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Test Drives & Dealership Promotions

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  • Individual dealer websites now have "schedule a test drive". Should I do this or just go in? I am able to pop in at unusual times, but I don't know what the non-busy times are during the week!

    Thanks.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    I'm sure you'll get more advice from those in the biz, but from my perspective, if you think you're pretty interested in a particular vehicle, then scheduling a test drive is a good idea.

    If the opportunity to make an appointment is available, then it seems that the salesperson would be able to prepare for your visit by having any print material related to the vehicle ready, be prepared to answer any questions about the vehicle and current pricing/promotions, and would have set aside enough time to spend with you without interruption.

    As many of the salespeople who are members here will tell you, be sure to make the appointment when you KNOW you can make it :) No-shows stink.

    kirstie_h
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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Absolutely Joseph, I quite often disagree with what a reviewer writes. You can't take their word for everything, you gotta sample things for yourself!

    Schedule a test drive?

    If you're seriously looking into that car, sure, by all means. If you are just casually shopping, I don't think I would. I'd just drop in.

    -juice
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,678
    Got a card in the mail from Volvo the other day. They are having a tie-in the the "Alex's dream" charity (the lemonade stand group, might be more regional). Anyway, if you drive something next weekend, they make a $10 donation.

    So, since she is shopping, and the XC-90 is technically still on the short list, we will go and do our part for charity.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mercedes did that with the Susan G. Kolman (sp?) Breast Cancer Foundation a while back. I drove every car they had there!

    They made a donation based on the number of miles you drove.

    -juice
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,678
    BMW does those drive events too. At least they bring in cars to drive, and probably personel to help out.

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

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    You're right Kirstie. Having a customer call in advance, and setting up an appointment shows us that they're fairly serious about making a purchase, and that they are willing to spend time with us at the dealership, and willing to learn all about the vehicle they're interested in.

    Too many times people come in and want to test drive cars for fun. After a while some of us tend to pre judge potential customers thinking that they're just here because they're bored, and so we end up with a missed opportunity, and the customer ends up with a sour taste because we didn't take them seriously.

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

  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    A lot of times, we buyers prefer that you not take us seriously. Then you will leave us alone why we walk the lot looking at the cars and trying to decide which model we might want to buy, just like I did this past Saturday.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
    Then by all means, don't make an appointment, bob. However, if a buyer is serious and would like to make sure the salesperson's time is at his/her disposal, and attention is undivided by competing demands, making an appointment seems to be the best way to ensure that this is the case.

    There's a salesperson that I particularly like to deal with - in order to be certain that I can deal with him, especially as I already know I'm going to be buying from that store, I make an appointment. It also seems to make the whole process run more quickly, which I particularly like.

    kirstie_h
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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dealers have it rough.

    I want to be left alone to browse, even when I'm seriously shopping. When I am ready to buy I will make and appointment with the salesman I want to work with.

    A guy in another thread complained that he walked the lot with his girlfriend and noone came out to serve him, so he thought he wasn't being taken seriously. I like it that way.

    No two customers are the same.

    -juice
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,678
    Everyone should be greeted and solicited as to what help they want. If they want to talk, great. If not, they get a card and a "see me if you need anything". Not being greeted at all is unacceptable in any retail environment.

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

  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    I like to give out "just looking balloons".....walk around with a red balloon that says just looking on it and you can browse all day without any pesty salespeople.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd take one of those. 'cept my kids would let it go. ;-)

    Any events coming up? The Lexus one was pretty cool. I only wish we'd had more time.

    -juice
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    I came here to read what real auto enthusiasts are saying after reading this promo in AOL:
    "Don't get taken for a ride on your test drive. Plan the route you want to take so you can try various terrain and put the car through it's paces. Make sure you slam the doors, test the brakes and pop the trunk."
    I buy used vehicles because too many new ones are abused when people slam the doors, test the brakes, etc. as recommended by the AOL article.

    Do any dealerships still have "demonstrator" vehicles or is every new vehicle on the lot available for abuse by any shopper?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, dealers often have demos.

    When I went to test drive a 6s, I drove the salesman's demo car. It had plenty of miles and was broken in, so I didn't have to hold back.

    Great idea, more dealers should do that. The Honda dealers around here have one demo Odyssey and Pilot as well.

    -juice
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Thanks. I need to print your posting and take it with me to local dealers.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    I make it a point to drive the vehicle that I am purchasing, not a "demo"! No two vehicles drive the same. There have been times, where I have rejected vehicles from the dealer's new car lot on a test drive, and continued the selection,(from the dealer's stock), until I found a vehicle that I liked. If the sales person doesn't like this process, that is just too bad! It is my money that I am spending, so as such, I can select the new vehicle that makes me happy. Remember, the customer has the power, and the power is money! ---- Best regards. --- Dwayne ;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,961
    "No two vehicles drive the same"

    In the case of NEW cars, I've never found this to be true!
  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 843
    I would think the main difference would be the wheels or tires...if there are problems with one I would like to avoid... FWIW, my '00 Trooper had some issues with the factory Bridgstones...dealer did not really want to deal with them, so the problems went away when I finally replaced the Bridgestones with Michelin's... If I had been able to test drive that vehicle..it was on the showroom floor, I might have identified the vibration and had it fixed before purchasing or choosen another vehicle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a job in college where we'd drive some fleet Rangers, every one of them felt different, had its own little quirks. On paper they were identical, but I could tell which one of them I was driving even if I'd been blind-folded.

    -juice
  • I’m in the process of buying a “certified” Civic. I found a particular Civic on the Honda.com (corporate) website by using the search parameters to only display certified civics. This led me to one particular vehicle I was interested in that came up as certified. I then repeated this process on the specific dealer’s page and only searched for certified Civics and again got this vehicle in the search results.

    The description page on the website for this vehicle shows the price and the “Honda Certified” logo and says in the text description “**HONDA CERTIFIED**” which to me and my knowledge of English as past tense and already certified. The description goes on to further state that it has been “inspected” (past tense) and “repaired” (past tense) and “guaranteed” (past tense) and lists it as having the 1 year/12,000 mile and 7 years/100,000 powertrain warranties. Even further, the Carfax report clearly shows the car as being “offered for sale as a Honda Certified Used Car” on 1/24/11.

    I went to the dealer on 2/3/11 and they started with the price on the website as the basis and took information and began the financing process and showing the car and all. Then before finalizing the deal they added a $995 charge for “certification” which they said is the cost to get the car certified and for the warranty.

    This raises a lot of ethical and potentially legal questions:
    Is this a common practice? Is this even near the cost for certification? And maybe most importantly…Can they advertise one price and list in the description something that is clearly “already an included benefit” and then tack on a charge for it later? I thought an advertised price can not be changed for something that is already in the advertised description? I am meeting with them on Monday and will ask for the complete charge be removed or I’ll walk, but any other ideas of what to add to strengthen the case?

    Thanks…sorry so long.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That is very deceptive and I would demand they remove that charge right away.

    It was priced as certified, not certified after you bought it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ford had a promo at the Baltimore auto show, $50 for any test drive. We had to sign up at the show, but heads up for any show-goers in the near future.

    Kia also has a $25 test drive. Just mailed mine in, it was to drive an Optima.
  • I ran into this same situation in March when looking for a CTS. It appears that all the past tense references not really correct. It's not something i approve of, and the dealers' explanations were that if someone wanted to buy it "not certified" they could (they would get remaining original warranty). As i said, i don't agree with their rationalization.

    But to list a car with a price and "certified" (past tense) and then to try and say it cost's X dollars mor for "certification" is BS and possibly fradulent. :mad:
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,678
    Like ateixaira last year, when I was at the Philly autoshow last month, they were offering a $50 test drive coupon if you signed up with the rep at the show. I did, and had an email with the certificate waiting in my email when I got home, which I have already used.

    Subaru did the same thing, but that was $250 off your best deal if you bought something (no freebie for joyriding!)

    by coincidence, I got an offer from Toyota in the mail a couple weeks back. Another $50 test drive coupon (since used!), and a $500 bonus discount if you bought (which I didn't).

    so on 1 saturday, I tested a couple things we are interested in (my wife is starting to look for her next car) and made $100 doing it! Wish I could get that offer every week.

    I am curious though to see if I get a little flurry of offers in the mail for other makes, since I have now been flagged as a "sucker"that will actually use one (and you know these days, that data gets shared).

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Put me on that list...haven't gotten one of those in a while.

    And they're good because they create showroom traffic. A while ago I went to a Mazda event, Zoom Zoom Live they called it, and a little later traded in my Miata for a new one. So they do work.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,982
    A reporter is looking to interview people who bought new cars during the month of March 2012. Please email pr@edmunds.com with the make and model of your purchase and your daytime contact info no later than Monday, April 2, 2012.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

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