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My test drive/inscrutible dealers

Ranck gives good advice. I wouldn’t argue with any of it.

Nope, Never Ever tell them what you are will to pay. When you give them a price, you just cornered yourself. You told them what the conditions are where you would buy the car. What you do is just keep declining offers until the salesman/manager presents you with a deal that is acceptable to you.

If you can’t get any email quotes, then Ranck’s advise is the best second choice. You can also look out at and other websites like edmunds where you can either see the prices or send an email to a dealer asking for a quote.

Since I live in a relatively large metropolitan area, I generally get good responses from email.

Nope, Never Ever tell them what you are will to pay. When you give them a price, you just cornered yourself. You told them what the conditions are where you would buy the car. What you do is just keep declining offers until the salesman/manager presents you with a deal that is acceptable to you.

What you propose is to sit there and repeatedly decline offers until they meet your expected price. If you already know what you are willing to pay, why wait for them to come down to your price? Just tell them what it is and you’ll only have to do it once. If you’ve done your homework, you already know what the minimum they can possibly accept for the car before they start losing money. They’re not going to give the car away. You add a reasonable profit and that’s your price.

After reviewing the Edmunds true market value info there, I am convinced you need to find a different dealer. First, if the Yaris have the factory conveneience package installed, it cannot also have the all weather package. Much of the all weather package is contained inside the convenience package price, so they are mutually exclusive.

Secondly, Edmunds indicates that, despite invoice pricing, the Yaris is selling for MSRP in my area. That may be an indicator of why the dealer was not willing to negotiate.

I remain confused as to the options. Is it NOT possible to order (from the factory) an absolute base model with no options? And I thought the side curtain airbags were now standard (why does Edmunds list them as an option)? Also, where does one specify transmission wanted (auto or manual)?I see a field for specifying the color preferred, but not one for that, and I know automatic is extra. All very confusing and makes it hard to name my price.

Exactly. I sold cars for a few years. The whole thing is about controling the “up”. A good salesman is always the one telling the customer what to do. For example after the test drive a good salesman will ask “Do you like the car” most people will say “yes” then the salesman says “Great lets go inside and I’ll show you how easy it is do business with (insert dealership here”. Then a good salesman will get out of the car and walk to the front door of the dealership, he or she will not even look to make sure the customer is following them. The customer will automatically follow the salesperson or risk looking like an idiot when the salesman gets to the front door and the turns around and yells “Is everything ok!!?” in front of everybody on the lot should the customer not follow the salesman from the car.

To get ahead when making a deal you have to be very selective with what information you tell the salesman. Do not mention what you are willing to pay. Have financing already in place if you can. Also if you are buying a car jointly with another person and the salesman leaves so that you can “talk it over” there is fair chance that his or her phone is set to intercom and he, she, or the floor manager is listening in. It happens all the time. Remember it’s not your job to buy the car, it’s the salesperson’s job to sell you the car.

The “get the price first” then offer a trade is not a new technique, they are aware people do this, don’t expect the “no trade price” to be offset exactly by the trade in value given, I wouldn’t give you the same price if I was the Dealer. Or if you got the same price they will make a terrible offer on your trade, sugesting you sell private.

Try the “Build Your Own” section on Toyota’s website. It appears most options are group in “Option A” and “Option B” You make not have a choice in getting a car without either group if you want an automatic. If you’re ok with a stick shift it looks like a bare-bones model is availible. However it won’t be easy tracking one down.

Their philosophy is that if you don’t buy now, you may never be back. They would rather have your money than your back. True almost everywhere.

Checked out “Build Your Own”… There’s Option A, B, or C (no “no option” choice)… With C (as I recall; going by memory now), you get the rear window defroster TWICE (once with the convenience package and again with the all-weather package); huh??? With B, you get cruise (which I’d like) plus keyless entry (which I wouldn’t like). It’s also impossible to get stripped down with just cruise. This is worse than picking out cereal from among the 3,000 choices…

Why can’t you just order what you want and NOT have to pay for what you DON’T???

I’m figuring $14,500, which is what this dealership offered me; no wonder they were ticked when I walked.

I’ll offer my two cents…

I had a similar experience when I went to buy my first car. I just walked into the dealerships and told them I was looking to buy my first car and that I was still not relatively sure which car it was going to be. I told them I wanted to test drive couple of cars across different brands to make sure I like the feel of the car (which is far more important to me than safety or features), so I’m not making a purchase today. And I couldn’t actually make the purchase because the cash was in a CD due to mature the following week. So, I ended up going to about 5 dealerships. My list included Lancer, Mazda6, Mazda3, Impreza, Focus, Fusion, and Camry.

I will say though, different dealerships have different approach. Some more friendly and laid back than others. For example, on my maybe 3rd dealership, I got into the Lancer and really liked the car. So, I wanted to plan ahead and work out the numbers, telling them before hand that my cash is only available next week because it’s still in a CD, but that I was willing to put a cash deposit on the car to have them secure it for me. They agreed to that and we started to work on the price tag. It all went fairly smoothly and I got it at a price I thought was right, so I said, “great, as soon as that CD matures, I’ll be back. Print me a copy of this that so that the next time I come in, I can just come in and go out with my new car.” Then, they decided to sell that car that day and pushed to have me sign this paper that basically said I was going to buy that car with some sort of finance thing and that the financing thing was going to be converted to a cash purchase later, despite my having said that I could make a non-refundable deposit for the car. And in the midst of all this, they then casually mentioned to me that “oh yea, and this car was actually sold but the guy never picked it up.” At this point, I didn’t like doing business with them anymore so I just left.

My last visit was when I got my Impreza. Same story and I drove off with the car 2 days later with just the cash deposit, since my CD wasn’t due yet. They understood my situation and we agreed to have me pay for the balance at a later date.

Long story, but it just shows that some dealers are better at treating their customers than others.

If you could get 0% financing and keep your money for 4 or 5 years you could earn interest on it. Why would you pay cash when you could use someone else’s money? I pay cash when there is interest involved but if it is interest free money I take it every time and let my money work for me. Just my $.02.

This is my approach almost exactly. The only difference is I skip the part about letting them make the first offer. I figure why bother. I know it will be higher than what I am prepared to pay so I just take the initiative to tell them straight away. This tells them I am prepared and serious.

That part about not budging is so true. If they sense any weakness, they continue to try to chip away.

Also, I am very realistic about the price I offer so that they can actually sell me the car at that price. I figure my time is worth something and I’m not going to spend all day trying to shave another $100 off the price. Win-win.

Although I really relish the psychological advantage of knowing I don’t owe anyone anything (I live debt-free), I can see the wisdom in your scheme and might do that if I were buying now; however, my projected purchase date is six months to a year from now, so who knows what deals they’d be offering then. I thought were LEAVING the age of easy credit, so what’s that all about? On a gas-efficient car, no less?

The 0% interest deals are a way for the car manufacturers to subsidize their own sales. This goes back at least as far as Henry Ford and the model T. If the manufacturer loans the money to the buyer it encourages the sale of more cars. The banks are being tight with loans, but the car companies know if they don’t sell enough cars they are out of business, so they’ll make the loans themselves.

You can bet you need to have a good credit rating to get that 0% deal. If you’ve got the cash and they’ll give you an honest 0% loan (read the fine print carefully) then you can stick the cash in a CD or money market account and earn interest on it while paying the car company back in decreasing value dollars.

0% financing may NOT be 0%.

I’ve seen dealers that offer 0%…but ONLY if you buy the car at or near MSRP.

Second…some 0% loans are only DEFERRED interest payments. You have 0% until the end of the loan then the interest is due.

You really have to read those 0% loans.

Exactly; you don’t get nuthin’ for nuthin’; especially not in these times! I have the cash and would just as soon pay it off as fool with all the trickery… But I have heard of people doing this; I’d rather simplify my life and own it outright…

I even paid cash for my house; how weird can you get??? All those tax breaks, gone!

Welcome to Toyota, home of the “package deal or no deal”

It’s why I tend to avoid looking at Toyotas when looking for a car. Package A has nothing, but package B has ABC options and package C has ABCDEF options, then package D has ABCDEFGHIJ option. Well, I’m wanting ABCDFIJ, not the other things.

Amen to that. I try to pay as much as I can with cash or debit card. I’ll put $100 or so on a credit card a month and pay it off in full to keep my credit rating up though. In a little more than year (Nov of 2009) my house will be paid off completely. Both my cars, (the gas guzzlers they may be) are paid for. And I’m not even 30 yet.