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- Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Last Active
- Vehicle(s) that interest me
- All of them.
- More about me
- Have been in the car business for over 10 years and still in it.
- Vehicle(s) I currently own
- 1992 Honda Civic, 2007 BMW 328i
Someone once told me a story (not sure if it was a joke or true story) about a customer coming in on the lot wanting to trade his "Gooolie", pronounced with a thick foreigh accent. Nobody knew what he was talking about, what a Gooolie was, or what it looked like. He kept saying it's a nice Pontiac Gooolie, and that the Gooolie is a common car.
The salesman went out with the customer to see this Gooolie. It turned out it was a Pontiac 6000LE.
What nyccarguy said is pretty much spot on. Used car prices vary and depend on a ton of different factors. Some cars might have been reduced in price because they're 90 day or older units, and there might not be much, if any room to move. Others might have come in $3k-$4k less than priced at retail but could have needed reconditioning (dents, painting bumpers, brakes, tires, etc..) which could easily push the cost up a grand or two.
In terms of your approach of emailing for best prices on a used car, I would have to disagree with your approach.
First, very few if any managers will want to give best prices out on a used car you haven't seen, not even sure of you want to buy, and that you're not ready to move on right away (as within a day or two). Even if they do give you a deal you're happy with, it's meaningless because the car could sell the next day, and might not be replaced by the time you are ready to buy. It is a used car after all and every used car is different. A dealer will rather not give out a quote and sit on the car until someone walks in the door who's ready to buy it on the spot, and possibly pay more than what you are willing to pay. On a new car it's a different story because if you're price shopping a specific model, there are probably a 100 of them in inventory, so if one sells, there's another one available at the same price, with the same specs.
Second, it's fine to make a list of cars with comparable specs and comparable prices, but go out and see them in person and test drive them when you're close to making a purchase decision. Cross off the models from the list that you don't like, the ones that are not in the condition that's acceptable to you, and, just focus on one or two or three that you really like, and then negotiate on the price, starting with the one you like the most. If you agree on the price then buy it on the spot.
We have people coming in all the time, who are weeks or months away from purchasing but want to negotiate. It's pointless and we don't get into numbers until they're ready to buy because even if we agree on the numbers the car might not be available by the time the customers comes back and buys, not to mention all the other factors like changing their mind, not being in the market anymore, etc...
It's like buying a house. No point emailing 10 different house sellers and negotiating on the price until you've seen the house in person, stepped foot in it, and you are ready to move on it if your offer is accepted.
Negotiating is typically the last step in the process, not the first, so that's why we don't do it, nor any dealers I've worked at before until the customer has seen the car and is ready to buy.
We had the countryman version of it in the 70s. Austin 1300 Countryman. Here it is with my mom pregnant with me in '77.