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Small town vs. Big town dealerships

Hi all,

I'm beginning my search for a used Toyota Camry. I live in the Portland metropolitan area in Oregon and have noticed that the price of a Camry in a small town about 30 miles away can be up to $2000 cheaper. Is this typical or should I be weary of the dealership?


  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    places know they have to compete with the big dogs. I lived in Beaverton, OR for several years, so I would probably know the store you're talking about.

    You're likely to have a much better, less hassle, and more personal experience with the smaller store.
  • smalltownsmalltown Posts: 71
    The flip side is that small towns far away from big cities don't have any competition. So if I want to look elsewhere, the Honda dealer is 50 miles away, Mazda, Saturn, Kia, etc. are 85 miles or more in different directions. So comparison shopping trips can eat up the savings of cheaper prices. Locally, Chevy, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota are all owned by members of the same family.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    The Smart Shopper message board is the place to discuss things like this. Since you're looking for a used Camry, you might also try some of the tools like the Search Used Vehicles link over there in the left sidebar, or perhaps use the Search Forums feature to find topics like:

    andrelaplume, "Toyota Camry: Prices Paid & Buying Experience" #1, 10 Feb 2002 1:34 am

    PF Flyer
    Pickups & News & Views Message Boards


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    Thought Smart Shopper would be a good home for this discussion, so we'll continue here.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Thanks for the response. It's McMinnville Toyota.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    smaller than the Thomason and Hannah stores in Portland, but not like there's 3 salesmen who double as service advisors and the customer shuttle is a horse and buggy...

    I'm sure you'll have a much better experience with McMinnville - I had major issues (actuall, theft of a downpayment) with one of those previously mentioned groups - I don't like the way they do business at all..too many stories from too many reliable people.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ....... Can't speak for Buford OR, but it's always good to shop around a little for anything .. but size sometimes doesn't make a difference or lack of population ..

    Some dealer friends I know have a 115/125% market penetration and their stores are in smaller rural area's .. sometimes the cost of the "big" city store can cause the majority of the vehicles to be sold at a little higher price .. you never know until you take a look see ..

    As a matter of fact, the "Mega Store" craze was invented by a Ford dealer up north in 94/95(?) .. he bought 20 acres of a cow field in the middle of nowhere, about 2 seconds off the turnpike and 30 miles from downtown and sold 6,000+ Fords every year ... Smallville, yes .. small store, no ...

    AutoNations bought him out about 6 years ago, and it's "still" a record as far as purchase price goes after 300+ stores .... you gotta love them cows .............. ;)

  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    IMO, the best thing to do is to stop by that dealership and a couple more just for a "look see." Then start negotiations at the shop that makes you feel the most comfortable. If you like the feel of a smaller shop where you'll get more personal attention and they're more likely to remember you when you come back for service or for another purchase, then that seems like the best route.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    The problem here is that the average consumer is so dead-set on getting the "best deal" that they will shop your number all over town to save $50. Far too few people consider service after the sale when purchasing new.
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    True, but if you live in a small town, finding a place with good service after the sale is a big plus - not as many places to choose from.

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  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ....... 2 really good points here ... most buyers are more concerned about the $50/$150 bucks instead of the service department, mostly because they figure they have to give them service no matter what .. the funny part is, dealers can give or refuse service at any time or put them at the bottom of the list if they're busy ..

    I have a friend in Ga with a excellent service reputation and he has a sign in his service lanes that read: Customers - Lane #1, other service needs - lane #2 .... when the salesman have gotten to their lowest figure and they hear - "well, I can go to XYZ and get the same vehicle for $150 less", the SM then walks them out to the service area in a very professional manner and asks them which is more important too them .. of course some folks will he-haw around and say "I don't mind driving an extra 20 minutes for service" .... yeah right ..l.o.l....

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Terry - you talking about Ricart? Bought my first car there...
  • I actually ended up getting a pretty good deal at Beaverton Toyota (Russ Auto). Have you heard anything on their reputation? My buying experience was very positive.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    in Aloha, just outside Beaverton - I ran a towing company that towed into there - service and sales were very professional, although my information is dated (1994-1997).
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .... Ricart? .. they're a Ohio dealer, pretty Big Midwest dealer .. rumor has it they sold one of John Travolta planes to him ...

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    if a dealer is in a small town but is part of a bigger "Auto Network" they can be friendlier.

    There was a Honda dealer north of Dayton, Ohio where I bought my Odyssey and they were very friendly, professional and courteous. Too bad they were a 40 minute drive from my house on the south side of town. Otherwise I would have taken my car there for service.
  • Hello all,

    I'm moving from a small town in VA to NJ. My fiance and i need a second car to pack in all our stuff. I thought that it would be better to just buy a car in VA and then transfer the registration when we move in a month and a half. At least the money we'd spend on a rental would be going to car payments instead ( I have my eyes set on a toyota corolla).

    Since I'm going to NJ next week to finalize our new apartment, someone also suggested that I buy a car in NJ before we officially move up to save me the hassle of transferring the title. Is that even possible?

    Thanks ahead of time.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,020
    Friendly service aside who can give you the better price on a new car. I have to think that the big dealer who does volume business can afford to do some skinny deals because they are spread out among more high profit sales.

    The small dealer may have to try for a home run every time. Or am I wrong here?

    By the way, what is the definition of a small dealer? I have a few minor brand stores in my area that sell an average of 160 units per year. I consider that small, although not for an upscale store like Porsche or Land Rover.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    I don't think that you can paint with that broad of a brush. Big dealers tend to have BIG overhead too - just think of their newspaper and television advertising costs. Who do you think pays for all that?

    Thinking back to the times when I've bought high demand new cars, the best prices were always at smaller dealers, usually out of town.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,020
    " can't paint with that broad a brush..."

    I hope that you're right. I don't feel comfortable in those big warehouse dealers. I'd rather go to a small store. I've always gotten better treatment there.

    You mentioned high demand new cars, how about not so hot , regular cars? And what is a small dealer to you? 100 cars per year, 300, 1000?

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

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