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Autobytel.com - What has your experience been?

124

Comments

  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    because of the holdback, see the post above. The oldest car on the lot has the most push to sell it. I actually sold a Frontier today $300 below net, because it was the oldest new one on the lot.

    As to your idea of ordering cars, I don't think it will float. Most buyers are "impulse" sales. When they have finally made up their mind that they're going to buy a car, they're going to look around until they find the closest thing that is to their ideal and they're going to buy it, even if it costs more than waiting 4 months. Note that I said "MOST." There are folks who order cars, and wait, but they are probably only 1% of the buying public, or less.

    Another thing that you're missing is that most of the "Japanese" cars come from the States.

    Many of the "American" cars are made in Mexico or Canada. They build Camrys closer to me than they build Suburbans. Weird, huh. The pipeline for a Japanese built vehicle is about 4 months long, very few people have that kind of patience. A US built car is about 4-6 weeks.

    I have no experience/clue about German or Swedish built cars.

    Ed
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    I understand what you are saying about "impulse" buyers. I am sure you are correct about your numbers, but I think this may be a symptom of the system. People see all the cars on dealer lots and just buy that way because they do not know any better, and thats the way they have always done it. Plus dealers are trying to sell the cars on their lots. When I have looked at vehicles, the salesman has never offered to order me a vehicle, he always trys to get me to buy off of his lot. I am very particular about color and options on my vehicles, just wanted to see you guys take on what you see everyday from customers. I wonder if there were such an alternative store for ordering vehicles how the public would react. I agree it would definately start as a niche market.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    local "big guy" dealers will undercut your prices until the customer becomes color and option blind, until you go out of business.

    Ed
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    Just have a few around to show and drive?

    Let's see, Ford F-150, 3 engines, 2 transmissions, all in either 2wd or 4wd, 3 different body styles, 5 different wheelbases, 3-4 different trim levels for each body, 4 axle choices, 4 diferent tire sizes, ten colors, 9 different interiors - each in 2 or 3 colors, etc., etc.

    Nahhh, I doubt that would work.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    In relation to ad fees..they are invisible on the MSRP, but do show on the invoices. They are charged to the dealer by the manufacturer to cover the manufacturer's regional advertising costs.

    As far as Toyota Invoices... if you look at the base invoice of a Camry, say, $20,000 on edmunds.com for example, the real invoice may show: Camry $19,200, + Holdback $800.

    So actual Toyota invoices just break it down. The "total invoice" is what the dealer is billed for the car once it is shipped fromthe factory.

    Hope this helps!

    Bill
  • seerongoseerongo Posts: 1
    I'm a new member, thanks for a very interesting forum. Question:
    When using a alternative buying method like ABT, how can you test drive the specific vehicle you are buying to be sure it is satisfactory, everything works, etc? Is it acceptable to make the sale contingent on a satisfactory inspection before closing? On a related note, if I find a problem, I expect the dealer to fix it before closing, not have to have it fixed on warranty after the sale. Typically, it seems dealers don't want to do it that way, but it seems reasonable to me. I would want this to be a contingency of sale. If I buy this way, as I probably will, I will consider the offer serious, but I would want a way out if it's not satisfactory in some way, since it is basically sight unseen. I can see a potential problem if, for example, the car shimmies or pulls or just doesn't drive right, the dealer could disagree that it's a real problem. There can be reasonable disagreements on subtle problems, too. Getting dealers to do legitimate warranty work can be a more miserable experience that the sales experience sometimes is. But I guess that's probably another forum. If not, I'm starting one!
    Ron
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    Thanks for the info.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    always base all sales upon a satisfactory test drive/inspection of the vehicle once it arrives. If there's anything wrong, we either get it fixed to the customer's satisfaction, or they aren't obligated to take the vehicle.

    Ed
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,623
    I have no idea how Toyota does things.

    I guess, as a person who used to buy a new car every three years or so, I looked at the process differently than others.

    I didn't care about holdbacks or about how much profit the dealer might be making. I looked at the *value* of the car to me. If I felt comfortable with the salesperson and the dealership and I felt the price was acceptable, I bought the car. If the salesperson was a sleaseball or I was high pressured I would simply leave.

    To me, price wasn't the main consideration.

    I guess I figured that if I spent an extra two hundred dollars but had a good experience, I was happy.

    But, we are all different.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I just bought a car, and used both autobytel and cars.com

    Autobytel gives you one dealer and one quote. Was great on a car I was looking at (RSX) and would have given me the cheapest price I could find on the Type-S, was poor on other models that were available (Maxima and WRX).

    Went to Car.com, and they allowed me to select 3 dealers in their registry. From there, I was able to get a great price, and bid the three dealers (and the one by me) against each other on the phone. Bought the car for $300 above invoice with the options I wanted.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    The same dealerships usually end up with the same leads from multiple sources. Most dealerships buy "territories" which direct all the leads from a certain lead provider to their in-boxes

    Ed
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    the car dealers. I like it when I have multiple dealers to work than just one. By going to as many car purchase websites for dealer prices I was able to contact at least 4 dealer managers and have them bid against themselves. I found that even when they overlapped (which they often do), it still works.
  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    That goes to multiple dealers, but you have to agree to a price first. Autobytel is nice because you get a quote right away.
  • tomtravtomtrav Posts: 5
    i submitted a request for a quote on a new solara on 5/26.i'm still waiting for a response from ABT dealer.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    And you will be waiting. ABT has turned from being a very useful service in the mid nineties to a message taker for the big car dealers in your area. When I tried to use it resently I either did not get a response, or I got an email to call them or come to the dealership.
  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    It all depends on where you are located. Tom should contact Autobytel and have them get after their dealer. I was contacted within a day. It's the dealer who is responsible for responding, not Autobytel.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    varies by the make represented. We buy all the leads for Toyota, Chevy, Nissan, etc, within a "territory." Its entirely possible that there are some places not represented, or its also possible that the dealer network for whatever you're looking to buy isn't represented by an internet-savvy dealership.

    You're not likely to get a price emailed back in the first try anymore, you will likely have to call the internet manager in the ABT email, or at least get a two way email going in order to get a price quote.

    Ed
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    suzann: were you just contacted or were you contacted and immediately given the dealerships rock bottom lowest price? Like I said above, I got a response, it was just not a price quote as I was expecting.

    I make my comments from experience. I think abtseller can back me up on this. I used the service very successfully in 1996 and got the results that I expected. When I tried to use the service in 2002, it was a bomb.

    Back then, internet buyers were a new thing. Dealers thought that informed shoppers were usually ready to buy so they gave their best price upfront. When I was contacted by the dealer in 96 he quoted me invoice plus I kept the rebate on the car I wanted. My only problem was my trade in value. My price on the new car was set from the outset.

    In 2002, dealers buy these leads and everyone uses the internet to get invoice price and then try to grind dealers down for more off the car. Almost every buyer wants to pay invoice or less. Along with pricing info, the internet has informed consumers of dealer tricks to get more profit. Dealers do not want to give out their best price upfront because they know they will be shopped to some other dealer and may lose the sale. New car sales are very skinny nowadays for dealers so they want you on the phone or in the showroom before giving a price. I have heard abtseller and other sales guys say this all the time on TH. I am not knocking them for doing it this way, but all I can say was that I had a much more pleasant ABT experience in 1996 than in 2002.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    pleasant back then also. Now a days, instead of a trendy smart shopper, most of them just want a number to beat their local dealer over the head with.

    Sad, but true. And, with what the dealer has to pay for the leads, it is not cost effective to just "give them a number" you actually have to try and engage the customer in a conversation and try to sell them on the process first.

    Ed
  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    I used Autobytel to get a price and shopped it using another service. The dealer with Autobytel was straightforward and beat the price I had been originally quoted, but was in turn beaten by the next internet service I used.

    I would have been disappointed if the dealer had tried to "engage" me in the process. All I wanted was a price on a particular car. He called me up, made his offer and I suppose, moved on to the next customer.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    which is fulfilling his part of the deal. Next.

    Ed
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    Now you are going to make all the sales guys mad. How dare you want to use the internet and email to get a price and then use it to shop at not only another dealer, but (ghast) two other dealers. Just kidding.

    Question: Did the ABT dealer call you for follow up to see when you were coming down to buy?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,623
    Never fails to amaze me...the pain, time and trouble some folks put themselves through in order to "save" a lousy buck....
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    I totally respect your opinions on here, but spending a few minutes responding to an email or talking on the phone to a salesman is not a lot of pain, time , or trouble.

    My perfect new car buying scenario (no trade in):

    I decide the model and options I want.

    Test drive the car and make sure it is the one I want.

    I use the web or a service like ABT to solicit email itemized price quotes from several dealers. (with all fees included, OTD price)

    I take the lowest quote and email back the others to see if they can beat it.

    Repeat step above a few times until I think I am at the rock bottom price.

    Print out my low price quote, setup an appt at that dealer and then go in and buy my car.

    Now let me see 10 minutes times about 15 emails equals 150 minutes. One 10 minute phone call to set up appt. Time to purchase car. Total equals about 3 hours. And most of that time was from the comfort of my office or home.

    I do not think 3 hours total to shop for a car is a lot of wasted time. Of course if I only saved $50 off my first email quote that I recieved back, I would agree with you. But that is rarely the case. The first quote will be high and I can work down from there, at least several hundred dollars, if not several thousand.

    I think that this is the most efficient use of the sales guys time too. He finds your car, emails you a quote and is then off to the next one. If he has the best price he will get the deal, instead of spending hours with you on the showroom or phone to "engage" you. (No offense ABTseller).

    This is just my humble opinion. I know you guys say this does not work. Of course I have never had a chance to use it because it is very rarely that you can get an email quote back from a dealer website or ABT. I know this from recent experience.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,623
    That *sigh* came after reading several humorous (to me) posts from some folks who are scared to death that they just *might* pay a little bit more than their neighbor did.

    I accept that...to each his own...we are all different.

    The dealers who didn't respond to your e-mail blast are smart not to. They have been down that road before.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    I am assuming you know your side of the business better than me, but "The dealers who didn't respond to your e-mail blast are smart not to. They have been down that road before." left a bad taste in my mouth and did not improve my opinion of car dealers as tricksters. So when I did go shopping, I had to use my same old advesarial tactics since I did not know which dealer was being honest and upfront and which were not. The non respose to my emails just confirmed to me as the buyer that dealers were still trying to play tricks and not provide me with an upfront rock bottm price. Dealers need to embrace this new medium and use it to its full potential. It can be a great cost saving tool if used properly. I am sure most dealers are from the old school however and are mostly afraid of this new technology. It is not going away, it will only grow. GM power buyer is a great example. I get to see exactly what a dealer has in stock and even see the window sticker. Awesome. And I do not have to bother a salesman. Now if we could just get a pop up window with all of the dealer fees so we would know what they are before we see the F&I guy. LOL.

    Buyer's remorse is the worst in the computer business. Your neighbor will always get a better deal a few months down the road. Just the nature of the technology business. I wonder if people fret about that. Of course a lot of places give a low price gaurantee for at least 30 days. Has that ever been tried in the car business, Isell?
  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    Let's not get adversarial here too!

    Had the Autobytel dealer been the lowest bid I would have bought from him. He was $300 higher than the dealer I bought from and found using another service. No, he didn't follow up with me, that was my responsibility if I wanted to buy from him. He was up front and honest and I respect that.

    And, Isell, it was 300 lousy bucks I saved. The Autobytel dealer also beat the first Subaru dealer I visited by a wide margin. I see your posts all over the place about how people should just go to the dealer and buy a car. That works for you, not me. I don't care what my neighbor paid, I care what I paid. Add to that the lousy treatment I received when shopping and you've got a faithful internet shopper who used to just go to one dealer to buy a car. I saved time and money by not negotiating. The car dealers made the internet a safe haven for buying a car by their own actions, the internet wouldn't matter if you all knew how to treat people.
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    you be willing to pay for the convenience of never having to go into a car dealership to buy a car? What is your time worth to you? How cool would it be to get the new car you want delivered to your door with the paperwork in the glove box?

    Or...

    would you rather take the guys price and throw yourself into the "welcome to our dealership and meet all our managers, the F&I guy, etc" experience that everyone cries about here.

    Is that worth $300?

    Ed
  • suzzannsuzzann Posts: 56
    the $300 and had a pleasant buying experience. The sales manager is the one who issued the quote and he turned me over to a salesman who was at worst overly attentive. Very little attempt at selling finance and warranty items, I paid cash and that was it.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,623
    Actually, I do know how to treat people. It's hard using a computer on boards like this to convey that.

    My ongoing point is this...I really believe it's up to the BUYER to make an offer rather than try to solicit "bids" from different dealers.

    Send me an e-mail..." I'll buy your Accord SE today for XXXX...can you do that?"

    A message like that will get my attention. I either can or I can't and I will respond in kind.

    But then I take the chance that by accepting, I've just given the shopper another number to shop...oh well, nothing I'll fret over.
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