Since When Did Car Dealers Stop Trying To Sell Cars?

The clich√© of the smarmy car dealer doing anything to get you to buy a car is sure getting a run for it’s money at the Glendale Auto Corridor- that strip along Brand Ave that has a dealer for just about every make you can think of (well, moderately priced makes anyway). We’ve got a VW lease about to end and are deciding what to get next. Since all those dealers are right next to each other we decided it would be simple to call them up, make sure they have the model we’re interested in available for a test drive, and then just bounce from one dealer to the next and spend the afternoon test driving all the cars we’re interested in in one shot. Except it’s turning out to not be that easy, mainly because I can’t get any of them on the phone. I’ve called 3 different dealers now, asked the human answering the call for the sales department, only to be put on hold for eternity, or for it to ring 4-6 times and the redirect back to the initial operator who apologizes and starts the whole thing over again. I finally asked her if she knew if they had a specific model and she said she’d transfer me to sales where someone could better help me. Except no one ever answered the phone. Hello??

9 thoughts on “Since When Did Car Dealers Stop Trying To Sell Cars?”

  1. Go to the dealers’ websites and contact their Internet Sales Managers — you’ll bypass the lot lizards and get better attention.

  2. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a new car, but I found dealing with fleet managers was a pleasant way of shopping. They’ll even give you prices over the phone.

  3. Along the lines of what Lee’s saying, I think you can schedule test drives from a lot of manufacturer’s and dealer’s sites also.

  4. I had to buy a car earlier last year, and encountered the same problem. Without exception, every dealership I went to had godawful customer service.
    Managers, where the buck usually stops, were little consolation, as they were even more eager to settle a sale than to answer questions.

    But contrary to Lee and 5000!, I found the internet sales guys to be bad – often not returning my inquiries for days, and even after telling them I was fine other people who checked the same email would call me again.

    Car salesman may wear less sleazy ties, and become more self aware, but they’re just as sleazy as always portrayed.

  5. Just bought a car last weekend using the internet department, best car buying experience ever. A price well below invoice, no haggling and you still test drive the car when you get there.

  6. The best way to buy a car, in my experience, is through the credit union. Autoland via First Entertainment is a great example. Car prices are pre-negotiated and your loan is already set, so you dont have to haggle with the dealer on anything. Unfortunetly, you still have to go to the dealer to test drive the car. The VW dealer in downtown was horrible at just getting me in the car to test drive. I think I stood around for 10 min or so just before someone helped me, and another 20 min for them to find the car I wanted to drive.

  7. people people people… its a long hard painful process for a reason. They want as much of your money as possible. If its not hard or difficult you are paying for that service.

    Car dealers are the last bastion of the hardsell. when you decide EXACTLY what car make, model, trim and accesories you want you (via test drives and internet research) then and only then, should you walk in there and haggle.

    WHen you are reasy to buy and know the dealer invoice cost for the car, the trim packages and the accsories (via Consuer Reports or Edmunds) and you are ready to BUY, THATS when you go to 3 or 4 dealers and get their bottom line price on the exact car you want. and you have to actually see it on their lot. If they say they are going to get it for you forget it. walk out and go to another dealer. In my experience they will tell you they are going to get it just to get you to comeback and try to sell you something else. They have ecen told me the car was on their lot just to get me in… Again, you have to see it and touch it before you should discuss anything or negotiate anything.

    But most of all, be sure to always negotiate the “off the lot” price. otherwise you will hear all sorts of bs about dealer prep, delivery taxes, blah blah blah when you get set to lock in a deal. Always tell them you want to know the complete OFF THE LOT PRICE including everything (in other words how much do I make out the check for?)

    calling on the phone, getting internet prices or quotes, don’t mean dick.

    Unless you are sitting there in the salesman’s cubicle, at the end of the month, on a week day, you are not going to get the “best” (lowest) price.

    Don’t discuss anything else (financing or trade in) until you have settled on the price. And when you are negotiating financing DO YOUR OWN CALCULATIONS. Bring a calculator or print out amortization schedules from the internet. DO NOT NEGOTIATE ON MONTHLY PAYMENTS!!! That is exactly what they (the bad guys) want you to do… resist!

    good luck and go get em

  8. Amen to Autoland! They brought a truck to my house to test drive at 8 am — and brought along the paperwork to buy it. The entire transaction took less than 30 minutes.

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