Posted at: 7/03/2014 01:30:00 PM .
Recently I watched someone close to me go through the process of buying a new car and wanted to share the experience with my readers. This is a big lesson on researching prices, reading fine print, and being prepared to walk away. Also, look at the final price of the car. You might be getting a great deal but if you finance with a high interest rate and long loan payback period, It might not be such a great price in the end.
The MSRP on the specific model and features that she drove off the lot with was about $24,000 however she did not pay that. When all the I's were dotted and T's were crossed, the car's total price was about $16,000. That's $6,000 less than the manufacturer suggested.
My friend test drove the car and liked it so she did some research on prices. After returning to the first dealer, they agreed on a price of $18,000 and scheduled a pick-up time. The car wasn't in stock for the color she wanted so they were getting one delivered. When the car arrived, she went to complete the paperwork and drive home in the new car. Five hours later, we walked out of the dealership without a car. The dealer only agreed to the low price because he was going to finance with a high interest rate. My friend qualified for the 0% financing but he refused to honor the companies policy. At one point he tried to guilt my friend by telling her that the salesman she worked with would lose his job if he (the manager) allowed this deal to go through.
We left the dealership and returned home. My friend continued to do research since she knew the exact car she wanted and three days later walked into a different dealership with her facts and figures ready to go. Another five hour trip to a dealership proved a much better experience. This dealer honored the price listed on the website and their commitment to the customer. He took her out to the parking lot and showed her the exact car, offering her a test drive. They then went back inside and began the paperwork. This process took forever but it was a pleasurable experience. While she signed papers, the dealership washed the car and filled up its gas tank. I even got a free lunch since they were having a barbecue to go with their tailgating theme for the weekend. Finally, we drove off the lot with a brand new car, only 14 miles on the odometer.
The first dealer, that tried to trick and guilt her refused to go below $19,000 after agreeing to $18,000 but she didn't fall for their mathematical tricks. By refusing to sign and walking out of the dealership she ended up saving an extra $2000 over the life of the car loan. She also got a better package. The car she took home had a few upgrades but the dealer still agreed to honor the price she researched.
The moral of this post is be willing to walk away. Unless you are purchasing something rare like an original Picasso, you will find another store or another item that will make you happy.