Felt Sorry for Car Saleman


Actually, my independent mechanic did recommend the Toyota Sienna when I was shopping for a minivsn. He thought the Sienna and the Odyssey were the ones that had the least problems.
I don’t really go for doodads in a car. Back in the late 1950s, I was probably the only teenager on the planet that liked the simplicity of the 1957-58 Studebaker Scotsman. I had begun doing the simple maintenance on our family’s cars and I saw how easy it was to maintain the Scotsman.This was about the time when it was cool to remove the chime from the car and “lead in” the bolt holes. This was already done on the Scotsman.
I thought the Chrysler products with the fins looked hideous when Chrysler brought out the 1957 models and then GM followed suit in 1959.
As I become older, there are certain features that I do like. The power sliding doors on my minivan are nice when I take older people with me. Air conditioning is great, but I don’t see the advantage of the automatic temperature control in my 2017 Sienna over the manual HVAC in my previous 2011 Sienna. I used to have a little plastic device that I got for free with dials that I could record an odometer reading. This little device clipped onto the sunvisor. I would set it to the odometer reading when I bought gas. The next time I bought gas, by doing a little rounding of the odometer reading and the value shown on the odometer recording device, I could do the subtraction in my head and calculate the approximate distance traveled. I would then round off the gallons I put in to the nearest gallon and, in my head, calculate the mpg. I don’t need an average mpg readout on the dashboard to give me my mpg.
I still think I would rather drive the Austin Healey Sprite or the MG Midget of the late 1950s through the early 1970s than today’s doodad equipped cars. When I had my first full time job and was buying a new car, the salesman understood that I wanted a strippo. He steered me to a Rambler 550, the bottom of the line Classic series in 1965. The car had 7000 miles but had the balance of the 24000 mile warranty. The previous owner wanted a car with more doodads. I was happy with that Rambler for 8 years. I drove it through my second round of graduate school and a couple of years after that while we got established and built a house. I always appreciated that salesman for listening to what I really wanted rather than to sell me a more expensive car as salesmen tried to do at other dealers.


Interestingly, from 1950 through at least 1955, Cadillac was a very reliable car for its time. Consumer Reports have used Cadillacs of this vintage high marks for reliability. Also interesting is that Cadillacs in those days got higher gasoline mileage than many other cars of this era. The Cadillac with its efficient V-8 engine and it’s 4 speed Hydramatic transmission got better mileage than a 6 cylinder Chevrolet with its inefficient PowerGlide automatic transmission that depended completely on a torque converter. A family friend bought a used 1955 Cadillac to replace his 1949 Nash Ambassador. It proved to be so reliable that he swapped his 1947 Jeep Station Wagon for another 1955 Cadillac, so he had a matched pair.


I hear what you’re saying . . . and it proves that many things are subject to change

A relative of mine who is in his late 70s steadfastly refuses to buy any Japanese cars . . . because he has vivid memories of them being disposable garbage cars when they first started appearing in the USA. While they may have genuinely been garbage 40 or 50 years ago, I would say that is no longer the case


That used to be a very common assumption. I think Lexus being so much more reliable than Mercedes yet with quietude and luxury for a lot less money killed that assumption dead.

Mazda’s Miata also blew a big hole in the assumption that all ragtop sports cars had to require lots of TLC.

A thread on single cars that dramatically changed consumer perceptions might be fun. There are a number of them throughout automotive history. Tesla would definitely be a more recent addition to the list.


The problem is that Lexus has been boring. It didn’t matter which model, they were at the bottom of the list in the fun-to-drive category. That started to change with the GS350, and some of the other models have an F class vehicle that would be more competitive with classic fun luxury vehicles from Merceds Benz or BMW.


Depends on the model. I spent a week with a Mercedes sedan some years ago and have never been so bored.
The Lexus SC series has always been every bit a driver’s car.

But that was never my point. My point was that Lexus upended the mistaken assumption that higher cost equals higher quality in automobiles once and for all. Although it still persists in some people’s minds.


Not everybody that wants a luxury car needs/wants an exciting ride

So it may be a problem for you, but not necessarily for somebody else


[quote=“db4690, post:20, topic:117957”]
I have known MANY people that assume luxury brand vehicles must be super reliable. Somehow, they figure that if it costs a small fortune, the car must be better in every way, including reliability. I’ve told them many times that their logic doesn’t always hold up, but more often than not, they didn’t really want to hear any opinions that don’t mirror their own
.quote]Then they ask for advice here and when it does not confirm their pre-determined diagnosis they insult professional mechanics with decades of experience.


My maternal Grandfather had a system that worked well for him. He bought used Cadillacs every 2 years. He appreciated their quality, comfort, performance, and reliability. He was picky and would carefully inspect and test drive several of them before purchasing one at 50% or less than the new price. I remember photos of his 1948, 1950, 1952, and 1954 (which is the only one I remember as I was born in 1952). He said the 1954 was the first one he checked out and was so perfect he bought it on the spot in 1956. It was so perfect he drove it until 1965! I have many memories of riding in it from age 4 until age 13 when his 2 youngest children convinced him to buy a new car. A 1965 Ford Galaxie 4 door sedan 289 cu in C4 A/T.


My parents bought a 2 year old Cadillac Series 62 hard top, and
They weren’t even looking for one. They went shopping for a Cutlass sedan in 1966. After test driving one, the salesman asked if we would like to test a Cadillac. Everyone loved it, but my parents were adamant that they couldn’t afford it until the salesman said he could sell it to us for a few hundred less than the Cutlass. He said the previous owner bought a new one every two years, and that we could trade our car in two years later and buy this guy’s used cars. We did not accept the offer, but we did enjoy the Caddie.


Buddy of mine worked at a local dealership years ago and was talking about how they paid their salesmen. He said he would get a regular paycheck, but if he didn’t meet a certain goal or sell enough vehicles, he’d actually have to pay some of the money back.


That’s the deal I was offered too. I couldn’t believe anyone would accept a deal that bad, but many did, I suspect out of desperation. Ergo, the huge turnover.


IIRC, that type of pay arrangement was known as a “draw”. My brother was prepared to accept some type of sales job back in the '60s, until my mother explained how that “draw” arrangement worked. Yes, in theory it was a steady–albeit low–weekly income, but if you failed to meet sales goals, you wound-up paying back the “draw” for the previous week.


It’s called a draw. You can draw on the account for a salary but your commissions need to replace the draw. Lot’s of sales folks are under that system as I was once. Works fine as long as the commissions are there, which is not always.


If a draw on your commission is a bad deal you don’t have to accept the draw, just wait for the monthly commission check.


Of course you don’t have to take any money but if your commission is 30% that month and you like to eat?


Yea, that’s the trick, you can’t just be totally uninformed about the vehicle. The customer may not know that much about the car but they’re not idiots. The guy pointing at the serpentine belt when asked about the timing system is kind of funny. This stems, in my opinion from younger people years back loosing interest in cars. I remember, being a mechanic, people just kind of gave up on trying to know anything about cars because they’d become so supidly complicated and difficult to work on. That didn’t work in my favor many times, people would want to know why a repair was more than on their 72 Chevy pick up and I’d have to try to explain the complexity in layman’s terms and it’s not easy. Much of that stuff I’d have to disassemble, assess, disassemble, assess and work my way through a repair. Explaining in advance how I was going to do a timing chain repair without having a manual to it was impossible. Small shops like mine don’t have a manual for every vehicle, I have a computer based how to section that is sometimes helpful but mostly just tells you disassemble, repair , reassemble in reverse order. That’s fine, a super descriptive…this is SPECIFICALLY what bolt to take out first and so on would be a huge book for every repair. I don’t mind having to work my way through it but it can get tricky explaining why a labor time is what it is when I haven’t done said repair before. I usually just tell them some of the variables I’ve encountered in the past and tell them, "that may be why it takes that long. But I can say this, it’s tough to know the mechanical details like you mentioned on all these different cars. Unless you only sell one model of car, there’s just too much information.


Final chapter: Being adverse to selling a vehicle ourselves we sold the 2014 Nissan Frontier to CarMax . The offer was fair and the process was almost painless .

The replacement chosen was a 2018 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback and that process also was almost painless and of course I will never tell anyone how much we paid so they can’t say we paid too much.

The End.


When you do that in Minnesota anyway, you end up paying sales tax on the full cost of the replacement car, rather than the difference. That’s why you have to balance maybe getting a little more trying to sell the old car yourself, versus just trading it in for a little less.


Just to change tact, had a bud, car salesman, made more money on used cars than new, it is a job, deal with it, like I have a friend that works for a water utility, people call up and complain we have no hot water! He is tempted to say sorry our hot water production plant is down, but does not, sorry we just supply cold water, your water heater must be broken. As there i no such thing as a hot water heater, because if the water was hot you would not have to heat it.