By on March 26, 2014

jordan_playboy

When our dear EIC pro-tem took a friend BRZ/FR-S shopping, a lot of readers defended the extremely poor selling skills of the salespeople by remarking that they were looking at low-volume models that the salespeople probably didn’t need to know much about—and that might be accurate. According to goodcarbadcar.net, Toyota only sells about 1200 FR-S a month on average and Subaru sells a little more than 700 per month. In comparison to the Camry, which sells over 30,000 units a month, or even the Forester, which comes in around 12-13k, those numbers are pretty insignificant to your average Toyobaru dealer.

But what about a bread and butter car, like, say…a Ford Fiesta or Focus? Or maybe a Chevrolet Sonic or Spark? You might remember my article a few months back talking about how young women aren’t that interested in the small cars currently offered by American carmakers (even if they ARE made in Mexico or Korea). Since I’m in the market for a new car, I thought that maybe I would buck the trend and visit my neighborhood Chevy and Ford stores. My budget is pretty small, so my plan was to start with the Spark and the Fiesta and go from there.

photo 2
The Chevrolet dealer was my first stop. They certainly looked like they wanted to sell Sparks, as they had three of them in the most prime real estate on the lot. The Spark’s color palette is pretty striking. This particular lot had two different colors in LT trim; Denim (blue), Grape Ice (purple), and one LS Salsa (red). The LTs stickered at around 15K, and the LS was about 14K.
I’m pretty sure that if GM had a picture of the ideal Spark customer, it would probably look a lot like me— Mid-twenties, female, looking for her first new car. As such, when I got of my car to look at the assorted Sparks, it took less than thirty seconds for a salesperson to appear out of nowhere.

“Hi, there. Interested in a Spark? The doors are unlocked.” He was a very short man in his fifties with a bit of a northeastener vibe, dressed in an entirely khaki colored ensemble that gave the impression that he had just finished filming a safari TV special with Jack Hanna.

“Yes, I am.” I particularly liked the Grape Ice color, which is new for 2014. I opened the door of the Spark and sat inside. I really loved the youthful design of the interior, which seemed much nicer than the interior of nearly any other GM car I’d ever sat in. Although the car was definitely small, it felt bigger inside.

“Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?” asked my salesman. Oh, boy. It was a little early in the day for misogynistic, sexist sales tactics.

“No, I wouldn’t,” I replied, waiting to hear the completion of his test drive analogy.

“Well, then, you shouldn’t buy a car without test driving it!” Bingo. There it was.

“Do people really do that?” I queried wondrously.

“Oh, yeah. They buy a car and then come back in and trade it in months later and lose thousands of dollars.”

“Well, I definitely wouldn’t want to do THAT. Let’s go for a drive.” I hopped in the driver’s seat and started to buckle in when he interrupted.

“Ma’am, I have to drive the car off the lot.”

“Why is that? Insurance reasons?”

“Well, it’s just a tricky exit onto the main road here. We’ve had accidents before.” That must be why we were watching a customer drive a new C7 Stingray off the lot for a test drive as we spoke.

“Okay, then.” We switched seats and he drove us to the adjoining strip mall parking lot where we switched seats. As I buckled in, he started to tell me all about his decades of experience selling cars.

“Yeah, I just came over from the Buick GMC store. Sold cars there for a long time.” Ahh. It was starting to make sense. The Nineties sales tactics and the sexist sales pitches were clearly deeply ingrained. However, the minute he pulled “Feel, Felt, Found” on me, I was outta there.

I told him that I had about $12k in cash for whatever car I would be buying, and likely financing the rest over a short term. He assured me that I wouldn’t need a co-signer, but that my interest rate would likely be high because “you’re so young. Are you a college student?”

“No, I graduated four years ago.” I wasn’t sure if this was an attempt at flattery or if he really just couldn’t tell my age. “So do you guys ever get the $12k Sparks?” I asked as I started to drive the little Daewoo.

“Oh, honey, you wouldn’t want one of those. Those are manual transmissions. What if you’re wearing heels to work?” Ok, now I was fuming a bit. “You want an automatic.”

“Oh, yeah? Guess I don’t want this car then.”

“Why not? What’s wrong with it?”

“You said I wanted an automatic. This car has a CVT.”

“Really? I didn’t know these cars had turbos. Like I said, I just came over from the Buick GMC store.”

I kid you not. That exchange actually happened.

The Spark was really speaking to me, in spite of all of this. Yes, it’s slow. Like, really, really slow. But I’m not planning to enter it in any autocrosses or drag races anytime soon. I liked the fact that it came with satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a USB port. The visibility inside the main cabin was fantastic. I normally dislike CVTs, with most of my experience with them being driving Nissan rental cars, but this one didn’t bother me. It was definitely a car I could see myself driving every day…especially in Grape Ice.
When we drove back to the lot, again, he insisted on parking the car, you know, because I might hit something. “I’m sorry, I really don’t think you’re a retard,” he attempted to apologize. “It’s our policy.”

Retard? Really?

I tried not to let the salesman dampen my enthusiasm for the car, however. “Is there any cash on the hood?” I asked as I watched him exit the car after skillfully parking it.

“What?” He seemed confused.

“Is there any cash on the hood?”

“What?”

This really could have gone on all day, so I changed tactics.

“Are there any rebates or discounts?”

“Just for suppliers. We’re really focused on suppliers this month.” I could understand that if I lived in a big automotive town. I don’t.

“Well, I don’t have a supplier discount. Is there anything else?”

“Nope, not right now. We’re really focused on suppliers.” Okay then. I pulled out my phone and started checking inventories at other dealerships as he spoke. “What are you doing there?”

“Looking to see who else has Sparks in stock.” Turned out that there WAS a Grape Ice manual transmission car about 8 miles away. “Thanks for your time.” He didn’t even offer me a business card as I shook his hand and walked back to my car.

I somehow managed to navigate the tricky exit of the dealership and went across the street to the Ford store to check out Fiesta hatches. Sure enough, as I exited my Mazda, I was greeted by a salesman. He was a Wesley Snipes lookalike, sharply attired in a blue check dress shirt and cuff links. I told him I was there to check out Fiesta S hatchbacks.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of those—just some SEs and STs. They did have one Fiesta S sedan, though. It looked really sad in poverty trim, with its wheelcovers (I seriously did not know that anybody still sold new cars with plastic wheelcovers) and dull silver paint. The blue SE we picked for a test drive was well outside my price range, with a sticker well over 18 grand.

This salesman was definitely the strong and silent type. He didn’t have much to say as we went on the test drive, although at least he did let me drive the car off the lot. He mainly seemed to be focused on whether or not I would pass a credit check. I assured him that I had about $12K in cash to put down and no negative credit history, which seemed to ease his mind a bit.

The Fiesta really is, literally and figuratively, in a different class from the Spark. It drives more smoothly, with considerably more power, and it’s noticeably larger in every way. I’d be curious to see how the 3-cyl, 1 .0 liter version would compare. However, the Spark just seemed more… Caroline-ish to me. Cute, Spunky, and Fun. The Fiesta seemed like a grown-up car—nothing wrong with that, just not for me.

I asked when they would be getting a 3-cyl version. “There isn’t a 3-cyl version. This is the only engine option.” Good lord.
However, I knew that there were about $1000 in incentives to be had on the Fiesta, so I returned to my salesman’s office with him and sat as he went to work numbers with his manager. That was where I saw this wonderfully inspiring quote, taped with care behind his desk.

photo 1

One just has to wonder how long that piece of paper has been affixed to that wall, spelling errors and all. Does he really look at it every day? How has NOBODY in the entire dealership noticed it? He came back in with the invoice sheet, which showed only about 300 dollars of difference between the invoice and the MSRP. “As you can see, there’s not a lot of room in these cars. We could probably get you down to the invoice price.”

“What about the rebates?” I innocently asked. “Were you planning on keeping them?”

“Uhh…not sure if there are any rebates.”

“There are. Thanks for your time.” I exited stage left and drove off the lot. So, in short, it seems as though car salesmen are the same everywhere. No product knowledge, no actual sales techniques, no attempt to close business. If they aren’t willing to try to sell a girl with 66-80% of the sticker price in her pocket in cash, who ARE they willing to sell a car to?

It’s true that there’s little to no margin to be had in A and B segment cars, but I’m certain that GM and Ford have given the dealership OEM targets to hit. Isn’t a $150 mini commission worth their effort? With $50,000 Silverados and F-150s on the lot in the South, it sure didn’t seem like it.

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371 Comments on “The Truth About Caroline: Does Anybody Want To Sell Me A Car?...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “I seriously did not know that anybody still sold new cars with plastic wheelcovers”

    I wouldn’t think that someone shopping the bottom of the automotive market would be such a snob. I bet you take issue with rear drum brakes as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      LOL.

      At this $ level I’d seriously be considering a used car.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        If she’s planning on keeping it for a long time, I’d rather have a newer, less expensive car than an older, nicer one. The total cost of ownership is likely to be less and she’ll spend less time visiting repair shops.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Because used cars have more depreciation in the long run than new ones? Oh wait.

          /s

        • 0 avatar

          I’d rather have a used car from a more reliable brand.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I’m in the used car from a reliable brand camp, too.

            But part of the reason is that repairs and downtime cost different people different amounts. I can walk to work if I need to (it takes 45 minutrs) and the grocery store. Also, I don’t find doing repairs myself or hiring a mechanic to be intimidating or expensive.

            But that’s not the case for everyone. The younger me, for instance, had neither the confidence nor the money to deal with the unexpected without stressing out. Or my neighbor with a PHD in the social sciences who just isn’t interested in acquiring the grimy mechanical knowledge necessary to take control of the automotive maintenance process – he will gladly pay a premium to avoid the disruptive chaos that a broken starter put into his life a few years ago.

            So, some people really should buy new. And some people just don’t need to. And it’s fine to be in either camp, just so long as people fully understand the tradeoffs they’re making.

            As for me, I’m going to tinker with the car regardless, so buying new just makes mistakes more expensive, without avoiding any time on the creeper. Buying a reliable used car, on the other hand, is a big win.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I’d go Pre-Owned, too. A 2010 Ford Fusion in Denver with 45k miles is about $14,000.

        Not all pre-owned cars are as “used” as my 1995 LeSabre. Though I’d rather have that over a new city car any day.

        My advice: find something about a year old. Depreciation will have hit it, and it will be almost new, with a warranty. You’ll get more car for your money.

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      Price shoppers these days! Fancy alloy wheels, LED lamps, and chrome trim on economy cars is dissonant. I mean, the insides are usually still cut-rate, the fabric rough, and the engine is anemic. Why bother to approximate the look of a different kind of car? Plastic wheel covers might not look nice, but it’s cooler not to pretend.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        And here we go with the “I know what kind of car you need better than you do crowd”. Just get it over with and tell her to buy a damn diesel midsize pickup truck or a brown wagon. She likes the Spark. It is well within her price range, so why should she not buy the damn Spark.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Her price range is wheel covers. She should get the Spark and not complain about wheel covers.

          THAT was the point.

          • 0 avatar
            hbarnwheeler

            She did not complain at all. She merely expressed surprise at the fact. I find it somewhat surprising, as well. How does that make one a snob?

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “Her price range is wheel covers. She should get the Spark and not complain about wheel covers.”

            I didn’t hear a complaint just a bit of surprise. The responses here are amusing considering how much hand wringing, moaning, and complaining the B&B do on a regular basis.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I don’t like wheel-covers either, even on inexpensive vehicles. I’d figure out how to upgrade to the first option package that has alloy wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I see alloy wheels on that Spark. So she should get the Spark, and enjoy her wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            Blackcloud_9

            The Spark has Alloy wheels as standard equipment even on the lowly LS trim. So I can understand her comment on the Fiesta

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            The Spark dumped the alloys on the LS trim, Blackcloud.

            I remember when the car came out, and the engineers were talking about all the pressure they put on Chevy to make alloys standard. But beancounters usually win in the end.

      • 0 avatar
        cronus

        Plastic wheel covers are the definition of pretending. They also make the car look worse then if they were not included at all, OEM’s would be smart to get rid of them. Whatever happened to styled steel wheels? That would be even cheaper and would look better.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          The lower trim Honda CRV uses steel wheels painted silver. So do many pickup trucks. The police version of the Chevrolet Tahoe uses black steel wheels. All look better than plastic wheel covers.

          • 0 avatar
            gottacook

            The base Subaru Forester also has styled steel wheels standard. There has been at last one case, though, of the same generation of a given car switching from styled steel rims to plastic covers: the final-generation Chevy Prizm (which switched after 1999).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The standard steel wheels on the ~02 Forester were just hateful.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Now this I can get behind! My old 1990 Civic wagon had silver steelies with a small chrome center cap with a “H” to cover the hub nut. Likewise corollas used to have the same sort of silver steel wheels with plastic center caps. It used to be that the upper trim levels got full plastic wheel covers (LE Corolla, Civic LX/EX). Don’t hide the utilitarian roots, embrace them! While we’re at it I wouldn’t mind seeing some tires with nice fat 70 series sidewalls. No hubcap+fat tire = no curbed rims!

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I know the main point of this article is “Women aren’t dumb about (buying) cars” and I agree 100%.

            That being said, a Spark? Seriously? I’m not really a used car guy, but for the amount of money she is spending it would make much more sense to get a late model used car in terms of quality.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah I thought it was odd that she labeled people that drove Accords as boring, and people with Civics as “you’re boring and you’re poor” in her first article, yet is test driving the unequivocal bottom feeders of the market. Buy a 2 year old used Corolla or Civic, or a Mazda3 or Focus if you insist on considering yourself a non-boring “enthusiast.”

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Man, you’re still bearing a grudge about her first article? I think the consensus is that it was a joke (though probably not the best first impression).

        • 0 avatar
          jim brewer

          You know, I don’t even notice stuff like that. I don’t much like the chromed out wheels people like to buy, but mostly my eye is drawn to the body of the car.

          The same with the interior. I don’t expect much in the way materials, just an overall comfortable seat. I test-drove a Silverado pickup a couple of years ago that had such thin seat cloth it put me off, but that was pretty extreme. Mostly I want a decent engine and good basic amenities.

          I suppose the point of the story is that the writer was poorly treated because she was a woman, but my experience was way worse. So what if the guy doesn’t know anything about the car he is selling. Tell him. Tell him the price, too. Any saavy buyer should know the price, available rebates without having to ask the salesman . Does he not have a 3 cylinder Fiesta on the lot? He can get one from any dealer in the area. Make a slightly low-ball offer. He might not accept your offer, but he can’t tell you they are wildly popular since he obviously doesn’t know straight up.

          If you really can’t stand the salesmen, buy from a car buying service and accept an average price.

        • 0 avatar
          IndianaDriver

          There is nothing more tacky looking than plastic wheel covers or the naked steel rims. There is nothing more beautiful than the spin of nice aluminum alloys when you’re going down the highway. The OEMs should do away with the steel rims and plastic covers for good!!!

    • 0 avatar
      challenger2012

      To me, Miss Caroline seems to be looking at any statement for possible sexism. Below are her statements, and then mine in CAPITALS

      “Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?” asked my salesman. Oh, boy. It was a little early in the day for misogynistic, sexist sales tactics.

      MAKES SENSE TO ME. I HAVE NEVER PURCHASED SHOES WITHOUT TRYING THEM ON AND I WOULDN’T BUY A CAR WITHOUT DRIVING IT FIRST.

      “Ma’am, I have to drive the car off the lot.”

      I HAVE HAD SALESMEN MOVE CARS TO A SAFE LOCATION WHERE I WAS ALLOWED TO DRIVE FROM THAT POINT ON. WHAT’S THE ISSUE?

      “Oh, honey, you wouldn’t want one of those. Those are manual transmissions. What if you’re wearing heels to work?” Ok, now I was fuming a bit. “You want an automatic.”

      BEING A MALE, I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT DEPRESSING A CLUTCH PEDAL WITH A HIGH HEEL ON MY FOOT, SO AN AUTOMATIC WOULD SEEM A BETTER CHOICE. I GUESS THIS IS THE REASONING OF AN ENGINEER COMING OUT VS LIBERAL ARTS MAJOR. (I BET THAT’S MORE FACT THAN SEXISTS) I ALSO HAVE BEEN CALLED HONEY BY WAITRESSES BEFORE AND NEVER FELT OFFENDED. GET A LIFE!

      When we drove back to the lot, again, he insisted on parking the car, you know, because I might hit something. “I’m sorry, I really don’t think you’re a retard,” he attempted to apologize. “It’s our policy.”

      HAD THIS HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE. I NEVER FELT SLIGHTED. AGAIN WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?

      “Is there any cash on the hood?”

      WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY REBATE AND GET TO THE POINT? BUT I WILL AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT SALEMEN TRYING TO HIDE THE REBATES FROM YOU. I WENT TO A MOTORCYCLE DEALER, AND THE SALESMANAGER SOMEHOW COULD NOT FIND ANY REBATES ON THE MOTORCYCLE I WAS INTERESTED WHILE LOOKING AT THE MANUFACTURER’S WEB SITE. I WENT TO THE SAME WEB SITE AND SHOWED HIM THE REBATE. IMAGINE THAT!

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “I HAVE HAD SALESMEN MOVE CARS TO A SAFE LOCATION WHERE I WAS ALLOWED TO DRIVE FROM THAT POINT ON. WHAT’S THE ISSUE?”

        Thanks for speaking up so we can hear you.

        The issue there would be that she watched some other customer take a Corvette for a test drive and was at the wheel straight off the lot. And the claim that the salesguy should drive it off the lot would be BS, anyway. Either the dealership in question is run by morons who establish moron rules or the sexist salesguy didn’t didn’t trust “some chick” not to screw up the car at a slightly tricky lot exit.

        Anyway, yes, from shoes to rule about driving the whole thing reeks of sexism.

        Where the clown said, “Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?” he could have just said, “Would you like to test-drive it?”

        Where the clown said, “Oh, honey, you wouldn’t want one of those. Those are manual transmissions. What if you’re wearing heels to work?” he could have said, “You understand, at that price, it’s all manuals? An automatic, like this one, will run you more.”

        The last time we car-shopped, I was interested in the CX-5 and went up to look at it by myself. Seemed like a nice car, so I took my wife up there to test drive it. Afterwards, she remarked that the salesperson spoke past her to me and would not shake her hand, as he had shaken mine. It annoys me that I didn’t realize this at the time. She didn’t like the treatment and I can see why. We didn’t buy the car but if we had decided to go ahead with it, we would have switched salespeople or dealers so that my wife would be comfortable.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          I’m a former car salesman. We drove the cars off the lot first to show the customer everything was working fine. That way, they wouldn’t blame anything on the car due to their own inexperience with the particular way that car was engineered or the way the controls were set up. I was demonstrating that everything was OK and the car was operating normally.

          Secondly, I did greet the woman and offer to shake her hand, but I would not squeeze as hard as I might do with a guy. Women’s hands are usually smaller with less bone density. I normally did more of a light finger brush as opposed to a full grip handshake.

          I still mainly talked to the guy, but would glance at the woman as I was talking. I didn’t want to come across as trying to make moves on her to either of them.

          When I got into the closing booth, I talked directly to the woman much more. The ice was broken. And she controlled the money, therefore the sale, most of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “We drove the cars off the lot first to show the customer everything was working fine.”

            In which case, do you tell them that or do you tell them the intersection is tricky and beyond their competence?

        • 0 avatar
          challenger2012

          Maybe you should untie the knots in your panties before you write.

        • 0 avatar
          mikedt

          Maybe the lot is ok to pull out of if you have 400hp on tap but is risky if you have 98. I’ve had dealers do the same thing to me and I’m a man.

      • 0 avatar

        The “not driving the car off the lot” thing seems to be not unheard of. I bought my Pathfinder from a Carmax that has a Nissan franchise. Not only did they not let customers drive cars in/out of the lot, they have a gate with a prox card reader so they can’t.

        The ‘vette test driver’s salesman may have been coloring outside the lines.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          No, you don’t tell the customer why you are driving it off the lot. I’m telling you all why we did it. In addition, when the customer(s) get out of the car to switch seats, it gives them the opportunity to see the car they picked out by itself, away from all the others. There is also more room to step away from the car and see it in its entirety.

          This is all a process of getting the customer to settle on a specific car. Until that happens, there is no point in talking numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            But if the customer got a different message than intended, then the sales professional must have failed to communicate clearly.

    • 0 avatar
      shoshone

      A well written and entertaining article, and the first comment is snark.

      Why should she bother, with an audience of rude jerks? Write a better article yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      When the Chevy Sonic came to the US, it had standard alloys. Looks like they were recently dumped though, in favor of a sub-$15K starting price for the manual hatchback.

      Seems like a better car to compare to the Fiesta, but I don’t think purple is an option.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I’ve got no problem with plastic wheel covers. I always put them back on when I’m ready to sell the car, and they look so nice and new it can’t hurt the price/speed of the sale.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      The salesmen, dumb as these guys were could tell you were stealing their time and using them to feel better about yourself. Why don’t you try selling cars for awhile and you will see things in a more balanced light.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Car salesmen at the mainstream end of the market aren’t car people. I went car shopping and most of the dealerships’ salesmen had stacks of books like How to Make 100k Selling Cars, Advertising Tips and Tricks, Secret to Closing Car Deals, Master the Art of Selling Cars, The Definitive Book on Body Language. Their customers are not experts, with little to no knowledge about cars or engineering. So emotional appeals and abuse of people’s irrational tendencies will sell more cars than rationality. Tell a customer about about the expected miles before engine failure, the pros and cons of the particular type of suspension, and you will lose a sale to the guy who makes his customers nervous by telling them he has to ask the manager, makes his customers wait so he wears them down, builds rapport by talking about how cute the customer’s kids are or how they’ve always respected their profession, appealing to envy, taking advantage of insecurity, etc.

    When I do shop at dealerships, I gouge myself on donuts and coffee if they’re wasting my time. Otherwise, I just use truecar.com and skip the B.S. entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Definition Police here. “Gouge” is what car dealers try to do to you. “Gorge” is what you do when you consume excessive quantities of something.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      The guy you talked to is supposed to sell the car to the %80 of consumers who have no idea what they are doing. If you have specific price targets, technical questions, or don’t want to be treated stereotypically, you should almost always call ahead and make an appointment.

      Also, about 2 seconds after they failed to answer a simple question satisfactorily, I would have requested a manager.

      It’s like tech support – you can argue with the guy who picks up the phone and is paid on volume, or you can escalate and deal with someone who’s paid to care.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      “Car salesmen at the mainstream end of the market aren’t car people.”

      I’ve never understood that. At work, every salesperson I’ve worked with has been knowledgeable about their product. In stores, even the most clueless employees can tell you more about shirts or perfumes or cameras or apples than car salesmen can tell you about their cars. The car industry is an outlier and it’s pathetic.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Best Buy is like this for computers.

        It’s the de-professionalization of retail. And, without professionalalism and deep knowledge on the other side of the counter, there’s every reason to just buy the same stuff online.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Don’t worry, your bushings and ball joints are okay; that clunking noise you just heard is my jaw hitting the floor.

    I’m not surprised that type of salesman is still around, but it’s no less depressing to read tales of their continuing stereotypes and generalizations these days. You’d think these people would exhibit some sort of humility or at the very least an eagerness to learn in the presence of a customer who’s asking the important questions, especially when those customers are as up front as you were with what you were bringing to the negotiating table.

    My brand loyalty is nonexistent, but I never forget marginal or poor treatment at an auto dealership; considering how infrequently I buy new, that’s the sort of mistake which ranks right up there alongside losing a star in the Michelin Guide.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Same advice for Caroline as I would give anyone else: Buy online. Period. The face to face sales process is pure BS.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Totally agree. Pit these guy’s against each other. Find the model you want, email 5 dealers, hell email 10, and just race them to the bottom. Never reveal your phone number and have articulate emails and you should be fine. Some won’t respond, others will. Don’t step foot into the dealer until a price is agreed upon and it takes away some of the pain.

      Use a car-buying service like TrueCar or even USAA (if you are eligible). I sold a C6 Grand Sport Corvette for $10K off MSRP thanks to programs like USAA / Costco.

      And be willing to drive to another state. It will give you even more leverage.

      Source: I sold cars in a GM dealer’s internet department.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        You gave that car away. Weak. Laydown.

        I don’t think I would brag about that on a public forum.

        • 0 avatar
          SomeGuy

          So tell me about your awesome sales working customers on the internet then? Did you sell a $70k Vette at full MSRP over the internet?

          90% of my battles were against other GM dealers who would offer the same exact discounts just to move product off their lots and get the manufacturer’s bonus.

          The only way you make money is on used product and the trade in when selling domestics with massive cash on the hood.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            When I worked for a Chevrolet dealer, I was the lead Corvette salesman. If other salesmen encountered a Corvette customer, they had to T.O. to me. If that customer ended up buying, the salesman got a split.

            I generally sold Corvettes for sticker, or very close to it. My dealership was in a medium-sized southern town with 4 other Chevrolet dealers within 15 miles of me.

            My dealership routinely sold about 1,000 cars and trucks a month.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    If a car has rebates, incentives, cash on the hood or whatever you want to call it, that tells me it’s not a very good car. Over time, the price you pay melts into the background; the crappy car you’re stuck with endures. If I were a cute, spunky and fun girl in my mid-20s, I’be looking at Minis. Buy a used one if your budget precludes purchasing a new one. Or get one of those new 144 month loans on a new one (just kidding.)

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Cash on the hood has little to do with the quality of the car: It tells you that the manufacturer has either over-priced the sticker price (which is usually set at the beginning of the year), has made more than they are selling, or they need to match moves by the competition.

      If the product planner has really fouled up production numbers, you can have rebates offered even on really good cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “the manufacturer has either…”

        “over-priced the sticker price”

        So they can take advantage of Ma and Pa Kettle who are stupid enough to pay sticker, or leave room for dirt ball salesman to earn excessive profit. In either case, I don’t want your car.

        “has made more than they are selling”

        Which means the car is not competitive.

        “match moves by the competition”

        Which means the car is not competitive.

        Think of a company that makes legendary products. It may even be the most valuable company in the world. Ever see their new products on discount?

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          A third of my local Mini dealer’s new car inventory are 2013 models. There are over 40 incentives from Mini listed on their site for this month. I guess they’re not making the leap to legendary, but there are more silly people that can afford gimmicky gadgets than there are that can afford gimmicky new cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Assuming that girl in the picture is Caroline, she looks a lot like my wife (thin with hips, pale complexion, strawberry blonde/red hair, and very similar fashion sense: skinny jeans and bright flats). My wife bought a new MINI Cooper S when she was 22. We still have it, and love it, 9 years later. Gently driven by my wife, it has been very reliable. Her pepper white, black roof, black bonnet striped MINI is definitely a fashion accessory that has been pretty timeless. People can’t believe it is 9 years old.

      • 0 avatar

        Yup, that’s me.

        My mom has a MINI Countryman, actually, and she loves it. Sounds like your wife and I would get along great. :)

        • 0 avatar
          jjster6

          My wife had a Mini when I married her. After 30K miles it had spent more time getting things fixed at the dealer than it spent in the driveway. She loved the car but the unreliability was atrocius. Glad your experience was better. By the way, how many new windshields has your mini had in 9 years. My wife’s would break if you hit a feather.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            We replaced one and the current one has a very slight chip. It blows me away with how reliable ours has been compared to the horror stories. My GTI was a legitimate VW horror story. Luck of the draw, I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I couldn’t disagree more. Many highly rated, excellent cars will have rebates a year after introduction to keep production/sales numbers up. i.e. Camry, etc.

      Since my spontaneous car purchases are long gone, and every buying quest is a long term science project, I won’t even look at something that is so fresh it still commands full msrp or worse.

      I do see where there are often huge incentives on mediocre or stale-sales cars…I recently saw $7k off a Mitsubishi Outlander and $5k off a Hyundai Elantra.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        The Elantra purchase would’ve been okay if the buyer kept it until it fully depreciated. The Outlander, OTOH, has a 50-50 shot at being one of those “nightmare” purchases one never forgets. If a Mitsu product’s lack of durability doesn’t get to you, the dealer service department will.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    A recent successful dealership experience was when I called the salesman, Tiffany, who gave me a card six months back, and the conversation went like:

    1. Do you have the car listed on X website?
    2. If I test drive it and like it, will you sell it to me at the price listed there at $5,000 below the price on your website?
    3. When can I test drive the car? Will you set aside the keys for a test drive today?

    She said yes to all of them, and the paperwork was ready for me at the end of the test drive, and then I was out the door.

    In the era of websites but not smartphones, I also had success calling and asking if they’d accept a price I saw advertised $3,000 below their asking price; for that one, I had to get a manager on the line, but, he said if I test drove it and bought it that day, he would take that deal.

    I don’t think any of the people who run out to greet you do much of anything any more other than some sort of physical security for the product. I don’t think 1 in 10 knows how to sell a car. I think they just reach for the book of stereotypes to try to find something to throw at you – I get the assumption that since I’m single I must be divorced, and I must be looking for wife number two or three, and, boy howdy, does this one get them girls tingling…

    One easy way to figure out if they are at all interested in selling the car – ask to have it for a few hours. If they won’t do that, just leave. If you test drove it and you’re serious, they should give it to you for half a day to be absolutely certain it’s OK.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “One easy way to figure out if they are at all interested in selling the car – ask to have it for a few hours. If they won’t do that, just leave. If you test drove it and you’re serious, they should give it to you for half a day to be absolutely certain it’s OK.”

      A few hours with a new car before commiting is my minimum. With a new truck, I’m taking it home and hitching it up to the car hauler.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        I don’t want to buy a *new* car or truck that you’ve been out running up the miles on, driving it only God knows how, or towing with it. That’s what dealer demo cars, courtesy service cars, or rental cars are for.

        When I go to buy a new car, I don’t want more than 10 miles on it. Preferably no more than 3.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I would have walked out of the dealership upon seeing that quote taped to the desk. If he can’t recognize simple problems with English he has no business selling me something as important as a car.

    • 0 avatar
      MAGICGTI

      Enough with the hyperbole, nobody sane would waste their time by walking out over a stupidly-misspelled quote.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I think you misunderstand. He’s not walking out because of the misspelling, it’s what that misspelling represents. If who-knows-how-many people can walk by that quote day after day, and not fix it, they’re either 1. not very intelligent, or 2. content with insulting their customers’ intelligence.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the price of the car. Can they sell me the car I want at the price I am willing to pay for it? She is looking at NEW cars, the one on this lot is exactly the same as the one on THAT lot. And there are a billion Chevy dealers. Everything else is window dressing. The salesman can be a drooling idiot in a polyester leisure suit from 1975, I don’t care. I draw the line at actual insults, but then I would just work with the sales manager if I had to.

          Personally, for my past three new car purchases, I have called and made an appointment to come in and discuss my options. Seems to work out well.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            “The salesman can be a drooling idiot in a polyester leisure suit from 1975, I don’t care.”

            Exactly. Caroline is writing about these sales guys as if she’s evaluating a male prospect for marriage. It’s simply meant to elicit comments; as usual, she has succeeded brilliantly.

          • 0 avatar

            Exactly. One is dealing with fungible commodities.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          This.

        • 0 avatar
          quiksilver180

          @Drzhivago138: I’m 100% with you on this.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            ” I think you misunderstand. He’s not walking out because of the misspelling, it’s what that misspelling represents. If who-knows-how-many people can walk by that quote day after day, and not fix it, they’re either 1. not very intelligent, or 2. content with insulting their customers’ intelligence.”

            THIS .

            My ex partner in the Indie VW Shop got all pissy because of the bad checks and so made up several mis spelled ” NO CHEAKS ” signs and painted it next to the front door .

            I wasn’t allowed to correct/remove them so I felt embarrassed as all get out constantly , more so the one or three Customers per year who’d take me aside and ask me why the hell it was there….

            Thank God _I_ did all the mechanical repairs , at least they knew if I’d fixed it , it remained fixed , his mechanical skills matched his spelling skills…

            I miss the shop , not him .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I know a guy who was very successful in the car business from the 70’s to the 90’s. I once had a conversation with him about perhaps one day selling cars since I considered myself an enthusiast and was fairly knowledgeable. He told me that the “car guys” never made it in the business and that 99 percent of buyers didn’t care about specs and stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      quiksilver180

      True, but now days consumers can look up online specs, reviews, and comments about vehicles before they go shopping so they have some knowledge going in.

      Which this applies to the whole review and comments: If your JOB is selling vehicles, you should know your products. For example, Toyota sells 22 models (3 of those included are hybrid models of their ICE counterparts) and if a major refreshes happen once every 4 years, you’re averaging 6 updated models a year. If you work 40 hours a week, and you’re not out selling every minute of that, you should know your stuff… even if it’s basic information… it’s NOT hard! Confusing a CVT over a turbo is beyond stupid, and makes you look stupid. Sure, you might not need to quote all that info later on, but when someone asks you about something, you don’t look like an ass when you mix up basic knowledge and they might respect you more.

      I work in the technology industry and it’s REQUIRED that you stay on top of changing information so you can do your job and know your field… and most people who don’t usually get let go, which I see constantly. When you’re getting paid for this job, you need to know it and be relevant.

  • avatar
    drtwofish

    Excellent piece, Caroline – I’m also sad to hear that such blatant sexism (and stupidity) is still part & parcel of the car business. For what it’s worth, I have two family members who own Chevy Sonics, and they’ve been very happy with them. Peppy, fun little cars that haven’t given them any trouble so far. Keep fighting the good fight and I hope you find a dealer worth your time and money.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The only thing worse about being a woman trying to buy a car is being a minority woman trying to buy a car. Pure idiocy out there on the way most women are treated at dealerships.

      I work with 150+ women, and have acted as their sales agent for years now, at maybe 1-2 purchases a month. It’s astounding the number of times I’ve had to return to a dealer they’ve visited to help renegotiate fairer terms.

      Besides the sexist or misogynist attitudes and speed bumps, the usual dealer tactics always heighten the pain of the experience all the way around the table. Thusly a mediocre product like a Saturn SL became a hot product, not because of superior anything, but because of the dealer experience.

      God bless Bill Heard, because I know there is a special part of Hell just for him. My favorite episode at his long-closed Houston dealership is the ol’ calling my coworker back in after a day or so to re-sign papers at a higher rate.

      Oh, and of course her trade was sold, so the deal couldn’t be canceled all together.

      We returned to meet with them in a 2006 Malibu LT1 and drove out with an 2006 Impala LT2 at the same deal as she originally signed.

      I’ve developed a long-standing network of dealer contacts, and in the 20+ years I’ve been helping folks not a one has failed to treat my shopper with the dignity and respect they deserve. There are some excellent dealers out there, and some wonderful salespeople. Sadly not enough.

  • avatar

    In most large dealerships, there’s a “hot-spot” in the very front of the show-room where some lucky salesguy (or maybe the lowest performer?) sits, usually in front of a small, bare desk, waiting for anyone to come into the lot. They dash out the door the moment you pull in, so they get the first chance at the sale.

    It’s god damn annoying. Wait until I come in the showroom.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      They can’t. The management wants people greeted as soon as they get out of their car.

      In addition, 99% of the potential customers would be insulted that no one came out to talk to them and offer to guide them around.

      All you personally need to do is take the salesperson’s card when they come out, and explain to them that you prefer to shop alone. If you have any questions, you will come get them. But when you do that, they can’t catch another customer until you come in, or leave. Remember, their time is valuable too.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I always figured that was the reason. Unfortunately, all customers are (at least slightly) different, and it’s going to hit in different ways.

      I HATE IT! I’m the kind of guy who expects to be allowed to look around for at least a couple of minutes before I’ve got the inevitable salesman. If I do get latched on to within ten meters of walking on the property, I’ll ask the salesman to leave me alone for five minutes. If he won’t, I’m gone. And that dealership has lost any chance of a sale.

      I know it’s the dealerships intention to get me to buy something before I’m allowed to walk off the property. I just detest having that fact shoved down my throat from the moment go.

      And besides, I want that five minutes to see if they’ve got anything that interests me enough to want to deal with a salesman.

      Obviously, I do a lot of car looking before noon on Sunday’s. So when I do return to the lot, I know its because they have something I want to see.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I rolled into a Ford lot to look at a used MX-5 in early December. One of those guys nearly threw himself in front of my car trying to get me to stop. Same day at a Honda dealership, there were 4-5 salesman smoking in front of the building, which was pretty close to the street. I hadn’t even pulled all the way into the lot before they were chatting me up.

      If I can’t even get out of my car without getting harassed, I just keep moving.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I went to our local Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ford/Lincoln dealer a couple of weeks ago. As I exited my Audi, I was being told about the new MXZ.

        I wasn’t there to look at cars. I came to pick up a couple of parts for my Dakota.

        I personally wish they’d wait inside. Much more low-pressure, and I’d be more likely to purchase a car from them.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          I have sold new cars to parts and service customers.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            Yeah, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t stepping out of their car when you approached them. I have no problem with being approached by someone while I’m killing time getting my car serviced. I draw the line at being bombarded before I lock my car in the parking lot.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I agree with fvfvsix. I did a few test drives last time I got my car serviced at a dealer. But no one was waiting next to my car as I tried to get out.

      • 0 avatar
        Wraith

        Yeah, I’ve gotten the same experience at a couple dealerships. Even if you’re in your car, they’ll still swoop in to engage. Last time, I just held up a business card as I passed the overeager sales guy – in this case, it was actually another salesperson’s business card – to get them to leave me alone.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      Dealers like BMW, Audi, Acura, Lexus tend not to swoop. They at least give you a few minutes to look around, some you have to ask for a salesman, BMW would barely talk to me.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    There is an unfortunate reason why when the GF was buying a new car, she had me along on the test drives and also had me handle the negotiation side on the purchasing, and (even though she prepaid the maintenance, its slightly cheaper) has me take the car in for any service.

    Not only are the car salesman sleaze, but the misogyny is pretty damn rampant. At least being a guy, the sales-people (correctly) get the vibe that I know more about the product than they do, and therefore don’t act the pest.

    As for buying, I strongly second the buy-online attitude: Email multiple dealers in the area, going: “This is the specs of car I want. I can wait for a dealer trade (or even special order). How much out the door”.

    One will work with you, and it becomes painless. This is how I got my Mazda6 a decade ago (blue, manual, leather interior, V6…), how I got my motorcycle 5 years ago, and how we got her XV (blue, manual, custom built in Japan since 5% are manuals, 5% are blue, so you do the math…). In all three cases, OTD price proved to be ~MSRP give or take, and perhaps a $500 premium over ‘best possible price if the moons and stars aligned’ to get the exact desired car.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Don’t kid yourself that a mass-production vehicle is “custom built”. It may be a low production vehicle, but it wasn’t built especially and only for you by a large manufacturer.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Sadly, you have to act like you know what you’re doing or they’ll take advantage of you all day long. Go for the No-Negotiation dealers if you can. I don’t like their attitudes sometimes, but at least you know what you get.

    • 0 avatar
      tmport

      That’s what I did too with my last car. It was totally painless–we agreed on a price beforehand, and when I went to the dealership, the paperwork was all ready. It’s nice not having to go through the whole ridiculous face-to-face “negotiations.”

  • avatar
    psychoboy

    I work in the non-sales portion of a fairly successful car dealership in the gulf states zone and I thoroughly agree with you. I have no idea who we are selling cars to, because not a single person I’ve brought to the lot in the last nine years has managed to leave here with a car. Either we insult them, can’t match the price our nearest brand competitor has, or just flat won’t take their money.

    One of my friends’ mom bought a car here with his help (I didn’t initiate the contact), and the next week he came back to buy a fairly rare version of a sports car. An in-town competitor had the car he wanted on their showroom, but he preferred to deal with us, since he’d just did the deal with his mom (good service = repeat business). He had MSRP cash in hand, all we had to do was get the car from across town and deliver it to him. Somehow, he walked out of here without a car. He got a ride across town, gave them $6000 UNDER MSRP and drove the car home with a voucher for another $500 worth of accessories.

    My cousin worked for this dealer 15 years ago, and has tried to buy four cars from us in the last 5 years….she’s gotten all of her cars from the next same-brand dealer up the highway. She still gives us all her service, though.

    Our salespeople keep telling me that I should be out there, that I’d do great because I know the product. Nobody on our floor knows the product, nobody I know is buying our cars, but we still sell a metric ton of cars. I don’t know how. And I’m very sure I don’t want to.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      At my dealership, we could hardly ever dealer trade with another one in-town. I think each was afraid of customers getting stolen by the other.

    • 0 avatar
      quiksilver180

      Unfortunately sleazy sales tactics still happen and someone gets suckered. It’s a minor reason why I’m looking at buying a Tesla for my next car is so I don’t have to deal with stuff like this.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        No, you’ll just have a lot of other stuff to deal with. After the sale.

        • 0 avatar
          quiksilver180

          Right, like having an efficient vehicle where I’m not dependent on oil while being made in America (not the US 3’s made somewhere else).

          Out of my dozen+ friends that have Teslas, I haven’t heard one bad comment or instance from them. Do you have something to back up your quote or is it that their direct to consumers worry your line of work?

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            I don’t have the time or inclination to let my vehicle sit around with an umbilical cord attached, waiting for it to get ready to take me somewhere. For a limited amount of time. For a limited amount of miles.

            How do you think that electricity is generated for your battery-powered toy?

            It’s a pretty car, but it looks so stupid plugged in like one of those Walmart toys.

            Imagine how you look to others dragging the power cord in and out, plugging and unplugging like it’s a weedeater.

            It’s not a status symbol. It’s an expensive joke.

            It’s very much like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            It sure is pretty, though. A rolling advertisement for an S7.

          • 0 avatar
            kkt

            Firestorm, I don’t have a Tesla and I’m not about to get one… but if I had one car for in town and another for the country, the in-town one might well be a Tesla. Look great, great torque, non-polluting, as long as it’s in town the limited range wouldn’t be a problem.

            Where I live and in most of the west coast 90%+ of the electricity comes from hydro, so yes the Tesla is significantly better for the environment here than a gasoline-powered car. And actually in many places Teslas are status symbols.

            Expensive jokes would be Hummers and F-250s when they are used as urban vehicles.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    There’s no excuse for the insulting sexism, but the ignorance about the product I can understand. The vast, vast, majority of buyers have no clue on the nitty-gritty of what they are buying, so it’s not really much advantage to the sales drone to know either. If a buyer is really educated on the product and knows exactly what they want, then he/she is also more likely to just skip the whole fiasco and simply shop for quotes on the phone.

    Wondering why car salesmen are ignorant schlubs is like wondering why Jiffy Lube’s doesn’t exactly employ master mechanics. It just doesn’t pay to employ anyone any better…

    • 0 avatar
      MAGICGTI

      Agreed 100%. Attrition should take care of the incredibly-bad sexism.

      As another posted stated, the guys with the car knowledge end up talking themselves out of a sale. Buyers just don’t care if you know the specs, if a buyer does has you then chances are he’s a prick on this website testing you for his superiority complex.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “but the ignorance about the product I can understand.”

      I might understand it but I can’t excuse it. I work with people who have a minimal understanding of what I do, what I know and how I get things done but that’s not an excuse for merely knowing marginally more about my work than they do. If you’re selling cars, you should be familiar with the product and the competition’s, too.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Nd that’s why I don’t use Jiffy Lube. Both the ignorant salesmen and Jiffy Lube techs serve the generally uninformed. I change my oil, and comparison shop everything. It took me 4 months to find my Audi. An uninformed salesman wouldn’t have sold me a car, but neither would an informed one.

      That being said, you should know the product you’re selling.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Hi, Caroline.

    You have embarked on the exciting, yet excruciating journey of car shopping. I have a love-hate relationship with the whole ordeal myself. Love for the driving and the cars, obviously, hatred over the process. Also, the salespeople either make it or break it.

    You sound like you know what you like and don’t let any salespeople give you the usual runaround. That’s fantastic. Maintain that and you will likely find an excellent salesperson who will go the extra mile and get the job done for you.

    I like the Focus and agree with your light assessment of the car. The ST is a lot of fun, as well, but out of your price range.

    Your choice with the Korean Chevy- uhh… don’t do it. Maybe you’ll consider my plea.

    See… I hate to admit this, but I will. I have one. It’s called an Aveo. 2007. (Sigh)

    Before my fellow TTAC commenters start poking fun at the fact that I actually have one- in my garage with my nicer cars, mind you (I know, it should be outside), just hear me out. My wife took posession of the car about 3 weeks before we started dating and has since been joined at the hip with this “thing”. I’ve tried to trade it off. She won’t let me. And we have plenty of other cars. Lol

    It’s a fully loaded, LT model. “Leatherette” seating. Power everything.

    Let’s talk about the way it’s held up.

    Blown headgasket at 32k miles.

    Numerous sensors.

    A/C blower motor at 75k. Now, because I went to the neighborhood garage (not taking an Aveo to the Chevy dealership, sorry), he apparently replaced the factory blower motor with an El Cheapo Special which now squeaks any time the blower motor is in operation.

    The car chews up and spits out tires and it is in perfect alignment.

    Various suspension parts.

    It now has 110k miles. The slushbox (yes, even worse, it’s auto) takes sometimes up to a minute or more to shift into the overdrive gear on the highway.

    Granted, it’s still reliable. Yes, I drive it often (and drive the Hell out of it, mind you) and keep the miles off of my babies asleep in the garage as we speak.

    Paint is chipping off the front badly. The paint is starting to feel rough (losing clearcoat) and looks now like a “semi-gloss mat finish” in spots. Lol.

    Yesterday, the day time running lights, the HVAC controls and the power sunroof control all quit working in unison for the majority of the day. Miraculously, now it works again. That’s the first time it’s ever done that.

    Couple in about 20 MPG despite having a 1.6L, the fact that its slow as hell, with a capital “S”, and the car is literally falling apart (grill is now about to fall off of the hood, it’s very loose, and fender turn signal blinker will come off in your hand if you run a towel across it)… for lack of better words, the Daevrolet sucks. :)

    Imagine the cheapest possible materials in the cabin that you’ve ever seen. The most awkward seating position and ghastly uncomfortable seats. Also, I don’t know what’s worse… the driving experience or being seen in it.

    But, if you plan on keeping it for a few years, then stepping up to something else- rather, if you MUST have a brand-spankin’ new car, then do it.

    A manual gearbox may make the anemic econobox more tolerable to live with, BUT fair warning though, Caroline- you will HATE this car after a year.

    Also, I understand this car is much newer and is not the same. Be advised, it’s not too far removed, though. That would be too expensive and the Daewoo bean counters won’t allow too many significant improvements.

    Best of luck with your search.

    EDIT: And yes, I agree with the previous poster who mentioned buying online. Absolutely.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      By the way- yes, a 12K base price IS an atttractive selling point for the base Spark.

      You get what you pay for.

      Friends don’t let friends get woo’d by “The ‘Woo”. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      I’m sorry, but the Sonic and Spark are very different cars than the 07 Aveo you have. Aveos are crap and everyone knows that. The Spark and Sonic are completely different designs and are built here in the U.S. (This wasn’t always a good thing but it can be said with pride now).

      I can understand your bias, however, I will never buy another Volkswagen even though my last direct involvement with one was over ten years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Once bitten, twice shy.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Spark isn’t made in the US. They’re still made by GM Daewoo in Korea. As for the Sonic, it’s debatable just how made in the UAW it is, considering they come over as a set of assemblies in a manner that resembles the CKD method of avoiding import tariffs. That’s how early ones were delivered with missing brake pads here. They fell out of the pre-assembled suspension unit during shipping.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Spark is not built here in the USA…not sure where you got that piece of info…go see “Made in Korea” for that one. Sonic is. Fiesta is made in Mexico, Focus in Michigan.

  • avatar
    auchkarl

    So, you’re nothing like the sexist stereotype older car salesmen have about women. You’re knowledgeable about drivetrain options, the roles of the manufacturer and the dealer, and you know the value of money. But then you write, “The Fiesta is…in a different class…it drives more smoothly, with considerably more power, and it’s noticeably larger in every way… However, the Spark just seemed more Caroline-ish…Cute, Spunky, and Fun.”

    This! This is what causes boyfriends and husbands to pound their heads on the wall.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I wonder if she’d of had a different experience if she dressed up a little to do her car shopping. I think -in 90s GM salesman mentality- would have seemed more serious about the whole thing if not dressed for the fair trade coffee shop.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If the salesman’s going to judge me on my clothes I have the wrong salesman. One more advantage to figuring out via email who’s serious and who’s not about your business before you ever show up in person.

        • 0 avatar
          psychoboy

          That’s the first lesson new salesmen in rural parts of the country learn:

          “Farmer John might show up at your dealership in a twenty year old battered F150 and covered in a day’s worth of harvest dirt, but that doesn’t mean he can’t write a check for his wife’s new Cadillac.”

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            Actually, they carry a roll in their front bib pocket. I actually had that happen a couple of times.

      • 0 avatar
        poltergeist

        “she’d of”…..what does that mean???

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It’s a contraction.

        • 0 avatar
          psychoboy

          ‘she would of’….which is a not uncommon alternative to ‘she would have’.

          there are many places in the nation where ‘of’ replaces ‘have’ due to how the latter sounds when spoken quickly.

          • 0 avatar
            poltergeist

            Is this like “new math”? Care to cite any references that state this is anywhere close to correct grammar? Kind of like “wether” or “your/you’re”.

          • 0 avatar
            psychoboy

            Notice, I never said it was correct grammar or anything close to it. I merely answered your question accurately since it’s a regional auditory thing that not all readers might understand.

            I foolishly thought you might be unaware; turns out you’re just a pedant.

          • 0 avatar
            poltergeist

            OK, so what does a “regional auditory thing” have to do with how something is ‘written’ in a car blog? My point was the O.P. has been critical of the author of the piece, as well as others who have commented. I was just pointing some ‘critique’ back at him/her.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            I understood it perfectly. I’ve said it myself numerous times.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Psychoboy: that’s what folks down south call, ‘stubborn stupid’.

            Just type ‘wood of’. Sounds like stupid.

            What’s the opposite of, ‘pedantic’?

          • 0 avatar

            > Psychoboy: that’s what folks down south call, ‘stubborn stupid’. Just type ‘wood of’. Sounds like stupid.

            Those looking for an internally consistent language really shouldn’t have picked english.

          • 0 avatar

            > Well, you slipped the surley bonds of reason with those non sequiturs.

            This is how reasoning works: weaseling from “liar” to “illogical” with zero substance is an obvious and evident non sequitur in addition to other implications.

            Ironically this bruhaha resulted from overestimating some trite pendant’s capacity to grasp minimal linguistic concepts. This is what I get for overlooking the mental lifestyle which leads down that path. Lesson learned.

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          “She’d” is a contraction of, “she would”, or, “she had”, depending on context, which is completely proper. One can even contract ‘She would have’ into “she’d’ve” , but that’s asking a lot of today’s readers.

          Then there’s the ignorant and lazy use of, “of” instead of, “have”. A friend of mine is a high school English teacher in South Florida, and he uses, “could of” and “would of”. We are doomed.

          In no case is ‘of’ a literate replacement for, ‘have’.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            not, “she’dve” but rather, “she’d’ve”

            The notion that ‘of’ is a regional corruption of, ‘have’ is nonsense. This ignorant usage defies regional boundaries.

            If we’re going to accept, ‘would of’ , then why not go for, ‘wood of’? It saves keystrokes, and sounds like the correct words. Let’s dumb down English. The lowest common denominator wins.

          • 0 avatar

            > In no case is ‘of’ a literate replacement for, ‘have’.

            > If we’re going to accept, ‘would of’ , then why not go for, ‘wood of’? It saves keystrokes, and sounds like the correct words. Let’s dumb down English. The lowest common denominator wins.

            Must be hard to find space for ideas with so much attention paid to grammar.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            “Must be hard to find space for ideas with so much attention paid to grammar.”

            You must be speaking for yourself. For me, It’s not hard at all.

            Literacy. The more you know, the less dumb you sound.

          • 0 avatar

            > You must be speaking for yourself. For me, It’s not hard at all.

            Yet here you are still ranting over semantics.

            > Literacy. The more you know, the dumber you sound.

            Unintended irony, I presume.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            It’s amazing the way the stubbornly stupid defenders of illiteracy have improbably latched on to the polysyllabic word, ‘semantics’. And they even tend to spell it correctly without understanding. Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, but you’re advocating some kind of illiterate debasement, not advancement. You are defending the stupid use of the wrong word, in place of the correct word. This is well-trodden ground. You’re blazing new ground in dumbing down the language. You may just win.

          • 0 avatar

            Dis gunna be fun:

            > It’s amazing the way the stubbornly stupid defenders of illiteracy have improbably latched on to the polysyllabic word, ‘semantics’. And they even tend to spell it correctly without understanding.

            Within any higher understanding of language whether linguistic or etymology the english syntax you boast of is a mere formalized snapshot of the specifically evolved indo-european/germanic strain at an arbitrary point in time. Also in that academic context, “semantics” has differing intent to how it’s used in the vernacular. Perhaps you can clarify the specific issue with its use here using some polysyllabic words in their natural home.

            > Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, but you’re advocating some kind of illiterate regression, not advancement. You are defending the stupid use of the wrong word, in place of the correct word. This is well-trodden ground. You’re blazing new ground in dumbing down the language.

            I would say it’s well-trodden 101 ground within the ivory tower. Unfortunately this is not the same grounds pedants graze on after passing english class.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            “Within any higher understanding of language whether linguistic or etymology the english syntax you boast of is a mere formalized snapshot of the specifically evolved indo-european/germanic strain at an arbitrary point in time. Also in that academic context, “semantics” has differing intent to how it’s used in the vernacular. Perhaps you can clarify the specific issue with its use here using some polysyllabic words in their natural home.”

            How much did that troll app set you back? Norm Crosby did it better. In any case, demand a refund, as it failed to type, ‘etymologic’. Go on using “would of”, troll. Your ignorance is showing.

          • 0 avatar

            > How much did that troll app set you back? Go on using “would of”. Your ignorance is showing.

            That sort of swagger for someone who can’t figure out what the big words mean rather reveals the depth of pedants.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Too bad you don’t don’t know what the correct big words are, trollboy. Really, get that refund. Have them check with me if you can’t find the words to explain it.

            Get down to basics. What is the definition of ‘of’?

            What is the definition of “have”?

            Demonstrate, for once, your comprehension of these two little words.

            Now, use each properly in sentences, showing what ‘would of’ means, and what ‘would have’ means. Show me you have mastered these two monosyllabic words, and then you may advance to the bigger words.

          • 0 avatar

            > Too bad you don’t don’t know what the correct big words are, trollboy. Really, get that refund. Have them check with me i you can’t find the words to explain it.

            Again, that’s a pretty big mouth for someone so quickly out of depth when the topic turns academic. Hard to imagine that worked out well in school, though it certainly explains the situation.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Oh, did you turn academic? It read like search engine GooglePlate.

            Can you define those two monosyllabic words? Can you use them paired with ‘would’ as in ‘would of’ and ‘would have’?

          • 0 avatar

            > Oh, did you turn academic? It read like search engine GooglePlate.

            Presumably anything remotely sophisticated reads like that to those who don’t know much.

            > Can you define those two monosyllabic words? Can you use them paired with ‘would’ as in ‘would of’ and ‘would have’?

            The answer was already provided. Perhaps you can ask for a simpler explanation or get an academic to simpleton translation app.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            The answer wasn’t already provided on this thread. Sad dodge, there.

            Your academic pretensions are laughable.

            Use of ‘would of’ is a badge of ignorance, and you’re right in there pitching, lamely, dodging any real effort to defend it.

            You can’t even grasp the meanings of two monosyllabic words. I’ll help you out: since you can’t bear to define ‘of’ in this context:

            “Because the preposition of, when unstressed ( a piece of cake ), and the unstressed or contracted auxiliary verb have ( could have gone, could’ve gone ) are both pronounced or in connected speech, inexperienced writers commonly confuse the two words, spelling have as of ( I would of handed in my book report, but the dog ate it ). Professional writers have been able to exploit this spelling deliberately, especially in fiction, to help represent the speech of the uneducated: If he could of went home, he would of. ”

            But you go ahead and champion it. It’ll be part of the mainstream in some arbitrary decade to come, and you’ll be oh so proud to have had a hand in it.

            Good luck with that social promotion, by the way. It’s some kind of academics, I suppose, and you can go ahead and be proud of it as far as anyone else is concerned or cares. Really; we’re impressed with that and your derivative comedy attempts.

          • 0 avatar

            > The answer wasn’t already provided on this thread. Sad dodge, there.

            Here it is again since you missed it:
            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/the-truth-about-caroline-does-anybody-want-to-sell-me-a-car/#comment-3009329

            There’s really nothing to be done for those who evidently lack post-secondary education in language, so here’s a gold star from your old english teacher for identifying an inapt homophone.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Does your mommy know you’re still up?

            You link doesn’t lead to a definition. Please cite the author and the time posted in the thread.

            Inapt is a good first step.

          • 0 avatar

            > Does your mommy know you’re still up? You link doesn’t lead to a definition. Please cite the author and the time posted in the thread. Inapt is a good first step.

            Is this how educated people act like in your head? Ready with playground retorts and the dictionary as evidence of learned ways?

            Failure of the education system indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            You just keep lying and dodging. For one who claims to be educated, you lack any intellectual honesty or rigor. Maybe you’ve been skipping the ethics courses.

          • 0 avatar

            > You just keep lying and dodging.

            It’s a mystery how someone who can’t grasp the terms much less their veracity determines this. From all appearances the “reasoning” worked something like this:

            1. I can’t figure out what this means
            2. But I’m smart because I can use the dictionary
            3. Therefore it must be some kind of trick

            > For one who claims to be educated, you lack any intellectual honesty or rigor. Maybe you’ve been skipping the ethics courses.

            OTOH it’s not a mystery the character of those who casually toss out such claims without any substantiation.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Well, you slipped the surley bonds of reason with those non sequiturs.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Well, you slipped the surly bonds of reason with those non sequiturs.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Also, capitalized adjectives. >.<

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      The funny part about that – the “But is it *ME*?” element – was probably one of the few things General Motors knew how to handle and was positioned to handle with its brand portfolio. Ford’s always been styled as either – you love them or you hate them, they try to force you to make a choice. GM, especially with Pontiac as a foil for Chevrolet/Buick, could do all sorts of things to push you toward – is this one really you? Ever since they started offering all the variety of colors, they’ve had a finger on this mercurial, dynamic element that cannot be quantified.

      I remember taking a relative to buy Mercury Mariner because she wanted a 4×4. We had the AWD I4 all set, and the list of initial items required was “good fuel economy”. However, she left that lot with the AWD V6 in black with all the options because it was “more her”.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      No, thinking the Spark is more appropriate is perfectly reasonable, and you “pounding your head” is an indication that you just don’t get it.

      Lets take me.

      I have an 80 mile round trip commute. I should have something comfortable, high utility (4-door hatchback), and very high fuel efficiency. There is such a car made: its called a Prius. Its actually perfect for the driving I do. Heck, I could take over my parent’s old Gen2 if I wanted…

      But there is no way I could stand driving such a boring car! My daily driver, for an 80 mile round trip commute, is an S2000. Cramped. Harsh. Small cargo room. Significantly worse mileage. It is, perhaps the worst daily driver produced by a major auto maker in the past decade! But, you see, I like the S2000, while I personally loath the Prius.

      I can perfectly understand why, although the Fiesta is without a doubt a better car on an absolute basis, the Spark is a better car for Caroline Ellis which is what this is about.

      • 0 avatar

        Couldn’t agree more. The best car purchases are equal parts emotion and logic.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        +1 NW

      • 0 avatar
        auchkarl

        You got me. I just don’t get it. The part about how your S2000 vs. Prius conundrum is analogous to her cross-shopping the Spark and the Fiesta anyway.

        If I was writing about an S2000, I’d have compared it to a Miata or Solstice or some-such car (shrug).

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I feel the same way. Which is why I have a Solstice, a Harley FXR, and a Triumph Trident.

        Which means, for my daily driver I can get that Prius. Because I want the gas mileage, find absolutely nothing fun about the daily commute, and couldn’t care less how much fun the car is to drive when I’m stuck in traffic.

        So my daily driver is going to be a boring, economical, appliance. And I’ll take one of the other three on the odd day when I feel like my commute to work just has to be fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          How fun can it be to drive the low-slung, high-revving S2000 buried in stop-and-go traffic? Wooo hooo!

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            If he’s driving 80 miles a day, it’s probably not stop an go traffic. If it is, I REALLY feel sorry for him!

            But I agree, I would never drive a penalty box that I don’t enjoy just to save money. Life is too short.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Buying cars is about more than how much size or power you can get for a given amount of money. If it weren’t, we’d all be driving a Camry V6.

      • 0 avatar
        auchkarl

        Lots of people, maybe most people, spend their money for mostly emotional reasons. That’s cool.

        What struck me about this article was the dichotomy between the practical consideration of the driveability of Daewoo’s CVT, the availability of Ford’s 3-pot, manufacturer’s incentives and financing options with “is this car ME?”.

        Not that this is evil. It just isn’t the type of thing I see much of here.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      This might explain things for you:

      http://www.cc.com/video-clips/o94594/stand-up-neal-brennan–the-way-women-dress
      http://www.cc.com/video-clips/792i3z/stand-up-neal-brennan–uncensored—cute-s–t

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The salesperson’s job is simple: to get you to sign on the line that is dotted. They’re not product specialists, or financial advisers. If you had a roster of the floor sales staff at any given dealer, probably 75% of them will be gone in a year or two, selling TVs or phones at Best Buy or somewhere. The ones who remain are the ones who, by talent, deception, or intimidation, collect enough signatures to be valuable.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Caroline seems to be insulted that these salesmen didn’t take make more of an effort to close her on the sale right then, even though from the story it seems like she had plans to test drive multiple models before getting serious about negotiating. I would imagine that the salesmen asked her some qualifying questions that clued them in to her shopping plans and thought they were being helpful by not pushing for the sale when she said she was still in the “shopping around phase.”

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Ah, but a good salesperson would have been able to convert “just shopping around” into a sale that day.

        “A guy doesn’t come on the lot unless he wants to buy. You think they’re coming in to get out of the rain?”

        There is a reason the guy from the Buick/GMC dealer wasn’t still selling Buicks and GMCs.

  • avatar
    bfisch81

    Good lord! This is the kind of thing that makes me think I could make a killing selling cars because of jerks and idiots like that.

    I’d also recommend checking out a FIAT 500 Pop with a manual. I drive a Lounge model but the Pops are a good place to start. There’s also usually plenty of wiggle room on price and Chrysler’s long term warranties are also price negotiable.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Caroline, nothing beats a “personal experience” article, well told, as this one is. FWIW, with two exceptions (the guy who sold us our Honda Pilot in 2008 and a nice young lady who let me test drive a Saturn Outlook), car salesfolk seem to be ridiculous people to spend time with. My most amazing experience was 11 years ago, on President’s Day weekend as I was at a BMW dealer attempting to buy a CPO Z3 that was two years old. A blizzard had been forecast (I mean, like more than a foot of snow; actual total was 18″) and the snowflakes were starting to fall. Not the best environment in which to sell a convertible roadster. I knew from my carfax research that this car had been on the dealer’s lots since the previous fall.

    So, after driving the car a little (I had been shopping this particular car, so I had a pretty good idea of how it should drive) we sat down to talk some price. Eventually this sales guy started yelling at me.

    So, I got up and I went to his manager and said, “I don’t know who the fuck this guy is, but I could buy any one of your cars on my credit card, so that’s who I am . [BMW owners are assholes for a reason!] So, if you’re going to sell this car to someone else this weekend, or in the next 10 days, be my guest. But, if you want to sell it to me, get this guy out of my face and maybe you and I can make a deal.”

    After that, everything proceeded smoothly, and I bought the car for considerably under Blue Book.

    So, what all this tells me is that dealers have figured out that they don’t make money selling new cars. So, they don’t pay people squat to do that; and you get the usual and predictable sorry result.

    What dealers do make money at is fixing cars, and my guess is that you’ll see a much higher caliber of person working as a “service writer.” That’s been pretty much my experience, at any number of dealerships.

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      the car is the handle.

      service is the blade.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; “a convertible roadster” It is one or the other.

      A convertible has roll up windows, a roadster has weather screens.

      Roadster is just another of the bastardized automotive terms that auto manufacturing marketing departments and their hired advertising firms have foisted on the public. Research puts most of the first blame for this abuse at the feet of Ford in the late twenties with the Model ‘A’, and in thirties, along with GM. Now nearly every auto manufacturer gets a share of the blame… four door Coupes …@/#/@”^<^&[email protected]$#$ Historically, true coupes, don't have a back seat. The first Corvettes(53'-55') are roadsters, the rest have been convertibles.

      "The Lasalle was once again built in four body types for 1936: A Coupe; a Convertible; a Touring Coupe(General Motors talk for a two-door sedan with a built in trunk); and a four-door Touring Sedan. Oldsmobile offered three additional styles, a Business Coupe and two Flat-back types, a 'five passenger Coupe'(Read two-door sedan) and a four door sedan."

      This should be good for a few more clicks on Caroline’s article.

      http://images.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2013/04/SIA_LaSalleOlds_05_1500.jpg

  • avatar
    slance66

    Caroline, enjoyed this piece, pay no mind to those that would nitpick on things like the wheel cover comment.

    My wife has experienced this, as have her parents, who really know nothing about cars. My wife though, through exposure to me and dare I say it, Top Gear, turns those attitudes around and can spout off known features of cars and discuss handling dynamics. Since we are looking at more upscale cars, this tends to convince the salesperson to abandon any sexist perceptions. I’m also in New England, where legions of feminists would boycott any dealer that behaved as your Chevy dealer did.

    The advice I’ve seen here and elsewhere is not just to try to buy online (Costco, AAA) but also to e-mail the internet sales manager at the dealer before showing up. Then deal with them when you get there. It helps on the pricing, and also gives you an opportunity to communicate clearly what you want before you get there. It does seem that you went out of your way to let them continue in their ignorance. If you want a manual trans Spark, I tell the sales rep that straight up.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    Did he look like this?

    http://www. youtube.com /watch?v=nvoaztR140Q

    Get rid of the spaces before the y and after the m for your viewing pleasure.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Whenever you are thinking of visiting a dealership always contact them first, either by phone or on their website, and let them know you’re coming. Set up an appointment, you’ll get much better treatment. One of the first thing any salesperson does is try to qualify you as being a serious buyer, and there’s nothing like some advance notice to let them know you are.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I’m impressed you know the FFF technique, but then I have to wonder why you find it so appalling. For a low end salesman it’s one of the least manipulative, most helpful skills they get taught.

    Also, in our GM guy’s defense, fifty year olds who don’t spend time with people your age can’t tell how old you are. We don’t know the ages of the young people we meet and have no references to go on. I also don’t expect flattery as to a fifty year old, a woman your age is still getting better with age.

    Also, I don’t think most salesmen on The lot know the rebates these days. Depending how the lot is run, it doesn’t help them make a sale, and likely just gets their manager angry if they try to use it sell a car. The manager will tell them about it only if he really needs it to move inventory and may be keeping it from him so as not to have to pay him his share of it. Lastly, Internet rebate sources are not the most accurate in my experience.

    Pity the poor lot hound. However he behaves it’s due to the training and treatment of his masters.

    In the meantime, may I suggest a Kia?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Oh, one more thing!

    Never tell them you have the money! Let them think they can sell you financing until you get a good price on the car. Once that’s settled, Spring it on them you only need a few thousand extra, and it’s best at that point to know they intend to add a few hundred dollars. Then, be prepared with your own lending source. At that point they will likely race to get the deal done and get rid of you. Especially on a Saturday.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      This +1000! Why do cash buyers always think that’s a point in their favor? The dealer makes money on financing, so cash customers are less profitable customers. Never let them know you’re paying cash until *after* you’ve negotiated the price!

      • 0 avatar
        Skink

        Good advice, Deedub. And never tell them you have a trade-in, because a car salesman never asks you how you’re financing the purchase, or whether you have a trade-in, long before you get to negotiating price. Nope, they never do that.

        • 0 avatar
          DeeDub

          Do you know what “dissemble” means?

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            And lying to them makes them want to screw you less how? And how is one hurt if one tells the truth on cash and trade?

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            So the choices are spilling your guts immediately, and lying, and nothing in between? You’d be fun to play poker with.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            “So the choices are spilling your guts immediately, and lying, and nothing in between? You’d be fun to play poker with.”

            The feeling’s mutual. There’s no upside to lying about whether one is a cash buyer. Buying a car is not like a game of poker. It doesn’t even resemble a single hand.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          “I might have a buyer for my car, but you can make an offer”

          “What kind of terms are you offering on financing?” “Well, let’s worry about the price first.”

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Never play all your cards. My history teacher told a story of his parents buying a Diesel Buick years ago during the fuel crisis. They had cash, but negotiated the dealer into a high interest loan with a reduced price on the car.

            They then paid cash, saving a few thousand.

            In all fairness, the dealer deserved that type of treatment.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Exactly, Matador. One of the rules for negotiating is to get the other guy to show his cards and make commitments without doing so yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            How does disclosing upfront that you’re not going to use dealer financing get you a worse price on the car? Just answer that, geniuses.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “How does disclosing upfront that you’re not going to use dealer financing get you a worse price on the car? Just answer that, geniuses.”

            I think the idea is that a dealer might be more willing to give you a lower purchase price or higher trade-in appraisal if they believe that they can make it up with a higher rate of interest in financing.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            It doesn’t necessarily, but it often does.

            The dealers make a lot of money on the back end (financing). In the age of the Internet, they have a hard time making much on the front end because you can compare prices and discounts easily. So, many times they will simply cut to their best price in hopes of making it back on the finance terms. If they know you won’t be financing, they will often hold out for more on the price or difference because losing a “mini” isn’t a big risk anymore.

            The more the rep aggravates you, the more likely he is going to fall into this trap. OTOH, if the shop is seriously a bunch of jerks, they may start renegotiating as soon as they learn you won’t be borrowing from them and never intended to.

            There is actually a workable strategy for the serious dealer hater. You go in pretending to be a payment buyer, and don’t mention the price much. When asked to commit, you say something like, “I can afford the payments we discussed, if you can sell this car for under x, give me y on the trade, and keep the payments under z, we can do this.” I made it work once, but I am no actor. It’s a pretty obvious set up if the are savvy, but many dealers prefer to hire idiots.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Correction: 75% of the salespeople won’t be gone in a year, they will be gone in 3-6 months. I have worked on the OEM and dealer sides of the business. When I called on dealers in the SF Bay Area I often wouldn’t recognize sales people and even managers at some stores I visited two weeks apart.

    The factories would push training but the salespeople would rarely be around long enough to even take classes. One Chevy dealer even made money CHARGING new salespeople to start work there and get trained (it was a bad economy and people were desperate for jobs). They knew that they would be gone after they learned that between $1,000 packs and $75 mini deals they would never be able to make living wage selling new cars in California.

    There were exceptions to the rules. A couple of dealers didn’t load the sales floor with 3x more salespeople than they needed (the sink or swim theory of employee development). These stores actually had sales personnel who had been there long enough to know the products and develop repeat clients. What a shock!

    So, I guess I am saying is that these dealers are getting the salespeople they pay for. Educated buyers (TTAC readers?) only need someone to facilitate a test drive before they go home to email around for the best price.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    #1 There is no excuse for doing a job poorly . With both salesmen mentioned doing a very poor job indeed

    #2 For what its worth … and if its any small source of comfort .. in looking into buying the wife a BMW i3 locally after testing BMWUSA’s demo car we had the same experience . Sure I’m a bonafide car guy … but jeeze .. this is supposed to be BMW’s new star on the lot … ya’d thing they’d have a freaking clue what the car is all about

    #3 I’ve had similar experiences with Mercedes when it was time to end/extend/buy our lease car … with only a phone call to a supervisor at Mercedes USA finally getting things resolved to our satisfaction

    #4 Now looking for an alternative to the i3 .. discovering the i3 has that Li below 30f above 80f battery loss problem … we’ve yet to run into a salesman who knew much of anything about the product he/she was selling across the brands

    In conclusion …. Ms Ellis’s experience is pretty much the norm no matter where you go looking for a car . SNAFU sums it up nicely …. or of course you could toddle down to your local Ferrari dealer and get seriously abused despite your net worth

    ———–

    And no LandCrusher .. you MAY NOT recommend a KIA .. or a Hyundai for that matter to the good lady …. neither being worth the cost of entry and especially the maintenance hassles once purchased

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Baa! I’ll take Kia over Chevy any day. Maybe if she wants to do her own brakes the Ford would be less trouble, but otherwise, Kia is going to win the durability contest here.

      We are talking 2014 models, not 90’s.

  • avatar
    kenzter

    Caroline,
    How do like the Fiat 500? There are TONS of leftover 2013’s out there. A new Pop can be had for $12k. I just picked up an Abarth for $7k off sticker.
    And like others have mentioned, it pays to email dealers first. I test drove one Abarth, then emailed dealers that had the combination I wanted. Worked out a deal, had a blank check from my credit union in hand, and spent one hour at the dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Welcome to the Abarth club!

      I was actually at my local studio a couple days ago with a friend. He is going to buy a leftover base 5spd Pop in the light green on ivory/brown. Just a lovely little thing. For $12.5K. Got them to toss in the spare tire for free even. Nice guys there, but some of Caroline’s experience was evident – some pressure on filling out a credit app (he will cash), etc. They are actually giving ME $100 for the referral!

      I got my Abarth last March. There were deals around on leftover 12’s then, but nothing configured like I wanted. I still got an OK deal on it. No regrets! They have a loaded ’13 in the showroom for $8K off, but it has a sunroof and I don’t fit. Might have traded mine in for it at that price.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Thanks!
        I’m 6’3″, so no sunroof for me either.
        It is fun though. I smile every time I start it up and hear that obnoxious exhaust. For those that haven’t heard one…it really is more Ferrari-like than fart can.

  • avatar
    ancientofdays

    “What if you’re wearing heels to work?” Haha… classic.

    This is your best one yet. Keep it up.

  • avatar

    The misspellings are appropriate. Henry Ford was only partially literate and possibly dyslexic. He preferred wooden models to blueprints and when he sued a Chicago publisher for libel, on the witness stand Ford was, in embarrassing fashion, shown to be barely able to read.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-06-08/news/9706300080_1_henry-ford-chicago-tribune-anarchist

  • avatar
    George B

    Why do new car salesmen exist? Seriously. I’ve never met a car salesman that made me want to come back to the dealership. Considering that the service department generates more profits than new car sales, why not have small number of real non-commissioned long-term employees who know the product help facilitate relatively low pressure sales? Make the customer feel good about the dealership instead of driving away future business.

    It’s my understanding that the typical car sales technique dates back to World War II when cars were in short supply. Today the auto industry has the overcapacity to build more cars than people want to buy and normal cars last for close to 15 years and 200,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      The people you recommend to replace the salesmen would be salesmen. What you really are recommending is a change in behavior by changing the incentives. It’s all been tried.

      I know good and bad dealers. The dealer is just as important as the buyer. A bad dealer, Goodson, tried your scheme. A crew of people were hired to greet, demo and explain the cars and deliver you a discounted price from the sales manager. If you bought, great. If you haggled or refused they then turned you over to a manager of some sort. If you know about car sales, this should sound like a turn over shop. That’s because it is. The managers are not on commission, they are on bonuses for profit performance and they are highly trained negotiators.

      There is nothing wrong with commissions. A salesman who doesn’t sell you a car gets nothing. The guys screwing you are the used car manager under valuing your trade, the guy setting up the commission and accounting systems, and the guy stopping the salesman from taking a deal.

      The reason the person you deal with is an ass is that he was either hired that way or turned into one by the people he works for. If you want to change things then figure out what you will pay and then go find a dealership where you like how you are treated and give them that deal. I will happily pay a couple hundred extra to a salesman who spares me the BS.

      Dealers can’t run the shop by themselves, so they are rightly judged by the way their employs treat you. If they don’t like it, they can all afford to retire.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to admit that the two best experiences I’ve had buying a car were 1) Buying from a small-town Chrysler dealer whose owner went to high school with my dad… unfortunately, they were one of the dealers who lost their franchise in the bankruptcy, despite being a five-star dealer every year for decades. and 2) buying from a Carmax that also sold new cars, at a fixed no-haggle price.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I drove almost nothing but Dodges all thru the 80’s and 90’s because the local Dodge dealer was: a. The guy who used to be the used car manager for my dad when he ran the Chevrolet franchise, b. Family friends with a history, c. The dealership by that point was being run by his two sons, one of whom was a good friend in high school, and (most importantly) d. He knew what I knew about the car business (almost as much as he did).

        Therefore, there was no BS, I’d walk in with my trade, figure out what he had that I wanted to deal on; he’d make me an offer on both sides, in detail, that was fair but still allowed him some profit on the deal. Closing a car for me would usually take about an hour from the time I drove on the property – and that included a fair bit of socializing and catching up on life.

        The service department was damned good too, and I never had a Dodge that didn’t serve me well.

        Unfortunately, he too was another dealership that lost the franchise in the bankruptcy. I got a real return to ‘reality’ when I moved out of state in ’98 and started dealing with a new bunch of dealerships.

    • 0 avatar
      7402

      “Considering that the service department generates more profits than new car sales, why not have small number of real non-commissioned long-term employees who know the product help facilitate relatively low pressure sales?”

      You do know that service writers in most dealership service departments are commissioned, do you not? They are at least motivated by incentives.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Good article. A few notes on car buying.

    1. Consider that you are test driving both the vehicle and the dealership. I have lived near Boston for close to 2 decades now, and have probably shopped at ~15 dealerships. I found one I like, and it’s no coincidence that my last 3 purchases have been from there.

    2. Once you know what you want, do more research. Really understand the pricing, including invoice and holdbacks. The internet is your friend. Once the sales reps figure out that you know your stuff, they stop playing games (the F&I guy is another story, but that comes later).

    3. Get your financing ahead of time. See a credit union or your bank – given how much you expect to put down, you’ll get a great rate if you set it up ahead of time. Given your youth, a smart move is to get a 18- or 24- month loan and develop a stronger credit rating

    4. Tell them what you want. When you are ready to buy, say “I am here to buy a Sonic LT, automatic, in Grape Ice. I saw on the internet that you have 2 in stock. I know that after holdbacks you pay $14,200, and I am willing to go to $14,500 and no higher.” The previous advice of doing this over the phone, with the internet sales manager is often effective.

    5. Once you’ve agreed on the price, use your own financing. Do not buy ANYTHING from the F&I guy. No extended warranty, no rustproofing, no pinstripes, nothing. If you do want any of it, you’ll get a much better deal elsewhere at another time.

    6. No matter what, keep your cool and stick to your guns. Your most powerful weapon is your feet. You can walk out any time you want; there are a dozen more dealers within 15 miles of you, one of whom will be happy to treat you respectfully.

    • 0 avatar
      MAGICGTI

      Solid post, agree with most of it. 24 month loan is a good idea but you might find that the rates are so low you’re better off with a longer loan especially if there is a manufacturer offer.

      It’s not great advice to use your own financing. Sometimes it’s the best way but often the dealer can handily beat your bank of credit union. It’s worth having the F&I guy look into it.

      About not buying anything from the F&I guy, true on some things but not everything. For example, Chrysler has a crazy-long and comprehensive warranty available their cars. When I was thinking about a new Grand Cherokee this would have been heavily considered. I researched the price of this and found that there is a dealer in Michigan who sells it at a great discount. If I were buying would use this as leverage and be prepared to buy from the MI dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I’d be antsy at anything more than a 24-month loan. I’m not saying don’t do it–if the rate is good, and you have the money, then by all means–but be careful.

        And yes, sometimes the dealer does offer better financing than a bank/credit union. In my experience (albeit limited), that’s not often been the case.

        So it all comes down to your own particular situation.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          “And yes, sometimes the dealer does offer better financing than a bank/credit union.”

          I think that’s what MAGICGTI was saying. You’re best-equipped as a consumer when you have financing already backed up, with the option to see what the dealership can offer. It also gives you a budget—especially for used cars—because lenders will often put a set amount on how much they’ll allow you to finance for a particular car. I do remember when the local Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge dealership beat out my dad’s pre-arranged financing when he bought a 2007 Caliber SXT.

  • avatar
    MAGICGTI

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate. Caroline, it seems that you’re the one playing by the old rules of car sales, walking up to lots and being upped as a walk-in. While you’ve clearly done your homework, you haven’t used much of it. As you’ve written, while your time might not be terribly valuable there is still no reason to waste it.

    Every new or used car I’ve purchased, being 27 now, I’ve tracked down online, done the pricing research (via TrueCar and manufacturer forums to see prices paid, lease deals, etc.), and located inventory through the MFR website, cars.com, or similar.

    Even when I was 23 years old, fresh out of college with a new job, I bought a new 2009 Miata and negotiated a price online after emailing the DC metro dealers who had a 6-speed Touring with Suspension Package in stock. Arrived at the dealership with the car idling and ready for a test drive, no B.S. Only thing I didn’t do was get my financing arranged beforehand, should have known what rate I was eligible for but the final rate wasn’t bad at all for a first-time buyer with no time on the job.

    Caroline, find a 1.0 Fiesta SE hatch and give us an owner’s review after 10k miles.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the comments, guys!

    Just as a point of clarification, I really went to get the new car shopper experience documented for y’all. I didn’t go in with the specific purpose if buying a car—I know there are better ways to do it than just showing up on a lot. As a matter of fact, I’m going to look at a Sonic LTZ today that I have negotiated down $1500 via email and text message.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Agreed with many of the other comments here. The place to start your car search isn’t at the dealer, but online. That gives you a chance to find out which dealers actually want your business and which aren’t worth the hassle before you ever leave home (not to mention which actually have the car you want in stock, if any).

    There are two approaches to the test drive. 1) Do it before you’re really ready to buy at all, so there’s no real sales opportunity, or 2) do it after you’ve already got a price you more or less like online.

    Edit: Was writing as you posted your latest reply. Good luck with the Sonic — I think it’s a more likable product than either the Spark or any Fiesta in your price range.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    It’s not a gender or age thing. I’ve been on plenty of car lots with the “requirement” to drive it on and off the lot, and/or to have a salesman accompany on the test drive.

    It feels very stone age, and quite frankly it ticks me off now.

    The lack of product knowledge at dealerships is – stunning. The top sales people generally aren’t THAT knowledgeable, but know enough about the product to convince the average consumer, of which 98% know next to nothing about the car. What successful car salesmen are – cold blooded killers in the sense they live by A-B-C.

    To the point of people buying cars without test drives. It does happen – a lot. It’s pretty stunning actually. In the era of internet sales where you can have a car delivered to your house like an Amazon Prime toaster – it’s happening more.

    Last thing – of course the Fiesta feels more solid than the Spark – there is a reason it has a higher sticker price.

    The Spark is an A segment car (and before people stomp their feet and scream on this point, go check out TTAC Cain’s segments – yup – A Segment car – argue with Cain). The Sonic is the 1:1 Fiesta competitors, with cars like the Versa, the Mini, and the Yaris – the Spark is in the same segment as the Fiat 500.

    Agree with your observation on the Spark – it has a “less is more” quality to its interior. The back seat in particular is stunningly large for such a compact vehicle. It is however, a rollerskate with an engine.

    The Spark Electric as I understand is only available in California as an emissions special to make the state happy — I hear that is a blast to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Your 98% comment is pretty spot-on. Why worry too much about alienating the 2% (aka those currently in this comments section) with your tactics when they pretty much guarantee a sale from the “commoners”?
      This is definitely the reason my father and I ended up buying my car from a semi-private seller. I had almost no mechanical inclinations back when I was 17, and if I’d gone to a dealer, even a little mom-and-pop type place, they probably would have chewed me up and I’d still be paying 3-1/2 years later.

      And I suppose if you see your car as no more than an appliance, you’ll expect it to be delivered just like one.

      And hey, “rollerskate with an engine” is a plus in some situations or for some people. Personally, I’d avoid it, mostly because (as is happening right now) strong crosswinds are all too common here on MN’s Buffalo Ridge. I’d rather not have to manhandle a car for 2 1/2 hours every weekend just to save a few bucks on gas.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I understand the need to have a salesman accompany you while test-driving. A lot of my friends that work as salesmen have had people run off with cars, including some pricey niche vehicles like the Grand Cherokee SRT8 and the Ford SVT Raptor. I also understand why certain dealerships won’t let you test-drive cars that they have a small-allotment of, and that are often hooned by teenagers…in which case I just won’t buy the car until I can test-drive it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        If you STEAL an SRT8, you will definitely get to KEEP it, as no COPS can catch you, even if they are IN A bored out V10 VIPER SRT vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          CAPITALIZING various words IN NO apparent pattern WILL definitely LESSEN other people’s PERCEPTION OF you and CAUSE them TO DISREGARD your COMMENT.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          No no no you have it all wrong. It’s all about the 6.1 SUPERCHARGED HEMI that every single chrysler car should have as the BASE engine. MPG numbers are a CONSPIRACY.

          Shout out to BTSR, we love you man.

          BTSR’s HEMI > Norm’s trifecta-tuned turbo-4s and incredible Encore skidpad numbers.

    • 0 avatar

      > To the point of people buying cars without test drives. It does happen – a lot. It’s pretty stunning actually. In the era of internet sales where you can have a car delivered to your house like an Amazon Prime toaster – it’s happening more.

      The reality is that most cars are good enough for most purposes. Buyers mostly choose on whether the “image” fits their “lifestyle”. For the most part, car makers are marketing commodities.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Why bother with new pieces of junk when a much better deal is used with some quality and reliability?
    Daughters college ride was a 1978 Mustang II. Not a bad car except for the weird V6 engine setup. She graduated college debt free, $5k in the bank our nickel. Mustang timing gear crapped and it was sold for junk to a buyer in Mexico. She used the $5k to buy a Jetta. Salvaged and repaired for about $7k. It met its end 2005 hit by a driver pulling out of a side street. Think alternatives and budget.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It never ceases to amuse me when someone posts about new cars being junk, and then holds up a used VW as the pinnacle of automotive excellence.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        He never explicitly said that. This one happened to have been pretty good to them, but not once does he even imply (unless just saying the J-word carries a lot more connotations than I thought it did) that the aforementioned Volkswagen was any more or less than a car.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    When the Spark first came out, I wanted to check it out. So I visited a Chevrolet store. I was met in the Spark row of the lot by polo-shirt guy.

    Me: “I’m interested in this Spark.”

    Polo: “Do you ever drive on the highway?”

    M: “Sure. How do you think I got here?”

    P: “If you drive on the highway, you don’t want a Spark.”

    M: “Okay, have a nice day.”

    P: “Wait. Would you like to see a Sonic?”

    M: “Nope. I refuse to buy a car from a company that makes cars that are unsafe for highway use. Have a nice day.”

    Honestly. I know they are trained to upsell, but any salesman who tells ME what I *don’t* want, is not somebody I’m buying anything from.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Agreed. Even if his intentions were good (see my earlier “rollerskate with an engine” comment), anytime a salesman asks you what you want, then tells you that’s what you don’t want immediately afterwards,

      And to temper both this and my earlier comment, it’s not that you *shouldn’t* drive an econobox on the highway. My best friend owns an ’84 Jetta, and we take that thing everywhere, because we’re young and stupid and have no money. It’s just that, given the alternatives, you [using the 2nd person here, not addressing eggsalad specifically] *wouldn’t* drive an econobox on the highway

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I wouldn’t say the Spark is unsafe on the highway, but with that super short wheelbase it won’t be the most pleasant highway cruiser. Could it be that was what the salesperson was trying to say to you?

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Having driven one….it is terrible on the highway. Sales person is correct. Noisy and not a smooth ride. It is not a good car for someone who drives regularly on the highway. It is an urban car.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        A better tactic, I think, would be for the salesman to point those factors out during eggsalad’s test drive.

        “But the Sonic clears up all those issues.”

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The salesguy shouldn’t have opened with that but the Spark sucks on the highway like a million vacuums.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    ““Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?” asked my salesman. Oh, boy. It was a little early in the day for misogynistic, sexist sales tactics.”

    Just so you know, we men wear shoes too. And we try them on before buying. I’d advise being a little less sensitive. Perceiving sexism and misogyny everywhere is not an attractive quality.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      @Master Baiter and “Pete”

      I think you missed the point. Obviously, men buy shoes and they usually try them on first (unless they buy from Zappos.com).

      The point is that it’s unlikely that a man would be asked that question; the unstated premise being that women are “into” shoes in a way that men aren’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      [WARNING: The following comment contains menswear content irrelevant to an automotive commentary website. Proceed at your own risk.]

      “Shoes” comments are seen as misogynistic because it implies that only women care about shoes. Which is both true and not true. Women are much more likely to have more shoes, yes, but to imply men are clueless/apathetic about shoes is equally sexist, just in the other direction.

      FWIW, all men should have the following pairs of shoes:

      -Black leather casual shoes/loafers
      -Brown leather casual shoes/loafers
      -Black oxford/derby dress shoes (for gray/black suits)
      -Brown oxford/derby dress shoes (for brown/khaki/colored suits)
      -Shower sandals/flip-flops (ONLY for the shower)
      -Regular sandals (unless you think you have ugly feet)
      -Tennis shoes, neutral color
      -Beat-up old tennis shoes
      -Workboots
      -Galoshes/overshoes/rubber boots
      -Slippers/”house shoes”

      If you live south of the Mason-Dixon line or west of the Mississippi, you can substitute black or brown cowboy boots for either the casual or dress shoes, depending on how well you keep them shined.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Glad to see the B&B is just as opinionated on what shoes other people should wear as it is about what cars other people should drive.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          B&B…? Sorry, all I’m coming up with there is “Bed and Breakfast.” Help me out here.

          The whole shoes spiel was pretty much just to show how much the average man should think about what he’s wearing. People are free to wear what they want, just as they are free to drive what they want. But since clothing is essentially about looks (or achieving “a look”), would you not agree that a guy wearing a suit looks better in dress shoes than in Nikes?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        No one makes overshoes in size 15 and that makes me sad. I end up wearing waterproof boots in the winter, and my less nice oxfords on rainy days the rest of the year. It could all be solved by overshoes!

    • 0 avatar

      I routinely buy shoes without trying them on. Thanks, shoes.com !

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      There is some weight to the issue though. There was a recent controversy all over the internet about DC Metro’s recent ad campaign – one woman talking about bus maintenance, the other responding with, “Can’t we just talk about shoes?” And of course, there was a corresponding male version: “Can’t we just talk about sports?”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2013/12/04/shoes-sexism-and-metro/

      So yeah, I buy her argument that, in bringing up shoes, the guy was being sexist. Reinforced by his later reference to driving with heels. What a meathead.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I’ve bought shoes without trying them on. It’s called the Internet. If they don’t fit, resell them on eBay. If they fit, you’ve saved money.

  • avatar

    Our worst writer lost me the moment she jumped on the feminazi track in response to an innocent question about shoes. Guess what, I do not buy shoes without trying them on either. Jeez. Just The Worst.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      +1

      She probably got an “A” in her Women’s Studies class in college.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I see that I’ve stumbled onto the ironic part of the thread. (Hint, gentlemen: “Feminazi” is the sort of buzzword that misogynists use.)

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          And mysoginyst is the sort of word used by feminazis.

          It is both true that there are sexists and people over reacting to them and now, there is even a bunch of people using these facts to make money and gain power. Playing word games fixes nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            It’s “misogynist.” Geez… Not only do you not understand the use, pch even spelled it for you and you still couldn’t get even that right.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            And there were several ways the salesclown could have phrased the test drive and transmission statements without screaming, “I’m an a-hole, go elsewhere.”

            In fact, there are always ways to avoid use of a sexist statement but many don’t care to speak in an non-sexist way. I’m always happy to see it cost them business.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I gave all of you a hint that wasn’t particularly subtle. Apparently I should have dispensed with the niceties, and just slammed it into your rock-hard heads.

            If you don’t want to look like a dumb sexist pig, then don’t say dumb sexist things. If you don’t want to look like a dumb bigot, then don’t say dumb bigoted things. If you don’t want to look dumb or crazy, then just don’t say dumb or crazy things.

            If the dumbness shoe fits, then you’ll just have to wear it, even if it isn’t comfortable or doesn’t look good on you. It’s best to just not go there unless you enjoy the embarrassment.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            If you want me to take the time to check my writing, you can pay me. Otherwise, deal with it or ignore it. Who wants to pay?

            I’m not applying labels here, I am objecting to the habit of trying to control thought and discourse by manipulating language. It doesn’t advance anything to label someone because they chose a particular word. It especially doesn’t help if every term describing a particular thing is politically incorrect because the thought police don’t want that thing discussed?

            I don’t understand most of you guys’ responses. They really have nothing to do with my point. If you want to do something positive about sexism, then I suggest you do something positive instead of snarky name calling. Now, if you prefer to pose as pro feminist then continue on. Maybe a woman will get fooled by it and like you.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s odd how a guy who devotes much of his internet time to redefining words to suit himself is allegedly concerned about manipulation.

          • 0 avatar

            In their own words:

            “I vastly prefer the old blood.”

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/housekeeping-tied-to-the-whippin-post/#comment-3005593
            ——

            “Our worst writer lost me the moment she jumped on the feminazi track in response to an innocent question about shoes.”

            “She probably got an “A” in her Women’s Studies class in college.”

            “And mysoginyst is the sort of word used by feminazis.”

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            PCH, you keep saying that, but every time it really comes down to it, I agree to agree to any definitions of the terms you want and then you change the argument or connect your argument to the point at hand. You just like to label, snark, condescend, and pose without ever getting to the point.

            You were attempting here to shut down Zaitcev’s argument by labeling him based on his use of a simple term. I called you on it. You then simply made a different fallacious attack of saying he sounds dumb and sexist.

            If you want to call him sexist, why don’t you provide your definition first. Then we can all decide if you have a fair point or are just, as usual, trying to advance your ideological agenda through demagoguery.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Chauvinists use chauvinistic jargon, then are shocked that they are mocked for being chauvinists. It takes all kinds to make an internet, I guess.

          • 0 avatar

            > It takes all kinds to make an internet, I guess.

            Somebody has to carry the white man’s burden.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            PCH,
            If that’s your standard of classification, fine. You can say anyone who uses the term feminazi is a misogynist, and we can decide whether your judgement has value to us.

            I’m done here.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Do you promise?

          • 0 avatar

            > You can say anyone who uses the term feminazi is a misogynist, and we can decide whether your judgement has value to us.

            It’s not a coincidence these are more or less the same folks who have a hard time figuring why black folks can use the n-word but they can’t.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I’m a guy, and have never been asked about my shoes at a car dealership. Never.

          It may have been meant as an innocent question, but if the sales rep only asks it of women, then he is not being inclusive.

          A lot of research has been done on the purchasing process, testing for bias against minorities and women. Consistently, in every study, adjusting for all other variables, white men get better treatment and better pricing.

          It doesn’t make Carolyn a “feminazi” to be sensitive on the issue.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Asking yes-or-no questions is an old-school sales technique (although it is preferable to ask questions that get a “yes” response.)

            It’s a command-and-control tactic. Getting a customer to say “yes” repeatedly in response to questions and otherwise getting them to tow the salesman’s line is positioning the customer so that the salesman can ultimately “ask for the sale.”

            It wasn’t chauvisnistic per se, but it was certainly old fashioned. Millennials like to believe that they are important, and they tend to be cynical; car salesmen are going to have to learn to adjust their pitches accordingly.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Does the use of Feminazi invoke Godwin’s law?

      • 0 avatar
        challenger2012

        +100000000

  • avatar
    Pch101

    You could have entitled this, “Why Tesla Doesn’t Used Franchised Dealers.” Selling cars like those requires specialized knowledge, while the average commissioned sales grunt has no incentive at all to acquire that knowledge.

  • avatar
    koreancowboy

    (Disclaimer: current Internet Sales Manager, former salesperson. I don’t sell cars, just work leads and set appointments)

    There’s a lot of great advice here, thanks for saving me the time to write it all up LOL. One thing that I will say is that I would give the dealership a shot at getting you a better deal…if they can’t, no big deal. You’ll have a fallback with your bank/CU.

    It doesn’t surprise me about the way that you were treated though, those guys don’t know any better. Old habits are hard to break, and car salespeople have the worst ones.

    I hope and pray that dealerships move more of a retail environment, similar to Tesla’s setup. As it stands now, the gig that I have is non-commissioned salespeople only, and we generally sell cars at or below invoice.

    I really like that, as well as the expedited sales process. I’ve seen customers come in and out in under two hours…on a Saturday. Also, being on salary means that the salespeople can concentrate on delivering the best service possible, instead of worrying about whether or not they’re going to get a paycheck this week.

    Lastly, I would observe the dealership whenever you go back/go to another one. Do the salespeople seem happy? Are they working together, or against each other? It may not seem that important to you, but after being here…yeah, it makes a huge difference. This is the first place that I’ve been at where people actually work together as a team.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I agree with everything you’ve said. The car-sales environment can be really draconian to the employees, and that misery is often passed down to customers.

      • 0 avatar
        koreancowboy

        Yep, and the longer that they’ve been “in the business”, the worst that it gets.

        Not to mention that they get married/have children much later in life, tend to get divorced more frequently, have more substance abuse issues, etc.

        It’s really a young single person’s game…

    • 0 avatar
      quiksilver180

      I’ve been to a few non-commission dealerships and yes, it’s way more relaxing.

      Tesla’s model is the way to go, though I’m sure it may get more complex if you have a brand that has many models underneath, or if you need a car TODAY, but it’d be more consumer friendly and buying a vehicle wouldn’t be the most hated thing consumers go with (along with the cable and banking/credit industries)

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I’ve been car shopping and the only bad experience was being ignored by BMW. I’m an old hippy looking dude and I find it a little sad in this day that they show me more respect than Caroline.

  • avatar
    Cirruslydakota

    Ive had similar experiences over the years. Most notable being these two.

    1. Friend wanted to check out a Mini Cooper S and visited our local BMW/Mini dealership. Buying his first car and having the cash to back it up we thought it wouldn’t be any problem at all test driving one. Apparently if you show up in a 1992 Ford Tempo the sales people wont even give you the time of day let alone let you test drive anything. Fast forward about two years and my then girlfriend wants to look at a Mini Cooper S in oxygen blue. By then I had bought a 2007 Mustang GT and upon arriving at the same exact dealership we were treated like royalty.

    2. Stopped by our local ford dealer wanting to take a look at the new 5.0 to compare it to my GT which I had parked at the far end of the lot. Picked out a grabber blue model with the 6 speed and walked inside to inquire about driving it. No problem, right? Well apparently in order for me to even test drive it I had to do a credit check since this is an expensive vehicle and they didn’t want any miles being put on by kids joy riding it despite having 20+ Mustangs on the lot (I bought the car at 26, and was around 28 at the time.) I told him in a very unkind no way and made sure to drive by the showroom in mt GT. The look on his face was priceless.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “Apparently if you show up in a 1992 Ford Tempo the sales people wont even give you the time of day let alone let you test drive anything.”

      If you show up at the Chevy dealer driving a Toyota that’s less than 12 years old, the salespeople come out and drool on your car.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Again, I don’t believe in the idea of “proving” that you are a worthy customer. No car—and no product—is going to make me jump through hoops so that the salesman can “let” me test it or buy it. I’d have driven off, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Slightly different environment, but in a past life I sold big trucks: Freightliner, International, Pete, etc. I got to the point where I would not do a test drive with a walk in customer without doing a quick credit check because 9 out of 10 individuals could not finance the purchase. At first managers were not thrilled with the idea…until my closing ratio (and net profit) was best in the house. I don’t know how high end car dealerships deal with walk ins, but am curious. I can’t imagine anybody can just walk in and test drive a 911.

        Does that sound unfair? It is. But there are too many people who see test driving vehicles as free entertainment (some even bring their kids) but have no intention or ability to buy. If I wanted to ride around with people for no money I’d have been a driving instructor or taxi driver.

        Dealing with the general public is a huge pain in the ass. That’s why salesmen get cynical or get out. I finally got out.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I understand what you’re saying. I just won’t deal with it. But, purely out of curiosity, what did you say to the customers that didn’t pass the credit-checks? It must have been quite awkward…

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            You frame the “ask” as “before we look at a truck, let’s see what your financing options are since the banks have been kind of difficult lately. I want to make sure we can get you into the best truck and warranty possible. Can you think of any issues that might be a problem?”

            If they look you in the eye and say no, they are probably right. If they are “not sure” there are problems. I would usually ask “Has anybody called you about a late payment in the last year?” If they answer yes they have bad credit.

            2 minutes later, sure enough, the guy has a low FICO. I would then put on my credit counselor hat and tell them what the general problems are and give them actual suggestions that really would help them improve their credit over the long haul. I hope I helped a few people.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      When we bought our Mini we showed up in a 93 Escort, complete with early-90s peeling paint. they treated us great. We were in our 40s and dressed up for a wedding, might have been a factor.

    • 0 avatar
      Wraith

      In ’06, I went in to test drive the new VW Rabbit (this was in those few years where they called it Rabbit again, instead of Golf). Showed up in my less-than-clean Cavalier. Dealership also sold Audi, Mercedes, and a few Porsches. Guy that came out to meet me in the lot – you could tell he wasn’t too interested in making a sale on a Rabbit. He was eyeing the other end of the lot the whole time he was there. Gave me the keys and let me take it for a test drive. When I got back, he was gone. Guy at the main sales desk said he was on a test drive, showing someone a Mercedes.

      I can’t blame him for wanting to make a big commission on someone who’s probably gonna pay sticker on a $50k+ SUV. But I also assumed that’s the kind of service I’d get from that dealership in the future, as a potential or paying customer, so probably best to avoid it.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    So let me get this straight, you walked in with bitchy body language acted like a smart ass bitch and were surprised when they ignored you? They knew you weren’t the know it all you professed to be.why put 12 down on a 15k car put the money in an interest bearing financial instrument and take the longest free money you can get. If you are looking for as mug self satisfaction go strap on your informatics and go build a habitat for humanity house.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I’m still amazed that any man would talk to a woman like that. These days most cars are purchased by a woman or with a woman’s input. My last boss didn’t buy an X3 because the salesperson asked if she, “made sure that her husband was okay with making this purchase.” She’s divorced and bought a CR-V with cash instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s ridiculous. Some of these older sexist salesmen need to either get with the program or see themselves out.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “She’s divorced and bought a CR-V with cash instead.”

      There are other salespeople and other dealers. If she wanted an X3 she should’ve got one.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        In Tucson, AZ, there is one BMW dealership. Although she could have driven 2 hours to one in Phoenix, she did not want to take her car in for service at that dealership either. I remember the 5-series she traded in was in the shop often, so maybe it was for the best.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          But that is the buyer’s decision.
          She could have told the sales rep that she didn’t need anyone’s permission to buy a car, and then asked him if he could actually sell the car, or did he need the manager’s permission?

          She could have told the manager to find her a decent sales rep who would treat her respect.

          She could have contacted BMW USA and told them what happened when she tried to buy one of their vehicles, and ask them to intervene.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I agree. It was her decision. I never suggested otherwise. We make consumer decsions based on many things.

            My wife likes Lululemon yoga pants. She does not like the people that work at the Lululemon store and thinks it reflects their corporate values. She does not shop at Lululemon anymore, even though she has been happy with their products. I am happy because her yoga pants no longer cost $100.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “There are other salespeople and other dealers. If she wanted an X3 she should’ve got one.”

        I see nothing wrong with punishing BMW for having dealers with crappy personnel.

    • 0 avatar
      koreancowboy

      I actually figured that out on my own…plus, I find it easier to talk to women. Win-win.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My ex-in-laws were in a situation where the wife (as a tenured 27 year teacher) made more than the husband (truck driver for a major carrier.) If the sales man kept talking to hubby when it had been clearly stated; “it’s her car, ask her.” They would walkout of the dealership, no ifs, ands, or buts.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Caroline,

    I ran into a problem regarding financing with a recent car purchase. My finance amount wasn’t high enough to qualify for the low rate with my bank! You might do better by financing the minimum necessary to qualify for the lowest possible rate and keeping a sizeable chunk of your cash in your pocket at close. Then pay it down ahead of schedule.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Good point. I recently bought a car, was going to pay cash. Then I found I could get financing at 2.24%. That cash is still invested and I took out a three year loan.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Anytime my wife and I are car shopping, we are flooded by people running up to us with keys. Bunch of damned vultures.

    I mean last time we test drove a car, they actually gave it to us for the whole damned weekend and filled up the tank. Honda Pilot Touring 4wd. We didn’t sign sh*t.

    There’s good salespeople and bad salespeople apparently. Reminds me of the good cap, bad cop discussion the other day.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Four out of the last five cars my wife and I have purchased we test drove a car for the weekend and then factory ordered a similar car. The total deposit we placed for all of that was $0. The exception is our MKT, which we test drove for a weekend, but did not order another one since it is used.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      Okay – that has absolutely never happened to me. What am I doing wrong? I’m nearly 40, so I don’t think I look like I just stepped out of high school. I tend to be dressed for business when I scout out car purchases during work days, and it’s been a long time since financing has been a need rather than a business decision. No one has said, “hey Mr. fvfvsix, just go ahead and take that car out for an extended drive. Bring it back whenever”.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        A dealer once loaned me a car for the weekend. In my experience, this happens when they are having a lot of trouble selling the car.

        That particular vehicle never did sell out of the dealership, they were using it to ferry service customers back and forth to work some years later. I was probably their last, best hope.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The first time I was able to borrow a dealer’s vehicle for the weekend was when I ordered a 2012 Focus. Some of the launch delays restricted dealer stock at the time, but had a dealer demo. I placed the order, so they let me drive one, just to make sure I liked it.

        Since then, I’ve bought from that dealership, and they let me take an extended test drive because I order a car, and pick it up the day it arrives, with the numbers/financing already done. I’ve purchased a Focus ST, C-Max, and F-series like that. My wife’s car is a CPO MKT. I think the dealership was having a tough time selling it. They suggested that we drive it for a weekend. It still took me another week to sort out the purchase details though.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Let me just tell you, Caroline, that I feel you are completely justified in thinking that you were, if not treated in a sexist manner, unfairly-treated. But if you’re looking for sympathy or acknowledgment from this crowd, you aren’t going to get it. I think some of the people here might act just like the Chevrolet salesman in the first story if they were in his position.

    Second, you don’t need to tell them how you’re financing. You don’t have to disclose that you have cash or “assure” them that you can afford the car. The risk of wasting one’s time on an un-financeable customer is just part of the salesman territory, and if they can’t treat you right from jump, they don’t deserve your business.

    Third, I think the Sonic actually competes with the Fiesta, with the Spark being a tier lower than either of those. The Sonic still has most of that youthful styling, but the colors aren’t nearly as fun as those of the Spark.

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      Life’s hard all over in the car sales world. When I hear stories about how some folks got to test drive car a car for a weekend, the dealership either qualified them, or the salesperson has some great innate qualifying juju or that dealership is heading to ruin.

      Call it sexist or just plain tone deafness, that particular salesman is not blessed with skills. On the other hand, a fragile inclination to take offense will invariably lead one to crushing agony.

  • avatar
    Luke

    In my experiences with car sales people, it’s not a male/female thing or an age thing. They are all equally clueless about the product and they are all hackneyed and semi-condescending when speaking to “ups”. They try very hard to control the interaction, keep the upper hand, and weed out people that will cause them to have to work too hard or create problems at the close.

    They are not product specialists, they commissioned sales people there to sell you the car that they have in stock in a way that makes the most possible money for them. The system is unfriendly, it sucks for the average consumer, and almost everyone loathes having to deal with it. Buyers like Caroline, and frankly just about everyone, would be better off with a more direct way of buying cars from manufacturers.

    I’m buying a new car for myself this fall, and I’ve already consigned myself to the hassle and general suckiness that I’ll have to deal with. How many other retail experiences are like this? None. Why do we accept it?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I let Costco do the negotiating for me. The price was better than Truecar.

    That may not be your experience, but it didn’t cost me anything other than the visit. The dealer merely asked that I listen to their spiel on the extended warranty, which they fully expected I would decline.

    It was an otherwise pleasant experience.

    btw, the price is the same regardless of sex, race, age or planet of origin.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I’ve used Costco, but when my daughter needed a car we did the 3-hour dealership dance. She still tears up thinking about it, even though I did most of the haggling. Next time we’ll skip the hassle and use Costco. As you noted, you still have the dealership trying to upsell spiffs, but if you’ve done your homework it’s pretty easy to get through.

    • 0 avatar
      kenwood

      +1 here. Costco and Sam’s Club offer pretty good buying services. You don’t even need to be a member to see the prices with Sam’s. Be sure to use both of these resources before buying.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke

      Thanks for the tips on Costco. I have seen those banners in the store and it’s good to hear that it actually works. I have a question for those of you that have used the service:

      I am looking at a smaller SUVs for my next purchase, and I’m really loving the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. I’ve always wanted a “real Jeep”. I am torn, though, on leasing vs. buying mainly because I like variety and may appreciate the option to simply turn the car in after a few years of use depending on how life changes.

      Does using Costco lock you into buying vs. leasing ahead of time? Does the service work simply to find a car equipped as desired at the best possible price or is there more to it?

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        Had a so so Costco experience. The CC designated dealer refused to reveal the CC price until I insisted. Used that price at another dealer. Helped a lot there.

  • avatar
    kenwood

    I’ve had salesmen drive me off the lot as well. I even had a great joyride with a salesman in a Jetta GLX where he took me to his own demo course where he demonstrated the handling of the GLX (Hi Carl Zacak! I ended up with a CPO Audi, but should have bought the GLX, sorry. I hope you’re the GM at some dealership by now, you’re a good man!)

    After some test drives, salesguys sometimes point me to the easiest parking spot and then move the car later. I get it, they don’t know me, and they probably have some great stories to tell about customers who can’t drive. The comment about the heels was risky and a bad move, but I wouldn’t flunk the guy for that.

    He’s selling cars. Scratch that, he’s selling Chevys and it’s a lousy, competitive, dog eat dog business. His colleagues are likely joking about his spelling and choice of quotes to inspire himself too, and if a customer doesn’t buy because they think the guy is dumb, then that will lower the bar for the sales numbers. Or maybe they are all selling Chevys because they goofed off in school too much (haven’t you ever wondered what happened to those kinds of kids?) If he had a masters degree, he’d be doing something else.

    OK – time for the unsolicited advice. With $12Gs down, and the ability to take on some payments for some kind of a term, can’t you nudge the budget up a little? The quality of cars is much higher if you can go up just a few thousand. Plus, I think the Focus has a $3,000 rebate right now.

    Good luck and please do report back on your eventual purchase.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    This was a good, solid read, and echoes many of my own dealership experiences.

    However, as a sizable dude fresh-ish out of college, I get the buddy-buddy “Dudebro” treatment, where everything is high-fives and buzzwords, as if every salesman attended the same fraternity.

    Yet somehow car sales people are pathetically clueless. How hard is it to stay current on your product or incentives?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I had the misfortune of having a former high school classmate as a salesman at a Toyota/VW/Kia/Volvo/Audi place. He was dead set on me testing out a new 6spd GLI with hail damage despite my complete ambivalence and sole interest being a stripped out $15k Jetta S with the 8 valve 2.0. Tore around some back roads but was ultimately not that impressed. All the while he talked my ear off about how awesome V-dubs are and how his 2003 GTI was the fastest car in town…

      A few other dealers just told me to wander around the lot and test out whatever, all of the cars on the lot were unlocked and had keys in them (Nissan).

  • avatar
    mikedt

    How is “Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?” sexist?? Men and women both wear shoes and I’m pretty sure both sexes like trying them on before buying. If he had said high heels or a bra I might cut you some slack, but he didn’t.

    You know, just because you can be offended by anything doesn’t mean you have to be offended by everything.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      He wanted to know if she wanted to take it for a spin. The non-a-hole way to do this is to say, “Would you like to try it out?” Rather than asking an unrelated proto-question about trying shoes on, which is a thing women will consider sexist because they’re pretty sure they don’t ask men about trying shoes on and, in my experience, they’re right about that, especially with the “Sex in the City” and “Imelda Marco” vibes that shoe collections have. And, of course, he did add a follow-up question with “Honey” and “heels.”

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        My comment went into moderation. I’m probably not on the “proscribed” list, so it had to be my use of the spelt-out version of a-hole.

        Frankly, I think the spelt-out version of a-hole should be allowed. It’s not sexist, for one thing.

        Herewith… the cleansed version…

        He wanted to know if she wanted to take it for a spin. The non-a-hole way to go about this is to say, “Would you like to try it out?” Rather than asking an unrelated proto-question about trying shoes on, which is a thing women will consider sexist because they’re pretty sure they don’t ask men about trying shoes on and, in my experience, they’re right about that, especially with the “Sex in the City” and “Imelda Marcos” vibes that shoe collections have. And, of course, he did add a follow-up question with “Honey” and “heels.”

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    I’d definitely sell you a car. Only, like, you know, I don’t have one.

  • avatar

    This has to be some kind of record for fastest article to 200 comments. Maybe Baruth can get some mommy-bloggers up here too to get the crowd going.

    > One just has to wonder how long that piece of paper has been affixed to that wall, spelling errors and all.

    Good stuff, keep it up.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I like reading these car-buying experience articles. Jack or Derek sure couldn’t write this piece. It’s a different world for women buying cars, something most of us males won’t be privy to (thankfully).

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        On the other hand, Jack sold cars at an Infiniti dealership near Columbus OH and has written about life as a car salesman. He wrote about it years ago and the articles were great, one of which includes: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/capsule-review-1994-infiniti-g20-and-the-nervous-professor/

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @r u a mad scientist
      So, you want more ‘man articles’?

      It’s interesting to read how ANYONE deals with car related issues.

      We had a guy at work who stated there are blog sites that might suit your apparent taste for men better.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh Al, you just can’t quit me.

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/dispatches-do-brasil-global-ranger-arrives-in-brazil/#comment-3001001

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @u mad scientist?
          Yourself and a few others on this site make yourselves targets with the bulldust you dispense.

          If you are a scientist, use the training you were provided on how to deduce. Even ‘us’ engineers are given that training.

          It’s called logic.

          Then, maybe then I’ll treat you as an equal.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    FWIW – as I have been an outspoken critic of Caroline, I enjoyed reading about her experience.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Caroline
    Have fun! It’s amazing how car salesman try and create an image or interpretation of who they are dealing with.

    I suppose if you are young, attractive with all of the right lumps and bumps they will think you are a pushover. Male stereo typing.

    My suggestion is to continue on using your veil of knowledge and trump them.

    I can’t believe the car sales man haven’t a process or processes in place to make a sale.

    When buying a car work out how much you want to pay for a particular product, be reasonable about the value of the product. Then go for it. Be prepared to walk away if you aren’t satisfied.

    Also, let the salesman know when he has incorrect information. You also set the boundaries of the sale and tell them what you want to know, not what they want to tell you. This will make them think harder at how to hold a discussion with you to make the sale.

    Another tactic is to disrupt his set selling process and make him think. This will make it easier for you to get the deal you want.

    And don’t ever let them know how much you have to spend. Just what vehicles you are interested in. When it comes to money, listen to what they have on offer, but research you financial situation! Know what you can and can’t spend!

    I hope you enjoy your new toy.

    Buy a diesel Colorado when they come out;)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great article!

    I might avoid Spark though, even if half this guy’s story is true then run:

    http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/chevrolet/spark/

    Other folks reported similar stuff:

    http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/chevrolet/spark/single-page/

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “A piece of the vehicle flew off at highway speeds; Chevy was unable to determine what it was.”

      I can only guess that so many pieces had fallen off, they couldn’t decide which one had fallen off just then.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Thoroughly enjoyed your article Caroline. Hope there is a Part II.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “One just has to wonder how long that piece of paper has been affixed to that wall, spelling errors and all. Does he really look at it every day? How has NOBODY in the entire dealership noticed it?”

    I was in a large high school in my district observing teachers (back when I was a central office “trouble shooter” for classroom processes). The classroom I was in was used by JORTC and there was a picture frame hanging on the wall with a framed quote “Do your best every day and EXCEPT change” (emphasis mine).

    Wow how inspiring for those Junior Officers in Training to “except” themselves from change.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    FWIW, there is no Fiesta S hatch, only the ‘trunk-back’ sedan is in plain wrapper trim.

    Also, I’ve bought cars that may have not been ‘rock bottom’ price, but I was treated well, and didn’t have to drive 200 miles.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Well, not to stereotype or anything, but a considerable pluraility of car salesmen are bat shit crazy. Caroline will never see the guy again, so what does she care if he’s sexist or not? She didn’t get very far, but if she did she would have gone through the litany of gender neutral b.s. which would have also ticked her off.

    I can certainly see going with a car buying service. Its a time saver and probably worth the extra $300-$400 bucks you pay.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Way to go, Caroline! You got over 300 comments the first day the article is up. Of course, if a guy had written it, looking for a car for his daughter, there would probably be less than 100 comments. For a writer looking for clicks and comments, appealing to male chauvinism really pays off.

    • 0 avatar
      Wraith

      It sounds like you’re saying a female writer’s work, and audience response to it, is to be judged in a different light than a male writer’s. That you don’t trust the (largely male) audience here to respond honestly to an article like this. That this article is just looking for sympathy comments.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Possible on your first point. I think there are two factors at play here (1) Caroline is not a random person needing advice and had written articles in the past and (2) this is a great article with good subject matter. Advice columns tend to draw in the same people over and over plus/minus people who have been in a similar situation. This article speaks to something more people can relate to, a jerky sales/dealer experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I should have got back here sooner. You’ve made a hell of a lot of assumptions, Wraith. I was referring primarily to the response of this commentariat of a woman writing about cars, not that anyone should judge any writer’s work by gender. As Nate mentions below, too many snarky comments about Caroline’s articles keep coming from this audience.

        Secondarily, I was referring to the chauvinism displayed by salesmen in the article. I’ve got sisters and a couple widowed aunts who have gone car shopping alone, and have heard the stories. I said nothing about sympathy, but this site and the internet generally run on producing comments and clicks, and this topic is well known among men who have spouses/girlfriends/female relatives.

        I was congratulating Caroline on exposing a hot-button issue. I guess that old saying is true: you cannot speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.

  • avatar

    ” If they aren’t willing to try to sell a girl with 66-80% of the sticker price in her pocket in cash, who ARE they willing to sell a car to?”

    Dealerships don’t make money off selling cars, they make money off financing them. Kickbacks from the bank. If you get set up to finance the other 3 grand of the purchase at 2.9% for a year, they’re not making any money.

    Especially on the cars like Fiesta, Spark, Sonic, etc. No margin.

    I’d look at at Sonic LT Turbo manual. You can get them around 15, and they are LOTS of fun.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    If anyone, ANYONE talked to a woman like that on my lot I’d give them one warning and then immediate dismissal. I’m new to the brand so occasionally I might get that deer in the headlights look about legacy features on older models, but that’s why I have the smart phone. I can look it up, or call someone who knows.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Most of the people I work with are female and almost all of them have had similar experiences as Caroline.
    One of my wife’s colleagues who is into horses wanted to buy a diesel Excursion for pulling horse trailers and as a second family vehicle. The salesman told her point blank to come back with her husband to talk trucks.
    My wife has had similar experiences with me standing right there. The guy talked over her to me. My kids pointed out that they didn’t like the back seats and the salesman basically said that it wasn’t up to them to decide.
    I’ve had salesmen pull stupid shit on me but it is much worse with women. One of my friends asked me to go with her to look at vehicles because she was tired of the BS.

    I wonder if Ruggles will grace us with his considerable sales knowledge???

    Now…….. now……….. little woman……….. leave the car talk to us men.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Welcome back Caroline ! .

    After the first few snarky replies I stopped reading , I hope you find one salesperson who wants to earn your $ .

    ” somewhere west of laramie ” .

    -Nate

  • avatar

    They make a LOT on financing, so having a huge down payment doesn’t necessarily help you. You might actually be better off financing most of the car & paying it off early. You’re probably way more likely to get discounts that way.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow ~

    I’ve been busy but wanted to see how the comments shook out , they’re all over the map but very informative and entertaining too ! .

    -Nate

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