Longruninvestor wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:36 pm
I’ve been a dedicated buyer of Japanese cars ever since I had enough money to pay cash for something above “beater” level —and had substantial equity in my home, an emergency fund and was maxing out retirement contributions. My quality and reliability perceptions also meant that there hasn’t been a domestic car in my garage since since the 1990s. Today I find myself in need a beefy tow vehicle and have decided I want (this definitely not a need) a new Ford F150. This thread isn’t about the merits of my choice or the alternatives I have rejected, but rather it’s about the attitudes and behaviors in the folks that sell Fords and curiosity about whether they are the standard at Ford. I’m going to ask for some advice at the end of this post about how I can be a better and smarter buyer of Ford’s product.
I test drove an F150 at a big dealership a few weeks ago and afterwards asked the salesman for his best price on the very truck we had spent 30 minutes in. He pointed at the sticker on the window and said my quote was right there and that I should take a picture of it with my phone. I took his business card and went home and filled out a True Car request for quotes (mistake) and a handful of Ford dealerships started spamming me with web links for F150s that were different than what I specified at True Car —trim level, bed length etc. I emailed with salesmen at two dealerships and conveyed my criteria again for the truck I wanted and both immediately sent me links to trucks that met my criteria but had, “call for price”on the bottom. It took a bit of back and forth over email to pry a price out of them, and in the end it was something really close to sticker —and then got invited to come in to talk about incentives that I might qualify for. I’m not a veteran or a current owner of a domestic truck; I read all about incentive offers and am pretty sure I don’t qualify for any of them.
My questions are as follows:
- Are new F150s so popular that Ford can sell every one at sticker?
- I’ve bought three new Honda’s since 2007 (3 different dealerships) and for the last two was able to negotiate just everything over email. Do domestic car makers not do this?
- Honda certainly has a different sales model. I’m used to going to a few dealers and asking for best offers and being given what I think is a reasonable number
for a particular vehicle. Does Ford mostly insist on a face to face visit before conveying a real offer?
- Honda sells four or five trim levels which makes it easy to comparison shop. The F150 has trim levels but something else too which I think are called option packages (things like towing, appearance and technology packages). I’ve been unable to crack the option package code; sometimes there’s a 36 gallon gas tank and other individual options. Mostly I’ve been printing out specifications for individual trucks and going through them with a highlighter to identify the differences. Anyone got a secret decoder ring?
Perhaps the game is played differently at Ford and i just need to learn how to participate better. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. The bottom line for me is that I just don’t want to be ripped off. Car salespeople have to make a living, I get that. Help me play a game I don’t understand.
Now that I'm at my desktop computer, I wanted to further respond.
First, if you're going to negotiate with dealers (waste of time, see below), you're going about it wrong. You need to go in from a position of knowledge, which you don't have yet. So you went in looking like a piece of fresh meat, which you were.
Second, you don't negotiate off of sticker, you negotiate off of invoice.
Third, you need to decide what you're going to use your F-150 for, and therefore what type of trim you'd want. Many people buy a pickup and then say "Hey, let's buy this big travel trailer!" Unfortunately, the higher level trims of the F-150, specifically Lariat, Limited, and Platinum, have lower payloads. If you're going to tow, you want to find the trailer FIRST, then before buying it figure out the truck that will be able to tow it safely. www.f150forum.com/f82
is a section of the F-150 forum dedicated to Towing. You want to understand PAYLOAD, which is on the door jamb of every F-150, and how the trailer's weight puts 10-15% of the weight on the tongue, which ends up on the truck, which impacts payload. Many fancy F-150s have payloads around 1,200 pounds, which is awful for towing. For travel trailers, you want payloads closer to 2,000 pounds, or buy a HDPP (heavy duty payload package) which you will need to order since you'll never find one on the lot. Those payloads are noticeably above 2,000 pounds. If you don't get an HDPP, then you want to get a truck without a sunroof (heavy), and other options that cause weight. You'll also want your truck equipped for towing, including a brake controller, from the factory.
Fourth, Ford's incentives are extensive, especially for F-150s. The XLT trim has the most incentives, the higher level trims have the least. At https://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/pricin ... eader-shop
, you can find the current incentives for your zip code. No matter where in the country you buy your truck, you will get the incentives for where you register it. So while an advertisement two states away may look great, it includes incentives that apply to that area, not to you. And it likely includes incentives like First Responder, Military, and Recent College Grad which may not apply. But there are many other incentives. Ford provides incentives for financing also. To get the largest incentive from Ford Credit, you take the unsubsidized loan rate, which will be around 5.99%. You then wait a week or so and call Ford Credit, get the payoff balance, and either pay it off or refinance with a credit union like PenFed. If you pay cash, you will pay MORE, so it's really a poor financial move. If you take subsidized loan rates like 2.99% or zero percent financing, you will lose part of the Ford Credit rebates. It rarely pays off to do anything beyond taking the unsubsidized rate. Your Ford dealer can print off a Smart Vincent report showing all incentives that you qualify for that apply to a particular vehicle.
Fifth, Ford offers Private Cash, i.e. a rebate for YOU. You sign up for emails or order a brochure, indicate you want to buy an F-150 and NOW (for timeframe), and you MAY get a private cash offer up to $2,000 or even $3,000. This is in addition to any incentives that are on the Ford site. And none of these come out of the dealer's pocket, so he's very happy you get them.
Sixth, you can order an F-150 to your specific needs, or buy one off the lot. If you're negotiating with a dealer (bad idea), you may get a better price on one sitting. Or a 2018 when 2019 is the current model (now). They can also dealer trade up to 500 miles away, if they want to, for a truck that fits you best. There is an "order guide" that shows exactly how an F-150 can be configured. If you're going to tow, you need to be very careful to order the right configuration, Ford makes it confusing for everyone. Here is a link to the 2018 and 2019 order guides - https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2019-f-1 ... ost6001704
Finally, price. You want to pay invoice (or lower), less all incentives. Pay no attention to MSRP. Some really good negotiators, with large volume dealers, might pay invoice, less holdback (3% of MSRP), less rebates, plus tax and title. If you're ill equipped to negotiate, or simply don't want to waste your time, sign up for Ford's X-Plan, which is for "friends and families", which includes many large organizations (companies, alumni associations). Your company may offer that. If they don't, you can always joint the Experimental Aircraft Association for $40 (or less with special offers), and get X-Plan that way. https://www.eaa.org/eaa/eaa-membership/ ... on-program
You may need to be a member for 60 days, read carefully. X-Plan is calculated as Invoice minus (0.4% * invoice) + $275. In other words 99.6% of invoice plus $275. It puts it barely above invoice. You then subtract all rebates and incentives. The Smart Vincent report shows X-Plan and invoice pricing. It also limits any paperwork fee to $100, many dealers try to charge $499. And the sale gets audited by Ford so if they find anything overcharged, you get a refund. The only thing left to negotiate is a trade-in, where you should come equipped with KBB and Edmund's prices, an estimate from CarMax, and ideally know the NADA Black Book auction and trade prices. You can buy off the lot or order with X-Plan.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask for more info, and visit the F-150 forum to ask truck-specific questions.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.