By on January 18, 2022

A new survey from Cox Automotive is suggesting that people are relatively pleased with their trips to the dealership these days — at least compared to the last few years. According to the team that’s been crunching the numbers over at Automotive News, “Buyer satisfaction with the shopping experience from the research stage through delivery dipped to 66 percent in 2021.” Back in 2020, respondents claimed they were happy 72 percent of the time. But in 2019 Cox was only getting 60 percent of shoppers to say they had an okay time buying a vehicle.

The uptick in 2020 is obvious. Showrooms were devoid of customers, production shortfalls hadn’t yet become the norm, and dealers were selling just about everything at a discount — keeping prices low until 2021 sent them into the stratosphere. However, the outlet still framed it as a win against 2019, suggesting that consumers are more satisfied with their shopping experience than before the pandemic. It also claimed that people who purchased vehicles online, the no-haggle alternative to going to a dealership to argue in a small room, tended to be happier overall.

You know, I’m frequently told by people that Automotive News just exists as an echo chamber for the industry, and articles like this are probably the reason why.

From AN:

Consumers who did more of their purchase digitally tended to be happier with their experience than those who did more work in person, Cox found. And buyers’ satisfaction with their experience while at a dealership also stayed above pre-pandemic levels — 75 percent last year, which is essentially unchanged from 77 percent in 2020 but better than 70 percent in 2019, according to the survey.

The findings signal that auto retailers have adjusted their purchase processes during the pandemic in ways that resonate with consumers, even as the market continues to be challenged by a shortage of microchips and new vehicles that has pushed up prices, said Vanessa Ton, senior industry intelligence manager for Cox Automotive.

Consumers reported transaction times at a dealership that were similar to 2020 and faster than years past, and more satisfaction with digital options, including when applying for financing, the survey found.

Unless the typical consumer is totally out of touch with what constitutes normal vehicle pricing and inventories, this survey is kind of hard to believe. I’m prone toward believing that respondents were unsettled by the many restrictions imposed by dealerships in 2020 and just aren’t aware that they were being gouged in 2021. Cox also seemed aware of this and noted that researchers actually expected the inverse to be true.

“I just thought people were so sour on inventory challenges that that’s going to sour their experience,” explained Ton. “But that was not the case at all.”

She similarly anticipated that shoppers would become increasingly unnerved by the process of buying a car as there were now fewer vehicles to choose from and rising prices on just about everything one might find on the lot. Automotive pricing has really run away with itself, helping to stifle sales volumes while improving dealers’ monthly profits. But Ton believed that dealers shifting to digital purchase options, renewed effort to “help with financing,” and cleaner facilities (attributed to the pandemic) ultimately “made the experience tolerable, even enjoyable.”

Having spent part of my weekend touring a few showrooms before taking a trip into the snowy north, none of this makes sense to me. Salespeople were prompt and eager to greet me within seconds of my entering the lot. But inventories were meager regardless of brand, with the only constant being the number of sedans nobody appeared to want. This seemed curious, as they were the only models that were priced anywhere near what would be considered normal a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, reps laughed when I asked what kind of deal could be done regarding the price of a crossover or sport utility vehicle.

I suppose you’re dodging some of the laughter when you shop online. But the premise that this all adds up to a happier clientele doesn’t make sense unless you take pricing totally out of the equation. Plenty of cars are leaving the lot with a $7,000 premium due to the fact that inventories have remained unprecedently low and dealers have convinced people to buy now, rather than wait. Meanwhile, industry analysts have started making assertions that the chip shortage and elevated pricing will persist through 2022.

While these are clearly lean times, I have to believe we’re living in a world where the average person simply doesn’t know when they’re being taken advantage of. So much of what automakers (and dealers) want to offer moving forward has been described as experiential. But, when you look into the nuts and bolts of the situation, a lot of it appears to be new and interesting ways of bilking people out of money (e.g. subscription services, haggle-free digital transactions, charging for unfinished technology) in exchange for less-substantive goods and/or services.

As we don’t control pricing, there’s not much that can be done other than reminding people to be extra careful out there.

I’ve defaulted to sending anyone I know who is in the market for a new vehicle clips of the King of the Hill episode where Hank comes to the realization that his preferred dealer has been taking advantage of him for decades. Hank’s innocence is absolutely shattered by his family and friends when they inform him that the sticker price (top of the page) is actually for suckers. Fortunately, the subsequent series of hilarious misunderstandings leaves the Hill family a little wiser and better positioned for the future.

Sadly, our own struggles are too complicated to be wrapped up in a comical fashion in under half an hour. Similarly, the modern state of the automotive sector 15 years after Mr. Hill got shafted might actually make sticker price a relative bargain on plenty of models. But the takeaway that you should fight for yourself, rather than trust you’re not being taken advantage of, continues to ring true. You might not get a stellar deal on your next automobile. Though there’s nothing lost in trying, unless the hunt itself (and related strife) ends up costing several thousand dollars worth of your valuable time.

[Image: Fox Broadcasting Company]

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75 Comments on “Um, What? Survey Claims People Happier With Modern Car Buying Experience...”


  • avatar
    Fred

    I bought my Acura at a Auto Nation dealership and it was fine. The salesman said that if he didn’t get 5 stars his pay would be cut. So I just let him fill out the survey. Everyone is happy.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “While these are clearly lean times,”

    Huh? People have never had so much money. The labor market is white hot. What on earth are you talking about?

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Reading some of Posky’s articles about the economy lately makes me wonder whether he is living in a fantasy world or if I am.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “lean times” maybe isn’t the best description but economic confidence is polling quite low.

        thehill.com/policy/finance/economy/586898-
        economic-confidence-drops-back-to-early-
        pandemic-low-gallup

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Perhaps I am sheltered.

          But I don’t come across empty shelves when shopping. I haven’t noticed paying significantly more for any necessities other than gas, which is merely back to the price it was in 2014-15. The market is near record highs and has been for the last year plus. I see signs advertising double minimum wage and $1000 signing bonuses at every fast food restaurant in town.

          I think one’s perception of the economy depends more on where one gets their news than on actual conditions on the ground.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “I think one’s perception of the economy depends more on where one gets their news than on actual conditions on the ground.”

            At a *macro-level*? I disagree.

            I don’t know that you’re “sheltered” but the BLS has all their data available so there’s no need to rely on anecdotes.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            The price of fast food has gone completely off the rails!

            The price of two large specialty, e.g., lots of meats, loaded with everything and the kitchen sink, pizzas, eclipsed $30 around my area last fall! It’s now approaching $40! I can remember when a $20 would buy that same amount, and you’d have some change left over. And that’s without a coupon!

            Wendy’s, which is usually the highest of the big-three burger joints, is even more expensive than ever! I expect a Big Mac to top $5 by the end of the year! (This is in the metro Toledo, OH area.)

            I enjoy root canal surgery more than going to the local Kroger, even before the pandemic, and it’s even worse now when they literally cannot fill HALF of a pickup order because they’re out of damn near EVERYTHING! Frozen chicken patties? Forget it! I’ve literally refused to accept an order because the majority was out of stock!

            At least gas prices are cooling off — at least for now! I’m sure that we’re one snowstorm, or squirrel sneezing on a power line into a refinery, from $4 gas in flyover country, and $5 on the coasts!

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      The highest inflation rate in 40 years, new cars costing more than ever before, used cars going for 50% more than they were a year ago, empty dealer lots, wage stagnation, an upward transfer of wealth away form the middle and lower classes, unbridled corporate/political greed, supply shortages, supply chain bottle necks, empty shelves, analysis saying this will all continue into 2023.

      What are you talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Wage stagnation? Stocks slid today as companies are reporting surging wages due to the labor shortage. Not everyone works as an auto journalist.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          Productivity has increased steadily since the 1940s, compensation stalled around 1974 barely keeping pace with inflation. Your having a general disdain for people who might earn less than you doesn’t change that. Though U.S. productivity has started to pitch down since 2020 and I actually no longer make the brunt of my earnings via automotive writing. Maybe once I’m raking in six figures per year, I too will have less respect for my fellow man.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            As I said McDs said it’s had to boost wages by 10%. As jack4x said all he sees is fast food places offering double min wage plus signing bonuses. So yeh, I’m thrilled those at the bottom are getting a big boost.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Six figures” as we may have known it is now $300K+

            Entry six figures is middle class at best.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        They’re wrong, 2024 or later.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Inflation only hurts most wage earners to the extent that wages and housing prices don’t rise to match (housing prices because most people who have any wealth at all have the vast majority of it in their home). Right now both of those things are rising fast. Your average worker really isn’t hurting at all right now.

        Inflation is really biting people who live off investment income. I don’t really care if the idle rich take a haircut, but that category also includes a lot of seniors, and they’re probably the worst off at the moment.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “wage earners to the extent that wages and housing prices don’t rise to match”

          There’s the whole eating to live thing too. Then healthcare, insurance, energy in various forms. People are hurting a lot right now, I suggest you don some Goodwill bought clothes and meander about among the great unwashed (no sarc or disrespect).

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep, it hurts a lot if prices go up but wages don’t. But in this labor market wages are going up for most people.

            Creditors are the people who have the most to lose from an environment where both prices and wages are rising. Treating “inflation” as a boogeyman out of context is just one more of the many efforts to get the average worker to adopt an agenda for the primary benefit of the rich.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            This was the last BLS real wages release:
            bls.gov/news.release/realer.nr0.htm

            2.4% decrease YoY for all employees and 1.9% YoY decrease for production employees. Obviously there will be some variation across industries, regions, and income level so certain groups are feeling it more than others.

            That’s not the apocalypse but it’s not wage growth completely outpacing inflation either. We’ll see what Jan and Feb look like.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “The highest inflation rate in 40 years”

        Here is a vital bit of information lost on most people. The travel/vacation industry lost $910 billion to $1.2 trillion globally due to COVID – 19. People did not stop spending money. As an example, Renovation costs have skyrocketed due to money being poured into homes. That same shift in spending is affecting various aspects of the economy. Another example: a boom in personal electronics has contributed to the chip shortage.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        @Matt Posky – the biggest jumps (besides cars) has to be food prices. Last year around this time, I was averaging maybe $70-$80/week at Kroger. Over the past 4 to 6 months, I’ve watched that amount slowly but surely creep upwards to now I don’t get out of there for under $100/week for roughly the same amount of groceries. Kroger has done it quietly as well. I’ve noticed, instead of having the prices shoot upwards, the number and quality of the sales and loyalty card discounts have gone down. Instead of $1.00 off something, it is now 30 cents for example. But meat, fish, and dairy products…ouch.
        Gas here has stayed steady – never below $3.00/gal and only the higher octanes go above $3.75/gal.
        We need a handle on this sometime this year or it’s going to be all bad for the economy soon.

    • 0 avatar
      kcflyer

      jmo

      I’m sure your right. Car prices are not up 30 to 40 percent. Meat prices are not up 80 to 120 percent. Housing prices are not up 30 percent. Energy prices are not up 50 percent. Or maybe they are and you and every one you know got massive pay increases in the last year. Either way good for you. You should contact the president. He needs your talking points. And whoever calculated that January was the largest inflation increase year over year in 42 years should hear from you, or be you.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        A lot of people have gotten large pay raises. I believe on McDonalds last earnings call they said they’ve had to raise wages 10% this year. Many companies are reporting the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          “A lot of people got large pay increases”

          Even more didn’t. Not sure if you’re in a tony area or gated community or you just don’t get out of your zip code much, but I can tell you this – there is a metric ton of people who are hurting.

          Lots more homelessness than I’ve ever seen, prices on some things up significantly – I’m talking regular grocery store or Costco items, btw. If it’s not affecting you, that’s fantastic. But don’t pretend it’s not happening.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          And McDonald’s issued a statement stating that hours of operation would be cut at most locations because of the inability to find people to work!

          Even last summer, when I thought the pandemic had abated, the local fast food franchises kept the dining rooms closed because they couldn’t spare someone to wipe tables and mop the floor! That took me 15 minutes working in an average sized, run-of-the-mill Golden Arches in the ’90s through college, so if NONE of the various fast food emporiums can do that, even before the latest ‘Rona variant, that’s a bleak picture! So all customer traffic goes through the drive-thru! A twenty-minute wait is the norm. I won’t even go near Chik-Fil-A, as that’s minimum ** 45 ** minute wait! No fast food is worth sitting in line burning increasingly expensive gas for that long!

          A McDonald’s job is NOT supposed to support a family, at least until you’re promoted to store management! It’s supposed to be the quintessential first job, where you learn to deal with the public, as well as with people in general, some of whom shouldn’t be in charge of people! Yet there’s a push for $15/hour! How fast will the order takers at the counter, assuming that inside service becomes a thing again, be replaced with kiosks where you swipe your credit card and order your meal like you would on a captive mobile app? And then everyone wonders why prices have skyrocketed at the local McArteryClogger, and the SuperDooperMarketTheSizeOfDallasCowboysStadium, even before the damned ‘Rona and the supply-chain issues resulting from it are factored into the mix!

          • 0 avatar
            JD-Shifty

            “A McDonald’s job is NOT supposed to support a family, at least until you’re promoted to store management! It’s supposed to be the quintessential first job,”

            so what are you going to do? force them to work? why do you hate the free market sir?

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          10% of rock bottom wages is still rock bottom wages. There is very little to like about that place, particularly how your stomach feels after you’ve finished eating there.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        People don’t buy cars and houses every day, so those numbers don’t really matter to most of us.

        My utility expenses have hardly moved, and I don’t recall paying double for meat.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Just speaking from my own experience…

        Rents in my area: up around 10%, but from a depressed post-pandemic baseline (they are slightly above pre-pandemic levels)
        Medical insurance: up around 8%
        Utilities: flat (including the electricity for my EV)
        Groceries: up around 5% overall, with produce and grain prices largely flat but dairy and meat way up (this would be worse if I ate more meat)
        Gas: up 20% (fortunately I don’t buy much)
        GPUs: up 100%, but I don’t mine bitcoin

        Meanwhile my wages are up over 50% in two years, after being flat before inflation for a full decade, because of the first labor crunch in my field in nearly 20 years.

        I’ll take it.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel J

          My wages have been the same for the last few years.

          My grocery bill has gone up 25 percent, easily.

          Wages for most white collar jobs have been the same. Jobs on the low end have gone up simply because people were getting paid to stay home. Now they want more money to work at low end jobs. I don’t have too much of a problem with that but the economy will work itself out to the point that someone who was making 12 dollars at BK now making 16 will be making the equivelant of 12 dollars in the coming years.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Wages for most white collar jobs have been the same”

            This is emphatically not true in either my white-collar field or those of my clients. If you haven’t gotten a raise, I encourage you to shop around a bit. You might be surprised by what you find.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Here is my issue – MSRP. In 2019 when auto executives sat around talking about pricing they would say, “Do we want MSRP to be what we think the car is worth? Nah, let’s jack it up $2500 or $5k so we can offer money off and the idiot public thinks they are getting a deal.”

    There is the famous story of Ron Johnson being hired to run JC Penny. And he said, “The public isn’t so stupid that we double our prices and put everything on sale for 50% off and they think they are getting a deal.” Let’s just price things right. So they did. And sales collapsed. The public is just that stupid.

    Getting money off an inflated MSRP doesn’t tell you anything about what kind of deal you got.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Unless you collude with your competitors, keeping prices high hurts the seller in the long run.

      Today, JC Penney is in bankruptcy, and Walmart is printing money… both brick-and-mortar stores.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Another example is Tesla. Some of the B&B complain that they don’t negotiate. If they say it’s $50k either pay $50k or get something else. While over at Acura they say, “Just stick a $55k MSRP on the window and offer them $2k off from the dealer and $3k in factor cash.” That they’ve jacked up the price and given you a discount doesn’t mean you got some kind of amazing deal.

        It’s like (what is it Homegoods or BB&B) where the tag says, “Compare at $35.” Ok, show me where in the history of the universe this thing ever sold for $35.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Apples and oranges as Wal-Mart sells far more and different kinds of products and unlike JCP, Wal-Mart expanded its a digital presence early on.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @SCE:

        Penney’s actually emerged from bankruptcy (want to say it was 2019). My kid worked at a Penney’s part time pre BK. My favorite piece of insanity: they were too cheap to invest in a folding machine or pay employees to refold clothes, so when men would try on dress shirts, they’d just take the unpinned shirts over to the clearance section and sell them for 70% off…and then let people take coupons off that. Customers got tipped off and would literally unpin the shirt they wanted, and then come back for it the next day.

        She had some dingbat old lady who had three shirts, all from clearance. The discounted price for all three shirts was like $15 – not exactly a huge amount of money. The lady brought in coupons and then INSISTED MY KID USE HER PHONE TO FIND MORE. The kid was making ten bucks an hour and it took her 45 minutes to complete a sale that came out to about seven bucks. The company lost money ***just paying her to put up with that nonsense.***

        I knew they weren’t going to stay out of BK court long with nonsense like that going on.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Oh and honestly the biggest improvement COVID brought to the auto buying experience? The salesman doesn’t come with you on test drives anymore. That makes the whole process so much more pleasant.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “While these are clearly lean times, I have to believe we’re living in a world where the average person simply doesn’t know when they’re being taken advantage of.”

    I disagree on both points:

    1. These are not lean times. People are spending like crazy, and as jmo said, the labor market is hot.

    2. People are very aware of the state of the car market. They just hate haggling, so paying up to MSRP is considered a good deal. Furthermore, scoring the car you want means you beat out someone else, which lends an air of victory to the transaction – *especially* if you paid more to do so. Car buying is like a Sotheby’s auction today.

    Even conventional dealers are turning to online ordering, because it works, and it’s what people want. Amazon is the new baseline now.

  • avatar
    JMII

    As someone who is the process of buying a new vehicle my observations are as follows:

    1) You know your paying MSRP so gone is the haggling for a “deal” that frustrates everyone. At this point its all about trying to ensure its not MSRP + + + so its a little better then before since the sticker price comes from the OEM as is easily verified.

    2) My online inquires have been meet with generic “bot” responses. I get emails back that are clearly from 3rd party lead generation services. You can tell because of the domain: [email protected] (worthless bot) vs [email protected] (real person). So far the real people responses have been mixed. One completely blew me off when I requested they remove $1.5k in BS “delivery package” fees. Another was actually very interested in my trade and worked with me to get a much better offer then their online evaluation tool (KBB Instant Cash) spit out. In another case I inquired about a particular vehicle 4 days ago and never heard anything back despite the very nice auto-generated email that claimed I would be contacted “very soon”. I wouldn’t be surprised to find the vehicle I asked about was sold this weekend.

    3) Going on location in person I was ignored as soon as it became apparent that the model & color I wanted was not in stock and wouldn’t be arriving for at least a month. The sales kid didn’t ask for my call back number, he just handed me his card as if my crystal ball would tell me when they got new stock in. I think there were more sales people hanging out near the lobby then vehicles on the lot. They were all smoking and texting on their phones so that part hasn’t changed one bit. Granted this was only one dealer but I was not impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A friend was shopping for a 4Runner and was told he needed to provide a down payment before they’d even put him on the waiting list. He walked.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @JMII – I tried to get a ZR2 Colorado through the small dealer chain my son works for. They had nothing in stock and said that GM had shut down the ordering system due to a lack of inventory on GM’s part. They bluntly pointed out that they had given up trying to negotiate/trade with other dealerships because most dealers refused to give up any inventory. I was told it might take a year to get what I want. They did offer to drop $7,000 off the price of a new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon they had in stock at a sister dealership

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My guess is that if you hate even driving onto a car lot because you have your left arm ripped clean off by the salesman looking for the next “up” who rips your door open before you even have your seat belt off, I imagine that at some stores nowadays, if you pull into a car lot just to do something on your phone which can’t be done safely in Auto or CarPlay while in motion, you’ll be instantly surrounded like a pile of dung surrounded by flies on a summer afternoon!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I know I always love paying above sticker that itself was already too high to begin with in order to have a jumping off point for incentives.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    If there are no cars on the lots, how can there be any experience?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      You can order a vehicle… and wait. This still requires a dealer visit to finalize paperwork. I’ve seen posts from multiple people who ordered a Maverick, got crickets from Ford then gave up and bought something else. Amazon has completely changed people’s expectations, when you can get pretty much ANY product with 2 day shipping via a buy now button asking for a deposit on something you will not see for 3 or 4 months just isn’t cutting it.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        I did finally get an email from Ford giving me a VIN and production date of the week of Feb 14 but I did order it on July 25 and didn’t hear anything before then. Long term not a good model for customers to wait 6 months or more to get their vehicle made.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This is damning them with faint praise, but if you compare car buying to what it was when I started buying cars back in the ’80s (and I sold them for a short spell during the same time), it’s dramatically better. I knew of one place that threw the keys to customers’ trades on the roof…a BMW dealership, believe it or not.

    It ain’t perfect, and I’d rather buy direct, but it’s definitely improved over the years.

    And if people are allowing themselves to get screwed over on price when they don’t NEED to buy a car, then they’ve got no one to blame but themselves. In fact, I’d say if more customers told the dealer to go do something anatomically impossible when presented with a ridiculously inflated offer, I’d say this trend might just peter itself out.

  • avatar
    Jackson the cairn

    You gotta tread lightly when relying on Cox Automotive’s “studies” released to the public at no charge.

    They tend to resemble infomercials more than studies. The discovered problem or issue can be addressed by a service one of their companies provides. There generally can be an opinion in there somewhere, but did you know you needed a Ginsu knife before watching?

    Times are lean if the choices of inventory are considered. Not sure why all the discussion from leading economic authorities on a post about customer satisfaction for buying cars.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “You know, I’m frequently told by people that Automotive News just exists as an echo chamber for the industry, and articles like this are probably the reason why.”

    If things are like they used to be, Automotive News is aimed 87.875% at dealers and is an echo chamber for automotive dealers. (With an occasional bone thrown to automotive OEM’s, suppliers, auctions and everyone else.)

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    There are two ways to sell new vehicles:

    Scenario A: Sell strippers to customers who want to haggle or have no business buying new vehicles in the first place, and want to be picky about options and colors.

    Scenario B: Sell nicely-equipped vehicles in whatever colors you have to customers who aren’t too picky, have plenty of money to spend and don’t get too hung up on price.

    In Scenario B, you as the dealer can be more pleasant, the deal is going to proceed a lot more smoothly, and the survey results will be better.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I fit option C. I have no trouble paying whatever the price is and generally want all the bells and whistles, however I am going to picky about options and colors since I keep my vehicles for a long time. The problem has long been determining what the OTD price really is and the battle to not feel ripped off by paying thousands more then someone else did.

      The smoother and faster the transaction the better I would rate the dealer. I’ve refinanced my house quicker then buying a car! The best transaction I had was buying a used car out of state since 90% of deal was done via email. Once we agreed on price I flew in, inspected the car, took a test drive, signed the (already prepared) documents, called my insurance company and drove off. There was zero BS, I only interacted with one person the entire time, was never put in a tiny room, up-sold or pressured in anyway. Not having a trade in saved time for sure, but the dealer had all my paperwork ready – it was literally sign and drive. They handled the DMV stuff without much trouble either, I got a temp tag to drive home, then my state plates came via FedEx in 4 weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Scenario A: Sell strippers”

      Diversifying into the sex trade is one way to improve the bottom line ;)

  • avatar
    dwford

    I was told when I sold cars that the people who paid the most were the happiest, while the people who negotiated every dollar left miserable. Boy was that 100% true. The dumb sheep who just signed whatever was put in front of them did indeed leave very happy. It was amazing.

  • avatar
    AK

    Bought a new Ford in 2015 and a new Subaru this past December.

    Biggest difference- with the Subaru, I had a responsive internet team at the dealership who worked out every concern I had prior to me stepping foot in the dealership. That was really nice.

    Both times, the lengthiest part was determining trade in value but again, the recent experience was easier just because the dealer was much more interested in the trade. They wanted/needed my car.

    In both cases, determining the price of the car I was buying was easy. With Ford, there were a load of incentives and a willingness to deal and on the Subaru, it was msrp with zero markup and zero dealer add-ons.

    I’d say the Subaru experience was better because the responsive internet team let me hammer out a bunch of details without being in the dealership.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m officially in the market for a Miata RF, which I would think is not in terribly high demand because:
    1. It’s not a crossover, SUV, or pickup
    2. It’s not practical
    3. It’s winter
    4. It’s fairly expensive
    I’ve been looking at new and used and noted that new dealers are just as reluctant to discuss pricing via email as ever. I emailed a dealer who had what I wanted and the only response I got after multiple attempts was the salesperson asking for authorization to text me. After the third time I said no and got the same question in response I gave up. I never heard back. At least that dealer reached out, another one never responded to my request at all.
    With the current state of pricing, it is driving me to online retailers since at least they will post the full price of the car without having to show up in person or getting spammed to death with tests.
    Since I am not in a situation where I need a car I can wait. It’s certainly frustrating and I would not say I am pleased with the current process.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      @Land Ark – now that the saga of the 2020 GLI is coming to a close, I’m looking at the MX-5 RF as well. I’m still in the early stages of buying and none are on the lots within 80 miles. One local dealer will order and it’ll take 6-8 weeks to arrive. They are charging MSRP + taxes and fees. Like what you wrote there, it’s the winter, it’s not a crossover, and because of that, I want to see what I can get them down to because I’ve purchased from them before.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        What’s your spec?

        My top choice is the Brembo package on soul red, polymetal, or machine. Though ultimately I am pretty indifferent on the color.
        Second choice would be a GT with white or red seats (used of course) – again, indifferent on the exterior color. Deep crystal blue sure looks handsome with the white seats though.

        If I got the BBS wheels though I might have to get them redone in silver.

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          One of the dealers near me contacted me not long ago about a 2022 PHT Grand Touring 6-speed manual that someone might back out on. So it’ll be on their lot sometime this week.

          My perfect 2022 would be the Soul Red with the Terra Cotta interior. But I think that interior color is reserved for the new off-white color and one of the Grays. That would look stunning with the Soul Red however.

          It’s going to be a daily driver so I’m going to go with the GT. It has a lot of the same performance goodies as the club and just in terms of cleaning, I prefer leather in a convertible. I love BBS wheels as well, but only with the Club and my God, does that add a lot to the bottom line.

          I’m starting to think that deep blue they just offered is rarer than rare. I have yet to see one driving around. And the Terra Cotta leather package would look stunning with that blue as well.

          I’m waiting to hear back from the dealer with more details about the one that might be available shortly. After all of that work and back and forth with VW to get the GLI mess settled, they have paid it off. The other option was a buyback, but that would have left me with no car right away and they were going by the letter of the law and that was for what I paid for it, not what it’s worth today. It’s worth over $2000 more today than it was in 2020. So I’ll take the title and trade it in for my midlife crisis car.

          • 0 avatar
            AK

            You guys looking at RFs… have you checked out the new BRZ/86?

          • 0 avatar
            theflyersfan

            @AK – being a redesign, I really want to see one in person and take one for a drive. There are none around me. The Toyota and Subaru dealers are just stocking crossovers at the moment. One of the Subaru dealers by me list MSRP for a starting price. For sale price, it reads “Contact dealer.” That’s not good…

            In terms of being practical, the Toyota/Subaru wins hands down. But, man, I’ve wanted an MX-5 since the day I saw my first one back around 1989. If used car values stay high over the next couple of years, the MX-5 might be a two year fling for not much depreciation.

            All that being said, if someone threw the keys to the Toyota/Subaru twins, no problem. I’ll have a lot of fun with it as well! But the emotional part of the brain is starting to win out and the MX-5 looks like where I want to go.

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            The lack of 2022 specs on the website is frustrating since it’s hard to know exactly what will be available. I was under the impression that terracotta was only going to be available on the platinum quartz models, but the more I look now the more I doubt that.
            I definitely think the blue is gone now.

            The main reason for me to get the Brembo package is to get the Recaros. That’s the only thing I wouldn’t be able to get aftermarket since it has built in airbags. But you’re right, I think the smart thing if I go that route is to get used since the price seems to equalize with the GTs.

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            @AK – yes, I’ve looked at both of the twins and I definitely like them. But I want the targa top. I’m going with the RF because it will live outdoors and I don’t want to deal with the eventual wear on the soft top. I plan to keep it for a long time… if I eventually pull the trigger.
            And like theflyersfan said, if I needed a smidge of practicality I’d look more at the twins. I’m fortunate that I have other vehicles at my disposal when needed.

          • 0 avatar
            AK

            @theflyersfan – I totally get it. I got lucky and a local dealer had two BRZ in stock in late November AND they were extremely willing to let me drive one. Fell for the car immediately and when we went to place an order after the drive, it was a $4k markup. We both understood the situation and I left on good terms. Had to cross state lines (about 60 miles away) to place an order for MSRP and no dealer add ons.

            But yeah, if you’re set on the MX5, go for it. I just wondered about the BRZ/86 because I was genuinely shocked at just how much better they were than the first gen. I would nudge anyone shopping for that kind of experience to check them out if possible.

          • 0 avatar
            kcflyer

            Visited the Mazda dealer in Buffalo last week. Salesman said there will be no 2022 MX-5. I find that hard to believe. He insisted Mazda is doing a complete redesign for 2023. BTW, they had a beautiful Grand Touring RF in dark blue left over he said he could make a good deal on. But for some reason it had automatic transmission, so weird. He also said it was the only new Mazda left in their inventory

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            @kcflyer I think that salesman is wrong. There are changes coming to the 2022 model, no design change, but a new stability system (really just outboard rear brake application on hard corners) and some color changes. But the 2022s are already showing up in some places.
            You almost had me asking for the dealership name until you said it was an auto. I’m sure dealers are willing to talk on those. Less so on the manuals. But, I drove an auto RF as a rental car for a week and I loved it. It’s what’s got me looking now.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    @ Land Ark,

    I’m glad to hear confirmation that the salesman was wrong. We are sooo close to pulling the trigger an order for a 22 Grand Sport. Rag top. We drove an RF and loved how it drove but the top down experience was a let down. The blind spots that don’t exist in the rag top totally change the driving experience for us for the worse. Too bad because we love the looks of the RF from the outside, especially with the top up.

  • avatar
    oldskooltoy

    Even though new car inventories are affected at many dealerships, the ever popular used car market remains increasingly profitable. Ridiculous posted prices with the wonderful added $199 doc fees and $899 admin fees plus the generic $149 tag and licensing fees have the dealers making big money. ( supply and demand )

    Sales folks don’t have to provide customer service if they don’t want because someone will buy their product if you don’t.

    Case in point-
    A friend told me about a Lexus SC300 5 speed for sale at a Lexus dealer in Boston. I’m in Florida so I send them contact info online and get a return call within 15 minutes.
    Tell them I want the car and need to get logistics set up to pick the car up. The gentleman says it’s almost closing time and he’ll have one of his folks call me in the morning, since Friday is his off day.
    Next day, no call. I call my contact on Saturday and ask for the buyers order so I could wire transfer the $$$. He kinda says it sold yesterday. I told him I called Thursday and I should have had first right of refusal. He said due to a communication error on his end, no one was told to call me on Friday.
    But he would be on the lookout for another SC300 5 speed for me and he would call me back.
    At this point I already had money transferred to my account and I had a truck ready to pick up the car.

    I really thought a “class act” like Lexus would have a better customer service experience.

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