Automobile Information And Sales Assistance
Helping Me Make A New Car Purchase
During the past few weeks I have been researching vehicles for our next vehicle purchase. I have found that it is easier to go to a dealership to get certain information such as rebates and incentives. Going to manufacturer websites has been a waste of time and with most a nuisance. Manufactures websites do not have information on their sites that their Google descriptions say they do. After opening manufacturer's web sites, I am almost always directed to provide contact information which are sent to dealerships as much as 250 miles from my home.
Chrysler, KIA, Chevrolet, Subaru, Ford, and Hyundai manufacturing sites all have an option to create a vehicle on their websites. After spending 10 to 15 minutes creating a vehicle and hitting the submit button, I am directed to a screen that indicates that my request has been processed and that a representative will contact me shortly or within a one business day. The representatives that have contacted me are salesmen or Internet managers from local and distant dealerships all offering to search for the vehicle I want or sell me a similar vehicle they have on the lot. The key point to the contact call is that I need to go to the dealership and see them.
There are some dealership websites that post an "Internet price", and when they call they recommend looking at their website which has a current price for a vehicle I am interested in. These sites that show a vehicle that is priced lower than other sites often include the rebates and incentives, in some cases all incentives, even incentives I would not "qualify" for. I have found that using these sites as a reference when talking with other dealers they are more inclined to share rebate and incentive information, this sometimes creates a situation where a dealer may tell me that they will beat that price.
After visiting several dealerships, here are some of my observations of what dealers have done to "help" decide on a purchase. My local Chevy dealer set an appointment with me to test drive an Express passenger van. When I arrived I was shown an Express cargo van with two seats. It had no options except an AM/FM radio and an automatic transmission. When I said something about it, I was told that they told me I was going to be looking at a cargo van, even though the opening sentence to a phone call from the dealership was that the person calling had located a passenger van for me to look at. I would have never agreed to look at a cargo van as a representation for a passenger van purchase.
Another salesman from a KIA dealer called me every day for three weeks to find out when I was coming in to see him. When I told him he was calling me too much and I was becoming annoyed, he sounded offended saying that he was just trying to help me. When asked how calling me everyday to ask me when I was coming in was helping me, he then told me he tells me how many of the vehicles I asked about are on the lot. Some help!! This tactic is to wear me down to the point where I will do one of three things. I will either set an appointment to test drive the car, tell him to stop calling because it is annoying me or because I made a purchase elsewhere, or I ignore his calls and he stops calling me. I actually went to this dealership to test drive a KIA Sedona. I asked to drive a Sedona LX, the middle model for this vehicle class and I was brought a set of keys for a base model instead. The person I asked to get keys was replaced with a savvy sales manager, trying to get rid of a 2011 base model for $4K more than it was worth. When I asked why I did not get to drive the LX, I was told the battery was dead on the one I wanted to drive. So I asked about the other five parked next to it and was told that they are not prepped yet. This dealership is a Super Store so the sale of a vehicle is not really important if I leave, the manager is gambling that I will buy from one of the other represented brands or even better a used vehicle, not realizing that I am still buying from the same dealership.
My local Nissan dealership had one minivan on the lot, it is a 2011 quest with some options but not all of the options. It is priced as if it has all of the available options giving the dealer some "wiggle" room on the price as long as the customer does not ask for more options. The vehicle I looked at was also a 10 point vehicle, the words, "10PTS" was actually written on the windshield. Now I know already that this vehicle is overpriced and anything that the dealer is going to do "for me" has already been built into the price of the vehicle, "special" or "preferred" financing, or my trade-in value.
My local Chrysler dealer was better, the salesman was friendly, he showed me everything I wanted to look at, he gave me pricing and incentives as well as low financing rates. When it came to numbers for the a vehicle I would be interested in, everything looked good. I always find out what price I am going to be paying for the new vehicle before I discuss a trade-in. In this instance, once I was happy about the cost of the new vehicle, I mentioned trade-ins. for my Sonata, I was offered the pay off amount of the vehicle with no equity going towards the new vehicle, the rational was that the Sonata was not worth the pay off. My Sonata is a 2009 GLS with 23K miles, even after paying off the balance owed on it I still have $3800 equity on this vehicle. I also have 2007 Chevrolet Uplander with 154K miles, with a low trade in value of $4800. I was offered $1500 for the van with the rational that it is a whole sale vehicle and it cannot be sold on the lot. On this same lot there are three Uplander vans, each with over 100K miles with the lowest price being $6238 two of which are base models with less options than my van. With this dealer I will get the new vehicle at a the price I want to pay, but I will take a substantial loss on the true value of my trade-in(s).
My last observation is from my Honda dealer, the salesman had an "I don't care" attitude and he argued about everything, implying that his knowledge and opinion of the Honda vehicle and my trade-in area are absolute. His rationals for low trade-in numbers and high pricing for Honda vehicles and options were to be taken as a rule and that we were going to accept his deal because he is the sales professional and has been so for over twenty years. His sales tactic was to tell people what they need to do and that he dares them to find another dealer that will offer what he can offer. His sales are mostly to people that have money to spend without a concern to cost or are returning leasee's who are trading in one lease for another.
So far I have not been intentionally helped by anyone as far a negotiating prices for new vehicles and trade-ins. I have yet to be shown a vehicle that I have "created" on line, I have only been shown what is on the lot. None of these dealers has yet to even attempt to locate a vehicle that has the options I want or to add the options I asked for such as a towing hitch to a vehicle I have looked at and expressed an interest in. Sales persons only recall what vehicle I was interested in and follow up e-mails and phone calls only pertain to a vehicle that I looked at not one I want, they have yet to even ask about the additional options that I have inquired about.
It appears the only help I am going to receive is the actual sale of a vehicle that is just laying around, they may haggle a couple of times over a price or a monthly payment, but that is pretty much it. Help these days is get them in the door, get them in a car, and get them out the door as quickly as possible. I spoke to the salesman that sold me my current mini-van, one of his first questions he asked me was if I had ever purchased a vehicle from the dealership before? If he does not recognize my face, name, or vehicle when I return less than a year later, how do I know that he is really going to help me get the best deal on a new vehicle?