Dealing with the Dealer
This is a good place to borrow on past experience.
Have you a dealer with whom you have had successful dealings in
the past? This is a good place to start, or should I say finish.
Most people like to do business with people that they like. And
if that sounds like your current automobile dealer, and they sell
the brand of car you’re interested in buying, give your salesperson
a call. You say your salesperson has left? Contact the Sales Manager
and have him refer you to another sales associate. If you are looking
for a different make of car than your current dealer sells, (you
may already know that they own a dealership selling that make),
ask for a referral to the other dealership. Quite often the same
friendly, courteous treatment that drew you to this dealership in
the past will carry over to another dealership with the same owner.
This is not always the case, but it’s worth a try. Another source
for a friendly dealer is a referral from a friend or acquaintance
who has had a good experience there in the past.
Now for the hard part. Or maybe not. For you to successfully negotiate
your lease you must have all the numbers. MSRP, Selling Price, Money
Factor, Residual Percentage, Acquisition Fee, and Use Tax rate.
IF YOUR DEALER WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE COMPLETE INFORMATION FOR
YOU TO CALCULATE YOUR LEASE YOURSELF, RUN....DON’T WALK, TO THE
I would like to relate to you an experience I had as a REPEAT
customer to a certain dealership where I lived. I wanted to replace
my Bronco with a pickup as my families needs had changed. And as
the pickup of interest was also a Ford, I contacted my original
selling dealer. I ask for the New Car Manager and was directly to
an Assistant Manager who was very friendly and helpful. He indicated
their desire to retain past customers and we set an appointment.
Upon arrival at the dealership I found the Assistant was, in fact,
a new car salesperson in disguise. I found immediately that I was
not going to get the true figures without a long drawn out battle.
The ease of doing business which had drawn me to them originally
was no longer there. They had changed management and their method
of doing business.
I did some quick calculations from the information I had and found
that they were charging me the acquisition fee twice. Now what kind
of treatment is this for a repeat customer? Very poor treatment
indeed. I left immediately drove 10 minutes to the other Ford dealer
in town and within 15 minutes, had the information I needed and
had leased a new truck.
The point to the story is that you should be on your guard, be
prepare NOT to do business with people who treat you poorly, and
be prepared to walk if they won’t do business YOUR WAY. This is
your money by the way.
There are still a great many dealers who like to play the “make
me an offer” game, and hide the true numbers from you, but there
are a fair number who are upfront with the information you need
to make an educated decision. I will go so far as to tell you that
if you cannot or will not require that the dealer supply you with
this information before you make a decision on the vehicle, you
have wasted your time and money on our guide.
A Few Words on getting a "Good Deal"
The previous discussion centers on being fairly dealt with by
a car dealer or leasing company. It does not address the "Good
Deal". The dealer where you lease your car will probably be
expected to service and maintain your new car. You will expect nice
clean facilities, courteous service, maybe a shuttle service to
work, or a loaner car. None of these things come without a price
being paid by the dealer. This price is paid with profits from sales
and service. Manufacturers have drastically cost the profit margin
available to the dealer. Many high line cars have less than 10%
profit built into them. The reason I mention this is that I don't
want you to set yourself up for failure. Do you're research. Find
out in as specifically as possible the cost of the car or truck
you're interested in. Work for as good a deal as you can. But once
you have found this dealer that you think you can do business with
and form a long-term relationship, don't spoil it by being unreasonable
on the selling price. In other words, "Don't cut of your nose,
to spite your face".
Without knowing your individual saturation point it is hard to
advise you on alternate methods of find the right deal. If you like
the thrill of the hunt and extended negotiations, there are many
more avenues open to you. One of these is on the Internet. There
are dozens of good sites that profess to offer special deals to
those who contact a dealer through them. Carpoint and Autobytel
are two of the biggest. I have personally tried both, once in earnest
to check out the best price on an Acura MDX, and a second time for
this guide. In both cases I did better at the local dealer. Your
experience may be different. I did not get the MDX by the way.