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The day before I started writing this article, somebody asked me a typical get-to-know-somebody-better question: “Tell me Davy, what is the best holiday you’ve ever had?”. I liked this question, on one side for the obvious reason that it’s always nice to think about vacations, but also because it brought up some very nice memories of trips I had been on the last couple of years. All of these had their own story to tell and were great in different ways, but as I had to pick one, I decided to mention the one I had been on almost 4 years ago.

 

Period: August 2012. Type: road trip. Location: la bella Italia!

 

To start with: I had never been in the boot-shaped country before. Most of my childhood holidays actually took place on and around Mediterranean coasts, but these were located in Spain; and years later I managed to miss the typical school excursion to Rome that so many Belgian teenagers go on. So, all these years later, it was about time to discover why so many people love going there, but a quick look at the map of Italy made clear that choosing the perfect location would be more difficult than expected: The mixture of cultures in Südtirol, the beautiful nature of Lombardy, the Venetian lagoon, the cities and food of Emilia-Romagna, the Ligurian seaside, the Tuscan hillside… and then I had only checked the central Northern axis of the country, not even getting as far as the Eternal City in the middle. I decided not to look any further, and planned out a route which would lead me to places in almost all these regions, offering a nice mixture of mountains & seaside, cities & countryside, culture & relaxation, making sure that the trip wouldn’t get too exhausting. I didn’t want to return with a higher stress level than the one on which I had left of course. It would also mean a thorough test for my car: would it be able to cope with the height of the Alps?

 

Okay, I know. You are now probably thinking that I am exaggerating, and – admittedly – I guess I am. It’s not as if I were driving around with a 50-year-old car that only manages to climb a hill when it has a height difference of maximum two or three percent. No, the vehicle that would lead me there was an 8-year-old Renault Clio, with 65 brake horsepower at her (Clio was one of the muses in Greek mythology, so I considered my car to be female) disposal. So, she wasn’t the toughest car you’ll ever see, but I can tell you that she didn’t disappoint me one bit.

 

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Truth be told, on the highway she was no match for the Audis, Porsches and BMW’s of this world as these cars overtook her quite easily, despite managing to squeeze out an – for her standards – impressive maximum of 163km/h (before you think that I broke the law there: it was in Germany, in a long straight line without any speed restriction, so it was fair game).

However, once in Italy, she turned out to be one of the very finest around. Not only did she cross the Alps as easily as any other car, on the twisty-turny Italian roads (especially those around the Cinque Terre) she had the clear advantage over the same Audis, Porsches and BMW’s that overtook her so greedily a couple of days before, thanks to her excellent manoeuvrability and surprisingly good acceleration after every corner. It was the entire David (any reference to my own name is purely coincidental) and Goliath story all over again, and certainly contributed to the good feeling I was left with after that holiday!

 

In the years that passed since then, that very same car has taken me to some more very nice places in Europe, sometimes for leisure, but twice for professional purposes as well, more specifically to visit my colleagues in our Hungarian office in Budapest. And as the journey is at least as important as the destination, organizing a road trip there gave me the opportunity to visit other cities and landmarks on the road as well, such as Salzburg, Vienna, Lake Balaton, Prague and Dresden; piece by piece places that also popped up in my mind when I was asked about my favourite holiday.

 

In the end, I believe it is fair to say that this car has played an important role in my holiday experiences of the last couple of years, and I like to consider this blog post as a last tribute, because unfortunately I had to say goodbye to her two months ago.

Let me assure you, the following sentence is not meant as a sexist or macho remark in any way, but: She simply got too old, so I had to trade her in for a younger model. There are fewer and fewer places in which a 12-years-old diesel car is still considered welcome (Antwerp, the city in which I work, is no exception), so it was time for me to purchase a new car, obviously following the steps I have mentioned in my previous blog post.

 

So, the newcomer has big wheel caps to fill, but I have full confidence in her and already will give her a first big chance to prove herself in a couple of weeks from now:

 

Period: June 2016. Type: road trip. Location: la bella Italia!

 

Alla prossima!

Renault_Clio_Davy


 

Author: Davy

Davy is active in the BARE International office in Antwerp. He has a Master’s degree in Multilingual Communication, and can get himself understood properly in 5 languages. Professionally he’s mostly busy with cars and wireless speakers, topics he’s fond of in his private life as well – apart from other hobbies, such as travelling, cooking, cycling and football.

 


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It was a cold and rainy day in January when I stepped into the train carriage. I was on my way to Brussels where the 94th edition of the “Autosalon” was held. This yearly European Motor Show is my “pick me up” to cope with the cold winter days. One of my colleagues at BARE International was able to provide me with a free ticket and here I was sitting on the train all by myself. In case you are wondering… I indeed am one of those rare women who are actually into cars. Besides, if you are familiar with the term window shopping than imagine going to those motor shows as the ultimate version of the concept. Not only can you visually admire hundreds of cars under 1 roof, you can also sit in them, smell the ‘new-car-smell’ and feel the soft leather seats.

My half an hour train ride to Brussels went smoothly and so was my bus ride to the final destination. I must say that it was strange to be going to a car show by public transportation. I was following the advice given by the media to avoid parking issues on the location. How ironic is that?  I soon found myself queuing at the entrance feeling the anticipation of hours to spend looking at those shiny new cars. 5 More minutes as I’m checking in my coat and by now I’m already imagining long road trips enjoying the comfort of a new car and the variation of beautiful sceneries passing by like a perfectly directed movie.

shutterstock_1703995_resizedTime to go in and I cannot wait to start checking out the first cars. I try to hold in my excitement but it still shows as I am smiling from ear to ear like a little girl in a candy shop. I noticed that the entrance I took was not the main entrance and suddenly I found myself surrounded by Asian cars. I remembered thinking if this was a good thing or not. I’m currently driving my third Hyundai and I am still a big fan. On the other hand aren’t we all curious about new things? As I was walking past the Nissan, Kia and Honda stands I was not really feeling their new models.

Until suddenly, there it was… this beautiful white Mitsubishi Outlander. It was love at first sight! This car was speaking to me with its perfect size, its elegant but sporty lines, its ecological mindset and even the name speaks to my imagination! It was saying: “Yes, I want to be adventurous with you but let us still be sophisticated.” And “Yes, I love to be wild with you but I am also there for your family.”  I spent at least 20 minutes buzzing around the car, sitting in the front and back seats, inspecting the trunk and opening all the doors. I was sold!

If you know me personally, you will know that once I see something I like, I have no interest in anything else. As happy as I was I also know that all the cars I will see after this one will never come close to evoke the same sensation as this “Outlander”. After spending 3 more hours and passing by the Mitsubishi stand to say goodbye, I knew that the biggest task was still ahead of me. I had to convince my partner to buy this beautiful creation. How is that working out for me? Well, it is March now and we are still driving my Hyundai Tucson. It will still be my trusted companion for some more years to come and it is better for my trusted car not to know about my secret new love… just yet.

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Author: Wara 20150625_172744_resized

Wara joined BARE International almost 7 years ago. Born in Thailand and moved to Belgium as a child, she knows how it feels to be “stuck” between cultures. Thanks to her optimistic mindset, she always tries to see a positive outcomes in everything. Her goal in life is to be happy, to live by example in order to inspire people around her… especially her son.


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The purchase of a car can get pretty expensive if you’re not careful. So in order to avoid spending too much money, it might be worth spending some time to prepare properly.

What kind of car: New or Second-hand?

The first choice that needs to be made is whether you are looking to buy a brand new car, or are more interested in one that has already been used. The first category has the clear advantage of being still shining new and without any risk of improper use by previous owners – whereas a second-hand car will mainly benefit from a lower price to be paid. These can be vehicles that were used for a short while by a dealership or for an undefined time by companies or private buyers, but they can also be leased cars and so on.

As going through all the pros and cons of these subdivisions would take too much time and writing space, I will focus on the first category: What should you keep in mind when going for a brand new car?

Find out what the best time is to buy

No matter in which month you decide to visit your local dealership, there will always be a little extra that the salesperson can offer you to convince you of buying your car there. However, don’t just bite because they are throwing you a little fish, knowing that in other periods you might be able to reel in a whale. The best time to buy will be influenced by several factors, such as the end of the (financial) year or the launch of a new model, as bigger discounts are often offered then to reach the quota or to get rid of the older versions. So it’s worthwhile to pay attention to these periods. Another typical time of the year for more interesting discounts is the month in which a motor show is being organized – which leads us straight to the next point.

Visit a motor show

Visiting a motor show will not only give you the opportunity to discover the discounts offered by the different brands, the variety of cars can also give you extra ideas and will show you the newest options. There is always the chance that you see a car that you hadn’t taken into account before, and even if that isn’t the case, then certainly you will notice some interesting options / accessories that you would like to have in your future vehicle, too.

Visit a dealership

Even if the brand itself already offers a national discount, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the bottom price. Local dealerships can often offer an additional discount. Talk to the sales advisors; see what they can offer you, and listen to what they can recommend you (obviously it is up to you to decide whether you actually need those recommendations). Also, when you are interested in a specific car, ask if you can take it for a test drive. Buying something of this price range shouldn’t be a strictly rational decision, you should also find out what feelings it gives you. Looks and numbers surely play their part, but to have a really good match, your newest conquest should also be able to put a smile on your face – even after a long day in the office or when fighting that hangover from the night before.

Do some mystery shopping

Absolutely. I can also recommend a fair bit of mystery shopping!

Purchasing a new car is something that most people don’t do very frequently, so a bit of mystery shopping practice will make sure that you don’t get too rusty (+ it will put some extra money on your bank account, which is not bad either). And, as a matter of fact, BARE International offers mystery shops for various car brands, in a nice variety of scenarios. You can:

  • Visit a dealership to achieve the best possible offer for a specific model.
  • Ask the sales advisor during a visit whether a type of car can be sold to you as new or pre-owned only.
  • Observe how you are offered assistance at your local dealership, while inquiring about a specific car model (and possibly taking the car of your dreams for a test drive while you’re at it).
  • Call / email / chat with the customer service, asking for more information with regards to specific car terms, engine types, warranty, etc.
  • Call a dealership to evaluate the assistance while scheduling an appointment for a periodic check-up.
  • Find out how quickly you are helped when requesting a test drive online.
  • … (To be continued, as new scenarios pop up frequently).

Final checklist

So, when you are planning on purchasing a new car, be sure to do it properly: Do some research on when you would get the best value for your money. Expand your view and stay up-to-date by checking the websites of all the car brands you know; or easier, try to visit a motor show. Pay a visit to a dealership in your neighbourhood, or – preferably – to dealerships of different brands. Find out what each of them has to offer you, and don’t be afraid to share this information with the sales advisors of the competing brands. If they notice that you are looking around, they might try to make their offer even more interesting to you.

And yes, practice makes perfect: If you are looking for some bonus money to have that satellite navigation or those fancy decorations installed in your car, or just want to find out what CVT means, which engine type you should go for and what the average discount is that dealerships can offer, then be sure to have a good look at your Job Board and check out the available car evaluations.

Well, now that you are ready to go, there’s only one advice left: Have fun!


 

Author: DavyDSCF4922_resized2

Davy is active in the BARE International office in Antwerp. He has a Master’s degree in Multilingual Communication, and can get himself understood properly in 5 languages. Professionally he’s mostly busy with cars and wireless speakers, topics he’s fond of in his private life as well – apart from other hobbies, such as travelling, cooking, cycling and football.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Being a bit of a petrolhead myself, I really enjoy getting deeper into our automotive projects in Switzerland and working with the Social Media team on improving the “We Are Cars” site.

’The dealer gave me such a good price on the car that I seriously thought about buying it. But because of the birth of my granddaughter I knew I would need a 5-seater, so I decided against it, eventually’ – said a Bare Evaluator during the Evaluator Day in 2014, in Geneva. He referred to a luxury saloon.

‘We loved that project… when does it return?’  – echoed another comment.

Being my first project – and probably the most challenging one ever since – I can still very well remember the details.

In some other cases, we sent Evaluators to the most beautiful parts of Switzerland – just driving there must be fun already. In addition, we also paid a travel fee for those locations.

Why do we ask certain questions in our system?

When a project gets posted on the job board, we ask questions – like: “When could you perform this visit? / Do you have a driving license? / Do you have a certain type of car?

We ask these questions (just like the ones in the Extended Evaluator Profile) in order to tailor our offers to you. By answering these, you give us the opportunity to get to know you better.

What automotive projects are going on in Switzerland?

There are usually plenty of choices, from premium / luxury car visits to utility vehicles. It varies from project to project if a test drive is required – that’s a great opportunity for car lovers to try magnificent cars and earn money while having some fun. Of course it’s not always about expensive cars, but nevertheless you have the chance to experience the newest gimmicks in brand new cars. Don’t hesitate to contact me, in case you want to know more!

What if I don’t like cars or don’t have a driving license?

For some of the automotive projects, no license is required. I mean the mystery visits without a test drive in general.

Furthermore we have many different projects going on in different parts of the country, in different industries, such as cosmetics, jewellery, fashion, design – and many more. You can find out more via your job board or by contacting me. Of course in case of other countries, you have other schedulers, many of them much more experienced than me.

What are the most problematic points?

Always read the Guidelines – everything is included. If not, or you need further information then give us a call, or Skype us. You can also write an email. We are here to make your lives easier. It’s always better to ask beforehand than risk making a mistake – we reach out to you and even go those extra miles, but we are not able to do miracles. We’re trying hard to acquire that talent, but have yet to succeed.

In some cases, there is a specific model you need to ask for, or a given configuration. Always stick to these, if not stated otherwise.

Show genuine interest, and be open towards the suggestions of salesperson – you are about to pay lots of money for a vehicle (at least according to your role) – you need to show you’re taking it seriously. Never mind that it’s only a roleplay. Enjoy the smell of a brand new car, listen to the roar of the engine and feel the freedom. You are, after all, our Secret Agent out on a mission.

Is BARE International reliable?

Yes. We try to sort out all upcoming issues as soon as possible – even if sometimes Resource Managers are less almighty than you might think. Still, we always try our best to help you. So don’t hesitate to become and Evaluator and gain new experiences!


 

Author: ÁkosÁkos_blogger_pic_edited

Ákos is a full-time employee of Bare International.
He works as a scheduler for Switzerland and is a member in the Social media team. He likes travelling, cars, and craft beers. He has a diploma in German Literature and a Master’s Degree in International Relations. Besides English and German, he is trying to master French and speaks Norwegian reasonably well.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

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Have you ever had a priest and a driver in one person? As funny as it sounds, if you use car-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, BlaBlaCar or any other, you can easily find yourself in such a situation.


What is car-sharing?

There are two types of car-sharing: taxi-like services and peer-to-peer car-rental. The first one has been getting more and more popular, because it works like a taxi. You pay for your ride from A to B. In the latter case you rent someone else’s car.


Is the automotive industry really supporting car-sharing services?

The most interesting thing is that not just car-sharing service providers are in this business, but some actors from the automotive industry are also supporting this movement. But why does an automotive manufacturer support a car-sharing service? Isn’t that bad for the business? It seems on the contrary.


Car manufactures are also investing in car-sharing services

The biggest news at the beginning of the year was that General Motors invested $500 million in it, chasing the dream of the autonomous car. “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly”wrote the Time – which, I must say, is pretty fascinating. Furthermore, because of the shift in consumer behaviour, other car manufacturers like Daimler or BMW have also started to develop their own car-sharing systems.

Imagine a world where self-driving vehicles are running on the roads and you can order a ride by clicking on an application on your phone. Would you like to travel with a BMW or a Chevrolet? Here you go!


Ok, but what’s in it for us? Why is it good to use car-sharing services?

  1. It is cheaper than using your own car alone or ordering a taxi.
  2. It is convenient, usually there is someone around you when you need a ride. This applies for bigger cities more of course, but who knows what will happen in the future?
  3. Enjoy a more carefree way of travelling, and do away with maintenance costs.
  4. And what is with the environment? The more people are using the same car, the smaller your ecological footprint will be.
  5. You can even earn money by sharing your car, but of course think about your national regulation first. Do some reading and choose the best-fitting solution for you.
  6. Get to know new people! It is always interesting to come to know some new faces, but proceed with caution.
  7. Thanks to the internet and the applications, you can also monitor your ride: when it will arrive, where you are exactly during the ride, and so on.

Now are you ready for the car-sharing experience? Share your thoughts with us!


 

Author: Anita @AnitaKocsis910facebook_profile picture

Anita is an employee of Bare International. Besides her work
at the Social Media and Recruitment team, she loves doing yoga,
travelling and reading. Her love for the automotive industry came
from the passion for innovations and technology. She has a master’s
degree in International Economics and Business.

 


 

Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

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What does CES mean nowadays? Consumer Electronics Show? Futuristic Cars? Autonomous driving? Car Show? I think all of them are correct.

As 2015 showed us, the world is rapidly changing. It was best seen at the CES – Consumer Electronics Show – at the beginning of January. During this event, several well-known car brands made themselves more visible. It seems this was a breakthrough year for the automotive industry; because not just automakers, but also suppliers “treated the event as a de facto auto show”. The industry showed us in the past years that it is once again the drive of innovation. Furthermore it wants to integrate everything into the 4-wheelers to offer a better driving experience. Of course these cars are not the cheapest ones, but surely the most advanced – in concept at least.

FFZERO1

Faraday Future made a great debut with the FFZERO1, the car that might become the new love of the fans. Batman all over again from the 1990’s, just redesigned with much more gadgets. This car will be – according to the FF’s promises – the ultimate one that will be able to allow autonomous driving, have more than 1000 horsepower with a top speed of more than 200 mph (320 km/h) and the list goes on.  However, this car still belongs to the future and the company promises that within a couple of years they will be able to produce the first model.

BUDD-e

Despite the scandal against Volkswagen the company still decided to show off in the Show with a new concept called BUDD-e. Not a bad move at all. This car again wants to make the user experience more enjoyable just like FF. According to the concept, the BUDD-e will be able to recharge its batteries to 80 percent within 15 minutes. Again, not bad. Currently Tesla’s Supercharger is able to recharge to about 50 percent in 20 minutes.

Interactive gadgets

Of course CES wasn’t only about concept cars, but about which direction the automotive industry will head in the future. There are already many initiatives on crowdsourcing information “about traffic, parking, and road hazards to make the trip as stress-free and short as possible”.  The interactive dashboards, full-connectivity to the Internet and applications from your phone can improve the driving experience. Personally I look forward to it and to the green way these companies started to think, finally. Especially GM’s ride-sharing service Lyft.

The question is, does that mean that within a decade we will be more likely to buy an electric or still a traditional vehicle? How fast these changes will be?

 


 

Author: Anita @AnitaKocsis910facebook_profile picture

Anita is an employee of Bare International. Besides her work
at the Social Media and Recruitment team, she loves doing yoga,
travelling and reading. Her love for the automotive industry came
from the passion for innovations and technology. She has a master’s
degree in International Economics and Business.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

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Have you ever imagined what it would feel like driving a car that drives itself? Driving on roads that fuel your engine instantly? Or having a car that not only helps you save money, but is also good for the planet? Last year showed us some incredible achievements in the automotive industry that surely made our jaws to drop. Can 2016 exceed last year? I’m surely very curious about this question.

 

Technological solutions in a nutshell

Let’s see last year there was a great boom amongst hybrids and electric vehicles. Everybody was talking about them not because of their price, but their technological achievements and environmentally friendly approach. Electric charging highways are underway. During August 2015 they reached the UK as well.  However there had already been such a highway in service in South Korea; and one of the most curious approaches with the interactive and intelligent roads came from the Netherlands in the concept of the Smart Highway.

Nowadays with all the environmental movements, the Climate Change Summit and the scandals about a major manufacturer it is no wonder that hybrid and electric cars have been getting more and more popular. True, they cost more when you buy them – but after that you can save significant money. Last year’s big hits were the Tesla Model S, BMW i8, Fiat 500E, Chevrolet Spark EV and Volt, Ford C-Max and Toyota’s Prius. But what else can come in 2016?

 

New applications and customizable cars

On the gadget side it seems both Apple and Google will get in our cars. After your smartphone is connected, you can have straight access to your phone apps from your car’s dashboard. I am actually very much looking forward to try this out personally. Let’s hope someday very soon mystery evaluations can go that way, too.

Other innovations are also in the pipeline which will enable cars to interact with each other and their environment. Safety first! If your car can see any difficulties ahead of you, it will enable you or your car to act in time – according to the situation. Furthermore, there actually have been several demos on self-driving cars. This is good news for those who hate parking – how would it feel if your car could do it more precisely than you?

According to all these mind-blowing achievements, I really look forward to the new technological innovations that 2016 will bring.

 


 

Author: Anita  @AnitaKocsis910

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Anita is an employee of Bare International. Besides her work
at the Social Media and Recruitment team, she loves doing yoga,
travelling and reading. Her love for the automotive industry came
from the passion for innovations and technology. She has a master’s
degree in International Economics and Business. 

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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shutterstock_198927128Should I buy an electric car, a hybrid or a diesel or petrol powered one? Are you concerned about both the environment and your pocket? How much do we really care?

Heal the world,  Michael Jackson´s hit, has already been trying to get this idea into our heads for the last 24 years. Save the planet!

It is already common knowledge that regular cars produce carbon emissions that pollute the environment. This has certainly been highlighted in the recent Volkswagen scandal. Luckily there is a solution.

The Electric car (Or EV – Electric Vehicle) has evolved to become appealing and convenient. Just look at the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt or Ford Focus Electric. Or the high performance Tesla Model S which seems to be increasing  in popularity every day. We also have governments doing more to provide subsidies for people willing to take this eco-friendly path. 

Let´s together go through the main advantages of owning an EV:  

  • First of all, you don’t need petrol. You power your car with electricity that is significantly cheaper than petrol. This lowers your running costs amazingly.  With all the conflicts going on around the world for this precious non-renewable resource you will be lucky to stay away from it.  
  • There are no tailpipe emissions of toxic gases or smoke. You don´t produce  the pollution that you get with internal combustion engines. The EV uses rechargeable batteries. However, there is still an environmental cost. The electricity used has to come from somewhere. There are several ways to obtain this energy – some cleaner than others – but  in worst case scenario, the emissions are cut to half.
  • You save money on maintenance.  You don’t need oil to lubricate the engine, you have fewer maintenance costs. You don’t need to service your car as often as you do with a normal petrol powered car.
  • You go green. You play your role in saving the planet. The rechargeable batteries used by electric cars recycle well which avoids creating tons of garbage.

If you use your car primarily in the city to go to work and back – an electric vehicle is ideal for you. Stay alert, make your calculations. Car companies are putting more effort into developing this visionary technology.ev-fleet-count

The Electric vehicle market share is increasing. It has experienced a huge growth, especially during the last two years. Eager to see the 2020 figures.  

Your ideal EV is just around the corner.  Are you ready for the change?


Author: Vicky Lima  

Vicky Lima is a multifaceted professional with a Master´s Degree in Advertising. She is passionate about customer experience and the Automotive world. Besides her work in social media, she shares her passion and knowledge about cars as a writer. An avid traveler around the world investigating the relationship between customers and brands. 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

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Car brands are increasingly putting focus on improving their customer service at the car dealerships. In a highly competitive marketplace where sales are getting hard to achieve through traditional methods this is to be expected.

If we take a look back to understand how automotive sales and customer experiences have evolved, the big thing 10 years ago was car brands adjusting to the commercial power of the internet and adopting dynamic websites. The official website of a brand is a trustworthy place to begin our investigation to acquire a new object – in this case, a new car. It is our first encounter, the first touch point,  where we get our basic questions answered. We can scroll through the car’s technical characteristics and view enticing and close up photos. The website also often serves as a gateway to contact with the company employees. Consequently, we want it to be easy to navigate with a feeling of going with the flow. We want to feel welcomed and connected and not having to be led down endless roads or up dead-ends. 

Once our initial research is done we are ready to hit the road and  visit the nearest dealership of the brand we desire. The first chance for  a real look at the beauty we’re about to acquire. We are getting closer to our goal. Inside the store the interior decoration, the layout and the way we are treated by staff  is crucial. A welcoming atmosphere should fill the place. The customer experience we experienced and which pleased us on the website should  continue and must be coherent. The sole fact that we have taken the second step, shows our intent. Now it is up to the employee at the dealership, to either help us climb one more step closer to the goal or to push us backwards off the cliff.  It is here where we expect to be greeted and served with a friendly knowledgeable approach to not end up in the situation where pushy sales techniques may push us out as fast as we came in.

The main competitive tool, as Gartner insists, by the end of 2016 will be – yes you guessed it – customer experience. Even when we are convinced that our favorite brand is superior to the rest, in many cases there is an existing competitor out there that can actually provide an equal product and service. What will distinguish our choice is just a matter of personal experience and the strength of that brand image.

Accenture, a multinational consultancy,  performed  a study and found out that for 81% of respondents, personalized customer experience is among  the top 3 priorities of organizations. Micah Solomon analyzed customer experience trends and established 5 interesting trends as to what we as customers expect:

  1. A preference for being served in a way that makes the customer feel that those serving and those being served are equals.
  2. A streamlined and hassle-free/friction-free experience. As easy as on the web.
  3. Authenticity: today’s customers are on a quest for what is genuine, authentic, what feels like “the genuine article.”
  4. Transparency: A preference for businesses to be open and forthright in explanations, pricing, quality standards, vendor relations, and so forth.
  5. Adventure and Experience: A feeling that most commercial interactions are improved if there is an element of adventure, excitement, a true “experience” within the customer experience.

Coming back to our car buying experience, it doesn’t stop at driving the car home. Now we turn to the very much needed service we’ll be experience years and years to come (hopefully), in the so called “after-sales” service. The service we experience  will affect our decision to still be a brand ambassador and to continue our relationship with the brand.  Or, if we feel rather disappointed to go out and start the process again and look for another car.  

According to  Shana Rusonis, in the future, customers will care less and less about the ‘thing’ they’re buying, and will increasingly look for the value in the impact of that product or service post-transaction.

As customers it is important we get into action mode if we don’t feel we are treated the way we deserve to be. We are the ones that have the power to improve the service.  We are the engine of the future automotive industry.



Author: Vicky Lima  

Vicky Lima is a multifaceted professional with a Master Degree in Advertising. She is passionate about customer experience and the Automotive world. Besides her work in social media, she shares her passion and knowledge about cars as a writer. An avid traveler around the world investigating the relationship between customers and brands. 


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Welche Rolle spielt das Unbewusste beim Autokauf

A considerable part of our decision making is guided by the subconscious and this is also the case when it comes to making decisions on spending. As the results of a study reveal, our subconscious is always alert, even in a loud and busy environment such as the hustle of a cocktail party, people are able to filter and identify information that is relevant to them, for example, their own name and one specific conversation. This phenomenon is known as the Cocktail Party Effect. But what does that have to do with purchasing a car?

The processing of stimuli on a psychological level

The results of the experiment suggest that an acoustic stimulus is never only processed on a physical level, but also always has psychological relevance. Without being aware of it, we constantly evaluate and categorize the acoustic input we receive. Many of the decisions we make every day remain unconscious to us and though we might consider them to be our objective choices, we are often influenced by the environment a certain product or service is placed in. Similarly, advertising leaves us with a positive image of a product, in the same way as an attractive sales office and the charms and appeals of its employees can direct our decisions. Indeed, it is not only acoustic signals that appeal to our unconscious, but stimuli of all kinds.

A gravel car park versus an elegant show room – the same car?

People will perceive the quality of a car that is sold on the gravel car park next door as considerably lower than the quality of a car displayed in the ambiance of an elegant show room – even though it could be the very same car.

The significant impact of our unconscious on our processes of perception and evaluation is highlighted by yet another study: Two groups of participants were shown a picture of the same middle-range car. However, whereas the first group was shown an image of only the car, the second group saw an image of the car accompanied by an attractive, young woman leaning over the driver’s door. Besides being pleasant on the eye, the girl had no other function.

After looking at the photographs the members of each group were asked to assess the car. Interestingly, the group which had been shown the image of the car with the woman judged the car to be more expensive, more appealing and more youthful than the first group, but also it was estimated to be less secure. Nevertheless, 90% of the participants claimed to have focused only on the car and said that they did not let themselves be influenced by the good-looking girl. Well, this certainly opens up new possibilities for implementations/sales strategies at the Point of Sale since the prestige of a business and its environment clearly impact on the costumer’s perception. And indeed, those factors are taken into account.

Car manufacturers and their hostess girls – why?

The principle of displaying a car together with an attractive woman seems to work just as well/to be applied just as successfully at big car fares: In order to create a more appealing, exciting and youthful image of the car, the manufacturer hires good-looking girls, so-called hostesses, who then pose next to the car. In the course of the event, journalists take pictures of them and hence also their audience will see these pictures of the pretty girls next to the new cars. Often these pictures go all around the world – especially if a new product is at stake.

It can be assumed that the same effect is hoped to be achieved: And in fact, sometimes it seems that representatives of the media forget about the car and only remember the brand an the beautiful girl associated with it. A few days later, the car itself might be perceived in a more positive light and even the article written about it could turn out more enthusiastic.

…so last time you were at the car dealership, did you really just look at the cars?

 



Author: Benjamin Brodbeck
@automativBenjamin Brodbeck Publicist Automativ Guest Blogger BARE International

Benjamin Brodbeck, 24 years old, is a multifaceted petrolhead. Besides his work as a jazz pianist, he brings his passion and knowledge about cars as a publicist at AUTOmativ.de. He studied Automotive Business Management and is currently doing his master’s degree in journalism at the University of Vienna.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

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