Anyone, customers, and especially current or former car sales reps, general managers or sales managers for Toyota in DFW Metroplex or elsewhere, please comment on the following:
Each time I buy a car or truck, it becomes more apparent that customer data is compiled, shared and used by multiple dealerships as follows: Name, address, email address, phone numbers, date, time, and location of customer visit to dealerships, actions recorded, price and trade-in information, deal specifics, outcome of visit such as sold, walked, pended, etc., descriptive information about the customer, the customer's approach to buying, customer style, or nickname, (not always favorable, such as timewaster, tirekicker, grinder, etc., beware, liar, etc.,) perhaps other more unflattering adjectives than these, and to be fair, there may be references made to serious buyer, good prospect, stuff like that.
The advantages to Toyota dealers for doing this are obvious-the result most likely is not favorable for the consumer, as it appears to be a 'blackballing' and monitoring effect, where dealers can control active customers without the customer being aware of the practice. Unless a dealer is desparate for a deal, or makes a math error, it's possible to mutually hold the price line and trade-in value line, knowing that the active buyer will ultimately buy from one of them and if consistent in their practice, one of the dealers will get top dollar, provide lowest possible trade-in amount, etc. Seems like this compression effect on buyers would benefit Toyota dealers big-time where many dealers are owned by one company.
Buyers may not have much time to shop and sellers have all the time in the world to slow walk you through the process. And in the case of Toyota, they have a great product, with great resale value(unless you want to trade one in, and great reliability except for when they are squeezing you to buy an extended warranty).
As a result, it's easy for the dealer to tell you to go ahead and shop around if you want to, knowing that unless you switch to Honda, you most likely will come back, possibly out of concern for the sales rep who you may like and have empathy for, especially for the ones that are honest and fair with you, have sold to you before, etc.
I am not suggesting this practice isn't legal, or, that it is only implemented by Toyota, but think that if accurate, more customers need to be aware of it so buying a car is not so one-sided in favor of the seller. As an example, if you have been to two Toyota dealers in the morning, and go to two more in the afternoon, and, they are documenting those visits in the sales system on a timely basis, YOU WILL be considered a liar if you tell the third dealer you ".., I just started looking, this is my first stop...", etc. I am not paranoid at all, thanks for not labeling or attacking me. BTW, if dealers aren't doing data capturing, sharing, etc., they are not as effective as they could be, but I tend to think they use the process.