Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Department

Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi

Abstract

Based on previous literature, it is known that American, German and Japanese car dealerships use their own strategy to fulfill customer demand and face the different challenges from mass customization. Furthermore, after-sales-service is becoming increasingly important for car dealerships in order to create a positive differentiator or even a unique characteristic in competition between different companies. Therefore, this study aims to gain a deeper understanding of the different order fulfilment and aftersales strategies that are used by US car dealerships representing auto makers from Japan, Germany and the US. In order to be able to conduct this research and to achieve the goals, a self-made questionnaire containing 17 questions is developed. The objective is to schedule interviews with managers or top managers of the dealership to give semistructured interviews with them. After collecting all interviews, the results are compared with ten different hypotheses and sub-hypotheses by using multiple two-paired t-tests. After running all the tests, it can be found that Japanese, German and US car dealership activities have become more similar and German and US car dealerships have been successfully closed the gap to their competitors from Japan.

For example, Japanese luxury car dealerships have a higher delivery time than GE luxury car dealerships and a comparable one to US luxury car dealerships. Furthermore, American, German and Japanese standard car dealerships sell the same percentage of cars from their inventory by now. However, Japanese makers still have a slight advantage over their German and American rivals in terms of electric vehicles but this is likely to change as German car dealerships are changing their strategy, personnel’s mindset and products.

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