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Stories from the Sales Frontlines



  • I am always fascinated by the people who post and ask, Hey, I just bought this car - here is what I paid, did I get screwed???

    Who's tooo late.

    I do.

    In general, everything in life is a learning experience. Therefore, it is perfectly valid to do a post-mortem analysis to learn from your mistakes so as not to repeat it in the future.
  • I am not sure if it has anything to do with product value. The fact that he got $4000 from his trade sealed the deal. On the other hand, if he was $4000 upside down, I doubt any of the features in the new car would have moved him.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,883
    When you start bringing a dealership 3-4 sales per year, the SMART salesmen will start notifying you when something "interesting" hits their lot.

    j.....So true, it's all about networking and relationships....on both the customer's side and the salesperson's side.

    It seems like I'm always helping someone buy something every 3-4 months. Really, a quick glance at these boards and it wouldn't be so hard for those people to do the same themselves. I think the stereotype of getting "hosed" at a car dealership is unfortunately alive and well.

    There's probably 3-4 sales people, at different dealerships, that I'm in contact with every couple of months. Sometimes they bring something to the table that's interesting. Other times, I don't have anyone I know who's in the market, and no matter what the vehicle, I'm not interested.

    I do have long standing relationships with someone at a Toyota, Chevy and Ford dealerships. Of course, those folks have made their profession a career, as opposed to just a brief stopping point.

    One salesmanager, at an Acura dealership (Superior), I actually play golf with. I bought my son's car there. Interestingly, they don't carry used cars that are less than 3 years old....nothing 1-2 years old (which I find a bit odd). But, their inventory is always filled with nice used cars.

    On the other hand, I've tried to buy an Infiniti on several occasions. We've got only one dealership in the area. I always give them a shot at my business, but could never get to a "meeting of the minds", so I've never bought from them. Nice people, though. They still call every 6 months, or so.

    Bottom line, if you've got a relationship with someone in the biz, there's a mutual trust built up that I won't waste their time, if they don't waste mine. In short order, if they've got something I (or a family member) want, I'm confident I get a good deal and their confident I'm not going to "jack them around".

    Of course, that's always predicated on doing a little bit of REALISTIC research hear before you walk in the door.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Therefore, it is perfectly valid to do a post-mortem analysis to learn from your mistakes so as not to repeat it in the future.

    Sure, but if some yahoo on an internet board tells you you paid way too much, why would you take their word for it? Even if more than one does, how can you be sure that they are right? Your circumstances and geography might not match up with theirs. Plus, they may just not know what they are talking about. Or they are ignoring the fact that although they paid $2000 less on the car they got a higher interest rate, lower value for their trade, and bought the extended warranty for $1500.

    If you went and believed that person, you would have a much harder time of it next time you bought a car because your assumptions would be incorrect. Grain of salt.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    That's an excellent point. Does the person doing the post mortem actually know what they're talking about? Does that person have all the facts and pertinent info? A detective has the coroner's report, he has a police report, eyewitness accounts, the ability to interview those involved, whatever is at his disposal to determine cause of the crime.

    A coworker just bought a used truck from a local megastore. They were happy their payments were a lot lower than their previous truck, plus the new truck is bigger and better equipped. On the surface everyone is happy. I saw the contract and it's scary: Paid top dollar for a 4 yr old truck with 60K on it, 72 month loan, 10.99% interest rate, $1200 extended warranty. My analysis says they got hosed. But then, I wasn't there in the sales office wheelin and dealin, so who knows what took place?

    Philosophically I agree a post mortem analysis should be done but it's almost impossible to do one accurately without all the info. And besides, who wants to hear they got porked?
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    We have contacts at a Ford and a Cadillac dealership. In general, they know roughly how and what we like to buy. In general, we are usually within $500 and pretty much split the difference.

    Do we grind? Oh, occasionally. Especially if the salesman (usually a newbie), acts like we are straight off the farm and starts trying to sell us a used car at 15% above retail. Or if it is obvious that they don't know their beans.

    I like dealerships that sell quality used cars and take pride in it. While you still have to do the mechanical inspection, it makes the process a lot easier.
  • They took a 72 month loan on a 4 year old trucks? If that is the case they got hosed no matter what they paid. I hope they never plan to trade out of it ever cause they are probably 50% buried in the car right now and getting worse.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346

    A lot of the so called "Prices Paid" posts are dead wrong. I (usually) just bite my tongue but I can tell you, a lot of those deals judt didn't happen.

    So, now the person who asks.." did I get a good deal" feels that they paid too much or got hosed.

    Some people just love to rain on parades.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    When we bought Hondas in 1995, 1997, and 1999 we always had to pay $150 or $200 over invoice. Otherwise, our offers were turned down.

    We were going to buy a car last March, so I checked the Prices Paid forum and found a couple people who claimed they got their Accord for $500 under invoice with no doc fee. I couldn't believe it, so we drove to Fairfax Honda, offered $500 under invoice, and they accepted.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...they have no value. I'm just saying you have to take them with a grain of salt.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    The people who ask, "Did I get a good deal?" probably didn't do their research in the first place. Otherwise, they would know whether they got a good deal or not.

    If they can go to a Prices Paid board and type in, "Did I get a good deal?" AFTER they buy, they can certainly go to Edmunds TMV and read other posts in prices paid to get a general idea of what a good deal is BEFORE they buy.
  • I'm assuming they were going after a unit bonus which would explain taking the hit. You know, $300 a car back to car one if you hit your number. Just a thought, John
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    Good advise, except some of the "Prices Paid" never happened. Then they go out armed with incorrect information and get frustrated when those numbers weren't attainable.

    Or maybe they DID someone else said, the store needed two more cars on the 31st of the month to earn a bonus of some type so they caved in and lost a few bucks to earn a bunch more.

    Or maybe they underallowed on the trade in or just maybe the trade was an extra sharp, popular car that they knew they would be able to sell for a healthy profit?

    It's good to be a knowledgable shopper but there can be a lot of variables to consider!
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Your thought might be interesting, John, if I had any idea what you were saying.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    No doubt many posts "never happened". You sales guys read the prices paid forum quite a bit, and probably have a better idea than I do of how many are bogus posts. But,I would make an educated guess at about 5-7%. With a higher % not telling the complete story. It seems the most questionable posts are: those that pop up out of nowhere,from a first time poster who does not follow up, little to no info in profile, have a price significantly higher or lower than the norm, the post is lacking in details, and it just doesn't sound right... different than the others.

    I think most people who read Prices Paid forums often enough can generally tell which ones to weed out and which ones to accept.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    Bob, what John is saying is that the day you bought your Accord the dealership was probably a car or two away from hitting a sales goal from the factory. For example: Your sale would be Accord number 49 and the stores goal was 50. So the store figured we can lose $500.00 on this one and break even on the next one (Accord #50)or make a profit. So at the end of the month when they report all their Accord sales to the distributor and reached the 50 Accord sales, the distributor will cut the dealership a check for $15000 or more depending on the final number over 50. The sales managers may share in this "bonus" or it may just be for the dealer principal. So to illustrate, they lost $500.00 to sell you a car but made $14,500.00 in the end. Not bad heh? Wish I would have been a dealer principal.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Thanks for explaining that in English, Mack.

    By the way, the 2005 Accord is much nicer than the 1999 model. The steering is easier and the clutch takes much less effort. It doesn't even have all the rattles I was afraid of - knock on wood.
  • I'd say over 90% are "true", to the best knowledge of the person posting..

    Details are often left out.... Any post with a trade-in obviously is hard to evaluate.. Some people don't even understand their own deal, or how much they paid.

    But, as jipster says... if you read them enough, you can get a good feel for which ones offer information that you can use..

    You can get a lot more information there about real prices, than anywhere else.. After all, without those forums, I'd have to assume that the Honda dealers are sold out of almost every model and that they sell all units at MSRP!! ;)

    Host-Prices Paid Forums

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    You're welcome Bob!
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Does anyone know what happened to "Cliffy," who sold Toyotas in the Northern Virginia area? Mack, you guys used to be in touch, weren't you?

    Just curious, because I want to test-drive a Toyota Solara convertible and wondered if he's still around.
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