Car Salesmen Dirtbags?
not well thought of, at any rate. But the truth is theyre
just salesmen and working the system which
is what it is. And its the system thats cheesy,
far more so than the people at the very bottom of the pyramid
the salesmen. These unfortunate men and women are the wait staff
of the automotive industry. Usually, theyre paid starvation
wages and so rely on commissions which makes them rapacious
by necessity. I think this is a flaw with the system for
all concerned and if I were The Decider Id change it
so that salespeople were salaried employees and cars were sold just
like other consumer goods, with the price clearly stated and not
subject to Byzantine back-and-forthing between a financially desperate
sharpie and a (usually) not-too-savvy but emotionally involved chum-bait
buyer, AKA the mark.
might as well walk into the stealership with a kick me
sign taped to their back. The process is rigged to the advantage
of the dealer (note, not the salesman) like a crooked Vegas casino.
Or even an honest Vegas casino. There are more ways to take your
money than in the IRS code and you wont even know how badly
you just got taken until youre at home with your new car and
its beginning to dawn on you just how deep youre in
it. Theres too much weird math, too many variables
and too much going on for most ordinary humans to deal with.
So, how do
you deal with it?
To quote Dr.
Strangelove: Mein Fuhrer! I haf a plan!
sit down with the salesdude and haggle over every little thing
where he has the advantage because he does this every day and you
dont do your research before you go to the dealer and
present them with your best out the door price
the car plus whatever taxes/title fees (mandatory) plus destination
(legitimate) and thats it. No BS processing or
dealer add on. Dont argue. Just say (nicely):
Im interested in buying this car and heres what I
am willing to offer. If you can sell the car at that price, lets
rock. If not, not. Be prepared to walk especially if
he starts The Spiel. Get up and start leaving at that point and
tell him (again, nicely) to call you back if he is interested in
selling the car at the price you indicated. Its okay to give
up a few hundred bucks more to seal the deal (figure this into your
initial offer) but do not budge beyond this.
technique gives you the power not the salesdude. It negates
all the techniques they are taught to separate you from your money!
So long as
you end up paying a couple (2-3) percent less than sticker, you
But there are
times when its hard to get them to budge. If the car is new,
popular and selling like the proverbial hotcakes at (or above)
sticker price then they can probably charge a take-it-or-leave-it
price, in which case you have to decide how much you really want
the car and whether its worth it to you to pay whatever they
demand. Toyota, as an example, has been able to do this for a long
time with the Prius.
attitude here is to wait. Next year the second year the car
is out it will be the same car, but the sales stampede will
have thinned out and youll be back in the catbird seat and
very likely able to negotiate a fair deal vs. the Ned Beatty-like
squealing theyd give you this year. Also consider just
buying another model. There are so many cars in most segments today
that you will usually have your choice of at least three or four
very similar-in-layout vehicles. Keep in mind that its (mostly)
not like it used to be back in the Bad Old Days when you always
had to be mindful of reliability/build quality and so on. Today
most cars are all at a level that is better than the very best cars
of 20 years ago and that includes even the lowest-tier economy
cars. Yes, lemons still exist but they are much fewer and far farther
in between and its much safer to buy any car any
brand today vs. how it was back then.
selling your old car yourself, if you want to get top dollah for
it. And whatever you do, do not bring your trade into your discussions
with the dealer until after you have completed the deal on the new
car. If you dont, odds are the dealer will try the ol
shuck and jive giving you what sounds like a great deal on
your trade, which will cause you to become happy and lower your
guard and then hell make it all up on the back end
(the deal on the new car).
If the salesdude
asks about your trade-in, say Id rather not discuss
that now. Then, after you have the sales contract on the new
car, you can bring up the trade! He wont be happy and may
make faces. But tough luck, bub. Thats life in the Big City,
where the mop flops and the cookie crumbles
sure you know what the current retail value of your car is
or http://www.kbb.com) vs. the
wholesale cost. A fair price is above wholesale. Again, hes
entitled to make a profit reselling your car, but he shouldnt
expect you to give your car away, either.
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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