mazda, to discuss this.
Mike has been in the car business practically his entire life. He started as a young boy helping his grandfather at a dealership in Detroit. Mike came to Utah in 1978 to work with his uncle, Gordon Wilson. Over the next 24 years, Mike broadened his automotive experience with various companies in Salt Lake and Davis Counties.
In January of 2002, Mike bought back his Mazda dealership in Bountiful from Ford. In November, he opened his dramatic and very attractive new dealership at 2815 S. Main Street in Bountiful. It is very sophisticated with computer terminals for customers to use and secure information not only about Mazda products but also about competing lines. Sales personnel carry hand-held wireless PCs to instantaneously provide potential buyers with information needed to make comparison-shopping decisions on all automobile lines.
So, with all of the computer terminals and hand held PCs available, has the Internet really changed America's buying habits? "Yes and no," Mike told me. People do NOT buy cars over the Internet as many originally thought. They do use the Web to do preliminary shopping and to secure price, model and accessory information. "People still want to go to a dealership," Mike said. "They want to sit in the driver's seat, listen to the audio features, look under the hood, smell the new car smell and kick the tires."
And how is business at Bountiful Mazda? "Great and getting even better," Mike said. It's all about product, and Mazda has really given the public a new product that is gaining wide acceptance."
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.