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April 22 Weekly Open Thread: The "New Car" Blues

Used-car-salesmanOur recent $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge has inspired me to seek out and find a new vehicle. I won't say the brand so that nobody gets offended or sued, but I will say that so far, the experience has been a borderline nightmare.

On my first visit to the dealer, they said they can't discount any new ones at all. Then I got on the internet, and saw that they are advertising a $1,500 discount or more on all of them (after a "Dealer Fee" of $598 is added).

Now I'm getting the usual runarounds... "There's no markup to work with," and "It's the time of the year where everybody wants one."

There was the perennial favorite, "There aren't any incentives on them right now." Then I got hammered with, "What are you going to trade in?" (I never trade.) Also, "Who do you have your financing with?" (It's a cash deal, folks.) Seems they're exploring every other opportunity to stick me as well. At this point, I'm seriously thinking about forgetting the whole thing.

But the biggest "pisser" has been when I have twice placed a vehicle request all over the Middle Tennessee region, and the local dealer sees it. They saw the requests and quickly called me back to say, "You won't get a better deal than we will give you," and, "You need to come back in so we can toss some numbers around."

I should mention that the salesman I first talked to, then drove a vehicle with on the second visit, is no longer with them. And now I have been approached by another salesman that says I "have" to talk to him from now on. I haven't met him in person or driven a vehicle with the guy, so I feel that I owe him no loyalty.

I made an online offer on a vehicle they had in stock, and they didn't budge a dime from their online price. So except for getting surrounded, outnumbered, and bullied into possibly taking their numbers, I see no need for a return visit there. That second salesman is also calling here every few days.

We have a neighbor that has a fairly new one of these; his hand brake broke. This same dealer quoted $900 to fix the thing, citing all kinds of broken and/or worn out stuff. So he doesn't like the place either.

Folks, isn't this part of what got the American car makers in trouble decades ago? An unwillingness to work with a customer, or at least to not insult them? I have decided that before I go back to this dealer a third time, I'm going to ask up front that if we can't make a deal, they will pay for my gas there and buy me lunch at the restaurant of my choice. We'll see if they take that offer or not.

But I wanted to vent this experience to you dear readers, and ask for any suggestions. Should I continue to pursue this, or tell them to take a hike? Maybe even find the owner and tell him this tale?

And as usual, this place is the place for any other vehicle-related discussions... hopefully happier ones.

Thanks,

--Chuck

Image Credit: Our similarly frustrated new car buyer image is from WordPress.com.

 

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Curious "what" kind of car you are looking to buy. I ended up buying a new car last month, negotiated the whole deal over the phone and still ended up getting a better deal once we actually got to the dealer.

The surprising thing is the dealer we bought from, never, in a million years, would I have thought of actually buying a car from this particular Mid-TN dealer, and yet not only did they knock it out of the part pre-sale, post sale so far that have kicked butt as well.

E-mail me privately if you need/want a referral.

-Jason

Egads, you're far more patient than I am, I would have told them to [censored] (well, probably figuratively. In my own head.) after the first one. You owe them nothing, I'd go elsewhere if at all possible and make sure you let them know that.

And people wonder why I've had the same car for 23 years. . . . .

Why are you going back? This sounds like a mistake. They see you as a mark to be preyed upon, and your continued interaction with this dealer suggests they've got their man. If whatever they're selling were as in demand as you've been led to believe, they wouldn't have time or need to stalk customers. Do more research of the consumer advocate variety, as it sounds like you've fallen for the hype of certain brands finally learning to make quality cars after a century or more of failure.

If only people could buy factory direct.

Good advice CJ, but I'm not looking at a 4-door sedan.... this is a unique vehicle, and there's only one like it made. (That probably gave it away LOL.)

I've had good luck in recent years negotiating things like my new bike and, dare I say, millions in real estate. But it takes two sides to negotiate, and this dealer refuses to budge.

Whatever the mystery vehicle is, the handbrake isn't covered by the manufacturer's warranty?

Isn't this the sort of thing that Saturn was supposed to fix? Greedy, dishonest huckster salesmen on the take, fighting each other like a ravenous pack of wolves for their pittance of a commission, and "pricing" that's no more concrete than a Moroccan outdoor produce cart?

I know that people DO buy new cars...they must, or there wouldn't be so many of them made. For the life of me, though, I can't fathom why. I mean, if you want to shell out big green for a new car, more power to ya. It's an awfully large premium for an item that loses 50% of its value as soon as you sign for it. If I was in the market for a truly "new car," I'd buy one that was five years old and had a whopping bit of depreciation out of the way. (If I was wanting to spend "new car prices," I'd buy a restored fifty year old model that would still outlast anything made today.)

As it is, I'll limit my "new cars" to at least fifteen years old, and purchased for no more than three grand. But that's just me. :)

I looked at a Corvette briefly a few years back. When my wife and I sat in the car, she said that she did not want a black interior. The salesman said, that for a light interior, it would be the next model up, $1,000.00 more. Then I sat in the passenger seat and noticed that it was manual. The same reply, next model up, $1,000.00, Then we asked about a certain color and the same color top as well as the translucent top. Again, premium price on the special color and the second top. We left shortly after that. I get occasional emails, but nothing about special pricing, just offerings on oil changes and similar services. Most unimpressive.
Way back in the '50's, an acquaintance of the family was a regular buyer of new cars, and would often steer his friends to one particular dealer. When he bought a new car, he would list everything that needed service and type up full sheet of the problems, single spaced. When he went in for the service he said simply, "Fix it or keep it." He was rarely overlooked.
I was told by a very good source that there was a separate building outside a regular assembly plant at a GM facility. This separate building was for correcting the problems with the new cars as they came off the assembly line. The workers in the separate building gave kickbacks to the other workers to make sure that all jobs were secure. If Dr. Deming had been listened to, this would not have been the case.

Just about every dealer "retail experience" seems to follow this proverbial nightmare.

Two things I recommend to everyone I know is first check out the car you like on "TrueCar.com" and see what others (in your area) have paid for the same model.

Second, is seek out a dealer's "fleet dept" and bypass this retail end of dreck. Costco (and others) have excellent buying services who (more often than not) can beat (or match) any deal you might hammer out without the hours long abuse and punishment most inevitably endure...

Some years ago I was shopping around for a new car and had several makes and models in mind and I wanted to check them all out at various local dealers. One salesman really pissed me off as when he realized I was not buying that day he brushed me off. A couple of weeks later I made my decision and went back to same dealer with cash in hand and guess who strolled out but the same jerk. I walked right by him and asked for the manager and said I wanted to buy a car that day but due to the way the jerk had treated me I asked for any other sales person but him or I would buy my car at the next town over. The look on the jerks face was priceless.

"If Dr. Deming had been listened to, this would not have been the case."

GM management and line workers think Dr. Deming is a foot doctor who appears on Oprah.

Toronado455, he put more miles on it than expected and ran the warranty out early. But the vehicle still has fairly low mileage.

I think it depends on where you're looking. I live in a major metropolitan area and I've been to all sorts of different dealerships in many different kinds of neighborhoods. You will get different treatment in different types of economic areas. The bullying, high pressure sales tactics are more prevalent in lower income neighborhoods. They may tend to deal with people with lower credit scores and have more leverage over them in getting them to accept whatever crap they want to pull. Also, certain brands seem to cater to folks with less than stellar credit and those dealerships are probably more inclined to use the bullying and high pressure routine. Expand your shopping radius if you can, keep your guard up, and have some patience.

Thanks Kenwood. Sadly, this place is located in the wealthiest county in America... maybe they expect some of us to "Share the wealth" with them. As far as credit is concerned, I'll write a check for it when and if we come to terms.

Also, I've put out searches to all 11 Jeep (There, I said it!) dealers in Middle Tennessee. We'll see how bad they want to sell one, as the end of the month is about a week away.

Thanks,

--Chuck

Different topic: good article in today's WSJ on why Fisker is going under. The online version of the article is available to subscribers only; you can get extensive quotes and comments thereupon by a blogger at: http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2013/04/white-house-knew-fisker-automotive-was.html

Or just read the print edition.

Chuck,
Oooo! A Jeep SRT? Good for you, sir! As for the wealthiest county, then this place is probably used to dealing with clientele whose time is more important than saving $2,000-$4,000 through 3 hours of negotiating. I still suggest expanding your radius. I once bought a car two states away, flew Southwest one way for $99, and drove my new car back home. Check the Jeep forums and see who has had luck with pricing. Search out "the ______'s largest Jeep Dealer" and try working with a couple of those. Lastly, the end of the month is near, but if you can wait a little longer, the end of the model year will be in September. Enjoy the new ride, I for one, am a big fan.

Kenwood

Well, it's a Jeep Wrangler. And yes, the end of the month is not far away.

I figured it was a Wrangler you sought. There aren't any other convertibles as good off road. I looked at a local dealer's website a week or two ago. The prices were aggressively low. After finding one that seemed to be equipped as I would do it, I clicked on the details for it. I found that the low pricing was contingent on a military ID AND being a current VW lessee. Are there any of our soldiers driving leased VWs and looking to trade for a new Jeep? That's got to be a small pool. Meanwhile, as soon as you check out their inventory, you see attractive prices that aren't available to you. Brilliant. I'm glad I don't have my heart set on a Jeep.

I may have my heart set on a Jeep, but I keep the checkbook set on the dresser.

Chuck

To follow up on what "Kenwood" said...if you Google "World's largest Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealer"...you'l find it's not far from me in Northern Idaho (they must do a lot of internet sales because it's in a small town).

If you buy from them and come up here to pick it up...I'll take you out for a burger at the posh resort in Coeur d'Alene.

I miss my old CJ...and would like to get a last generation Wrangles...but I don't need it.

John B, that's a nice offer. Thanks.

What hiptech said.

If they have a fleet sales guy (I don't know if Jeep dealers do...), talk to him.

Fleet buyers don't tolerate that bullshit, so fleet sales guys aren't used to trying it - especially since the people who call the fleet sales guy are both aware of bullshit and trying to avoid it.

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