TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan — A dozen Lexus dealerships in the United States are experimenting with a negotiation-free shopping program designed to boost customer care, a top Lexus executive said Wednesday.
"While negotiation-free pricing is not revolutionary, we strongly believe the concept will further elevate transaction transparency and customer care," said Jeff Bracken, Lexus Division general manager, in a speech at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City.
Lexus has 236 dealers in the United States.
The participating Lexus dealerships were not named.
Car shoppers can expect participating Lexus dealers to commit up front to a fair transaction price on vehicles, which will enable them to put the emphasis on product, instead of haggling.
The approach is similar to the no-haggle pricing program used by Lexus' sister division, Scion, known as "Pure Price." The Lexus version is designed to set Lexus apart from such competitors as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
A year ago, Lexus launched another pilot program called "The Lexus Difference," which aims at giving car shoppers a more personalized experience.
"The ?one-size fits all' approach doesn't cut it with them," Bracken said.
Lexus also is turning its attention to the "significant growth in the purchasing power of women, Millennials and minorities," Bracken said.
"We've tailored our sales process to be more conducive to diverse needs," he said.
Lexus dealers are hosting events geared toward families and women, such as Child Safety Day, Safety for Female Drivers and Car Seat Installation Days, Bracken noted.
A major program is also in the works to improve the Lexus dealership facilities. Dealers are expected to spend a combined $800 million on improvements over the next three years.
Bracken praised Lexus dealers for their focus on customer care.
"From shoveling snow from a customer's sidewalk to taking a soon-to-be grandmother to the hospital to be with her daughter to picking up a customer stranded at the airport at midnight and a thousand other examples, we, and our customers, feel our dealers are amazing," Bracken said.
Edmunds says: A negotiation-free showroom may be part of the Lexus shopping experience in the future, if the pilot program is a success.