By on July 31, 2008

Too bad it really isn\'t that pleasant.Once a car salesman “data captures” you, the calls never stop. Some are rude. Some are sweet. All are pushy. The salesman’s goal: get the sale. Meet the quota (placate the Alpha Dog). Pay the bills (placate the Ex). In America’s cratered new car market, the chances of a car salesman making his nut are only slightly less than that of a squirrel in the Ice Age. Has this stopped dealers from getting up to their old tricks? Hell no. If anything, they’re abusing their customers MORE. Still, if you know how to handle the heat, this is The Mother of All Buyer’s Markets. Here’s how to work the system…

Back in the good old days (for the dealer), when the salesman saw you walking away from a negotiation, they considered it the end of the deal. Hence their “reluctance” to let you go (a.k.a. “We lost your car keys”). While dealers’ “take lots of prisoners” approach is still in force, today, there’s no escape. Phone calls and emails, and emails and phone calls, are headed your way. The good news? All those years of incentives and finance offers have trained salesmen that the deal is all about price. And the price has nowhere to go but down.

So, patience. In a buyer’s market, you hold the cards. For the foreseeable future (well into 2009), the longer you hold them, the more valuable they become. Accept the fact that your purchase should take place over the course of days, maybe even weeks. Again, the greater the delay, the better the deal.

There two types of car customers: “show horse” and “work horse” buyers.

Show horse buyers are looking for one type of car, in one type of color, with a very specific set of options. They’re a dealer’s wet dream.  You want a BOSE DVD video navigation system in that minivan? Well, OK! Let’s find you one with option X! Dealers dedicate their lives to “upselling” customers on manufacturer-created option “bundles.” Sound systems, safety packages and other works of “in” technology are carefully packaged so that show horse buyers pay through their proverbial snout for that one cool feature they really, really want.

Salesmen kill to put customers in this psychological/financial box.

The same game applies to paint and trim. When John Q. tells a dealer they will only consider one combination out of hundreds, they effectively eliminate 95-plus percent of the alternative vehicles out there. That gives the dealer, and the parent manufacturer, an awful lot of leverage. For the pistonheads and car lovers amongst us, option and paint specificity is our Achilles’ heel. Overall, the more “choosy” you are, the more you’re going to have to pay. Period.

So don’t be a show horse buyer. Even in today’s doldrums, you’ll save thousands of dollars by tempering your lust with the knowledge that even “dream cars” becomes just another car in a year or two.

The workhorse buyer has the upper hand. They may prefer two or three models. Or they may have several good fits. They may want to consider a wide range of options, paint or trim. Or perhaps just a few combinations. Either way, they understand the most basic law of supply and demand. The broader their taste palette, the better their overall deal.

Take a lesson from the ultimate work horse buyers (also my favorite type of customer): commercial firms. When a corporate purchaser receives a request for three pickups with only a few specifications, they can play the entire field in the pursuit of the deal. They realize the simple fact what’s on the lot has to go out the door. Deal with what they got. If they ain’t got it, or the price is wrong. Move on.

However there is at times an even better avenue than that for the ‘workhorse’ buyer.

As Tony Blair would have said, there is a middle way: the “demo.” Cars set aside for customer demonstration (a.k.a. test rides) often offer better warranties than the new cars on the lot; demos are almost always certified models. The best ones are loaded, owned and driven by high ranking members of the dealership (or their spouses). They see little more than the daily commuting duty. If you’re a show horse who wants all the bells and whistles, and can wait ‘til the end of model year, demos can provide a full list of options for several thousands less than an identical new model.

After more than a decade as an auto auctioneer and car buyer, I would argue that flexibility, honesty, mutual respect and patience are the best lubricators for a successful negotiation. Regardless, the bottom line never changes: the only power you have as a buyer is the power to walk away. Now more than ever, use it.

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68 Comments on “Dealing with Dealers...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    Good points. If you’re in the market for a Dodge Ram, or any Cry-sler product, you can trade a ham sandwich in and get 3000 cash back. The hot cars and few that are really desirable (cough prius cough) are going to be a harder nut to crack.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The last time I bought a car, it was work horse style – an advertised special in the Saturday Autos section of the local newspaper. Price was clearly stated on the ad, terms were confirmed over the telephone. The dealer’s web site stated the options (=none), and the car was ours a few hours later.

    Usually I’m more of a show horse buyer, having to wait weeks, but with the price negotiated in advance. As I’ve posted before, one-price dealer Fitzmall makes it a whole lot easier.

  • avatar
    Point Given

    I never bothered to data capture after about 8 months in the biz. I found that too many of my customers had been all over the place shopping and were getting pounded by calls from other dealers. The phone ‘em till they tell you to f-off mentality is what the dealer pushes.

    So I’d do the opposite, even tell them that I didn’t want their contact info cause the dealership would make me phone you and when your ready I’ll be here.

    It worked pretty well actually.

    At my brief stint at Lexus there was little data capture overall (probably because they are the only Lexus dealer in the city and the next nearest one is three hours away)

    Price is king with the vast majority of car buyers, sadly, as a sale rep far too much is sold at a few hundred dollars over invoice. Your pay = $150 flat.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    Good points. If you’re in the market for a Dodge Ram, or any Cry-sler product, you can trade a ham sandwich in and get 3000 cash back.

    Actually, I think ham only gets you $2500 – roast beef is required for the full $3000. I also hear they’ll give $5000 cash back for a Neon that is over five years old and does NOT have any duct tape on it…

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Beware of so-called demonstrator, executive driven and program cars. These terms lack generally accepted definitions. They may be damaged, rentals, or manufacturer lemon buy-backs. The discount is rarely commensurate with the risk and depreciation. They are used cars. Freight, PDI and some taxes are not applicable.

  • avatar
    Honda_Lover

    Point Given :

    Price is king with the vast majority of car buyers, sadly, as a sale rep far too much is sold at a few hundred dollars over invoice. Your pay = $150 flat.

    Who says that car salesman is a viable profession anymore? I’m more for the way Toyota sells the Scion . No haggle selling. Why shouldn’t cars be sold retail the same way we buy computers or any other hardware?

  • avatar
    NoSubstitute

    Good advice if you don’t really care too much about what you end up with; not so helpful if you do.

    As to dealer follow up, my recent experience in shopping Mercedes, Audi, BMW etc. suggests that many salespeople in the high end shops have reached the same conclusion as Point Given. We were surprised that we never heard back from most of the folks we talked to, or at most received e-mails “checking in” weeks after we visited their dealerships (and after we had already purchased from someone else).

  • avatar
    don.b

    You’ve obviously never purchased a car from a decent dealer. Don’t lump us all in this group.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    What about (for lack of a better term) “stripper buyers”?

    I don’t mind waiting (for a reasonable amount of time) to have a car delivered, but I hate paying for stuff that I don’t want or need. The dealers will always try to deal with you on what’s on the lot, but you won’t get those features for free.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    If a car is truly a “demo” it will WILL be un-titled just the same as all the new cars on the lot. Unless you actually know someone who works inside the dealership or have some other trustworthy link, verifying the story behind an alleged demo is all but impossible.

    For my high school graduation way back in 1993, my grandfather bought me exactly the car I wanted- a beautiful new Honda Accord EX 4-door and even got the color combo I wanted, White with Blue interior. Remember when interiors used to come in shades other than grey, beige or black?…but I digress….

    It was actually a 1992 model that had never been titled because it was the General Manager’s wife’s “demo”. Fortunately, I had two cousins who worked at this dealership and verified that it was her demo as they had claimed. It had 9,800 miles on it and they sold it for almost $3k less than an identical, new ’93. I drove it from June 1993 until December 2005 when I inadvertently tried to pass a Chevy Impala but forgot to switch lanes first. =)

    These days, I’d be leery of a deal like that unless I knew it was legit. I know for a fact that the Mazda dealer I use for service work keeps five or six Mazda6’s in their loaner fleet at all times and rotate them out at 10k or one year to be sold as untitled demos! Probably fine, but who knows how they’ve been treated often with a different driver every single day…I wouldn’t want to take the risk.

    I do agree with the workhorse/showhorse advice- never, ever give them the upper hand! If you’re devious and skillful enough, it is actually possible to be a “showhorse” buyer but convince them you’re hardcore “workhorse”. That’s especially true if the object of your affection is made by one of the automakers with a great ‘Inventory Search’ feature on their corporate website! Ford, Mazda and Nissan are the first that come mind- although it does take some legwork and sometimes more time and effort on the buyers part.

    When I decided on a Mazda3 s 5-door, I quickly decided that I was only interested in Titanium Gray, I wanted the Sport or Touring model with NO additional options and manual transmission was a MUST! There wasn’t one within 250 miles of Atlanta according the Mazda website search feature…so I chose the next significantly sized cities in each direction and searched 250 miles in all directions from their ZIP Codes…found two near Birmingham, two at the same dealer in Knoxville, one in Charlotte, one in Savannah and several more scattered around.

    After I picked out all the ones that fit my specs, I emailed every single dealer asking for a quote on an ’06 Mazda3 s 5-door 5-speed manual with no options, didn’t specify a color- told them I didn’t really care. Most jacked me around, but the dealer in Knoxville, TN came back with a quote of $16,800 and my goal was $16,500-$17,000, as close to the low figure as possible. I countered with $16k flat, they went to $16,600 and I ignored them for two days. I finally answered the email and told them $16k plus tag/tax/title OTD and please not to bother me anymore if we can’t make the deal….and that I had an epiphany about the color- only the Titanium Gray would do! hehe

    The following Saturday, a buddy of mine drove me four hours to pick up my new $16k Mazda3 s that had a sticker of just over $18k….at a time when Edmunds TMV was even hovering at $17k. I even told them that deal was contingent on all paperwork being ready to sign and that I wouldn’t be sitting foot in any Finance Manager’s office or speaking to anyone other than the salesguy I’d emailed with. For backup, the buddy who drove me up there (who is gay, but you’d never know from meeting/talking to him, just a regular joe) went into the salesman’s office with me. I told him if they started trying to pull anything shady or give me any crap to “flame out” (think Richard Simmons) and, if necessary, give the impression that we were a couple. Between me at 6’3″ and 250# and Miss Thang ready to throw a hissy fit any minute….we were out of there in under 30 minutes! Yes, I am EVIL and I’m really good at it sometimes.

    One of my best friends is a young Pakistani guy (Muslim by default) and he always joked about needing to arrive FOUR hours early for even a domestic flight. He took it all in stride and was good natured about it, as he is about everything. He’s straight as an arrow, but he’s also model-gorgeous and dresses like he belongs on the cover of GQ. I told him that whenever he’s travelling with a male friend, walk a little too close, maybe throw an arm around the other guy, act like they’re boyfriends. Who has EVER heard of a homosexual terrorist? It worked like a charm….hasn’t been singled out for a strip search a single time since I told him that two years ago.

    If there’s prejudice, stereotypes and ignorance out there- why not harness their power for GOOD (and by good I mean whatever I want).

  • avatar
    foobar

    Email price quotes are a great leveler these days. I spent a lot of time on the phone with a lot of dealers before buying last month, but it was all wasted time — the guys who responded promptly with an honest quote by email also ended up having the best (real, available car) price. New-car shopping is becoming a very simple game: open up new Gmail account to handle all the spam, get email quotes, reply to all with best number you’re quoted, buy the lowest offered price. Some dealers will play all kinds of games to get you on the phone, and as far as I can tell they’re best simply ignored.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Nice one Beelzebubba. I hope the Mazda dealerships down here in South Florida don’t yak my chain around as much. Planning on getting a MazdaSpeed 3 and already emailed around my specs: black, GT version sans navigation. Lots of emails came back with the same specs except colors, ranging from white to red to silver (I hate red). We’ll see what happens.

  • avatar
    tms1999

    In 8 years, I only bought 2 cars, and like most of us, I can only volunteer anecdotal experience.

    Worst experience (car #1) Chevy dealership. Pushy, 4 square, let me talk to my manager, let me finance you with a bad deal. I had no experience in dealing with these people and I got screwed.

    Best experience (car #2) Mazda arm of a Nissan / Subaru / Pontiac / GMC / Buick / Mazda / Toyota dealership. Only that time, I went through the “internet sales” channel. No BS, $2,500 under MSRP (yes, I paid less than “invoice”) for a MS3 GT, pick any color if we don’t have it we’ll find it kind of deal. No pressure, no phone call, no nagging. Test drive without the salesguy.

    Though I admit I was somewhat lucky, I had promised myself to walk away from any BS/negotiation/high pressure trick. There are thousands of cars waiting for me in dozens of car dealers all around town. Dial down the emotional impulse to buy “that exact one car I see right there” and you will be fine.

    It’s no secret that car salesmen play the game of standing in between you and the car you want. The salesguy is the only thing that prevents you from getting the object you covet. They play that card, and you end up paying dearly for him to just go away.

  • avatar
    RayH

    The best ones are loaded, owned and driven by high ranking members of the dealership (or their spouses).
    Strike up a conversation with a service writer and a older mechanic about that “sweet” looking car your looking at. If their stories match, chances are, it was driven by that person. If it still has the dealer tag on it, #1 and #2 are likely to be driven by higher ups.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    It was so easy to buy my car. We just drove up to the dealership, asked what the lowest OTD price was for the most basic Camry.

    Then we asked, “Could you go even lower? Please?” over and over and over, and he would go lower and lower a bit by bit, then when he finally got irritated said, “That’s the price, take it or leave!!!” we took it.

    Piece of cake, and we got a great deal. Lower than most people reported on the forums. :) This is the best approach if you don’t trust/know how to use computers

  • avatar
    NickR

    Steven Lang, it’s great to have you on the site.

    I have to agree with some of the other posters. We need car dealers, but do we still need car salesmen at all?

    Are all car salesmen on a commission only basis? I wonder if having them on a living salary plus a commission structure would work better.

  • avatar
    FINANCEGUY

    New cars usually pay $75.00 to $150.00 flats to
    sales people.The games are to placate management
    with small margins and pack on new cars we want the process to be as short as the customer

  • avatar
    bipsieboy

    to answer “hondalover”, yes being a car salesman IS a viable profession. i have been selling cars for 26 years. i make a good, honest living. the chrysler,dodge and jeep dealer i work for has been in business for over 60 years. we sell a great product at a fair price and provide excellent service after the sale. we are involved with the community supporting youth baseball,our local hospital and most of us here at the dealership are active in local service groups. please don’t paint us all with the same brush.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Good grief, what DECADE was that picture taken? I see why that couple is so happy, since they managed to find and purchase a brand-new 1993 Ford Escort!

    They must have gotten a screaming deal on it.

    Me, I want a look at the Villager in the background – or that sweet, sweet Taurus.

  • avatar
    roar1

    Buy a car from a “Best Price” store, should be like buying stuff at Walmart. Clear pricing and financing options always available, Sales people are paid on volume and CSI not the margin of the vehicle, if you want to compare prices go ahead and do so. You should be able to find out pricing/finance/lease options quickly, if you cannot then hit the door. There are plenty of straightforward places to buy a vehicle, go find one.

    roar

  • avatar
    jwltch

    Best experience: Toyota dealer
    Worst: My hometown Ford dealer (horrible)

    I don’t understand why some dealers use questionable tactics, etc. What goes around comes around.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Dealers use questionable tactics because they work a a significant segment of the population.

    While you may loose a few people who are turned off by your Ferengi tactics you will more than make it up by squeezing an extra $2-4k from those with poor negotiating skills.

    I’ve purchased one vehicle myself and flown “wingman” on several others. I always enjoy critiquing the technique they are trying to use on me.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    I got CHASED out of a dealer once with my wife by heckling salesmen… WHY would we buy a car from you?

    The reasons was that we looked at a car, drove it and the negotiations included a trip to the finance guy’s office where things took a nasty turn. He was pushing everything and we wanted – just the car. Finally I had enough and we got up to leave and that’s when things got really weird with the heckling salespeople.

    They went out of business at some point after that I noticed the next time we drove through Oak Ridge one weekend. They also did a credit check without our knowledge we found out a few years later when we went for our first mortgage.

    I can’t understand why a business like a dealership can’t expect to survive treating their customers poorly. I still hate stepping foot in dealers. Seems b/c of my experiences like a den of thieves. There have been many other times when these “professionals” have shown their true colors but I don’t want to bore you.

    FWIW it took about a half dozen dealers to find a Honda deal that seemed fair. Last guy – we had to walk in and start off with a final warning – “you’ve got 20 mins to make this happen or we walk”. Whole deal was done on time, couple hundred more than we wanted to pay, no finance guys.

    Will use e-mail next time as suggested above.

    I think this is a profession that someday will be replaced by a Saturn-like one-price business model and meanwhile a bunch of sales folks will scratch their heads and wonder why they have become obsolete.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    TexasAg03,
    Don’t you know there is no such thing as a 5+ year old Neon with no duct tape on it?

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    I tried the email thing. Not very helpful, even though I was extremely specific about the model, trim, options, finance terms, etc. For the first week, all I got was “We have the vehicle you are looking for – stop in.” I got a little more pushy and they started emailing me quotes but never in an “apples-to-apples” format. Some sent MSRP, some added tax and title to the payment, some added one but not the other, I got payment quotes without actual purchase price, too much money down, no money down, etc.
    Total waste of time. I tried carsdirect.com and got quoted EXACTLY the Edmunds TMV price – not good enough. A waste of time, too.
    I never ended up buying anything.
    I agree with other posters – there has GOT to be a better way.
    (BTW, title or no title, any car with 9k miles on it is U-S-E-D!! I’d want 30% off MSRP just to start talking….)

  • avatar
    jrlombard

    I’ll chime in with another email rant…erm, anecdote.

    We’re shopping for a replacement for my wife’s car at the moment. Looking a wagons, since we have a kid on the way. I found a nice lightly used Audi A4 Avant on a lot in the Bay Area, about 70 miles from my house. The ad was on Craigslist, but supplied very little data, and no pictures. However, it was an Audi dealership, so I didn’t think twice about dropping them a line (also no phone # listed).

    It took five days to get a response, and this was all I received.

    Photos: www.(dealer name).com.

    I emailed him back and said, “Seriously, five days and all you can give me is a URL?” Like copy and paste into an email is so hard? I’m in marketing, and to see someone toss away a “qualified” permission-based lead is atrocious–even for car dealers. I guess business is good for Audi dealers at the moment.

    For a brief moment I thought about drumming up the phone number and calling the sales manager, but then I realized that fixing their broken practice is not my responsibility.

  • avatar
    TR3GUY

    gees Beelzebubba talk about sterotyping……who is gay, but you’d never know from meeting/talking to him, just a regular joe.

    Our car buying horror story might be because dealers are smart enough to market to and try to make comfortable all that come in gay or straight. (what they might say when we leave is another story) We bought our 1st Miata we did our homework and got a good price – Not that they didn’t try every slimmy trick in the book. We told the sales manger that when we went to F & I we wanted nothing!

    WE get into F & I and the woman starts out with “some of my best friends are gay.” And this has to do with buying a car because……

    After we left, my partner decided he wanted a Mazda car cover and called his friendly F & I person. I can get it for you a little over cost, but give me your CC# so I can lock in the price. When he told me the price I went nuts it was 150% of the retail from Mazda. I called the dealer and had to make a threat if they didn’t reverse the charge.

    I now do all the car buying.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    SupaMan :
    July 31st, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Nice one Beelzebubba. I hope the Mazda dealerships down here in South Florida don’t yak my chain around as much. Planning on getting a MazdaSpeed 3 and already emailed around my specs: black, GT version sans navigation. Lots of emails came back with the same specs except colors, ranging from white to red to silver (I hate red). We’ll see what happens.

    Hey SupaMan
    Are you looking for an ’08 MAZDASPEED Mazda3 Grand Touring (which we’ll just call the MS3 GT from on) or are you waiting on an ’09?

    If it’s the ’08 you’re wanting, I’ve found 20 of them in Black Mica WITHOUT Navigation in the area covering Orlando to Miami. A few of them have Sirius Sat Radio installed, but most are just the standard Grand Touring setupch.

    Unfortunately, there’s just one equipped to your specs at each of the dealers, with two exceptions! Classic Mazda East in Orlando has SIX of them AND Mazda of Wesley Chapel in Wesley Chapel, FL has FIVE just the way you want ‘em! =) I know those are both several hours away (assuming you’re vaguely near Miami/Ft. Laud) but if you’re wanting a deal those would be where I’d start since they have multiple identically equipped cars, they should be more motivated to move some of them before they end up with some black ’09 MS3’s sitting next to them…at least in theory!

    The other dealers with just ONE of them in stock are located in Miami, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach and Naples.

    If you haven’t used the search inventory tool on the MazdaUSA website, go there NOW!!! That way, you can find every single dealer within X miles (I used the 250-mile max radius and entered a Miami ZIP Code).

    Once you pull up the list of them, just click into each one using the View Vehicle Details button and it’ll show you the price and any accessories installed. At the bottom of the summary, there’s a GET QUOTE button for you to send off to every single dealer with the Black MS3 GT Non-NAV attached to the message so it’s right there in front of them.

    BTW- you may already have done every bit of this, but I figured I’d tell you in case you hadn’t. This is EXACTLY the process I followed to find and negotiate the deal on my Mazda3.

    Final note- there are actually two separate versions of each trim level within the ’08 Mazda3 model line including the SPEED3- one is the Grand Touring (Early ’08 Production) and a few months into the model year it was replaced with the New Grand Touring. There were some changes in the available colors on the regular Mazda3 but I’m not sure if there were any for the MAZDASPEED3. Just FYI.

    Zoom-Zoom Buddy, give ‘em HELL!

  • avatar
    dan8001rpm

    Personally, even though I have sold Toyota’s for four years, I love the negative stereotyping of car salespeople. Bring it on, more please!
    You see, then when the customers come into my dealership with such a low expectation all I have to do is be courtious and helpful and they think I’m awesome. I’m just being normal but I so exceeded their negative veiw it works.
    And to all those who judge us, how would you handle someone walking into your workplace and saying “whats your f**king best price on that f**king camry out there?” Could you be nice? All the time?

  • avatar
    charleywhiskey

    In a few of my purchases, I have found that being a “show horse” buyer has worked to my advantage. First, find a specific option that is listed and priced separately but that is almost always ordered by the dealer as part of a package. For example a trailer tow package usually comes with the big engine and a lot of other good stuff, but you tell the salesman you only need the base model but must have the factory trailer tow package. After he spends a half hour or so discovering what you already knew when you walked in, you discuss a price for the base model. When he thinks a deal is close, you remind him about the tow package and walk. The next day when he calls you at your office, you find that he is willing to part with a loaded vehicle, with tow package, quite near your discussed base price.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    Quickie followup rather than fight with the fussy Edit window-

    The Early Production ’08 models carried over the same four colors available on the ’07 models. The New Grand Touring dropped the Cosmic Blue hue and replaced it with Crystal White Pearl- WTF???

    I can’t be the only one who is SICK of PEARL WHITE!!! Why not just call it Iridiescent Beige or Dirty White, which are both pretty accurate!

    I love a true, pure, clean white- Honda’s Taffeta White is a perfect example as is the Performance White option on the ’08 Mazda6.

    Maybe my preferences aren’t very common (said the redneck, gay Republican) – the perfect combo is Solid White exterior with Dark Gray or Black Interior…

    I’m looking back over this brief posting and realizing that I am being far more gay in these few words than I’ve been in the last few months combined- I’m discussing which colors complement one another the best and I’ve used the words “Iridescent” AND “Taffeta”. If I were to use the word “Chartreuse” in context I think my nuts might fall off…..=)

  • avatar
    Point Given

    Being a car salesman is a viable career choice but the same old 80-20 rule applies. The top 20% make the coin the rest just sort of slide by.

    I’ve only ever worked all commish which is pretty much standard in the industry. At the Nissan dealer I worked for you got paid off of the gross margin in teh vehicle, which meant lots of flats as it’s quite competitive for Nissan. You also got quarterly bonuses adjusting commish from 25% to 30% to 35% based on your volume(30 cars and then the next at 40 cars). At the end of the year xmas bonus you got $5 per car and that adjusts to $10 and $15 based on hitting yearly volume targets. The top sales person said he averaged about $500 per vehicle when all was said and done. Mine was about $375 but I didn’t hit all the volume bonuses. If you have a pulse and can speak semi clear english they’ll hire you.

    At lexus the volume was less but the price was zero discount and 25% of the gross. It could be quite good. It’s very difficult to get on at Lexus though, everyone is well educated, and provides outstanding service.

    I’m fully intending on being back in the industry, again at a “high line” dealer as the crap that one puts up with at highly competitive dealerships is unreal.

  • avatar
    Phu

    At lexus the volume was less but the price was zero discount and 25% of the gross. It could be quite good. It’s very difficult to get on at Lexus though, everyone is well educated, and provides outstanding service.

    I have to agree w/Point Given. I am a 25 yrs old recent college grad and when I was in the market for a Lexus IS300, I fell in love w/it ever since it entered stateside, I went to the Lexus dealership in Central PA, overall the experience was extremely positive. I got a salesman who was friendly, non-pushy, and didn’t bullshit w/me w/numbers and useless info. Unfortunately, after redoing my finances I found that I didn’t want to spend that much money, I told the salesman 2 days later and he was very kind about it, no emails or negotiating phone calls. It was pleasant, the same can be said about Saab dealerships as well. Although the saleswoman entered me into their email lists, that’s very annoying to get Saab service promos when you donot own a Saab.

    Are the problems people experiencing w/salesman and dealership applying more toward higher volume sales marque i.e. honda/toyotas/fords?

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    I tend to place car salesmen in the same basic category as cops. The vast majority of them are incompetent, uneducated, bottom-feeders who lacks the skill and/or intelligence to do anything else- but just about anyone with an IQ above 75 (the threshold for mental retardation in the U.S.) can do these two jobs. Most cops don’t give a rat’s ass about protecting people or upholding the law, they just get off on having power to wield over those who are far smarter, wealthier and who are altogether just superior human beings in all respects than they are!

    The worst part of it is that there are some cops out there who do care about upholding laws, watching out for our neighborhoods, and take pride in being a civil servant. I truly believe they’re a small minority, but I know a couple that are truly upstanding guys and I admire and respect them.

    Car salesmen are much the same- the vast majority are transient, fast-talking bottom-feeders. But there are some guys in the business because they actually love what they do- helping people find the car that best fits their needs/wants and selling it a reasonable price while still making a fair profit. I know one of these guys, he’s been selling Hondas since 1979 and I bought my first one from him in 1996 and a few others after that. If I decide to return to a Honda someday, I fully expect that it will be from him. I’ve also sent him 60-something referrals in the last 12 years (and got $75 for each one of them).

    I probably would never have met him but an older couple in my subdivision bought two new Accords from him on the same day. I stopped when I saw the new cars in the driveway and both the husband and wife couldn’t quit talking about the guy that sold them the cars. They were only planning to buy one, but after negotiating the one down to what they felt was a fair price, he sold them the other one at invoice MINUS dealer holdback- and that was at a time when Accords (or any Honda) sold for much closer to MSRP than to the Dealer Invoice. The last two I bought from the guy, I called ahead to tell him what I wanted and he’d find it on the lot, at another dealer or give me a date that it would roll off the truck. I would walk into his office, hand him the Edmunds TMV price that I printed out and he added tax, tag, title and not a penny more. It just sucks that the Civic looks like a suppository and the Accord resembles a blowfish! I miss dealing with this fellow…

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    I know most of you guys who’ve posted on this topic will be able to relate to me on this….

    Doesn’t it piss you off (and make you feel smugly superior) that you always know more about the car you’re looking at than the salesperson does???

    I love interrupting their sales pitch to correct them, especially if it’s within earshot of other customers or dealership employees. =) Some have argued with me, even when I prove them wrong and that I’m correct with their own sales brochures! I pissed off a guy at a Nissan dealer five years back or so to the point that he told me if I wanted to test drive the Altima I was looking at, he’d get another salesguy to deal with me. That was one of my proudest moments!

    I swear I’m generally a very friendly guy to almost everyone….but stupidity and arrogance really bring out my mean/evil streak and I skip right past responding with “piss and vinegar” or even “hate and bile”…..I just go straight to VENOM! It’s a hobby….some people play golf, I like to annihilate dumbasses!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I think this all points to why Saturn sold a lot of pretty average cars back in the day. Nobody really wants to deal with all the BS

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Doesn’t it piss you off (and make you feel smugly superior) that you always know more about the car you’re looking at than the salesperson does???

    I got a letter from my Scion dealership asking me to trade my ’05 xB for one of “the new ’07 xB’s.”

    Scion didn’t MAKE an xB in 2007. At all. Ever. It was common knowledge for two years. I knew it. My boyfriend knew it. My dog knew it. But the dealership hadn’t caught on yet. Somehow, two of their three available models were discontinued without the sales manager noticing. Just…wow.

    I’m used to knowing more about the car than the salesperson. I’m NOT used to being offered financing on a car that does not, technically, exist.

    There’s usually one or two people that actually care about the cars…and oddly enough, I’ve encountered the MOST knowledgable people at Carmaxes, of all places.

  • avatar
    SAAB95JD

    I have done a lot of negotiating on both sides of the table (automotive and otherwise) and I find that if you are a buyer that wants something the best tactic is to SAY NOTHING AT ALL. The quieter YOU are the more the sales person or finance guy gets uncomfortable. Human nature is to want to fill the silence. They are going to tell you what they think you want to hear: LOWER PRICE. So, sit in silence… tap a pen on the price they put on the paper and say NOTHING. It works.

  • avatar
    ronin

    If I happen to know more about some aspect of the product than the sales rep, I will never point that out, much less hit him over the head with it.

    What’s the point? My simple goal is to have a nice smooth deal. This involves working with people. I have no reservations about letting him think he is smarter than me in such circumstances.

    This is a fine point in the art of negotiation. Many times during your life you’ll find that you may well be able to negotiate a slightly better deal if the person likes you, or at least does not think your are obnoxious.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I have been selling cars for 2 years, and I love when a knowledgeable customer comes in. It makes things so much easier. If the customer knows what they wants and knows the pricing i.e. has done their homework, it makes the process so much smoother. It’s the idiots who think they are negotiating by asking for $3k below sticker on an Elantra that has $400 markup and $500 holdback. These people are so far out in left field we just let them leave.

    Or the people who want $X for their trade, regardless of it’s real value. At least come in with a KBB number so you have SOME clue! Don’t just pull it directly out of your ass!

    As I have said before, if you are not happy with the way you are being treated, walk away. There are good, honest car salesmen out there, find one and don’t chisel the last nickel out of him so he is still there the next time.

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    Gonna have to disagree with this editorial.

    “Show horse” buyers can get a deal. You just have to be a patient buyer. I knew exactly what I wanted. Zero flexibility here. I just told the dealers I’m willing to wait on an order. Most dealers were willing to work with that. After all, why not make a sale on a to-be-built car?

  • avatar

    Don B. You’ve obviously never purchased a car from a decent dealer. Don’t lump us all in this group.

    I’ll echo this point. After identifying a price we would pay for our last two cars (an S2000 and a 335), we found dealers who were simply exemplary in their handling of the sale. No nonsense, no heavy sales approach for the $600 wax job or extended warranty, just a straightforward transaction which will bring me back to the same dealer.

    Some truly decent dealers recognize there is value in a long term relationship.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    Another vote here for Fitzmall. If you are within a few hours of the dealership it is definitely worth it. Everything is done via e-mail and over the phone. Since I did not have a trade-in it was even easier. One-way rental, dropped it off, and was out of the dealership in an hour.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Beelzebubba:

    Thanks man, I’ll definitely follow up on those leads and see if they’re willing to negotiate. Hopefully I can get one for a good price and I won’t even bother tradinh in my car, I’ll sell it to CarMax since they’ve treated me very well in the past.

    dwford

    It’s hard to find salesmen like you. I can understand when some salesmen are new and don’t quite know their products to give an overall description, thus causing them to go to their manager’s office every minute but some of these other guys, I just have to wonder. Like I went to take a look at the new G37 Coupe one day (having already known the MSRP, trim levels and optional equipment) I told the the salesman what trim level I was interested along with the equipment and he seemed very…surprised at how much i knew. He almost had this look of defeat on his face and this led me to believe he thought he had an easy catch before I opened my mouth. I just walked out after that. Keep up the good work man.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Beelzebubba :

    I know most of you guys who’ve posted on this topic will be able to relate to me on this….

    Doesn’t it piss you off (and make you feel smugly superior) that you always know more about the car you’re looking at than the salesperson does???

    Yup, though depending on their personality I try not to destroy them…knowledge is power after all.

    Salesman: The ’09 Maxima comes with a powerful 255hp engine and…
    Me: Did you say ’09?
    Salesman: yeah
    Me: Wrong sir, 290hp.
    Salesman: Uhhh…*looks at sticker* yeah you’re right.
    Me: *sigh*

  • avatar
    jennadoll

    I grew up in the automotive industry and I am currently selling cars. My grandfather owned a dealership in the Rochester, NY area for 17 years. My father led the country in car sales for six years out of the 1990’s; selling 127 Buicks in his top month and he didn’t accomplish such a goal by taking advantage of people.

    I can remember as a small child playing in an R.V. on display in the showroom while my dad was busy at work one day. As I played, a couple walked by and saw me and I began to point out all the features that I liked about the R.V…the appliances, the way the bed folded down, etc.
    They loved my presentation so much they bought it!

    Bottom line, people like buying from people; especially people they like.

    I would like to apologize to all of you that have had a bad purchasing experience. However, that doesn’t make us all bad.

    Profit is not a dirty word…all industries are in business to make money, however just because a client feels that it is a buyer’s market doesn’t mean that they need to be cold or callous to a good sales consultant. If there is a deal to be made, most dealerships are not going to let a little profit stand in the way of earning your business and potentially having you as a client indefinitely.

  • avatar
    RFortier1796

    Great article, and I saw the question asked above, but I’m not sure if it got answered…

    What do you do when you are a show horse buyer in reverse? I’m currently looking at MZ4s to pull double duty as a track car/weekend warrior/fun evening car. Only problem is, all the ones at most of the local and slightly not so local BMW dealerships are loaded down with every package. I don’t want any of that. I just want the basic cheapest one, as long as it is Alpine White… That being said, do I just tell the dealership I’ll take one of the loaded ones they have on the lot, if they price it at exactly the same as the stripper model I want?

  • avatar
    miked

    @SAAB95JD – I’ve done that many times at dealers. That method has also worked very well for me in negotiating raises at work. I’m mildly autistic, so I don’t get all the social norms that normal people automatically know. So things like sitting quietly in a negotiation don’t bother me at all. I usually get what I want when I just shut up and make uncomfortable silences. My best moment was when I was negotiating for some contract work. We talked one price over the phone, but I misunderstood one of the terms, so when we had our face to face meeting and everything was clear, I needed to increase my rates by a factor of 2. They were shocked that I wanted to double what we talked about over the phone. I just said OK and sat there and they gave in.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    I sold Fords for a while and I can relate to both sides of the debate. It is difficult to be a professional salesman when after 6 ours of showing a vehicle, demo ride and negotiations you walk away with a minimum commision. Luckily at the dealership I worked at we could sell both new and used. I soecialized in selling the vehicles that had been on the lot for a while and the dealership wanted to get rid of. They carried a higher commisiona nd it made no difference to the customer how long it had been on the lot. The other (less enterprising) salesmen would ask me how I got good commissions in a bad market. I knew what we had in stock, what was coming in (new and used) and what would make me the most money. I was always polite and helpful with the customers before and more importantly after the sale and as a result got plenty of referals. Gave up the business even though I loved it because I have a young family that I never saw due to work every night, Saturdays and all holidays.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    There are plenty of honest dealers and salespeople out there who are in it to make a fair deal, keep the customer happy, and establish repeat/referral business. Working for such a Ford dealer (which has been around for many, many years, and is owned/operated by a pillar of the community) nothing is more annoying than customers who come in trying to play some of the games that have been suggested here.
    It is pure hypocrisy to rail against car salesmen as dishonest and weasel-like on one hand, and on the other encourage buyers to lie, withold information, and play games.

    The customer obviously should get the car they want, with a price/payment that they are comfortable with, and the dealer/salesperson should be able to make a profit so that they can continue operations and be able to pay their bills.

    There is nothing wrong with being informed, nor with negotiating, but why continue to propogate the subterfuge? The perfect customer is one who comes in with either a specific vehicle in mind, or a good idea of the options/color/etc that would make them happy, as well as a payment they can make. As long as the vehicle is availible and the figures asked for are reasonable the customer leaves happy with the car they were after all in all in around two hours with no stress, hair pulling, or shenanigans.

    The most miserable customers are always the ones that come in already in adversarial mode, demand ridiculous figures, storm out, come back, repeat, etc, and may after weeks of this nonsense buy the car for the same price or maybe one or two hundred dollars less than they would have if they had just been up front and honest to begin with. Personally, my time is worth more to me than a couple hundred dollars on a purchase in the tens of thousands.

    Also, as far as ‘demo’ cars go, at least around here they are all new, never previously titled vehicles that were either used by dealership employees or owners, and they do represent a good deal if you don’t mind your car having around 5000 miles on it when you take it home. It is illegal to sell a lemon buy-back, as well as to sell a car that has already been titled to a rental fleet as new. Then again, a quick carfax search on any car will show the history.

  • avatar
    FINANCEGUY

    NulloModo
    I couldnt agree with you more,Ive been in the business 15 years and my biggest adjustment was
    being lied to by customers.I have worked in an
    out of the way location for 10 years that survives
    on repeat business and that doesnt happen by boning people
    but by treating them right.My newest sales rep has
    been here 6 years and my oldest 30 years.I have fired several people over the years for being less
    than truthful and will continue to operate that way.We make a fair profit no more no less and take care of you after the sale which is more than I can say about some of our competition.Anyway we are not all bad and the one that are should be put out of business

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    NulloModo

    Don’t mean to put a jalapeno in your argument there but The most miserable customers are always the ones that come in already in adversarial mode, demand ridiculous figures, storm out, come back, repeat, etc, and may after weeks of this nonsense buy the car for the same price or maybe one or two hundred dollars less than they would have if they had just been up front and honest to begin with. Did you ever stop to think that maybe their past experiences with car salesmen have led them to always be on the defensive whenever they roll up to a dealership?

    I understand that there are some salesmen out there that have no interest in stringing the buyer along and just want to seal a fair deal, but IMHO, that’s not the majority. When I bought my Elantra (used) I had already visited a couple dealerships, all wanting to push a vehicle on me that I couldn’t afford after I specifically told them: buying cash, have $4k to spend, not interested in lease/finance, show me what you have. Ended up spending the entire night at a Hyundai dealership (right up to closing) having a guy yak me around with financing and leasing and asking me to pay more than I could afford after I showed him the $4k check and said “that’s all I have, what can I get for this?” Then, on the verge of storming out after 4 hours of nonstop heckling, he took me to the back and showed me the Elantra, test drove it (at 1am) and (I guess with a bit of frustration) said I’ll take it. Paperwork was done that same night…err morning, and I came back later on that day to pick it up.

    So yeah, I know not all salesmen are like that and that the customer must always be well informed before ever stepping foot in the dealership but when you say “I hate when they always approach me as being adversarial”, lighten up. Previous experiences dictate that they be either defensive or offensive.

    Just do the best you can and if not then point them to the other dealership across the street so you don’t waste your time and theirs.

  • avatar
    FINANCEGUY

    NulloModo

    It is wrong to put someone in a vehicle they cant
    afford, that is just setting someone up to fail
    .I have never done that,however customers do it to themselves every day and many times I have
    counseled against it with mixed results, those
    that listened have been repeat coustomers those
    taht didnt are now sub-prime or at a buy here pay
    here lot

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    FinanceGuy –

    I don’t think that I said anything that advocated trying to put someone in a vehicle they can’t afford.

    As far as that goes, I don’t know any customer’s complete financial picture, and while there is a glimpse from the credit report and what they say, it is really up to them what they are willing to pay or not. In the end, the customer has the final say if there is a deal or not, the dealer can’t force anyone to buy a car.

    These days it is more of just getting people bought more than anything else, people will come in with 10 grand plus of water on their SUV trades, and even if the payment is going up they are saving money overall by moving to a more fuel efficient vehicle (I have even had a couple whose monthly gas bills were near $1000).

  • avatar
    FINANCEGUY

    Im sorry I was refering to the other poster about the Hyundai

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    As Tony Blair would have said, there is a middle way: the “demo.”

    This is exactly how I bought a Subaru Legacy GT for my wife a few years back. It was out of my budget, but as a demo with $6500 off it fell right in. It was loaded and I got it for the price of a stripped nonturbo Legacy. It didn’t hurt that it was the salesmans first sale and he drove the demo for 3 months. Got my show horse for a work horse price.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Great article but I’m a little wary about purchasing demos.

    Just the other day I got an 08 Type-S as a free loaner when I took my old man’s car in for a recall. It was reading something like 20mpg when I got it.

    In the time I had it I drove it hard, it saw 130mph a few times but in the end I still got 25mpg.

    I can’t imagine what the guy before me did to the car to get 5mpg’s less and I’d hate to see what the long-term reliability on such a car would be… perhaps the cost of the repairs long-term will negate any savings from the initial purchase price?

  • avatar
    50merc

    Qusus, awfully nice of you to warn us about buying a demo vehicle. After all, it could have been used by a person who “drove it hard” and “saw 130 mph a few times.” Maybe entered it in a few tractor pulls, too; it’s not as if their own property was at risk. And the dealer surely doesn’t mind if a loaner is driven recklessly and illegally. (The 130 mph wasn’t at the Bonneville Salt Flats, was it?)

    Anyone out there who still wonders why car rental companies are starting to check a vehicle’s computer upon return to see whether the car was abused or operated illegally while it was out?

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Whoa whoa, since when did 130mph become abuse for a car with 93W tires and 155 governor limited top speed? It’s not like I drove it any harder than I drive my own cars on the best (or is that worst?) of days.

    Also, even if you think I didn’t care about the car because it wasn’t “my own property” pretty sure I didn’t get a loaner life as well. Maybe you shouldn’t make so many assumptions my “recklessness.”

  • avatar
    NulloModo


    Just the other day I got an 08 Type-S as a free loaner when I took my old man’s car in for a recall. It was reading something like 20mpg when I got it.

    The biggest reason I have seen for trip computers to show artificially low mileage has been that the vehicles were simply left idling for extended periods.

    Before a test drive we always pull the car out of the lot up to customer parking and leave it idling with the AC on while we get photocopis of drivers licenses and insurance, etc. That way the car is cool and ready when the customer comes out, which is a big deal here in the land of near constant 95 degree heat and 100% humidity.

    So, could be it wasn’t driven hard, just stuck in slow stop and go traffic or idled in the parking lot waiting to pick someone up.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    NulloModo has nailed it.

    I can pretty much write a book and a half about the great folks I’ve met, and thankfully little more than a passing thought to the ones on the far left hand side of the decency curve. I’ll dwell on the later though just for the fact that these individuals were as far off the beaten path as anyone you can imagine.

    1) Professional negotiator for school systems in the northwest buys a Lincoln on me from Ebay that I have inspected for him in Atlanta and then ship to Washington. 45 days after the transaction the fellow asks me to pay for upcoming routine maintenance in exchange for positive feedback on Ebay. I told him, in a kind manner, that I don’t respond to extortion. I end up not selling anything on Ebay for a month thanks to negative feedback which thankfully gets removed.

    2) Lady with six kids buys a Harley. An absolutely wonderful personality, she would be the life of any party. Unfortunately she has one small problem as it relates to motorcyles. She has never been on the highway on one and the Harley in question has a suspension that dates back to the 1960’s. I’m asked whether I think it would be safe for her to drive it from downtown Atlanta to Tennessee. I kindly inform her that unless she wants to be a statistic on a government chart, I wouldn’t advise it.

    I hold onto the vehicle for two more months. The check is already in the bank. Finally, the son comes to pick it up… in a Saturn… and nothing else. The son asks me whether we could possibly fasten it on top of the Saturn. This was of course after he got lost in directions that required him to make a grand total of one turn. A month afterwards the husband finally comes with the right equipment. I shudder to think what has come of that motorcycle.

    3) Pakistani national who is using an H1-B through Canada comes by to test a two year old Sienna I have on Ebay. After the test drive, he offers me $13,500. I thank him for the offer, but tell him that I always sell my vehicles at no reserve on Ebay and honor that final bid.

    He buys it on Ebay for $14,100 and within five minutes, calls me on the phone and asks whether I would take $13,500 for it. He starts to insist on it, and I tell him I’d give him a call back.

    Thankfully a friend of mine works for the same company in upper management and informs him that it would be in his absolute best interest to honor his word. He does so, but not before trying to make every form of outrageous demand from getting personally picked up at his work to getting it detailed. I did it… but only because I’ve always done it for folks who buy on Ebay. I get two more deals from the manager as a result of the professionalism. A month later I find out that this fellow was fired for trying to access sensitive company information.

    4) Parasitic twat who works for a staffing company buys a Lexus for $7800. The pictures on Ebay showed two close-up’s of a scratch on the rear right hand side and the fellow comes by to test the car the day before. After a few lowball offers he becomes the winning bidder the next day at the no reserve auction and gives me a certified check.

    Two days later he sends me an angry email demanding that I pay him $1700 for a repaint of the vehicle. He says it’s due to an accident but, a local Toyota dealer along with Carmax (who I bought the vehicle from) confirms what’s already listed on Carfax and Autocheck. It’s pristine save the scratch and I hold firm.

    Three weeks and a dozen ignored emails later he asks me to contact a paint shop, which also happened to be owned by two very good friends of mine. My preconceptions are confirmed when I’m told that the fellow informed one of the owners that he just wanted to have the scratch redone. After telling them what took place the owners inform him that the vehicle will now be towed and it will cost him $100 to get it out of the local impound lot.

    And the one that absolutely topped them all…

    1) A fellow from Texas offers to buy a 1993 VW Eurovan that’s now thankfully owned by a TTAC member. After stating he’s an enthusiast he asks whether this one comes with the 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engine. Anyone who is familiar with this model would know that it only came with a 5-cylinder engine. I tell him I appreciate his interest but I prefer to sell it to someone who already is familiar with VW’s.

    The fellow sends me a certified check and pleads with me to let him buy it. I take it to the bank, and spend over an hour trying to get the check verified for funds. Two phone calls, one photocopy and an inspection from an anti-fraud device that detects watermarks and holograms confirms my initial intentions. I tell him I’m not interested in his offer and stop taking his calls.

    Three weeks later he has his son-in-law stalk my home while I’m working a sale in downtown Atlanta. Wife informs me of a strange man outside and I call 911 while at the auction and hurry home. Two police cars escort him out of the development and later that day I get a strange phone call from said brother-in-law stating, “I know how to treat black hairs like you.” After giving him a response only a native New Jerseyan could give, I take note of the cell phone numbers for future reference.

    Now he’s trying to sue me for NOT selling him the car. This is after I have a certified letter from my bank that was sent to his address along with a letter from his own bank stating that a certified check from his own bank was never actually transacted. Apparently he also sued his own employer if you google his name. The Texas Department of Health had to deal with multiple lawsuits from this fellow, all of which were dismissed. In the latest one, the judge found ‘not even a scintilla of evidence’ in his allegations.

    In the end, it’ll cost me at least $1000 to defend and countersue him for fraud. I probably will not even be able to collect the attorney fees or damages thanks to the all too generous civil suit collection laws in Texas (no garnishments, no mortgage liens, high ceiling that exempts collections from bank accounts.) It’s not a big deal at this point since he decided to not even show up for the pre-trial hearing. I’ll just make sure the legal system works in the end.

  • avatar

    @Steven Lang – Your stories suggest why there are all kinds of dealer and buyer experiences out there. After you’ve dealt with a few buyers like these, I imagine that you work very hard at remembering the good ones…

    Thanks for the great post.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    dwford
    It’s the idiots who think they are negotiating by asking for $3k below sticker on an Elantra that has $400 markup and $500 holdback.

    Agreed, and keep up the good work. I and an older aunt had a great experience at the Hyundai dealership last weekend. I’m allegedly edu-ma-cated, know my cars, and literally help dozens of co-workers and family members with their car buying experiences. After a L-O-N-G day of test driving (Corolla, Mazda3, Versa, Elantra, Civic), and negotiations (loans, trade-in, etc), the best car to fit her needs AND the best deal AND the best delearship experience was at Hyundai.

    After she drove off I went back in and congratulated the salesman, letting him know his approach, calmness, and lack of bullshit games was a very strong factor in our decision. I also sent a back-up e-mail to his GM, and plan to steer numerous future advisees his way.

    BTW, I allow car salespeople up to three strikes (lies or some such nonsense) before I walk. The only dealer who needed all three was Nissan.
    1. After a necessary abrupt stop during the test drive the salesperson commented “thank God for ABS, eh? That’s a standard feature on the Versa”. Not thinking it was, I commented that I was under the impression it was part of a package. No, it was standard he said. A later inspection of the sticker showed it was optional equipment, and the test car didn’t have it.
    2. I asked if the car was made in Japan or Mexico. He replied that only the sedans were made in Mexico, and that the hatchbacks were made in North Carolina. I was surprised, not realizing Nissan had aplant in NC. Making Versas. The sticker on the window said Mexico.
    3. He kept referring to the $1000 rebate, which I thought was only $500. Once we got into basic negotiations he kept referring to the $1k. Finally, when we were trying to get a final OTD price, I noticed it had dropped to $500. I asked about it, and he sheepishly grinned that the dealership had matched rebates last weekend, but not this weekend.

    Also on the test drive, he took 3 personal phone calls, none of which seemed remotely car-sales related.

  • avatar
    B_O_T

    Alright I’ll put in some tidbits from the salesman side.

    I sell cars myself and it’s alot of fun.

    I’ve run into people who expect us to take off 4 grand off the full price OUT THE DOOR TAXES PDI ETC IN on a car where the profit margin is less than $1500 LOL. I.E. a car selling for 28K MSRP before taxes PDI and just say the end total is 34K (just for sake of numbers) and people say 24K OUT THE DOOR! Sometimes you can bring them to reality but other times you just can’t.

    People think we make like $10K profit on a car lol.

    Sometimes someone comes in and nickel and dimes for 2 or 3 hours; back and forth over 2 dollars a month. Ridiculous. Or they’ll say “ok x amount of dollars and we have a deal” then we do it and they say “oh no lower lower” what a waste of time. I don’t deal with people who nickel and dime for hours but if management choose to so be it.

    I also run into people who expect $13,000 trade in on a car with 180,000KM that sells for $4,000 retail.

    You also get people who will shake hands on a deal and then back out minutes later. Or when someone brings in their wife (now there are women who know their cars and I love that) and the wife whines and moans about the most minor things and of course the guy is whipped and has to listen to her.

    It’s ridiculous.

    People like to come in and take out their stress from their life on us. It’s amusing to say the least.

    Many people come in and treat us like a piece of garbage and just want the cheapest price. It’s like people are buying the price and not the car/service.

    Some don’t understand you have to drive the car to see if you like it. They all don’t drive nice just because they are new. It’s about preference.

    They say salesmen are liars but I’m finding alot of buyers are liars. They’ll say one thing and do something completely different. It’s my job to find out their true buying motives but sometimes you just can’t and you know they are hiding it from you.

    I really enjoy when people who come in are friendly and open minded regardless how much they know. They understand that selling cars is a business and they just want what’s best for them. They want to be treated the same way they treat me: with kindness, respect and honesty. These people make it all worthwhile.

    I can go on lol.

  • avatar
    OTTO SALES

    Two options here…Get Even
    #1 Apply for a job and go on the floor.Let us all know where you are in say five or six years.Quit your present job so you are successful,you do need pressure to pass along.
    #2 PLEASE STOP BUYING ANYTHING!JUST STOP ! BUY NOTHING!
    We can all do this!Teach those Suckers!Walmar ,Sears,Toyota Gm.FED Ex,AT&T
    Time Warner,NFL,ESPN
    CANCEL ALL BUYING .If we do this we can stop the world.
    BUY NOTHING!Punish the whole world.It will work if we all do this.
    or enlist the services of those who tell us how to deal…
    PAY them NOTHING !
    TIME FOR A COURTESY FLUSH HERE.
    The end.

  • avatar
    OTTO SALES

    While selling cars my manager explained how many of the buyers would be walking if it were not for indirect financing.As he said lenders sometimes make a wrong call about who is sitting in front of them.Some people can not and do not communicate well.Indirect handles that.Dealer’s often and do have better buy rates than direct. Relationships between dealers and lenders help.What is wrong with getting paid for work?
    Who works for free?
    Do you?

  • avatar
    TR3GUY

    B_O_T : says: Many people come in and treat us like a piece of garbage and just want the cheapest price. It’s like people are buying the price and not the car/service.

    I sold cars (Fords) for 8 months in about 1994. I saw the best & Worst. Buyers are liers on the other hand my boss told me I’d never be a success ’cause “I was too sincere.”

    The Explorer & used cars made money. The Aspire did not. The worst were the ones that came in and said I’ll give you $200 over invoice, you showed them the invoice and they we gone off to see if they could get it at another dealer for $150 over invoice.

    I raise money for a not for profit as my profession so I try to understand respect people — especially when I am asking for $$. I’ve bought cars by saying I’ll give you $500 over invoice. And boom, done. On the other hand when I bought my 06 Miata I understood that wasn’t going to fly so why be a putz. I was ok with sticker assuming I’d didn’t get screwed on my trade in.

    With the amount of information out there the salesman/customer relationship is bad to begin with. Knowone believes anyone.

  • avatar
    B_O_T

    Fair enough TR3GUY. People have to understand that selling cars is a business. If there is no profit in a deal, then why would we sell the car? We’re not selling cars to lose money lol. Unless we REALLY want to get rid of a car off a lot. Haha. People come in and think they’re doing us a favour by wanting US TO PAY THEM TO TAKE THE CAR hahaha. Discount this, discount that… people nickel and dime beyond belief.


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