Saturday, December 06, 2008

Why I hate auto manufacturers

Consider this: Almost every car company forces you to deal with that semi-sociopathic middleman known as the car salesman.

The function of a car salesman is to use information asymmetry to introduce inefficiencies into the market. By using deception, social engineering, and emotional manipulation, the salesman attempts to get you to irrationally pay more than the true market value (which used to be a total mystery, but which you can now find on the Internet; of course car companies hate this). Instead of selling cars based on their actual worth, the car salesman enables the company to price discriminate based on how uninformed, impatient, and manipulable you are, which of course correlates strongly with your social position, access to information, etc.

Here is how a rational car market would function. First, instead of car dealerships, there would be third party "test drive centers" which kept models of every recently released automobile for you to drive. When you were serious about wanting to buy a car, you would go to a test drive center, pay a hundred bucks, and test drive as many cars as you want. At the end of the day, you would sit down at an Internet terminal and order the car that you liked best. There would be staff at the test drive center, paid on a livable salary, not on commission, to help you sort through the information if you wanted. Every manufacturer would simply have a sticker price, which would be true prices instead of today's farcical "sticker prices" because auto manufacturers would have to compete with every other manufacturer on a transparent market.

Needless to say, auto execs would not reorganize the market this way if their mothers' lives were hanging in the balance. They prefer to force all their customers to sit through a several-hours-long soul-corroding encounter with a man who you know, you know is lying to your face. Encounters like these are social pollution: they sully the population's common stock of faith in humanity. And car companies feel that this social pollution is absolutely vital to their bottom lines, and so they cultivate it.

It maddens me to think that my tax dollars will be going to these people. Liquidate the executives, liquidate the plant workers, especially liquidate the dealerships, but in any case liquidate these companies. Kill the companies dead, carve up their assets, scatter the pieces to the winds. And let Midwesterners find a way to build things of value without deceiving people and grabbing handouts from the public till.


  1. Dude, I agree 500%. Nicely done.

  2. You really aren't thinking long term. Only about your anger at the companies for their poor business practices. Living where you do you are insulated from how many people that would actually put out of work. They would flood into other areas creating a huge drain on the towns they move too. In Dallas we were already starting to see folks from all over the midwest trying to find jobs. If the entire industry were to fold then they would surely flood the entire country.

  3. It's entirely possible to buy a car without experiencing a salesdroid pitch. You do have to know exactly what you want, but the plethora of information online can help with that. if you want to test drive, you do still have to go to a dealership, but it's not too bad to just go in and say "I just want to test drive". Stand firm, and eventually, they'll believe you. Last car we bought, we went through the car buying service at our credit union; someone who works in our local branch tracked down the exact car we wanted, had it shipped to the branch, and we met with her, signed the papers, and drove off in it. Easy peasy, and no hassle. And a really decent price, to boot.