Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The New Car Buying Experience

My son was in the market for a car so we started doing all the research and weighing the pros and cons about new vs. used and all the good fun that goes along with buying a car.

One of the great advantages we had is my daughter's boyfriend is a VERY knowledgeable former new car salesman. So we took advantage of his expertise when we were deciding which cars to look for and what price range my son could afford.

The point of this story is not to bore you about how we bought the greatest car in the world for $3.50, no it's to point out how unpleasant the car buying experience can be in some dealerships.

SPOILER ALERT: There is a happy ending to this story; not all new car dealers are jackwagon scumbags.

At first, my son and I went out and test drove all the cars he wanted to compare. I told each salesman and sales manager that we were making comparisons and we were not ready to talk numbers. For the most part, they were fine with that even though all of them try to push you a little. I really have no problem with as long as they don't get to pushy and ignore you when you say you're not ready to talk price.

So, we find the best bang for the buck and decide that the 2012 Ford Fusion is the car that best suits my son's budget and preferences. We go down to the local Ford dealer where we live and found one in the price range he wanted with all the options he liked.

Now comes the fun part - we bring in our hired gun to level the playing field with the dealer. We told the salesman which car we wanted and were ready to sit down and talk price.

But before we go inside, our former sales guy asks the Ford salesman to go inside and we'll come in shortly.

Our guy was on the phone with another Ford dealer seeing what he had in stock and getting some bottom line pricing info, etc. So he tells us what his friend has and we said we'd like to buy local if the price is right.

Meanwhile, the salesman comes back outside to see why we haven't come inside yet.
We're standing outside the showroom with the salesman and we're talking in general terms about numbers and what other dealers have and here comes the sales manager.

The sales manager comes over and starts telling us about how wonderful they are and how many cars they sell and today's the last day for the current incentives and they will likely be gone with the next month's promotions with or without us. Of course, all of this is BS and we know it. We purposely waited until the last day of the month and brought in a negotiator for the main purpose of NOT GETTING SCREWED.

Mr. Arrogant Sales Manager is not happy with us at all at this point. So we go inside and we start talking numbers. Our guy starts peeling back the layers and cutting through the smokescreens and all the other crap when Mr.Arrogant Sales Manager comes by again.

He's now not even hiding the fact that he is totally annoyed with us and our guy. When he was asked to go below invoice and work with the dealer holdback, he starts spouting off about writing him a check for $8 million to buy the dealership from him and make stupid deals like that ourselves.

The other guys who are willing to go that low are "the whores of the business" as he so eloquently put it.

So he tells us that we've reached the bottom price and pretty much said take it or leave it.
At this point we're pretty much under $100 apart from buying the car. In fact I was about ready to tell our guy that I was ok with where we were and sign the deal.

This is when it all got very interesting...

When we calculated the monthly payments, our guy asked if we could get it down $4.00 lower per month and we'd have a deal. The look on the salesman's face said it all; there was no way in hell that Mr. Arrogant Sales Manager was going to bite on that. But, we asked again, please have him come over and talk with us.

The salesman called out to Mr. Arrogant Sales Manager as he was walking by and instead of coming over and saying something like "Look, I already told you we are as far as we'll go" or even listening to our counter offer, he waves his arm dismissively and said: 


"I'm all set."

"I'm all set.": Immortal words from a professional jackass.

And he kept walking.

My son instantly blurted out: "Wow, that's terrible customer service!"

I stood up and looked at the salesman jerking my head over my shoulder and said: "He just blew the deal."

We all shook the salesman's hand and told him we were sorry we couldn't make a deal and walked out the door.

Over $85.00.

As I was walking out the door, I looked over at Mr. Arrogant Sales Manager and he didn't even look over toward us. I laughed and said "Bye" as we walked out the door.

HAPPY ENDING:  We immediately drove to another Ford dealer about 20 miles away and bought a Fusion with the exact same sticker price for $685 less than what the other guy offered!!!


So in essence, Mr. Arrogant Sales Manger, who dismissively told us to write him a check for 8 million bucks to buy the dealership from him to get that price did us a HUGE FAVOR by being such a jackass.

My son is extremely happy with his Fusion, my daughter's boyfriend did him a huge favor by saving him a few thousand bucks off his first new car and the dealership we went to is a first class outfit.

The original dealer, Drum Hill Ford, in Lowell, MA is a tired, shabby, old school, badly in need of a makeover type of dealership that everyone hates to go to and have to haggle with.

The other dealership, Stoneham Ford in Stoneham MA is a first class, modern well run business that is a pleasure to do business with now I'm sure will be in the future.I've heard nothing but good things from our friends about them. Not so about the other guys, plenty of people have told us similar stories about how they were treated.

BTW, Mr. Arrogant Sales Manger is the owner's son in law. What a clown.
I won't spend a dime in anyone's business that treats customers so unprofessionally.

A word about new card dealers; I was in the parts end of the new car dealer world for almost 30 years and I know how dealers can be. I had 9 of them on my board of directors. Everyone of them were millionaires. Most dealers always cry poor mouth when you try to get the lowest price when buying a car. Don't let 'em fool you when they tell you how they're gonna lose money if they go that low.

I've never met a poor new car dealer.


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