Deceptive automotive marketing stinks and consumers are fed up with it
My wife and I are in the market for a second car. At least she is, which means I am. A few weeks ago she noticed a lease special advertised on the website of Ardmore Toyota. The ad was for a Toyota Camry LE lease with $0 and $189 per month. Just what my wife was looking for.
We rushed in ready to sign a deal. When we got there here is what we discovered.
- The advertised price is only for recent college graduates (was in the small print but we did not read it).
- The car advertised does not have electric seats and unfortunately they did not carry that car (not we don’t have it stock…we don’t even order it!)(So even if we were recent college graduates they still could not have lived up to the promise of the ad.)
- The nice shinny car in the pictured in the ad was not the LE but the more expensive SE version. With a clearly different set of lighting options that were not available on the actual car they had for lease.
It seems the whole point of this ad was to get people into the dealership with the promise of something the dealership did not even have to sell, to then sell them something a bit more expensive. Which would be OK with me if they could have actually sold me what the ad promised.
Once there the standard twisting of trying to get us to lease a slightly more expensive vehicle went on for some time. And of course we were assured they were offering us their best deal possible (does anyone believe that any more?).
We decided not to lease the car and left. For the next 3 days I received calls from the General Manager making me increasingly better offers on the same vehicle they had assured me while in the dealership they were offering me their best price.
What we really want
As I think through this it’s not really another car we are in the market for. What we really want is an automotive retailer we can trust. The actual vehicle matters much less.
I’m not lumping all automotive marketers in the same boat
I do realize that all retail automobile dealers don’t engage in such glarringly deceitful advertising. In fact we’ve had a very pleasant relationship with Martin Honda whose January ad for a lease special was exactly what they offered.
Word to the wise marketer
Consumers want to trust their auto dealers and anyone else they buy from. Get caught lying to them and you run the risk of ending up the subject on some guys blog with an army of readers and not just losing his trust and business but his tribes as well.