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Got a Quick Question for a Car Dealer?

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  • I think you're in good shape - Just made a quick call to my GM friend @ Jeep to verify.

    First things first - You're at a good dealer - Not all dealers will disclose that its been in any sort of accident or incident. Check the carfax to see if the damage was reported - Thats going to make or break eventual resale value.

    Cars get damaged ALL THE TIME prior to sale. It just happens. Minor accidents, break-ins, customer spilled their coffee on the test drive, the lot guy went too fast around a corner, etc.

    It happens - its still considered a new vehicle and will still be covered under warranty.

    My only suggestion - You probably have another thousand to negotiate :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    Keep in mind that this incident may show up later on CARFAX, so negotiate off the price as much as you can.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,937
    OK, chiming in...

    You'll need a Washington driver's license and a local address before a dealer cvan sell a car to you in WA. Also proof of insurance.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,662
    Craig, you must be able to buy a car if you are from out of state, right? Never heard of a state where you can't

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,124
    Sure.. but the OP is moving to Washington. How does he register the car?

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,937
    Yep, that's the answer.
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,812
    I retired around the same time as you and have heard things just aren't the same anymore...all agreed I left at the right time also! My kids all told me that with my love of the automobile, that is where I should look for a part time gig. I did and thanks to Craigslist, the rest is history...best move I ever made! It's a great fun job though a bit slow right now...I hope to be doing it for many years to come!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife)/2015 Golf SE (me)/2009 Nissan Versa SL Hatch (daughter #1)/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS (daughter #2)

  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,812
    Funny you mention that...I just finally got my gold watch and get a monthly pension from Uncle Sam after 31 years of faithful service! All is good!!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2015 Audi A3 (wife)/2015 Golf SE (me)/2009 Nissan Versa SL Hatch (daughter #1)/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS (daughter #2)

  • avatexrs1avatexrs1 Posts: 60
    After spending the past week trying to locate the car I want, I've concluded that most dealers have concluded that responding in good faith to email requests is a waste of their time, and that asking potential buyers to provide their contact info to get an "e-price" is nothing more than a way to get potential customers' phone numbers.

    But what I don't understand is why dealers cannot keep their online inventory even remotely up to date. My company sells thousands of products worth millions of dollars each day and ships them from about 30 warehouses across the country, and we can tell you with 99% certainty how much of a particular product is in stock at any time in any location. Why can't car dealers do the same on their one lot? There are dealers in my area who show a car in stock on their website that they have told me they sold two weeks before! Wouldn't showing an accurate online inventory save the dealer's time in the long run?
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 797
    I'm trying to find my aunt a good deal on a new car lease before the lease on her Infiniti expires in about two more weeks. I've been experiencing some of the same frustrations as you.

    What I find most frustrating is that I ask for specific information- do you still have the Black w/ Parchment 2013 Acura TSX 'base' 4-door available that I saw on your website? If so, I'd be interested in discussing the current lease and financing deals you have to offer on it.

    In return, if I get a response within 24-48 hours, it's along the lines of "tell me a little more about what you're looking for (colors, options, etc.) and I'm certain we can find the car that fits you perfectly!"

    It's a bit frustrating when they ask you for information that you provided in your original email! But the most surprising thing is how many either don't respond or don't respond for several business days???

    While I don't appreciate it as a customer, I can actually understand the thought process behind trying to get you on the phone or (preferably) in the showroom. They have a much better chance to 'sell' you on the phone or face to face than in an email. But that's the same reason I don't provide my number to them....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    Some dealers are totally clueless about how the Internet can sell cars for them. They dangle their little toes in the Internet but many refuse to jump in. I suspect you have all come across this type of dealer, who discounts the impact of e-commerce, social media, etc. They don't want invest the time and money in training their staff to be in the year 2013 rather than 1993.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,528
    edited June 2013
    >They dangle their little toes in the Internet but many refuse to jump in

    They see the internet as a way to get sales leads for the dealership rather than a way to communicate with a buyer to actually give information to the buyer and consummate a sale.

    I always wonder if the same dealer views buyers who use the telephone to buy a car the same way: they won't give any information about a solid deal, instead they demand the person come in to go through their 4-square and their step process to try to "up" them on what they pay. A friend of ours 10 years ago bought her Miata at a Cincinnati area dealer by phone.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    edited June 2013
    Exactly. As a marketing expert on YouTube put it recently, pitching his services to Internet-Impaired Dealers----(paraphrase) "You are on the beach waving at all the boats to come in, but you are not out there fishing with, and for, customers".

    There are some enterprises/businesses, where being on social media or doing internet commerce isn't really worth the effort, but boy, or boy, new car sales isn't one of those!

    Look at the Apple Stores---if dealers don't wake up, they're going to be defending an increasingly archaic business model IMO.

    Some critics say (and it's a good argument) that an Apple Store is not a dealership, and what works for basically disposable, fairly cheap products is not going to scale up to the level of selling and servicing automobile throughout a substantially longer lifetime than an iPhone.

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  • ken117ken117 Posts: 212
    Having bought several vehicles in the past four or five years, it continues to amaze me how many dealers seem to have no concept of the internet buyer. All seem to say the right things but few seem to actually understand the internet.

    I really enjoy the sillines of dealers who have a link on their website if a potential buyer has interest in a particular vehicle. Far too often, even though I have inquired about a specific vehicle, the dealer responds they need to talk with me to assure they price the correct vehicle. Hello, I already told them the vehicle, color, and options for which I would like pricing. If they are not interesting in complying with the commitment they present on their website there is no way I would honor them by purchasing a vehicle.

    I recently inquired about leasing an Acura in the DC area. Contacted several dealerships. Several responded with either a come see me response or some request for additional information which I already provided. One provided a summary showing the MSRP, Cap Cost, and Money Factor in a neat organized summary. I ignored the others and leased from that dealership.

    Another example, actually visited a dealer, Sheehy Ford, to buy a Ford for my child. Sadly Sheehy is not unique only the latest. While there I requested pricing be sent to me. Never got the requested pricing. I would think since I actually spent the time to visit, the sales guy would have conclude I at least had some actual interest in buying.

    Subseqently contacted a different dealer who provided pricing immediately. Meanwhile, Sheehy continued to send emails asking if there was anything they could provide. I sent follow up requests to them requesting pricing which never came. All I got were emails continually asking if there was anything they could provide to assist my purchase.

    Not sure about other folks, but generic emails which indicate the dealer really has not taken the time to listen to what I have to say do not entice me to follow up with that dealer.

    Several days passed and I was on the way to buy from a different dealer and figured there was nothing to lose by sending Sheehy one more request for pricing and advising I was intending to buy that day. Once again Sheehy did not provide pricing so I bought from the other dealer the next day.

    Amazingly Sheehy continues to send me emails asking if there is anything they can provide to assist my purchase. Apparently, they don't really read.

    There are internet savy dealerships out there who seem to provide the best sales experience. The trick is to locate them.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
    It's like dealerships feel that they HAVE to use internet marketing and equotes systems because the competition does it, but they don't actually use them as tools to stay competitive.

    In dealership reviews on our site, we see that consumers are a lot more forgiving of dealerships who provide a quote - any quote - rather than just heading straight to the "come on in and we'll talk about it!" pitch line, without a price. Even if a quote is high, consumers give points for 1) responding quickly, and 2) responding with a price. There's a strong belief that the quote price will simply be used to shop other dealerships, but that's not always the case. We see a lot of consumers who are happy to deal with the first SP who responds with a number, or who responds with a number AND seems to have actually read the quote request completely.

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  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 797
    There are internet savvy dealerships out there who seem to provide the best sales experience. The trick is to locate them.

    You hit the nail on the head!

    Back in 12/2005, I was shopping for a 2006 Mazda3. I live in metro Atlanta and there are seven Mazda dealers in the metro area (of 7 million people). They were even less responsive back then.

    Ultimately, a dealership in Knoxville TN, 300 miles away, provided a same-day, detailed quote and responded to all my questions. The following weekend, my best friend and I took the 600-mile roadtrip to another state (and passing within 5 miles of 18 other Mazda dealers) and I bought my car!

    I made it clear that I wanted everything in order when I arrived, the car ready to go and I would be in and out in 30 minutes or less. I arrived at 8:30pm to ensure that I would get out quickly and I arranged my own financing (no trade-in) so I had a bank issued check for the exact purchase amount down to the penny. I made it clear that I wouldn't buy anything from F&I and asked them not to waste my time trying. I probably sounded like a major a-hole, but I was skeptical because of how easy and quickly they took care of things and didn't want to drive a 600-mile round trip only to walk out empty handed.

    I called the internet sales manager when were a few miles away, he met us at the car in front of the dealership, I took a five minute quickie drive (had taken many test drives previously) just to make sure that specific car had no issues, spent 15 minutes singing paperwork and pulled out of their parking lot in my new Mazda3 at 8:57pm!

    I haven't experience that level of service in the eight years since, even at 'premium' or 'luxury' brand dealers. They all could learn a few lessons from a little Mazda dealership in Knoxville TN!!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,528
    > my new Mazda3 at 8:57pm!

    WOW.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I think it's partly intentional. The more cars a dealership can show on their web site, whether the car is there or not,the more interest from prospective buyers they get... the more sales they get.
  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 2,020
    Some critics say (and it's a good argument) that an Apple Store is not a dealership, and what works for basically disposable, fairly cheap products is not going to scale up to the level of selling and servicing automobile throughout a substantially longer lifetime than an iPhone.

    Seems like we'll find out soon enough if Tesla has its way.

    I hope they succeed.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    Sure, it's at least partly intentional, in terms of creating phone and email contacts. It's the same reason that real estate agents often don't include addresses or listing prices in ads. They purposefully don't include all of the data so that potential buyers have to call them up. "That home is listed at $349,900, but I have lots of other homes in your price range. What are you looking for?"

    But the problem for both real estate agencies and car dealers is that the world is changing, and a lot of consumers don't want to have to call and go through a sales spiel, including the inevitable "come on in and we can find what you're looking for". It's actually much worse for car dealers, as they are selling a manufactured product that is available in an identical or nearly-identical form from other retailers.

    I realize the old-school salesperson's thought process is "if I provide a price and it isn't low enough, I'll lose a sale. Better to not provide a price and get the fish on the hook". The emerging thought should be "if I don't provide a price, I'll never hear from the buyer at all. But I have the opportunity to provide a price, along with other advantages of my store and operation. Perhaps if I'm close to lowest, I can still make a sale by negotiating or providing other benefits."

    I use a temporary email address and no phone number (or make up a phony one if required by the contact form) when communicating with car dealers. I've made the mistake of giving my real phone number and permanent email address before, and learned my lesson.
  • ltlladyltllady Posts: 27
    Best for car buyers to look for those modern dealerships which understand the internet customer is a customer who is knowlegable and who does not need to engage in the gamesmanship inherent in the old school car selling philosophy. A customer who will not fall for the old four square sheet, do dealerships still use that sheet?

    I find it astounding that so many dealers spend much money to set up a fancy web sit intended to increase internet traffic but really do not use the site effectively. Those web sites usually promise much to entice a buyer to make an actual inquiry to that dealer. Such as click here for your special e-price. A potential customer clicks on the link and later gets a "we got your inquiry but we need more information", or "we have what you are looking for, please call."

    Really, if I wanted to talk to someone would not I have called?

    Sure if a dealer gives a price to a customer that customer may shop the price. Does that really make a difference? Any customer who uses the internet is going to get a price from somewhere as there are always dealers who will provide that price. For a dealer it seems to make sense to be the dealer who provided the price rather than hope a customer will get a price elsewhere and then visit to get a price match or a better price.

    A customer who asks for a price has actually given the dealership one chance to sell them a vehicle. Better for the sales person to make the most of that one chance.
  • ken117ken117 Posts: 212
    Read a recent article about the best way for auto dealerships to work with the new breed of internet buyer. Of note:

    Dealers have about thirty minutes to provide an effective response to an internet inquiry. Any longer likely results in the customer moving to a different dealer. Responses which take twenty four hours or more are useless. Personally, I expect a response within a couple of hours before I move to the next dealer.

    Standardized responses are mostly ineffective. The key seems to be that the assigned sales person actually read the lead to determine what has been requested and how the customer wants to be contacted. Personally, I find any response which is not directly related to my request insulting. Recently requested pricing on a Ford Escape and got pricing for a Ford Focus. If this dealer could not read my simple inquiry I shudder to think what they would do with the more complex aspects of the deal such as registration or financing.

    Seems pretty simple. Yet many dealers, in my opinion, seem to have no clue as to how to work with the new breed internet customer and, as a result, essentially ignore a huge potential sales base.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,528
    I notice a few dealers have popups with pictures of a salesperson who is there and ready to "chat" with you if you wish to click on their window for information. I'm always curious if the chat would be fruitful if "I'm lookin at the red Leather Verano you have on your new lot. What is your lowest straightout purchase price including all taxes and fees?" is the question I ask.

    OR do they just use the cute chat feature as a way to get you to come in with your title and checkbook to see what they can sell me?

    I was the website person for my company when I was working there in the early days. I see the websites now have all kinds of popups that are irritating. They want you to sign up for a $500 prize drawing with name, phone, etc.. Or they want you to evaluate their website.

    When I sign into their website, I just want to look at new and used cars. Period. All the popups that are sometimes hard to get to click out of the way is a big turnoff. Is there a parallel between their store manners to a customer in the store and how they treat one on the website?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
    It's the modern-day, electronic version of screamer ads and plaid-jacket guy yelling, "what can I do to get you into a vehicle TODAY?"

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,937
    " sure if a dealer gives a price to a customer that customer may shop the price"

    Gee, ya think? Of COURSE they will!

    Giving out a price over the internet, in writing is the fastest way to lose a sale!

    Oh, sure, there are always a few who will be satisfied and happy they were given a price but believe me, those people are the ultra rare exception.

    So, the dealers can't win. Don't give a hard number and the shoppers are unhappy. Give a hard number and lose the sale for sure.

    This is exactly why "mistakes" are made..." Oh, I thought you wanted an LX and not an EX" or...." Did you really think destination charges were included in the quote I gave you?"

    The store where I worked never lowballed anybody but a lot of stores around us did. If a customer left without buying I would make certain that we would do anything to match or beat a doable number.

    Sometimes, they would return after finding out they had been lowballed but other times they would simply cave in and buy, exhausted from the process.

    Then there were those who wouldn't give us the satisfaction of coming back. Maybe they thought we would say " I told you so"

    I miss the people I worked with and a lot of my wonderful loyal customers but there is a lot I certainly do NOT miss!
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    I miss the people I worked with and a lot of my wonderful loyal customers but there is a lot I certainly do NOT miss!

    Most of them being tire kicking internet shoppers? or just grinders in general?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,937
    " Most of them being tire kicking internet shoppers or just grinders in general"

    What's the difference? :)

    The ones I don't miss are the downright cheapskates who would cut my throat to save 50.00.

    I don't miss the joyriders or non-serious shoppers.

    I don't miss the scary test drivers or the ones with B.O.

    Still, I did meet a bunch of great customers along the way.
  • avatexrs1avatexrs1 Posts: 60
    Today I called a dealer about test driving a Base model of the car I'm interested in that I saw on the dealer's website. We set up a time and I came in. When I got there, he had a certified demo with a Technology package (about $5k more MSRP) for me to test drive. Where was the Base model? Sold last night. Dealer thought I might be interested in the Tech model instead. This is the actual email exchange after I walked out of the dealership:

    Dealer: Are you interested in a Tech model?

    Me: I am interested in the base model only. Prefereably in Grey.

    Dealer: What about Silver?

    Me: No. Any color but silver. And base model only.

    Dealer: OK. So I understand you want a Silver model with the Premium package or Tech package, right?

    Needless to say, I haven't responded.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 797
    "The ones I don't miss are the downright cheapskates who would cut my throat to save 50.00."

    I am a firm negotiator, but I also realize that dealers are in business to make a profit. I usually acknowledge that fact up front and don't expect them to sell the car for a net profit of $20. I just go in knowing the invoice price, any applicable incentives and also any regional ad fees. I have never traded-in one of my cars (totaled the last one, sold all others to private buyers), but when I'm playing wingman for a friend of family member, we always swing by Carmax for a purchase quote. If Carmax can purchase the car outright for a certain amount, there's no logical reason that a dealer can't give at least that amount for trade-in.

    I ended up locking horns with the used car manager when I was buying my 2012 CX-9 GT last November. I went by on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving to chat with the int1ernet sales manager I had been emailing and take a quick look at the vehicle, but didn't have time for a test drive. We talked numbers on the car and I didn't even attempt to negotiate the price any lower. It was about $2000 lower than what I was willing to pay! But it was a 2012 model and the new, redesigned ('refreshening' in my book) 2013 models were already on the lot. Sticker price was $37,385 and I paid $29,207 plus $499 doc fee for a total of $29,706. The used car manager offered $7500 for my '07 Explorer (with 134k miles on it) but ONLY if I did the deal that night! Any time I'm told that, there's a better chance that we'll both win the lottery and be struck by lighting simultaneously than of me buying anything right then! I do NOT respond to pressure.

    Anyway, the next day was the day before Thanksgiving and I called my salesman and asked to take the CX-9 over the holiday and return it Friday morning, hopefully to seal the deal. I offered to leave my vehicle, my insurance policy info and sign a loaner agreement. I also was paying cash for the car, so I gave them the name and number of the branch manager at my bank to confirm that I had the funds to actually pay for it. They had it washed and waiting for me to pick up two hours later. =)

    I returned on the day after Thanksgiving, which is an awesome day to buy a car, and I was the only customer all day, at least 'til 7pm when I finally got out of there. When he wrote up the deal, it was exactly as we had discussed except he added in an addition discount of $500 for an Owner Loyalty incentive since I have a 2006 Mazda3 also. I didn't have proof of ownership on my initial visit so he couldn't include it in the initial quote. Then he went to confirm the trade-in allowance and came back with $7250! I had already told him that I would walk out if I didn't get $7500. If he could offer it three days before, he could do the same today. Coincidentally, the Carmax four doors down the street gave me a purchase offer quote of $7500 earlier in the week. But I wanted to trade-in to get the sales tax savings.

    For the next hour, my poor salesman tried to talk him up. Finally, I told him I wanted to speak to the General Manager. He said that he'd get in trouble if he involved, but I reminded him that I would still walk out if I didn't get $7500. Finally, I excused myself (he assumed to the restroom) an I casually walked down the hall and found the GM myself. I gave him the very abbreviated Cliff Notes version and he smiled, shook my hand and said "not a problem". He walked over the salesman's desk and wrote in "addiitional trade allowance- $250 per XX" and the deal was done!

    I decided to do something that was equally kind to my salesman and spiteful to the used car manager. As soon as I left the lot in my new CX-9 I went over to Ruth's Chris steakhouse and bought a $200 gift certificate. I went back by the dealership and gave my salesman the gift certificate and $50 for a babysitter for his two kids. He knew I was being appreciative but also had ulterior motives, but he got $250 so he was happy. The used car manager overheard all of this and he looked at me like he could kill me. I gave a smirk, winked and drove off in my SUV....
  • ken117ken117 Posts: 212
    Sadly, this is similar to many dealers. Their sales people simply do not read the sales lead. I think part of it comes from the nature of the salesman. Typically a person with a bit of arrogance who believes they are so much smarter than we mere buyers. Of course it may be they just do not read well.
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