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Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by chris4001asat, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    So with my new daughter here I figured it was time to go the minivan route. I look in the paper and see a new 2004 Montana: MSRP 28,000. On sale for 17,000 with GM employee discount. I'm not an employee but the other cars mentioned had employee and non employee prices. The difference was around 3,000. So I figured around 20ish. I go in and talk to the "salesmen". I show him the ad, he says " let me go talk to the finance manager. Comes back and tells me $399 a month for payments. As I scrape my jaw off the floor I asked why so much, he said it was the non employee price. So I ask him all the other cars the difference was only around 2-3000. I ask what was my selling price? He says " let me ask the finance manager what your price was". He comes back and says 27,500! I say" 10,000 difference!" He says "I can bring out the book and show you the prices". I just got up and walked away. Whew!!!Thanks for allowing me to vent!
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    You're better off staying away from GM, anyway!
  3. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I'm sure there are some car salesmen here who have better advice than I but I used to work for a niche computer industry that provided the mainframes and all the computer software from HR to Sales and financing to 80% of the Ford dealerships and many other brands of dealerships in North and South America and some in the UK. So...we had to know the operations of a car dealership from front to back and this included getting training in how the deals go down and whatnot as well.

    First of all, don't EVER negotiate by the monthly payment. On your own time before you go to the dealership you figure out how much you can afford per month or how much you want to pay and how many years you want to finance and then figure out what the total price comes out to and keep that in mind. Don't forget to try to figure in taxes and finance charges. Your bank might be able to help you out if you don't know what taxes and finance charges will be. You should always negotiate the full price rather than monthly payments because then it's harder for them to "sneak" things that you don't want into the deal and you're always aware of how much you're paying.

    Secondly, never lease. Dealerships like you to lease because it's very confusing for the customer and almost impossible to keep track of where all your money is going. The forms for leasing are typically very confusing as well. When I worked for that company we would literally have dealers try to get us to change our forms in ways in which the sole purpose was to make them MORE confusing. We refused to do that btw. That went for sales forms too.

    Third, if the dealer sits down with you and starts to draw out four squares and write prices in them STOP HIM and tell him you don't have time or patience for the four squares. This is a common dealer sales tactic that also only serves to confuse the deal and make it look like he's giving you a better deal than he is by juggling things around. They also like to write down and scratch out a bunch of figures on paper to mix things up. If you have the ability to keep all the stated numbers in your head then COMPLETELY ignore any figures that a salesman writes down on scratch paper. Of course you want to pay attention to any forms but if you can do it during the negotiating process then just don't even look at the paper at all.

    Fourth, when you go to buy a car make sure you have plenty of time and don't have something to get to because they like to make you wait and sweat. Last time I brought my car I took some magazines with me and every time he "went to run it by the finance manager" I just read my magazines. This is a fact of life and just something that you have to prepare for. They're hoping to break you down and get you so tired of waiting that you give some more ground in your negotiation. Believe me, they aren't in there discussing the price with their sales manager the whole time. They might be in there shooting the bull...having some coffee..whatever...but they like to give you the image that they are on your side and that they're in their fighting for the price you want. They're not. They want you paying as much as possible because they get more if you pay more. Just be patient and prepareed for several waiting sessions because that's just how it is. You may want to bring a calculator too because while he's in there you can check any figures you want while you wait.

    Fifth, whatever you do....I MEAN WHATEVER YOU DO....DO NOT leave your car there and take their car back home "just to try it out." Some dealers will try to get you to do this and then when you decide you don't want it and call them back to tell them you're coming back to get your own car they'll give you this spiel of "Oh no, you signed the papers and bought it. If you don't pay for it we'll press charges against you for theft." Or they might say "Oh we thought you wanted to buy it and we already sold your car." This is called "dehorsing" and sadly it's become somewhat common and I know at least two people that this happened to. If you take that car home you better be planning on buying it.

    Having said all that I want to say that not every car salesman is a bad guy or out to get you. Some of them want to make money but they also want to see you happy as well. It's just unfortunate that some things that are a bit unscrupulous have become industry standard. A good, honest salesman will not attempt to dehorse you but they might still do the making you wait thing and the four-square thing because that's just the standard practice. They might have even convinced themselves in their mind that the four-square method is helpful to the customer.

    Do your research, find out what the invoice is for the exact car and package that you want. Consumer Reports has an excellent service where you tell them the car you want and they tell you what a good price is to pay for it that's fair to both you and the salesman. You have to pay for that service per car but it might be worth it if you hate the negotiation process. Also, one thing I like to do is get a quote from some dealer through www.autotrader.com or some other online service. Then you always have at least one quote to compare to other dealer's prices. My last car though I ended up getting for almost two thousand dollars less than the autotrader.com quote after some negotiating (I think it was autotrader...it was one of the first websites that started doing that and was considered "Cheap").

    Also, have a price in your mind that you can spit out when the dealer asks "Ok, what would it take for me to get you in this car today?" You can spit out that price and stand by it and if he says yes then cool.

    Always be prepared to walk away.

    That's all I've got. Good luck.

    EDIT: Wow! That's a lot of words! Sorry, I'm unemployed. Maybe you can print it out and read it on the can. :)

    brad cook
  4. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    One more thing...don't buy a service contract. Don't to it. Yes, there are going to be people who have stories of getting their money's worth on service contracts and some will probably swear by them here. However, statistically you will not get your money's worth over time. That's a fact. If everyone got their money's worth then they wouldn't be selling them.

    brad cook
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    In my most recent new car experiences, brad offers excellent advice.

    A couple of things I found;

    - I bought the "Consumer Reports" info once I had decided on a make/model and found it very thorough. However, the free online sites I found after I received it were just about as good, especially when it came to telling you what the vehicle actually costs the dealer.
    If I'd saved the sites addresses, I'd give them to you.
    Either way, you can't lose with that info. It allowed me to nick off almost 3 grand once the salesperson and I got past the "B.S. stage" of negotiations.

    - I didn't find the "Best Buy" ratings, (I think that's what they call them), in "Consumer Reports" reliable. I bought a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser the same day, by coincidence, that my neighbor did. We bought ours from different dealerships.
    Although this car was rated as a "Best Buy" in "Consumer Reports", he had to return his to his dealer a couple of times in the first month for significant problems and I had to return mine to my dealer every month for a solid year because the "Check Engine" warning light lit up every month like clockwork.......(luckily, I had that service contract which included their valet service where the pickup and return the car).
    Long story short - I bitched my way up into the higher ranks of Daimler-Chrysler after standing on my head, they did a buy-back, and replaced it with a 2004 model that has no problems whatsoever.
    What I Found Was - That "Lemon Law" protection legislation tends to favor the dealer in many states. That's why I didn't pursue it.
  6. Also try and remain calm and cheerful. I know this sounds DAMN hard to do, but it will help in the long run. If you seem cool and collected and un-ruffled by the whole experiance, the guy on the other side of the desk wil give you more respect. I guy that I worked with at GC went to work for a Volkswagen dealer, and he told me that customers that kept their cool usually got better deals, because they wern't ranting all the time, and could take a closer look at what they were actually buying.

    Rock on
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Lot's of great advice!
  8. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Hehehe.....the wife and I just started shopping for a Grand Caravan. We know exactly what we want, which is cool.

    Just a comment on the four square thing. I have had that done to me a million times too. Now, I bring in my own thick tipped Sharpies and paper. I write in LARGE letters the exact amount of cash I have for down payment, the exact price I will pay, and the exact amount I want for my trade-in. If the dude comes back with different figures, I stand up and walk out. I am too busy to play that stupid back and forth game, and I tell the salesman that when I step on the lot.

  9. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I think you're onto something. Maybe you should go in and draw a nonagon and then divide it into like 16 sections and fill each section with a complicated physics formula and then use it all to explain to the guy how he should sell you the car for ten bucks. :)

    brad cook
  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    If you did that they'd want to check your financing ability first. ;)
  11. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    He is right... my bros Bonneville just had a nice service... manifold cracked and filled engine with water... guess what manifold was made off... plastic!!! Way to go GM you used to be ONLY American motor company I thought was ok... no more :(

    Look for Honda / Toyota / BMW / Nissan Out of cars I had those were reliable and when I worked in car shop those are the ones I found to be more reliable...
  12. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Save money and buy a used car. Let someone else take the hit on new car prices. You shouldnt have any problem finding a 1-2 year old minivan with low miles for far less than new, and still be covered by a factory warranty should something go wrong.
  13. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    If I had a nickel for every plastic GM upper intake I've changed........ :rolleyes:
    The intakes fall apart from the heat of the EGR passage that runs through it, near the throttle body. The only reason there's coolant there is to keep the throttle body from icing up in colder climates. An external coolant circuit(like on the 3100) would solve this problem.

    What's worse is the intake gaskets on the 3100 and 3400 OHV V6. They fail and fill the oil with coolant, which if gone unnoticed long enough will wipe out the rod bearings. I've noticed it seems to happen more on the engines with Dexcool coolant vs the old school green stuff.

    I would go on ranting about Dexcool, but I dont want to derail the thread any further than I already have. :meh:
  14. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Find a large, empty white room. From the center, announce:

    "I want to buy a car."

    Thousands and thousands of cars will dangerously, and yet mysteriously, shoot up from the ground around you at dizzying speeds. Further refine what you're looking for with another announcement like:

    "A convertible."

    All of the non-applicable cars will zoom past you, out of the large, mysterious rooms. Try to stand still, or you will be hurt. Continue to refine your search.

    "A red one."

    Soon, you'll be left with one car. The dream car. The car you want. Buy it.
  15. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    How many upper intakes have you replaced on the GM "H" body cars made after 1996? I still remember that part number; 17113136

    Fact is, that Dexcool is an acid compound. It eats those plastic intakes right up. And IME, it is NOT good to 150,000 miles, as GM claims.

    Best bet if anybody buys a GM made after 1996-flush that Dexcool out, and put the green stuff back in. Sure, you may lose your "forever" protection of your coolant system. But the green stuff is better anyway IMHO, so you're better off in the long run.
  16. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX

    Oh yeah...I forgot to mention that option. This can also be done with guns.

    brad cook
  17. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    And helicopters. Don't forget helicopters.
  18. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Any car experts have any positive/negative comments about the following? It's uh... sort of related ;)

    Toyota Highlander
    Ford Explorer / Mercury Mountaineer
    Volkswagen Passat 4 Motion

    These are some of the vehicles I've been looking at. At this point I'm still not 100% sure if I want to go car or SUV, but gas isn't a factor. I calculated the difference and it's not a big deal... something like $200'ish per year from the least efficient to the most efficient. Most likely I'd be looking at the Highlander vs. the Passat, and they're extremely close ( 24mpg vs. 28mpg highway respectively ). The main issues are safety and long term reliability.

    PS: On the subject of car salesmen, I don't mean to offend anyone out there, but most of them are like flies to shizzle. Of course, this varies from dealer to dealer. The guys at the Mercury dealer are great, but the Kia/Ford dealer's salesmen will practically follow you home. The Volkswagen guys were ok; they weren't awesome, but they weren't stalkerish either.

    We have a winner!

    I can't see myself ever getting a new car for the rest of my life. It kills me to think of taking a 30% beating just for driving it off the lot. Gotta admit though, that new Dodge Magnum gives me a woody! My latest purchase was 18 months ago - a 1999 Chevy Tahoe with 40k miles and absolutely loaded and pampered. For the 19k I paid (4 grand under book), I figured I would be driving it just as long as someone that bought a new 2003 and I would be pocketing about 15 grand for not buying new. That chunk of change will pay for a lot of oil changes, and repairs.

    My buddy (a car salesman) and I were enlisted to help an old friend to find a new car. She's a 70 year old lady who is still active and interested. Well, I did the research and helped with the test driving. My friend's job was to do the negotiation and get her the best deal he could. We finally made a decision of the make and model and went to the dealership to make the buy. My buddy and I walk in and the usual lizard salesman comes up with the usual banter. My friend grins, shakes hands with him and in a very low voice says:

    "I wouldn't want to be you in about 15 minutes"

    He then proceeded to bust this guys chops like he owned him and gave the sales manager a peptic ulcer before we walked out of there with the car we wanted for a price that was about 2k under what we thought we were going to pay - on a good day.

    I was taking notes the whole time!
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    My wife and I bought two new cars in the last few years, a first year PT Cruiser and a first year Honda Element. Typically I'd recommend going used too but I'm very happy with the deal I worked out on the Honda. The PT was ordered before they were even being delivered and I got it at retail. It included a free loaner for any service work (standard for this dealer) and I didn't get an extended warranty. It performed almost flawlessly and now belongs to a musician friend of mine who's estatic about her gigmobile. I replaced it with a 1999 Miata LS with low miles and a 75k mile warranty. Might be my favorite car I've ever owned.

    It was pretty easy to research the Element before I even approached any dealers so when I finally got started, each of the dealers started very close to the supposed dealer cost. I already knew about holdbacks and after checking out about 5 or 6 dealers we struck a deal for a loaded top of the line Element (EX-S) with automatic, AWD, ABS, side airbags (the week they were introduced), side steps, roof rack, etc. for just under $20k. I'm still happy with that deal.

    With the dealers that wanted to play games, I walked. When they called, I listened and then told them no. People don't seem to realize that they have the power in these situations.

    The dealer that got my business played the least games and gave me the best price. I told the salesman up front that I didn't plan on doing any heavy negotiations... there's a bottom line, let's get there ASAP and then we either have a sale or we don't. Simple.

    I told him, as I did the other dealers, where they needed to be as far as price and equipment. He got there in a minimal amount of time.