Car Buying Tips From A Car Dealer

Professional juggler

A professional juggler once told me that the only way to learn to juggle six balls at the same time is to try to juggle seven. In today’s retail environment, the position of general manager requires specialized expertise and diversity of knowledge. It is not uncommon for a qualified GM to command an annual income north of $500,000 and into the seven digits; they can virtually write their own pay plan.

I know what you’re thinking right now: “What in the hell is Ziegler smoking?” You know plenty of general managers who make good money, but not that kind of money. The truth is that most GMs are not executives. They are glorified general sales managers. Are you among them?

There is a reason some of the large public companies struggle with acquisitions of new dealerships and expansion of their brands: There is a huge shortage of executive general managers who can successfully run a large-volume dealership or dealer group

Get to Work Early.

I am one of the first to arrive at the dealership, every morning. My day begins before normal business hours.

Drive the Lot.

One of the primary responsibilities of the executive GM is the condition of the overall facility — cleanliness, display and safety. My first task is to drive the dealership from both directions, then slowly weave through the inventory. I am looking for uneven rows and obvious “lot rot” — especially in pre-owned — as well as litter, loose equipment and other safety hazards.

 

ways to haggle a lower car price

Maybe that’s because, unlike in other cultures, we don’t do it very often, so we haven’t gotten very good at it. I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it to learn, given that the two things we do have to negotiate for are the most expensive things we buy: our homes and our cars. In fact,

New cars sell for just over $34,000 on average, according to Kelley Blue Book, so that’s a potential savings of about $5,000. How often in life do you have an opportunity to save four figures? “You work hard for your money and therefore have a right — and a responsibility — to reduce your costs,”

Get outside financing first: Car dealers don’t make money just by selling cars. They make money selling financing. It’s another moving part that complicates your negotiation. That’s why it’s essential to get preapproved for a loan at a bank or credit union before you ever talk to a dealership. After you’ve negotiated a price for the vehicle, you can see whether the dealership’s financing is any better than your own.

Choose either in-person or online : You know what it’s like to do it the old-fashioned way and visit the dealership. But there is another way. In the 1990s, dealerships created “Internet departments” to respond to online shoppers. These departments interact with customers via phone and email and are often quicker to reveal their best price for a vehicle. Plus, they frequently strive for volume sales rather than milking each transaction. This can make for a lower-pressure experience. Choose the method that suits your personality, then proceed to the next step.

Know what to pay: How can you set your opening offer and maximum offer and know you’re getting a fair deal? I like to use Edmunds’s “True Market Value” pricing because it’s free and based on actual prices people in your area are paying for the same car. TMV pricing is available for new and used vehicles. Let’s take a three-year-old Ford F-150 pickup as an example, because it’s the most popular vehicle in America. Edmunds gives you four TMV levels of pricing for a used vehicle

 

Ways to Avoid Car-Buying Gotchas

New car sales jumped 17 percent last month, to 1.5 million, the highest level since the beginning of the Great Recession. Consumers are buying cars even while they remain reluctant to spend on other big-ticket items, and it makes sense – drivers can only put off buying a new car for so long. The average age of cars on the road today is 11.4 years, a record. So as millions of Americans trudge for the first time in years into dealerships during this, the traditionally best time of the year to get a deal on a new car, it’s time to remember this hard truth — the house (almost) always wins.

Buying a car is still an inherently risky process, full of mine fields and booby traps that work only one way — in the house’s favor. The Internet, once seen as a great equalizer for consumers in the car-buying process, is now a part of those booby traps, and can hurt as much as it helps.

Never forget: Dealers are much better at selling cars than you are at buying them. They are professionals and do it every day. You do it once every 5-7 years. Start from this humble, skeptical angle and you’ll avoid getting screwed.

only to overpay for car registration or some other tack-on. It’s about getting a fair deal. Many people think they are good at buying cars, but like a good wrestler, dealers are very good at using their alleged strength against them. Not long ago, I had to counsel a friend who called me bragging, “every single salesperson was shaking their heads saying I’d taken them for a great deal,” but when I did the math on his monthly payments, and I had to tell him something was wrong. He’d agreed to a $2,000 extended warranty without realizing it, and about $30 extra had been snuck onto his monthly payments right under his nose! (I’ll explain how to get out of those).

The world is now full of consumers who think they’ve scored a great deal by getting “invoice price” off the Web, only to get screwed by tack-on delivery fees, expensive financing or back-room shenanigans like window etching. So here is a guide to the gotchas of car sales you might not see anywhere else.

 

Buying A Car From One Dealership, Servicing It At Another

but it was quite a distance in heavy traffic. She didn’t mind the drive to get a new car, but servicing was going to be a real problem. Besides helping people with auto advice on Car Pro Radio Show, I also recommend good dealerships from which to purchase. I handpick these, and I only have one or two dealers per brand, per market. That means that often, my listeners have to drive to get a great deal and have a good experience.

The truth is that dealers make a lot of money servicing vehicles. In fact, their service departments are way more profitable than their new vehicle departments in a huge majority of dealerships. Dealers don’t advertise their service departments often, commissions and salaries are much less than sales commissions, and overall, the expenses in a service department are much lower than on the sales side. That means that for every dollar of sales in service, or in warranty revenue, much more of the sales dollar goes to the bottom line of the dealership.

What does this mean for the consumer? It means that a dealer has a lot of incentive to keep you coming back for service. Think about it, a dealer could see you dozens of times for service, but maybe once every five to ten years to purchase a vehicle.

Make no mistake, dealers are paid handsomely for doing warranty work. The factory usually pays the dealership its customary retail labor rate for performing warranty services, and also gives it a nice markup on any needed parts. The dealership is on your side when you take your car in for warranty work since in some markets, it is being paid $150 per labor hour to perform the work.

Smart dealers also know that if they take care of you on service, there is a chance they might sell you your next car. Dealership service departments are usually busy places, and most pay no attention to where you bought your car, they just want to take care of you and see you again. They also want to make sure that if you are sent a survey from the factory, you can honestly give them good scores.

 

Things to Know When Buying a Used Car

Buying a new car, or a car that is new to you, can be an exciting (and exhausting) experience. It’s a lot to take in—going for test drives, comparing different options, and picking out the car that is right for you. However, a lot of people rush into to purchasing a vehicle without making sure they are getting a good deal and that they are buying a car that will last them for years to come.

You may have heard that you have a 30, 60, or 90-day grace period to return a used vehicle after you have purchased it. This is a myth! Unless you have it in writing that you are being given a grace period or warranty of some kind, once you sign the paperwork, that vehicle belongs to you.

There are two, free resources online where you can look up the current market value of used vehicles.

You’ve heard the commercials on the television, “ask to see the CarFax!” Although there are several different companies that offer this service, asking to view a used vehicle’s history report can tell you if the vehicle has ever been in an accident, what service has been done to the vehicle, and if the vehicle has a good title or a salvage title.

If possible, always have a mechanic look at and drive any used car that you are considering purchasing. Many times a good mechanic can diagnose possible future problems with a vehicle simply based on its condition, the way it sounds, or the way it drives. This could literally save you thousands of dollars in the long run!