Experience with e-mail only negotiations?

colorsofspringcolorsofspring Member Posts: 16
I am interested in purchasing a 2002 Nissan Altima in the NYC area within the next 2 months. While I have heard CarsDirect is an easy and hassle-free way of going about this, I am also wanting to try for an even lower price thru emailing/faxing a number of dealerships within a certain radius of where I am located.
Is there anyone out there that has tried /succeeded at this? How did you word your fax/email? Did you find that you still needed to haggle significantly?
All comments/ideas welcome!!


  • artwisartwis Member Posts: 66
    While Carsdirect does not sell in my state they still give what their price would be if they did. I bought a new Century from a local dealer last week for $500 under carsdirect price. It only took 10 minutes of face to face negotiation. I started by contacting 4 dealers on GMBuypower via e-mail and worked my deal off the lowest offer sent to me. I probably could have ran around and found a deal for a $100 or so less but that's not worth my time. Also check Edmunds for their TMV and use that as a base price to work from as it doesn't include the national ad fee. My wife's Century was $104 over Edmunds TMV. This is our fourth new car/truck deal in 7 years and it sure is easy if you do a little homework ahead of time.
  • suzzannsuzzann Member Posts: 56
    Does the faxing and emailing on your behalf, for a fee. Careful, you have to commit to buying the car so it's no good if you're still shopping.
  • eddiemaceddiemac Member Posts: 141
    For anyone who is interested, there is a good example on this subject in the "Acura TL Shopping" of the smart shopper section. Go to post #757.
  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    I would suggest that if you are still a couple of
    months away; don't start until you are Really
    ready to drive a car home...

    You can approach this from a couple of different
    points...Absolutely the lowest price, or what you consider a *fair price* and a great experience.

    Now, I only represent Volkswagen; so I cannot speak to how things are going with Nissan...watch
    the papers...Times, etc. on the weekends for Sales...see how aggressive the ads become, or not. Check here for Edmund's TMV on the Exact Altima that you are looking for...Go to the web
    sites of the Dealers in your area and see if these sites are active & alive or just cookie cutter...ask anyone in your neighborhood who has
    a Nissan where they bought it and what they think
    of them...Supermarket, Schools, Church, gas station; it doesn't matter.

    Buying a car involves a great deal more than just
    taking it home...Your sales person will or should
    be your advocate whenever things are not going the way you want...NEVER buy from anyone except
    the Dealer Internet Manager or Fleet Manager...they will be around for awhile...

    Please go to PJ Clarke's and have a Martini for me...
  • isellpotiacisellpotiac Member Posts: 122
    at PJ Clarkes??? Go chug some draft!!! The Big east tourney starts today and I have fond mnemeories of hanging at Clarke's, the Blarney and McSorley's, A bit fuzzy but fond none the least! I am a 'Cuse fan and would often trek up the thruway on Saturday, or Friday depending on how bad the Cuse did.
  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    Beefeaters and burgers, baby...:)
  • isellpotiacisellpotiac Member Posts: 122
    Il Vagabondo's, I am not sure of the spelling but they have a Bocce ball court IN the restaurant. Boehiem eats there when he is in town.
  • jaw2000jaw2000 Member Posts: 133
    ANd that is to send each 'local' you define what local means to you.

    Send 1 email to all of them, let them know that you have sent it to all of them (on the to line they should see each other), tell exactly what you want, and the exact date that you will be buying.

    Tell them you will not negotiate at the store and would prefer to not do so by phone (some may call you anyway, that could be either good or bad -- your call).

    Tell them that you do not want any ups of extras except as per your 'order'.

    Tell them you want itemized OUT THE DOOR PRICES.

    Then after you get responses either work with one or 2 dealers that you think you can still negotiate with or expand your search depending on your results.

    You may surprised how easy it can be.

    If you want to discuss more, contact me.
  • mrholtmrholt Member Posts: 10
    Can you email me at [email protected]. I am trying to send out a couple of faxes on the 2002 Altima. How much time should I give them to get back to me. I would like to do this as soon as possible.

    Additionally, I know a couple of dealers who have 2002 altimas with 20K miles on them. I wouldn't be against getting a used one of those if I could get a good deal on one. How do I state that i am willing to look at both, and still get quality responses? Thanks in advance.
  • abtsellerabtseller Member Posts: 291
    Everyone has the impression that if you fax or email 50 different dealers (do make sure that you're going to boldly cc all the other dealers in your letter, it really gets the salesmen jumping) that you're going to get the best deal. What you're actually doing is branding yourself a problem child from the get-go and most dealerships will toss the paper in the trash without responding. I will usually take the time to reply to these with our standard pricing. Beating on your chest and letting the dealer know that you're already shopping him against every other dealer in your time zone really doesn't impress anyone. The answers that you do get should probably at least let you know who is awake or slow enough to respond.

  • suzzannsuzzann Member Posts: 56
    Have you looked into Priceline or Autobytel to see what they offer?
  • sledpeddlersledpeddler Member Posts: 1
    At our dealership, the sales managers pass out the internet leads to which ever salesmen will take them.Most salesman throw them in the trash. Wa actually had a internet sales person, but he was starving too death and quit.I decided last month to start working harder at internet leads, after reading some of the posters on here. But so far, still the same old thing "We will buy in 24 hours, want to buy a 2002 Maxima for 500 under invoice, must be lime green w/ redseats w/ under 10 miles, please reply in 1 hour! After three days of E-mailing these nuts ( While the other salesman who will not bother are selling cars to customers from the lot, I might add)You usually find the person has a 485 Beacon score, or if they can buy, are so far away they had no intention of buying from you anyway.I will continue to work them, but only when it is very slow on the floor. The buyers that frequent Edmunds and other sights are only a tiny portion of all buyers, most buyers will still continue to buy the traditional way. Granted we get some good prospects and buyers from internet leads, but I can't remember when,it's been a while.Stayed late tonight, called a customer I had been E-Mailing for a week, would not return my mail(they usually don't, and wonder why we call??!!) he had already bought, did not have the courtesy to call, or mail me with that info though. So it goes, the posters on this site are the good ones, most net inquirys are a pain!
  • godeacsgodeacs Member Posts: 481
    You gotta be kidding! The 2002 Altimas have been out 6 months! Would you buy a used car that put had that much mileage on it in such a short time?

    Don't think so...........
  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    Do you only sell Nissan? And where are you geographically? Maybe I can help you make it work for you...
  • mrholtmrholt Member Posts: 10
    Hey at the price they wanted for it hell no. But if i could get a really good deal for that I would think about it. To me it's all about a best bang for my buck. Would I want a new car that I absolutely love (2002 Altima) yes. If i could get a substantial discount on a 2002 because a rental car company had it for 6 months I would do it. But I would have to weigh it out.
    What I would like to do is get an executive Nissan but I can't seem to find any of those. I assume the dealers families get those. If you hear of one let me know.

  • dustidusti Member Posts: 36
    blast fax the following all over the country:

    "I am making the following offer [on "x" vehicle]:

    the opportunity to make an offer [on "x" vehicle].

    This offer is null and void on [5 minutes later].

    Any dealer who has any intention of keeping a dime of the holdback need not bother responding."

    important note: don't forget to cc (in bold) all the other dealers.

    Works best with Mini-Coopers.
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    Ever wonder how many of those leads the guys trashed turned out to be sales?
  • cwjacobsencwjacobsen Member Posts: 293
    Raybear - That seems quite the cheap shot. Far easier to type and post than to act upon profitably. There's a world of difference between a dedicated internet department and handing out internet leads to the floor staff. I'm not defending trashing a qualified lead, but consider the opportunity cost. You can work on a deal with a high chance to close or you can work on a deal with a low chance. When a floor salesman says he works internet leads during the slow times, I commend him for wise time management.

    In my business, I've watched quite a few extremely intelligent people spend entirely too much time developing customized solutions for deals that never closed and never had a chance of closing if they had bothered to qualify the lead. Granted, it helped these people look busy and put "deals" on their monthly progress report (same "deals" month in and out), but they'd never close.

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    Okay, but re-read his post. Many dealerships suffer the same lack of work ethic. This is the problem in the industry today.

    If sled's internet manager was starving to death, he was either lazy or the dealership is overcharging for their product.

    It should take all of five minutes to deliver an email quote. If a salesman hasn't got five minutes, he needs to get organized.
  • millerro3millerro3 Member Posts: 136
    for the initial e-mail, yes.

    But what happens when the buyer then starts wanting to do everything by e-mail? You will be investing a lot more than 5 minutes in that led, and NO DOUBT they are shopping the # with their local dealer anyway, so you could end up spending hours e-mailing back-and-forth for NOTHING.

    That's why on average for 2001, internet leads take about 8 hours to respond to, when in '99 it was under an hour. And dealerships are giving less and less weight to internet lead services, from in their opinion in '99 for average or above average leads, has now gone down to below average and poor leads.

    E-mailing sure saves a lot of time for the consumer, but you always have to work with a dealership anyway, no ifs ands or buts about it. Raybear, no offense, but I think priceline doesn't do enough to educate customers, especially when we get a couple leads with some idiot asking for an M3 convertible in June for invoice. So I fax it back in and in the "dealer offered price" I say MSRP, to try and do a little education myself. A week later we're getting similar requests. Cancelled that service after about three years, WITH ONE LEAD ACTUALLY BUYING A CAR THE WHOLE TIME!!!??? They should stick to hotels and airlines, with their 3 layovers from NYC to Dallas
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    You only sold one in 3 years? We send offers out only after the customer gives us a deposit against cancellation. My job is to serve the customer, not just the dealer.

    We're getting plenty of sales for your competition, maybe you need to adjust your prices (but MSRP for an M3 is very fair).
  • millerro3millerro3 Member Posts: 136
    the 'fair' pricing for an M3 convertible carries right on through the whole line, if ya know what I mean;)
  • xanosxanos Member Posts: 7
    It's a shame you dealers sound so against internet leads. as a salesman, if I had "thrown in the trash" all the people who walked in the door and offered me below sticker and only wanted a red one when I had a blue, I wouldn't have made much money. I know a dealer in Newark NJ of all places that does 1200 cars a month through the internet.....Hmmmm, I don't think his department throws leads away. Never ignore an opportunity.
  • xanosxanos Member Posts: 7
    C'mon, you can get discount on most BMWs anytime, except for the 7 or the convertibles. It's very competitive out there. When was the last time you sold a 3 series at list? I sold BMWs for 5 years, and trust me,these cars aren't made of gold. There's a dealer in every town
  • millerro3millerro3 Member Posts: 136
    Listen, it's human nature to want to do the least amount of work with the highest rewards, no?

    Apparently dealers understand this, as well as customers, but it unfortunately seems to be losing its' effective advantage for consumers in car shopping situations.

    1200!? cars/month through the internet? Do you have any info to verify that?
  • millerro3millerro3 Member Posts: 136
    Did I say that they're made of gold, or that we expect to sell any internet lead at MSRP?
    Let's not be foolish, if you're gonna sell an internet lead it's gonna be a mini deal, unless they are looking for high demand-low supply car that I happen to have in stock. Then we'll offer it at MSRP for a car that warrants that price. Heck I sold an X5 4.6is at MSRP last month to people from Florida, even after refusing to throw in all sorts of stuff. I know where I should be in regards to price in order to sell a car. There's 20 dealerships within an hour of me, this is competition city.

    Hmm, I sold 3 series at MSRP through most of the winter, though ONLY the Xi models:)
  • xanosxanos Member Posts: 7
    I apologize for that, I meant per year. Unfortunately in my haste I made a mistake. Granted it's a Toyota dealer and they do volume, but they do work the leads.
  • xanosxanos Member Posts: 7
    Yeah but for the entire line there are discounts to be had. ask raybear if a priceline rep would be stupid enough to send out an offer below invoice on a BMW?
  • xanosxanos Member Posts: 7
    would you take a 1295 profit on a 330ci?
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    Ask xanos. He's the Priceline manager for your area.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    That a lot of people almost LIKE making it an adversarial situation.

    I mean, you get some nasty e-mails, and some reasonable ones.

    Here's a fun one we got:

    "Hello, I am willing to consider doing business with your dealership if you are capable of meeting my terms:

    1) No more than $500 over invoice on a 745i

    2) Delivery to my home

    3) All aspects of the transaction to be handled by sales management, as I do not have time to deal with salespeople.

    Payment will be made upon my inspection and approval of the vehicle.


    Gee, I want to sell YOU a car :)

    Easiest way to buy a car... e-mail the local dealer an OFFER. And dont word it like you're a jerk! lol...

    Say something like:

    "Hello, I'd like to buy a new Camry SE with X options for $21,500 plus tax and tag. If you guys can do this, I'd love to pick it up tonight. Thanks!"

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    I know about the right attitude at the customer end, but the dealer needs it also.

    My dealer responses can range from "Quit wasting my time!" to "Sorry, can't do it for $21,500 with those options, would your customer consider $21,900?"
  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    from me, "This Wagon will have be Custom Built."
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883

    When I was at Monclair Jaguar (Years ago) when you guys first rolled this out... we';d get some wacky faxers, but we did sell a couple.

    I used to counter most all of them, I think a coupleof "XJRs at Invoice" ones did get chucked though... :)

    We did even get a couple that were over what we were getting for the cars! As far as on the dealer end though, the worst I can say is "no" I do it all the time!

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    I was at Helmut's BMW back then. We saw some crazy stuff too, back in the days before the automated system was in place. I sold a used 528i for $36,000; the new car was going for low-forties then. The customer was just looking at price and didn't care if it was new or used.

    And vwguild, those last two characters still haven't bought a wagon yet! You know the ones I'm talking about.
  • millerro3millerro3 Member Posts: 136
    1295 on a 330ci is a bit of a stretch right now....none in stock, none available coming in.....low supply, high demand, how will I justify that profit on a car I can't get?
  • xanosxanos Member Posts: 7
    I just did a deal with a CT dealer for a 1300 profit. He does quite a few deals with priceline. He's willing to take maybe a bit less profit per car to boost his allocation. It works in his favor to have more cars allocated to him, and at the same time his customers are getting a good fair price.
  • millerro3millerro3 Member Posts: 136
    And, we don't know any details, like if he had four of 'em on the lot because he was too high on the gross, then decided to blow a couple out on mini deals

    If I don't have any in stock, and I have all inbound coupe's sold, I wouldn't go that low, I don't think anyone in their right mind would, but there are crazy people out there:-)

  • vwguildvwguild Member Posts: 1,620
    Are you referring to the Montclair, NJ. Jag Store?
  • mackabeemackabee Member Posts: 4,709
    Got one today addressed to the sales manager. Fax comes in to the business office so it must have sat there in the bottom of the pile underneath all the call backs. Seen the format before and since I do pretty good with these and the internet leads the sales manager hands it to me. "Let me guess, wants a vehicle that does not exist and will buy from the dealer that offers the best price." I say. "Here take a look at it, it's from West Virginia." sales manager says. We are in southeast Va. I look at the fax and recognize the format: "We are looking to buy a 2002 Sienna Le with the following options: UN package, CF floor mats. Invoice is xxxx MSRP is xxxx. In addition to any factory incentives we know the dealer will receive additional profit as holdback and factory kickbacks. We have faxed every Toyota Dealer in the US and will buy from whomever gives us the lowest price. We have not dealt with any salesperson at your dealership. You will find we are very easy to deal with, please contact us at area code xxx-xxx-xxxx or e-mail us at [email protected]" Guess where that fax went to?

    : "

  • landru2landru2 Member Posts: 638
    "We will not pay extra for any additional options but will accept those already on the car at no extra cost."
  • timadamstimadams Member Posts: 294
    >>We have faxed every Toyota Dealer in the US and will buy from whomever gives us the lowest price.<<

    What, you don't want to compete with every Toyota dealer in the US?

    Reading that made me think of my own business, and the assignment solicitations I receive. If I think I am the only business being asked to bid on an assignment (because of certain circumstances), I usually bid a little more than usual. Highe enough to make some money for a change but low enough that it doesn't surprise the client and set them off shopping other bids. If I think or know that I am one of 2 or 3 bidders, I will usually bid a slightly lower number. If I think or know that I am one of more than 3 bidders, I usually will either throw the request in the trash or bid higher than usual, figuring the client is a pain in the tuckus and I don't want to work with them.

    So, I guess in my own work, I think that 3 is probably the optimal number to get my best bid. For the car salesmen here, if you get a fax or a phone call or a visit and you know the guy is shopping, how many competing dealers makes you think the buyer is a "smart shopper" and how many make you think the guy is a screwball?
  • abtsellerabtseller Member Posts: 291
    I just received a blast fax. They made a nice "fill in the blanks" sheet for the price of the car, the destination charge, the tax, other, and then wanted a breakdown of all the option costs. Basically I faxed her back telling her to do her research on the net and tell me how flexible she is on the color and options and to fax me back.

    We'll see.

  • abtsellerabtseller Member Posts: 291
    Wow! This is almost a first. Seems that she is color blind for the right deal, but wants the an LE V6 Camry, light color, with alloys, GI package, mats, and a sunroof.

    Anyone want to bet that I was the only one to reply to her fax?

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    So long as you've got the time. I assume you're pretty organized so you can answer most of the faxes, emails, cards and letters that come to you.
  • cwjacobsencwjacobsen Member Posts: 293
    Ed's two posts were all of two minutes apart. I can't even type that fast, much less post one message, go check my E-mail, absorb what was being said to me, decide that the very next thing I should do is go back into townhall compose another message and post again. If on top of that he replied to the lady in between these posts (which I would have thought would have been of higher priority than posting to townhall), then the timing gets even tighter.

    Ed's past contributions indicate that he's a stand-up fellow, so I'm not questioning his integrity, but the timing seems odd at first glance.

  • sprightspright Member Posts: 18
    Seems to me that Ed read the lady's fax and responded to it by fax, then sat down to write to us here at the Town Hall (thanks!) and after he had posted, the lady responded to HIS fax. I know at our house we always pick up faxes as soon as they come, otherwise they curl up under the fax machine and get batted around by the cat for a while, so I'm not surprised that she responded quickly (maybe it wasn't 6am, her time). Before responding to the lady, Ed posted again here.

  • abtsellerabtseller Member Posts: 291
    posted the first message, then got her reply while I was still sitting here.

    It took me about 30 minutes to do a search for the car she was looking for, which of course doesn't exist, and fax her again.

    Lets see...that was about 10 am, and still no reply...


    p.s. I type about 60 wpm :)
  • abtsellerabtseller Member Posts: 291
    my breath? Its been over 48 hours and no reply....maybe I'm being greedy for trying to sell a Camry for $100 over invoice?

  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
This discussion has been closed.