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Car dealers are just not the same anymore

By Smiling Assassin - 10 June 2010 29

Have been having the most intersting experiences with car dealers in the last month.  Gone are the shifty car salesman with cockney accents trying to sell you ridiculously overpriced used cars, that lucky for the buyer are only on sale the day they walk in the door.

I have been ready to buy a car for the last month, but am finding it impossible to find a salesman that will sell me one.  Gone are the days where you could negotiate with a salesman.  You ask for a price, he gives it to you, you counter the offer, he says he can’t do that and that’s it.  No more negotiation. WTF!!!  The worst for this was one of the biggest dealers in Canberra.

I have been getting salesman who recommend not to take a car for a test drive, even when I ask.  Another tells me not to worry about the colour of a car as you can’t see it when you are sitting in it.

Sadly, I think I am longing for the shifty car salesman you could haggle with and have a little bit of a battle with to get to the price you want to pay.

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
Car dealers are just not the same anymore
prhhcd 3:40 pm 10 Jun 10

Completely different experience for me. I bought a car from national capital motors in Belco about 15 months ago – a really good experience. admittedly it was a new car but so friendly and helpful. Long testdrive etc. Hope all goes well for you Smiling Assassin.

Spectra 1:30 pm 10 Jun 10

We had a similar experience – we pretty much set out one weekend a few months back to buy a new car, but after visiting 5 dealerships we went home in disgust. At two of them we couldn’t get anyone to acknowledge our presence (even to say “I’ll be right with you once I’ve finished serving these other folks” – not that most of them were serving anyone), and two more were so useless we gave up talking to them when we got the distinct impression they weren’t particularly interested in selling us a car…which seemed an odd attitude for a salesperson.
In fairness, we had an exceptional experience at National Capital Motors in Braddon – friendly, helpful service, falling over themselves to take us on a test drive for as long as we wanted, and just an all-around good experience. It’s a shame we ended up deciding the car we tried wasn’t for us, because I would have loved to reward the only place that seemed to want out business.

Funky1 1:16 pm 10 Jun 10

I’ve been told by someone who used to work in the industry, that most dealers actually lose money when selling new vehicles (especailly when sales are advertised nation-wide and they have to comply with the pricing). The real money is in the used car market and this is where the dealerships recoup their loses.

That would probably explain the lack of interest from some new car salesmen and the reason that used car salesmen are more enthusiastic when offered a trade in (more sales stock and an opportunity for more profit).

sepi 12:01 pm 10 Jun 10

I also noticed they seem to have given up on negotiating on price. The best you can do these days is go for extra inclusions – and they will try to tell you that even things like floor matts are an extra bonus they are throwing in.

troll-sniffer 11:58 am 10 Jun 10

Sammy said :

Test drives are meaningless. A lap around the block in a car is not going to tell you anything you couldn’t have learned from reading reviews and doing a bit of secondary research.

What a ridiculous statement. Seating position, visibility, instruments, controls, seat comfort, steering wheel position, pedal access, legroom, headroom, and just a general feel about a car aren’t of vital importance?

I was sold on the idea of an Outback but ended up choosing a Forester after test drives, because I didn’t like the feeling of being down low in the Outback, I prefer the upright and more comfortable seating position of the ‘lesser’ value Forester.

I also had the opportunity to drive a Prius which had seemed a logical alternative, but I wasn’t at all happy with the huge windscreen pillars blocking a large percentage of the view so it was also deleted from the list.

Show me an article anywhere in the free world’s press that would have found these concerns for me and I will retract my opening gambit, but otherwise I stand by it.

jasere 11:45 am 10 Jun 10

Toyota Fyshwick about 6 months ago looking to buy there and then asked a salesmen “how flexible are you on this cars price”? was told I’m not thats the price dont like it go buy somewhere else. So I did about hour later.

Eyl 11:42 am 10 Jun 10

I had a bad exeriance with one in Fyswick (second hand dealer) I pretended to show some interest in a particular car He told me i could have it for $1,4000, same car i can get $10,000 private, however i tought maybe i can talk him down plus ill get warranty. So i took it for a test drive and after i got back we spoke again however the price was now $1,6000! i tried to talk him down and he wouldnt budge. Then i asked about warranty etc and he said no warranty and he wouldnt put any on it. So i left. He asked why, i told him i can get a much better deal privately since he offers no warranty of anysort.

2 months later i got same car type slighly less Km’s better condition too (privately), for $10k. 🙂

Sammy 11:33 am 10 Jun 10

I’ve never made a decision to buy a car based on the test drive. In fact one of my new cars (Mini Cooper S) I purchased six months before release, without even seeing one in the flesh! And on that occassion, Rolfe wouldn’t even round one dollar off the purchase price. Literally! The purchase price was something like $54,601. I said to the sales guy: “come on, round off the dollar!” and he replied with some wankery like: “Sorry, we haven’t been authorised to give any discounts on this model”. Based on that, i’ve never set foot in a Rolfe showroom since.

The two vehicles i’ve purchased since then have been Subaru’s, and both were purchased from Capital Subaru with nary a consideration of Rolfe Subaru. The prices were both in close proximity to prices paid by family members for the same vehicle in Sydney, so I was happy.

Test drives are meaningless. A lap around the block in a car is not going to tell you anything you couldn’t have learned from reading reviews and doing a bit of secondary research.

ConanOfCooma 11:22 am 10 Jun 10

Take several, large, Pacific Islander friends with you. Discount guaranteed.

thatsnotme 11:13 am 10 Jun 10

Huh, I guess I must have been lucky when buying a used car a bit over a year ago. No high pressure sales, we were able to negotiate, and got a fair price for our trade in (after getting zero interest trying to sell privately for only slightly more than what the dealer gave us).

What I found interesting when buying used, was that I think the whole experience was made easier because we had a trade in – seems like the dealers were more interested than if we’d been buying without one. The service and help we got when buying used, was far better than when I’d been shopping for a new Subaru a few years before – the dealers then seemed offended that I wanted to come back for a second test drive when shopping around…

Clown Killer 11:06 am 10 Jun 10

I haven’t had any of these bad experiences – admittedly my last new car purchase was around a year ago.

Most of the dealers I saw (all in Phillip) were happy to let my wife and I have a test drive, two were happy to let us take the car for the weekend to see how we liked it and all were pretty keen for my business – especially the various sub-dealerships within the Rolfe Motors group. I didn’t really have to bargain that much and was pretty happy to get almost $18,000 off the list price for the car I chose in the end.

Doc Dogg 10:11 am 10 Jun 10

I just bought a new car myself and found the dealers to give the barest minimum of service available. I stood in one showroom for over an hour without being acknowledged in one dealership, went to their competition in another part of town and was greeted immediately (which was nice) but had to sit around and wait for 2 hours for a test drive and another 3 before I could start my negotiations (not entirely their fault as it was a busy day, but I did make it clear that I was there to buy something that day).

Initially they were unwilling to negotiate but I was armed with plenty of research on the deals I could get for the same car from other dealerships and they came down in price by 10% to match them. The whole process from walking in to signing the contract took 2 whole days (spread over a week and a half). At no point did they go out of their way for me, they just did the least that was required to stop me walking out the door.

niftydog 10:08 am 10 Jun 10

Agreed – they’re useless. I found they didn’t want to let you test drive at all if they could help it. They want you to make a decision within 10 minutes of walking onto the lot and the deal they offer you expires 45 seconds after they’ve offered it to you.

One guy I had even said he was not able to put any more fuel in the car prior to the test drive so we could only go around the block! He got me so riled up with the high pressure techniques that I told him to get f#@ked, which is completely out of character for me.

I genuinely didn’t set out to buy a car that day, but as it turns out down the street that afternoon I got the right deal offered to me in the right way and I paid my deposit. If that guy had cooled his heals bit rather than pressuring me he might not have wasted his precious time.

Somebody told me it was “Sydney” sales techniques, brought to town by a certain large interstate Ford dealer.

Wraith 9:56 am 10 Jun 10

Second hand car salesman and real estate agents do the same “course”.

NeedHelp said it, auctions, or private, or go to SYdney, harder work but worth it in the end, hopefully the muppets will all of a sudden realise they need to start to compete again.

NeedHelp 9:13 am 10 Jun 10

True, had the worst experience with a tuggeranong dealer recently. Bugger kept me going around in circles for two weeks before I told him to get lost.

Next time I buy a car I will go to the pickles auctions or private. No more dealers for me. They suck big time.

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