Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Auto salesperson tricks of the trade


Auto Sales Tricks and tips

How to Beat the used car market

The first thing you must arm yourself with before you enter the showroom is knowledge and plenty of it. As soon as you get a pretty concrete idea of what type vehicle it is that you are interested in purchasing then do your diligence but don't overload yourself with a bunch of pre-conceived notions that will probably hamper your flexibility in getting the vehicle you will be satisfied with. Best that some things are left to the discovery process since things change very rapidly in the retail auto industry.

Ok so you generally have landed your focus on a midsize to smaller SUV since it is for your daughter who is going away to college and has a puppy, lots of laudry and "stuff" that she absolutely must carry. And since your child is not mechanically inclined and is moving to a typical college city of 50,000 you decide to purchase new. Next you would want to find out what dealers are available in that city to honor warrenty and do required maintenence. Nothing like buying a vehicle and finding out you must travel 100 miles to get minor repair. So what other items on your purchase to do list should you consider? In no particular order of priority here are some things that many people find important.

Windshield Leak fixes

Style. This is important to a child, well all of us really. So the metal must be bent to appeal in some fashion to the beholder. And the flash and dash aspects are also important but run up the price so be wary. A friend researched a VW Tiguan because it had an initial low starting price point but quickly went sky high for that class of vehicle. 

Next go to a book store and buy a readily available price and option book that lists all the optional equipment, body styles and so forth. Then go to your friendly dealer and get a wish book, translated, a brochere. Do this for all the vehicles you are interested in. Next click on the manufacturers web site and click on "Build and Price" and run a few thousand combo's of model, price and equipment until you find the best possible combination for you. Next there are sites that tell you what factory rebates are available at this time including factory to dealer incentives. Armed with all this go to a dealers lot and browse. Important your first forays should be when the business is closed so you can look at your leisure. All makes have slow movers and incentives to move these and free equipment to get business rolling on a particular model or they just sometimes give special deals if equipment is purchased in conjunction with other items. Compare the stickers and look for free optional equipment. Pay attention to the EPA ratings on mileage although are notoriously over stated as to what mileage you can expect. But they can give you a range. Since this is for a child traveling pay attention to safety. Lots of airbags for sure. And since it is an SUV there is one other little quirk. Generally a body on frame construction with a rear wheel drive SUV is safer and far more likely to sustain less damage in a collision that the new unibody, front drive models. But here is the caveat. They can be thirsty. And that is the reason few of these are still around. But this is your child. Some body on frame models still out there are the Jeep Liberty (now discontinued however some dealers still have new 2012 models), Dodge Nitro, Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Xterra. All these are built on some version of the manufacturers midsize truck chassis so they tow and haul. The front drive models will give better mileage and are much more prevelent and available.

Top speed on an odometerAlright you now probably know more than the average sales person so you're ready for the anticipated hand to hand combat in the showroom. Finding the perfect vehicle unless you order it is almost impossible so prioritize what you are willing to compromise on. Dress comfortably because this may take awhile. And understand that regardless of what you may have heard, Joey the auto salesperson is no more than little Joey down the street. No better or worse but he has to produce profit for the store or he's an appliance salesperson next. He will ask you a qualifying question. What are you currently driving but what he is really asking you is "what are you trying to trade or unload on us today?"  Best answer to this is I drive several vehicles, none of which I anticipate trading. Because they are trained to not get serious about price or negotiate if you have a trade since they are going to attempt to hide some of the discount you are going to demand in the trade over-allowance. As in your vehicle appraises for $4000 but they show you $6000 (a $1000 discount plus a $1000 factory rebate) which is included. Ask immediately to see the latest (check the date) factory notification on any rebates and incentives that the factory has out. Look for the termination date and any restrictions. If there is factory to dealer cash you will want to ask for that as well when you get down to dollars and cents. Also ask for any discontinued model year end closeouts. Sit in the car, and make sure  it has great visibility, the features and controls are handy and the electronics gizmo's are current (big to a younger person). Storage is important. Ask about the warrenty although most are similar and don't fall for the extended thingy later. Cars last these days if serviced. Ask about any required maintenence to keep the warrenty in effect. An old Indian trick, with apologies to Indians everywhere, to get you into the shop and make some money off your service needs.  A short spin should settle you down as to the handling and so forth. Don't get all bent out of shape over the reliability aspects, most vehicles are close to the same anymore with component sharing rampant. THEY MOSTLY ALL BUY FROM THE SAME SUPPLIERS! But do ask to see what ever trade in guide they use and compare resale values. In doing all this you have taken control of the situation and that is the first thing sales people attempt to do is establish control. He or she who controls wins.

After you have decided on the vehicle then ask to go inside and see what we have. Don't allow the sales person to say that as it gives him or her the feeling that they are back in control of the transaction. Kick back and ask for the dealer's invoice from the factory. Don't believe the old adage about all these different levels of invoices and do try to be fair. Important point here. Many sales people will return with a computer read out! Baloney! Let me see the invoice from the manufacturer. and you will recognize it when you see it. Lots of seemingly inane terminology, numbers, shipping info, retail and wholesale pricing and so forth. Make sure the serial number matches that of the vehicle you are negotiating on. It has happened that sales people will run a ringer by you on something that has more equipment and therefore has a higher invoice.

Now to the offer. You have the auto dealers cost at hand (remember most new vehicles have what they call a hold back of 3% figured in). Offer that LESS any factory to dealer cash and less any factory to customer cash rebate. Hold firm. If you do in most cases you have bought yourself a vehicle. And paid a fair price. The car dealer gets 3% of the sticker profit or $900. on a $30,000 vehicle. AND if you have got a trade, by all means WHIP IT ON HIM AT THIS POINT. Get off the hook by making a call "to the wife or husband" and tell the sales person "my spouse says ok but I must get rid of one of my hoopties" and shut up. This way you will know what they are giving you for your trade. One last thing, don't go for any more than say, a $300. make ready charge or whatever it is that they are calling the last ripoff of the day. You must pay this as the state attorney general says if they charge one they must charge all customers and they can't remove it.

Fresno Used Car Dealerships
Paul Blanco's Good Car Company - 3 locations to serve you
Sacramento - Stockton - Fresno (Shown Here)

One last tip. Go to a reputable real used car dealer like Paul Blanco's Good Car Company and see what the vehicle you are purchasing is selling for a couple or three years old. The sales people there will be glad to assist you. They are used to being a sounding post and are very helpful. Good luck!

Frank Creech | The Auto Guru

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