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Autobytel.com - What has your experience been?

135

Comments

  • I did buy a car that had different options from those I had chosen. In my case it was because Subaru uses different configurations and codes, the internet service I used had the wrong options packages for my region. Still, I was satisfied and saved a lot of time and trouble shopping for a good deal.
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    I mean, I can understand wanting to get a good (reasonable) price. I think in most cases though, dealers aren't going to be too far off from each other in price on most cars.

    I recently bought a new Altima, and the dealer I bought from gave me a "best price" $1000 less than any other dealer that had what I was looking for in stock. I may have been able to haggle the other dealers down, but why should I waste my time with that?
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    How do you know that 20 minutes of "haggling" wouldn't have gotten you a price $1000 lower than what you ended up paying?
  • I guess we'll never know the answer. Too bad the other guys didn't have the sense to offer a best price up front, huh?
  • aftyafty Posts: 499
    The dealer that was $1k cheaper also had exactly what I wanted in stock. The other dealer had something similar but the color was wrong and it didn't have one of the options I wanted. But I might have settled for it if the other offer hadn't been presented.

    I don't think there was room on the deal to go another $1k below what I'm paying. I'm paying about $200 above invoice on a new, "hot" model. Edmunds TMV on my car is a full $1700 above what I'm paying for it. All this with no haggling whatsoever.

    Besides, aren't you guys always preaching that we should spend a little extra money to get a good buying experience rather than "grinding" a dealer over a few hundred dollars?
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    If I found the exact car I wanted at a price I thought was great, I'd buy it, too. Most of us just don't have the time to pass up a car we really like at a good price, only to spend another day or half day shopping other dealers, who likely don't have what we want anyway.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Autobytel just had it's 10 millionth customer. Must be doing something right.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    10 million hits it different than actually doing real business with 10 million people.

    Rich
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,629
    Your post # 60 says it all.

    You would be amazed what people will put themselves through in order to "save" a lousy buck on a car. It's usually not 1000.00, it's 100.00 they are chasing.

    I could never believe how downright CHEAP some people can be and I've been in retail all of my working life.

    Looking for a good price and a good value is important to me too. There does come a point however....I almost get embarrassed for them!
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Autobytel.com should be considered just another option by buyers who do their research. It can be particularly good when it comes to a car in high demand. A year ago I (ordered to specification and) bought a PT Cruiser through them and it was the easiest new vehicle transaction I've done. Total time on the phone was about one-half hour and three calls (order, notification of pending delivery to the dealer, and arrangement of delivery to my house). Because of the demand for this vehicle at the time, I saved several thousand dollars compared to prices quoted by local dealers, took delivery sooner, and got exactly what I wanted.

    Now that PT Cruiser supply has caught with demand, I doubt I would save anything using autobytel.com, at least here in Central Ohio where dealer competition (judged by newspaper ads and otherwise) is fierce.

    Some earlier posts reference the desirability of buying from a local dealer. Unfortunately you can't tell going in. The PT Cruiser came from Waikem Motors in Massillion (120 miles away) while their Honda outlet is local.
  • For anyone that has had a bad experience with Autobytel, it's really not their fault. Also, this service only works well in large metropolitan areas that have multiple dealers that must compete with each other to get business. For instance, a friend of mine in rural Indiana submitted a request for a car and received an invitation from a local dealer to come in and talk about the car. I submitted a request in Chicago and was give an price right over the phone. A lot of this may have to do with the individual dealerships, but since the dealer here in the Chicago area knew I could take that quote to another dealer and use it as leverage in the negotiation, he was incented to give the absolute best price he could. Can you do this without Autobytel? Absolutely! You may actually have to work for it.

    As for dealers who complain about those of us using ABT as a research tool, stop crying about it! It sounds like you're complaining about doing a job you get paid to do!!! Maybe, if you treated those leads more seriously you'd get more business.
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    Autobytel is nothing more than a lead referral service that is paid by the dealer to send them leads. They do not set any standards that the dealership has to follow as far as pricing or service. They do not even require that the dealership provide pricing over the phone. When you are referred to an Autobytel dealer you are just getting the one that paid Autobytel to send names to them rather than to their competitors.

    mjday,
    Did you buy from the dealer that gave you the quote?
  • I did end up buying from that dealer. The price was $300 over invoice, and that's better than the quotes I received elsewhere.
  • Landru is right, you're going to get a dealership when you use ABT. However, the dealership you're using will at least appreciate the fact that you're an "internet type" of customer. If the dealership is treating their internet leads with old-school techniques, then they are wasting money buying the leads. There's a huge difference in the way the internet consumer wants to be treated over the way that floor traffic gets handled. We've got 10 people working our internet leads, soon to be 15. Its a completely different environment.

    Ed
  • ABT saved me $1000.00; I got the exact model with the options I wanted and made one trip to the dealer to pick up the car. It was a dealer that I would never have discovered on my own, even though they are in my metro area. Yes, it is the dealer, and this dealer will get more of my business and will get referrals as well. It was the easiest auto purchase I have ever had. Perhaps I was lucky, but I'm happy!
  • tom257tom257 Posts: 1
    You are now hearing from a salesman. I have always loved and hated buying a car. I have bought over 25 new cars in my lifetime. It has always been difficult to be able to see the car and read the sticker without being jumped by the salesman as soon as you get there. I retired with a pension and decided after some months to look for a part time job. They were looking for sales people, so I applied. Now that I am on the other side of the fence...I see things differently. We are out there to try to provide you with some answers to your questions. You cannot drive a vehicle on the internet yet? I think the internet is great! It can give you all the answers like models and equipment and suggested price etc. Did you know that most salespeople make minimum wage until they sell a car? That is true! If we do not sell a car we are just like the person you see behind the counter at McDonalds. I do not need the job but it gives me purpose in my life. I get all dressed up and cannot wait to get to the lot and see if I can help someone find the vehicle they are looking for. You get to smell that new car smell all day long and you don't even have to buy a car. We sell Buicks, Isuzu's, and VW's in North San Diego County! I just wanted you to know!

    Tom257
  • irish21irish21 Posts: 12
    Very little difference between internet and dealership. Most of the 'free quotes' only referred me to a salesperson. The only quote with a price was a few hundred below MSRP for an American car. Add $50 to transfer price, pad other costs. You treat a salesperson with respect and courtesy and they treat the customer the exact opposite.
  • dustidusti Posts: 36
    got a long email back from the autobytel dealer.

    Read the whole thing.

    Lots of speil...

    but

    NO QUOTE.

    Broke their contract.

    PROMISED ME A QUOTE.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    will be by email only. Lots of times we don't get enough information to give an accurate quote by email. Did anyone make an attempt to call you on the phone?

    Ed
  • dustidusti Posts: 36
    the email said something about you had to commit to buying at whatever the quote was before they'd give you the quote.

    Guess they were catering to that portion of the Internet market that had just fallen off the turnip truck.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    forward the message. You're supposed to get a quote. Are you sure you're not talking about priceline. You're supposed to commit to something with them before they give you a quote.

    Ed
  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    Ed's right, that does sound like Priceline. You're supposed to name your price there, on Autobytel they give you a quote. I've had a friend use this with no problem, and I used them for a quote also.
  • I used AutoByTel to order/purchase a 2002 Honda CR-V. For me, it worked great. However, I did not get an initial quote either.

    What worked for me was that I did not leave my phone number (entered a phony one since my number is unlisted). The fleet/internet manager emailed me requesting that I call him. I replied asking for a quote and if I liked it, I would contact him to schedule an appointment. I also mentioned that I was serious about buying and had already obtained financing to provide him incentive to provide me a quote on my terms.

    He gave me a quote which was about $1,000 better than Edumnds TMV. The car was $750 under MSRP (with discounted add-ons) while most dealers in the San Diego area go MSRP or higher for this vehicle.

    For high demand vehicles in short supply, I would recommend using this service. For vehicles whose TMV is close to invoice, dealing with the sales staff will probably yield the same or better result.
  • mpevznermpevzner Posts: 41
    I bought a '99 Galant ES V6 in '99 from Autobytel. The whole sale process was fast, easy and positive experience. Unfortunately the Galant was a LEmon, however it's Mitsubishi that is at fault here, not Autobytel. I live in Northern CA, the retail dealers are a bunch of arrogant a-holes. I am definitely buying my next new car through Autobytel.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,629
    You didn't buy your car "from" AutoByTel. You bought it from a dealer that was tied into ABT.

    A "retail" dealer who may or may not have been a quality store.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    This may be long so bear with me:

    I used the ABT service when I purchased a 1996 Sable LS. Back in the day, the service really was on the phone. A friend had given me a flyer he got in the mail advertising this service and an 800 number. The flyer guaranteed me a vehicle at dealer invoice cost. I did my research on the web and with priceguide magazines. They gave me a dealer and salesman to call. I called him and after a little confusion about the prices he did offer me the new vehicle at invoice plus I got a $600 rebate and no dealer fees. Then came the trade in. He quoted me about $1500 les than it was worth. They also did not have my exact car in stock. No dealer in my area had it exactly like I wanted it. I had to order it. The dealer I bought from matched the invoice pricing and started about the same for my trade. When I told him how much I wanted for my trade, he said that was way too high and he could not do it. I said fine and left. Guess what? The next day he called with an offer that was $1000 higher on my trade than any other dealer plus my new car at the same price. I bought the car from him because of the good price on the new car and he was within $300 of what I could have gotten for the trade if I had sold it myself. He made the dealer holdback and about $500 or more on my trade. Even though I did not use the ABT dealer, he had just as much opportunity to get my business as the dealer I finally bought from. I liked the service because it gave me a starting good price to start shopping with.

    Fast forward to 2002. I am trying to help a friend get a new SUV. ABT, dealer quick quotes and other buyer services stink. Plus the selection is awful. He has very specific options he wants and does not want and has narrowed down to 3 makes and models. We cannot find a vehicle he wants on a lot. And every dealer we speak to says they cannot order the vehicle the way he wants it even tough the brochures and websites say you can. He is looking real closely at Highlander and a QX4. All of the online services that we have tried to use will not send back an email quote for a vehicle. I have got like 2 out of about 20. They all want to call you or have you come down. I have been very specific about the options and colors I want on the vehicle, no need for "clarification". If you do not have the vehicle, quote me a price if you were to order it.

    This is my take on ABT and other online buying services. In the early 90's it was a novel thing to research cars on the internet and know invoice prices. Dealers wanted buyers sent to them that were ready to buy so they paid these services for leads. Now almost everyone uses the net or has a friend to use the net to get the invoice price and know about holdback and dealer incentives. The dealers are being squeezed on profit and they are fighting back. Carsdirect.com is a joke. My mom wouldn't buy a car for their prices. And now so many dealers have websites and use sevices like ABT they actually do not want the internet shopper, because they are the ones who are usally going to try to get every penny out of a deal. ABT does not guarantee invoice pricing anymore. I think these services are mostly fronted by the dealers and the dealers have said quit telling everyone that they can get my car at invoice plus my incentives.

    Note to dealers, quite trying to make up profit with ridiculus doc and ad fees. When I buy any other retail product I do not have to pay a seperate fee for someone to order the product and another fee for the stockboy. They are all included in the price of the product. Advertising and processing paperwork is an associated cost for selling cars. They are the cost of doing business. Include them in your price period, not as extras or add ons. And advertising costs are inherent in any business, yet only car dealers seperate out this cost, like no one else pays for it in retail.

    My ABT experience did give me some sympathy for car dealers though. I learned that the dealer mark up is not near as high as I thought it was. The manufacturer mark up is what is killing the consumer. I heard a report a few years back that every Crown Vic that Ford sold through a dealer at $20,000 cost Ford $10,000 to produce. Assuming that is an average, thats a lot of mark up to dealers and ultimately the buyer. If anyone can tell me how to get at that money...whhooee.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,629
    IT's easy! Just call your stockbroker and buy some Ford stock!

    BTW...Autobytel has NEVER "guaranteed" invoice pricing! Holdback is not profit either!
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    It has been along time ago. The brochure may not have said "guaranteed", however it used a sentence similar to "buy vehicles at dealer invoice prices". It definately left the impression that if you bought through their service that you would get a vehicle price quote at dealer invoice prices, and I did.

    I understand that holdback is not direct dealer profit and is used by the manufacturer to assist the dealer with inventory costs, however follow this scenario and please explain to me what I am missing. I know from other posts in TH that Toyota includes a line for holdback on their dealer invoices. Excluding any other charges lets say my vehicle I want to buy is invoice $20,000 and $1,000 holdback. I agree to the printed invoice from the dealer and he agrees to sell me the vehicle at the price on his Toyota dealer invoice. $20,000 plus $1,000 plus other fees on invoice. Total is $21,000 plus other fees. The dealer has paid to the manufacturer exactly what the dealer invoice says, for the vehicle, $20,000 plus $1,000 plus fees. Now a month later the dealer gets a check from Toyota for the $1,000 holdback. I have spent $21,000 with the dealer. The dealer has $22,000 now. Now I understand that the dealer has daily operating costs, but it sure looks like the dealer pocketed an extra $1000 from somewhere, mainly me. He got me to pay for his forced savings plan with the manufacturer. I understand that operating expense and profit are two different things, but lets say after averaging it all out that he sold me my vehicle two days after it arrived on his lot and it only cost him $100 to floorplan it. Then the extra $900 is profit. Please do not beat me up on this. I am not a car salesman and never have been. I am just trying to understand the sales side of it and explain a little of the way the consumer sees it. Thanks to all.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    there are a lot of cars that sit on lots for more than 90 days. The holdback from the quick turners helps prop up the slow ones.

    Ed
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    Will a consumer get a better deal on a car just off the truck because the dealer gets almost all of the holdback or one that has been on the lot for 90+ days because the dealer is trying to move it?

    Has any dealer ever tried this and do you guys think it is a good idea. Open a dealership and have just a few vehicles of each model for customers to test drive and see. Then they can order the vehicle exactly like they want for a flat amount over invoice, say $500. The customer would have to sign a contract that they will definately buy the vehicle when it arrives. The dealer makes the small front end profit and has no floorplan fee and pockets all of the holdback. The customer gets the exact options and color they want. I understand that this would not work well for models that take months to arrive but for domestic makes that could be shipped in a month it might work. I have found it very difficult to get the exact options and colors of cars that I have looked for in the past.
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