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As promised ; My car buying experience

As I mentioned back in Cwatkin’s thread regarding the fire sale on 2015 Mitsubishi Mirages; I too was in the marked for a new, though decidedly different car. I had been thinking about getting a new car for quite a while (I even considered getting a 2008 Bullitt Mustang back in 2008), but I really didn’t need a new car at the time. Fast forward to 2016, my loved, but, rickety 2003 Mustang GT was starting to nickel and dime me , since last November, I’ve had to replace no fewer than four coil packs (they somehow failed in 3-4 week increments), and I had to replace the intake manifold gasket, which on a car with an aftermarket supercharger is time consuming. So I instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop and have something really expensive go wrong. I decided to buy a new car.

Not surprisingly I decided on a new Mustang. The only problem was that up until recently, the incentives on the 2016 Mustang were not exactly fantastic, $500 retail cash off. So I decided to wait until the incentives changed. The incentives changed on 4/5/16, but I had been doing research and seeing what cars were around that met the specs I was looking for ( Mustang GT Premium , manual, with the Track Pack, and Nav, in Deep Impact blue with an ebony leather interior). I found a couple cars that checked all the right boxes in dealerships that were about 90 miles away, there was nothing local.

Then I decided to tryout Truecar and see what came up. I put in my information, hit submit, and literally within 10 seconds, my phone rang, it was a local dealership. I told the lady who called me that I wasn’t planning on buying until the 2nd week in April, and I was very specific about what I wanted and unfortunately he dealership didn’t have what I was looking for. She agreed that they did not have what I was looking for in stock, but thought that they might have something like what I was describing coming in on the truck later that week, and that she would email me if the car was what I was looking for. I thanked her and hung up.

Then about 40 minutes later another dealership called and gave me a similar spiel, they didn’t have what I wanted but they could probably get it if needed. I was also called by another local dealer with the same result.

Last Friday I got a call from the first dealership, they indeed got a new Deep Impact Blue Mustang GT Premium with the track pack and nav. It didn’t have the 401A option package (12 speaker audio system and blind spot monitor), and it did have a faded silver racing stripe, which I didn’t want. But it was close. I told that I might come down to take for a test drive some time next week.

On 4/5/16 Ford changed the incentives again as predicted. Cash back went up to $750 off, and they gave another $200 rebate for being a AAA memeber (I am), and another $100 off if you went the auto show late last month (strange that it wasn’t offered before). So around $1050 in rebates, up from $500, not as big a jump as I was hoping for. Truecar stated a $3200 discount before rebates, which was agreeable to me. So on the 5th I emailed the first dealership and asked if the car was still available, it was. So I set up a test drive for the 6th.

I went to the dealership after work, the lady who I had been corresponding with informed me that she wasn’t my salesperson, she just handles internet and Truecar correspondence. A younger guy is my salesman. He’s a nice guy and pretty agreeable. We go on the test drive, the car is much different than my 2003, but I like it. On the test drive I told him that sold cars for a living in former life, and actually recognized one of the other salesman at the dealership.

Being the car nerd that I am, I told him that I didn’t need a walk around or for him to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining the benefits of various features, and that I knew that the way truecar works is that he’s given a flat $300 if I buy the car. I told him that if we could get this over and done with quickly, he’d make $300 for about an hour of work, and not have to explain anything about the car to me, because I’d already done my homework and was well aware of how everything worked. I was also paying in cash so there would no financing hoops to jump through. The salesman agreed.

The only sticking point was my trade in value. I expected this, as they aren’t making a huge amount of gross profit on the new car. My car, being heavily modified, I knew was going to be a sticking point. You never get anywhere close to what you put into the car back when you sell or trade, unless you happened to find a very specific buyer, and I’m fine with that. I was only really hoping for the upper end of what I could expect for a stock car. They hit me with an offer that was about $1000 below what I wanted. I balked at the low ball offer. They went up by $250, I still balked. Then they offered a figure that was $250 below that of my asking price, and they would not go any higher.

I then told them that I would learn to like the tacky racing stripe (I had requested that it be removed), if they would knock $150 off the price of the car. The GM said that he wouldn’t loose a sale over that amount of money and agreed. So I ended up paying $50 more than I had envisioned, but I’ll take it.

Went to see the finance guy next. I declined the extended warranty, super miracle wax, and prepaid oil changes. I told the finance that tomorrow (4/7/16) I would go by my bank after work and get a cashier’s check, and I would sign over the 2003 Mustang at that time as well. He agreed that it sounded like a plan.

The whole process from the time I stepped in the door to the time I left took about 90 minutes, and about 30 of those minutes were spent waiting for the finance guy and ogling the Shelby GT 350 they had in the showroom. It really did go very smoothly.

So today (4/7/16) I went to the bank after work, and got the cashier’s check, went over to the dealership, and got my new car.

Thanks for letting us know. Like I said in my PM we would like a Mustang also the only thing I would change about yours is we like the Race Red paint.


Congratulations on your new car purchase OP. It did indeed go very smoothly. Good for you.

Sounds like a nice one and the Impact Blue is one of my favorite colors.

Congrats. seems like you did your homework and all went well. Enjoy the new car.

If you don’t mind me asking, which state are you in? I ask because I feel the salespeople in CA are a bit more aggressive, though one Ford dealership I dealt with was better than the rest.

@galant I live in Virginia. The dealership I went to actually had quite a reputation for having really aggressive salespeople. But it was sold and bought by a family that owned another Ford dealership in town back in 2013. A lot of the old staff left when new management took over. I had an in with the old fleet manager there (he’s the father of some guys I went to high school with), and my original plan was to go through him. But he pulled a dirty trick on me; he retired. So that plan went out the window.

@FoDaddy : I guess there is a reason most people hate buying cars. I hate to generalize, but my experience has been particularly bad in Los Angeles. It might be the high cost of living/taxes and the cut throat competitive environment.

I live in Los Angeles and EVERYBODY I know has had extremely unpleasant experiences when it comes to buying cars

It’s definitely not brand-specific. I think it really depends on the salesman and the “corporate” attitude of the dealer. If they insist on playing games, it will be an ugly experience.

I can’t remember the last time I had an unpleasant buying experience. I have talked to people around me that had bad buying experiences, but that seems to be related to not knowing enough about the vehicles and especially pricing. They thought they were overpaying for the cars or trucks. The cure for that is knowledge. When sales associates find out that I have studied their vehicles and the competition, they drop the bull and get down to business. In 1997, the sales manager stepped in when he saw overheard my negotiations with the salesman and asked what it would take to put me in the Regal. We arrived at an attractive price quickly and I drove it away that night.

Edit: I’m just discussing buying in Central Marland. I have no experience buying anywhere else, and I don’t doubt that sales associate personalities at work can be different in different geographical areas.

The cure for that is knowledge.

That is your best defense against a bad buying experience. That and just walking away.

I’ve had several experiences where I had to walk because the deal wasn’t good enough…or the salesman was too pushy or just a jerk. They need my business more then I need theirs.

You need to know pricing with all options. Don’t be afraid to take out your cell phone and do a google search right in front of the salesman. They may hate that…but so what.

@jtsanders agree! It always pays to do your homework. A salesman who was interviewed by a newspaper complained that “today’s customers know so “darn much” about car already I can’t influence them!”

That’s the way to have it! It costs nothing to bone up on the various cars you may be interested in, and by paying $20 or so to Consumer Reports you can also get all the cost data.

A salesman who was interviewed by a newspaper complained that "today's customers know so "darn much" about car already I can't influence them!"

There was this “Ultra Conservative - Talk show host” that was on the local TV channel every Sunday morning here in NH back in the 80’s and 90’s. He owned this business in Hookset call Rondo’s (or something like that).

One day he got on his Soapbox and just lambasted people who use the internet to get pricing on buying cars. Quote - “It’s pitiful that these young people have access to all this information on cars and can dictate prices to my friends who own dealerships. They’ll be out of business before the end of the century.”

In defense of the aggressive salespeople; they have no choice.
It’s aggressiveness or unemployment.

That really turns me off ,when I know more then the salesperson about the car ,a plus the BS factor ,one dealership in particular will probably never get my business again(actually probably two of them ) max profit BS doesnt attract me ,when you give the money Guys the breaks.
Ever check out Myers Ford in Elkton .FoDaddy ?

@kmccune I bought my car from Richmond Ford West , another dealership up in Sterling, VA actually had a two cars the matched what I was looking for, but I found the car I ended up buying locally.

@Fodaddy,the reason I asked .they seem to have a good service dept and they get the valleys allocation (pretty much anyway ) of Hi Po Ford vehicles.

:smile: @FoDaddy Some Mustang News…

I doubt this is news to you FoDaddy, but I had to put it up here. I’m liking Mustangs more and more all the time.

@“common sense answer”

I had heard the new Mustangs were selling well abroad. I think a lot of it has to do with that for a long time, the Mustang has been forbidden fruit in much of the world, you could get a grey market import, but Ford never sold them in the showroom. So there’s a fair amount of built up interest in the new model. Also there’s not a lot of options for a relatively affordable rear wheel drive V8 powered coupe these days, and that’s part of the appeal as well.

The last new car I bought was my 2002 Sienna, a few weeks after the Towers went down. We got a good price on it, and would still be driving it at 220,000 miles but for Mexican import rules.

Before that, we bought a new 1988 Nova. There was a dealer 15 miles out in the country who advertised how much money you could save by driving that 15 miles. So, I drove it, and told the salesman, “You get one shot at me. Give me your best price and that is what I decided on. Don’t even think of giving me a bogus price, then call me up in a few days with a slightly better price.” He gave me a joke price, like a few hundred dollars off sticker price.

I went back into the city and got if for a couple thousand less. A few days later, the small town moron called me up and made me a slightly better offer, still above the city price. I cussed him out pretty good.


Good for you for giving the salesman a piece of your mind :naughty:

If he had been a good boy, as you asked him to be, he probably would have gotten the sale

I always feel it’s good to tell someone when they make a bad call, or make a mistake. Perhaps they can learn from it, if they have a mind to do so

When I make a mistake, I try to learn something from it, if feasible