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Tuesday
Mar132012

Bespoke Vehicles

Back in the day...

car factory order formDo you remember back in the day when most vehicles in one fashion or another were bespoke...they were most often bespoke by the dealer...and at times by the customer. 

Yes...vehicles from the Detroit manufacturers were bespoke, and the astute dealers took full advantage of ordering bespoke vehicles for their dealerships, and customers. Especially at a time before computers, and if one had an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the various assembly plants. 

Especially when the entire system was still mostly manual, and allocations were influenced by human relationships...why does it sound like social media from a different time. 

How did it all work? 

Back in the day, some dealers were a little sharper, more astute, cultivated better "relationships" than others...these dealers would usually be privy to additional information...

These dealers would inevitably order certain models with specific options that would generate a competitive advantage for the dealer...it could be as innocent as a heavy duty suspension, a dual exhaust, a bigger engine, or literally a model that every other dealer was afraid to order. 

To this day, the product remains at least 50% of the sale, having an advantage with the product facilitated selling vehicles, and perhaps even a higher profit.

How did you get more product? 

Back in the day, when components were stacked to the ceiling in plants, towards the end of the model run, plants were always looking for orders to deplete the components. A shrewd dealer towards build out would often order additional popular vehicles...yes even the factory rep would go in cardiac arrest when the vehicles would show up at the dealer, a few weeks later they would be eligible for PMA (past model allowance). 

Would it work today? NO...

Was it easier to make mistakes and have the wrong vehicle, with the wrong options? Absolutely, one of the reason even back in the day, many dealers were fearful...

An example...

In 1976 when GM downsized its cars, the customers with full size station wagons and monster engines were in a state of shock a few years later when the time to trade the huge wagon, with the huge engine arrived. Imagine this completely off the wall dealer that finds a way to get 25-30 1/2 ton fully equipped Suburbans with 454's as a replacement to the wagons. 

 

 

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