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Old Yesterday, 06:50 AM   #1
Woodrow
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Default Loaners vs demos

I had my IS at the dealership for a couple of days while they addressed a minor brake issue. While it was there, I was given a CT200h (my request) as a loaner. It had no options that I could find. No HomeLink, no Bluetooth, no leather, no navigation, and halogen headlights. I didn't know you could buy a car without Bluetooth connectivity anymore.

My question is ... is my dealer missing a marketing opportunity? Don't they already write off depreciation on loaners and demos as a marketing expense? Why not provide fully optioned cars? Wouldn't people be more likely to appreciate and buy options they might not otherwise have considered, if they experienced the comfort or convenience first hand? Aren't people naturally more impressed with fully optioned cars, helping or reminding them to consider Lexus when it's time for a new car? I know that every time I have a loaner, I consider it an opportunity for an extended test drive without a salesman in the back seat, often setting it as I would my personal car just to get a better feel for the real ownership experience.

It really does seem like a missed opportunity, but maybe no one else notices.
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Old Yesterday, 07:20 AM   #2
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My dealer has the same type equipped CT loaners but more options including Nav in the ES.
I understand your point as the CT is kind of crude for a Lexus and even worse without options.
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Old Yesterday, 07:41 AM   #3
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i think people know that loaner cars are going to be stripped out. If a person starts liking a loaner car theres nothing stopping them from swinging by the showroom to check out a new one. Its not like the loaner car is the only place you can see the car. They like to use new loaners to get the new car itch started in people. Then they can swing by the showroom if they want.
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Old Yesterday, 07:50 AM   #4
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IMO, no they are no missing an opportunity with less than fully optioned vehicles for loaners and demos - actually, from my experience, cars that have been labelled "demo" are usually well equipped while loaners are not.

Anyway, some of the reason why I don't think they are missing an opportunity:

- In my experiences, I have never had a loaner long enough to fully explore new options. I think 2 days is the longest we have had a Lexus loaner.
- How would you know what options your loan has? Window stickers are usually in the glove box, but I don't think people normally look for it.
- If you know the car has option "X" but can't get it work correctly, or to its full potential, you may now perceive the option negatively because you may have not known how to use it. Surely, if you are MBZ or Infiniti, you don't want people to be testing out the auto-stopping feature without some background information...
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Old Yesterday, 08:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow View Post
I had my IS at the dealership for a couple of days while they addressed a minor brake issue. While it was there, I was given a CT200h (my request) as a loaner. It had no options that I could find. No HomeLink, no Bluetooth, no leather, no navigation, and halogen headlights. I didn't know you could buy a car without Bluetooth connectivity anymore.

My question is ... is my dealer missing a marketing opportunity? Don't they already write off depreciation on loaners and demos as a marketing expense? Why not provide fully optioned cars? Wouldn't people be more likely to appreciate and buy options they might not otherwise have considered, if they experienced the comfort or convenience first hand? Aren't people naturally more impressed with fully optioned cars, helping or reminding them to consider Lexus when it's time for a new car? I know that every time I have a loaner, I consider it an opportunity for an extended test drive without a salesman in the back seat, often setting it as I would my personal car just to get a better feel for the real ownership experience.

It really does seem like a missed opportunity, but maybe no one else notices.
Well I look at it like this. I would be plenty upset if I were to bring in my my mid level Lexus only to get a higher grade Lexus with nicer leather and features only to go back to my mid level Lexus after the service is done.

Satisfaction would probably go down.
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Old Yesterday, 08:20 AM   #6
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no leather in the CT? assuming you mean it had faux leather not clothe right?
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Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow View Post
I had my IS at the dealership for a couple of days while they addressed a minor brake issue. While it was there, I was given a CT200h (my request) as a loaner. It had no options that I could find. No HomeLink, no Bluetooth, no leather, no navigation, and halogen headlights. I didn't know you could buy a car without Bluetooth connectivity anymore.

My question is ... is my dealer missing a marketing opportunity? Don't they already write off depreciation on loaners and demos as a marketing expense? Why not provide fully optioned cars? Wouldn't people be more likely to appreciate and buy options they might not otherwise have considered, if they experienced the comfort or convenience first hand? Aren't people naturally more impressed with fully optioned cars, helping or reminding them to consider Lexus when it's time for a new car? I know that every time I have a loaner, I consider it an opportunity for an extended test drive without a salesman in the back seat, often setting it as I would my personal car just to get a better feel for the real ownership experience.

It really does seem like a missed opportunity, but maybe no one else notices.
Keep in mind they have to pay for these cars. Those that put LS's, IS F's, GSh's, GX's etc.. are losing money. Yes eventually they go to Pre-Owned but with a loaner status attached can be a turn off for potential buyers. Our dealer put a unsold '13 GSh into loaner status and it's gone to Pre-Owned and back to loaner status multiple times because it retains it's value so well that it's not sellable atm.

Ask about a Borrowed Car Agreement (BCA) next time. Where a dealer will let you take a car for a few hours or a few days.

And Loaners vs Demos, one is loaned out to hundreds whereas the other is usually owned by a high level dealership employee (i.e. a manager) usually for a term of 5000 miles until they get a new one.
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Old Yesterday, 01:04 PM   #8
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Here's the difference:

Lexus (as a brand) is the Marketer. Lexus is the one that creates the car, prices, it, and advertises it. They're the ones that chooses what's bare bone and what's top of the line.

The dealer is the Seller. The dealer is the one that will sell you what you want, and provide a (negotiable) price for it. As a seller, they can also throw in upgrades like extended warranties or aftermarket dealer-installed options.


Personally, I think the dealer would be good to show a barebones car, and let the consumer want (and pay for) more. Otherwise, if they start of with the $45k CT200h or the $60k RX450h, it's going to be a hard sell only because the price is already significantly more than what Lexus marketed as the starting price.
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Old Yesterday, 05:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilipMSPT View Post
Here's the difference:

Lexus (as a brand) is the Marketer. Lexus is the one that creates the car, prices, it, and advertises it. They're the ones that chooses what's bare bone and what's top of the line.

The dealer is the Seller. The dealer is the one that will sell you what you want, and provide a (negotiable) price for it. As a seller, they can also throw in upgrades like extended warranties or aftermarket dealer-installed options.


Personally, I think the dealer would be good to show a barebones car, and let the consumer want (and pay for) more. Otherwise, if they start of with the $45k CT200h or the $60k RX450h, it's going to be a hard sell only because the price is already significantly more than what Lexus marketed as the starting price.
Keep the expectations low so when it's time to buy they say oh look more features I can get!
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Old Yesterday, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagwell View Post
no leather in the CT? assuming you mean it had faux leather not clothe right?
That NuLuxe (fake) leather is one of the things that the CT really does well. It is probably the best imitation stuff I've seen this side of a cow's a**....and, IMO, better than what some manufacturers use for real leather. The Animal-Rights people, this time, have a good point.
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Old Yesterday, 08:12 PM   #11
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A friend of mine has a '12 CT with the Leather option. Most CT's are NuLuxe though
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Old Yesterday, 08:27 PM   #12
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I think it really depends on what you are driving when you receive the loaner. I drive a GS F Sport, and none of the loaners they offer me... IS 250, ES350, CT200H... would entice be to buy because I already have a nicer car. If they want to really market to me they should give me an LS loaner that I would fall in love with and insist on buying, but they aren't going to do that.
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Old Today, 12:12 AM   #13
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My dealership has ES350s and a couple of GS350s. It varies dealer to dealer
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Old Today, 12:24 AM   #14
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Yea, it depends on the dealer. but where I go, I've never seen a CT loaner. I always see ES350, IS250, RX350 and GS350 and once in awhile see a 450h.
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Old Today, 06:37 AM   #15
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You all have good points, and I get it! I'm the one that's a bit odd I am a bit of a gadget geek, so these things might have an inflated value, to me.
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