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Got a Quick Question for a Car Dealer?

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  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,930
    Kyfdx,
    Thanks, exactly what I wanted to know!
    The finance manager pulled a bit of a fast one on me, so I'll refinance with another lender after I make my first payment.
  • nadia21nadia21 Posts: 6
    Hi everyone,

    I need to buy a used car as soon as possible. I can't really afford to spend anymore than $3000 on the car itself. I've researched a few options and came across two Nissan Sentras that are both available at the same used car dealership. One is a 2001 Nissan Sentra with about 150,000 miles, the other is a 2003 Nissan Sentra with about 130,000 miles (although it is bright yellow in color and I would prefer something not so flashy). They are both priced at $2995. I checked the VIN for both and they both come up clean with no accidents or any red flags. My concern is the final cost with tax included. The sales tax rate in Illinois is 8.75% which would mean the final cost of the car would be about $3270 or so which is more than I want to spend. (I know $270 doesn't seem like a big deal, but that would be pushing it for me right now). If I could get either car for $2800 then that would put me at about $3045 total, which I would be happy with. My question is, how should I negotiate to see about getting the car for $3000 total or less? What price should I start with? Should I tell them my limit up front? Also I know there are other fees that I have to take care of at the DMV, but are there any other fees normally at a used car dealership other than the sales tax? I will be paying in cash.

    P.S. I will also be paying a mechanic to do an inspection on both cars which I know will run me at least another $100. The mechanic's fees along with the DMV fees are exactly why I don't want to spend more than $3000 on the car itself.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    I'd start with an offer slightly lower than your limit so $2400 or $2500. See if they counter offer at a lower number and if you have to go up, go up in small increments only, and be firm with those numbers. From $2500 go up to $2600 and be firm. If they are responding to your offers then that means they have room to move. If they are not then they might be firm on the price. You might get a better deal on the yellow one as that's not an easy color to sell. Also if both cars had a regular price of something like $3499 or $3999 and $2995 is the sale price then it might be hard getting it down any lower. But doesn't hurt to ask or try.

    Now even if they lower the price down to $2800 very quickly and you're say at $2650, see if you can get it down a little bit lower. Hit them back at $2700 or $2725 and say that's your bottom line. You might even be able to get it for below your limit.

    When you agree on the price make sure you have a "subject to your mechanical inspection" clause in there. Make sure the dealer is ok with giving you the car for a few hours so that you can get it inspected. I would ask for this ahead of negotiations.

    Good luck.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • nadia21nadia21 Posts: 6
    Thank you so much! Are there any other fees at the dealership that I should expect?
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    No, if you're just buying for cash there will be the documentation fee as you mentioned but there shouldn't be anything else.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • nadia21nadia21 Posts: 6
    Thanks again!
  • clutch13clutch13 Posts: 1
    Could anyone give a logical explanation as to why my wife and I saw small seashells on top of the engine cover on a used (certified) Jeep Compass in the middle of Maine? Our first thought was is this a Superstorm Sandy vehicle? Needless to say...we walked away and won't be going back. We didn't even bother to look at the Carfax, but it is still really bothering me someone wanted to sell this to us. Seashells? Come on. At least clean off the seashells!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    Well, it's probably good that they didn't bother to clean off the seashells - otherwise, you might never have known. The Jeep could have been previously owned by someone who did live near the sea. In addition to the storm possibility you mentioned, it could also be that the previous owner, for whatever reason, did some off-roading on the beach.

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  • melech37melech37 Posts: 18
    My lease is almost up on my VW Jetta. According to the dealer's body shop It will cost approx. $1400 to fix some dents, etc. I don't want to go to my insurance company because of a) large deductable and b) my rates will go up. If I lease a new car from my dealer, can I negotiate the new lease price to include the $1400 as part of the monthly lease payments? Any problems with this approach?
  • kevinc5kevinc5 Posts: 204
    You may see much better numbers and be able to negotiate with the dealer if you get an estimate from an independent body shop.
  • melech37melech37 Posts: 18
    OK, good advice and I will get an indy shop estimate. But the question remains: Can i take that estimate, go to the dealer, and fold that estimate into the lease price?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,613
    edited March 2013
    yes. they'll just up the selling price by that amount. no problem for them at all.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • karhill1karhill1 Posts: 111
    You can negotiate anything with the dealer. The dealer will, however, be limited to what the lending institution is willing to finance, purchase price or capitalized cost. Any amount over that will have to be made up with cash.

    The dealer does not set financing as that is done solely by the lending institution. The financing institution will tell the dealer the amount it will lend and the rate at which it will lend. The dealer can pad the rate a bit to increase its reserves. That is why you need to research what financing you qualify for before visiting the dealer. Smart buyers do not expect full disclosure from the dealer for financing matters.
  • rlt68rlt68 Posts: 2
    I only get to stay 1 year or so here in Honolulu. But I badly need a car. Do I rent (which is expensive)? Or do I buy used and sell it later? Do I buy from owner or dealer?

    What is the best option?

    Thanks.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    In my opinion, you should find a cheap used car that holds its value well, like an older Civic or Corolla. Buy it from a private party. As long as you continue to maintain it over the year and don't beat the heck out of it mileage-wise, it shouldn't lose much, if any value in a year.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,613
    Kirstie's is the cheapest overall suggestion. but if you don't have the cash to lay out up front for the car, it can complicate things. You also, of course, have to worry about selling in time for your departure. Another possibility is to check swap-a-lease or leasetrader for vehicles in your area that fit your needs and time constraints.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    True. I'm not sure why a non-cash purchase hadn't crossed my mind, but it didn't! A lease takeover is a really great option if a purchase would need to be financed.

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  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    The seashells could have been kicked up on engine cover when driving over a gravel mixed type of road.
  • melech37melech37 Posts: 18
    Thanks for the suggestion about getting an indy shop estimate for some body damage prior to turning in a lease! My original estimate from a dealer was around $1470. Went to a highly rated independent shop here in Tucson, and the estimate was $470 -- 1/3 the dealer proposal. For that price, I can just pay out of pocket, turn it in and lease a new VW, without folding the damage in to the lease for 3 years.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    Buy used that already hit the bottom in depreciation that you might be able to sell for the same amount you bought it for.

    Depending on your price range, my suggestions would be 10+ year old Hondas or Toyotas as was suggested, preferably from a long time owner, or with service records.

    Usually after 10 years, the depreciation starts to level off so chances are you might be able to recoup your purchase price when you sell it. But that's only for saleable Japanese cars.

    If you must have something fancier and buy and older BMW or Mercedes it might nickle and dime you with servicing, so stick to economy imports.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • rlt68rlt68 Posts: 2
    Thanks to you both for sharing your thoughts. That lease takeover idea would work best for me. Thank you again. :)
  • melech37melech37 Posts: 18
    When will this model be available at the dealers?
  • celenacelena Posts: 7
    I sent a request for an OTD price for a new Elantra Limited. I got a generic email in reply that only listed and explained all the rebates and gave me the final listed price--the same price on their website, MSRP minus all the rebates. I then responded, asking for an OTD price, not including any rebates on that particular car and one just like it without the tech package. This is where I think I screwed up. I told them that the best offer I had received so far was $23300 with the tech package and $21300 without, but I was still waiting a couple of others. Perhaps I should have withheld that information for the moment, because this is the response I got (after their internet "specialist" forwarded my email to a sales person):

    i see that these are the vehicles of interest but i have noway of knowing if you live in va. or where or if you will be getting new tags or transfering tags so the best way i can respond to your request is if we are the closet dealer to you and you want to buy from us , bring us your best otd quote and and we will try to meet it . feel free to give me a call if you have more questions or cocerns i'm here until 7 today and 9-5 sat. thanks

    This is his follow-up email:

    i am --- ---- and i had sent you an e/m fri. but haven't had a responce so just incase you didnt get it in short it said , if we are the closest dealer to you and you want to deal with us just bring us your best quote and we will meet or beat it . thanks

    I am flabbergasted. I don't even know how or if I should respond to this. I have never bought or negotiated for a new car before, but both his emails seem extremely unprofessional to me. He never asked me what state I live in or if I would be getting new tags--I would have been happy to tell him. And he just keeps saying, "if we are the closest dealer to you and you want to deal with us." Is he insulted that I'm actually shopping around for the best price on a $20000+ vehicle? It just sounds to me like he doesn't even want to be bothered with the sale.

    Does he think this is the best way to actually get me on the lot and in a car? Or should I just cross him off my list? I would really rather not deal with this person, but am I overreacting? There aren't all that many Hyundai dealerships close by and I would hate to have to cross one off the list, but this guy sounds like a total jerk to me.

    Any help and opinions would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Thanks!
    Celena
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,973
    I think you are over reacting. The internet makes it easy for people to send hundreds e-mail inquiries to dealers hundreds/thousands of miles away. Although sales do occur over e-mail, the vast majority still happen face to face. The sales person is just trying to get a sense where you are located and if you are a serious buyer. He doesn't want to waste time with a tire kicker.

    IMHO, research the car you want and the typical pricing. Then go and visit some dealers and work with them directly. It's not a pair of shoes from Zappo's - it's probably the second most expensive item you'll buy.
  • celenacelena Posts: 7
    The dealership is near the state border and tax is lower there, which is why he was asking me about what state I am in. All Virginia businesses along the state line get a lot of bordering state shoppers.

    My biggest problem with his "if we are the closest dealer and you want to buy from us" is that it sounds like he thinks the privilege to buy from them is mine, not the other way around. I realize I'm new to this, but I'm pretty sure he should be trying to get me to buy the car from him, not deigning to allow me the grand privilege of purchasing from them. All the other dealerships have sent prompt and courteous replies have given me exactly the information I've asked for.

    I have researched the car I want and am aware of the typical pricing, which is why I'm negotiating. I've done a lot of reading and from what I can tell, the general consensus is that negotiating online is faster, easier and generally far more successful than doing it in person. Plus, I'm an easily intimidated person and I hate pushy salespeople, so I really think it's the best option for me.

    Thank you so much for the feedback!!!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 30,539
    I agree with robr2... might be reading too much into a writing style (or lack of one)..

    In my experience, most dealerships don't really do the internet... they just respond asking you to come in... this dealership seems typical. That doesn't mean they don't make good deals or have a good sales experience... it's just one facet of the business that they don't participate in.. (online negotiation)..

    Not that it should matter to you... but, some dealers just don't want to spend the time with the internet, when it results in so few sales for the time expended..

    Just my $0.02... :)

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    Frankly, I'd just pass on working with that person & dealership. His communication style does seem a bit harsh, and there's no real reason to believe you'd click any better with him in person... and, you'll eventually have to go to the dealership. Why initiate a process with a salesperson who seems like he'll make it painful for you?

    There seems to be a pretty big disparity in the quality and experience of internet sales managers at dealerships. Some take a seasoned car salesperson and promote them to that position - it's obviously something they want to focus on. Other times, they just throw any old body into that position, just because they feel they need to have an "internet sales" presence. One of my friend's daughters was given an internet sales manager job at a decent-sized dealership as her first full-time job. Previously, she'd only ever worked as a waitress - no experience in car sales at all. (in fact, I don't think she's ever even bought a car by herself!)

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  • celenacelena Posts: 7
    Thanks for the reply! I think you are right--this dealership clearly does not want to spend time on internet sales. In which case, I don't understand why they even bother with internet sales features on their website, like "request a quote." That's a bit misleading. I would have been much more willing to show up there to see what they could offer me if there was no way to do so on the internet than I am now, after having dealt with their lack of customer service online. One dealership is being so attentive online, I'm not sure that I wouldn't pay a little more for the car just for the pleasure of dealing with them over ones like this one.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,973
    The dealership is near the state border and tax is lower there, which is why he was asking me about what state I am in. All Virginia businesses along the state line get a lot of bordering state shoppers.

    Does that really matter? Wouldn't sales tax be based on where you register the vehicle?

    IMHO, he is asking you the questions so he can qualify you - that's part of sales. I don't think he's acting like it's your privilege to buy from him. If you don't like his style, then move on.

    Got one question though - if he gives you the best price, would you still buy from him even though you don't like his methods?
  • celenacelena Posts: 7
    Thanks kirstie h! I may pass on them. Maybe I am overreacting, but it's like you said, the more I think about it, it doesn't seem very likely that I would connect any better in person, particularly since I already have a bad first impression. I actually considered contacting their "internet specialist" again to see if she could direct me to another sales person, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Plus, I would probably just be labeled as a problem customer and get nowhere with that person also.

    And just from what little bit I have seen, you are definitely right about the differences between internet sales managers among dealerships. One has yet to respond, one gave me the run around, one gave me exactly what I asked for, and another gave me what I asked for and more. Like I said in my previous reply, there is one dealership that is offering me exceptional internet sales service, so much so, that I may be willing to pay a little more just to deal with them. I realize they are doing it all to make the sale and that it may not bespeak of the entire dealership, but compared to others, indications are that they more customer-service oriented than most.
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