Just to make sure before you read this. This story was written in 2011. I have since had several great experiences buying a car. But this post has received a lot of attention. If one salesperson can make it a better buying experience than I have done my job.
After many years of driving a large luxury SUV I decided it was time for a new car. My kids are also at the age that they need a car to learn in. The Navigator is just too big for them to drive. When I went to a gas station I could never fill up my 28 gallon tank with the $75.00 limit. Time for me to downsize and maybe I could get a car that used regular gas. OH happy day! But what I was not looking forward to was working with a car salesman. I thought it best to look at the cars on the road. Then if I like the look of the car I did the research. www.consumerreports.org was my starting point. I soon realized that the research did not help because they gave accolades to many of the cars on the road that I was not interested in. I did know that I wanted a small SUV and not a car. So time to go to the car dealership and test drive cars that I thought I would like.
I started my quest on Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa, CA. The Ford dealership was first and the only car I wanted to look at was the Ford Edge. The car salesman came up to me and wanted to shake my hand and ask me how I was. I will never understand why people ask how you are with no intention of finding out and anyway, I don’t know this person why would I tell him how I feel. So I just smiled and asked to sit in the car. I need a car that has a left and right place to put my arms, a place to store small odds and ends and most important I wanted places to plug in an I Pod and a computer. Have you sat in the Ford Edge? This car is hard to see out the back and you also could not see the where the front of the car ended. Thank you Mr. Salesman, I am just looking. Next stop Chevrolet to look at the Equinox and Traverse. I sat in these cars and it felt like I was in a tank. This is a good thing if you want this feel. I must admit I did pass on looking at any Toyotas. Too many recalls and I just did not love any of the SUV’s. The car salesmen each had a story that their car is the best car on the road; sit down in my office and I will make you a deal. No I said I prefer to stand. Then when I kept looking they would tell me the 0% financing and I told them I was paying cash. I told them I was looking for a white car and they wanted to show me a black car. But they would say they could make me a good deal today and I could drive off in a brand new car today. They said I should finance the car and keep the money in the bank. I kept saying no and they kept saying I should lease or finance the car. This was getting funny. Thank you and I left. Then he came up to the car while I was getting ready to drive away and said that they have a red car with low miles and I could drive it home tonight for no money down. MR. SALESMAN I WANT A WHITE CAR.
I drove every SUV I could imagine. I do not understand why they make cars that require back up cameras. Can’t you just look out the back window? Oh yeah they forgot this part of the car. After driving every car on every lot I went home to think about which car I liked.
The Honda CRV EXL white or blue with gray leather was the car I really liked. It was a simple car that felt right. I went to Freeway Honda dealership and asked more questions. I walked in and someone came to great me. Then he introduced me to a CRV expert. Looks like the commission will be going to both people. As soon as they new that I wanted a specific car you could see the show start to go on.
This is where the lights came on the stage and the car salesmen went into their act. They sat me down and tried to get me to commit to buying a car at the MSRP. You have got to be kidding.
How much is this car? He pointed to the sticker on the car. This is what you pay he said. I pay the MSRP? Really? No Mr. Salesman how much do I pay for the car really? MSRP – “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price”: Note here that the word “suggested” is key. Basically, the manufacturer builds the car, sells it to a dealer, and suggests to that dealer what the dealer should sell it for. This is NOT the price the dealer pays for the car, nor should you EVER pay this price for any car!
Mr. Salesman says I need to come into his (cage) office so he can show me his list price for the car. List Price – There’s no such thing. The only things that have list prices are Santa Claus. If a dealer uses this term, insist that he clarify whether he means MSRP, Dealer Price, or Bank Value.
Let me show you the dealer cost then. Dealer Price – This misleading term is usually not the final cost a dealer will shell out for a vehicle! Yes, the dealer did initially drop an amount of cash equal to “dealer price” to get the vehicle, but there are ways that dealer will get some of that money back. Consider this the INITIAL money the dealer put out for the vehicle, not the FINAL cost he or she will pay. Likewise, there’s no reason for you to pay even this amount, either!
This car buying experience was starting to make me laugh and it was becoming a hassle.
Option – This is something that you can choose to have installed in your vehicle. There’s no such thing as a “standard option,” so when the dealer says that, inform him that it’s a standard, not an option. Options are things such as a sunroof, which you have to pay extra to get installed. If the car you want has options installed that you don’t want, insist to not pay for those pieces. After all, you don’t want them. If the dealer really wanted to, he could order you a new car from the factory with those options not installed. Insist on having the dealer split the cost of these “options” with you if he doesn’t want to order a new version from the factory.
Well this was making me angry. So I said that I would like one price that is “out the door”. He had to go has his boss. The price was higher than all my research. I left. Sorry Freeway Honda you do not have a deal.
After I left Freeway Honda I thought it would be best to do more research since I knew that the car had every option I wanted. I went home to do more research. How come you can not buy a car at Nordstrom’s? It would be so much easer. I visited Kelly’s Blue Book (www.kbb.com). This place is great! It shows you how much the car costs on the retail market, and then how much it costs the dealer! In reading this site, you are told how much the dealer paid for the car, in addition to what the “retail” value of the car is. Retail value is simply a marked up price that you should never pay, but a lazy person who never reads an article like this, or the billion other web sites out there saying the same thing, will simply pay this price. Lazy people buy for sticker price, and make it that much harder for people like you and me to buy cars. These people believe that the dealer actually paid just about retail price. No I did not fall off a turnip truck.
After I had all my information about the price of the car I called. Fladaboe, Norm Reeves, Power and Hardin Honda. I also called dealerships out in the desert, Riverside, the Valley, Los Angles and Long Beach. I gave each and every person exactly what I wanted. Told them where I lived and I wanted the price to be exactly how much cash to bring in. Oh yeah, I called the Schools First Credit Union. They were one of the higher priced quotes. One car and everyone had a different price. Why?
Supposedly internet pricing is supposed to be better. I did get what I thought was an ok price from Norm Reeves internet. So I decided armed with all my information I went in to the lair of the dealership.
I deiced that I would drive the car one more time. I still liked it I was ready to buy it. I went into the booth of the salesman and he too started to tell me what the car is worth. I told him that I would like to make a deal and he leaned over and talked to me like I was at a timeshare sales office. You want to make a deal right and you want to be in a new car tonight to go home in. He wrote down a price and it was $800 less then the internet price. He said you like this price and I said yes. “Ok, we make a deal” he asks, I say I am not sure but this is a good price. I tell him what I will offer and he comes back with the papers that tell me what the list price is. I start to walk out and he says to pay the sticker price. NO I gave you an offer. Then he gets his boss and he comes over to me like he is the only one on this earth that can sell a car. OH gee. I tell him I am interested in buying a car but I have had three quotes from the salesperson. He said that the sales persons can not accept offers or make offers. I took the paper out of his hand and showed the “boss” what the sales person wrote that I could buy the car for. “Oh no”, he said he can not tell you a price I do. I walked out. Norm Reeves did give me a bottle of water to wash down the pills to make the headache go away.
This is the day that I knew that car salesman are MORONS.
A few weeks go by and I really want a new car. So I go back to one of the dealerships that is close to my home, Power Honda. I was greeted by several sales people and each one handed me off to another person. OH gee. I felt that I just walked into a lion cage. The person that I decided to talk to seemed nice. Johnny a retired police officer and I say in my mind, I will buy my car from you. He keeps repeating my name and he sits at his desk like he is ready to do a deal. He wants to show me the cars that he has. I tell him I know what I want but he said, “Let me show you the car you want”. OK I go with him to see the car. OK this is what I want. Now let’s talk price. HERE WE GO AGAIN. Then his price is higher than all of them and I told him that his price is too high and to find me a used car with low miles. This is why I think Power Honda should not hire stupid people. My Passionate Opinion!
Several weeks go by and I have yet to get a written quote for the car. Then I get an email that says they have a white CRV-EXL in white 2009 with 15,000 miles. I make a formal email appointment. I go to the dealership and he takes about 20 minutes to find the car. He motions me to come with him and I follow him out to a car, AN OLD car, not a 2009 with 15,000 but a 2007 with 80,000. The car never came in to the dealership and they do not know when the car will be in. So he shows me a “white” car alright. He is so stupid. I go and talk to the sales manager and they appear normal and not stupid. I tell them I want to by a car in cash. I do not think they care.
I get an email from Mr. Johnny and he says that he can not give me a better deal. Deal? I have never seen your deal. He says, sorry that he can not get the car in that I want. (There is one sitting on the lot)
Are Car Salesmen Really Stupid? Yes and I can prove it
It’s a pretty powerful thing to call a car salesman a stupid person, but I’m going to say that yes, for the most part they really are. Not all salesmen are, and in fact, I hope to find a really great salesman who I will recommend to you, but only after I am driving my new car. What is really sad I am on my 12th dealership and have talked to ten morons so far.
Why Car Salesmen Are Stupid
There’s no minimum education, intelligence, or even training requirement to be a car salesman. All you have to do is show up, and sell cars. In my study, I found that no car salesman, regardless of his age, had been selling cars for more than 3 years!!! This may not be the case in every circumstance, but it surely is something that should make you really suspect about the person who’s pretending to be an expert in car sales. Most of the salesmen I met had been selling cars for less than one year, and only had a high school diploma.
Many of the salesmen were in the 50’s. I’m sorry, but a guy who’s 50 years old, working an entry-level job either means he’s an early-retired financial genius, a guy who’s working a second job to make ends meet, or he’s a moron. Financial geniuses don’t sell cars, so that means your guy is either a hard-worker, or a moron. It should take about 10 seconds to figure out which one he is.
I did finally buy my car. One price and it was the lowest of them all. I was even picked up by the owner’s son and driven to the dealership. Spreen Honda had my business. No stupid car salesman here.