The Inside Woman's Thoughts on When and How to Buy a Car.

5 years ago

I just finished reading a post that pained my heart and turned my stomach.  While I appreciate that the author began by disclosing that her post is matter of opinion rather than fact, I do need to rebut.  Let me start off by saying that my father owned and operated several dealerships for some 40 years.  Consequently I was raised in the business and ran his flagship store for 7 years.  This does not make me an expert however, the fact that I have lived within the business does give me some insight that a consumer may not naturally have.

In regards to the subject of when and how to buy a car, the answer is not the same as it was 10 years ago, thanks to the Internet.  Without pointing directly to the post of mention I am going to discuss some of it's talking points because I hear them a lot.

Point number one:  buy a used car with slightly higher miles to save money.

Personally I do not think one can make a blanket statement as to whether one should buy a new or used car to get more bang for their buck.   It is predicated on not only the car's purpose but also the market.  That being said, if you choose to go with a used car and you want to save money you should get a better deal on a slightly older car with more miles!  If you don't then you should have someone go with you to negotiate  (and there is no shame in that) or move onto a different car all together.

The car dealer may not be able to sell you the used car in question for a fair market price.  This does not necessarily mean that the dealer is a scum bag.  The dealer may have over appraised the vehicle for the customer who traded it in so that he could stretch to make a deal.  So while he is a hero to the previous owner he is a zero to you.  I am not saying this is true in all instances, some dealers are, god forbid, simply trying to make a profit and yes, other dealers are trying to make too much.

Just remember if you buy the car with the higher mileage and more years on it and plan on trading it in a couple of years you will feel it's effects in a negative way. Not to mention you are most likely in the high end service zone.  Meaning that you have to worry about belts, tires, brakes, and the car's warranty could be creeping to an end.

My point is, yes you can save money with an older vehicle but that is not doctrine.  You have to look at the whole picture and determine what is right for you.


Point number Two: Buy your car at the end of the month.

I hear this all the time.  Here's the truth: car dealers are ALWAYS having a sale!  All you have to do is turn on your TV or computer or even glance through the newspaper to recognize this.  Car dealers will tell you they are having a sale because it is Tuesday to get you to buy.  Cars is a numbers game and they all jockey for first place month in and month out.  However, they need every sale to get to the top of the mountain.  If you have done your homework are a capable negotiator and most important are willing to walk away if you don't get your price, then you can get the same deal whether it be the beginning, middle or end of the month.  If you do your research you will get a good deal.

The third point that hit me like no other was to go to a larger name dealership because you can get a better deal and they will stand behind their promises more.

After I got over my flush of rage in reading this, I felt sad.  My father was one of the "smaller" dealers.  In fact we branded ourself as a "family store" even though we were one of the top performing locations within our brand for many years.  I am going to be so bold as to say that I find this kind of mentality is killing the foundation of America.

First off, there is absolutely no truth to the fact that you can get a better deal with a larger name brand dealership.  The manufacturer sells it's product to every dealer for the same price.  If a vehicle were to be invoiced differently per respective dealer, trust me there would be a class action lawsuit pending faster than you could say, "go"  Dealers big and small have buildings to light and employees to pay.  I could make the argument that the bigger dealer has a greater overhead and therefore has to make more money on every car to pay the bills.  But I revert back to my previous mention when talking about buying at the end of the month.  A sale is a sale.  As dealers we take the deal and move on to the next one.

Where I take offense, and yes it is personal, is when this writer suggests that you will get better service with a larger name brand dealer.  I challenge you to try and find the "owner" of one of the said lager stores.  You will look for a very long time.  You certainly won't find them in the store.  And yes "owner" will most likely be plural, a collection of Mr. Smith's whose customer base is seen as a collection of dollar signs.

My father was in his dealership seven days a week from open to close.  Not only did he know his customers by name, he hugged many of them upon greeting.  If they needed a service that they could not afford he helped them out.  If a customer needed to issue a complaint, they only had to ask his secretary where his office was and he welcomed them inside.

This country was built on mom and pop.  It was created on dreamers turning those dreams into something tangible.  Somehow we have moved from that to mega-stores selling everything.  Convenience is job one.  And by convenient I mean faster.  Until something goes wrong.  There is no mega-store for expediting customer service and respect.

I digress.  The truth to when and how to buy a car is in front of you. Use that handy dandy computer and search the inter web thing.  Car Salesman are not brain surgeons.  You are just as capable of getting a great deal on a new or used car as they are at avoiding giving you one.  Truth is, the best car deal is the one you feel good about.

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