APPLETON, Wisconsin — Bergstrom Lexus in Appleton, Wisconsin and Lexus of Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pennsylvania are among the first Lexus dealerships in the U.S. to launch Lexus Plus, an initiative that features no-haggle, one-price selling.
Several other dealers are expected to be up and running with Lexus Plus by the first week of June, Lexus told Edmunds.
More dealers are aiming for a July launch for the plan designed to make the buying process quicker for luxury shoppers.
Eleven of Lexus' 236 dealers are participating in the Lexus Plus pilot program. If successful, the program will be offered to other Lexus dealerships and each will determine whether to participate.
A key element of Lexus Plus is that the customer deals with only one person, a sales associate, from the moment he or she enters the showroom until the deal is signed and the keys are delivered.
In addition, all cars, crossovers and SUVs are tagged with a non-negotiable selling price, as are used vehicles, service packages, parts and accessories.
"We are going to make sure that our guests don't have to worry about negotiating, don't have to worry about finding the right car that fits their needs," said Tim Bergstrom, president and chief operating officer of Bergstrom Automotive, in an interview with Edmunds.
Bergstrom said his goal is to reduce the time it takes to purchase a vehicle to just one hour. Currently, the average is four hours.
The one-hour goal is "where we are headed," he said. "With Lexus Plus, and what that just took out of the equation, we are delighted."
The Lexus Plus process is still being fine-tuned and an app that will put the entire sales transaction on an iPad screen to create a smooth, transparent experience for the customer will be ready in weeks.
Bergstrom said there probably are a handful of buyers demanding an even faster process, with the goal of completing the transaction in as little as 10 minutes.
Adapting Lexus Plus at the Appleton dealership required extensive training and several personnel changes. For example, the finance manager was no longer needed and transferred to another dealership.
Sales associates are coached on how to create a positive, long-lasting customer relationship.
Bergstrom said his sales team is "loving Lexus Plus."
"I have not seen my team this happy," he said.
In the meantime, the dealership is contacting buyers who purchased their vehicle through the Lexus Plus process for their reaction, and shoppers who visited the dealership but purchased a Lexus elsewhere.
While dealers adopting Lexus Plus will speed the buying process, they may not necessarily have the lowest price, said Matt Kaleba, Lexus national manager for future retailing and initiatives.
"Lexus Plus is not about price," Kaleba said.
It is about elevating the buying process "to a whole new experience," he noted.
Edmunds says: This strategy is to bring new buyers into Lexus showrooms, but some car shoppers may prefer the traditional negotiating process to get the best price.