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Any Questions for a Car Dealer?



  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    bob is right, sille. Don't let your emotions get in the way of what's logical. Some dealers out there would love to bury you in that car. Unless your civic is having severe problems, or was wrecked and poorly repaired, you should at least drive it till you own it free and clear of any liens.
  • 2001 Mustang Deluxe V6 Coupe, Dark Red
    Wilmington, NC
    40k, Auto, all power
    looks new inside/out, (drove) great

    Some numb-nuts pulled out right in front of it, it's at the body shop (at the dealership) now... they (and I) think it *might* be close to totaled, I'd say *at least* $4k in damage (both quarter panels, passenger door panel, bumper, hood, grill, headlights, radiator, lots of twisted metal under the hood, airbags did NOT deploy-- engine ok (belts squeal because of contact with damage), trans ok, wheels/tires ok (rub sidewalls because of damage)- waiting for the adjuster... and we almost had this one paid off!!! (of course)

    My questions are:

    If it is going to be fixed, what is a reasonable amount to ask for as a Dimished Value payment from the other guy's insurance company? (How much less will this be worth)

    Also, if they are going to total it, should we try for full retail value, or will they only give trade value, or what?

    Also posted this over in RWTIV, but thought I could get some insight here as well.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    depreciated value can be rather subjective. In terms of replacement value, you should insist on retail value including taxes and fees as they apply to your state. Find out what it would cost you to get another car like yours, from a dealer, and that's how much the check should be for, minus any balance owed to the lien holder.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,310
    Based on your description, it sounds like a total.

    You can forget "diminished value" claims unless your lawyer is bigger and meaner than your insurance co's are!
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    If it is going to be fixed, what is a reasonable amount to ask for as a Dimished Value payment from the other guy's insurance company?

    Actually, if you fix it the claim you need to make is a Loss of Market Value claim.
    Car worth $20,000 before accident
    Car fixed, now worth only $15,000
    Loss of Market Value would be for $5,000

    The Diminished Value claim is if you just sell it for salvage and want the difference.
    Car worth $20,000 before accident
    Damaged car sold for $7,000
    Diminished Value claim would be for $13,000

    I'm pretty sure that's the difference.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    First, find out if your state allows for diminished value claims. MA does not. About 2 years ago the state court ruled in favor of insurers - they have no obligation to pay dimished value, only to restore your vehicle to the pre-accident condition.
  • "they have no obligation to pay dimished value, only to restore your vehicle to the pre-accident condition."

    Hopefully, since it wasn't her fault, the other guys' insurance will feel obligated!

    Where could I find out if Loss of Market Value claims are allowed in NC?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Check your state website - looks like you have a Dept of Insurance you can call:
  • bcb1bcb1 Posts: 149
    If you guys want a good laugh, check out and look at the car dealer "ripoff" reports!

    The lack of intelligence, reasoning skills, (and spelling skills) is just amazing. Folks that complain that the dealer is "defrauding" them for giving them $1,000 less than KBB value for their trade! Others that buy a 9 year old car or truck, and then threaten to start a class action lawsuit because it has squeaks, rattles, and an a/c that went bad.

    Don't get me wrong...I have been a long time reader here at Edmunds, and I realize that there are some pretty uninformed posts here also; but it's nothing compared to! I guess the old saying "when you're born dumb, you're dumb for a looong time" is really true :)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,101
    It's sad that sites like that play on people's need to blame someone else whenever anything at all goes wrong with a sale, the product, or service. If I were a dealer, I'd watch that site as they seem to allow any sort of negative allegation to be posted about any dealer or individual.

    The difference at is that we allow people to post negative experiences and what may be just a perceived negative experience, but outright bashing and namecalling isn't allowed. So, while there may be some people who post here who are uninformed, we hope we at least provide an atmosphere where we can help them. I've seen plenty of people in our "prices paid" discussions who think they've been ripped off by having a destination fee added to the sales price of a new vehicle, and informed members are able to educate them, and everyone feels better :P


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  • bcb1bcb1 Posts: 149

    You are definitely a voice of reason here, and you're right. The good folks here at Edmunds provide an excellent atmosphere between consumers and dealers, and I think most folks walk away feeling better and more informed because of it.

    Guys like Terry (and many others; it's just Terry's name that comes to mind) provide good insight into the dealer's side of the table. While there are some total scam artists and con men in the auto trade, there are many more honest, straight dealers that know the only way to stay in business over the long haul is to cultivate good, honest, long-term relationships with customers. Treat a customer well; give them the facts and respect they deserve, and you'll have a customer for life. Give someone the shaft, and you might make a quick buck on them, but you'll never see them again for a future sale.

    One of the best things that Edmunds has going for it is the Car Dealer Question and Real World Trade-in values forums. Good stuff. :P
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,101
    Guess that kind of came off like an Edmunds sales pitch, but I didn't necessarily mean it that way. I just find it sad that sites like the ripoff report play on people who want to "get revenge." If you don't know what I mean, visit their site with your pop-up blocker off!

    Revenge isn't really the best motivation if you want to protect yourself for the long-term. Education, and learning from past mistakes and misconceptions, is a far better goal. Unless a dealer has done something illegal, and not just something that makes you mad, I think you're better off to use the negative experience to ensure that you have a positive one the next time around.

    (and thanks also to isellhondas, dbauer, thenebean, driftracer, and others currently/formerly in the biz who share perspectives)


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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,310
    Happy to help!

  • Many thanks Kirstie and other Edmunds editors/staff for all the good info you post here, and for keeping the forums in good shape!

    My general question is why carbuying has to be such a frustrating experience. I recognize the need for a dealer to make some kind of profit in order to invest in phyiscal plant upkeep, staff, new endeavors.

    However, for most of us, a car is not a disposable toy. It's something we rely on for transportation, and have to keep around a few years. And they_are_not_cheap (probably a year's net pay for most people). It's something we need to know rational details about, such as cost, maintanance, etc.

    Too many dealers I visit believe the opposite. Visits there are persian bazzar, emotional hype time, with triple teaming at the door, constant pressure, intrusive questions ("your SSN please??" even for cash buyers) , and expecting you to just sign the forms, and take the product and yourself _away_, just like you would a hair drier at Walmart, except you have no option to return the car if it is "bad".

    The worst is dealers' lying. When I am quoted a "firm" price by the sales manager or whoever authorizes the sale, I expect to pay __that__ price, not be jerked around by finance 10 - 30 minutes later and shown the salesperson was a Liar! This happened to me at an Autonation dealership, and they will never get my business again.

    Is the current system really so bad that Dealers have to function this way?

    Perhaps one answer is to divest dealers of road tests and other stuff they generally don't want to do. Let the manufacturers do what GM is doing - a regional "autoshow", possibly held every two or three months where, for little cost and no obligation (save signing a waver) you get to drive the cars and see what they are really like. Such shows could even charge special rates for driving "exotic" cars.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    It's been hashed over and over. This is how the system works. Customers complain when every dealer charges a different price and uses commissioned sales people and high pressure. So when dealers try to go low pressure with one price, no commission, make it simple, customers take that price and try to beat it by $50 in the next town.

    It's a chicken and egg thing.

    I don't think everybody will be 100% happy.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Well, Kurt, car buying is not a frustrating experience for many of us who have learned how to adapt our behavior to the real world.

    And I don't think asking for our SSN is intrusive. We have been cash buyers. If I offer them a piece of paper (our personal check) for a beautiful new car, I think they are entitled to check our credit.
  • All anyone has to do is read articles here at Edmunds to find out how bad dealer experiences can be. Edmunds had a fine article (title escapes me) detailing on what it's like to sell a car at a dealer, and how the system works - and while it has some funny moments, it's rather grim as to how customers (and salespersons) get hurt by this system.

    The only answer is to be well educated about how car buying works, and be ready to "play the game" if need be.

    On other hand, there __are__ some fine dealers out there that "buck the system" and treat customers straightforward and honestly. And if that makes them not part of the "real world", well and good for them! There are people (including many professionals I know) who prefer that way of doing business.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Some people claim that buying a vehicle is the second largest purchase that they make in their life. If it is, it would sure be in your interests to do your homework so that you have a rough idea of 1) what is available out there, 2) what you need, 3) what you would like, and 4) what you can afford.

    Often, people post that they have a car that is six months old and they need to trade it. To me, it means that they probably did not really do the necessary homework.

    Despite what you think, the BUYER always has the upper hand. If I walk into a dealership and can't get what I think is a reasonable price, I can head to one of the 50 other dealers in the area. I have had my share of obnoxious salesman and one or two liars. After a few moments, I decided to move on.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Add 5) What tricks to be ready for.

    I do agree with Kurt in the "many" dealers will prey on the uninformed and use high pressure sales tactics (not fun for most people). Those people I put in the same boat as pawn shop owners, pay day loan places, etc. and won't give them my business regardless. But I also feel that type of dealer is becoming less and less as more buyers are educated than 20+ years ago.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    If you feel like you are being pressured unduely, you get up and walk out the door. That generally ends the pressure very quickly.
  • "from all the shipping, storage, jammed onto the lot, etc. I was at the TOyota dealer the other day,"

    You capitalized it wrong, its TOYota :P
  • I like the one about the guy who bought TWO cars from Bill Heard Chevrolet in FL, because they "would beat anyones price by $1,000.00 or give you a new corvette". (a hot wheels corvette?). I can't copy it in here because of all the profanity, but it was amusing to read...
  • But then again how many people don't have a clue as to what their doing in a HOME purchase, ususlly the Biggest purchase dicision of ones life> :confuse:
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    I am convinced that it takes three or four home purchases before you get good at it ...

    And a half dozen car purchases ...

    Or ONE **REALLY BAD** experience ... (When a REALTOR says that a neighborhood is "up and coming", arm yourself.)
  • I also posted this over in Real-World Trade-In Values.

    Anyone who has access to auction information; can you tell me if the following vehicle was run through?

    VIN # 1FAFP40684F150304

    It's a used 2004 Mustang, base V6 Auto, at a large Ford dealer with only 74 (seventy four) miles. CarFax estimates one owner, but does not report any registration type (personal, fleet, rental, etc.) and the junk and salvage checks are clean.

    If someone bought this and then brought it right back to the dealer somehow, that would explain why it is "used" and has such low miles; but shouldn't CarFax show a "personal use" registration?
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 463
    This car is probably an unwind. That's a case where a dealership lets someone with marginal credit take the car. Then the financing doesn't go through so the owner must bring the car back and the deal is un-wound.

    Either that or it's a case of buyer remorse.

    The deal probably didn't last but a day or two so that'd why the car never was registered. Ask the dealership about what happened. They will know for sure.

    This deal is a loser for the dealership. Maybe you could see if the dealership will give you a grand or so off of what a brand-new one would go for. At this discount the car could be a better bargain than a new one.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 170,626
    Not on an '04... I'd want way more than that...

    Most "leftover" cars aren't good deals.. Dealers just don't want to discount them enough to make it worth it.. IMO..

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  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 463

    I must have something in my eyes, I didn't notice that it was an '04'.

    Therefore a much bigger discount than a grand would be in order.

    The only scenario, at which buying last years models makes since is if you plan on keeping the car a long time and or putting lots and lots of miles on it. Otherwise, as kydfx points out, the discount won't justify the reduced trade-in value of a one year older and previous body style car.

    - Just out of curiosity, What kind of money were they getting for the used 04 Stang ?
  • The asking price on that used 2004 is $18,999. It's white, V6/Auto, no spoiler, no mention of ABS/Traction control, etc- very, very basic. I'd like to pull the trigger if we could get it OTD for 17k even.

    My fiancee just lost her 2001 Mustang in a not-at-fault accident and won't consider anything else than another 'Stang. We'd have this car at least 5 years.

    We could get a similiar 2005 for about 20k OTD. I know that the 2004 would take a bigger hit in depreciation than a 2005, but I am wary of buying the first model year of the new body style from a quality/reliability basis.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,277
    Well, aren't the major mechanicals of the '05 still pretty much the same? (meaning the same engine and tranny) I could be wrong.

    In any case, $3K difference is well worth getting the new model, IMHO. I mean, with such a major redesign as this, I think those previous models will go downhill QUICK (as if they didn't depreciate quick enough already). And as far as problems, heck, that's what a warranty is for.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • 4.0 V6 from the Explorer/Ranger, but new 5-speed auto trans (modified Explorer/Ranger)?

    Lots of misc. new parts.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 463
    For what it's worth, my local Ford dealer was blowing out a whole lot full of new V-6 Automatic transmission Mustangs last year (2004) at $12888 after the rebates. These cars all had full power, air conditioning, a CD player and if I recall correctly a power seat. There must have been some big factory-to-dealer incentive for them to go at that price. I considered buying one myself cause it was a great value, but just couldn't see myself in a Mustang - 'The Horror, The Horror'

    Your price of $18999 for a very old 04 seems to me like a no-starter as far as price goes. Find something else or wait a year or two until big discounts are available on the new body style.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,101
    Since this is a timely subject, posts have been moved to a new discussion:
    SUV Sales Slump, which we'll be sharing with News & Views. I hope that those of you in the biz will continue to share your perspective on sales trends. As we've seen elsewhere, "real world" observations sometimes conflict with what's being reported. Thanks!


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  • buck0086buck0086 Posts: 52
    I think it's important to identify the two different MSRP prices for the Pilot EX-L. Currently, MSRP is $32,320. But prior to March 1 the MSRP was $200 lower ($32,120). This is actually a helpful thing for prospective buyers because if you find a Pilot EX-L with the MSRP price of $32,120 you know it's been sitting on the lot for awhile and the dealer may be more motivated to sell it. This past Sunday, I strolled through a Honda dealer's Pilot inventory and noticed 5 Pilots that were listed at $32,120. I'm hoping one of them is still there in a few months when I'm ready to buy.

    Which leads me to another question--what does the dealer consider "normal" as far as the amount of time a vehicle remains on their lot without being sold?
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " it's been sitting on the lot for awhile and the dealer may be more motivated to sell it "

    Logically, one would think that. But that hasn't been my experience. The longer a vehicle sits on the lot = additional cost to the dealer for that particular vehicle. I've had better luck getting one right off the truck when it first arrives at the dealer, that is after their initial prep work.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,238
    Motor companies and dealers refer to "days supply" of cars.
    In other words, how long would it take you to sell out of your current supply.
    60 days supply of a vehicle is considered ideal.
    Some slow sellers can reach 180 days.
    Really hot cars average 30 days supply or less.
  • buck0086buck0086 Posts: 52
    Is there an easy way to find out how long a vehicle has been on the lot?
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 375
    "Is there an easy way to find out how long a vehicle has been on the lot?"

    This isnt 100% accurate but just look for the date of manufacture on the inside of the drivers door(assuming the vehicle youre looking at is at the dealer to whom it was orginally sold). That will give you at least some idea.
  • denali856denali856 Posts: 118
    This has been my experience too. Back when I was shopping for a Denali in '02, I found a <1-yo truck that the dealer was firm on selling at just about $2k less than I could have gotten a new one for. My guess is that he'd paid a high price on the truck in trade (to make a deal?) and was determined to make *some* money on it. Needless to say, I walked away from that deal and bought a new one.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    In Virginia there is: loke at the month on the inspection sticker. I was at a NMazda dealer before buying my Subaru that was trying to convince me of how hot the Mazda6 wagon was. That they could not keep them on the lot....except I knew there was $2500 cash back. Anyway he pulls the car around. After the drive, we start talking price. I am thinking Invoice-incentives.

    He goes back into the comment about quickly these cars leave the lot. This was in March. I simply mentioned the October inspection sticker.
  • dbauerdbauer Posts: 416
    ive been away for awhile all, but im back now. good to see some lively discussions. i am now a sales manager in indiana, and dont have nearly as much time on my hands, but will try to remain part of the family here.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,101
    Welcome back! I hope your move went well, and we're glad to see your (type)face again.


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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 170,626
    Condolences on your move to the Hoosier state.. the things we'll do for money.. ;)


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  • dbauerdbauer Posts: 416
    clarksville. staying with my brother for awhile till i find a place. its about 5 miles from louisville. not sure if i like it here yet...but the money is
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 170,626
    Well.. at least you are close to the border.. You can be in God's country in about ten minutes..

    I recommend Lynn's Paradise Cafe for breakfast.. Stopped there on our way to vacation.. It is fantastic!

    So, are you working in Louisville or Clarksville?


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  • Did you eve get your new pilot- Did you have to order this from the factory or did htey locate you one. I am curious what you paid over invoice
  • fordfoolfordfool Western New YorkPosts: 240
    2005 Taurus SE
    MSRP $23,050
    Invoice $20,965
    TMV $21,268
    Rebate $19,268

    2005 Focus ZX4 SE
    MSRP $18,340
    Invoice $16,975
    TMV $17,385
    Rebate $15,385

    Given these Edmund's prices for new vehicles, what would be
    a reasonable price to pay for these cars as ex-rentals with 10K
    on the odometer and six months in use?
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Personally - and Terry might disagree - I personally would not pay over $10.5 for the Taurus. I doubt if you'll get it for that price.

    If I wanted a deal, I'd look for an '03 with 40k and no more than $7.
  • jsalzjsalz Posts: 28
    How many keys(remote and regular) is a Honda dealership suppose to give you when you buy a new car??? Thanks!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,310
    Two regular keys and one valet key. Two remotes.
This discussion has been closed.