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Deals of the week: Car dealerships must change - or die

2015 GMC Yukon Denali

General Motors

You've heard the phrase "change or die," and it holds particularly true for car dealerships. New research from J.D. Power and Associates suggests that the traditional car sales person must change or the dealership itself risks dying.

"With most shoppers arriving at the store with their exact vehicle in mind, the research suggests sales people should transition from the traditional approach to sales, towards a more consultative role, focused on product advisory and efficient process facilitation," says J.D. Power in an analysts note.

Credit the Internet for sparking wholesale change in how people buy cars . J.D. Power's Consumer Retail Experience Study (CRES) found that 61 per cent of new vehicle shoppers arrived in the showroom fully informed. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers know exactly which vehicle they want and nine out of 10 drive away in that ride.

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In other words, high-pressure sales tactics no longer work in more and more instances.

"What's more, analysis of the 2014 Manufacturers' Website Evaluation Study (MWES) reveals that younger buyers exacerbate that new reality, given their willingness to conduct more of their new vehicle purchase processes from the comfort of their living room," notes J.D. Power.

This shift in the market is accelerating, too. Tech-savvy Generation Y shoppers (20 per cent of the market) are supplanting baby boomers as the dominant group in new-vehicle sales. Eighty-nine per cent of Gen Y shoppers research their automotive purchase online, versus 79 per cent of Boomers, notes J.D. Power.

"These findings point to a much needed evolution in the mind-set of dealership sales people," notes J.D. Power.

If nothing else, dealers and their sales staff should be prepared to go head-to-head with some shoppers who are aware of factory and dealer discounts that, as Deals of the Week shows, add up to more than $6,600 on a $59,400 Audi S4 Technik. As well, combined discounts of more than $3,000 are in play on the Toyota RAV4, nearly $6,000 on a GMC Yukon and $4,000 on the Nissan Frontier.

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Deals of the Week consulted with unhaggle.com, Car Help Canada, carcostcanada.com, and other sources on these offers. As usual, pricing information here is subject to change and dealer discounts vary, so consult your dealer for the final details, including expiry dates for all offers.

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2014 Audi S4 Audi Audi  

2014 Audi S4 4 door Sedan Auto Technik

  • MSRP: $59,400
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $2,725
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $3,130
  • Factory discount: $2,500 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (loyalty incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $55,495
  • Total price with 13% HST: $62,709.35
  • Only the $1,000 loyalty incentive is available with 1.90% financing for 48 or 60 months or a 2.90% lease rate for 48 months.

2013 Toyota RAV4 Toyota Toyota  

2014 Toyota RAV4 AWD 4 door Limited

  • MSRP: $33,210
  • Freight, dealer prep, fees and air conditioning tax: $1,825
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,580
  • Factory discount: $1,500 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $31,955
  • Total price with 13% HST: $36,109.15
  • The manufacturer incentive is not available 0.90% financing for 48 or 60 months or a 1.90% lease rate for 48 months.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali General Motors General Motors  

2015 GMC Yukon 4WD 4 door Denali

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  • MSRP: $73,540
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $2,520
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $3,900
  • Factory discount: $1,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Factory discount: $750 (loyalty incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $70,410
  • Total price with 13% HST: $79,563.30
  • All incentives are available with 2.49% financing for 48 months or a lease rate of 2.50% for 48 months.

2014 Nissan Frontier Nissan Nissan  

2014 Nissan Frontier 2WD Crew Cab LWB Auto SV

  • MSRP: $27,748
  • Freight, PDI, AC tax: $1,675
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,000
  • Factory discount: $3,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $25,423
  • Total price with 13% HST: $28,727.99
  • The $3,000 factory incentive is for cash purchases. A $1,000 factory incentive is available with 1.90% financing for 24-60 months or a 4.95% lease rate for 24-48 months.

Pricing information source: unhaggle.com and carcostcanada.com. Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Where noted, "dealer discounts" are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis. Unhaggle Savings are actual discounts received by Unhaggle customers.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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