Ask Bark Brief: I've Got The Power (Or Do I?)

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
ask bark brief i ve got the power or do i

TJ writes:

Greetings Bark,

With a growing family, it’s about time for me to move out of my 2007 Frontier Crew Cab into something more family friendly. The crew cab has been great transporting our toddler, but we’re planning on having another one, and I don’t think the backseat will work for two little ones.

After a long search that has included newer midsize pickups without much more inside room, full sized cars (namely Impala, LaCrosse and Azera — nice car, horrible seats), I think I’ve settled on a V6 Accord. I have my grandfather’s old C10 for pick-up stuff once I get it running again, and my father is interested in buying my Frontier, so trade-in won’t be a problem.

I’ve test driven the Accord twice, and the dealer is absolutely pressure-free; which my wife and I appreciate. BUT…the dealer only has three V6s in stock — all standard, easy-sell black or silver. I prefer Honda’s Obsidian Blue, and the salesman said getting one shouldn’t be a problem. Am I setting myself up to get taken if I email him requesting the blue one?

It seems they’ll have the power knowing I want that car, and the closest blue EX-L V6s are 300 miles away from what I can find online.

Price has not been discussed and I’m looking at either credit union financing or Honda’s promo interest rates. Should I contact the other dealer in town, or even the one 40 miles away to see if they can beat any price given?

Thanks for any help,


I’m excited, because today I get to teach you, TJ, about my favorite car buying phrase. It goes a little something like this:

Today, I’m giving you the opportunity to sell me a car.”

People always forget that they have all the power in a car buying situation. All of it. Unless you’re buying something incredibly rare and desirable that the dealership has people lined up to buy (like, say, a Focus RS), the dealer always needs to sell you a car more than you need to buy one. Like, always.

But this is doubly true in November of 2017, when the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate is trending down, down, down. Honda was down 4.2 percent YOY for October, and there’s no sign that this is going to change. Most industry analysts believe that auto sales have peaked, and that we’re headed for a bit of a decline in new car sales for the next couple of years.

This, of course, is causing dealers to freak the eff out (see, friends, I’m trying to tone down the language for some of our more…tenured readers).

They’re looking for opportunities to sell cars more than they have in quite some time, because they’re not as prevalent as they once were. Dealers tell me every darn day of my life, “Just give me some at-bats. Give me leads. If we get ’em in here, we’ll close ’em.” This isn’t all that true, btw — most dealers would be thrilled to close one out of every four customers who walk in the door.

In your case, you’ve got all the power. You don’t need a car today. You don’t need a car tomorrow. In fact, you’re able to wait 12 weeks for a special order to show up. So here’s what you should do.

Yes, you should tell him you want the blue one, especially since it seems that color is very important to you. And yes, you should contact the other dealer in town. And the one who’s forty miles away. And all 435 dealers that have cars meeting your search criteria. Why wouldn’t you? And when you do, tell them all the same thing:

“I’m giving you the opportunity to sell a car today.” Somebody out there is desperate enough to make you a deal on exactly the Accord you want. Guaranteed.

Join the conversation
3 of 45 comments
  • S1L1SC S1L1SC on Nov 23, 2016

    Personal experience - it does not (although you might be waiting a while) I basically walked into my local dealer with the Costco car buying program offer and asked if they would match it ($1,000 below invoice + all incentives). It has taken 8 weeks so far, and the car is still waiting on a spot on the next boat, but from a price perspective I am getting the deal I was looking for. For those interested: 2017 Ford Transit connect wagon in deep impact blue with the barn door rear doors, leather and 7 seat configuration. Next to impossible to find in the US in that configuration, as the color already is rare and most of the ones in stock have the six seat captains chairs and the rear hatch.

    • Thunderjet Thunderjet on Nov 23, 2016

      I still think, if the car you are looking for is common, the best bet is to email the internet sales department. I beat Costco/True car/Edmunds by over $1000 when I purchased our 2017 Accord. Custom orders on the other hand are a whole different ball of wax.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Nov 24, 2016

    Does anyone know what the "Costco price" actually (generally) is? I keep seeing "$1000 under invoice" in threads of this kind but that seems highly dubious to me; "$1000 under MSRP" would be more credible, or the other figure I see a lot, "$600 over invoice." I ask because inevitably I go in to buy the hot new thing and it's not on the Costco Auto Program website yet, so I kinda have to trust whatever the dealer tells me is the Costco price... Today some guy claimed he got the Costco price on a Chevy Bolt EV Premiere, a car that isn't even in stock at dealers yet, and can't even be looked up on the Costco website yet. But supposedly the dealer told him the Costco price was $1900 under MSRP and honored it. Meanwhile other buyers for this much-anticipated model are just thrilled that their dealer has agreed to sell it for MSRP without any ADM. (Maybe I should ask for his dealer's name.)

  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Chevrolet Volt.
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First,, grooming. Lord help us all.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.