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Autobytel.com - What has your experience been?

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Comments

  • 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: 17,355
    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: 17,355
    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.
  • 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: 17,355
    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.
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