CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

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mostly_lurking
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CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by mostly_lurking » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:13 am

Following advice from this forum, I tried using CarsDirect in hopes of getting a good value-to-hassle ratio on buying a new car. Cars direct provide a suggested price that looked attractive and listed five dealers. All but one were inconveniently located, but doable for a good price. However, only one dealer has even initiated contact with me. From their webpage, I see they have cars that meet my criteria in stock. That dealer sent two form emails (with no real information or prices) and left a voice mail (also with no real information or prices). I responded promptly saying I wanted to get their best price via email. They haven't even bothered to respond. The other four dealers haven't bothered to contact me at all. Is this poor level of customer service "normal"?

jdb
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by jdb » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:44 am

What kind of car are you looking for? If a new General Motors vehicle, they have a great web interface tied into dealers. Having bought a Tesla Model S online two years ago and disliking the dealer experience, but in the market for a midsize pickup truck (my wife has adopted the Tesla), I was very impressed with the GM online site, filled out info as to the specs of Colorado pickup truck was looking for, and got calls within days from internet sales managers at various local dealers, found one in transit and picked it up last week with very little negotiating hassle from dealer (they have to hassle you a little bit, can't help it and keeps sales managers employed). Not quite the Tesla online seamless experience, still have to go to dealership, but very user friendly. In fact there is headline article today in WSJ on this system, called Shop-Click-Drive website.

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mostly_lurking
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by mostly_lurking » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:54 am

Subaru.

dbltrbl
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by dbltrbl » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:25 am

Dealers have wised up or colluded. I purchased Honda civic in a Midwestern city. Sent out request for quote to all 7 local dealers and two out of town about 75 miles away. only 4 replied with the prices. Two of them OTD price which I requested. However, other two did state what was not included in the price. This was through Edmunds, KBB and on my own. OTD price was outrageously high. I went to other two and bargained old fashioned way to about $ 4000.00 below MSRP. Some internet departments do not even bother responding after two or three emails. That was the case for me from a Toyota Dealer. Dry Ridge Toyota didn't bother at all as I was considering Corrolla as an alternative. I also even had purchased previous corolla from them. That much for internet shopping. Tesla here I come. :sharebeer

maroon
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by maroon » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:39 am

Subaru! This doesn't surprise me. Unless you're looking for the BRZ, I think you may have a difficult time finding dealers to play the email competition game. Sales are through the roof.
See: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/01/04/suba ... 14-record/

If you're looking for a new Forester, check out this thread for prices reportedly paid:
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin ... id-300498/

Finally, do a Google search for "Subaru VIP discount program" - this might help, also.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Lafder » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:54 am

I got responses to my dealer contacts right away for Subaru.

Perhaps resend an email/contact ? Did something in your email turn them off ? It seems unusual so many did not reply.

In my case there are only 3 Subaru dealerships in an easy drive. I recall they wanted to speak to me on the phone right away too.

I asked for the price in an email so I had it in writing and not just verbal on the phone. They were within 200$ of each other and both claimed they would show me their invoice cost.

One dealership used Costco pricing, the other Truecar. For me it was important to be comparing the FULL cost I would pay including tax, title, license. That was the price within 200$ between the 2 for a 2015 Subaru we ended up ordering to get exactly what we wanted.

If only one dealer responded to my inquiry I would be glad to give them my business. But for me, the location matters since I would prefer to get the car serviced where it is bought, especially at first. Go look in person if they won't reply to your email.

lafder

gatz
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by gatz » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:58 am

OP, having bought a few cars recently I've noticed that dealers are using these buying services as well as the 'contact us' buttons on their sites just to harvest phone numbers and emails for their sales people. And then no-one replies with any specifics on what you asked for or even a real email address. Yes, terrible customer service and it's frustrating not to be able to email a real person in the dealer, and even if you do get an email address you won't get a price from them.
It seems like the old fashioned way of calling dealers, etc is still the way to go. Dealers are resisting the internet.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by ptyalism » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:46 am

I used Edmonds and got the same (lack of) response other than generic "lets talk" emails.

I ended up going to the dealers website and searched their inventory. I sent an email through the dealer site about a specific vehicle in their inventory with VIN#. I did this on 5 different dealer websites. Three of them gave generic responses and did not address my specific questions. One sent me an email asking if this was a good email address to get me at. After no response they called the phone number I gave (Google Voice) and asked if this was a good phone number to reach me at. The last dealer gave me a quote and answered my specific questions via email. I went in the next day and purchased.

I see CarsDirect, Edmunds and the like basically a lead generator system that leads to spam.

I responded to the surveys sent out by the manufacturer for each dealer I contacted through the websites. I told them of the poor performance and praised the one that responded appropriately. To this date, 7 months later, I still get spammed by all those dealers that didn't respond appropriately... and yes I have "unsubscribed" and I have emailed them to tell them why I didn't choose them and to remove me from their lists all to no avail.

Johno
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Johno » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:34 am

Recently bought a BMW from a dealer who responded via True Car. It showed three actual quotes and dealer names, one considerably less than the others, TC makes them include doc and other fees. I tried to specify an exact car (option package, color) that I knew from dealer websites was common, but still that got a bit screwed up in True Car's software*, and anyway only once you see the dealer names can you focus on a particular cars you know they have inventory from their own websites. At that point the two originally higher bidders would not quote again by email on cars they actually had but withdrew to 'come in and let's talk'. The original low bidder though was willing to quote again remotely on a car he had, with another price that was quite good according to other pricing services I punched it into (KBB, CarsDirect). So I bought it from him, with only minor further haggling on the phone, met the guy in person when I picked up the car.

But back in 2000 I bought a car (Ford) actually 'direct' from CarsDirect. In those days their business model was just an etailer who'd sell you a car at a discount. Good price, car showed up on a truck at a store parking lot near my house, never had any contact with the dealer whose logo was on it (from out of state) before or after. Since then dealer push back has forced these outfits to regress to the current system of facilitating direct customer/dealer contact with varying degrees of advantage for the customer depending whether the dealers really play ball in that system, and some of them seem to have made the business decision not to.

I'd love to see anonymous, truthful dealer input on how they view the current landscape of car selling including the online services.

*this seems an advantage for dealers of makes which feature highly varying options and packages compared to those who just have a few simple levels of option packages. For the former especially I've found that the online services seldom exactly match the manufacturer sites in possible combinations and MSRP's, which means a 'do over' on the pricing after consumer contact with the dealer, which gives those dealers more opportunity to pretend they are putting it all out there on emails when those prices might really be more like the prices you see in newspaper ads, to get you to come in so if you're not a good negotiator they can get more from you.

autonomy
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by autonomy » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:47 am

Car buying in this country is a joke. Overseas the prices are firm - you walk in knowing exactly what you'll pay and you get to select which features to have, not the stupid package scheme.

Anyway, I hope that internet-savvy texting millenials will eventually kill the dealer thing.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Frugal Disciple » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:07 pm

Lafder wrote: They were within 200$ of each other and both claimed they would show me their invoice cost.
I used to work in pricing for a major automotive manufacturer. A dealer's invoice price may be what they pay the manufacturer for the car, but there is a lot of profit that is paid on the back end from the manufacturer after they sell a car. When I left a couple years ago. we were trying to find ways to restructure the pricing so that the invoice was being pushed higher while the true net price to the dealer remained the same. Most manufacturers now just assume that dealers are showing customers the invoice price, so they are finding ways to build in profit beyond that.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Johno » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:26 pm

autonomy wrote:Car buying in this country is a joke. Overseas the prices are firm -
But substantially higher, even correcting in different directions stuff like VAT or purchase taxes not in the US price or shipping cost of the car to the US if foreign made is in the US price but not the foreign price. The dealer system isn't necessarily the only reason for that, but it's clearly the case. I guess it depends in part on worldview. Some people are not bothered to pay more for the same thing as long as everyone else is paying more.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:49 pm

Email/online vehicle price quoting is aggravating, yes.
I'm planning to purchase a new F-150 pickup soon, a factory order to get it the way I want.
So I do all the configurating online at the excellent Ford website. I then click "Get an Internet Price" and send my configured vehicle specs to two local dealers.

One replies with a similar in-stock vehicle with the window sticker and then their selling prices, roughly 10% off MSRP.

The other dealer just email-replies and invites me in for a test drive and a chat. :oops:

This doesn't really surprise me or bother me, partly because I'm just scoping things out right now while I continue to accumulate bags of shekels to pay for the vehicle.
When I'm ready in a few months, I'll print out a few copies of the vehicle specs that I want and drop in at two, possibly three local dealers for face to face discussions.
One of the three dealers will eventually have the best price...
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an_asker
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by an_asker » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:59 pm

OP:

This does not help you any but I had made this very point a few months back!

puma
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by puma » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:08 pm

The Wizard wrote:Email/online vehicle price quoting is aggravating, yes.
I'm planning to purchase a new F-150 pickup soon, a factory order to get it the way I want.
So I do all the configurating online at the excellent Ford website. I then click "Get an Internet Price" and send my configured vehicle specs to two local dealers.

One replies with a similar in-stock vehicle with the window sticker and then their selling prices, roughly 10% off MSRP.

The other dealer just email-replies and invites me in for a test drive and a chat. :oops:

This doesn't really surprise me or bother me, partly because I'm just scoping things out right now while I continue to accumulate bags of shekels to pay for the vehicle.
When I'm ready in a few months, I'll print out a few copies of the vehicle specs that I want and drop in at two, possibly three local dealers for face to face discussions.
One of the three dealers will eventually have the best price...
From my experience, this is exactly what makes it harder than it should be to get a good response from a dealer salesperson these days to an email blast. Too many people who are not remotely close to purchase clicking on that "Get an Internet Price" and engaging multiple dealers. Repeatedly. :)

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Browser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:27 pm

This thread has me thinking that online car shopping is becoming about the same thing as going in person to the dealer. Just another way to shake down the customer with no real advantage. All the advice, threads, etc. about how to shop online, play the dealers off against one another, etc. may be outdated and worthless information. The dealers have seen all this hundreds of times and now they just shrug it off and try to lure you into the dealership to work you over. I'm not sure that you can do anything except figure out a price that you will be willing to pay, contact all the dealerships with that offer, and if you can get a firm deal from anyone at that price just go ahead and do it. At least saves having to haggle at the dealership, though you probably won't get the best price possible.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:39 pm

Dealers hate giving concrete prices by email because they know you'll just take it to the dealer down the street and have them beat it. Yes, this is normal and yes, this is why everyone hates car dealers.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by tyrion » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:42 pm

Browser wrote:This thread has me thinking that online car shopping is becoming about the same thing as going in person to the dealer. Just another way to shake down the customer with no real advantage. All the advice, threads, etc. about how to shop online, play the dealers off against one another, etc. may be outdated and worthless information. The dealers have seen all this hundreds of times and now they just shrug it off and try to lure you into the dealership to work you over. I'm not sure that you can do anything except figure out a price that you will be willing to pay, contact all the dealerships with that offer, and if you can get a firm deal from anyone at that price just go ahead and do it. At least saves having to haggle at the dealership, though you probably won't get the best price possible.
I agree to an extent. It is in the dealers' collective best interest not to engage in online shopping. If they don't give out pricing info then the buyer will be forced to come in to the dealership. The salesmen are experts at this face to face negotiating.

On the other hand, it's in an individual dealer's best interest to make a sale. Sometimes even selling a car at a loss can make them money based on volume discounts. There was a fascinating story on 'This American Life' about how the dealership actually works.

So it only takes one (or more) dealerships 'playing ball' to make it worthwhile to online shop.

last car I bought (it was many years ago) I had the same thing happen. A bunch of non-responses. A few 'come on in' responses. And one good quote that held up well against truecar and carsdirect pricing.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:42 pm

Johno wrote: I'd love to see anonymous, truthful dealer input on how they view the current landscape of car selling including the online services.
Check out the askcarsales subreddit. There is no shortage of anonymous dealer input there.

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Aptenodytes
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Aptenodytes » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:51 pm

You say you included dealers that were far away, but not how far away. Consider setting a wider radius and see what you pick up. When I bought an Accord two years ago the closest dealers did what you report, but one far away played along and I used its offer to lock in a matching price at a closer dealer. Not as easy as I hoped, but easy enough.

I also used the Consumer Reports service which gives histograms of actual recent sales in the local area. That helped me confirm that my price was not likely go go any lower.

At the end of the day dealers are not going meet your low price if they know someone else will walk in and pay more. If you want a car in tight supply you will have to pay more. If you could get reliable information on what people are paying (e.g. through something like the CR service), then you can pick one of the very lowest prices actually paid and shop that around. If you are persistent someone will bite.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:39 pm

Frugal Disciple wrote:
Lafder wrote: They were within 200$ of each other and both claimed they would show me their invoice cost.
I used to work in pricing for a major automotive manufacturer. A dealer's invoice price may be what they pay the manufacturer for the car, but there is a lot of profit that is paid on the back end from the manufacturer after they sell a car. When I left a couple years ago. we were trying to find ways to restructure the pricing so that the invoice was being pushed higher while the true net price to the dealer remained the same. Most manufacturers now just assume that dealers are showing customers the invoice price, so they are finding ways to build in profit beyond that.

Yes, oh man, I have to laugh when people get all excited when they say they have a deal to puchase Subaru's for 2 percent below invoice. The invoice price as the term was traditionally defined, is the cost the dealer paid for the car. Does anyone think that dealers are selling cars to people for 2 percent than what they paid for it :oops: :oops:

Asking for the invoice price or trying to negotiate around that is a fool's errand.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:42 pm

tyrion wrote:
last car I bought (it was many years ago) I had the same thing happen. A bunch of non-responses. A few 'come on in' responses. And one good quote that held up well against truecar and carsdirect pricing.
I have done this before and no dealer has ever refused to offer a price via e-mail. Dealers know they have the upper hand when you come inside the dealership which is why they are eager to get you in there. When you insist you will not come in , all of them eventually buckle and give a price. Firmness matters.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

SimonJester
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by SimonJester » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:16 pm

denovo wrote:
tyrion wrote:
last car I bought (it was many years ago) I had the same thing happen. A bunch of non-responses. A few 'come on in' responses. And one good quote that held up well against truecar and carsdirect pricing.
I have done this before and no dealer has ever refused to offer a price via e-mail. Dealers know they have the upper hand when you come inside the dealership which is why they are eager to get you in there. When you insist you will not come in , all of them eventually buckle and give a price. Firmness matters.
I think its a different world now. Many dealers will NOT provide a price via email. Ive tried and tired with several for a truck I am looking at and several just flat out wont provide any pricing via email. Over and Over again "... Just come on in and we can discuss things...". Another dealer wound not give me a copy of their "Four square" sheet when I was negotiating in person, cant say I blame them on this one.



Its also much harder on a used vehicle because you cannot just pit multiple dealers against each other.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by tainted-meat » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:20 pm

It's not poor customer service. They just don't care to waste their time on someone who is going to just beat them down on price and play dealers off each other.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Browser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:35 pm

How about using Carbargains?

http://www.checkbook.org/auto/carbarg.cfm

Don't really know but this might work by Carbargains contacting dealers for bids when the buyer has paid them $250 fee, which assures the dealerships that there is a serious buyer on the other end and not someone on a fishing expedition.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:43 pm

SimonJester wrote:
denovo wrote:
tyrion wrote:
last car I bought (it was many years ago) I had the same thing happen. A bunch of non-responses. A few 'come on in' responses. And one good quote that held up well against truecar and carsdirect pricing.
I have done this before and no dealer has ever refused to offer a price via e-mail. Dealers know they have the upper hand when you come inside the dealership which is why they are eager to get you in there. When you insist you will not come in , all of them eventually buckle and give a price. Firmness matters.
I think its a different world now. Many dealers will NOT provide a price via email. Ive tried and tired with several for a truck I am looking at and several just flat out wont provide any pricing via email. Over and Over again "... Just come on in and we can discuss things...". Another dealer wound not give me a copy of their "Four square" sheet when I was negotiating in person, cant say I blame them on this one.



Its also much harder on a used vehicle because you cannot just pit multiple dealers against each other.
I wouldn't negotiate using a 4-square sheet to begin with. The Consumerist explains why it's a scam.

http://consumerist.com/2007/03/30/deale ... o-beat-it/

YMMV, but whenever a dealer said they can't give a price over the internet, I told them I won't respond to any more e-mails, and eventually they cough up. I never give them an address or a telephone number and I give a fake name.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by ripete » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:05 pm

This won't answer your question, and I found it mystifying and frustrating at the time. Now I just laugh about it.
I was in the market for an SUV,my Nissan Pathfinder lease was coming to an end, and KIA had just come out with a full size SUV. It was a brand new model, in its first year, at the time.
I walked into the dealership, spoke to a young man who was there, and expressed my desire to take a test drive. "Are you going to purchase the vehicle?" he asked. "I don't know," I honestly replied. "I couldn't begin to make a decision on that until I actually drive it." "Well, then," he replied, "if you're not going to purchase it, I can't waste it on you." Dumbfounded, I tried to explain myself. "If I don't drive it, there's no possibility of purchase, but if I drive it, I may well make the purchase. Are you asking me to guarantee a purchase before I even test drive the vehicle?" He just looked at me, as if my words were an affront to him. I walked out, with a mixture of confusion and anger. To this day, I have never been to a KIA dealership, nor will I ever consider their product.
And now, for my Subaru story: my wife and I went into a local Subaru dealership (no longer in business, and perhaps this is why). I wanted to take a test drive (by the way, this is around the same time that I was looking at the KIA). The salesman, sitting at his desk, started asking me what I did for a living. I felt this was inappropriate, so I hesitatingly mentioned I was in 'health care', without getting any more specific. I really don't know why his shorts were starched, but he refused to allow us to take a test drive. I really don't get that one either. I even wrote Subaru USA home office and explained the situation. I felt I had been treated rudely by this salesman, and I let Subaru know about it. I also signed the online complaint with my professional title. The resulting e-mail answer from Subaru was tepid at best and cowardly, to say the least. They stated that each dealership is an independent organization, and they basically did not interfere in the internal workings of any particular dealership.
So, we leased a Murano and lived happily ever after. And it's either been Nissan or Toyota, because apparently these dealerships actually WANT to sell cars.
You can't make this stuff up.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:14 pm

ripete wrote:TI even wrote Subaru USA home office and explained the situation. I felt I had been treated rudely by this salesman, and I let Subaru know about it. I also signed the online complaint with my professional title. The resulting e-mail answer from Subaru was tepid at best and cowardly, to say the least. They stated that each dealership is an independent organization, and they basically did not interfere in the internal workings of any particular dealership. .
That's true, dealers are independent franchises. They don't accept any liability or responsibility for the activities of their franchises, generally speaking.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

The Wizard
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:30 pm

It would be good if we could buy new cars on amazon.com.
We need to ring up Jeff and make this happen...
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denovo
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:11 pm

The Wizard wrote:It would be good if we could buy new cars on amazon.com.
We need to ring up Jeff and make this happen...
It's not a matter of what Jeff wants. Every state has laws requiring cars to be sold through dealer franchises, are you try to get Jeff in trouble? :mrgreen:
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ShiftF5
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by ShiftF5 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:11 pm

We buy a car once every 5-10 years.

These guys practice their trade All Day EVERY DAY.

Who's gonna win?

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:18 pm

ShiftF5 wrote:We buy a car once every 5-10 years.

These guys practice their trade All Day EVERY DAY.

Who's gonna win?
You make a decent point, but that's not necessarily how it works.
I take my factory order specs to three dealers, get their quotes, and go with the lowest bid, assuming more than a few $$ difference...
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mostly_lurking
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by mostly_lurking » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:01 am

Thanks for all the input.

On one hand I hear that 2% below invoice isn't a particularly good deal. On the other hand, I hear that between popularity of Subaru's and and dealers potentially conspiring to fight competition, people are having a hard time negotiating without it becoming a major hassle.

I did get one TrueCar offer that was slightly better than dealerships that listed "internet" prices, but not as much as I had hoped. I'll try emailing dealers individually. If they don't prove more interested, then I'll probably just give the nearest dealer a chance to beat the best TrueCar offer and then pick between the two.

Yes, I definitely wish we could just order a car from Amazon (or other online retailer where you can be confident that you're getting a decent price). Strangely, I wouldn't object to paying the "market" price if the higher pricer were going to the enginners who designed it, manufacturer who made it, etc. for making a good car. But the thought of paying a higher price and the difference going to a salesperson who I wish wasn't on the payroll or getting between me and the "buy it now" button on a website is very annoying.

Thanks.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:32 am

mostly_lurking wrote:Thanks for all the input.

On one hand I hear that 2% below invoice isn't a particularly good deal.
:oops:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=158652&p=2384033#p2383592
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by SimonJester » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:09 am

denovo wrote: I wouldn't negotiate using a 4-square sheet to begin with. The Consumerist explains why it's a scam.

http://consumerist.com/2007/03/30/deale ... o-beat-it/

YMMV, but whenever a dealer said they can't give a price over the internet, I told them I won't respond to any more e-mails, and eventually they cough up. I never give them an address or a telephone number and I give a fake name.
I agree with the 4-square sheet, when they pulled it out I thought here we go. I told the sales man I wanted their best out the door price, he came back with "Well we don't sell our vehicles like that, we cant absorb the taxes..." I just about wanted to walk out right there. I started to explain how out the door meant I just wanted the final price but saw I wasn't going to go anywhere. His 4-suqare was useless since I was a cash buyer with no trade. I didnt end up buying that truck as the airbag light was on and they would not commit to fixing it before I signed AND paid. I think not!


Ive done the "I will only negotiate via email and will purchase a vehicle from you once we agree to a price..." usually I don't hear back from that sales person anymore.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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mostly_lurking
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by mostly_lurking » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:51 pm

[quote="denovo"][quote="mostly_lurking"]Thanks for all the input.

On one hand I hear that 2% below invoice isn't a particularly good deal.[/quote] :oops:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=158652&p=2384033#p2383592[/quote]

I did see your original email. I interpretted it to mean that using a percent below invoice as a target price was no longer a way to be confident that you were getting a good deal, since there are now so many ways for manufactuers to send dealers rebates, incentives, etc. that even then you could be significantly overpaying.
Did you mean something different?

denovo
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:38 am

mostly_lurking wrote:
denovo wrote:
mostly_lurking wrote:Thanks for all the input.

On one hand I hear that 2% below invoice isn't a particularly good deal.
:oops:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=158652&p=2384033#p2383592
I did see your original email. I interpretted it to mean that using a percent below invoice as a target price was no longer a way to be confident that you were getting a good deal, since there are now so many ways for manufactuers to send dealers rebates, incentives, etc. that even then you could be significantly overpaying.
Did you mean something different?
More broadly, the point is that the invoice is a USELESS reference point. When I've negotiated, I've never asked for the invoice price, don't need it, don't care, it has no value to me.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

tbradnc
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by tbradnc » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:34 am

denovo wrote: More broadly, the point is that the invoice is a USELESS reference point. When I've negotiated, I've never asked for the invoice price, don't need it, don't care, it has no value to me.
What then do you use as a starting reference point as far as price goes?

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:55 am

This is very common. Most dealers will not give you a price remotely. It can take days to find a few willing to deal remotely. They are out there, so do not give up.

When people say car buying has changed, no it has not! I hope my next car can be a Tesla.

If it were me, I'd focus on Edmund's TMV, and try to go a little down from that. At least you know you're not being overcharged. Also, watch out for doc fees, and additionally discount your offer by the doc fee.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Johno » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:08 am

tbradnc wrote:
denovo wrote: More broadly, the point is that the invoice is a USELESS reference point. When I've negotiated, I've never asked for the invoice price, don't need it, don't care, it has no value to me.
What then do you use as a starting reference point as far as price goes?
I use the charts of prices actually paid on online services like TrueCar, or from Consumer Reports. There's no source to tell you the final price you can squeeze out of a given dealer for a given car, but I agree with denovo that 'invoice' isn't very useful anymore. Maybe at one time it was, but after it became common for it to be divulged (by eg. Consumer Reports) it was inevitable that dealers and manufacturers would subtly change its meaning. Car dealers are kind of like bacteria evolving rapidly to fight antibiotics. :D

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by rustymutt » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:10 am

Hold your position and don't cave to the dealers. They love confusion, as it's a money maker for them. Problem is that it cost you money the way dealer operate. I hate car dealers. Nothing but legal fronts for businessmen to mark up and profit.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by The Wizard » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:14 am

tbradnc wrote:
denovo wrote: More broadly, the point is that the invoice is a USELESS reference point. When I've negotiated, I've never asked for the invoice price, don't need it, don't care, it has no value to me.
What then do you use as a starting reference point as far as price goes?
I tend to agree with denovo.
The reference point for price depends considerably on supply and demand, no way around that.
There are examples over past decades of some new vehicles selling for over MSRP.

Assuming you are NOT looking for something in short supply and high demand, you *might* start thinking around 10% off MSRP.
But what really matters is getting to three different dealers in person and finding what they will sell the same or comparably equipped vehicles for.
There is really no shortcut for doing this...
Attempted new signature...

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Userdc » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:33 am

I tried the email game the last time I bought a car, and it was mostly a waste of time. Here's what I recommend:

1) pick out the car you want, know exactly what trim/options/color you want.
2) use truecar, edmunds, and any online resources you can find (car specific forums, etc) to figure out what people are actually paying for that car in your area. This can change very rapidly, so there's no point in doing this until you are ready to buy. Invoice and MSRP are irrelevant, what matters is what people are actually paying for the car.DO NOT submit your actual information to the pricing/quote services because the dealer may have to pay a referral fee which is coming out of your pocket.
3) Check the inventory of your local dealers to find out who has your exact vehicle in stock. The more they have, the better. Find a backup dealer as well in case the first one is too slimy/difficult.
4) if you need financing, get pre-approved from a bank/credit union before you walk in the door.
5) Print out your resources and come up with a price that you think is fair, and walk in the dealer and let them know you are ready to buy a car today. Start negotiating a few hundred cheaper than your price of you really want to try to get the best deal possible. Only talk about price, not down payment, monthly payment or trade-in.
6) they will take you a lot more seriously than an email because they have a much better chance of converting you to a sale than an email bid that you could easily turnaround and have another dealer match.
7) ensure them (and follow through) that you will give them a perfect survey. This affects how they get paid, so it's very important to them.

That's it. Worked for me with minimal hassle and I think I got a pretty good price. I also went on a weekday that was the last day of a quarter, which supposedly is a good time to buy, but it just happened to be the best time for me too.
Last edited by Userdc on Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by jsandra » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:34 am

I just played this game with five dealers, I was eager to put into practice denovo's advice for negotiating. I'm picking up my new Acura next week. True Car/Cars Direct would not provide a network price for my area, so I searched AutoTraders inventories for nearby dealers that have the car. All negotiation by e-mail.

All five would provide a price, but only one (a) gave a very good price (by True Car standards) at the first opportunity, and (b) made it clear that the price included destination and fees as asked. Most would give an offer, but just vague enough that other dealers would argue it probably didn't really include everything and wouldn't match or beat. One ignored my first attempt to get them to beat a price.

It may have helped in my case that I live in an area where there are no Acura dealers within 100 miles, but there are several within 200 miles. So it was clear that I was going to have to travel somewhere to get my car, and wasn't just using distant quotes to get a lower price from a local dealer. I would suggest making it clear that you visit the distant dealer city often (maybe for business or to visit family) and that you were happy to see they have the car you're looking for. This might stimulate more response.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by mmmodem » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:41 am

I negotiated price on all but one of my cars online. I found the experience lacking but improving with each purchase. I could care less about invoice price or dealer hold back and other such car talk. None of that stuff matters. Only one thing matters: Out the Door price (OTD). The only thing that matters is how much money comes out of my pocket. I don't care if one dealer offers the lowest sales price because it is 10% under invoice if their document fees and mandatory VIN etching ends up costing me more than the other dealer with a higher sales price but no fees.

I used Edmunds.com and Yahoo or whatever source and I email bomb every dealer in the area. I ask for the OTD price with the price line item breakdown. That way, I know they actually calculated an OTD price and didn't leave something out. Then I whittle away for the next couple of weeks until dealers can no longer match the lowest price.

One internet fleet manager says he gets a cut of hundreds of cars that goes through him a month so he is able to offer me the lowest price. I don't know if he is telling the truth but he did offer a price no one else could match. For my last car purchased in 2012, a few dealers did not reply despite me saying I was buy the car immediately. It was pretty aggravating that one laggard dealer replied with the color I wanted and an OTD $49 less than what I purchased 3 days late. I had settled for a color that is not my top pick because that dealer had the lowest price. It's unfortunate that as late as 2012, there are still a lot of dealers out there not internet savvy.

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by tbradnc » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:33 pm

I'm confused as to why trying to pay what others are paying is such a good deal - don't most people overpay for cars because they are even less savvy than someone going off invoice? I really think your average car buyer is an easy mark.

I think I'd still prefer knowing invoice, dealer holdback, and other incentives that you can find online would be where I would start. What others paid would also be important as well.

In short, voodoo. :)

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:58 pm

mmmodem wrote:Only one thing matters: Out the Door price (OTD)[/b].

I ask for the OTD price with the price line item breakdown. That way, I know they actually calculated an OTD price and didn't leave something out. Then I whittle away for the next couple of weeks until dealers can no longer match the lowest price.

I wanted and an OTD $49 less than what I purchased 3 days late.
I agree with asking for the OTD, but I don't ask for the breakdown. The way I can tell if they are being serious with OTD pricing is if they ask for the zip code. (I don't give out names, numbers, or an address. Could vary, but asking for the zip code is important in the states I have done this, because in those states, sales tax is determined based on the taxing jurisdiction of the address of the buyer, not the location of the dealer. As for $50 dollars, that's kind of annoying, I always make it clear that I'l only accept lower bids by increments of $100-$400 depending on the car.
Last edited by denovo on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:03 pm

Johno wrote:
tbradnc wrote:
denovo wrote: More broadly, the point is that the invoice is a USELESS reference point. When I've negotiated, I've never asked for the invoice price, don't need it, don't care, it has no value to me.
What then do you use as a starting reference point as far as price goes?
I use the charts of prices actually paid on online services like TrueCar, or from Consumer Reports. There's no source to tell you the final price you can squeeze out of a given dealer for a given car,
So true. And sometimes those charts can be misleading if within the last 30 days , a rebate cropped up for that particular model. I think the problem is there's a lot of people that want a good deal or a great deal, but don't want to put time in , and think shortcuts like car buying services or finding an invoice are magic bullets. To each his own, but I'd rather save $2-3k on a car by doing this for a couple of days than all that hoops people jump through to save $30 by cutting the cord.
Last edited by denovo on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by denovo » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:05 pm

The Wizard wrote:
But what really matters is getting to three different dealers in person and finding what they will sell the same or comparably equipped vehicles for.
There is really no shortcut for doing this...

No! Every dealer has their inventory available online. Every dealer has an internet sales manager. Once you walk into a dealership, you are prey locked in a cage. They sit you down there and wear you down. They go and ask their manager if they can do that price and stall , and make you sit there like a lump.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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Re: CarsDirect didn't lead to dealers responding with prices

Post by Userdc » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:45 pm

tbradnc wrote:I'm confused as to why trying to pay what others are paying is such a good deal - don't most people overpay for cars because they are even less savvy than someone going off invoice? I really think your average car buyer is an easy mark.

I think I'd still prefer knowing invoice, dealer holdback, and other incentives that you can find online would be where I would start. What others paid would also be important as well.

In short, voodoo. :)
Pereonally, I'm skeptical that all of the information about what dealers REALLY pay for the car is publicly available. I suspect there are frequently rebates and shenanigans that you will never see.

I think that the prices that dealers have actually sold the vehicles for tells you a lot more about their true cost than anything else.

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