By on October 28, 2014

Two Bros Talking To A Sales Bro About A Car

As you all know, the TTAC Zaibatsu prides itself on not having to worry about things like upsetting brands for telling it like it is for a given product. Of course, this does sometimes mean we get blackballed by said brands for not drinking the Kool-Aid, but we have our ways around those roadblocks.

Alas, Edmunds doesn’t have those ways, resulting in a series of ads retracted after a number of dealers took issue with the content.

According to AdAge, the automotive research site created a series of ads parodying outdated sales techniques that made car-buying a headache for quite a few; the headache hasn’t gone away, with 83 percent of consumers surveyed in 2014 by Edmunds would like to do away with negotiations altogether.

The parodies focused on a supermarket cashier using said techniques to persuade shoppers to haggle for their purchases. The results were filmed via hidden camera, then posted on YouTube.

Alas, it was not to last: A number of its partners found little humor in the adverts, feeling they undermined their relationship with Edmunds. A few showrooms went as far as to unsubscribe from the site’s portfolio of services.

Though it had no intention to take the series down at first, Edmunds relented. President Seth Berkowitz said the series “missed the mark,” and that the company would go back to improving the car-buying process with its dealer partners “for car shoppers around the country.”

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100 Comments on “Edmunds Retracts Haggling Parody Amid Dealer Outcry...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    They can’t even laugh at themselves. Poor sports. That parody is great!

  • avatar
    319583076

    Zaibatsu? Is Bertel back there somewhere?

    And….car salesmen are like those horseshoe crabs that haven’t significantly evolved forever. In my experience, they won’t listen to a word you say and they just keep on the script while poorly employing the ‘sales techniques’ that end up driving me out of the showroom.

  • avatar
    buzzdsm

    I remember when Edmunds use to be a decent place to research a car. Now it just seems to be a front for the auto industry. Their pricing engine is a complete joke that always favors the dealerships.

    The one thing I will give them credit is on their long term car updates but it’s almost like they want to hide that content.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Edmunds reported that the average savings off KF MSRP for the last new vehicle we purchased (in December of last year) was $3,400ish something, when the MSRP was just under 39k, and the out the door price I negotiated, including 6% sales tax, was $32,6ish.

      In other words, for that make, model and trim level, I saved more than twice as much as what Edmunds reported was the average savings for a similarly equipped vehicle, rendering Edmunds pretty much useless, IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        AustinGuy

        December is supposed to be a good month to buy a car, but how did you get the dealer to come down about $8k?

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        KBB and Edmunds are worth it to find the invoice price, to get an idea of market conditions and see any manufacturer to dealer rebates. Usually, you can take advantage of manufacturer to dealer rebates and they will even dip into their holdback to move most new cars if you know what you want and are direct, so you often can end up way below invoice.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I agree, DW.

        Edmunds pricing seems to just be a joke at this point. A bunch of people I know bought vehicles over the last six months, and I think the average off sticker discounts was almost exactly 2X what Edmunds had. A friend of mine bought a Ram 1500 that stickered at about $41,000, and got, without a lot of struggles, about 10,000 off, and was driving home less than an hour after he went in. I wonder what he could have done if he had gone into siege mode and sat there all day, like another friend will do. I think Edmunds had it at about $5100 off MSRP. I priced a Challenger R/T on Edmunds, and I think the discount was about $1600, and it was hard to find any dealer that didn’t have $3000 on a new ’15 and about $5K off a leftover ’14. Sadly, Edmunds has become totally useless, with regards to pricing anyway. Truecar seems to be almost as far off what you really can pay, if you make any effort, too.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I used to go to Edmunds and Consumer Guide Automotive, as well as MSN Autos for my reviews and etc.

      Now, Edmunds is only about new cars, and it’s very hard to find the reviews and used content.

      Consumer Guide Auto is gone.

      MSN Autos is now Road & Track Magazine, and all used content is gone.

      It’s a sad time for me.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Road & Track died when it moved and merged with Car & Driver in Michigan, we just missed the obituary and memorial service, that’s all. The new editors think they’re the automotive equivalent of The Onion.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Buying a car is like going to the dentist – a painful, draining experience to be avoided (but you do leave with a nicer smile/shiny car), and a big financial dent.

    Seems to explain the procrastination effect.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      I was moseying a Ford/Kia lot yesterday looking at Transit Connects and Souls. Got glommed onto by a Velcro Vic type and eventually had to get a bit abrupt with him.

      Since I have this week off and want to visit other dealerships, I’ve decided that if a salesman won’t take “just looking” for a brush-off I’m going to start prefacing things I say with:

      “Well, my husband and I..”

  • avatar
    dwford

    There’s a simple solution to hating the negotiating process: pay the MSRP. All the haggling haters suddenly love it when the salesman sits down with the first set of numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Lie back and think of England

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Yeah, but then someone else might get a better price than me, and that’s not fair.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Don’t you mean pay MSRP plus pinstripes plus summer vehicle package plus dealer fee plus platinum extended warranty plus tire warranty plus deluxe maintenance package plus dealer financing?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “You see the price on that sticker? Well, that’s the price you’re gonna pay for this car. Not a dime more for the football star!”

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      dwford,

      That’s funny. Agree to pay MSRP, and the dealer sits you down with the first set of numbers. You’ve been to a dealer before, haven’t you?

      Start with the ‘documentation fee’, which is NEVER already rolled into the list or posted price, and which is always dumped on you at the very last moment. And the extra fees continue.

      Which reminds me of a joke. What do you call a dealer car salesman who can’t stop lying? Sales Manager.

  • avatar
    oobitsa

    Humorless dolts. I’ve found that most showroom car salesman are benign. The responsibility for misleading and screwing the buyer has shifted to the business office who push overpriced service plans.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      oobitsa, I would agree with you about the floor salesmen. I’ve been car shopping lately and the salesman at Mazda was helpful with the test drive and the kids while I was fitting child seats and didn’t mind that I had no intention buying that day as my wife wasn’t with me and couldn’t see the car for a few days. Last night at Hyundai the salesman was similarly helpful, but his manager was old-school high-pressure jacka$$ with a short guy complex that didn’t want to let us leave at 8:30 at night with kids that were starting to throw a fit and set off car alarms in the showroom. Manager guy even *insisted* on setting a firm appointment for a return visit, which salesman said “just call me if you need to change anything” after manager walked off.

      Sales personnel experience aside, I’m more than a bit put off before even beginning the negotiation process. Mazda had already vin-etched the windows. Hyundai had ADM stickers worth about $3k on EVERY car with a handwritten price and handwritten year/make/model as the only “explanation” for the price. Honda (also tested a Fit, similar salesman experience, although initial impression was stuffed-suit greasers all leaning on the car I wanted to test waiting to pounce) also had “adm” sticker with “tape stripe” addon, although the kids clearly didn’t fit in the Fit so it wasn’t worth the sales hassle.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I wish I understood those ADM mark-ups better. Not for the high-demand, low volume cars. I’m talking places like the Nissan dealership near me, that adds $3,000 to the price of every car on the lot, from the Versa to the 370Z.

        It can’t be as simple as just trying to raise the negotiating floor, is it?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Haggling isn’t absurd, even over groceries. It’s pretty standard practice in most parts of the world and in most dealmaking aside from the retail level. Absurdity is blindly paying the asking price for everything one buys.

  • avatar

    We use Edmunds/True Car etc. And ya know what? Most customer still try to negotiate even if they don’t have a trade. I also find the folks that use these services tend to give worse surveys than normal walk on the lot customers. Trust me folks, you want negotiations. MSRP is a fair price, but we need to stay in business with volume so we are willing to earn less than we should (and far lower percentages than other industries like your local food store), and less than we would in a full “no negotiations” situation. Or you can just go to CarMax.

    • 0 avatar

      Also I should specify that at our dealership such buying services are based on an offset of invoice (typically below), so there is no “doubling discounts offered by Edmunds”. It’s not exactly hard to find how low a dealership can sell a car for before you even stop in and then buy it from the first guy who spends time ensuring you’re getting the right car. We make a living selling cars, not showing them. 99% of things I hate to tell customers are because if I don’t pressure them, they are likely to think I’m really nice and drive to the next dealer and buy it from them for $100 less because it’s just not worth the drive back over. Dishonest customers cause the sales environment. Trust me, I’m a sales person!!! (Ha)

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        ” if I don’t pressure them, they are likely to think I’m really nice and drive to the next dealer and buy it from them for $100 less because it’s just not worth the drive back over. Dishonest customers”

        And here’s my point being made. You are a commodity at best, an impediment at worst. There’s nothing “dishonest” about a customer shopping around for the best price, they don’t owe you anything.

        When we bought my wife’s VW, she wanted white with black interior. On the lot, they had white with tan interior. Sales guy kept telling me “if you buy the one with tan, we’ll make you a great deal!” Finally I said, okay, what would my deal be, and he quoted me something like $500 off what I was being asked to pay for a dealer transfer one with black. I asked him to put it in writing, he did, then I grabbed the piece of paper and started to get up. He asked where I was going, and I said, “to buy from a dealer that has what I want in stock who can beat this price.” Guess who got the $500 off on a dealer transfer, even though he whined about how it was “unfair”? Tough cookies, welcome to the information age.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Similar thing happened to me at a furniture store. They complained when I asked them to price match.

          “Well we are a family run company etc”

          I’m like cool story, but I’m leaving unless you meet this online price I have right here.

          And they did.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        OK, I get that you have to deal with all of the general public. My last dealership experience consisted of a 15 minute phonecall where the salesmen gave me a short bio of himself and his “racing” career. He then told me how smart he is to order base model cars without a bunch of packages for enthusiasts, much to his co-workers chagrin. He knew the exact car I was interested in – 2015 Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6MT. I was able to say that I appreciated the base car as that’s what I would order myself.

        I meet him for a test-drive. I get another 15 minute bio about his racing career and how he orders these enthusiast specials, we leave the dealership travelling the opposite direction of the road I explicitly told him I’d like to drive because he is driving it off the lot. When we get back to the dealership after a pretty unremarkable test drive – I ask for his price and he leads me into his office to start working a 4-square. And…30 seconds after we sit down, he jumps up and leaves. I waited somewhere between 5-10 minutes before I got up and left.

        I’m sure he couldn’t tell you my name, he certainly doesn’t know what I do, what kind of cars I’m interested in, why I’m looking at the Challenger, what I know about cars or the car-purchasing process, etc…

        I appreciate that you deal with clueless shoppers and dishonest people. I don’t appreciate being treated like one of those people. If you treat me like one of those people, I will leave and you will never sell me a car.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re correct here. The salesperson often mistakes building report with talking about themselves. A good sales person will have the customer talking about themselves. Gets you imagining yourself in your new car, which I just happen to be letting you test drive.

          If you’re a very straight forward customer (nothing wrong with that), then I will likely forget you in a week because you just came in, offered a reasonable price, and bought a car.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      ” we are willing to earn less than we should (and far lower percentages than other industries like your local food store)”

      Your profit margins are tiny because no one is willing to pay for your “services”, ie, standing between me and the car I’d like to buy.

      • 0 avatar

        Eh, while some people know what they want (and I encourage them to order it, I make that pretty easy too), a very high majority really don’t have the care/time to learn the features and benefits of each car. You may be surprised by how many people come on a lot with little idea what they want, and what is available. Unless you buy directly from a farmer, you’re not getting direct food services either, because most people prefer some sort of processing.

        • 0 avatar
          mikedt

          I’m sure you’re telling the truth (never underestimate the stupidity of the general public) but I still find is shocking that people can walk onto your lot, about to spend 20-40 grand, and yet have little idea of what they want/need before they get there. On just about anything above a $ingle digit purchase I have it fully researched and my mind made up before I ever hit a store.

          • 0 avatar

            If everyone knew what they wanted, my job would be cake and I wouldn’t get paid as much. Trust me I say the same thing as you just stated almost word for word to my fellow sales folks, especially when I’m training new guys. I think a big part is very few people comprehend what $20k is because they break it down to a monthly payment. Also they aren’t car folks. They would be bored in the first paragraph of anything here and certainly wouldn’t realize some of the best parts of the article are in the comments.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            I don’t buy anything more expensive than a soda without researching it, either. But I’m sure Frantz gets plenty of customers who haven’t done more than watch a few video reviews about the cars they think they’re interested in.

            I’ve just seen an example in my own family, sad to say. Go out looking at RAV4s and CR-Vs, come back with a 37K Cherokee Trailhawk.

            Some people *want* to be zoomed.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “Unless you buy directly from a farmer, you’re not getting direct food services either, because most people prefer some sort of processing.”

          A grocery store provides a valuable service, they buy all kinds of food from all over and all different manufacturers and offer it all to me in one place. That’s a convenience, and a value to me as a consumer. A car dealer might move one car to an area for me (which I pay for, in the form of delivery) but I’m paying for a product, the car, not a service, the dealer/sales guy, so it behooves me to try and minimize my payout to the sales guy because it’s a distraction to what i’m actually buying.

          • 0 avatar

            Any anyone who has done market research and makes me an offer on ordering them their perfect car pretty much at our cost (so we still get the Ford kickbacks) won’t be turned away. If you haven’t done your research I’m going to start at MSRP, because about 10% of people will pay it. The worst way to negotiate is to ask for a “best price”. At least with me, it signals you honestly feel that unless a dealership is losing money then you are getting ripped off. I don’t want you as a customer and my manager/owner doesn’t want to lose money.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Trust me folks, you want negotiations. MSRP is a fair price…”

      The troll be strong with this one.

      • 0 avatar

        The only thing that makes you feel MSRP is too high is because you expect to pay less. You likely pay MSRP on 99% of the products that you buy which have far higher markups. I’m not trolling my friend, I’m offering the mirror perspective in the matter. When I get bored (often) I read “how to buy a car” online, and laugh with how horrible the advice is for quick negotiations.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          They have far higher markups on a percentage basis, not a dollar basis. Say, a DVD is marked up about 1000%, but it’s still only $20 total. A car might be marked up 2%, but 2% of $30k is still $600.

          BTW, food stores (not Whole Foods, etc) run about a 2% profit margin if run correctly.

          • 0 avatar

            We sell less cars per day than folks sell DVDs. It’s a business so inventory represents an investment. If you invested $30k (or financed an investment of $30k as most dealers do), wouldn’t you want to be able to at least pay interest and earn a little money? When someone does a true cash transaction and uses edmunds we make a few hundred bucks on a $30k investment. I get a mini $100 commission (that comes out of profit). I avg 12 cars a month, that wouldn’t be a living.

            I can be sympathetic to the concept that some folks just want to buy their car from a factory. I would fall under this category myself. But most people want a test drive and someone to show them how the car works. If the factories set these up, then it would be the same over head, only you’d have dealers spaced farther apart and less price competition, and higher prices. I don’t care if I work for Ford or my company, I’d get paid the same. You probably would end up paying more without the dealership networks how they are as all the ownership liabilities would fall back on the OEM.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Wrong. You don’t pay $30k for that car, you finance it. It’s not a $30k investment, you’re trying to earn enough to pay your overhead and debt service.

            New car sales are like flipping houses for profit, except the dealership isn’t adding value – you’re just a middleman between the manufacturer and customer and like house flippers, you’re banking on selling that financed commodity before the first interest payment (or some multiple thereof) in order to profit.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “I can be sympathetic to the concept that some folks just want to buy their car from a factory. I would fall under this category myself. But most people want a test drive and someone to show them how the car works. If the factories set these up, then it would be the same over head, only you’d have dealers spaced farther apart and less price competition, and higher prices. I don’t care if I work for Ford or my company, I’d get paid the same. You probably would end up paying more without the dealership networks how they are as all the ownership liabilities would fall back on the OEM.”

            My ideal model would be you’d have a center with a few different trim levels of each car, and some non-commissioned product advisors. You went in, checked out a car to test drive (bring an advisor or not, your choice) and then if you wanted to buy, there’s a kiosk where you’d spec your car and then it would be delivered from the manufacturer or regional distributor or whatever.

            That way, one could comparison shop without being pressured to buy every 10 seconds. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been 90% sure I was going to buy car A, gone into a dealer to see a competing model just to confirm I didn’t want B, EXPLAINED THAT TO THE SALES GUY, and then still gotten the hard sell and the “well, guess you’re not a serious buyer” shame talk when I don’t buy. Ya think, genius? I told you that when I walked in, and then YOU badgered me into a test drive, numbnuts.

          • 0 avatar

            “(or financed an investment of $30k as most dealers do)” -original text

            please read before posting about how wrong I am. Cheers!

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Frantz – You edited your post to include the financed part. Whether or not anyone else knows that – you and I both do. Cheers!

            And…you forgot to edit the second time you called it a “$30k investment”.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “If you invested $30k (or financed an investment of $30k as most dealers do)”

            OK, seriously.

            Dealers “floorplan” their new car inventory — they borrow the money. You’re into that car for maybe $50-100 to get it onto the lot.

            Once the car is sold, there will be some sort of holdback payment. That varies by automaker (and some don’t call it “holdback”), but that’s generally several hundred more dollars.

            Then there are volume incentives, month-end incentives, etc.

            And there may be factory-to-dealer incentives for cars that are hard to move.

            The whole car sales game is about turning inventory before the interest clock runs too high. It would behoove car buyers to know that the longer the car is on the lot, the less profitable it becomes, hence the pressure to move it.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve worked for a few dealers (briefly) and know few dealer owners. Most dealers floorplan and try to dump the car as quick as possible (this is the reason they push their stock). But they also don’t make much on your average car. I know a guy whose family has a single Chevy store. There new car sales runs about 5% gross margin after holdback and incentives. He states profit after overhead for the department is around 1% . Based on my experience the seems about right. The jeep dealer I worked for ran a higher margin but I’m sure it varies. But the thing everyone agrees on is that new sales are not the profit center, they are just a way to get people in the door (used car buyer trust franchised dealers more. The fellow with the Chevy store told me about 5 years ago that new sales accounted for 8% of dealer profit. Most of the profit was a split between used cars and service. With another 10-15% from finance. In real terms car dealers don’t make a killing on most car sales. On the floor planning I do know of at least 1 dealer who floor plans cars put pays for them in cash before the first finance charge (gmac hates him) not sure how the numbers work but he says it let’s him be more flexible both buying and selling the cars.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I’ve negotiated the purchase price or lease price (same thing, in actuality) of a minimum of 15 new vehicles (likely at least 3 or 4 more than that, but who is counting) for either myself or family members and friends, and find your comments to be consistent with the types of salespeople who do a huge disservice to your cohorts, because they presume anyone listening to your rubbish is naive beyond reasonable comprehension.

          In other words, both the tone and substance of your comments reek of the stereotypical shady car salesperson/lot lizard that besmirches your “profession.”

          • 0 avatar

            Trust me DW, I don’t share such things with my customers, I politely listen to their wants needs and help find the best car on the lot. If we don’t have one they like, I offer to order them one and sell it as though it was on the lot (no interest payments on a car we don’t have to finance for a month). If they want me to locate one so they have it sooner I get it, that does cost more. If they find it at another lot, there is no way for me to beat that price and I tell them as such, and suggest they go there without trying to make the other dealership lose. I am 100% for making my customers happy and I try to be very helpful in determing the best course of action for them. I don’t want to bury folks, because then I can’t sell them their next car. I foolishly believe some of them will be loyal to me, making my next sale easier. I start any repeat customers with a sales structure comparable with the last one they purchased, so less negotiation is needed. I’m a good chap.

            On here, I’m much more open, and I can be more bold that profit isn’t a bad word. If you want the truth about cars, you shouldn’t simply try to over-talk an insider from this part of the industry just because you seem to think you know the process better as it is today then someone who does it 150 successful times a year. I’m not trying to sell anyone here a car, I’m trying to make it easier for you and the sales guy to make an easy fair deal. If you don’t like the process, then you either like wasting your time, or you should just pay MSRP.

          • 0 avatar

            I sell 150+ cars per year as our dealerships #2 sales person, so I’m doing something right. I understand where you are coming from, but you are the minority shopper. Everyone on this site is a minority for the car industry. We care about cars and we are interested in the process. It’s foolish of you to attack me just because I’m offering the truth about cars in regards to the salesman’s perspective. I am not trying to sell any of you a car, I’m trying to make your car buying less painful (and you’ll save money in the process!) People like you DeadWeight are the types that seem to think you’re always being ripped off. I lose 2% of my commission for 3 months if I get a bad customer survey, so no, I don’t want to sell you a car. I also know you have no loyalty to me and have the right to go shop me down the street, but I also can guarantee no matter how low I make my price, they will beat it by $50…. so why should I bother to try if you aren’t willing to comit to my car here and now? While some of you may only care about the car, most customers do actually appreciate long term relationships, and having someone to call up when bluetooth isn’t connecting, or they need those all weather floor mats, or a free can of touch up paint.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Frantz,

            You’re wrong about me – I get that you’re in business to make money. I don’t approach new car buying with a chip on my shoulder and try to force you into a sale where you lose money. Conversely, I expect to be treated like an intelligent human being. Explicitly, don’t play sales games with me, don’t pressure me, and especially don’t lie to me. You’ve edited several comments in this thread more than once in what I assume is an effort to appear right, or possibly, honest. This action alone demonstrates to me that you are a dishonest person. Ergo, you’re one of the car salesmen that will definitely drive me out of your dealership. Since you’ve already assumed an adversarial position against me and since in my experience, that’s what I can expect from car salesmen (in addition to being treated like a moron) we find ourselves right where we both expected to be.

            If you don’t understand that this system is broken, we have nothing further to discuss.

            Good luck.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Begun this troll wars, has.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @Frantz – You won’t get much sympathy around here, but as the public gets better at buying new cars, you’ll likely be replaced by pimple faced teenagers. But salesmen/BS artists are still much in demand in the service department.

      Although there’s still a killing to be made at the used car dept. That won’t change.

    • 0 avatar

      The comments I’ve edited I did to either correct wording (which I can be poor with), or to remove potentially pointed attacks that I didn’t think were of value. I assure you I did not add the acknowledgement of floorplans being financed, it doesn’t matter even if I did, and I apologize for be quick to make issue of it. Editing keeps things cleaner then continuing to add more comments. I am not trying to sell cars here, as I’ve said. I am telling you how it is on our end. I’ve been 100% honest since my first post, and I have no reason to make stuff up. Yes, we get holdback, its about 3% of invoice (we don’t get this on a locate many times, but we do on orders). Sure there are other incentives. There are also other cost such as getting the vehicle prepped, and inspected and then washed again when we sell it, just to keep things simple.

      I am not looking for sympathy, but I do think several of you are missing the value I’m trying provide you.

      *MSRP is a fair price
      *You have all the tools at your side to spend considerable less, but you don’t need to shop more than one dealership to accomplish this. Doing so is a waste of your time, and impacts sales income, lowering customer service.
      *Being reasonable with your salesperson, and committing to buy from them if you can reach a agreeable deal to you will save you all the aggravation of buying a car, just don’t ask the salesman what a best price is and expect a real answer. Best is an absolute, and it doesn’t exist here.
      *If you think saving $100 is worth several hours of your time, you don’t get paid enough, and you didn’t do enough market research before starting
      *If you think I’m the slime of the universe and walk in and treat me less than you would want to be treated, then you are the start of the poor service you experience. There are horrible people in sales, but there are a greater percentage of horrible customers, after all, we don’t stay in sales if we are horrible because we’ll starve to death for not selling.
      *Every car counts for us, telling us you are shopping does make you a non-serious buyer because we won’t see you again. Your perspective is different, but it is better for our income to “dust you” than to spend our time on someone who wants to shop. Law of averages. Every honest sales guy starts trying to be low pressure because we hate it too, but you can not sell the volume we need to for a living without it. For every person like you, acting reasonably by your standards, there are 4 “good” deals we’d miss for a very low probability of getting your “mini” deal.

      If you have any questions, I’m happy to provide my opinion (obviously). If you don’t want to believe me, keep reading online guides on buying cars and waste alot of time and likely money.

  • avatar
    April

    Oh yes, the stereotypical salesmen antics are still happening. I felt a bit patronized when the salesman told me how the Mazda2 I was looking at goes “zoom zoom”. Oh, and how it had a great radio (like that is what women are only interested in) in spite me asking some specifics on several mechanical details.

    o_O

  • avatar
    mikey

    Last February I did a complicated deal involving two vehicles traded in, and buying a company demo, and using my retiree discount. To make it more complicated I’m kind of tied to the house these days….

    {its life ya play the hand your dealt}

    My former boss was driving the Impala I wanted. So that part was easy. I took the Camaro out of storage and drove it to the dealership, two miles away. They did thier thing. I drove the Camaro home, and drove my truck back to the dealer, and got the salesman to drive me home. I was away from the house for no more than an hour.

    Three days of phone calls, Emails and texts, all from the comfort of my home. I just sat here with my calculator. I found the experience far better than sitting in a cubicle. I had time to think, through each offer/proposal. The rest of the deal was painless.

    The salesman understood my problem. The Impala fits my needs perfectly. Oh yeah, I took a little bath, and I’m sure the salesman, and the dealership, made some money. That’s also one of life’s realities.

  • avatar
    thenerdishere

    The dealership experience will change only if state dealership laws change. Since dealers slip much more money to lawmakers than car buyers, no change will be coming.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, I’m no fan of the “new” Edmunds. I used to visit the site to get information, now it just gets clogged up trying to sell me a car. (Actually, if I want that, True Car is a much smoother experience.)

    That said, the answer to their question is easy: an entire grocery run is maybe a couple hundred dollars. It’s not worth anyone’s time to shave a few percent off that. A car is expensive; that’s why people negotiate. A house is expensive; that’s why people negotiate. The “price” is not some abstract constant, like, say the force of gravity. It’s a product of a set of unique and non-repeatable circumstances: how badly does the seller want to sell and how badly does the buyer want to buy, at that particular moment.

    Most of the unpleasantness can be dealt with in two ways: (1) go to school before you buy — find out everything you can about your possible choices, what they cost, etc. Have some preference ranking, recognizing that the seeing and driving the car “in the flesh” may cause you to re-figure those priorities and (2) make a concerted effort to be nice and pleasant yourself. It really makes the whole transaction easier if there’s less friction. If the other guy isn’t being nice, stop dealing with him. I had a car salesman start to yell at me. I immediately got up, went to the sales manager and told him that if he wanted to sell that car to me, he was going to put someone else on the other side of the table.

    You have to understand that its pretty easy to get a job as a car salesman these days, because the dealership risks almost nothing in them. So, there are all kinds of incompetents and fools doing it. If you’re lucky, you run into one of the professionals . . . but you may not be lucky.

    The dealership does add value: it provides a physical sample of the car you might buy, so you can touch it, feel it and drive it before you buy. It also facilitates the sale of your old car (if you want to sell it). If you want to buy a car sight unseen, based on car mag reviews and Consumer Reports alone, be my guest. I think few people are willing to risk being dis-satisfied with something that expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      Edmunds had some good content with their Inside Line section, but it’s now hidden under an inconspicuous “What’s Hot” link somewhere in the middle of the home page. The content has also suffered a bit, but the fact that it seems purposely hidden is quite the turn-off. It’s like they want to quietly make the good stuff go away.

      No doubt an accounting decision made under the assumption that their core “true pricing” function is immune to competition. Sad and short-sighted.

  • avatar
    Carilloskis

    Most car dealers profit on service and parts not sales I dont even want to speak with a sales man i just want a person to order the vehicle since my next truck is likly to be blinged out and MSRP over 60k theres nothing to really up sell me on . I have browsed dealerships when im getting service, the dealer is pretty low pressure i tell the salseman that im just brosing and my raptor is in for service, they never have raptors in stock so they know that they arent going to sell me anything we just bs about trucks and the compition occasionally they will try to get me to test drive something in the hopes i like it better,which i never do , but they dont pressure me into a back room, unlike GM who pretty much forced me to take a test drive then even put me in a cubical even after i said that i didn’t like the truck.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    They don’t like their business model “threatened” (Tesla), they are not coping with a bit of parody poking (accurate )fun at their business practices and they don’t seem to like selling cars they don’t want to (overwhelming personal experience and observations of TTAC comments).
    They cry they are looking after the customer but I expect it’s themselves that are No. 1. Some would use words like arrogance and selfishness, me I would not be so kind…

  • avatar
    TW5

    Haggle or no-haggle makes little difference. The dealership is still going to hard-sell every service and accessory they offer, after you agree to buy the car for a certain price. Some of it will be unscrupulous nonsense, like charging you to activate an alarm that is already installed on the vehicle or trying to charge you for security lugs, when the vehicle includes them as standard.

    When you walk into a dealership one of two things will happen: you will crack skulls and market pricing will prevail or you will surrender your wallet. There is no middle ground, and most dealerships make that clear from the first handshake.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I don’t trust any dealership salespeople. I know they are there to maximize their profit at my expense. I also recognize that they need to make a profit, this is something that escapes a lot of hagglers. My method for car shopping is simple, but you need to live in a large metro area with multiple dealerships to really make it work. Be prepared to put in an 8 hour day but go visit several dealerships, tell them you are ready to buy today and get prices, go to next dealership, then the next. After at least three, go back to the first and see if they can match, and then second, then third. Chances are you hit someone’s bottom dollar pretty quickly with that method and when they are all roughly even, go with the guy you thought was fair and straightforward. I will never go with anyone who gives me a price and then comes down significantly during the course of haggling. I will always go with the guy who started at a reasonable price.

    • 0 avatar
      fendertweed

      I’ve done that but will do the prelude by email, letting them know that I AM buying and that I’m basing my dealer visits & final choice on the prices I get from my inquiries for the “OTD” (out the door) price including all dealer fees, taxes, etc.

      I don’t care how they allocate within that to dealer doc fee, etc., I just want to compare bottom line figures and go from there.

      It worked fairly painlessly on my last buy. I believe in letting dealers make profit, I want them there to service my car if I need it and to go to bat for me with the mfr if needed on warranty issues (as I’ve had to do once).

      My favorite non-buy was the day I told the salesman I WAS buying a car today and told him what I wanted to pay (a fair price, I knew, because I had some inside info on dealer prices from a dealer source in my family). He said they’d lose money on that deal. I said I knew they wouldn’t, but he wouldn’t let me talk to a manager so I left and went to another dealer who made me a deal at least as good as I wanted. Dealer #1 sales manager called me the next day to ask about my car buying and I enjoyed telling him I bought the car from his competitor yesterday for the price his sales guy told me was “impossible.”

      ;-o

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    It must be hell to admit you’re a car dealer, or try to sympatize with car dealers on this site. I haven’t bought more than 2 cars at a dealership (well, technically the 2nd was a private buy, but I bought it from the dealer who sold me the first one) but I feel pretty confident in claiming that not all dealers are the same. And I’m pretty sure I can say the same for the customers. And in both these groups I think real ‘car people’ are a minority. Even as a passionate gearhead myself, I think that is just as well too. Most people have no interest in the full history of the VTEC system, or Audis Quattro-system rally wins. And most people do not know enough about cars to know exactly what they want before they go to a dealership. There is no way all customers can try all the different cars out there for themselves, in every configuration. We have to trust car reviews, and CR etc, then mix our own taste and conditions with the knowledge we can find, and then we just have to try to find the best compromise out there. This is when a good dealer can actually be very helpful. They have read the press material, they have seen many different cars, they may even have a decent idea about that the competition is offering, or they know other dealers that sell other brands.
    I’d go as far as claiming that car dealers (in most cases) provide a needed and useful service to their customers.
    And, with a new car, if they manage to ‘rip you off’ by margin of an extra % to the full price, it won’t make much(if any) difference on your monthly payments anyway. Especially when calculating in the depreciation.

  • avatar
    fendertweed

    @ Frantz,

    I’m curious about something you said. Just FYI/background, I don’t believe in being taken advantage of but I do believe in dealer loyalty where warranted, I tend to return to where I’ve gotten a good deal, I will pay a little more for better service during and after the sale, and I want a good dealer to make some $ so they’ll be there to back me if I have warranty issues (as I have on a car or 2), etc. So I’m not out to trash everyone who sells cars. My family owned a dealership going back 70 yrs. so I have seen both sides of the equation.

    You said in one post re not asking “what’s your best price” that this is the absolute wrong way to go about negotiating a quick & fair/good deal. I don’t do that, but without revealing what I do (which has worked pretty well and painlessly for both buyer & seller), I’m curious

    — what IS the best way to go about negotiating that quick & fair deal without undue pain?

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I used to rant about dealers being scammers. But you learn to play the game. You treat it as a game, and you do your homework on what the car is worth and what you’re willing to budget. You NEVER buy a car that you need that day, and be prepared to walk out.

    Don’t want to play the game? Pay MSRP or whatever the dealer offers you up front. Sales guy is a compulsive liar? Call him out on it, tell his manager how you feel and then go to a competing dealer.

    As in life, you should not expect to be handed what other people play hardball to get at a car dealer.

    Oh, I can’t afford it at MSRP, and I don’t want to haggle. Me, me, me.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The time that is devoted online to complaining about car dealers would be better spent learning how to play them.

      They’re horribly predictable. Their methods are not particularly sophisticated. They’re easily played because it’s pretty obvious what they’ll do next and how they’ll react. And unlike them, we as buyers aren’t judged by whether a transaction happens on a given day.

      • 0 avatar
        superchan7

        They remain horribly predictable because there aren’t that many people who can play them for what they are.

        Most people don’t spend as much time and effort in researching and do not have an absolute bottom line price to use as a “walk-out” cue.

        Only the most persistent people will get the best prices, and that’s why dealers still milk the rest for everything they can get.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Cue Ruggles……………….

    I’ve had one sale that did not fit the typical sales process panned by the Edmunds parody.

    I do not mind haggling but I do mind being treated like a post lobotomy patient.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This is why we don’t get much good satire these days, we can’t laugh at ourselves, at least if it doesn’t involve video games.

    With dishonesty and salesman I just want to say this, I’ve been car shopping for a few weeks now and I’ve found more liars and poor manners over craigslist than hitting the dealerships.

    Worse case was a “low mileage” Volvo 240 I test drove, drove more like it had 300k on it. The owner lied about the ownership history of it, and claimed that “all the lights work” despite a warning on the dash for a bad light. He also didn’t mention the CEL being on.

    Another case was a “police spec” Chevy Nova that turned out to just be a plain Nova with a V8 shoved into it. I left with the warning some guy would be picking it up for $1500 later, they never showed up for the car.

    Last case was an Opel Kadette wagon, the owner was VERY instant on that it “ran and drive” repeating it to no end. How you drive a car with one flat and three old dry rotted tires is beyond me. I’m sure that it ran though.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    As with everything, Buyer Beware. There are good sales people and there are bad ones as there are good people and bad people. Unfortunately there are more bad people in car sales and politics.

  • avatar
    don1967

    What an asinine video, with the $9 jug of milk and the clerk goading the customer to haggle.

    Reality in the new-car business is more like a $2 jug of milk which Edmunds goads the customer into haggling down to $1.90, while thinking nothing of paying full MSRP – which often includes markups of 100%, 200% or more – on just about everything else in their lives.

    In my younger years I was one of the good car salesmen – honest and knowledgeable – but after awhile I just had enough of “educated” consumers. Today when I hear them complaining about the lying scumbag who occupies my old job, I just smile and wave.

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