Toyota tests online sales, financing with Scion – Detroit Free Press
If you’re in the market for a Scion car next year — maybe the new iA or iM small cars that go on sale Sept. 1 — you may buy it in a new way that doesn’t require you to set foot in a dealership or haggle with a salesperson.
Toyota will use the small Scion brand to test a new web-based system that lets shoppers pick their car, set the price, arrange financing and even take delivery from home, the office, anyplace you can get online.
“People want to spend less time in the dealership,” Doug Murtha, the Toyota vice president who runs Scion told me. It can take a typical buyer around four hours to convince a car dealer to agree to take thousands of dollars from them. The process can be infuriating.
“We’re shooting for an hour,” Murtha said.
Scion has been testing the system, called Pure Process Plus, for a couple of years. About 60 dealerships across the country are using it now. The process should be available nationally in the first half of next year. You can find out what dealerships are using it through the dealer locator at Scion.com.
Scion has sold a few hundred cars through the system.
Toyota created Scion in part to test new ways of doing things to figure out what the bigger Toyota and Lexus brands should try. If Pure Process Plus takes off, it’ll be the little brand’s biggest contribution to the huge automaker.
At participating dealers — and all 1,000 Scion dealers next year — a buyer can go online, pick a specific car, get a no-haggle price, get approved for a loan from Toyota’s finance arm, see what Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) says they’ll get in trade for their current car, agree on the purchase, even arrange to have the car delivered to them.
The delivery won’t be legal in Michigan, where state law requires car sales to be completed at a dealership, but you’ll be able to do everything else online.
Automakers generally agree the way we buy cars is broken. It takes too long, and creates an adversarial relationship with shoppers the automaker wants to turn into long-term customers.
Scion and Toyota aren’t alone in trying to get out of that mess. Watch for other automakers to try new ways of selling cars soon.
Contact Mark Phelan: email@example.com or 313-222-6731. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan.