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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Car Wars

The new gimmick to sell cars is "Employee Pricing".
First it was GM after the they reported 1 billion in lost earnings and then watched their stock drop to $25 in April. Now almost all the car companies are using the "Employee Price" hook.
Sales can be tough job with any product but it's an uphill battle for the car salesman because of the reputation they have earned.
Not all car salesman/dealers are honest or reputable.
Some of the Mom & Pop dealers in small towns still trying to maintain an image may be all that's left of car sales without the gimmicks.

Most dealers have so many add ons it hard to justify doing business with them.
Some add "dealer prep" charges..
Yeah well they are a dealer, so why an additional charge to the customer ?
Some dealers add a "doc fee" for documentation..IE..Title and tag work ???
Again if it is a dealership and they have to do transfer of titles and tags, why does the customer have pay this ?
Have you ever been to dealer that has a second sticker in the window beside the manufacturers sticker ? Where they add in "mop and glow", environment protection or fabric protector .
More bullshit to drive up the price and the dealers profit.

I was drinking coffee one Sunday in May and watching a dealer with his inventory of specials. These two guys(sales manager and finance manager) were offering this "special deal", new cars at half price !
Wow.. I was sucked in!!
Said they had a "special deal" with Nissan because they were the largest inventory movers in the area(Rock Hill, SC). One example a Maxima listed for $30k.. They said "you can finance or just write a check for $15k ( I am using round #s).
I still couldn't believe it.
You know if it sounds too good, it probably is !
WOW !! Half price Maxima..WOW !!

I wrote down the phone # and gave 'em a call.
Mr Salesman answered and I asked was this for real, will they really sell a 'new car' for half price ? He said YES !
I asked if they had other add on costs like doc fees ? He said yes the doc fee was $495.(ripoff)
I walked around for a bit and finished my coffee then talked to the Mrs about the ad.
This dealer is a little over an hour drive for me so I called back to confirm and check inventory.
The operator put on hold for sales..2 min..5 min.. 10 min.. This was long distance so I called back and explained to her that I was left on hold. She tried again this time after 3-4 min Mr Salesman picked up but this guy was a dullard..clueless..didn't know the inventory at all and said they were so busy he couldn't go check. Said they had sold over 20 cars that morning and he wasn't sure what was left. I explained the distance I would have to travel but wanted to know if they had some inventory before I made the trip.
He said they had a lot of cars and trucks, better hurry!
My wife said "What the hell let's get some lunch and take drive."
We arrive at what appeared to me as kind of a medium/small lot. But I knew going in this was going to be a challenge. There may have 15-20 people looking at the cars. There was remote radio broadcast for the big event.
There were ONLY 4 MAXIMAS and 1 was a DEMO !!!
I had to go inside and wait for a salesman they were so busy. On the way back outside the salesman asked"What brings to our dealership today" ? I advised had seen the ad on TV this morning with the special deal selling new cars half price.
The salesman stopped in his tracks and said this is a special finance deal that they (the dealership) had this pilot program for qualified buyers.
I said you mean I can't buy a car for half off sticker ? He said No.. Said they are financing half the cost of the car for people who normally couldn't afford a $30k car. That way they can make payments on half the normal amount and at the end of term (3-5 years) they still owe the other half. The customer at that point can buy it outright or finance again.
I explained to this guy what his people said on the ad.
I explained that I had called back not once but twice to confirm if this was for real.
I explained how far I drove.
He said he was very sorry for the confusion and inconvenience. I said me too.

Is it any wonder people don't trust car dealers ?
I have seen articles about public trust..
IE.. People trust their pharmacist the most..
On the bottom of the list are car dealers and politicians.. No freakin' wonder..


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