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Why I Shopped at an Automall (and Why I’d Shop There Again)

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If you’ve never been to King’s Automall or an Auto Mile, you’re probably not too familiar with what a collection of dealerships has to offer. Occasionally owned by one specific owner, these groupings of businesses provide a one-stop-shop for potential car buyers. With a variety of brands and models to choose from, buyers may find that they’re better able to find their ideal vehicle more quickly. Whether you’re targeting a new or used car, automalls should allow the customer to truly investigate all of their available options.

Of course, customers may also be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the various model offerings. Several automalls consist of more than ten dealerships, so if drivers were uncertain of what kind of vehicle to pursue, they’ll be even more conflicted after eyeing hundreds of new and used rides.

Regardless, as recent car-buyer, Alex Rinaldi, explained, these dealerships should still be embraced for overall convenience and selection. The assortment of brands allows customers to explore the available vehicles in a shorter amount of time. If there any apprehensions regarding the offerings, drivers can use the automall’s website to prepare ahead of time.

Using Alex’s experience as an example, let’s see the benefits that these Automalls provide to potential customers…

Toyota Motor Corp. Camry and Avalon vehicles are displayed for sale at the DCH Auto Group Dealership in Torrance, California, U.S., on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Domestic and total vehicle sales figures are expected to be released on Aug. 1. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The 25-year-old from New Hampshire recently decided it was time to pursue a new car, but having only owned used vehicles, he was unsure of where to start. There were plenty of dealerships scattered throughout his hometown, but as a young working professional, Alex didn’t have much time to scour each of these businesses for the proper ride. Fortunately, he had some idea of what vehicle he wanted to pursue, but unfortunately, he had no idea where to start.

“I knew what I wanted,” Rinaldi said. “I knew I wanted a larger car with good gas mileage, but I wasn’t looking for a particular brand at all. Then my dad suggested, ‘Why don’t you go check out the Auto Mile, there are a bunch of different brands over there. You could find used and new cars.’ So I headed over there and honestly, I felt like my options were unlimited. Each car lot was just full of options. I felt a little overwhelmed, to be honest. The inventory was obviously a huge incentive. I liked that I wasn’t limited by a particular brand, or a particular model, or a particular type of car, or used and new cars. I could literally choose whatever I wanted, plus it was nice that they were all in the general same vicinity, so I didn’t necessarily have to travel far to check out all these different brands.”

That was one of the main advantages Alex took away from the entire experience. The grouping of dealerships may seem a bit intimidating, but it’s actually incredibly convenient for car buyers. Instead of having to travel through multiple towns to find a particular brand’s vehicles, an automall provides everything these customers could want in one, compact area.

“Normally … when I bought my older car, it took me a whole day to visit three dealerships,” Rinaldi explained. “With the Auto Mile, I was able to visit eight different brands within like three or fours hours, which was great.”

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Another positive thing that stood about the automall? 

“I really appreciated that all the brands seemed to be operating under the same mind-frame,” he said. “I’m not sure if they were owned by the same owner, but at least you knew you were going to get similar deals, you were going to get similar warranties, similar service packages, regardless of where you ended up shopping. Plus they didn’t seem to be trying to contradict each other or compete with each other. In fact, one of the salespeople even suggested that we check out another brand’s vehicles, because it might offer what we really wanted.”

While this could be attributed to the fact that an automall’s dealerships are all owned by one individual, there’s still no denying that this can be helpful during your pursuit of the perfect vehicle. Assuming you’ve targeted several cars that are within the same price range, a salesperson may be doing everything in their power to convince the driver that their particular vehicle is the proper choice. Meanwhile, at an automall, the sales staff actually gets to understand what these customers are seeking from their new ride, and they can use their expertise to point the customer in the right direction… even if the right direction is another brand.

If you’re still apprehensive about visiting the grouping of dealerships, you can probably monitor the inventory and deals without stepping out of your house. Many businesses now post all of their available vehicles via extensive websites, and you can even put in an offer for the ride or schedule a test drive.

Researching Online

I used the website a bunch before I headed in, just because I really had no idea of what I wanted,” Rinaldi said. “The website allowed me to check out the new inventory and the used inventory, because I really hadn’t settled on what I wanted. I could sort by the price, I could search for the body style, I could literally select whatever I wanted. Yeah, the website ended up being a huge resource as I was trying to research what kind of car I ultimately wanted. 

Alex ultimately settled on a Volvo XC60, mostly because he “always wanted to own a luxury car.” Alex wasn’t even thinking about Volvo’s offerings of vehicles before heading over to his local automall, as he assumed he’d end up opting for one of the more mainstream brands. Thanks to the opportunity to explore several brand’s offerings, Alex ended up finding his perfect ride.

“Unless I end up determining that I want a specific type of car, I can’t imagine myself ever not shopping at an Automall or Auto Mile ever again,” Rinaldi said. “There’s just so many options there, I feel like you’re really limiting yourself as a customer by not exploring every potential opportunity that’s really available to you.”

In a nutshell, that’s what makes automalls so valuable to customers.

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