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Purchasing Strategies - Questions & Success Stories

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
Have a question about how to start negotiations or need advice on a particular approach? Do you have a successful strategy that you'd like to share? Start here!

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  • richk1richk1 Posts: 51
    Hi All - I'm getting ready to purchase a new luxury car in the next couple of weeks. After much reading here and on other sites, I think I have my purchasing strategy figured out, but before I put it into action, I wanted to share it with this very knowledgeable group to get your feedback: do you think it will work? can it be improved? should parts be scraped? Thanks in advance for any feedback!

     

    Using the manufacturer website to find all dealers within a 100mi radius (not going to use online svcs that solicit quotes for me), I will call each to get the name of the fleet mgr and their fax number. On the morning of 2/21, I will fax each one a very respectful, but business-like letter letting them know that I am accepting bids for this specific car & options through 2/23 and that I WILL be purchasing this month. My ask is for their "all in" price on an in stock model. I'll specify that the bid should be inclusive of all non-finance related costs (dealer prep, doc fees, ADM). My intention is to end up with a mutually beneficial transaction where I get the lowest price possible while the dealer gets a relatively low maintenance sale so they can move product off of their lot and focus their time and efforts on other prospects.

     

    On Thursday 2/24, I’ll then fax each of the responding dealerships again letting them know the (honest) lowest bid that came in and will request one final bid before I decide who to go with and make arrangements to take delivery on the 28th.

     

    Well – what do you think? Does end of the month time frame help me at all? Do you think enough of the 15 dealerships in my radius will respond? Has anyone else done something similar? Do you think I’m I better off finding 3 local dealerships and just putting in the time to play the game and do the dance with them? Thanks!

    Rich
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    not to be abrupt, but I think you're wasting your time with the shotgun faxes - first, "fleet" managers handle "fleets" for business owners, not single cars for consumers. Secondly, they get BUNCHES of faxes just like what you're talking about and most get thrown into the round file.

     

    Pick two or three places, preferably close to you, check out their service departments, the attitudes of service and sales personnel, and the attitudes of their customers (big indicator), and go forward in person.
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    When I bought a (non-luxury) car 2 years ago, I found Edmunds' "Contact Dealer for quote" form very helpful. I emailed from a real account (non-AOL/Yahoo/MSN) and included my business and cell phone in the RFQ.

     

    When I received the responses (3 out of 5), I assumed the dealer's attitude was reflected in the salesperson's words and "tone." No response - obviously out. "Come on down we give you best price" - out. "We'll do you a favour by selling you this Accord at $500 off MSRP but the deal is good today only, and, BTW, we charge a couple hundred for dealer prep" - out. The one remaining dealership was straightforward and responsive. I was not disappointed with service experience either.

     

    Faxes (and blast-faxing) is so, ummm, 80s?
  • judejude Posts: 1
    Hi to all. First time user from Australia. Love the site.

     

    I have selected vehicle and started doing the rounds to get prices (am getting 4 quotes). I have put this in a table that I am happy for other dealers to look at so that they know what they are up against. My problem is that ALL of them say that they won't be beaten on price. How do I handle this aspect of the negotiation?

     

    I would be grateful if someone would offer words of wisdom.

     

    Thankyou and have a great day.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Ah, but some of the will be beaten on price. Otherwise, you could continue going from dealership to dealership and eventually get the car for free! Do they say they won't be beaten on fees? On financing? Doubt it. Some of these are used to cover up the actual cost to you.

     

    You're going to spend a lot of time going from dealership to dealership if you do it this way. Do you have a favorite dealership among the 4 - does one of them have a better reputation, or come recommended? If so, you can take your 4 quotes straight to that dealership and show them your lowest offer (if they're not the lowest), and let them know you'll buy from them today if they meet or beat that offer.

     

    If you don't have a favorite, go straight to the one with the lowest price, if that's important to you. But be VERY careful indeed. Often the "lowest price" doesn't end up being the lowest - you get stuck with fees and add-ons not quoted in the price, or bad financing.

     

    When you start shopping a low price around, you're really opening the door for a lot of shenanigans that won't, in the end, benefit you.

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  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    Typically what I do is to give the dealer that I have had the best past experience with first crack at my buisness. For example, If I am interested in buying a Honda, and I have had good overall dealings with a particular dealer that sells Hondas, I will give them the first shot at my business. However, If I am looking for a Honda, and haven't had any dealing with any Honda dealers, I will go with the dealer that I have heard the best word-of-mouth feedback from my family and friends. The way I see it is that I would rather give my business to the dealer that treats me the best during the buying process, and that I feel like will treat me the best after the sale (ie..service) - even if I end up paying a few hundred dollars more. For me, it isn't worth it to feel like I have been through a 2 hour boxing match at a particular dealer all to save a couple hundred dollars. The only "pearl of wisdom" that I can really offer is that if you are going to buy a car, take the time to get pre approved for a loan thru a credit union or bank before going into a dealership. This makes negotiations a lot easier - plus you already know what kind of an interest rate you should expect. This way you can mainly focus on the price of the vehicle, instead of haggling over a monthly payment. I will always tell the dealership that I have arranged my own financing, but they may try to beat the interest rate if they would like.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Yes, if you shop the price all over town, you'll probably end up feeling like you've been battered by the end of it - and shopping when you're exhausted isn't a good idea.

     

    If you're quoted a super low price that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Check out the new cars page here first, and price out your vehicle so you'll have a ballpark idea of what to expect.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    My thoughts exactly!

     

    From my viewpoint, I am constantly amazed at the pain some people will put themselves through when they buy a car.

     

    Most dealers will round can "blast faxes". We get dozens of these a week usually on the same form letter that must be somewhere on the internet.

     

    It really doesn't have to be a miserable procedure. My advise would be to ask your family, friends and co-workers for a referral. Ask them how well they were treated, hw is the service department, and if they felt the price they paid was reasnoble.

     

    The "fleet manager" is usually just another salesperson with more experience than most. I have often been tempted to ask..." Oh, how many cars will you be needing for your fleet?"

     

    It really doesn't have to be hard. It can even be fun!
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    about a 2005 Civic EX...
  • richk1richk1 Posts: 51
    "Most dealers will round can "blast faxes". We get dozens of these a week usually on the same form letter that must be somewhere on the internet."

     

    thx for the responses everyone.....i hear what you are saying, and i agree that some dealerships won't want to play this game, but I've got to believe out of 15 dealers, there are 4 or 5 that are willing to trade some profit in exchange for a transaction that will take minimal time, and in order to make this work, I only need a few to play. Am I just blissfully ignorant here?

     

    In any event, based on all the invoice/holdback/rebate info available on the net, I pretty much know the price I'm looking for. If I can't get that price via this method (which is much less time consuming for me than dealer to dealer shopping), I can always go with plan B which is the dealer to dealer dance. I'll let everyone know how it works out.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    >>but I've got to believe out of 15 dealers, there are 4 or 5 that are willing to trade some profit in exchange for a transaction that will take minimal time<<

     

      You will more likely find the worst dealers will be the ones to respond to you ... and you'll generally find that they'll get the money from you in other ways ...
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    Exactly - the ones that have turned off so many of their past customers that they now have to continually look for newbies.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Why hasn't bobst chimed in?
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    From a dealer standpoint, bobst way of buying essentially gives him all the card and all the power. We like to rib him about it..but with a few twists his method of buying could be a textbook way of dealing with a less than professional dealer.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Oregon, I knew that if I didn't respond that one of my many followers would respond for me.

     

    Thanks, Audia. You filled in for me in a commendable manner. You are hearby promoted from the 'Bobst in training' rank to the 'Bobst surrogate' title.

     

    Actually, I am going to try the internet approach in a few weeks. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    I think is a good way to go. I bought a car back in 2000, and I knew which dealer I wanted to buy from (I had already purchased a car from them before). I was able to find the specific car I wanted on their web site, contact a salesperson through the email link, and negotiate the sales price in about 30 minutes. I then made an appointment for the following Saturday morning to test drive the car. The nice thing was that I was able to get in and out of the dealership in minimal time since the negotiations had already been done. I imagine this approach might be tough if you were planning on doing a trade-in.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    As I recoup on my day off after a very busy and hectic weekend, I feel compelled to offer a couple of suggestions when buying a car.

     

    These comments are based on several of my recent expereinces and observations.

     

    1. I know I'm going to get blasted for this...but...IF at all possible, find a babysitter! A car dealership really isn't the place for active, demanding toddlers. They aren't happy being there and they usually present a tremendous distraction for all parties.

     
    Yes, I love kids. Same applies to dogs. I'll never understand why some people will bring a dog into a place of business?

     

    2. PLEASE, allow enough time! There is nothing worse than to have a customer take three hours deciding on what they want, working out a deal etc than have them look at their watch and tell us they have to be somewhere in a half hour! If you have time constraints, let us know in advance and we will try or best to streamline things.

     

    Buying a car isn't like buying a pair of shoes. There is a lot of time consuming paperwork involved for one thing.

     

    2. Know what you can afford. If your budget is 20,000, the 30 thousand dollars cars you want to test drive will not fit your budget.

     

    3. Be upfront. If you have had some credit issues in the past, let us know. Often, they aren't as bad as people think they are. If you have a trade-in, let us know. It'll be worth exactly the same now or later.

     

    4. A friendly straightforward posture will go a long way. If you don't receive the same in return, ask for a different salesperson or simply walk out.

     

    I realize these ideas may counter what you read in the "How to buy a Car" guides but they will help make it a more pleasant experience.

     

    Lastly, shop early if possible. People who come in an hour before closing may get rushed through the process.

     

    Hope this helps!

     

    Craig
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,652
    Great advice!!

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Appreciate that.

     

    It really doesn't have to be painful for either side. It isn't a battle.

     

    Best advise of all I can give is to ask friends and family for a referral. You will be treated like family and leave happy. You probably won't pay any more either!
  • asafonovasafonov Posts: 373
    Great advice, IF you are dealing with a professional like most dealers posting here on these boards.

     

    Problem is, not all dealerships are like this; how do you find one? How do you know it when you walk in the door? On the other hand, this straightforward approach probably works best no matter who you buy from...
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