If I’ve seen it once in the comments on this site, I’ve seen it a hundred times.
Never once in the history of the Internet has anyone, anywhere admitted that they paid more than invoice for a new car.
Everybody gets the best deal possible. We all “ stick it to the man.” However, despite the well-known and understood tendencies of most people to lie on forums, in comments, or even when writing about their own business practices on the Internet, this might be one of the few times when the braggadocio matches reality.
The truth is that virtually everyone gets a “good deal” on a new car.
I buy a lot of cars, which means I often find myself thinking about car sellers and buyers. These are two interesting groups of human beings. In many cases, they’re openly trying to screw you. In other cases, they have no idea they’re screwing you, and you don’t discover they have until four days later when you go to put your briefcase in the trunk and it’s full of rain water.
This got me thinking: What is the least trustworthy group of automotive sellers in existence?
I’ve bought cars from all of them. New car dealers. Used car dealers. Family members, friends, auctions, and strangers on the Internet, from Craigslist to Cars.com to Autotrader to web forums. Every transaction is a little different. And every time, I’m wonder to myself: Is this person going to screw me?
That’s why I’m soliciting your opinion on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart (and wallet). Which car seller can you count on to be the very worst?
I come before you today to state a simple truth, a truth that is so obvious that it doesn’t even need to be said, yet it has never been properly addressed. The car franchise dealership, as we know it, is broken.
It’s too bloated. It doesn’t live in the now. It spends far too much to acquire its customers. It doesn’t focus on the things that matter. Some OEMs wish that they could eliminate it. In most cases, it’s owned by a guy whose only achievement in life is having been born to the owner of a car dealership.
It’s also the only business in America that intentionally operates in a way that is frustrating and oppressive to its customers. You could never run any other business in America the way that a car dealership is run. The posted price means nothing. Virtually no two people will pay the same price for a car. Even once the price is finally negotiated, surprises keep coming to the point where virtually nobody is entirely sure if he or she got a fair deal on his car.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. If I owned my own dealership (and, honestly, could I really be any worse at it than 90 percent of the guys who own dealerships?) here’s what I’d do to help my dealership make more money, sell more cars, be more ethical, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and even have more fun doing it.
Imagine over 500 cars at your disposal, and you pick the exact ones you want to test on the open road.
There are no mind games. No bait and switch tactics. Nothing but you going to a computer, figuring out the most worthy candidates, and letting a salaried employee fetch the keys and answer the relevant questions to your car search.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s already happened. There’s only one problem.
The place that does it primarily sells used cars, not new cars.
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