Excellent cooperation and flexibility
November 6, 2018
My wife and I shop for cars differently than the average buyer. We start by renting vehicles when we travel. We use those experiences to determine the brands we enjoy and then pare the list of vehicles we would consider buying based on Consumer Reports evaluations and reliability findings. we pick three brands, then determine the type of vehicle we want (sedan, SUV, truck, etc.). We narrow the choices to three or four and then start looking at dealerships. We test drive all the vehicles at the respective dealerships and determine the target dealer, the one at which we believe we will find the best information, service department and incentives. We pick three vehicles we could accept as our final choice and test drive each of those. We construct an evaluation grid that compares the characteristics and features and options we might be interested in. By this time, we have been looking for about 18 months. We try to time our purchases to fall in late Julyu or Late August, which seems to be the time most dealerships offer the best deals and the most valuable incentives. We determine the MSRP, invoice price and price as we want the vehicles configured using CR, USAA and TruCar services. We negotiate a deal for each of the vehicles at each dealership, often using the offers from one dealer to leverage pricing power at the next. We negotiate for a price that is en excellent price, no more than $200 over invoice. We sometimes are able to negotiate prices that are below what is reported to be the invoice price. It is not uncommon for us to walk away from a deal that isn't good enough and then return, either at the sales rep's invitation or at a later date on our own initiative with an offer that is $50 higher than the one we walked away from. we don't do trade-ins and we don't discuss financing until AFTER we negotiate the full, drive-away price for the vehicle, including taxes, tags, delivery, all options and all other "extra" charges. We never buy extended warrantees. (Instead of an extended warrantee, we set aside money in a savings account for unanticipated repair costs. We don't use it very often.) We will, depending on the value offered, pay cash, do a bank loan, finance through USAA or lease, but whichever way we finance the purchase is designed to keep cash cash flow reasonable and total cost at a minimum. Buying this way requires cooperation from the dealership and the sales representative. It is also time intensive but it has paid off with what is usually a good, comfortable, unemotional buying decision. Itv works for us and we enjoy the process. The dealerships usually don't. Our most recent buying experience was at Honda of Concord. They allowed us to do several test drives on several vehicles, some with the sales rep and some without, and some even overnight as we neared a final choice. The managers, service technicians, sales people and clerical staff were always courteous and patient as we worked our way through our preferred buying process. Delivery was a challenge because the dealership didn't have the exact vehicle we wanted. It took a month to find the vehicle, arrange for an in-transit swap with another dealership and get the vehicle delivered with the preferred trim level, color, options and accessories. Our sales rep stayed on top of the process and kept us informed as it played out. We were very pleased and satisfied with the dealership from top to bottom and from start to finish. We got an excellent vehicle for an excellent price.