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Death of the Car Salesman? BMW Makes AI App To Sell Electric Cars

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the i'm-sorry-dave,-i-can't-let-you-walk-off-the-lot-without-this-beauty dept.

AI 168

cartechboy writes "You thought Willy Loman had it bad. BMW is launching an artificial intelligence app allowing consumers to ask questions about its new BMW i3 electric car without the hassle of having to pick up the phone or go into a dealership. Potential customers can text a simple question about the i3 and the system builds an appropriate response in real-time using AI — interpreting words, sentiment, and context. The futuristic robo-car salesman was developed by 19-year-old entrepreneur Dmitry Aksenov and operates around the clock. No word on whether the app says, 'Wait here — I'll check with my sales manager,' like human car dealers often do."

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168 comments

No way (5, Funny)

tuo42 (3004801) | about 8 months ago | (#44694667)

No application can be as aggressively persuasive as your general car salesman!

Re:No way (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 8 months ago | (#44694773)

"Notice: Please press 'Accept' to the agreement below within the next 59 second(s) to avoid having every photo on this device forwarded to your twitter account."

More seriously, traditional dealers are considered a hurdle to EV sales because they have to compete with their other inventory. Dealers may not be as knowledgeable and enthusiastic about EVs to make an effective sale. There's also a notion that, since thee majority of a dealer's profit comes from the service department, that EVs don't get pushed as aggressively because they don't need as much service.

Since selling factory direct runs afoul of many state laws here in the US, this seems like an interesting alternative... just take the human interest out of the sales pitch.
=Smidge=

Re:No way (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#44695119)

selling factory direct runs afoul of many state laws here in the US

Out of interest what is the justification for those laws? They seem to run contrary to the idea of a free market.

Re:No way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695155)

Here's a good paper about it:
http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/eag/246374.htm

Re:No way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695163)

From the above link:

Selling through dealerships has offered several benefits to manufacturers historically. Auto production is a capital-intensive business and a franchise system allowed manufacturers to concentrate their resources upstream while accessing capital through franchise fees from independent entrepreneurs at the retail level. Economies of scale in auto production also required having relatively few, large manufacturing operations located near essential supplies like steel. This contrasted with the nationwide distribution network needed to reach consumers, who could be more effectively served through local dealerships in a better position to assess demand in particular markets and to provide service and repairs.

Re:No way (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 8 months ago | (#44695237)

It's not a big surprise that economics that were good for everyone in the 1940s and 1950s might not be good for everyone now.

The first action of any corporation when their historically affective business model starts to falter is to go screaming and whining to the various legislators. This is always after a period where they're whining about "too much regulation."

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695281)

If the local dealership brings benefits to the manufacturers, they would have set it up without a law anyway, wouldn't they? After all, I think there's no law which forbids manufacturers to decide themselves to only sell through local dealers.

So that paragraph not only gives no justification for the law, it gives a reason against this law.

Re:No way (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 8 months ago | (#44695717)

Here is the reason.

A local person buys a franchise, and invests 20 years into building up the brand. After 20 years the manufactory opens a store next door. Or, better yet, sells a new franchise down the block.

The economic sense that made the partnership a “partnership” (in the sense of mutual gain) will probably shift in 10 years and be completely different after 50.

Re:No way (4, Insightful)

OG (15008) | about 8 months ago | (#44695951)

Sounds to me like a contract issue between the dealer and manufacturer (I'm guessing that terms about the opening of competing branches of the same franchise within a certain geographic area are standard for just about any type of franchise). There shouldn't be legislation about it outside of standard contract law.

Re:No way (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 8 months ago | (#44695685)

Here is another good article

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/02/19/172402376/why-buying-a-car-never-changes [npr.org]

In short, it’s not illegal – probably (Tessla is trying to do this but are having a few issues).

The short answer is that you can either sell your products directly or use a franchise system but you can’t compete against your own franchise system. It is to stop big business from abusing around small, locally owned business who are highly active in local politics. (I can point to abuses on both sides)

Re:No way (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 8 months ago | (#44695227)

And you know who is the biggest advocate of those dealer laws: Texas.

Yes, folks, just maybe people screaming "free market" and "no regulation" are trying to scam you.

Re:No way (1)

Necroman (61604) | about 8 months ago | (#44695711)

My basic understand of it is: for when a new auto manufacturer comes around, they don't have to setup a dealership themselves in every city across the country, instead they can just ship their cars to all the existing dealerships. This is a service provided by the dealership to the automaker to help the automaker grow when it is young. Then, to prevent the automaker from cutting off all their shipments to dealerships when they are big enough to setup their own stores, laws were put into place to prevent automakers from setting up their own stores.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44696019)

The only car manufacturers who sell to franchise dealerships should be prevented from starting their own in that case. If a company decides not to franchise, there is no client company they will later be competing with.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694955)

Or as good of a liar [youtube.com].

Re:No way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695063)

Blacks commit a lot of crimes. They are too tribal. They should be all sent back to Africa until they evolve enough to deal with civilization and social contracts. You think that is unfair? There's two kinds of people. The people who think what I said is terrible and the people who have seen real blacks in a real ghetto.

Lots of other ppl faced terrible racism like the American Indians and the Jews. But those don't commit the crimes blacks do. The whole "everything bad they do is because there was slavery 150 yaers ago" is wearing thin.

Re:No way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695257)

People with MBAs commit a lot of crimes. They are too tribal. They should be all sent back to business school until they evolve enough to deal with civilization and social contracts. You think that is unfair? There's two kinds of people. The people who think what I said is terrible and the people who have seen real MBAs in a real management situation.

Lots of other ppl faced terrible anti-corporate hate like the bankers and the oil barons. But those don't commit the crimes MBAs do. The whole "everything bad they do is because there was open competition 150 yaers ago" is wearing thin.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695211)

No application can be as aggressively persuasive as your general car salesman!

like https://www.egopay.com/ egopay?

Re:No way (4, Funny)

rwise2112 (648849) | about 8 months ago | (#44695769)

I hope it's like this:

"Hi, I'm Malfunctioning Eddie, and I'm malfunctioning so badly, I'm practically giving these cars away!!! "

This is fine to save you from reading the brossure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694697)

But will never be able to answer questions like: does a 29-er mtb fit the trunk without folding the back seats.

Vajk

Re:This is fine to save you from reading the bross (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694819)

But will never be able to answer questions like: does a 29-er mtb fit the trunk without folding the back seats.

The first time not. Then, you can program the necessary knowledge in, and from that point on all instances will be able to answer that question.

Note that a human salesman may not know either (I have no idea what a 29-er mtb is, so if I were a salesman I'd certainly not be able to answer that question). But then, even if he later learns the necessary details, it does nothing for any other salesman who might not have the necessary knowledge either.

Re:This is fine to save you from reading the bross (2)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#44694975)

A 29er MTB is a mountain bike with 29 inch wheels. Actually, they have 28 inch wheel rims (as you find in racing bicycles), but because the tyres are so fat, the sales pitch calls them 29-inch wheels.

Re:This is fine to save you from reading the bross (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#44695017)

But will never be able to answer questions like: does a 29-er mtb fit the trunk without folding the back seats.

Vajk

No, but that's way better than lying to you by saying "Yes, of course, I do it all the time!"

(which is what a human car salesman would do).

Re:This is fine to save you from reading the bross (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 8 months ago | (#44695215)

But will never be able to answer questions like: does a 29-er mtb fit the trunk without folding the back seats.

If you even wonder whether you can fit a mountain bike with 29 inch wheels into a BMW i3 (nicknamed Isetta 3), you have a bigger problem.

Re:This is fine to save you from reading the bross (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 8 months ago | (#44695303)

But will never be able to answer questions like: does a 29-er mtb fit the trunk without folding the back seats.

So? The regular salesman won't know either.

(Just curious: is there any car out there that meets this criteria? And I mean car, not truck or van.)

Re:This is fine to save you from reading the bross (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695357)

But will never be able to answer questions like: does a 29-er mtb fit the trunk without folding the back seats.

So? The regular salesman won't know either.

(Just curious: is there any car out there that meets this criteria? And I mean car, not truck or van.)

The regular salesman knows that's it's time to lie, "Sure. it'll fit. No problem".

Don't think that'll work well (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694719)

BMW buyers need that personal dick sucking touch from a beneath them type salesman begging for a customer.

Hmm.. Electric... bmw... That might be the most douche you could have in one space.

Lower prices? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694721)

Great, no salesman, no dealerships, nower costs, lower prices?

Re:Lower prices? (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#44694987)

At least until dealerships find a way to make cutting them out illegal, oh wait....

oh please please please (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694743)

can we get rid of realtors next? And the general class of human cancers known as middlemen?

Re:oh please please please (2)

Livius (318358) | about 8 months ago | (#44694855)

Yes. The Internet already does 90% of what a realtor does.

Re:oh please please please (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 8 months ago | (#44695273)

How are the all the douchebags you remember from high school that are in love with the glamor shot photo going to feed themselves if we get rid of realtors?

Re:oh please please please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695351)

Yes. The Internet already does 90% of what a realtor does.

Which makes me wonder what I need them for and why I am legally required to only sell my real-estate through a realtor. They only use I can see for a realtor like person is to act as a trusted intermediary who checks buyers/sellers criminal records and verifies everything is in order before a sale is finalised (ya'know basic stuff like does he actually own or have authority to sell the house?) but unfortunately, as the system currently works in my country, they are not required by law to do either because I regularly read news of people being cheated.

Re:oh please please please (3, Informative)

tgd (2822) | about 8 months ago | (#44695677)

Yes. The Internet already does 90% of what a realtor does.

Which makes me wonder what I need them for and why I am legally required to only sell my real-estate through a realtor. They only use I can see for a realtor like person is to act as a trusted intermediary who checks buyers/sellers criminal records and verifies everything is in order before a sale is finalised (ya'know basic stuff like does he actually own or have authority to sell the house?) but unfortunately, as the system currently works in my country, they are not required by law to do either because I regularly read news of people being cheated.

If your understanding of what is involved in a real-estate transaction is so ... well "off", to be polite... I'd strongly suggest if you ever do so, use a real estate agent. In the buying and selling side, I think they provide value, but not good value at a split of 5% of a transaction. On the selling side, some do earn that with sufficient work but most don't. On the buying side, some earn it with dozens or hundreds of hours of showing houses to inexperienced buyers. As a seller I'd prefer a buyer with one because the odds are higher that the process will go smoothly.

But, at least in the US, there's no law requiring it for sale or purchase. Your might need to drop a few hundred more in lawyer fees, but the forms you need are public and easy to fill out. And, as a seller without one, you do have to understand that you're not likely to find a buyer if you're not willing to pony up the 2.5% to a buyer's agent that they would've gotten from the seller's agent if you had one.

Its a staggeringly inefficient process, but there are too many people with their fingers in the pie to ever optimize it. At least the Internet has streamlined the mortgage process and passing around documents.

Re:oh please please please (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 8 months ago | (#44695701)

The 10% that the realtors care about, the collecting a commission part, is the only part they wanted to do anyway.

Re:oh please please please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694917)

I've never used a realtor. Just simply don't see the need. I've had to deal with them to buy and sale houses and I think a good realtor does save people money because a lot of people are just horrible negotiators. Also, it's easier to be objective when you're it's not your home or your money. People tend to over value things from what I've seen dealing with For Sale By Owner houses and they way they act when I make a fair offer which turns out to be in line with what professional were offering. I've sold 3 house and got a little less then I asked for but that was still above my minimum and part of my plan anyway... Also, done my own home inspections. Never needed any major work done to any of the homes.

Re:oh please please please (0)

Spudley (171066) | about 8 months ago | (#44694939)

can we get rid of realtors next? And the general class of human cancers known as middlemen?

Let's build an Ark ship for them and send them to Golgafrincham.

Re:oh please please please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695369)

But who will then sanitize my phone?

Captcha: subtasks

Re:oh please please please (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 8 months ago | (#44695137)

You don't need middlemen, just ignore them, and it is like they were never there.... until they stab you in the back that is.

Oblig (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695335)

"About 50% of the human race is middle-men and they don't take kindly to being eliminated."

Re:oh please please please (2)

asylumx (881307) | about 8 months ago | (#44695415)

I don't want you trouncing through my house without an escort, thank you. I think the Buyer's agent is still a good thing. The seller's agent, however, could probably go away without causing too much trouble.

Re:oh please please please (1)

tgd (2822) | about 8 months ago | (#44695707)

I don't want you trouncing through my house without an escort, thank you. I think the Buyer's agent is still a good thing. The seller's agent, however, could probably go away without causing too much trouble.

The realtor ... I mean Realtor(tm) ... cartel leams without a seller's agent, you won't have buyers agents coming through, and essentially no visibility because you won't be in MLS. Some agent services will do an MLS listing for you without full representation, although I don't think they're supposed to be doing that. Without a buyer's agent, you're not getting into a house that isn't having an open house because seller's agents don't do that. Its a scam.

The real problem is that you, as a buyer or seller, are paying for the time of all the people who use up an agents time "just looking". If buyer agents universally charged people for their time -- credited to the split of the seller's fees at sale time -- so people who look and don't buy aren't being subsidized by those who do, then the rates would go down a lot and the seller and buyer would probably be getting a reasonable value for their dollar.

Re:oh please please please (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 8 months ago | (#44695993)

It sounds to me like there could be money in developing an independant MLS type system.

Personally I have nothing against realtors, having only had pleasant experiences with them. I realize that they don't do anything that I can't, but that is true for a huge number of other occupations. I could change my own oil, cook all my own food, hell I could grow my own food much of the time. I don't do those things though because I already have one job and it pays well enough that I value my free time more than saving a few bucks here and there.

Re:oh please please please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695643)

Oh oh and the pharmacist too!

Re:oh please please please (2)

tgd (2822) | about 8 months ago | (#44695777)

can we get rid of realtors next? And the general class of human cancers known as middlemen?

Here's the unfortunate problem -- efficiency has gotten so high in most industries, half the people in the world would be unemployed without middlemen (ie, stores, resellers, distributers, online retail, etc)... and you'll end up paying just as much money in taxes to support their social welfare programs.

Re:oh please please please (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 8 months ago | (#44695929)

What the article failed to mention was the scumbag dealer switch, which is a lot closer the dealership experience in real life: it even holds your car keys hostage while he goes away and "talks to his manager" to see if it sounds "do-able". Even the beta testers decided to "forgetabout it promised to return".

Re:oh please please please (1)

OG (15008) | about 8 months ago | (#44696115)

There are good realtors that provide a service (note that I say good -- it's important to research realtors like anything else). If I'm buying a home in a new town that I don't know anything about, I want to work with a realtor. I can give them a list of what I'm looking for (price, safety, convenience, features, etc), and they're going to be much more efficient about finding possible matches than I would. As for selling homes, most people only do that a handful of times in their lives. A realtor is going to help set reasonable expectations for a seller (cause let's face it, most people don't have reasonable expectations) and provide advice for getting a home ready to sell (because again, most be are unable/unwilling to actually learn what to do to put their best foot forward).

That said, there is too much cruft in the real estate system (depends on where you are, of course, as to exactly how much), and it could be streamlined made more open. But considering all of the legal issues that are involved with buying and selling homes, the enormous amount of time it can take a novice unfamiliar with process or market to do all of that research, etc, I think there's definitely a place for experts with a large amount of working knowledge to provide professional services.

Re:oh please please please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44696345)

Money moving is the economy, middle men actually make it a bit stronger. Its the corporations and exceedingly rich that are the true cancer.

Car salesmen (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694745)

I'm not living in the american cultural sphere. Around here carsalesmen never go to their managers, they are also not aggressively pushy. They are actually pretty much the best salesmen a normal consumer will ever meet. (Seen B2B salesmen too, the really good ones usually end up there). Aggressively pushy ones end up in hospitals or unemployed. Are american carsales man really as bad as the stereotype suggests? If so, why do you think they end up being like that?

Re:Car salesmen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694797)

In america. Care salesmen are the lowest of the low scumbags. The sterotypes don't go far enough. You will never ever have anyone lie right to your face as boldly as a car salesman.

They rank down there with telemarketers and spammers. People we could grind up for biofuel and the world would be guaranteed to be a better place by some large %.

"nothing but a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm! Hanging's too good for him. Burning's too good for him! He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive! "

Re:Car salesmen (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 8 months ago | (#44695219)

When you are grinding up people for biofuels don't forget the bankers and other financial people! They can not be left out of a deal like that! :)

Re:Car salesmen (5, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | about 8 months ago | (#44694871)

I'm not living in the american cultural sphere. Around here carsalesmen never go to their managers, they are also not aggressively pushy.

Eh? I didn't know they had car salesmen in Narnia!

Based on my last experience, we don't have car salesmen in England, either - we have financial product salesmen who push loans, hare-brained leasing deals and dubious extended warranty schemes to people who have already decided to buy the car and are (figuratively, at least) waving the cash in their face. Its pretty clear that actually selling cars has little to do with their business model.

Oh, and I have it on good authority that (as I always suspected) the "consulting my manager" theatre means "putting the kettle on in preparation for a celebratory brew" (maybe in the US it is more likely to be turning on the coffee machine)... or maybe headbutting the wall a few times if the stubborn customer has insisted on actually paying for the car, thus depriving you of the finance company commission.

Re:Car salesmen (5, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about 8 months ago | (#44695045)

Based on my last experience, we don't have car salesmen in England, either - we have financial product salesmen who push loans, hare-brained leasing deals and dubious extended warranty schemes to people who have already decided to buy the car and are (figuratively, at least) waving the cash in their face. Its pretty clear that actually selling cars has little to do with their business model.

But .. but .. but .. you have totally awesome car leasing places like Ling's Cars [lingscars.com]

(Pro tip .. check out the ASCII art in the source. Yes .. ASCII art!)

Re:Car salesmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695111)

Am having 90s flash backs.. Thx

Re:Car salesmen (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 8 months ago | (#44695859)

But .. but .. but .. you have totally awesome car leasing places like Ling's Cars

Warning: NSFW. At least not unless you turn down the volume.

Re:Car salesmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44696153)

the "consulting my manager" theatre means "putting the kettle on in preparation for a celebratory brew" (maybe in the US it is more likely to be turning on the coffee machine)

No, in America the coffee pot is ALWAYS on. Why do you think we're so productive here? COFFEE!!!

Re:Car salesmen (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 8 months ago | (#44694931)

Yes, they are as bad as you've heard. They'll do stuff like insist a used car is a cream puff even though it has worse dents than door dings, and will keep insisting it's a cream puff even after you point out the dents. Or if there's a big puddle of transmission fluid or oil under the car, they'll suggest it's just a leaky seal, and not a sign that the transmission or engine is shot. You also have to check carefully for water damage. You could try to visually examine the car, but it's better to run a check on the VIN. Many cars are lost in floods, written off by the insurance industry as totalled, and this has to be reported which is why checking the VIN is a good idea. Instead of being scrapped like they are supposed to be, these cars are "laundered" so to speak, and end up in used car lots. Be especially careful if major flooding happened recently, and don't think that being several states away is enough distance to keep those cars out of the local dealers' lots. Then there's the whole four-square business, in which they try to hide how much you're really paying for a car by trying to talk only about the monthly payment, not the interest rates or total cost. Finally, when you think you at last have a deal, they spring a few surprises on you. They know you're busy and don't want all the time you spent examining a car to go to waste, and they try to hold that hostage. The "check with my manager" is often just a ploy to burn more of your precious time, make you sweat. Often they don't know jack about the specific models you want, and will be unable to answer technical questions. Not that they are the least interested in answering such questions anyway. You have to research the models yourself, beforehand, if you want to know anything beyond what you can see with a hasty look.

On the other hand, a big dealership has to watch its reputation. The salespeople are slime, but the dealership is going to check over any used car they get, and fix it up or junk it. They don't want an angry customer coming back within the month with some major mechanical problem.

I really don't know why the American public puts up with the sales crap. Or why most dealers continue to stick with that much hated system.

Re:Car salesmen (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 8 months ago | (#44694985)

In UK a leaky seal means it won't pass MOT. If it is being sold with an allegedly current MOT then the dealer gets prosecuted for fraud (amongst other things) as it is reasonable to expect that a car that passes doesn't develop a failing fault while sitting on a forecourt. The whole "no liability once it is driven off the forecourt" is a myth.

The shitheaps that get tricked out by Xhibit (for example) wouldn't be allowed on the road here. Even a cracked windscreen gets you pulled over, let alone missing bodywork.

Re:Car salesmen (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 8 months ago | (#44695127)

Even a cracked windscreen gets you pulled over, let alone missing bodywork.

It seems you unfortunately suffer from the delusion that UK police actually patrol the nation's highways, instead of filling out endless reams of paperwork, or holding random people for nine hours by abusing anti-terror legislation.

Re:Car salesmen (1)

owlnation (858981) | about 8 months ago | (#44695195)

It seems you unfortunately suffer from the delusion that UK police actually patrol the nation's highways, instead of filling out endless reams of paperwork, or holding random people for nine hours by abusing anti-terror legislation.

Obviously they don't patrol the highways much, that's what all the cameras are for. And yes, they do target any and every motorist they can -- for anything. It's easy money. Like shooting fish.

Re:Car salesmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695117)

A car salesmen training is required to become a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted politician.

Re:Car salesmen (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 8 months ago | (#44695301)

I have never bothered to look up his past, but Eric Cantor looks and acts EXACTLY like my mental schema of "used car salesman."

The answer is not the answer (2)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about 8 months ago | (#44694749)

For me, the content of the answer is part of what I want. I pay equal attention to the way the salesman is giving the answer too. If I have the feeling he is bullshitting his way into a sale I know I have to ask more complex questions.

At least with robots you know in advance you are being bullshitted as they literally have no sense of ethics. For humans this requires effort and sometimes they slip up.

Re:The answer is not the answer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694779)

Yes, but since the AI is not (or at least not yet) a culpable entity under the law. It means culpability falls on to BMW for anything the AI promises or says. So if it says yes you can drive the car from Alaska to Russia. BMW could be brought to court under the law for making false calms about it's car capabilities. Now, if a human where to say that you'd have to find some evidence to show that BMW had told it's salesmen or implied that they show make that calm. Otherwise, you could only go after the salesman for his actions.

Re:The answer is not the answer (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 8 months ago | (#44695239)

Wrong. BMW would still deny wrongdoing and blame the people who wrote the app. You'll end up in a lawsuit with 5-6 defendants and no end in sight. Would cost more than the car so you'll settle out of court (unless you have a list of damages a judge will get behind).

Re:The answer is not the answer (1)

watice (1347709) | about 8 months ago | (#44695957)

Why would the AI say yes to such a simple question to answer? Also, I'm pretty sure the user agreement would cover all of that.

Re:The answer is not the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694785)

Fortunately for BMW et al "Car Salesman" has never been classified as human.

Re:The answer is not the answer (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 8 months ago | (#44696201)

For me, the content of the answer is part of what I want. I pay equal attention to the way the salesman is giving the answer too. If I have the feeling he is bullshitting his way into a sale I know I have to ask more complex questions.

So instead of buying a car you are buying VERY EXPENSIVE live performance? How about research the car instead of reading people and tea leaves?

Why waste electricity when there's an easier way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44694775)

I'm sure they have a "Cloud Service" in India, and the "AI" speaks heavily Indian accented English for some mysterious reason.

good riddance (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 8 months ago | (#44694809)

new cars are great but i dont know anyone stupid enough to buy one. what we need is an open system to easily and securely buy and sell used cars between people. Craigslist is OK until you have to deal with a car owner that freaks out over selling his Kentucky car to a person with a California drivers license because hes watched too much real housewives. ebay isnt terrible until you factor in the cut taken by PayPal. dealerships however take the cake with notoriously high pressure sales, outright lies about the used vehicles they sell, and markup that borders on the surreal.

Re:good riddance (2)

itsdapead (734413) | about 8 months ago | (#44694887)

new cars are great but i dont know anyone stupid enough to buy one.

Obviously some people do, or there wouldn't be any used cars. Let's raise a glass to those fearless folk who break in new cars for the good of the used-car-buying public.

Re:good riddance (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 8 months ago | (#44695559)

Good luck trying to find a stick which hasn't been abused to the point that the clutch needs replaced but the dealer doesn't tell you.

Then of course there are the thousands of cars which were flooded in Sandy or other disasters which are cleaned and sold as "reconditioned" without telling you their insides are rusting away as you talk to the salesperson.

There are very good reasons to buy a car new IF you keep it long enough. Long enough being at least 10 years.

Finally (1)

longk (2637033) | about 8 months ago | (#44694971)

I've always been annoyed that I can't just buy a car online (or house for that matter) - glad to see that change!

I also believe it will allow for better feedback to the manufacturer. People will ask for and select the features they like, not the ones the salesman convinced them to sign for because it helps his commission or allows him to sell a model from his inventory.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695057)

Last two cars I bought* I picked out online on the website, got a print of all the details and went to the car salesman just to get a testspin and decide on a price/financing.

*One bought and one companyleased.

Re:Finally (1)

longk (2637033) | about 8 months ago | (#44695185)

Yeah, that's not what I want though. I just want to order the car online and have it delivered, just like any other packages. Typically I'll already know what the car drives like from driving rentals, trying friends' cars, etc. Maybe for a first-time car owner the dealer experience and walk-through can be beneficial, but for an experienced car owner it's really just a waste of time.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695093)

Didn't Saturn promise that back in the late '90s?

I see you are trying to buy an electric car. (5, Funny)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#44694983)

I see you are trying to buy an electric car.

Do you want some help?

(o) Take me to the Tesla web site
( ) Flounder around with this hunk of junk
     [ Cancel ]
  ___
/   \\
|    |
@   @
||  ||  <--
||  ||
|\\_/|
\____/

I don't want anything from the sales___, except.. (2)

RealGene (1025017) | about 8 months ago | (#44695029)

..the amount of money it will take to put the keys in my hand.
By the time I arrive at (or even call) the dealership, I have researched the car, know the invoice price for the model I want, and have picked out the color.
The only opinions I want about the car are from the mechanics who work on them.

It freaked out the last salesman I bought from when I said I didn't need to test drive the car.

Re:I don't want anything from the sales___, except (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 8 months ago | (#44695283)

Why don't you want to test drive? Can you really establish how it feels to drive from online research?

Re:I don't want anything from the sales___, except (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#44695317)

Why don't you want to test drive? Can you really establish how it feels to drive from online research?

Probably they don't care. If you follow traffic laws, any car on the market will do the job of getting you from point A to point B. None of them have handling so poor as to not get you there. Most people don't even apex turns, they don't plan out what the car will do when it hits a bump ahead of time, et cetera. They just point the wheel to keep them within the lines, and slow down if they can't otherwise manage. For them, handling is irrelevant, which is how Toyota remains in business.

Re:I don't want anything from the sales___, except (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 8 months ago | (#44696129)

Yes, but some cars feel like you're driving a sofa down the street and others feel like you're plugged into the road. They can even have basically the same handling characteristics but totally different feel. Personally I prefer to feel the road, even though that gives a slightly rougher ride. My wife disagrees. It's a matter of opinion, not something you can read about in a review.

Re:I don't want anything from the sales___, except (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 8 months ago | (#44696151)

Part of why I like to test drive any car I am purchasing is because the ergonomics of the seating, pedal positioning, arm rests and lines of sight are important to me. I suppose you could just sit in the car to determine most of that but you can also fool yourself into thinking something is fine until you are actually trying to use it.

This might be solving the wrong problem... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44695087)

Is it, perhaps, a sign that your product line is the problem if you feel the need to build an expert system to elucidate it for customers? Sure, an expert system designed to help the customer beats an inexpert human paid to hurt the customer; but seriously.

Dear BMW.... (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#44695147)

If you cant give me a 200 mile range (shortest range in worst conditions like -20 below heavy snow with the heater blasting full, or 120 degrees desert with AC blasting full blast) then you will not sell electric cars here in the use except for niche markets like large cities as short range commuter cars.

Most people that have the money for a BMW electric live 45 miles from work in the suburbs and will need at LEAST a comfort zone of charge. If I drive 90 miles plus 15 miles for lunch each day I need a 200 mile range car just in case I need to get groceries on the way home, or take the family to Starbucks for an evening overpriced coffee buzz.

All of the electric cars made today are useless to the demographic that can afford them, and your BMW version is even further out of the price range of the inner city folk that can use them the most.

Stop wasting time and money on stupid apps, and double the range.

If we could get rid of the car salesman... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44695173)

And purchase a car online, pay online, then combine this with Nissan's self driving cars.... Once the purchase is complete, the car then drives to your house and parks in your driveway.

Nathan

19 year old? (1)

roninmagus (721889) | about 8 months ago | (#44695289)

Even the article that's linked immediately behind "19-year-old" has 7/23/92 as his birthdate. That's 21 years in my book.

Redundant middlemen in the age of information (2)

derfla8 (195731) | about 8 months ago | (#44695483)

The majority of "sales people" these days are redundant middlemen who provide negative value to the customer. Anyone who wants to, can be armed with way more information than a salesperson these days and would make a much more informed decision on their own, versus the bias from sales people towards whatever incentives and inventory they are keeping in mind.

Tesla is an example that breaks the mold, their sales people are very informed and are not there to push you into a particular model/options/upsells. In my interactions with Tesla salespeople, they are there to help you determine whether the vehicle is the right fit for your needs. If only all salesperson experiences were like this (including Realtors who are more interested in self-promotion than actually selling your home) then these middlemen would be less redundant.

Groundbreaking my ass. (2)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 8 months ago | (#44695613)

Is this for real lol?

Lets be honest, all this will ever be is a controlled Wikipedia Q/A Marketing platform by BMW.
Its nothing special, nor, groundbreaking.
Live Answer/Questions (chat) with macro bots have been around on the net for years. I fail to see how this is any different.

You - "how much extra is metallic paint?"
App - "The BMW X5 comes in 5 colours, click here to order one today!"

You - "Whats the redline RPM of the BMW X5?"
App - "The BMW X5 comes in 5 colours, click here to order one today!"

You - "Does the BMW X5 come in 5 colours?"
App - "The BMW 4 Series comes in 2 colours, click here to order one today!"

You - "Whats the max HP of a BMW X5"
Google - "Some guy on youtube showing off his 1000hp BMW X5"
You - "Awesome!, (goes back to playing with matchbox cars)"

What about my feelings? (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about 8 months ago | (#44696037)

So all the feelings of winning over someone to get the best price will be dashed. I like going in and feeling that I ripped the guy off since I know he is trying to rip me off. Now how am I to feel?

Reminds me of an old near-future sci-fi story* (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 8 months ago | (#44696149)

A family is on the run and they need to buy a used car for cash, fast. They haggle with an AI salesman - a speakerbox on a booth with an appropriate robotic voice - then drop the money in a slot, more than they wanted to spend. As they're driving away they see a guy exiting the booth, counting the money. One of them cracks up - only a human being could get them to spend that much money on this piece of junk!

*Nature's End by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka. Don't you judge me.

.

I just wish the public could purchase directly (1)

ezakimak (160186) | about 8 months ago | (#44696159)

When I know what I want, I don't need (or want) a salesman in the way. They aren't actually providing a service at that point--they're just like little kids watching as the cookie jar is brought out waiting to get their hand in it.

It's silly to me that manufacturers cannot sell their products directly to consumers. I'd love it if the "build-your-own" features on all their websites were actually useful--with a "buy now" button at the end rather than a "check local inventory" that never has exactly what you just spent 10 minutes configuring.

Re:I just wish the public could purchase directly (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 months ago | (#44696279)

yeah except for tweo things:
1) I'd never buy a car without actually driving it. The last thing I want is a world where there aren't any showrooms so you have to buy your car off the internet, based only on what (no doubt bought-and-paid-for) reviewers say.

2) I always buy used cars anyway. Buying a new car is just like throwing half your money away. I leave that hit for someone else to take.

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