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How to make buying a car less of a chore
Old 04-19-2017, 01:15 PM   #1
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How to make buying a car less of a chore

I plan on buying a new car in about 6-10 months, so I've started doing my research. Learning online is great, with so many resources available, but there is still no substitute for actually sitting in a vehicle and getting a feel for it.

I've been driving a small SUV for a long time and want to stay with that segment. So I decided to open my search up to the entire world of small SUVs, regardless of price.

In the last week I've gone to nine dealerships and asked to simply sit in a particular model just to get a feel for it. I made it clear I was only in the initial research stage and not ready to buy for at least six months. What an unbelievable variety of sales experiences!

Is there a reasonably polite way of saying "SHUT UP! Just let me look it over and answer any questions I may ask."? Some of the salescritters (mostly the younger ones) just can't help spewing out such a steady stream of information you can't get a question in edgewise.

My plan is to narrow the field down to two or three finalists and then take them for a test drive. Once I've decided, I'll probably use a car buying service like Truecar or the equivalent to do the negotiating.

Sorry for ranting a bit, but I really wonder if I'm missing something.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:39 PM   #2
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I'd suggest faking some sign language and holding up a card explaining that you are deaf.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:52 PM   #3
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CarMax is a good place to go if you want to sit in and/or test drive a bunch of different models from different manufacturers.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
I plan on buying a new car in about 6-10 months, so I've started doing my research. Learning online is great, with so many resources available, but there is still no substitute for actually sitting in a vehicle and getting a feel for it.

I've been driving a small SUV for a long time and want to stay with that segment. So I decided to open my search up to the entire world of small SUVs, regardless of price.

In the last week I've gone to nine dealerships and asked to simply sit in a particular model just to get a feel for it. I made it clear I was only in the initial research stage and not ready to buy for at least six months. What an unbelievable variety of sales experiences!

Is there a reasonably polite way of saying "SHUT UP! Just let me look it over and answer any questions I may ask."? Some of the salescritters (mostly the younger ones) just can't help spewing out such a steady stream of information you can't get a question in edgewise.

My plan is to narrow the field down to two or three finalists and then take them for a test drive. Once I've decided, I'll probably use a car buying service like Truecar or the equivalent to do the negotiating.

Sorry for ranting a bit, but I really wonder if I'm missing something.
Bummer. Nothing worse than perstering sales folks at a dealership. Not sure how to ask them questions without giving them the idea that they're free to continue talking after answering.

When I just want to sit in a car and see how it feels I tell the people there I'm passing time while my car is being serviced. That usually stops them from hovering.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:17 PM   #5
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In my experience you get the least interference going to one of those "the price shown is the price you pay" dealers. The salespeople are usually not paid on commissions or quotas so they tend to leave you alone more. Of course they don't negotiate on price, but it is an understandable tradeoff.

I also agree that Carmax is a good place to be able to sit in and test a variety of cars without much hassle.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:19 PM   #6
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your sitting in a someones personal property, ie a 20-50 thousand dollar vehicle, give the salesman a break , he is trying to make a living too,
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:23 PM   #7
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Have you considered a new car show? Not sure what time of year they are, but probably much easier to just sit in them without being bothered.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:28 PM   #8
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We had a good experience using Navy Federal Credit Union's buying service to get a good price once we decided on the new vehicle we wanted.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:53 PM   #9
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Costco also has good prices through their network.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:18 PM   #10
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We've been ready to buy a new medium-sized SUV for a couple of years now. DH has done a bunch of research, but somehow we haven't been out to test drive anything. I'm the driver, so I have to go do the test driving.

Oh well, we'll get to it soon.....
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:26 PM   #11
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It seems you are overthinking. 9 dealers? 6-10 months out. That means a whole new fleet of new models will be out.

Car salesman make their money selling cars. Some are better than others. I agree with giving them a break. If they don't sell cars, they get paid less and probably lose their jobs after a certain amount of time.

The enemy of a good car buying experience is a perfect car buying experience.

Do you value a smooth ride? A long warranty? 40 mpg? Where is a good location for regular service?

I would narrow your search down before visiting more car dealers. Costco, TrueCar, CarMax, you will get a reasonable deal. If that is ok, they do make the buy easier.

Good luck and let us know what you buy.

PS I think a Lexus RX350 is your next car. I have a 1/1,000 chance of being correct.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:32 PM   #12
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Maybe I just wasn't clear. I have nothing but respect for the job a car salesman does; it's a tough job. My gripe is just when I'm trying to look at a feature in a car I'm not familiar with and they keep interrupting and distracting me by pointing out a completely different feature. And another. And another. Makes me crazy because I can't focus on anything. If they would just shut up for a minute or two while I'm looking at something, that would be much appreciated.

I've gone and sat in all the cars I'm interested in, just to get a first impression. In the process, I've reduced my initial list from 10 to 5. Back to online now and I'll eventually get it down to three. Then I'll test drive those.

OK, enough kvetching.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:40 PM   #13
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Maybe I just wasn't clear. I have nothing but respect for the job a car salesman does; it's a tough job. My gripe is just when I'm trying to look at a feature in a car I'm not familiar with and they keep interrupting and distracting me by pointing out a completely different feature. And another. And another. Makes me crazy because I can't focus on anything. If they would just shut up for a minute or two while I'm looking at something, that would be much appreciated.

I've gone and sat in all the cars I'm interested in, just to get a first impression. In the process, I've reduced my initial list from 10 to 5. Back to online now and I'll eventually get it down to three. Then I'll test drive those.

OK, enough kvetching.
I think an auto show would be ideal. It happens once a year in my area and is a great opportunity to look at and sit in many different brands and models without any hard sell. The only downside is waiting in line ti sit in some of the popular vehicles because many other people are checking out the same vehicle.
My recent experience buying a new car through AAA was a very good experience.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:46 PM   #14
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You were very brave going to so many dealerships. Now you should be aware that they all have different business methods and personalities--most being slam and jamb operations.

As a 24 year auto business veteran, I still prefer to deal with individually owned local dealerships. Those big national chains will all knock your heads off on add on's--including ridiculous documentary fees. They eat customers' pocketbooks in many cases and the dealership chains will now allow normal profit margins on cars sold.

My family currently owns a big city luxury car dealership--after owning minority ownership in a couple of Honda dealerships. I'm fortunate to personally know dealers of many car brands and they cut to the quick with me.

I like dealing online. I'd first tell the online salesman I'm going to buy, and I want a straightforward bottom line price without playing any games. On my last Honda purchase on a Civic SI, I beat all the dealers for 250 miles around wanting list price plus $699 doc fee. I tried to buy locally, but our Honda dealer's a slam and jam bunch. Good luck to you in your search.
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Old 04-19-2017, 04:57 PM   #15
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I have never had this experience at a car dealership. But I tend to do all of my preliminary research online, using sites like Edmunds. I find reading reviews and looking at photos to be far more effective than driving around to a bunch of dealerships. By the time I'm ready to buy, I usually know exactly what I want. At a minimum, I've narrowed it down to two choices.

I've never negotiated the price of a car inside a dealership either. Every dealer has an internet sales department that is used to quoting prices online. And you can use car buying sites to get bids from these dealers before you talk to any of them to get a sense of what the range is. I usually provide a fake name and an email address I use just for these types of inquiries so that they don't clog up my main email inbox. When I'm ready to buy, I enter the real information and begin the discussions.

Of course, my next car will be the Tesla Model 3. So all of the above gets thrown out the window, and I pay list price and wait (years) for my car to be ready for delivery.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:23 PM   #16
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Maybe I just wasn't clear. I have nothing but respect for the job a car salesman does; it's a tough job. My gripe is just when I'm trying to look at a feature in a car I'm not familiar with and they keep interrupting and distracting me by pointing out a completely different feature. And another. And another. Makes me crazy because I can't focus on anything. If they would just shut up for a minute or two while I'm looking at something, that would be much appreciated.

I've gone and sat in all the cars I'm interested in, just to get a first impression. In the process, I've reduced my initial list from 10 to 5. Back to online now and I'll eventually get it down to three. Then I'll test drive those.

OK, enough kvetching.
why not test drive all 5?
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:22 PM   #17
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figure out the car you want and then let AAA buy it for you. The get fleet prices and do the haggling.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:36 PM   #18
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we got some kind of pricing from USAA they sent us 3 quotes, we prepicked all the options and they emailed us 3 dealers with 3 decent prices, one dealer in Manhattan swore he had the car, we go and bingo all lies we wasted 5 hours, the next dealer not on the list said he would lose money on the car if he sold it to us at the price, we went to the second dealer that emailed us and he had "sold" the car , before we drove to new jersey to see the last guy we cold walked into an old time dealership in a horrible part of town, we showed him the prices he said will you buy the car today?, we said yup, he located the car in Connecticut, 2 days later we got the car, . i called usaa car buying service and told them it was far from hassle free and the liars that said they had the car at that price, but in the end we saved far more on it then if we had to haggle.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:52 PM   #19
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Don't know if you're doing it "right", but I've taken the same approach.

Started out with a list of 15, both coupes and mid-size SUVs. On line research, reviews and sitting in many. Didn't want to drive anything unless I knew I could actually live with it every day. Sat in the front seats, back seats, and carefully eyeballed the trunk/storage space to ensure it met the requirement of getting the groceries home and could accommodate a reasonable Costco run.

Ended up driving 3 and selected the one I thought was the best value . That Infiniti coupe with 300 HP sure was nice, though

My experience with the sales people was similar, even when I made it clear I wouldn't take any of their time nor wanted to drive anything. Figure it's the nature of the retail car business.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:54 PM   #20
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I've always haggled for the price online and then do the final test drive and pick up the car. I've done that many years already. I just don't have the patience to sit through any sale pitch.
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