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Test Drives & Dealership Promotions



  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    EXACTLY! Horse is dead, move on.
  • bp3959bp3959 Posts: 156
    Are you sure, it might just be sleeping?
  • Kick it a few times to see. If it moves, it was just sleeping. If the flys take off, then settle back down, in a cloud of noxious fumes, it's dead.
  • bp3959bp3959 Posts: 156
    I wish I wouldn't have visualized that.
  • About 20 years ago, I stumbled across a dead horse, and did just that, to see what would happen. Kids will be kids. :) What a smell!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    on this one, being a serial looker myself. Note that I browse a lot, but only drive if there is a chance that it wil lend up on my short list, or I'm helping someone else shop. I also go at off times (like a Tuesday at 11:00), and I'm often the only customer in the place. There are a few dealers where I know some people, and they just toss a tag in and let me go, so it really doesn't take them any time.

    I have also gone in just to look out of curiosity, and ended up buying the car (either that visit or later), even though I wasn't really planning to at the time.

    The problem , to me, is that the manufacturers and dealers have a different agenda than the salesperson (and remember who does the advertising). The $ folks want as much showroom traffic as possible, but the salespeople prefer to have only a few people wander in, and only the true "buying it now ones", since in a perfect world every up leaves in a new car.

    I think it might have been Macabee that had a saying about turing lookers into buyers was the mark of a real salesman, otherwise they are nothing but order takers.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • alfoxalfox Posts: 716
    <Devil's Advocate Position> Why is it of any concern at all to a customer how the sales person is compensated? As a customer (whether I'm buying a car, furniture or an ice cream cone) I figure it's not my business, and I could not possible care less. It is not in my interest - nor even on my radar - whether or not a sales person is able to economize the time spent per customer.

    If a sales person's compensation fails to adequately cover the time spent with potential future customers, that is an issue between the sales person and his management, and does not involve the customer in any way.
    </Devil's Advocate Position>

    I really don't feel quite that strident about it, but I'm guessing it is a fair summary of how about 90% of customers feel about it. I agree that joy-riders posing as customers are a nuisance that needs to be weeded out, but someone who is truly interested in the car for whatever reason deserves an opportunity to drive it whether he is buying today or not.

    I think sales people have to constantly resist the natural tendency to become quite jaded about their product. To them a car is the merest commodity, one inventory item of many, and of very little interest other than WRT a sale. To customers it is an expression of themselves, a place where they will spend a great deal of time, and a major financial transaction. Few people buy more cars in their lifetime than a sales person sells in a good week.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,831
    I'm not that strident, either, but...

    I think you hit the nail right on the head.


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    wasting a half hour of a straight commissioned salesperson's time

    Not if I send them referrals later. And like I said, it already has happened.

    The Subaru salesperson I usually go see is actually on salary, not commission. He's happy to show me whatever car, and I've sent him about 2-3 referrals.

    I prefer hosted events like the Love Mercedes Tour and the BMW Ultimate Driving event but those aren't always available. Volvo has Fire & Ice, GM has their tour, Jeep also, Mazda had that autocross competition. I go to as many as I can.

    Example: Chevy hosted one for the Malibu, so I said "what the hay". Surprise, the 3500 pushrod engine really impressed me, now I wouldn't turn friends away from choosing that engine, whereas I might have before, and still do for the coarse 3.4l V6.

    But manufacturers do want showroom traffic, that's why they offer all the freebies. Volvo gave us $100 gift cards to Dean & Deluca to bribe us into a showroom.

    I'd go for free anyway, but if they are going to bribe me I'll take it! Actually, my wife spends the money, I do the test drive.

    Hey, wait a sec...


    Honda seems to be the exception. I don't recall any freebies or test drive events, have they ever done that?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    isell: out of curiosity, don't they send you to dealer training events, where you can sample the cars?

    I'm not sure what your position is at the dealer, but Subaru does that for their sales staff.

    Think of it as an extension of that event, only you invite potential customers instead of dealership employees.

    I doubt Mercedes and BMW would do it if it didn't create some sales for them.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,670
    These are called "Ride and Drives". Went last month for the new Odyssey.

    You are the exception for sure if you are sending referral business. That's a good thing.

    A few years ago, Honda for some reason decided to offer a set of Walkie Talkies for people who test drove cars. I can't recall us making even one sale out of that one. I hope they don't do something like this again!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Oh, you mean FRS (family radio service) handsets?

    Now see, you just gave me a great example. LOL

    There is no way, no how, I can get my wife to test drive a minivan, unless there is a draw. A free pair of FRS handsets would draw her in.

    Kia got her into a Sedona with a Shrek video offer (they ran out of coupons but we drove it anyway), so it worked for them. The lumpy seats ruled it out, but it really wasn't all that bad.

    Mazda had an offer to test the MPV, I forget but it must've been a $50 Visa Gift Card, something like that, and she just felt too much like a soccer mom. The tranny was indecisive and she just couldn't get excited about it.

    Without those offers I don't think she would have bothered to look.

    She has been in a few Odys but never driven one. That might be the van that finally hooks her, but again, Honda's gotta draw her into the showroom some how.

    Not that they are hurting for sales, but the point remains.

    FWIW we do go to car shows and that helps narrow it down a bit. We're not just out there driving every possible car for no reason.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    that's where I got my Shrek video. And like you, I never would have considered the Sedona, but was much more impressed than I expected to be. Not enough to buy one, but I could see some people pulling the trigger after the test drive.

    Anyway, from the comments from the pros whenever this topic came up, it sounds like most of them just sign the form and send you on your way with a brochure and business card.

    Also, I think in the fine print (at least with the mazda program), it says you can drive any model, regardless of which one the solicitation features.

    Referals are again at the manufacturer level. If Juice for instance was impressed by the Sedona and told some people to check it out, they quite possibly went to a different dealer (closer to home or work), maybe a different salesman if at the same dealer. So, Kia sells a car (they're happy), even though the salesman who talked to Juice might not have gotten the sale (or maybe did, and didn't even know it).

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, the 3.5l engine has good torque, better than the power/weight ratio would imply. The new one is due soon and should be much improved, too.

    You're right about that last part, it's very hard to refer someone to one specific dealer for a purchase, because they want to be able to shop around for their best deal.

    At least they (the salesperson) have a shot, put it that way. I send them through the doors.

    If I had to do any more than that, I'd want his full salary!

  • bigbutrbigbutr Posts: 111
    I, too, have taken advantage of freebies to go test drive something. Last one I got was a $25 Best Buy card for taking any new Mazda for a spin. I wonder how many people take advantage of them, though it must be a lot since I see Chevy didn't keep that $250 deal where they would give you the cash if you bought something else after driving one of theirs for very long.
    Anyway, back to my original point, a local Toyota dealer sent me a flyer that I just love. Apparently there is a run on 1996 Chevy Beretta's since 'we are in desperate need to acquire severaly different types of pre-owned vehicles before Oct. 15, 2004 in order to fulfill special used vehicle requests. Our records indicate you own one of these vehicles and our new car managers have been authorized to buy back your current vehicle.'
    Funny since I didn't even buy it from them (from b-in-law actually), and have only been in there once to test drive an '04 Rav4. (Then I found out it's the No. 1 chick vehicle and that eliminated it from possibility).
    Having worked in the newspaper business for over a decade I've seen all of the gimmicks dealers use and I have to say this one rates right up there. I've heard of it before, but never got a card. I honestly can't believe people fall for this kind of thing. But I guess if they didn't, why bother with the cards, eh?
    So if anyone out there wants to take my low-mileage Chevy off my hands for a reasonable price to take advantage of this great deal, I'm all ears.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    i need to pay more attention to these...

    $25 to best buy, movie tickets, etc...

    i could make out like a bandit on these!
  • How do people hear about these deals, besides sites like this?

    The only one I'v e been to was the Car and Driver R&T Ride and Drive comparo with a BMW 325, Legacy GT and Volvo.

    That was a great event. 3 AutoX in one day!
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    i guess in the papers or on the net...i dont know either.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    there was actually a link at one point to a site where some guy listed all kinds of freebie promotional stuff you could get, but who knows if it's still around.

    Once you use one of these coupons, you will get more, trust me.

    The best way to get on the list is go to the web sites for any brand you are interested in (Mazda is a good one) and sign up for updates or "keep me informed". Almost guarantees that the next time they do a promo you will be included.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    sweet! i guess that excludes ford and nissan for me. ;-)
  • Just got one of those last week, for my wifes 95 Plymouth Neon. Yep, I'm sure there's a HUGE demand for them. I got it from the dealer that works on her car, but we didn't buy from them. They're offering special consideration on trade-in pricing. Now, I suppose there are folks who fall for this stuff, but it just seems extremely insulting. All it does is reinforce that I will NOT buy a car from them. Too bad, because the service department has been great to work with. It's like the dealer is "cutting off his nose to spite his face", as the saying goes.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That Chevy deal was, pardon my French, *stupid*. Pay customers to go drive other cars?

    A clever Ford dealer actually advertised an extra $250 cash back from Chevrolet!

    My wife told me Hyundai currently has a test drive offer, if I get details about it I'll share them here.

    The C&D and R&T event was sponsored by Subaru. Several friends of mine went and had a blast. The closest to me was in Dover, DE, about 2+ hours away, so I passed.

  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    I get this out of my system by going to auto shows. My old man does too, but looking and sitting in cars isn't enough for him. He actually got a local Dodge dealer to let him test drive a Viper, which horrifies me (he's pushing 60 and routinely does questionable things in traffic). They made his month, though.
    This is the same guy who took my brand new Maxima and, with me in the car, got it up to 130 mph before I could even open my mouth to protest. It is generally accepted by the family that the old man will buy it in a spectacular wreck, it's only a matter of when and hopefully another living object is not involved.

    Maybe we need an Inconsiderate Test Drives forum?

    My wife and I only test drive when we're seriously considering the vehicle for relatively immediate purchase (a month or less). My local auto show is enough for me to determine whether or not a vehicle is even worth test driving (you guys may like those Kia minivans, but is there anything in there that's NOT held together with hot glue??). For me, the drive is secondary. An auto show gives you all the time you need to pull and prod the interior, sit in the seats for as long as you want, play with the stereo, lock your old man in the trunk, etc...
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,737
    problem with the auto show is it only comes once a year. Plus, some of the new or upcoming models don't make the show, so you have to go to the dealer.

    Anyway, visiting the dealer and sitting in cars i nthe showroom accomplishes the same thing. No need to take a test drive, and it won't really take up any of a salesman's time, unless they just don't want to leave you alone, in shich case it's their problem.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I hope you stopped accompanying him on test drives. On any drive, actually.

    We're opposites. To me the drive is key, everything inside is basically just ballast.

  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    I typed that tongue-twister name before I realized I could have just put in j-u-i-c-e.. haha

    Anyway, yes, the old man has driven the Maxima only once since then and my mother was with him. I had no choice, since it was at my sister's wedding and I was riding with the wedding party. I bet it killed him, since she will actually scream in his face when he does what she considers unsafe (which is about 5 mph over the speed limit). He wanted to drive my wife's new Explorer, and I let him, but nobody went with. When he was gone we were doing the various stages of "monkey see".
  • pernaperna Posts: 533
    About the auto shows, I go over the "time consuming stuff" like seat comfort, playing with the sound system, looking under the hood, etc... on the test drive I can ascertain the following in about 15 minutes: wind noise, body integrity, handling, and amount of GO. I'll never forget the Maxima's test drive, my wife swapped with me on the way back and she turned into a wild woman in that car. She thinks Mazda should be sued for false advertising, because "surely no car they make has the 'zoom' this one does!".

    The wind noise thing I had to learn the hard way. My last car was an Olds Intrigue, and it was really quiet around town. Got it on the highway for the first time, though, and my heart sank. None of the seals (windshield, doors) were all that great, and one of them even caused a continual whistling noise that drove me nuts. Dealer never did get that car right.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, gotta get in a long test drive of the exact car you are buying. That can be hard, though.

    I somehow got on the list and was invited to this Lexus event: /home.mtc

    Sounds like fun. Check out the list of cars you can potentially drive:

    Lexus ES 330, GS 300, LS 430, GS 430, IS 300, SC 430, GX 470, LX470 and RX 330; Acura MDX and TL; BMW 530ia, 745i, 545ia, 330ia, X5 4.4i and X3; Land Rover Range Rover HSE; Mercedes-Benz C320, E320, S430, E500 and ML500; Infiniti G35; Jaguar XK8 Cabriolet; Cadillac XLR and Escalade; Volvo XC90.

  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    This past weekend, GM sponsored an "Auto Show in Motion" which offered the ability to test drive 100-150 different GM and competitor models. What was disappointing was the relative few number of cars (vs. trucks and SUVs), and the few number of DCX and Ford models.

    Generally, you got a great opportunity to test drive the GM models as the lines at the imports were a lot longer.

    I like these massive test drive shows (like the one that held in 2000) as it allows me to drive vehicles that I would not generally consider. I always find that my evaluation of the performance of certain vehicles often vearies with what I read on forums and reviews.
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