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Thoughts, experiences with buying a new car from a dealer in a town you don't live in

shade8shade8 Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in General

Hello,
I will be buying a new car between summer 2014 and December 2014. I see one of the first pieces of advice is to contact multiple dealers, researching prices, deals, etc. So the Montana town I live in has 1 Toyota dealer, 1 Chevy dealer, 1 ford dealer (and so on) and the next town 100 miles away has the same, 200 miles again the same. So as I'm researching prices I notice not until 500 miles away in Salt Lake City Utah the prices for the car I'm interested in are MUCH better ($2000 cheaper), there's many Toyota, Chevy ford, Chrysler etc dealerships here competing for sales. I imaging Denver, Seattle or any large city will be the same. So my question is what type of risk (if any) am I taking if i buy a new car more than 500 miles from where I live? Anything worse than I won't get to use some free oil change and car wash perks?

Comments

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085

    I would expect the free car-wash with every dealer-visit would still apply (If your local dealership does it) In any case, In todays global-economy, your local service-dept. should not treat you any differently than anyone else. For all they know, you recently moved to the area.

    HOWEVER: From salesman perspective, before you purchase, you have the upper-hand when you enter showroom with your "folder" of information. When you make it clear that you will INDEED be making a purchase soon. Let them know that the 'deal' they make is competing with other dealerships. With this approach, you may find that your local dealer will match the other guy lest they will lose the sale.

  • shade8shade8 Posts: 3

    Thank you for taking the time to help me out, I appreciate it.

  • rm2008rm2008 Posts: 31

    Shade8,
    Be careful with buying cars from out of state. Not so much in terms of the car, but its the tax issue that concerns me. Here in California for example, if you buy a car out of state (new or used) you have to pay CA sales tax in addition to the sales tax you paid in the state you bought the car from. Check the sales tax laws in your state before considering an out of state purchase.

    If you keep it within Montana, just let the dealer know that nothing is final until you've seen the car and have taken it for a test drive.

    Good luck!

    Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,197

    First of all, I wouldn't make any inquiries UNTIL you are actually in the immediate market.

    Once you are ready to buy go ahead and make some inquiries as far as price. MAKE VERY SURE that EVERYTHING is included in the price you receive. I had customers drive 200 miles or more only to find out the price they were given couldn't happen. Stores will do this on purpose knowing that often the weary shopper will simply cave in and buy from them.

    This happens OFTEN so be careful!

    Once you have a price, share that with your local store and at least give them the chance to match it or come close enough to make the travel not worth the trouble.

    Stress to them that you WANT to spend your money locally and support a small town local store.

    If you do shop elsewhere do NOT expect them to greet your warranty work with enthusiasm and don't ever expect a favor from them.

    Stores are required to do warranty work and warranty work isn't something they like to do.

    Driving into a small town store with license frames from some mega out of state store won't endure you to their service department or the salesperson who spent time with you only to get shopped.

    I do wish you well!

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    @isellhondas said:
    Stores are required to do warranty work and warranty work isn't something they like to do.

    Actually, they PREFER to do warantee work for several reasons:

    1) It is often a high-ticket repair (like engine or transmission replacment)

    2) The payment is PRE APPROVED to come from the manufacturer before they start the work.

    3) Their BEST mechanics usually are assigned to the warantee work (because it is always working on the cleanest, newest vehicles)

    I personally know mechanics that explained to me that a "carrer path" in most shops is to be promoted to doing only warantee work.

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    @rm2008 said:
    Shade8,
    Be careful with buying cars from out of state. Not so much in terms of the car, but its the tax issue that concerns me. Here in California for example, if you buy a car out of state (new or used) you have to pay CA sales tax in addition to the sales tax you paid in the state you bought the car from.

    Are you CERTAIN about that? In most of the USA, it is ILLEGAL to be double-taxed for a single purchase. You owe the purchase-tax in your home state and can file to be reimbursed from the 'other' state-taxes.
    I do agree that it is still more of a hassle than I would want to mess with. That is why some dealerships have come up with an alternative.

    Here in Vermont, some dealerships have presence in several neighboring states. If they do not have the vehicle you want locally, they are happy to bring it in from another state and deliver it right to your driveway. Do the paperwork on your kitchen-table and they drive away with your trade-in.

    I know farmers who do not have the time to spend driving around to dealerships shopping for a car. They have fields to tend and cows to milk. They often take advantage of dealerships delivering to their dooryard. (Lets not forget that they have been buying farm-equipment like that for years.) To them, purchasing a car is no different than buying a tractor.

    I have personally bought a vehicle over the phone from a dealer 80 miles away. I explained to them all the 'options' I desired and the price I was willing to pay. They called me back 30 minutes later and explained they found the vehicle I wanted in Rhode Island and can have it here by Wednesday. The deal was done!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited March 2014

    @bpeebles, I've heard warranty work was a hassle because the manufacturers keep cutting how much they pay the dealers for the work. Unless they can upsell the customer on something else, dealers keep claiming they are losing money on warranty (and recall) work.

    Here's one example; maybe Isell can weigh in with his "real world" experience.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,197
    edited March 2014

    Peebles, I don't know why you think this but dealers DO NOT enjoy doing warranty work!

    They don't get paid the same rate as customer pay jobs and the work can be nasty especially when it involves trying to isolate and fix a rattle that only happens at a certain speed under certain conditions or
    a vibration that they can't feel themselves.

    Ask any dealership technician if you don't believe me!

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    @isellhondas said:
    They don't get paid the same rate as customer pay jobs and the work can be nasty especially when it involves trying to isolate and fix a rattle that only happens at a certain speed under certain conditions or
    a vibration that they can't feel themselves.

    If you think isolating a rattle is "nasty" work.... apparently you have never replaced a piston, replaced a head-gasket or rebuilt a xmission. Looking for a rattle or a squeek hardly ever gets me greasy or dirty....heck, I do not even have to open the hood.

    Besides, a 'rattle' certainly does not rise to any level above an annoyance. I am not even sure trying to isolate a rattle could be called 'work'.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,197

    @bpeebles said:
    Besides, a 'rattle' certainly does not rise to any level above an annoyance. I am not even sure trying to isolate a rattle could be called 'work'.

    OK peebles you know more than I do.

    I only managed a large shop and spent almost 20 years in the tool business where I was literally in and out of hundreds of car dealerships. Then I spent 13 years at a very busy dealership where I heard a lot of talk from our techs about what is good and what is undesirable work.

    Never in my career did I hear anyone say they enjoyed doing warranty work.

    Time is money and when you work on straight commission, trying to nail down the source of an intermittent rattle is hardly "gravy" work!

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2014

    Bringing this back to the original question - Your LOCAL dealer should not treat you any different than any other customer. Weather or not they like to do warantee work, they are supposed to do it.

    I can only speak for my experience and local dealerships. It seems to me that the overall customer-experience may be traceable to the quality of technicians on the staff. For example, my local Honda dealership is one of the best in the country. They retain and TRAIN everyone to bend over backwards for the customer. It shows.

    It took my local Subaru dealer 4 visits to replace a lightbulb in the dashboard [NOT warantee work]. (they took it apart twice and charged me for an entire replacement electrical board) HOWEVER: In the end, they realized the idiocy of the process, refunded my money and more than made up for my lost time spent coming back 4 times just to replace a $2 bulb. I purchased a new Subie because I know the service-department has integrity.

    On the other hand, the local Dodge dealer tech refused to replace a headlight bulb under warantee because it "started working" when he tapped on it. (that bulb burned out again on the way home!!) For the cost of a headlight bulb, they forever lost my respect and business.

    Local VW (sales and service) just plain sux. I can tell you many stories about them... but the one that lost a new-car sale was when my wife and I walked into the service department and asked for an ESTIMATE to replace "clockspring". (This is a very straightforward task) The guy behind the counter barely looked at me and mumbled, "We dont do estimates... we have to take it apart first." .... the very next week, I bought a new Subie.

  • shade8shade8 Posts: 3

    Thanks for all the input, there's a lot of food for thought in the reply's (and i also enjoy a spirited discussion!).

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 62,462

    Many states have reciprocity agreements regarding sales tax. It's not "double-tax"--you just pay the difference between the two sales taxes. You have to check with your state revenue board.

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