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My test drive/inscrutible dealers

Okay, I FINALLY got inside a 2009 Yaris; loved it!!! But am not quite ready to buy; my 2000 Suzuki Swift hatchback is doing just fine, I continue to put hard miles on it and would prefer to keep doing that to my OLD (cheap) car as long as possible. Made it clear that I was just planning for the future here, yet I was hustled into a chair, offered a beverage, and shown the numbers – that’s fine, as I’ll want to go with the dealer who makes the best offer. But when I walked out without a Yaris, saying I was going to shop around and would get back to them, they were GRIEVOUSLY disappointed, not to say PO’d. Used to impulse buyers, much?

It’s mostly an act, and a reason why I don’t go to a dealership without having made email contact with them and have them come back with a firm offering price for a new car. I would think that in today’s poor sales environment, my tactics would work just as well.

One other thing I have found is if I have to make “cold calls” to dealers, I am up front about my lack of desire to purchase today, and that I am on an information seeking expedition. The smart salesmen adjust their tactics accordingly, provide me with the info, and make a follow up call a few days later. By then, I know whether I am going to buy and whether their price is in the running, or not.

I have also found that I am more successful in dealing with an older, more experienced salesmen, rather than a youngster. I think the older guys better understand how to adjust their pitch to a customer, rather than “do it by the book”.

However, my last used car purchase was from a fairly young man, and he was never high pressure at all.

They are getting pretty desperate these days. Their business has declined sharply.

A friend of mine had been thinking about buying a minivan. He is in no rush. He was shopping online and saw one he liked. Get this. He made an offer of $20,000 on a minivan that was worth $29,000 and the offer was accepted. If you are in the market right now, car dealers are getting so desperate you can make some incredible deals.

They were definitely not happy when I said I’d be shopping around (they asked, “Why?”) and going with the dealer who offers the best deal; told me I wouldn’t find a better one, blah blah… $14,500 for a “stripped-down, base” 2009 Yaris liftback with auto transmission but nothing else; they insist I have to get the convenience package ($650), floor mats ($150), and all-weather package ($70), even if I order “absolute base” direct from the factory. Good price? Also, isn’t it wise to say “no trade-in,” get price quote in writing, THEN offer a trade-in? And finally, if I wanted cruise control added later (after market), do I have the dealer do it or take it to an independed dealer? Don’t want the whole package…

As for floor mats, I can buy those at WalMart for $17… : (

Any insight appreciated; buying a brand new car is all new to me…

Auto salespersons are trained to close the deal NOW. They know that if you walk out the door you probably will not buy a car from them, and they will do just about anything to keep you in the showroom.

Why did you agree to sit down and discuss price if you were not ready to buy?

This is a game. You need to learn the rules if you hope to keep a few dollars in your pocket.

To get a price quote in writing… Wasn’t getting anywhere on e-mail, thought I tried… Best quote gets the sale…

Also, isn’t it wise to say “no trade-in,” get price quote in writing, THEN offer a trade-in?

It really doesn’t matter what order you do things in as long as you do your homework. In the end, they need a certain amount of profit and they’re going to spin the numbers any way they have to to achieve that end. Your job is to know what you want for your trade-in and how much you’re willing to pay for the new car. If they know you’ll finance with them, then they can pad their profit that way and offer you a low number on the car, for example. If you negotiate a great deal on the new car without financing and then spring the trade-in on them, don’t be surprised if they tell you to go pound sand. Most of the time, they don’t want your junker trade-in. They take them to make the sale and wholesale your old car for almost nothing. It’s a liability for them.

The best price is always obtained when you have your check book in your hand and are willing to buy today. They won’t give you their best price until they think you are a buyer.

I would be finding another dealer. The convenience package, whatever that is, is a deal breaker. Get the invoice price from on any add-ons they are asking for and offer that amount ifyou want them. Floor mats and convenience package are expendable to me. In Kansas, the Toyota and Subaru all weather package was useful.

Keep in mind that due to high gas prices, dealing on a Yaris and Corolla may be more difficult, due to demand. However doing homework on and and identifying close to invoice prices will help you out.

I seldom offer a trade because my cars are either being handed down inside the family if they are in good condition, or in such condition that a dealer would not want to keep it on his lot and sell it, so I go with a private sale instead, simplifying the transaction.

I’m not financing… They asked if the 0% interest offer brought me in; I’d never even heard of it, LOL; am paying cash. Guess that also makes me a less-attractive customer? 0% interest does sound desperate. So would you recommend buying now???

“Retail” was $11k-something; before they got done with all the items I have to have (including $150 floor mats), the final price was $14,500…

Of course they’re irritated.Their livelihood depends on making the sale no matter what.
Since car salesmen are some of the most trampled upon people on the planet it’s possible that the the failure of the salesman here to close the deal could have cost him his job.

One never knows if the failed deal here was the last straw or not.

Uh, but I told them I just wanted to test-drive one for future reference and wouldn’t be buying yet… Sheesh! Guess I should’ve put it in writing.

So the concensus is not to even ASK for a price until the day I order one…

How do you, then, “comparison shop” if they won’t answer e-mail and you can’t wander into the dealership without adding to the national unemployment rate?

You are not there to make friends.

If you were not going to buy, why waste the dealers time?

I always pay cash. Attractiveness is relative. For example, take the uninformed buyer that can easily be exploited because all they focus on is their monthly payment. That is very attractive, no? On the other extreme, you have the well informed buyer who is willing to pay cash and requires almost no effort on their part, they can make a few hundred dollars in 1/2 hour. That is also attractive to the saleperson and dealership. Once I am serious, that is how I present myself to them. I am here to buy a car. I am not going to waste time messing around. Here is my bottom line, out the door price I am willing to pay. Do we have a deal?

I don’t care how they finagle the numbers because all I am concerned about is the bottom line price. I never surrender anything (license, blank check, trade-in keys) those are methods used on ill informed buyers to keep them from leaving. If I sense any foolishness, I get up and walk out. There is always another place just down the road.

Wow, how many ways can I say this: TO TEST-DRIVE IT… No point focusing on the Yaris as my next car if I didn’t like what I saw in person (the 2009 redesigned model) or the feel of it once behind the wheel; would you buy a pig in a poke???

Guess my “mistake” was sitting down, but I was interested in the price they’d offer WHEN I was ready; now I understand… In dealer parlance, sitting down IS “ready to buy”…

So, again, how do I comparison shop (with best deals) among the dealers???

You’re going about it backwards IMO. You don’t ASK them for a price, you TELL them what you’re willing to pay. This cuts down on the shopping around. Do you homework in advance and settle on a price you are willing to spend. Then go to your first choice in a dealership and tell them you’re serious and what you’re willing to pay.

The other method wastes time and energy and the chances they’ll offer you the lowest possible price is almost nil.

“Comparison shop?” What are you comparing? They all have the same car with the same options. Figure out what you want and how much you’re willing to pay. Then buy from whichever dealer you prefer. You’re going to spend more than necessary the way you’re going about it.

The only thing that matters is the bottom line, and you can’t negotiate that until you are buying a specific car.

Dealers are hurting right now, since sales are WAY down. This is a good time to make a deal if you have the money.

December might be even better. Dealer showrooms are always empty in December, and everyone will be desperate for a sale.

You did the right thing, except for the sitting down part. If you are there to look and test drive, that’s fine. You told them that up front. The salesman’s job is his problem, not yours, and don’t let anyone make it your problem. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Period.

What you do is decide exactly what make/model/options you want. Write it all down. Compose a letter, not email, a real letter. Send that letter to several dealers addressed to “Fleet sales manager” asking for an out the door quote on exactly the car you want. If a dealer doesn’t answer, don’t worry, some of them will. Contact the one with the best deal and tell them when you want to pick up the car and that there better not be one penny of extra charge when you get there or you will walk away. And be ready to walk away. You can decide if $50 savings is worth driving an extra 100 miles, and maybe therefor go with a closer dealer for a little extra money, but that is your call and you don’t have to tell any of them what anyone else offered, and you probably shouldn’t.

In a former life I was a car salesperson at a Toyota/Mazda dealership.

If you let them set the price you will lose. They will never voluntarily give you their “best” price. Let them tell you their price, then tell them how much you are willing to pay.

You must be realistic. You can’t get a car for half price, but you can get them to lower the price. Make a fair offer and stand firm. DO NOT BUDGE. If they don’t accept it, walk out and try the next dealer.

Do your homework ahead of time. There are lots of websites with pricing information, etc. Know how much you are willing to pay before you sit down with the salesperson, and just because they say “no” at first doesn’t mean they won’t eventually take your offer.

It’s all part of the game. You have to make them understand that you won’t go any higher no matter what they say or how long it takes. Once this sinks in, if your offer is reasonable, they will take it.