Case Study – Scholfield Honda

Case Study- Scholfield HondaIf you want to study consumer behavior, probably the best place to start would be a car dealership. Cars are a big investment. Most people spend upwards of $20,000 on a new car and $6,000 or more on a pre-owned vehicle. In the United States, where we drive pretty much everywhere, your car is your first contact with the world. One look at someone’s car and you might get an idea of their politics, bank account, occupation, education, musical tastes, and favorite weekend activities. It’s the ultimate fashion accessory. Does it have a lot of cup holders and a DVD player in the headrest? Family car. Cute little convertible? Twenty-five-year old with her first real job. That Italian sports car? Retail therapy for the mid-life crisis. That person in the 2009 Honda Fit hybrid who just stole your parking space? Likely some smug, twentysomething activist.But looks can be deceiving.When the Honda Insight, Honda’s first consumer hybrid car, hit the market in 2000, Roger Scholfield, owner of Scholfield Honda in Wichita, Kansas, thought he had it all figured out. For one thing, Wichita isn’t exactly known as the epicenter of eco-consumerism. He’d probably sell a handful of the hybrid cars to a couple of single, twentysomethings. The car only had two seats and seemed pretty flimsy with its lightweight aluminum body. And with a sticker price of $20,000, it was pretty pricey.The first Insight he sold went to a 63-year-old.The second person to buy one was 65.As it turns out, Roger’s experience was consistent with Honda’s market research. They determined that the typical Insight customer was older, highly educated, probably with an engineering or science background; a person who tended to be very research-driven.Vinnie Koc, a sales consultant at Scholfield Honda, relies more on his experience than the data to sell cars. “The vehicle pretty much sells itself,” says Vinnie. “Most of my customers are previous owners or someone in their family owns a Honda that wants them to buy a Honda.” Vinnie’s customers don’t just show up and hop in the first car they see. Most of them have spent time on the Scholfield and Honda websites, researching and comparing models before they come in. They know what they want, are unlikely to be upsold on additional bells and whistles, and are clear on how much they are willing to pay. “Our job is to present the vehicle,” says Vinnie. It usually takes a few test drives to complete the sale, but he is patient. It is all part of Scholfield Honda’s low-pressure environment.“I love my Scholfield Honda” is the tagline on many of the dealership’s television and radio ads. “The Scholfield reputation is 100 percent why the customers are here,” says Koc. In a market where the anonymous experience of shopping online is the norm for so many consumers, providing opportunities for customers to feel special and paid attention to can really make a difference, especially in car sales, an industry where trust so often is lacking. Owner and general manager Roger Scholfield takes the time to meet with customers, and consultants like Vinnie take the time to follow up on every meeting; from test drive to final sale. “If they see that you are able to provide the information they need, they feel comfortable with you and that makes them happy.” It is not unusual for Vinnie’s customers to drop by on their lunch hour just to say “thanks” and gush about how much they are enjoying their new Honda.Questions:1. Using the purchase process (i.e., pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase), analyze the customer information provided by the owner and employees of Scholfield Honda.2. Chapter 2 identifies three types of purchase decisions for consumers. Describe the type of purchase decision that characterizes the buying behavior of the customers of Scholfield Honda.3. What attitudes and needs seem to be influential in people deciding to patronize Scholfield Honda?

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