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Internet car purchasing - Did I mess up?
Old 12-16-2011, 07:45 PM   #1
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Internet car purchasing - Did I mess up?

Trying to generally follow Edmunds' 10 steps to buying a new car. Am evaluating 3 different types. I intend to test drive the cars, make a choice as to the type I want, and then get competing bids from several dealers (including the test drive dealer) of the chosen type.

However, I simply e-mailed one dealer of each type through their "Contact Us" link asking to test drive a car. I did not mention price and I did not ask specifically ask for the Internet department.

Of course, I got responses immediately, but since I didn't ask specifically for the Internet manager I'm afraid that they were from salespersons who are expecting to make a sale the "traditional" way. I feel that I would be robbing a salesperson of a sale if I showed up at the dealer for my test drive and told the person that I will be negotiating price via Internet.

Am I worrying about nothing?
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:56 PM   #2
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If you tell the "test" drive dealer you'll check his price on the internet, you'll probably get a number of prices very close to each other. 1st, find the car you like, 2nd, start with the dealer closest to your home that has a good reputation, 3rd, make sure you like and trust the salesperson. and, when you feel good buy it.

Most of the discounts are actually factory incentives that don't vary between dealers. And, if you have a trade, you'll want to make sure you get a good price for your trade. A couple of years from now you'll have forgotten what you paid for the car but you'll remember the service you received. And, if you buy the car you like, you'll probably still be healthy. Sometimes people travel a couple of hundred miles to save a couple of hundred bucks. Then, the selling dealer could care less about them and their neighborhood dealer knows they bought elsewhere and will give any extra special care to their customers. Most important is the car......that you like it.....and the relationship with the dealer.........he represents you with the manufacturer.

Good luck.........and, if you get a new car I hope you have a great experience.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
1st, find the car you like,
Check.

Quote:
2nd, start with the dealer closest to your home
Check.

Quote:
that has a good reputation,
Uh-Oh.

Quote:
3rd, make sure you like and trust the salesperson.


Quote:
and, when you feel good buy it.
I hope I can keep my 2000 Volvo S40 and 2011 Honda CR-V going for another 30 years!

Quote:
A couple of years from now you'll have forgotten what you paid for the car but you'll remember the service you received.
I'll remember both. The Volvo dealer was actually OK, but they don't have anything competitive with a CR-V when it was time to purchase that. The Honda dealer I went to, and the Hyundai dealer I went to help DD pick out her car were jerks (OK, they weren't really jerks, I'm just being kind to avoid violating forum rules). I made it clear I wasn't into any game playing, and I know and expect that they need to make a profit, but they treat you like dirt. I'd go further to find another dealer, but I'm not convinced that I'd get any different treatment.

-ERD50
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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My son went car shopping about a month ago armed with printouts of the cars with internet pricing. When we got to the dealer some of the prices were higher that the internet price and some prices were lower.
The salesperson just said they update their internet prices every few days.

Don't worry about it. That is why they have sales managers. Let them work for their money. Enjoy the car shopping.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:28 PM   #5
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You are worrying about nothing, a good deal is a good deal no matter who gives it to you. If you feel comfortable with the salesperson you can go forward, if not, just move on.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:46 PM   #6
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There often is an internet sales guy. I assume it would be less of a hassle to work through him or her. Tell them you expect the internet price before you take the test drive. If they say no, try one of the dealers you haven't contacted yet. It seems likely that if you clicked on a website link to email the dealer that the email reached the internet sales guy if they use one. It may be a non-issue.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:08 AM   #7
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You haven't committed to anything yet. I've bought 4 of my last 5 cars starting with an Internet bid. Last one was 2007 so maybe things have changed and showroom vs internet prices have converged, but I definitely got lower prices from the Internet departments at the dealers. And every deal I made was at the Internet quoted price or lower. It sure shortened the haggling process for me in the past saving me thousands vs MSRP (hopefully no one pays that). I'm one of those strange people who actually enjoys the car buying process and getting the best price, though I don't trade often (6 to 10 years). Good luck, just don't sign until you are satisfied...
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:15 AM   #8
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Start with Edmunds TMV price (which is the avg price people are paying in your area) and shoot for $1000 or so lower depending on the price of the car. More than $1000 lower if the car is expensive. Dont buy it until you get someone to give you that price. Ive done it several times so I know they will go that low or lower. Just keep dialogues going with 2-3 dealers and let the lowest bid win.

Don't listen to the nonsense about getting a rebate OR low financing. I get both.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:55 AM   #9
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And every deal I made was at the Internet quoted price or lower. It sure shortened the haggling process for me in the past saving me thousands vs MSRP (hopefully no one pays that)...
What do you mean exactly, when you say "the Internet price"?

Is that a number that you get from the dealer's 'internet guy', a number they publish on the dealer's website, or a number you get somewhere else (Edmunds, Tru-Car, etc)?

I used the Tru-Car pricing as a ref when I shopped. They show actual sales and a distribution and rate numbers as avg, good, and great deals. IIRC, the diff between average and great was only ~ $400 on a ~24K car. I pay no attention to MSRP numbers etc. I figured if I was close to the 'good' price, and didn't get any add-ons, I was doing OK. But the experience sucked.

I see one potential flaw with those Tru-Car prices. It does not include any dealer supplied options. So maybe the guy who got a 'great' price on the car, bought a bunch of over-priced dealer stuff? So maybe the 'great' deal was offset by other expenses that were a lousy deal?

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Old 12-17-2011, 11:01 AM   #10
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What do you mean exactly, when you say "the Internet price"?

-ERD50
Again I may not be current, but I've used 'third party' sites to solicit quotes in the past including autobytel and edmunds as they solicit bids from several interested dealers and just give me the best price. I would not recommend going directly to a specific dealer internet department to start. From there I've shopped several dealers (not just the online quoting dealer), going to the closest preferred dealer last, and always gotten the internet price or often less. Having that in hand, and sharing that with the dealers right off the bat, starts at a good discount - so I've never had to go through the tiresome dance of working my way down from MSRP.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #11
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Again I may not be current, but I've used 'third party' sites to solicit quotes in the past including autobytel and edmunds as they solicit bids from several interested dealers and just give me the best price. I would not recommend going directly to a specific dealer internet department to start. From there I've shopped several dealers (not just the online quoting dealer), going to the closest preferred dealer last, and always gotten the internet price or often less. Having that in hand, and sharing that with the dealers right off the bat, starts at a good discount - so I've never had to go through the tiresome dance of working my way down from MSRP.
OK, thanks. But what I don't understand is, how do you know that the quoted price is a 'good' price?

I can't be certain, but I think the way they report the numbers on Tru-Car gives a pretty good idea of the range people are actually paying, and the range isn't all that wide, so I have a pretty good idea I'm doing OK if I do a bit better than average.

I pay no attention to MSRP. If I see a two cars I like equally well, and people are getting them for say, $25K, I don't care if the MSRP is $27K on one and $30K on the other - it's just a number that has no bearing on my pocketbook as far as I can tell.

-ERD50
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