Buy your car… at Carrefour Laval

Buy your car... at Carrefour Laval


More and more motorists are shopping and transacting online. Without even trying a product, based only on journalistic comments and those around them. People read, watch videos, scour the internet for information so comprehensive that even salespeople couldn't offer it. Moreover, some buyers would do anything to avoid the negotiation stage with the seller, which has prompted some manufacturers to review the way they sell vehicles.

Obviously, Tesla will have been the precursor of a distinct business model, consisting in eliminating the existence of concessions (owned by private individuals) by instead offering satellite stores which in fact are only tentacles of the parent company. The same phenomenon is occurring at Lucid Motors, a new player in electrics, and you can be sure that others will follow.

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Alas, if in some markets, it is possible to sell cars in the same way as we do with Nespresso coffee, it is different here. Talk to Genesis, who initially thought of offering only a small number of service points with an online sale, and who finally changed their tune by giving the mandate to Hyundai dealership owners. 

Certainly, the business model still differs, in that these are businesses under the governance of Genesis, which notably holds the Canadian inventory. However, the customer sees nothing but fire, and retains this impression of being treated as, for example, at Lexus. A grandiose showroom, a cozy and charming atmosphere, allow consumers to experience a brand which, in this case, has everything to build.

Although the experience of a store located at Carrefour Laval was only temporary in this case, it is therefore clear that the decision to return to a more traditional approach to consumers was the right one.

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We also remember Polestar, which for its part, had started the Quebec adventure at Carrefour Laval. A situation that became complex with this gain in popularity, since nothing is less practical for a consumer than having to go through the largest shopping center in Quebec to shop for his next car.

So we decided to get out of there to open a satellite store next to the Volvo dealership in Laval, while a dedicated building was built. But here again, we will only have one point of sale in Quebec, for a range of products that will expand very soon and which, in my opinion, is destined for success. 

Last week, I was at Carrefour Laval. For me, a rare moment. Still, while circulating in this sacred temple of shopping enthusiasts, I saw several cars placed in the central aisles. Acuras, BMWs, Jeeps and others, certainly cleaner and more attractive than those scattered in the huge parking lot of the place. A sheet of glass, a business card on the windshield, nothing more. For the sole purpose of attracting dealership buyers.

However, I was also going to see a shop dedicated to Vinfast. A Vietnamese manufacturer about to land with us, which has spent colossal sums to make itself known in the various car shows, while half of the manufacturers shunned this kind of event. A manufacturer that will offer by the summer a range starting with two intermediate SUVs, 100% electric, and for which prices start at just under $65,000. 

To be seen by a wide audience, Carrefour Laval can be a great solution. It will have been enough for me to set foot in the Vinfast space for me to be challenged by a young woman who is very dedicated to introducing me to the product. A product that you can order online, but that we would deliver to your home, for lack of establishments. But once again, Carrefour Laval is certainly not the place to maintain an automobile clientele, beyond an initial seduction.

In short, although the automobile industry is trying to reinvent the way to get a vehicle, it is clear in my mind that the storefront dealership, capable of offering a service that goes far beyond digital, remains the only true formula. Admittedly, buying online takes on its full meaning, and the sales thus made will multiply for several brands, especially when the law of the Consumer Protection Office which regulates this question will be modernized. That said, the day is long gone when customers will accept being a stupid number, forced to queue at the mall, as they do with an Apple product.