No News is Bad News

  25 July 2010

This story must be true because the man in the pub told me. He had asked his franchised dealer friend in Cheshire to find him a specific nearly-new car. The dealer got straight on with the job and located just the model with 5,000-miles on the clock at another franchised dealer in Perth.

A deposit was paid and the dealer despatched his man to do the deal and collect the car. When the Cheshireite arrived at the Scottish dealership the mileage was, in fact, 11,000. “Sorry, we forgot to up-date the website,” was the explanation.

No deal was concluded and the deposit was returned, leaving the two dealerships to argue about the expenses incurred.

There are a number of reasons why I think the story is spurious, (which is why I am not naming the dealers), not the least being that I don’t believe franchised car dealers have such 40-watt minds. But out-of-date websites turn my blood to Duckhams 20/50.

Again, I could mention names but I won’t because the evidence is out there for all to see. Click on the ‘Latest News’ button on any number of dealers’ sites and if there is any news there at all, it is more out of date than some of the ties I wear (how out-of-date is that?). Try it. And then check your own site.

This is an industry grappling for every customer and the website is, more often than not, your customers’ first port of call. When I see a website with news that is months out of date it tells me the dealership is dying. If there is no news there at all when I click the button, I fear the dealership is dead already.

If you are not going to use the ‘news’ section on your site, get rid of it altogether – it is the one case when no news is good news.

Have a good week, both in and out of the showroom. If you have a story for us, or simply want to get something off your chest, email

Barry Hook

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