The time has finally come. My family is about to welcome our first new addition! It’s an exciting time for an about-to-be parent and as I’m sure many of you can relate – trying to get the house ready, rethinking your vehicle and learning about everything you will need to know for the next few years can be a very hectic time.
For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on my personal car shopping experience. When I first moved to the south a few years ago, I KNEW the vehicle I wanted to cruise around in was a Jeep Wrangler. Even though Atlanta is not quite Florida, I knew the weather would be hot and a Jeep would be great to get around in for our more-often-than-not sunny days. As many of you know, Wranglers can come in a number of styles. Some aggressive and others tame. I ended up finding the “perfect” Jeep at a nearby dealership cause it had the perfect mix of exterior styling and interior colors – a fact that I wouldn’t have known had the dealership not post both exterior and interior pictures for the listing.
Fast forward six years – I am now rethinking my vehicle. As much as I adore the Jeep, my wife is not too keen on it being a mode of transportation for the newborn. So out goes the Jeep and in comes a potential SUV/crossover. Lucky for us, with high gas prices and the popularity of SUV’s over the last few years, we have a great number of options to choose from. As the saying goes, “every used car is unique” and as I’m trying to wade through this sea of vehicles for sale, I am noticing that many dealers are not doing their inventory justice by holding out critical information that I need.
A number of dealerships I’ve browsed on this used cars website only posts the exterior shots of the vehicle. While I a get a good 360 degree view with 8 to 12 pictures, what I am also VERY interested in, is the condition and the look of the interior. As many of you know, SUV’s come in a number of trims and they are all configurable. It’s easy for a new car buyer to add features outside of their standard trim packages to make their vehicle stand out. As a result, dealers in the used car market not posting shots of the interior almost eliminates their entire lot for me. Not only am I interested in the condition after the original use, I am also interested in seeing if the vehicle has all the options I want. I do try and check the dealer’s descriptions of the options but surprisingly, most dealers are not posting all options or options specific to the used vehicle that are being listed.
For example, one thing I am looking for this time around is seating for seven or eight in the SUV. Some like the Kia Sorento comes with both a 5-seater option as well as a third row, 7-seater option. Most dealers do not specify this in the written descriptions so it’s up to me, the consumer, to tread carefully and spot out the differences in the pictures – if the pictures are available.
As a buyer, my recommendation for you dealers – especially used car dealers, is to post pictures of both exterior and interior of the vehicle. In fact, the more the merrier. If your current inventory management system only allows 8 or 12 pictures, consider spitting that allotment with some interior pictures. You may also want to consider the life-stage of the buyer. (i.e. interior shots for SUV’s and minivans, exterior shots for sports cars, engine shots for classics.) Also, it goes without saying that you should be upfront and more descriptive in the written description. I almost passed on my Jeep cause I wanted A/C and neither the pictures or the vehicle description said there was A/C – even though every other feature appeared to be listed for the vehicle.
In this age of information, the more detailed you are and the more information you can provide up front, the better we would feel about working with you to purchase a vehicle. After all, time is money for all of us. We don’t necessarily want to drive around testing vehicles that are missing key features we care about and I’m sure you guys don’t want to waste your time talking to walk-ins that are not prospective buyers at all. Dealers, please do all of us a favor and make sure your team is covering all of your basis and showing love to both the exterior and interior of the vehicles.