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This is a reprint from CarBargains - Source: http://www.checkbook.org/auto/cb-advice.cfm (by Robert Krughoff)

Whether you think of your car as an object of love or view it merely as a way to get somewhere, having a brand new one is bound to give you a lift. But that pleasure can be tainted by thoughts about the cost--both the thousands of dollars you must pay for the vehicle and the emotional cost of coping with the hassles of making the purchase.

Fortunately, there's a way to avoid the hassles and get a great price. The key is competition. Get new car dealers to bid competitively for your business.

Consumers' CHECKBOOK, an independent nonprofit consumer group, operates a service used by thousands of customers each year to get great prices on new cars. Click here for more on the service.You can use the same general approach used by this professional service and get a very good price on your own. What follows is advice that comes out of the experience of this service.

You may have had friends tell you about sitting eyeball to eyeball for hours with new car dealers.

It's nonsense. They wasted their time.

The only leverage any customer has with a new car dealer is the possibility that he or she will walk out--and either buy a car from another dealer or not buy one at all.

To get a good price, you need simply set up a competitive bidding process. You have to be careful, thorough, and persistent, but you don't have to know all the intricacies of the car business.

You can start the bidding process after you've decided on the make, model, and style of car you want (Toyota Camry, 4-door sedan SE, for example). You don't have to know the exact options you want. It's best to conduct the bidding process by phone. If you try to do it in person, you'll waste many hours and you'll have difficulty persuading salespersons that you're really serious about leaving and getting other dealers' prices.

Get each dealer to bid an amount above or below the "factory invoice price." The factory invoice price is the same for all dealers. So if one dealer bids $500 above invoice and a second bids $500 below invoice, you'll know the second is $1,000 lower priced than the first. The "Money-Saving Help" list at the bottom of this article tells you how you can get information on factory invoice prices.

But you don't really have to have the invoice price information in advance; just explain to each dealer that you will expect to be shown the actual factory invoice for any car you consider buying.

Get bids from at least five dealers. Talk only to a sales manager or fleet manager. Here's the basic approach:

"I'm in the market for a (make/model/style) and I've made a list of dealers to call -- including one that's out of the local area. I've done some homework, and I know the approximate invoice cost of the car. What I'm doing now is calling each dealer on my list to find out what each wants as a markup or markdown from factory invoice cost. I would expect to be able to take my pick of any car on your lot of the make, model, and style I'm looking for at the markup or markdown you quote. So that everyone is on a level playing field, I'm calling each dealer only once, and I'm not saying what any other dealer is bidding. I assume you will let me see a copy of the invoice for any car I pick out to buy. Before we talk about your markup or markdown from invoice, tell me are there any charges that you will expect me to pay for advertising, document preparation, or other services even though they are not listed on the factory invoice? Also, are there any dealer add-ons, like rustproofing, pinstripes, or wheel locks, that I'll be required to pay for?"

You may want some options that aren't factory options. For example, some manufacturers don't offer a radio or air conditioning as a factory-installed option on some basic styles. If you are interested in such dealer-installed options on these cars, you'll need to find out each dealer's charge to provide them. Then ask:

"Is there a factory-to-customer rebate in effect on this car? Please don't take any customer rebate into account in your bid; I assume I'll get the rebate separately as a further discount.

"Okay, I think that's all I needed to go over. Now, would you like to give me a commitment as to exactly how much markup or markdown you'll accept above or below all these costs we've just discussed?...

"What if I don't see the car I want on your lot but I still want to buy my car from you? Will you exchange cars with another dealer in order to get me the car I want? Will you still honor the bid you just gave me if you have to get the car from another dealer? If not, how will you figure the additional charge for this dealer exchange? What if I want to factory-order a car? How will that affect your price commitment?"

You can go through this process with each dealership. Don't be intimidated. If you don't understand something or if answers seem fuzzy, ask again. You will almost certainly save hundreds of dollars -- many buyers will save thousands of dollars -- by following this process. The professional staff of the CarBargains service uses a similar process on behalf of thousands of car buyers each year but you don't have to be a highly technical professional to make the process work for you.

What if the dealers won't give me a price?

There are many excellent dealers that will respect your businesslike approach and respond in kind. But some dealers may not be so helpful. You may get responses like--

* "I'll beat any price you get. Call other dealers and then call me back."
* "What do you think is a fair markup? You tell me. "
* "We don't quote prices over the phone. Just come in and I'll give you the best deal in town. "

Let these dealers know: if they don't bid, they have no chance for your business. Be businesslike and persistent. If a dealer won't give you a serious bid, go on to the next dealer.

What does "factory invoice price" really mean? Aren't there hidden kickbacks?

The "factory invoice price" is theoretically what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car. The dealer will actually have a printed invoice that shows this price figure. It is less than the "manufacturer's suggested retail price" (MSRP), which is the "list price" shown on the window sticker of the car and is the price for which the manufacturer theoretically thinks the car should be sold to you.

Actually, almost all cars are sold below the manufacturer's suggested retail price, and some cars are sold to customers below the factory invoice price.

How is it possible for a dealer to sell a car below the factory invoice price? It is possible because the factory invoice usually doesn't reflect the true cost to the dealer: dealers often get "holdbacks," end-of-year carryover allowances, factory-to-dealer incentive payments, and other allowances that reduce the cost below what the factory invoice shows. Although the factory invoice price is not the dealer's true cost, it is a useful figure because for identical cars it is the same for all dealers. That's why you can use it as a reference point for dealers' bids.

How do rebates and incentives work?

If a car manufacturer offers a factory-to-customer rebate, you will be able to get this rebate directly from the manufacturer, or you can have the dealer apply the rebate to your purchase price, further reducing the price of the car.

In contrast, a factory-to-dealer incentive payment, sometimes referred to as a "dealer rebate," is money the factory gives the dealer for each car sold. The dealer can use the money for advertising, employee bonuses, extra profit, or many other purposes--or the dealer can pass this money along to you as a price reduction. One of the purposes of the bidding process is to use competition to prod dealers to give this incentive money -- which sometimes is $500, $1,000, $2,000, or even more -- to you as a price reduction.

What is a good price?

There's no one answer to this question. The right price depends on supply and demand at the moment for the specific car you want. Some consumer-advice articles and books give guidelines like the following: "Shoot for $150 to $300 over invoice for a mid-size car in good supply." Ignore such advice. The only way to know what you should pay is to get dealers to bid. The professionals at the CarBargains service often get prices thousands of dollars below invoice.

Do I have to know more about prices and costs to get a good deal?

The more you know about factory-to-dealer incentive payments, "holdbacks," and other allowances the dealer will receive, the better off you'll be. It is also helpful to know what the current market for cars is -- the best prices cars like yours have recently been selling for. That gives you a "target" price to shoot for. Of course, the experts at the CarBargains service get better prices than you are likely to get because they have these kinds of knowledge.

But without devoting your entire life to car buying, you can't hope to know about all the available allowances and current selling prices. You have to count on competition -- and the fact that no dealer knows how much the next dealer will give away -- to drive down the price to a satisfactory level. And such competition will work for you.

What if a dealer won't live up to its bid?

This could be a problem for individual buyers (although this problem doesn't occur with the CarBargains service), but it doesn't have to be if you do the bidding properly. Be very businesslike in getting your bids. Deal only with a sales manager or fleet manager. Review the details of the bid by phone with the dealer. If you have access to a fax machine or have e-mail, have the low bidder fax or e-mail a confirmation. If a dealer tries to renege or make changes, take your business to the next lowest bidder.

Do I need to know the exact options I want?

You are better off not to limit dealers' bids to a specific set of options or a specific color. Get the dealership to make its markup or markdown commitment applicable to any car of your make, model, and style. This approach allows dealers to bid even if they don't have a car with a specific option that you might have requested but that might not be of great importance to you.

Once you have your bids, you ask the low bidder to check what specific options and colors are available on cars that are on its lot or that it can get for you.

Do I have to contact the dealers by telephone rather than e-mail or fax?

The CarBargains service has tested all these approaches many times and has found getting bids by telephone directly from the sales managers consistently gets better prices than result from e-mail or fax contacts.

Shouldn't I consider which dealer offers the best repair service?

Your new car warranty will require you to use a dealer for covered repairs. For this warranty service, you'll naturally want to use a dealer that is conveniently located and that does high-quality repair work. But you don't have to have warranty repairs done at the dealership that sells you the car. Your manufacturer will reimburse any of its franchised dealers for your repair work. So you can buy your car at the dealership that gives you the best price, then have repairs made at a different dealership if the other dealership is more convenient and does better work.

A dealer with a good repair shop is likely to give you good service even if you didn't buy there. Dealers make money on repairs and won't want to lose your repair business.

How should I deal with financing, trade-in, and other extras?

You don't want to lose the benefit of a good price on a new car by paying too much for financing, for an extended service contract, and for rustproofing, paint sealant, and other add-ons. You also don't want to get too little for your used car trade-in, if you have one. Before you go to a dealer to buy a car, you must know the true market value of all these extras. To avoid confusion, don't discuss any of these matters with a dealer until you have settled on the price of your new car.

Financing

Check the annual percentage rate (APR) currently being offered by banks and savings and loans in the area. If you are member of a credit union, check its rate.

Car manufacturers often offer special financing plans as an alternative to customer cash rebates. Whether the financing plan is a better deal than the cash rebate depends on the size of the rebate, the manufacturer-offered plan's APR, the APRs available from other lenders, the amount you'll be borrowing, and how long a period you'll be borrowing for. On a 48-month loan, each percentage point you cut your APR is the equivalent of a car price discount of about $20.50 per $1,000 of loan.

To illustrate, assume you could get a $13,000, 48-month loan from a bank at a 10 percent APR, and that the special manufacturer-offered plan's rate is 5.9 percent. The savings from using the factory plan would be estimated as follows: (10 minus 5.9) times 13 times $20.50 = $1,093.

Extended service contracts

Extended service contracts often yield substantial profits for the dealers that sell them and the extended service contract companies that back them.

Many new cars are very reliable, so there are few service claims. Also, many cars now carry long manufacturer warranties, so many service problems are covered by the warranty, leaving little to be covered by the extended service contract.

If you decide, despite these facts, that you want to purchase one of these service contracts, check carefully exactly what is covered. Almost all contracts exclude from coverage maintenance and wear items, ranging from brake pads to exhaust system components to air filters. And many contracts exclude--or fail to include--electrical devices like power windows and radios, interior trim, gauges, and even air-conditioning systems. Choose a contract that is written to include everything except a fairly short list of specified items. Don't choose one that lists all the items that are included. Even if the list of "included" items seems long, there are likely to be many items not on the list, and you probably won't notice them, or possibly even know such items exist.

Some contracts cover the cost of towing and a rental car but others do not. And most contracts require you to pay a "deductible" amount for each repair--in some cases, as much as $100--before the service contract company pays anything.

Be sure to check whether you can get repairs done at the selling dealer only, at any dealer of your make of car, at any new car dealer, or at your choice of new car dealer or independent repair shop. Since many consumers are more satisfied with repairs at independent shops than with dealer repairs, it's good to have the option of using an independent shop.

Also, check how the shop will be paid. Under some contracts, the shop simply bills the contract company; under others, you must pay the shop, then seek reimbursement from the contract company. Even if a service contract company says shops can bill it directly, check with repair shops you might use to be sure they will in fact bill the contract company; many shops have decided not to put up with the hassle of collecting from service contract companies.

Finally, be sure the service contract company is financially sound. Many of these companies have gone out of business in recent years, rendering their contracts worthless. You are probably safest with a service contract backed by an auto manufacturer, by a large insurance company, or by a long-established independent warranty company.

A key point if you want an extended service contract: you don't have to buy it where you buy your car or where you plan to have it serviced. For example, you can buy your car from one Ford dealer, buy a Ford backed service contract from another Ford dealer, and have your car serviced under the contract by still another Ford dealer. There have been cases where one dealer was selling a contract for under $500 while another was selling the exact same contract for more than $1,000.

Before you go to a dealer to purchase a car, check other dealers for the prices and coverage of their service contracts. Then you'll be able to use these alternative vendors either to negotiate a good service contract price from your dealer or to supply you a contract if your dealer won't meet the competition. Click here for a free article by Consumers' CHECKBOOK with more information on extended service and a list of CHECKBOOK-identified dealers that will sell these contracts at relatively low prices.

Other add-ons

If a dealer has already applied rustproofing, paint sealant, or fabric protection, you will have to pay for these treatments, but they often are overpriced. When dealers have outside vendors come to the dealership to apply these treatments on cars, the total cost to the dealer is usually less than $50 per car. If a dealer tries to charge you more than that, you can regard the cost simply as an extra markup. It's better to buy from a dealer that applies these treatments to cars only after a customer requests them.

With regard to rustproofing, there are special problems. Many manufacturers recommend against dealer-installed rustproofing. Most say such rustproofing is unnecessary, and some are concerned that it will block weepholes and actually contribute to rust.

Burglar alarm systems, wheel locks, and other add-ons may be worthwhile, but find out what other dealers and independent shops will charge for these items, if you want them, before you go to the dealer where you plan to buy. You can use the other firms' prices as a negotiating standard or you can simply buy the add-ons from the other firms.

Your trade-in

You can lose the benefit of a good deal on your new car if you don't get a good price on the old car you are getting rid of. The "Money-Saving Help" list at the bottom of this article gives you a source where you can check the approximate value of your used car. But the best way to get a solid estimate of your used car's value is to take it to several new car or used car dealers to see what they will pay you for it. Simply tell each dealer that you plan to sell your car and that you are getting offers from at least 5 dealers. You can expect the dealer where you buy your new car to pay you roughly the same amount for your used car as these other dealers would pay. If not, you might as well sell your car to one of the other dealers.

Think of trading-in as really a sale of your used car at wholesale. If you've gotten a rockbottom price on your new car, the dealer won't be able to pay you more than the true wholesale value for your used car. A dealer who offers a fat trade-in allowance must be making it up on the new car price.

Remember, you can sell your used car on your own to another consumer. By checking classified ads, you can get an idea how much your car might sell for. That will probably be more than a car dealer will give you for it, but selling the car on your own is more trouble than selling it to a dealer or trading it in. You have to advertise the car and you may have to deal with a number of potential buyers.

Is there a right time of the year to buy a new car?

There's no sure way to predict. Guessing the car market is no easier than guessing the stock market.

Prices simply respond to supply and demand. When there is excess supply, dealers drop their prices and manufacturers throw in incentive programs to get the market moving.

Should I shop outside my local area ?

For most cars, it is sufficient just to reach out as far as necessary to include at least 5 dealers in the bidding process, but it won't hurt to include one that's a little farther away.

After a new year's models come out, does it make sense to buy one of the previous year's models?

If you plan to keep the car only for a couple of years, you'll probably be better off with the new year's model. You'll pay more now for the new model, but two or three years down the line it will have a substantially higher resale value than the previous year's model. In contrast, if you plan to keep the car 8 or 10 years, the previous year's model may be a better bet. You'll pay a lower price now for the older model and a decade from now the difference in resale value between the two years' models will be small.

The best decision, of course, depends on how much less you can pay for the previous year's model than for the new year's model and on whether the new year's model has new features that are important.
 

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admin said:
Do I have to contact the dealers by telephone rather than e-mail or fax?

The CarBargains service has tested all these approaches many times and has found getting bids by telephone directly from the sales managers consistently gets better prices than result from e-mail or fax contacts.
I think this is the most interesting little nugget from the article. It shouldn't be the case, but it's probably right. I am going through this right now trying to get dealers to give me quotes on certified used mid-sized sedans (for my daughter). Of the 10 or so dealers that I've contacted by email, probably 60 percent of them have not even acknowledged my inquiry. Another 30 percent have responded in some form, but refuse to provide a quote. Many of them didn't even answer the simple questions I had about the vehicles in their inventory. Then 10% (i.e. one) actually provided me a very good quote on a vehicle I'm interested in.

It seems there is a mentality at the dealerships in my area that you aren't a serious buyer until you make personal contact. I think Internet shopping has come a long way, but there still seems to be some dinosaurs out there that would rather lose a sale than have to answer an email.
 

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:confused: OMG, this would totally not work here or with me. I need to see my customer. Sit down with them, face to face, talk about their needs, their wants, their time frame, their budget, find the car that best suits them and then do business. Sales managers or fleet managers won't talk to customers because they would get a beating from the sales staff. That would be taking away from us.

You'll find that a lot of people in the car business won't deal over the phone. Try it though, you never know.
 

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CC - I hate to do this to you, since it flies in the face of your profession, but I've heard similar advice about dealing directly with fleet managers as well, from several sources. Now if someone needs help deciding which vehicle would work best for their needs, then I can totally see your point here in the face-to-face, get-to-know-them mentality. But what about the buyer who has done tons of research, test driven several vehicles and already knows exactly what they want and which options they need. Is it still bad practice to talk directly to a fleet manager in this case?

While we're on this topic already, I have a short anecdote to tell you and questions about it. When we first went to test drive an Acadia (after seeing them at the DC auto show), the GMC dealerships were closed (Sunday) so we went to a Saturn dealer and test drove an Outlook. After going inside and talking to our salesperson for a while, he was interrupted by the sale manager. He sort of cut in and started answering some of our questions. By the end of the half hour or so we were there, the sales guy had wandered off, unneeded since the sales manager basically bullied him out of the conversation and took over. This was not in response to anything we did or said to the sales guy, I just think the sales manager was excited to talk about the Outlook (this was late January, they were very new). So my question to you, as a salesperson, is how kosher was that move? Is that a normal process? Did the manager just get excited about the car? Would that have cut the original guy out of his commision? Maybe this has something to do with the way Saturn dealerships operate, but it left us with a pretty uneasy feeling about the whole deal. When he was shooting down other competitors, I was on board, but when he started badmouthing the Acadia (badly!) and GMC in general, I knew he lost our sale.
 

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CC said:
:confused: OMG, this would totally not work here or with me. I need to see my customer. Sit down with them, face to face, talk about their needs, their wants, their time frame, their budget, find the car that best suits them and then do business. Sales managers or fleet managers won't talk to customers because they would get a beating from the sales staff. That would be taking away from us.

You'll find that a lot of people in the car business won't deal over the phone. Try it though, you never know.
You mean you don't have an internet manager at your dealership? I agree with admin. I have done research ad nauseum on vehicles and I don't need to talk to a salesperson or anyone else about needs, budget, etc. I will know exactly what I want and whether I can afford it without any help at all. All I need is your best price. Like it or not, new cars are a commodity to buyers like me.
 

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admin said:
CC - I hate to do this to you, since it flies in the face of your profession, but I've heard similar advice about dealing directly with fleet managers as well, from several sources. Now if someone needs help deciding which vehicle would work best for their needs, then I can totally see your point here in the face-to-face, get-to-know-them mentality. But what about the buyer who has done tons of research, test driven several vehicles and already knows exactly what they want and which options they need. Is it still bad practice to talk directly to a fleet manager in this case?

While we're on this topic already, I have a short anecdote to tell you and questions about it. When we first went to test drive an Acadia (after seeing them at the DC auto show), the GMC dealerships were closed (Sunday) so we went to a Saturn dealer and test drove an Outlook. After going inside and talking to our salesperson for a while, he was interrupted by the sale manager. He sort of cut in and started answering some of our questions. By the end of the half hour or so we were there, the sales guy had wandered off, unneeded since the sales manager basically bullied him out of the conversation and took over. This was not in response to anything we did or said to the sales guy, I just think the sales manager was excited to talk about the Outlook (this was late January, they were very new). So my question to you, as a salesperson, is how kosher was that move? Is that a normal process? Did the manager just get excited about the car? Would that have cut the original guy out of his commision? Maybe this has something to do with the way Saturn dealerships operate, but it left us with a pretty uneasy feeling about the whole deal. When he was shooting down other competitors, I was on board, but when he started badmouthing the Acadia (badly!) and GMC in general, I knew he lost our sale.
No worries!!!! At the end of the day, we're all consumers/purchasers and we all want to know how to get a good deal, right?? :thumb:

I get a lot of people that have done their homework, and know which vehicle they want/need and end up knowing more than me!!!! And yes, some of them do want to do business over the phone but I try my best to get them in. From a sales point of view, it's harder to close someone on the phone then it is in person. Make sense? And yes, at this point, they're shopping us for price. You may think it bad of me, but rarely will I give out a "deal" over the phone and that's also because I still have to go to my manager to get a price approved. If he doesn't see anyone in my office and if I'm not holding their credit card, he won't give me the bottom line. Maybe I should change my tactics. You're right, a lot of people do their homework, they know what they want and now they're just after the best price. I just have to convince my General Sales Manager that maybe, just maybe, this might be a better way to go!

As for the manager at the Saturn store, my manager will do that here to, but it's not to take over, it's mainly because he is really excited about a vehicle. Mind you, the sales person should have stuck around and not left you with someone else. That's just plain rude. As for the manager and his badmouthing......not a good thing!

And had you bought the vehicle, the sales person would have gotten the commission for it.

Oh, and one more thing...when the price of a vehicle is being negotiated, the salespersons commission is being negotiated too. That's the reason why everyone ends up in a war over price. We're talking GMC so profit isn't as much as everyone thinks it is. It's anywhere between $1500 and $4000 but as a salesperson, we only make anywhere from 12% to 30%. If you're a good salesperson and sell 15 or 20 cars a month, you'll get the higher end of the commssion. If you're not so great and selling only 6 cars a month, you'll get the lower end.
 

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loach said:
CC said:
:confused: OMG, this would totally not work here or with me. I need to see my customer. Sit down with them, face to face, talk about their needs, their wants, their time frame, their budget, find the car that best suits them and then do business. Sales managers or fleet managers won't talk to customers because they would get a beating from the sales staff. That would be taking away from us.

You'll find that a lot of people in the car business won't deal over the phone. Try it though, you never know.
You mean you don't have an internet manager at your dealership? I agree with admin. I have done research ad nauseum on vehicles and I don't need to talk to a salesperson or anyone else about needs, budget, etc. I will know exactly what I want and whether I can afford it without any help at all. All I need is your best price. Like it or not, new cars are a commodity to buyers like me.
That's great loach! I would love to have a customer like you! Someone that knows exactly what they want and is wearing their cheque book on their forehead! :thumb: I would do business with you over the phone. Just give me a credit card number that I could show to my manager and we'll be off to the races!

Really, I think I'm just going to start doing that ;)
 

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CC said:
That's great loach! I would love to have a customer like you! Someone that knows exactly what they want and is wearing their cheque book on their forehead! :thumb: I would do business with you over the phone. Just give me a credit card number that I could show to my manager and we'll be off to the races!

Really, I think I'm just going to start doing that ;)
Just out of curiousity, what would a credit card number be necessary for?
 

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That's the only way that a sales manager would even start the negotiating process, it tells him that the customer is ready to do business. A lot of dealerships work like this. They think that a customer that is ready to sign on the spot will hand over the credit card. A customer who is just shopping around, won't.

Frankly, I take everyone seriously. I really don't care if someone is serious to buy now, or if someone is serious to buy later and is shopping price. My job is to help, to give excellent customer service.
 

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CC, I'm sorry, but it's your kind of manager (requiring a credit card) before talking to me, is just the reason I would not come to a dealership like that. I hate the whole game of the salesperson having to run back and forth between the customer and the manager during negotiations. They should either empower you to make the sale within certain parameters, or have the sales manager come out and do the negotiating directly with the customer. I know you didn't create these rules, so I'm not directing my comments to you personally.
 

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Hey MrBiz, I know you're not directing your post to me :) ;D

And I AGREE WITH YOU!! I think those "rules" are beyond stupid.

ETA: and it would be very nice to have power when it comes to negotiating. I personally can't stand all the going back and forth. I think it's ridiculous and tiring for both the customer and the sales person
 

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This thread came about because the CarBargains service is what I used to purchase my Acadia (http://www.acadiaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=333.0).

For me, this approach worked very well. I would never go into a dealership and let them tell me what type of car I need and why and what I can afford. It's an unfortunate stigma, I know, but car salespeople are seen as trying to get the deal and not caring about your best interests. (I know that's not true with all, but how do you know?) So I do my own research and comparisons and look at my own budget. I make up my own mind and come to a decision.

At that point, this approach was helpful because it saved me time and frustration for the actual negotiation/buying part and I was willing to pay for that. I think it boils down to different approaches that people are comfortable with.
 

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This is an interesting thread. In todays world, one can do their research online and then just get out there and shop on price. I do it myself, especially on things that are easy to ship. I live in the boonies and e-bay is my friend! That said, there are other, so called commodities, where you just gotta interact! Maybe I'm weird, but take your barber/hairdresser as an example. I don't want to shop around or compare prices, I just want to be comfortable with the whole experience. Now I happen to be a salesperson (we all are in some fashion), but when I myself find a good salesperson, mechanic, or veterinarian etc., who I can trust, I enjoy the fact that I don't have to research things to death on a regular basis. Not that it's easy to find these people, but when you do, it's no surprise that loyalty comes easy. It's selfish really. Anyhow, I think CC said that she takes all customers seriously and I totally agree that this is a healthy philosophy. I sell real estate and I treat everybody as if they are going to buy something, yet I expect no one to buy anything. No expectations, but the knowledge that a certain percentage of people will become happy customers makes the whole process more enjoyable. There is probably some sort of breakdown where for every sale to a new person you need to have 6 people who will never buy anything from you, 1 person who's a rude jerk, a couple of people who will one day buy and likely a repeat customer or 2. Anyhow, I really do notice when someone cares about what they're doing, whether it's a clerk at the video store or an airline employee (rare........kidding!........ sort of), but when people do seem to care, I will try to be a loyal customer, even if I might have to pay a few bucks more! Just my $.02.
 

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As I sit here in the dealership, at the table which I made the deal last night, I think I did alright. (They are detailing and cleaning my Acadia and buffing out a rub mark on the back bumper fascia right now.)

Two months back when we ordered, we were pretty far off on the trade value. ($12,5 and I wanted $16 minimum). I was getting supplier, so that was a nobrainer. I still think they were trying to make up for some of that with the trade value. I ordered with nothing down, no signing, no nothing.

So we come in last night, and I admit I lost some cool when the sales mgr called to say the car was here. I had been out looking at a CX-9 a couple hours earlier, and my wife and I were also considering an Acadia with $5k more options than we ordered. After 9 weeks (today), we were looking at a trip a week from now and one in a month and afraid we were going to be putting miles on the trade.

So I lost some cool, and maybe gave up some $$ by giving a new "had to have #" for the trade over the phone. Dammit.

So at 7:15 last night we were across the table, and they had come up some on the car already, to 14. And I had said I wanted 15 or 15.5 on the phone (when you say that, don't even give the higher number, that doesn't matter if you give the low one). They showed me the deal with 14 and then on the interest rate, there was something funny, they were showing a 72 mo # that was between what I expected for a 48 and 60 month. First, I am not paying more than 60 months for anything but a house. Second, I have very good credit, and my wife's is completely unblemished.

So I issued my disgust on 2 points, I wouldn't accept less than 15, and I wouldn't pay any more interest than the GMAC promo rates (which I don't think are even that great). Neither was too difficult, I thought.

I kept a cold stare, salesguys (a mgr and a salesperson) acted as if it was impossible, even saying at one point, we won't get this tonight. I didn't even respond to that comment, and didn't even look at my wife. Her car, and her bottom # for the trade was 14, and mine was 15, but I probably would have dropped to 14.5, and I wanted out of the dealership to get back to our baby (babygirl, not the car). As my silence went on, it became easier for me, and I stared at the wall though the negotiator-- it was the freaking 2nd grade silent game all over again. He blinked and went away, and while he was gone, the only thing I said to my wife (other sales guy was there)-- was "I think our baby is going to be upset when she doesn't get to watch TV in the car on the way home").

After about 5 minutes, he came back and met me on both terms. The dealership hooked us with a finance deal that wasn't GMAC, which had a small prepayment, but smaller than the last two cars. If it made the dealer a little extra $$ to go with another bank, I got no issue with that, and there was even a .09% tagged on, but again, no biggie.

My wife was in shock that I could avoid talking or moving without facial expression for about 5 minutes she thought. I don't think it was that long, and it was probably some fatigue doing that work. I did learn one thing too, don't go to pick your car up 2 hours before close thinking it will be quicker. We left the dealership 2 hours and 10 minutes after close. The finance offices were both occupied until about an hour after the dealership close when we got in there. My wife was already a reader, and after closing on our house the last two times, I started trying to read every word on contracts as fast as possible but ensuring I read every word. That takes some time.
 
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