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the gardener

Why Do Car Dealers Make It So Difficult To Buy A Car?

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Went into a car dealer the other day. I'd done my research and was ready to buy then and there. Was asked what model I was interested in and replied that either of the models would be fine depending on price which was the main factor. Upon mentioning prices I was too that the price was in the brochure. I told the salesperson that I wouldn't be paying brochure price of course and was told in a very condescending manner that when I had made up my mind exactly what I wanted then they would talk with me further.

I am, like I expect the majority of HPCers a no-nonsense kind of person, a cash-buyer, prepared to buy there and then for the right price. Why do sales staff at car dealers do this? What do they hope to gain by coming across as condescending and being evasive when confronted by a potential customer?

The result was I walked and won't return.

They did call the other day to ask about the appointment I didn't show up for. I made an appointment to see a car that I wasn't interested in as that seemed to be the one I was being steered in the direction of, rather than the one I was actually stating my interest in. Only fair to waste their time too I thought.

Car dealers. What's the point?

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That's this particular dealer.

My most recent experience was going round to help somebody else buy a new or nearly new car for about £14k.

Of the four dealers three were excellent, no problem with test drives, realistic about what price they could go down to, saying what new stock would be in when.

One, Peugeot, was high pressure, wouldn't let us test drive without all relevant paperwork and would have had to book it for the next day. This combined with a fake friendly high pressure approach meant there was no way they would be selling us a car.

Edit: the excellent ones were one Nissan and two Citroen dealers.

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I used to get best realistic price from internet scouting and then tell the dealers that I'd buy from them if they could come pretty close (I'd be happy pay more to buy locally). Sometimes they'd start a bit of jabbering but I'd just say "here's my card, give me a call if you can do it". When they rang I'd pop in and sign the paperwork in 5 mins.

Worked every time and saved every one a lot of wasted bother. No huge discounts as I was always realistic on what I would expect to pay (which sometimes included brochure price for some models).

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Went into a car dealer the other day. I'd done my research and was ready to buy then and there. Was asked what model I was interested in and replied that either of the models would be fine depending on price which was the main factor. Upon mentioning prices I was too that the price was in the brochure. I told the salesperson that I wouldn't be paying brochure price of course and was told in a very condescending manner that when I had made up my mind exactly what I wanted then they would talk with me further.

I am, like I expect the majority of HPCers a no-nonsense kind of person, a cash-buyer, prepared to buy there and then for the right price. Why do sales staff at car dealers do this? What do they hope to gain by coming across as condescending and being evasive when confronted by a potential customer?

The result was I walked and won't return.

They did call the other day to ask about the appointment I didn't show up for. I made an appointment to see a car that I wasn't interested in as that seemed to be the one I was being steered in the direction of, rather than the one I was actually stating my interest in. Only fair to waste their time too I thought.

Car dealers. What's the point?

Most salesmen have lost the skills to sell because by far, most people i) buy on credit so money doesn't matter, just the monthly payment and ii) most punters don't understand how the 'price' is constructed.

I once knew a very clever car salesman and I'm very disappointed he has retired. Over the last 15 years I bought my last three secondhand cars from him (a main Peugeot dealer). When I wanted a car I just spotted something newly appeared on the forecourt and walked in and offered 1k less for cash, usually a 20% discount. Deal done in about 10 minutes. Because of the first time, he had my business 3 times over. The last car I bought he actually sold me for just under £100 less than he gave the previous owner for the trade in. The car was just on the forecourt for 2 days. I guess the previous owner must have paid well for their newer motor.

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I used to get best realistic price from internet scouting and then tell the dealers that I'd buy from them if they could come pretty close (I'd be happy pay more to buy locally). Sometimes they'd start a bit of jabbering but I'd just say "here's my card, give me a call if you can do it". When they rang I'd pop in and sign the paperwork in 5 mins.

Worked every time and saved every one a lot of wasted bother. No huge discounts as I was always realistic on what I would expect to pay (which sometimes included brochure price for some models).

Yep. I also try to know the price and am happy to get close.

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It's pointless walking into a dealership. It's worth using a broker to get the best deal, there are several online. They have much better buying power than the average punter. Also consider using finance, it can actually be cheaper than buying outright if it's a manufacturer sponsored deal.

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If you are a cash buyer who has identified what he wants then this site is well worth a look.

http://www.coast2coastcars.co.uk/

You can buy new models with often substantial discounts and no sales person hassle. They are ordered to your specification and delivered to you.

I haven't used coast2coast, but I know people who have. Another good strategy is to price up a car on coast2coast, then have a very quick discussion with your local dealer(s) where you simply tell them the C2C price and ask how close they would like to get to it.

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This one has come up a few times. They make their money in finance and that is what they're mainly interested in doing, some might not even talk to you seriously if you're not taking finance.

As Voice of Reason says online brokers might be a way to go, drivethedeal or someone like that.

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I spoke to a very open young car salesman when I last bought, and he confirmed to me that they have so many incentives to sell you finance that cash is of no interest to them at all. I tend to buy cars at 3 years old, priced in the 15k range; most people half my age would be looking to pay more than double that for a new car at full retail price - on finance. Basically I look like a bit of a pikey, turning up with my actual bona fide earned money and expecting a deal.

One thing I have found - the dealerships in smaller towns where the local economy is not so strong are much more open to talking cash and discounts, and tend to be far less condescending as well. In the bigger towns, there's a never ending supply of credit junkies looking to get robbed.

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One thing I have found - the dealerships in smaller towns where the local economy is not so strong are much more open to talking cash and discounts, and tend to be far less condescending as well. In the bigger towns, there's a never ending supply of credit junkies looking to get robbed.

Smaller dealers are in the business of selling cars, and not finance. They like a quick turnover!

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Smaller dealers are in the business of selling cars, and not finance. They like a quick turnover!

True, but I meant main dealers in this case. Of my last three cars, two have been bought from main dealers in smaller towns at a reasonable discount, and with much better part-ex trade on my old car. The other one I needed in a hurry and bought from the main dealer in a bigger town. I think all I managed to get was 6 months road tax chucked in :mellow:

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Sadly it seems then that unless I join the sheep in being fleeced via PCP deals then I'll be treated with contempt. I will either go the online broker route or buy a used 3 year old one like my last purchase. Might even head down the local auction if there's a sale on on my day off.

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I recently read that 80% of private sales are made on finance deals. Given that over 50% of sales are to fleets etc means that only about 10% are cash buyers expecting a decent discount. Are people that stupid they can't see that they are being robbed on these PCP deals? Do the really only look at the monthly figure and not the 'deposit' and balloon payment?

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Sadly it seems then that unless I join the sheep in being fleeced via PCP deals then I'll be treated with contempt. I will either go the online broker route or buy a used 3 year old one like my last purchase. Might even head down the local auction if there's a sale on on my day off.

Make sure you attend the "posh" auction, and not the banger one! :huh:

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I recently read that 80% of private sales are made on finance deals. Given that over 50% of sales are to fleets etc means that only about 10% are cash buyers expecting a decent discount. Are people that stupid they can't see that they are being robbed on these PCP deals? Do the really only look at the monthly figure and not the 'deposit' and balloon payment?

I thought it was impossible to get much discount for a cash deal, because they didn't really want a cash sale?

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I went through something similar a number of years back. In the end I bought on a finance deal to get the discount then used the cooling off period in the finance deal to repay the whole loan a week later. I suspect they're wise to that these days but might still be worth investigating.

edit:

Still seems to be possible according to Which:

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/i-want-to-cancel-a-loan-ive-taken-out-what-do-i-need-to-know-


So if you use credit to finance the purchase of a car, for example, you can withdraw from the credit agreement but you would still need to pay for the car because you have entered into a contract with the car dealer to purchase a car.

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Smaller dealers are in the business of selling cars, and not finance. They like a quick turnover!

I think you are right.....certain garages only show a price of so much per month.....the best places show a price to buy that is still negotiable......there is after all a glut in cars atm.....more cars for sale than money to pay for them...... ;)

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I think you are right.....certain garages only show a price of so much per month.....the best places show a price to buy that is still negotiable......there is after all a glut in cars atm.....more cars for sale than money to pay for them...... ;)

I am sure you will approve that I have never bought a new car. They are not too negotiable, they know their market. Still cash is good for them. :huh:

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Sadly it seems then that unless I join the sheep in being fleeced via PCP deals then I'll be treated with contempt. I will either go the online broker route or buy a used 3 year old one like my last purchase. Might even head down the local auction if there's a sale on on my day off.

I can't see myself being fleeced here; we are both seeing opposite sides of the same coin. I prefer the fixed payment on my new BMW 120D Sport at £273 per month (£252 x 23+3) to that of a three year old car that might be coming out of warranty. It's peace of mind and a joy to drive, I would say it's the best car for me to date. To me it's no different to someone taking out a two year phone contract on an iPhone. All I see is the monthly payment and it suits me fine.

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I can't see myself being fleeced here; we are both seeing opposite sides of the same coin. I prefer the fixed payment on my new BMW 120D Sport at £273 per month (£252 x 23+3) to that of a three year old car that might be coming out of warranty. It's peace of mind and a joy to drive, I would say it's the best car for me to date. To me it's no different to someone taking out a two year phone contract on an iPhone. All I see is the monthly payment and it suits me fine.

Horses for courses! I like to own my "metal" outright :blink:

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I can't see myself being fleeced here; we are both seeing opposite sides of the same coin. I prefer the fixed payment on my new BMW 120D Sport at £273 per month (£252 x 23+3) to that of a three year old car that might be coming out of warranty. It's peace of mind and a joy to drive, I would say it's the best car for me to date. To me it's no different to someone taking out a two year phone contract on an iPhone. All I see is the monthly payment and it suits me fine.

I'm a bit careless with cars and tend to scratch and dent them in fairly short order (ok then actually the wife does but I'll spare her blushes). The children and dog take care of the destruction if the interior. I would be seriously out of pocket if I tried to hand back the car after three years.

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Just been through all this.


I find walking into a dealer is generally a waste of time. You get the friendly hard sell which basically consists of:

  • High Sticker Price
  • Low Trade in Value
  • Trying to flog you finance
  • Adding extras you don't need. GAP insurance, Car Mats, Paint Protection etc.
  • Wasting your time making you wait around.

I think it's setup to take advantage of careless people. Only 1 in 5 prospects becomes a sale. If you know what's what and are wise to what they're trying to do you're the 1 in 4 they don't convert.


I ended up buying from a smaller local dealer. None of the hard sell or the extras, just came down to the price of the car.

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I recently read that 80% of private sales are made on finance deals. Given that over 50% of sales are to fleets etc means that only about 10% are cash buyers expecting a decent discount. Are people that stupid they can't see that they are being robbed on these PCP deals? Do the really only look at the monthly figure and not the 'deposit' and balloon payment?

Paying cash is the discount. Youve already won. Zero need to haggle.

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