My father bought a new Fairlane wagon in 1963 for a bit over $2,300. The only options he would let the dealer tack on were a 260 CID V8, automatic transmission, seat belts, and factory radio. That money would be the equivalent of $21,000 today.
No disc brakes, no AC, no air bags, no power steering, no lots of stuff we take for granted. You get what you pay for.
I forgot to mention. Mileage. 13-14 MPG in town. Papa claimed 18 highway, but I never saw that after I bought the car from him.
Re: Flat rate - as a claims adjuster I used to calculate the number of days a rental car would be needed by dividing the labor hours on the estimate by 6, on the assumption that in an 8 hour day the tech would spend two hours doing unbillable things, like unboxing parts or returning damaged parts, driving a customer's car to the alignment shop, or explaining the damage and repair method to me. But around 2010 my supervisor told me that I was overestimating how fast a job could be completed, and told me to divide by 4 instead of 6. Whatever figure you use, the fact is that a lot of a tech's time is unbillable, and paying an hourly salary is the only fair way to do things. Aside: the smell of rear axle lube alone was enough to discourage me from ever becoming a tech.
Yeah I disagree we have both evs and ices at my dealer and we have just as many problems with the evs. We hardly ever have engine and transmission issues its always some other component like window regulators or door locks, or touch screen issues, leaking sunroofs,etc all of which the EVs have as well. The maintenance schedules are similar as well EVs still need tire rotations, cabin filters, wiper blades, fluids checked, new tires, brakes, suspension components, etc. Gas cars today only need the oil changed every 10-15k miles and fluids such as transmission and coolant maybe changed once in a lifetime of use. I don't see how we are going to need less technicians in the future?
I worked at a few dealerships over my life. I started my career in I.T. I consider myself technical, customer service focused and slightly mechanical. I have done everything. My first dealership experience was at a Cadillac dealership in the western suburbs of Chicago doing their IT stuff. I loved being at the dealer and I was around cars this should be fun, right? Somewhere less than a year into being there I had to do an update on our UCS system which was on an ancient IBM System 36 which was a mainframe with horribly old for 2002 hard drives and incredibly slow tape drives. It was a piece of crap and I by myself had to be there to do the update which took something like 26 hours! I started Saturday evening when the dealership closed and left late Sunday night. I did not go home and had to babysit this thing while we did the update. Now I had a car I bought to get me through the winter (a '92 Eagle Talon TSi AWD) that I bought cheap and it needed to get some things fixed as it burned oil and had a few other issues. So at least I had the perk of being able to put a car on a lift and do a little wrenching on the car while waiting to switch tapes on the mainframe. But it was a long, lonely and unrewarding experience. After I finished I had to be back at the dealer bright and very early Monday morning to watch the inevitable as parts of the software blew up for service or sales, etc. What a horrible experience. No real thanks or reward for the hard work, time spent and lack of sleep. When it came time for my annual review I got a good review but no raise. Found out it was not likely to happen. Spent the next year finding there was going to be no raise pretty much ever as they don't do that at that dealer for my kind of position. So when the next UCS update came I probed again. I got the No answer and I Quit with no other job in line at that time because I was not going to go through another 24-48 hours of living hell.
6 years later, a bit burned out on IT and loving cars and owning some Subarus I briefly tried working at a Subaru dealer north of Houston. I tried to get into service but got put in sales. That didn't last long as I was promised things but they blatantly lied. Sales manager played the pencil games crap with customers and I made nothing. Kept harassing me to call the same people over and over even though I left voicemails to get them on the phone and make the sale. Wanted me to use my cell phone since they were clearly ignoring the calls from the dealer. They used every trick in the book to split the sale with the tenured sales people or outright steal it from me. One day I said that's enough and told him I'm gone. I should have learned my lesson there.
3 years later I decided to try a dealer again and tried being a service advisor for a Chevrolet dealership north of Houston after a terrible IT contract job. That lasted about 3 months. I was on the guaranteed salary at first which wasn't great but I was going to eventually earn some money or so I was told. They had this "consultant" guy who kept trying to get me to upsell crap to people who didn't need what they wanted me to push. An example they wanted me to sell was a throttle body cleaning on a car that just had it's intake manifold/throttle body replaced under a recall. I sarcastically asked if we installed recalled items pre-carbon built up that this would be useful. There were many others. The service manager was overly flirty with the receptionist and would bring me into the office to complain I wasn't selling enough crap. Then you had those all or nothing surveys which could be used to deny or give bonuses. Basically if it wasn't a 10 it could hurt. I left because I could not honestly sell stuff to people that they did not need. I have a moral compass unlike that place.
So I got a break at a Lexus dealer in Houston because my wife worked there. I was not in sales but I did two different roles either "Lexus Delivery Specialist" or a photographer for the pre-owned department. Short version is that it was family operated and they genuinely cared about their employees until the old guard president retired. I watched the dealer turn into a family oriented place to all about the numbers. They only gave one raise because I changed from the delivery role to the photo one but when that role ended and I went back to the old delivery role there was no chance for me to get a raise. They don't do that again is what I was told. In 4.5 years I only once got a raise. Sure we had bonuses for goals I met but they so micromanaged the bonuses I never made more year to year effectively. Based on what I know today from my many contacts there I am glad I no longer work there. There were other problems because my wife also worked there. She wasn't the problem they made it a problem for us. Meanwhile the upper management did everything to benefit themselves with fat 6 figure salaries. I made many friendships and loved many of the people I worked with but I was really hating life there. We sold the house and took jobs in the Austin area as we couldn't enjoy our time or our possessions. I have a friend in Houston who needs to quit his job as his dealership also treats the employees poorly while the upper management lives "fat".
I will NEVER go back to work at a dealership!
If you have a logical mind and can think for yourself being in a dealership is not the place for you. It will either kill you physically (I saw way too many heart attacks or other health issues among the dealership) and/or mentally (the stress some were under was insane). I saw what the technicians went through also. I wouldn't want to be one either. The dealership "culture" is a cancer and any sane person would not want the stress, poor pay or benefits most have to go through. It's a buddy club for the "elites" in the dealership and screw the rest. You are disposable they can hire any young person to replace you on false promises.