Shopping for a new car--saps a part of your soul

<p>Now I know why we keep cars ten years--we despise the process--no wonder car salesmen and dealers always top the least as least trusted professionals!!!</p>

<p>--The invoice is what they pay the manufacturer for the car--yeah right, sure it is! So when the end up offering the car for below invoice, they sell cars at a loss?? I don't think so.</p>

<p>--They only make a couple of hundred per car--yeah, right, they support all that infrastructure and the owners are millionaires on a few hundred per car.</p>

<p>--After asking for their rock-bottom best offer, you leave. Then they call you with a lower offer. So were they lying the first time about their best offer, or are they lying when the call you?</p>

<p>At my age (mid fifties) I have bought a few cars in my day, and on matter what I pay, I walk away feeling like I was screwed over.</p>

<p>We spent infinitely more dollars on houses, but we have a definite idea what a house costs in our area, and can make a reasonable offer based on this info. </p>

<p>They always ask "How much are you willing to pay?" We always throw out a ridiculous answer, to show them how ridiculous that question is.</p>

<p>I wish Saturn's no haggle pricing had caught on and ended this foolish game.</p>

<p>^^^ Amen to everything you said!</p>

<p>Last time I walked in I showed them my checkbook and said that I could write them a check for the car before leaving. At least they knew that I was serious. Best time to buy a car is when the economy is in the toilet. I guess that would have been last fall. I bought mine ten years ago, just before the stock market collapsed. I thought that I had a good deal - the better deal was the quality of the car.</p>

<p>We've taken to buying cars coming off of leases. </p>

<p>For our last purchase, we found a dealer who specializes in cars coming back from leases (he calls them one-owner cars). He buys them from the auctions, re-conditions them, then puts a firm price on them (and advertises that same price on the internet). Like the price? Buy the car. If not, go somewhere else. His salesperson will pull a Carfax for you while you watch, and the car we got there was in excellent condition - a fact confirmed by our local mechanic, the first place we went after buying the car. We bought a mid-size SUV when gas was $4/gallon - we paid $5k BELOW blue book.</p>

<p>Last three cars I've bought have basically been internet transactions.</p>

<p>You submit a request to local dealers through one of the big car sites like Edmunds describing exactly what you want, and wait for the dealers to email you what they have and at what price. I always figure if I can get within a hundred or two of what the car sites report as the invoice price, it's good enough - I don't begrudge them a little profit, and I don't spend a day playing the games.</p>

<p>
[quote]
So when the end up offering the car for below invoice, they sell cars at a loss??

[/quote]

Occasionally they will if they need to sell a certain number of cars to make a manufacturer incentive. That's why the best time to buy is end of the month or end of the quarter.</p>

<p>"Holdback" also gives them 2 or 3% that doesn't show up in the invoice price. Sometimes there are other manufacture incentives in play that let them go below invoice and still make money. You can usually dig this info out on the big car sites.</p>

<p>Don't deal with salespeople - buy via the internet and the experience (and price) is much better.</p>

<p>I joined my credit union because if offers a Car Buying Service. One phone call from me to the car expert to give her the make, model, color, any other special features. One call from her the next day to say "Your car is at dealership X for this price: $Y. Mr. Z can meet you there anytime after Q pm." One trip to the dealership to look at the car, test drive it around the block, sign the papers, and drive it home. </p>

<p>Yes, we paid about $400 more than the "best price" estimated on Edmunds.com but the experience was absolutely painless.</p>

<p>And all subsequent dealings with my accounts at that credit union have been absolutely painless as well, so I feel that I did get a really good deal!</p>

<p>Another vote for buying off lease cars. We do that and STILL keep our cars for over 10 years. That sick feeling you have from overpaying from a new car is because you ARE overpaying. No matter how good a deal you get from the internet. Who really needs new? </p>

<p>That said, you need to find a reputable dealer for off-lease cars, get a warranty, and choose a vehicle with a good repair record.</p>

<p>Another vote for buying 2-3 year old cars.
We research available cars that meet our criteria, shop for availability on ebay (local search) or cars.com then visit the car in person.
I especially like seeing the selling price on the car in dealer showroom vs what is listed online......our difference was $2500. I doubt my negotiating skills would have landed the same 'discount'.
Test drive, carfax, done.</p>

<p>You get remainder of manufacturer warranty, basically a 'new' car, and don't suffer that sinking feeling of having paid too much.</p>

<p>I have used the Edmund's internet quote route to buy three cars now. They make you give a phone number but when the dealers call I tell them I want to correspond only by email. It's important to get their quote in writing and print out the emails to take with you when you go in to finalize the deal. </p>

<p>The only time the system didn't work well was when I also wanted to trade in the old car. The dealers I talked to gave me wildly different trade-in values which made the process more difficult. The dealer who had the car I wanted was offering $2500 less for the trade-in. When I tried to get the same car from another dealer, he would have had to get it from the first dealer, who refused to send it over, knowing it was me. Jerk. So I went to a third place and ended up choosing an different car anyway. </p>

<p>But I digress....other than that kerfuffle, Edmunds has worked wonderfully for me. I've even read the discussion boards on the cars I wanted and knew what the common issues were for the cars so I could pretend to be knowledgeable.</p>

<p>I know how you feel. I mostly felt the same way when I was shopping for a spouse. I did like feel that the process "sapped the soul," but I later found that I had actually sold my soul. :(</p>

<p>I HATE buying cars, too (I also hate jewelers and carpet salespeople). It's getting a little easier now with all the car buying services. We recently visited 3 dealerships,giving them a chance to quote on price/availability, but we weren't impressed. Both Costco and USAA, my auto insurer, offer buying services and USAA was able to put me in touch with a dealer who had the lowest price. I agreed to buy the vehicle during the last week of the month and they drove it to my house, a 90 mile trip, on the last day of the month.</p>