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Author Topic: Is this another used car salesman trick?
BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I just bought a new, well used, car on Monday and I'm wondering about a pattern I've noticed at used car dealerships. First the details, I bought a 2001 Toyota Camry, green and fully loaded. I love it and think I got a great deal on it.

So here's the deal, and I've had this happen to me several times. I'm shopping for a used car, not finding something that fits my wish list and then used car guy shows up. He asks me what I'm looking for and, big surprise, they have something right along those lines that they 'just got in yesterday'. I have a look and it seems like a lot more car for less money.

So is there some trick going on here or am I just paranoid?

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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You bought at a dealership, right?

Possibilities:

A: They made a good deal on a trade, and you are reaping the benefits.

B: You were suckered by a line. "just got in yesterday".

Usually, cars that are traded in aren't prepped for sale that fast, unless the dealership really thinks they can make some $$ on it. Reasons for getting a "loaded" car for a good price usually include high mileage (at least by book value), it's a model they don't usually deal in, or it's toward the older margin of the cars they sell on the lot, possibly would have sold it to a wholesaler if it hadn't been so nice.

If it's a good car, your mechanic has deemed it ok, enjoy, you made a good deal.

But yeah - be wary of salesman tactics, like "what would it take to get you in this car today?" "The manager says we can make YOU a special price on this, but today only."

I hardly ever go with the pressure sale - I have only bought a few cars on my first trip to the lot, and they were new. Never bought a used one on first look.

Well - except my son's jeep, but the dealer admitted it was a price mistake. [Big Grin]

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Gydna
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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As someone who works at a dealership I can tell you that this is all part of the salesmens pitch. This is not to try and sell you a bad deal but rather to stop you walking away.

The general view is that you will only get one chance to sell a used car to a customer and hence we spin lines about managers special price, today only, just got it in etc. Anything to get you to commit to us today. Generally you will not get a better or worse deal by agreeing to this, you will just end up buying from the dealer you're in rather than any number of other dealers you might visit afterwards.

We're trying to take you out of the market now.

From our point of view a thin margin deal for us is better than you dealing anywhere else.

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Churchill drank, smoked and was a successful amateur painter. Hitler was a teetotal, vegetarian, animal loving failed professional painter. Draw your own conclusions!

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Ah, but you see - the "lines" are often "lies", meant to grab the customer. If a salesman is obviously spinning a pitch that borders on falsehoods about when they got the car, pricing, "specials", etc., what are they NOT telling you?

"we just got it out of the body shop."

"the mechanics don't think that knock will come back."

"you know how hard it was to get the bloodstains out of that upholstry?"

Sorry - I hear a pitch, I'm gone. I had a black salesman kept calling me "boss" as if that was something I wanted to hear. I finally had enough of the other shady tactics (about 5 trips to "the manager" to see if he could make the deal better) and told him "no way", and he ripped up all our paperwork in the showroom, in front of other customers, and threw it on the floor.

Easy decision to leave, that one...

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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The Vanilla Gorilla
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Thought I would add my thoughts to this.

As was mentioned by abbubmah; see if you can have your mechanic look at any prospective car purchases since you never know how the previous owner treated the car. Case in point, my sister bought a Jeep about 6 years back(which she always wanted). it was a good price, then she started having issues. When my dad was checking her oil he noticed that the dipstick was burned and slightly warped which told him that the previous owner had been running the car without oil for who knows how long. Hopefully a good mechanic would catch this.
And if the dealer won't let you have the car inspected then walk away from the dealership entriely.
Just my own .02

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The Vanilla Gorilla
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Thought I would add my thoughts to this.

As was mentioned by abbubmah; see if you can have your mechanic look at any prospective car purchases since you never know how the previous owner treated the car. Case in point, my sister bought a Jeep about 6 years back(which she always wanted). it was a good price, then she started having issues. When my dad was checking her oil he noticed that the dipstick was burned and slightly warped which told him that the previous owner had been running the car without oil for who knows how long. Hopefully a good mechanic would catch this.
And if the dealer won't let you have the car inspected then walk away from the dealership entriely.
Just my own .02

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FrogFeathers
Grandma Got Run Over By a Gift Card


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We bought my husband's 2000 Chevrolet Silverado in October of 2000. We were at the dealership the day before, found a two-year old truck he liked (was actually "settling for"- long story) and we decided to go back and crunch some numbers. We rolled into the lot and saw the Silverado. Jerry gushed like a child. He took it for a test drive. It literally did just get there- it was still wet from being washed. We live near a GM plant and the executives usually drive the fancy version of the truck (and oh is it ever- leather seats, all the bells and whistles- two wheel drive, not 4x4). Anyway, the GM person's new truck came in and he took the "old" (as in 10 months old) into the dealer. We got this great truck with less than 15,000 miles on it for a hell of a deal.

So, it does happen.

My new truck (purchased in June of this year) is a 2004 Chevy Colorado (different dealership). We test drove the 2006 version and loved it but when it came down to the trade-in/deals/payments, we couldn't get financing to get the payments low enough. And, the salesman said, "Well, I tell you what, we got a 2004 version of the same truck, just came in... yadda-yadda-yadda...."

Other than being two years older with 25,000 miles (as opposed to a few hundred miles; and in red instead of blue), it was the same truck. I think my truck was a line to sell us a truck. And it worked. I love my 2004 Colorado. I think I'd have loved that 2006 much more, but hey, I can afford this one and my kids can still eat. [Wink]

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"Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K
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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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All I know is that when I opened SLC I saw both of Beach's threads back-to-back, and so the question I read from him was "I was just proposed to, kind of, is this another used car salesman trick?" and I thought, sheesh, talk about your hard sell!

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by callee:
All I know is that when I opened SLC I saw both of Beach's threads back-to-back, and so the question I read from him was "I was just proposed to, kind of, is this another used car salesman trick?" and I thought, sheesh, talk about your hard sell!

[lol]

Okay, but he wasn't my type...

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
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Radical Dory
God Rest Ye Merry Retail Clerks


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My car was actually one that they "got in yesterday". It was being inspected by the mechanics when my dad went in to look; he got to examine the engine and undercarriage right then and there. When they took it down, he took it on a test drive and decided it was good enough for yours truly. He got a good deal and signed the papers right there on the spot.

They cleaned it up for us; when he went to pick it up, the salesman lamented that if he had gotten to clean it first, he probably could have gotten more money out of it.

(For those wondering why my dad did the purchasing: there are no Volvo dealers anywhere near Boone, NC. At the time, buying any other brand of car was NOT an option. [Smile] )

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"But about the reindeer...what kind of a nose shines? How did he get it? Maybe it's not a reindeer after all. It could be something else."

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quiltsbypam
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
quote:
Originally posted by callee:
All I know is that when I opened SLC I saw both of Beach's threads back-to-back, and so the question I read from him was "I was just proposed to, kind of, is this another used car salesman trick?" and I thought, sheesh, talk about your hard sell!

[lol]

Okay, but he wasn't my type...

But Beach, when the salesman's used, there just aren't as many choices about options, are there?

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"No Biblical hell could ever be worse than the state of perpetual inconsequence." Beatrice in Dangerous Beauty

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Katness
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
We live near a GM plant and the executives usually drive the fancy version of the truck (and oh is it ever- leather seats, all the bells and whistles- two wheel drive, not 4x4). Anyway, the GM person's new truck came in and he took the "old" (as in 10 months old) into the dealer. We got this great truck with less than 15,000 miles on it for a hell of a deal.
I had a similar experience buying my 2005 Explorer earlier this year. I had gone down to look at the 06's, found one that "was fine".. it was a very nice truck, it had what I was looking for, but it didn't really light my fire. So we went in to start the paperwork (I was trying to convince myself that I'd learn to love the truck.. it really WAS very nice), but we reached an impass on my trade-in. They only wanted to give me $5000 for my 2003 Grand Prix.. which had fairly low miles and was in great condition.

After much going back and forth, I was ready to walk away from it all and go home. At the last second, the guy says, "You know.. we have an '05 Explorer that our manager drove for about 6 months so we can't sell it as new. Want to have a look?" I said okay just to shut them up and get it over with so I could go home. They brought it around, and I fell in love with it the second I saw it. For $15,000 LESS than the brand-new Explorer, I left with a 6 month old previous model year truck of my dreams. Bells and whistles... oh yeah! Eddie Bauer package, seat warmers, fold down 3rd row seating, 9 cup holders, 8 speaker iPod compatible stereo, separate rear passenger heat controls, dual driver memory, built-in garage remote, and much to my kid's delight, a DVD player. All this plus it's much gutsier than the new one was, and it doesn't have the white leather seats that the new one did. I shudder to think what I would have had to do to keep THOSE clean!

I also got $7000 for my Pontiac.. which was about $2000 less than I'd wanted, but I admit I was both worn out by the haggling, and in love with the new truck.

quote:
Ah, but you see - the "lines" are often "lies", meant to grab the customer. If a salesman is obviously spinning a pitch that borders on falsehoods about when they got the car, pricing, "specials", etc., what are they NOT telling you?

My boyfriend just bought a 2001 Ford Ranger (yup.. we're an all Ford family now.. I also have an old '69 Mustang.. heheh) and we were aware that there were a few minor but obvious things wrong with the truck.. broken rear tail-light, driver's window has a small crack, a couple small dings, as well as it having fairly high miles.. but other than that it seemed to run fine and was very clean inside.

What pissed me off was that I flat out asked the salesman if there was anything else wrong with the vehicle that he knew of.. and I told him that if there were that it wouldn't necessarily be a deal-breaker, we just wanted to be aware of what problems there were. He assured me that it was a great running little truck with no mechanical problems whatsoever. The price was right ($4000 after trade-in), and my boyfriend wasn't looking for a perfect vehicle for that price.. just a good little work truck with no MAJOR mechanical issues. So, the deal was made, and on the way home from the dealership the truck overheated. I don't mean "got a little warm", it redlined.

I call B.S. on the salesman not knowing about that being an issue. Yes, we'd test-driven it, but obviously not long enough.. about 20 minutes on surface streets and freeway. No, we didn't have a mechanic look at it because we figured that since my boyfriend was getting a $4000 truck, even if it needed $2000 worth of repairs it was still a good deal. I really wish the salesman would have just told me about the overheating issue.. we more than likely would have still bought the truck, but I can guarantee you that we will now never do business there again.

We did get the last laugh though.. it turned out that all the truck needed was a new radiator, we got one from Schuck's for $238 and put it in ourselves, and now it IS the great little truck my boyfriend had wanted. [Smile]

Wow.. sorry about the length, but get me started on cars and I'm liable to keep going, and going and going...

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Eschew Obfuscation.

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Crackrzz
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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(hijack) Dory, your avatar looks like Frazzle from Sesame Street without the long tongue sticking out (/hijack)

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Stand up, slip on the bathtub floor, fling a hand up to balance yourself, and happen to have your mouth open on the downswing. Voila, a new hole in your face.

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ertceps
I Saw Three Shipments


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The last car I bought was a Dodge Voyager...not the most sexiest of vehicles but then I'm in no way a "car guy"...I just wanted something reliable

My last job was as a taxi driver and most of our company's cabs were Voyagers and since they run 24/7 all year every year they pile on the miles fast...we had some that had over a million miles on them and many that were over 500000 miles on the odometer and they still ran great(and if they did break down they were fairly cheap to repair)

I also have bad knees and wanted an easy car to get into and out of...Voyagers are VERY comfortable cars to drive(and while still a cabbie on slow days you would sleep in the car...I had many hours of really nice naps in a Voyager) [Big Grin]

So when I got the chance to purchase this Dodge I had my eye on(after checking the VIN and seeing that this car had just one owner with no accidents since it had been bought new from this same dealer)...it has few bell and whistles but in my experience all the new fangled doo dads that they can add to a car are just more things that will eventually break and need fixing

I got a car I was already very comfortable driving right from the get go(I put many hundreds of thousands of miles driving similar ones from the cab company) and one that I knew ahead of time wasn't going to break down any time soon(in fact in the three years since I bought it I have never had to bring it in for anything other than normal oil changes)

Can you tell I like my car?

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Spikey
Jingle Bell Hock


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That's interesting; over here my dad used to own a Chrysler Voyager. Are we talking a big people-carrier type car? Wonder if it's the same car, produced by 2 different companies in different countries.

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"The fact that "uvula" and "vulva" look and sound similar was just a happy coincidence." - Lainie

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Mr. Furious
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by abbubmah:
But yeah - be wary of salesman tactics, like "what would it take to get you in this car today?" "The manager says we can make YOU a special price on this, but today only."

Yep, the second part is definitely a warning sign. Consumer Reports even notes it on their New Car Price Guides. The caveat is that special financing or rebates may really only be valid until that day. I learned that one the hard way - when I bought my 2003 Accord, the salesman told me that there was special financing, but I'd have to buy the car that day. I figured he was full of it, and bought the car two days later. Guess what - the financing really was a special deal that had expired that day, a fact I confirmed with another dealership. Oh well. Luckily, my credit is good enough that I got financing that was nearly as good as the special offer.

Anyway, the other thing I wanted to say was that you can turn the "what will it take to get you in this car today" thing back around on the salesman, but you have to do your homework.

Find out dealer invoice price on the car and all the options, as well as any incentives or dealer holdbacks. For this purpose, I can't recommend the Consumer Reports New and Used Car Price Service enough. Come up with your rock bottom price. Tell the salesman that if he meets this price, you'll buy.

Of course, you have to actually be ready to buy to employ this strategy.

Another tip - discuss price first, and don't let him bring a trade or financing into the discussion until you have the best sales price.

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
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Gibbie
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Mr. Furious advises:
quote:
Another tip - discuss price first, and don't let him bring a trade or financing into the discussion until you have the best sales price.
You know, that's the second time I've read that advice recently on these boards and I don't understand it exactly. How does that work? Are you saying to negotiate the price, then get it even lower with the trade in, or negotiate the price and let the salesman work the numbers however need be on the trade? I know when we bought our van the value on our trade was actually overvalued, because that's where the salesman had to work the numbers to do the deal. Now, I wasn't present, but he was telling my husband that was their practice and indicated it had to do with the car laws in Indiana. I don't know. I know they started with the pretend money that comes off (rebates etc.) then worked down to the real price and put some of that money into the trade value. But like I said, I wasn't there. I got to do the fun stuff, shop and test drive and talk to the salesmen up front. Mr. Gibbie got to do the hard part, run the numbers with them. [Smile]

Gibbie

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If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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Dogwater
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
Mr. Furious advises:
quote:
Another tip - discuss price first, and don't let him bring a trade or financing into the discussion until you have the best sales price.
You know, that's the second time I've read that advice recently on these boards and I don't understand it exactly. How does that work? Are you saying to negotiate the price, then get it even lower with the trade in, or negotiate the price and let the salesman work the numbers however need be on the trade? I know when we bought our van the value on our trade was actually overvalued, because that's where the salesman had to work the numbers to do the deal. Now, I wasn't present, but he was telling my husband that was their practice and indicated it had to do with the car laws in Indiana. I don't know. I know they started with the pretend money that comes off (rebates etc.) then worked down to the real price and put some of that money into the trade value. But like I said, I wasn't there. I got to do the fun stuff, shop and test drive and talk to the salesmen up front. Mr. Gibbie got to do the hard part, run the numbers with them. [Smile]

Gibbie

The deal that the daelership will try and make has a lot of factors figured in, not the least of which is how much they are giving you for your trade. Need the car paid off but owe a bit more than it's worth? No worries, they'll pay it off then raise the price on their "bottom line" for the new car.

Negotiate the new car price while leaving the dealer blind to any trade-in makes it more likely, and often easier, to get their best deal. Then, talk about the trade in. If it's too low, you can still nix the entire deal, and the dealership must carefully balance offering the least they can get away with and you not buying at all. There is no way at that point to jack up the new car price to cover a higher offer on your trade. Did I ramble too much, or did that make sense?

The last car we bought was a Durango to accomodate hauling Shorty #3 and my MIL (who now lives with us). Traded in a Scion Xb (The Toaster). We found a 1 yo on the lot. Actually 2. We liked the black one but they had a grey one that was fully loaded (really, every option available including da Hemi), and with the extra 10k miles on the odo it was the same price as the black one. The truck looks good in grey, so we went with it. Armed with comp pricing from Edmunds and DriveChicago.com, we got a competitive price. I think they figured they'd make up some profit on selling us financing. It wasn't until we were in the manager's office that we pulled out the checkbook! (For some reason I felt like I'd pulled a d*** move on them)

It wasn't until after we'd agreed on the price of the Durango that I said they had to pay-off the Xb to finish the deal. By all rights we should have been a few grand 'upside down' on the car, but they took it. Low milage, a few pimp accesories and high demand for the car put us in a good position.

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As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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True; they don't want to buy (accept as trade-in) your used car in most cases. They want to make all their money on the car you are purchasing. If they make money selling the trade-in, they are ahead, but the negotiation for trade-in value in most cases amounts to just getting a discount off the new vehicle.

Especially if you still owe on your current vehicle... they will NEVER give you what you think it's worth. Thus, the reason for the "retail/trade-in/private party" value structure in price guides. If you look at the difference in retail and trade-in values for your car, you'll have a pretty good idea of what they are doing to you at the dealer on a trade-in.

Often the trade-in is simply a quick way to get rid of your old car, nothing more.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
Mr. Furious advises:
quote:
Another tip - discuss price first, and don't let him bring a trade or financing into the discussion until you have the best sales price.
You know, that's the second time I've read that advice recently on these boards and I don't understand it exactly. How does that work? Are you saying to negotiate the price, then get it even lower with the trade in, or negotiate the price and let the salesman work the numbers however need be on the trade? I know when we bought our van the value on our trade was actually overvalued, because that's where the salesman had to work the numbers to do the deal. Now, I wasn't present, but he was telling my husband that was their practice and indicated it had to do with the car laws in Indiana. I don't know. I know they started with the pretend money that comes off (rebates etc.) then worked down to the real price and put some of that money into the trade value. But like I said, I wasn't there. I got to do the fun stuff, shop and test drive and talk to the salesmen up front. Mr. Gibbie got to do the hard part, run the numbers with them. [Smile]

Gibbie

I have a question as to how exactly to do this, too. What do you do when one of the first things the salesman asks you is, "do you have a trade in?"

Do you just lie and say, "oh NO, we don't have trade in, who us? No!" and then after you get the price negotiated, say, "Oh, guess what? I forgot - we DO want to trade in after all! heh!"

I'm a terrible liar. And I've NEVER walked into a dealership that they didn't ask me about a trade in the first 3 minutes I was there.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Mr. Furious
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
Are you saying to negotiate the price, then get it even lower with the trade in, or negotiate the price and let the salesman work the numbers however need be on the trade?

I'm saying negotiate the price, and know what a fair trade-in allowance is so you don't get screwed when that part of the conversation comes up.

quote:
I know when we bought our van the value on our trade was actually overvalued, because that's where the salesman had to work the numbers to do the deal.

That's the way the trick works. They move money from Column A to Column B, and make it look like you're getting a better deal than you really are. Without looking at the numbers, my guess would be that they gave you a not-so-great deal on the van, but justified it by tossing a little extra money in the trade allowance.

Bottom line, if you go in and know a fair price for the vehicle, and what your trade is worth, you'll get the best deal. When the trade and financing come in, it becomes a game of three card monte, and you'll never win.

quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
I have a question as to how exactly to do this, too. What do you do when one of the first things the salesman asks you is, "do you have a trade in?"

Do you just lie and say, "oh NO, we don't have trade in, who us? No!" and then after you get the price negotiated, say, "Oh, guess what? I forgot - we DO want to trade in after all! heh!"

I'm a terrible liar. And I've NEVER walked into a dealership that they didn't ask me about a trade in the first 3 minutes I was there.



You don't have to lie. You just have to be firm. When they ask about a trade, simply tell them that you need to get their best price before you'll talk about any other details. If they balk, leave.

The reason it's important is that if you compartmentalize each part of the transaction, it's harder for them to make it look like you're getting a good deal by showing a loss in one part (look, only $100 over invoice!) and then simply making it up in another.

This all plays into (IMO) the most important facet of the process. You need to own the relationship. Skilled salespeople are masters at owning it, but you need to take it away from them. You just need to be assertive.

The other really important thing is to do your homework. Know how much the dealer paid for the car and its options. Know how much your trade (if you have one) is worth. Know what kind of financing you can get from your bank or credit union. Knowledge is power! Knowing is half the battle!

It's been my experience that a salesman who knows you've done your homework is less likely to try to screw you. I've also found that it's best to be realistic in your demands. If the vehicle you want is in short supply, you're probably going to have to pay more than the 4-8% over invoice that you normally would.

Oh, that reminds me of something else. You're in a better bargaining position if you're discussing a vehicle that's already on their lot. Dealerships want to get cars off their lot as quickly as possible. You're doing them a favor if you're buying a vehicle that they're going to get in the future. Don't forget that, regardless of which position you're in.

(edited to appropriately cite questions)

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"He's not gonna let me in, I'm Mr. Dirty Mouth!"
- Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko), Boston Legal

Posts: 8729 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Thank you! That in itself was quite helpful.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

Posts: 2397 | From: Texarkana, TX | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bear68
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Coming from a Toyota Certified Master Diagnostic Technician (love bragging about the big long title, actually got an extra .17 and hour for earning it!) Always have a mechanic check out a used car, Always request a Carfax report (especially after Katrina, flood cars are moving nationwide now!)and Never be afraid to walk away if the saleman balks at these suggestions. 2001 Camrys are excellant cars and have few problems when maintained. #1 most important is oil changes!!! Toyotas tend to develope sludge if you don't change the oil!!!
Posts: 6 | From: Lake Worth, FL | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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