A bloke who sold vans once told me that it was a much nicer gig than selling cars.
The trouble with cars, he said, was that when somebody came into the showroom to buy one, they were probably going to spend their own money, which meant they took negotiations personally.
There’s no great surprise or shame in that, given a car is the second most expensive thing most of us buy and the first most expensive thing that sees us dealing with a big, bad, faceless conglomerate who we fear is out to get us, rather than dealing with a home owner in a similar situation to ourselves. People do not like buying cars for this reason.
Buying vans, though, according to my dealer interviewee, was more relaxed. There he was, the anonymous face of a corporation with a minimum number in mind, meeting the anonymous face of another corporation with a maximum number in mind, and they’d chat until they found a mutually satisfactory number. If they couldn’t, they shook hands and moved on.
He found it much more agreeable. And I suspect that during the past decade, it has also been much more profitable. I know that Ford and Peugeot – and I suspect this of several other car companies, too – make more profit from actually selling commercial vehicles to companies than failing to sell you and me hatchbacks.