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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have recently bought my first car (leased before but now it is about owning so I put in more efforts). I am writing down the lessons I have learnt from this experience. You might not agree with all but I hope it could at least help someone, especially those are willing to devote time and bandwidth to get a good deal. Otherwise, I would recommend getting VIP voucher (2% below invoice) and not bother.

- Shop around. No need to say more.

- Know exactly what trim/option we need, and don't change mind. It is a good lesson to me, as I spent many hours on quoting and negotiating for premium KCB-11, but ending up with KCB-12. All my previous hours were wasted.

- Timing. Picking the right timing, IMO, is most important to get a great deal. For example, getting 2019 model now till July because dealers are motivated to clear their stock; or pick the last few days of month when there could be "last day' of month" deal if they are fighting for some sales goals. Select a non-Saturday/Monday when they are relatively free, and have more time for us. Furthermore, go find a dealership who is having clearance sales for the time being (btw - I use motominer.com, highly recommend).

- Talking to the right person. That typically means talking to sales manager, or general manager, if possible, because they have power to give us a better price if they are willing to earn our business. Sometimes it seems hard to push the price down. That is mostly because we might not be talking to the managers.

- Always have a backup dealer as final options, which helps when 1) the deal with primary dealer doesn't work out, for whatever reason, 2) leverage and negotiate for a better price. The biggest cost saving probably happens on the day of signing purchase order, with bargaining.

- Avoid going to dealership, if possible. Whether for price negotiation or car delivery, we don't have to go to dealership. This way we could stay undistracted from our choice of vehicles, keep rational during price negotiation, and save a lot of unnecessary time. Btw - I would feel bad for sales people if I took a lot of their time but end up not buying from them. I know I want a good deal, but I also understand they need sell cars and pay their bills.
 

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Takeaways from my recent experience with a customer

Well, the guy shopped online all over the place, which is fine. We're competitive and really, if it gets down to whether or not he wants to drive 300 miles to save $50 is on him.

Man, just like the statistics and real life experience shows, he ended up driving out with a different car than the one he came in on. Which is probably why truly simply selling cars online will never take off - 74% of all people change their minds, whether it's on color, accessories, or even model. How many people have come in on a Forester and left in an Outback over the years ... and vice-versa.

What's fun is when someone comes in on the last day of the month because they think we're motivated to make our sales goal. What they fail to keep in mind is that we're motivated to meet our monthly goal starting on the 1st of the month - so that way we don't have to take some stupid $2,500 back of invoice offer at the last minute. You'd almost think we know better by this time.

Of course, since I'm a sales professional - I've only done this for nearly a decade - the customer thinks he has to talk to my boss to get the best price. And typically, I'm fully empowered right from the get go to make a fair deal. On a car that the actual only money the dealership will see by selling it at invoice is holdback and floorplan. That's why if we advertise a car at invoice, congratulations, that's already nearly everyone's VIP price anyway. Have a nice day and give me your okay here.

Oh, and he gave me his word he'd buy from me, at a price we'd agreed upon. Then came in and said my competitor would give him $100 less. Of course, the minor detail that he'd spend more than $100 in time and gas simply getting there didn't enter into his thoughts - or that his also just told me that his word wasn't worth anything.

The funny thing is, he didn't want to come in and actually see the cars. How do you fit three car seats in without trying it out first? Seen that too many times with people thinking they can fit three grown teenage boys in the back of a Crosstrek. (Here's a hint - you can't.) And I'd hate for him to come to the dealership, so I can actually do my job and explain to him how all the electronics work - which Subaru requires me to do, and it normally takes me almost an hour, and we do a re-delivery two weeks later to answer those questions that come up after you've had the car a while. I'm sure if he has an issue, he'll simply post on some forum that our cars are terrible because he went through someplace that detailed his car, sprayed the inside of his windshield, and he didn't cover the camera openings so his eyesight system didn't work or malfunctioned - instead of simply listening to me when I tell you what to do in those situations.

What's funny is how many people stress out over saving $200 on a $45,000 purchase - yet have no issues stopping at a certain coffee shop and spending $6 every single day for a cup of coffee they could make at home for 50 cents. The happiest customers that drive away are those where everyone involved - customer AND dealership - get a fair deal.

Otherwise, I would recommend getting VIP voucher (2% below invoice) and not bother.

- Shop around. No need to say more.

- Know exactly what trim/option we need, and don't change mind. It is a good lesson to me, as I spent many hours on quoting and negotiating for premium KCB-11, but ending up with KCB-12. All my previous hours were wasted.

- Timing. Picking the right timing, IMO, is most important to get a great deal. For example, getting 2019 model now till July because dealers are motivated to clear their stock; or pick the last few days of month when there could be "last day' of month" deal if they are fighting for some sales goals. Select a non-Saturday/Monday when they are relatively free, and have more time for us. Furthermore, go find a dealership who is having clearance sales for the time being (btw - I use motominer.com, highly recommend).

- Talking to the right person. That typically means talking to sales manager, or general manager, if possible, because they have power to give us a better price if they are willing to earn our business. Sometimes it seems hard to push the price down. That is mostly because we might not be talking to the managers.

- Always have a backup dealer as final options, which helps when 1) the deal with primary dealer doesn't work out, for whatever reason, 2) leverage and negotiate for a better price. The biggest cost saving probably happens on the day of signing purchase order, with bargaining.

- Avoid going to dealership, if possible. Whether for price negotiation or car delivery, we don't have to go to dealership. This way we could stay undistracted from our choice of vehicles, keep rational during price negotiation, and save a lot of unnecessary time. Btw - I would feel bad for sales people if I took a lot of their time but end up not buying from them. I know I want a good deal, but I also understand they need sell cars and pay their bills.
 

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I've been working at my dealership for almost 8 years now and for the past 5 years we haven't negotiated on our cars at all. We price them competitively to begin with and then we take extremely good care of our customers both prepurchase and post purchase. Every other dealership in the area regularly advertises that they will beat our price. Heck, everyone in our market advertise right on their website prices that are $100-$1000 better than our own depending on the car. But you know what, since we've started what we call promise pricing, we've increased our market share above and beyond just "selling more cars" but our customer are happier. Our CSI (customer survey index) has gone up almost 15%! We have more conquest business than before and lose less repeat business. There is so much more to a purchase than just - best price wins.

Just like Carl said, more often than not you will get what you pay for.

But this is America. As a buyer - pay as little as possible. As a seller - charge as much as people will pay. Capitalism makes the world a better place. You just have to realize what you are paying for. Does it really make sense to drive 3 hours to save $300 dollars? In the long run, probably not.
 

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I had a great experience at my dealership. Salesman was great, no pressure, very accomodating. I knew what I wanted and they threw in a remote start and fog lights on my premium. It was year end, so not sure if that helped. At the end of the day, he has a family to provide for, just like I do, so happy to give him my business, spend a few hundred more bucks, and do what I can in surveys to help him out since it was a great experience. I agree - my time isnt worth driving around to save a few hundred bucks, especially when I can give my home dealership the business on a fair deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well, the guy shopped online all over the place, which is fine. We're competitive and really, if it gets down to whether or not he wants to drive 300 miles to save $50 is on him.

Man, just like the statistics and real life experience shows, he ended up driving out with a different car than the one he came in on. Which is probably why truly simply selling cars online will never take off - 74% of all people change their minds, whether it's on color, accessories, or even model. How many people have come in on a Forester and left in an Outback over the years ... and vice-versa.

What's fun is when someone comes in on the last day of the month because they think we're motivated to make our sales goal. What they fail to keep in mind is that we're motivated to meet our monthly goal starting on the 1st of the month - so that way we don't have to take some stupid $2,500 back of invoice offer at the last minute. You'd almost think we know better by this time.

Of course, since I'm a sales professional - I've only done this for nearly a decade - the customer thinks he has to talk to my boss to get the best price. And typically, I'm fully empowered right from the get go to make a fair deal. On a car that the actual only money the dealership will see by selling it at invoice is holdback and floorplan. That's why if we advertise a car at invoice, congratulations, that's already nearly everyone's VIP price anyway. Have a nice day and give me your okay here.

Oh, and he gave me his word he'd buy from me, at a price we'd agreed upon. Then came in and said my competitor would give him $100 less. Of course, the minor detail that he'd spend more than $100 in time and gas simply getting there didn't enter into his thoughts - or that his also just told me that his word wasn't worth anything.

The funny thing is, he didn't want to come in and actually see the cars. How do you fit three car seats in without trying it out first? Seen that too many times with people thinking they can fit three grown teenage boys in the back of a Crosstrek. (Here's a hint - you can't.) And I'd hate for him to come to the dealership, so I can actually do my job and explain to him how all the electronics work - which Subaru requires me to do, and it normally takes me almost an hour, and we do a re-delivery two weeks later to answer those questions that come up after you've had the car a while. I'm sure if he has an issue, he'll simply post on some forum that our cars are terrible because he went through someplace that detailed his car, sprayed the inside of his windshield, and he didn't cover the camera openings so his eyesight system didn't work or malfunctioned - instead of simply listening to me when I tell you what to do in those situations.

What's funny is how many people stress out over saving $200 on a $45,000 purchase - yet have no issues stopping at a certain coffee shop and spending $6 every single day for a cup of coffee they could make at home for 50 cents. The happiest customers that drive away are those where everyone involved - customer AND dealership - get a fair deal.
Carl - you are on the seller side, so there is, inevitable conflict of interest, as I wrote this post from the perspective of buyer. Apparently, the more buyer pays for a car, the more money seller would make. I could see there is so much anger in your words, but that is related to your another customer, and won't be better if you post a new thread?

I am not the customer you are talking about, so please don't point the finger into the wrong person. That is not nice.. I treated every dealer I contacted with respect. In addition, I gave great CSI/google reviews after the purchase to show my gratitude. In the case of dealer I didn't buy from, I posted and said good words about them.

Just adding some clarification in case others, mostly users in this forums, interprets me wrong.

- I was looking for 8-passenger Ascent Premium (KCB). Liberty Subaru doesn't have any 8-passenger, otherwise I would go with them, as I have recommended in my other post. I also told Dan that Liberty Subaru will be my No.1 dealer for service, and I mean it.

- The car I ended up buying is from another dealer a little far. I emailed the sales manger because I found they have clearance for KCBs, 1x KCB-11, and 1x KCB-12. The sales manager gave me more discount on KCB-12, making it more cost effective.

- The sales manager said I could save additional $200 if I pick it up from his dealership. He said if for home delivery, price cannot be lowered because a sales person has to physically deliver the car so he needs get commission from it. It makes sense to me. So I decided for home delivery with original price he offered, because 1) it works better with my schedule, and 2) I wanted this sales person to be happy. And surely he was when he delivered the car to our home.

- The process was very smooth and purchase was done after 4~5 emails.

Now I am going to argue, as I don't believe the two things Carl mentioned are true.

- Talking to sales manager helps get a better deal. I do agree, in some cases when the dealer is willing to sell more, even the sales consultant could offer a great deal. But that should be occasional and cannot be always true. My understanding is just like for any job, at any time, our boss always has more power than us. In terms of sales, sales manager could almost always give a better pricing that sales consultant. If anyone doesn't agree, he is more than welcome to prove it.

- Visiting the dealership for a car purchase might be helpful for many people, but not for all. Thanks to Internet, the buyer doesn't necessarily need to visit dealership to know everything he/she needs. In my case, my wife and I went to the recent NY auto show. We tried all the 3-row SUVs, and finally decided we want to buy Subaru Ascent. I didn't even need to test drive, because I have the confidence from a lot of Ascent users in this forum. I believe if I did my due diligence well enough, I wouldn't need the help from sales consultant, and I should be able to get a better deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've been working at my dealership for almost 8 years now and for the past 5 years we haven't negotiated on our cars at all. We price them competitively to begin with and then we take extremely good care of our customers both prepurchase and post purchase. Every other dealership in the area regularly advertises that they will beat our price. Heck, everyone in our market advertise right on their website prices that are $100-$1000 better than our own depending on the car. But you know what, since we've started what we call promise pricing, we've increased our market share above and beyond just "selling more cars" but our customer are happier. Our CSI (customer survey index) has gone up almost 15%! We have more conquest business than before and lose less repeat business. There is so much more to a purchase than just - best price wins.

Just like Carl said, more often than not you will get what you pay for.

But this is America. As a buyer - pay as little as possible. As a seller - charge as much as people will pay. Capitalism makes the world a better place. You just have to realize what you are paying for. Does it really make sense to drive 3 hours to save $300 dollars? In the long run, probably not.
I wish more dealers would do the same straightforward pricing as you. From my recent purchase of Ascent, most dealers don't do that way. They would quote me 1k+ or even 2k+ higher than my expected price. I guess they are waiting for me to negotiate, otherwise they will take that portion into their pocket. As a buyer, I will definitely prefer your way of sales. Also you could already tell it from your success.
 

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If your dealership owner opened a dealer in New Orleans and decided to be fair you could put our current dealer under. They work deals that aren’t that good. $1000 off on a crosstrek limited than sell it out from under people who agreed to price to someone who will pay $800 under msrp and hide from the first person and not call them back.


In fact most dealers here have that mentality. The one I deal with doesn’t get a lot of allocation so the really good pricing happens mostly on special orders but the others won’t go there. Friend checked on a outback touring here at the 6 closest dealers, best price off was 2800. He could fly and take a 1100 mile trip back and get $7700 off the same car at another dealer. It’s nuts.

Well, the guy shopped online all over the place, which is fine. We're competitive and really, if it gets down to whether or not he wants to drive 300 miles to save $50 is on him.

Man, just like the statistics and real life experience shows, he ended up driving out with a different car than the one he came in on. Which is probably why truly simply selling cars online will never take off - 74% of all people change their minds, whether it's on color, accessories, or even model. How many people have come in on a Forester and left in an Outback over the years ... and vice-versa.

What's fun is when someone comes in on the last day of the month because they think we're motivated to make our sales goal. What they fail to keep in mind is that we're motivated to meet our monthly goal starting on the 1st of the month - so that way we don't have to take some stupid $2,500 back of invoice offer at the last minute. You'd almost think we know better by this time.

Of course, since I'm a sales professional - I've only done this for nearly a decade - the customer thinks he has to talk to my boss to get the best price. And typically, I'm fully empowered right from the get go to make a fair deal. On a car that the actual only money the dealership will see by selling it at invoice is holdback and floorplan. That's why if we advertise a car at invoice, congratulations, that's already nearly everyone's VIP price anyway. Have a nice day and give me your okay here.

Oh, and he gave me his word he'd buy from me, at a price we'd agreed upon. Then came in and said my competitor would give him $100 less. Of course, the minor detail that he'd spend more than $100 in time and gas simply getting there didn't enter into his thoughts - or that his also just told me that his word wasn't worth anything.

The funny thing is, he didn't want to come in and actually see the cars. How do you fit three car seats in without trying it out first? Seen that too many times with people thinking they can fit three grown teenage boys in the back of a Crosstrek. (Here's a hint - you can't.) And I'd hate for him to come to the dealership, so I can actually do my job and explain to him how all the electronics work - which Subaru requires me to do, and it normally takes me almost an hour, and we do a re-delivery two weeks later to answer those questions that come up after you've had the car a while. I'm sure if he has an issue, he'll simply post on some forum that our cars are terrible because he went through someplace that detailed his car, sprayed the inside of his windshield, and he didn't cover the camera openings so his eyesight system didn't work or malfunctioned - instead of simply listening to me when I tell you what to do in those situations.

What's funny is how many people stress out over saving $200 on a $45,000 purchase - yet have no issues stopping at a certain coffee shop and spending $6 every single day for a cup of coffee they could make at home for 50 cents. The happiest customers that drive away are those where everyone involved - customer AND dealership - get a fair deal.

Otherwise, I would recommend getting VIP voucher (2% below invoice) and not bother.

- Shop around. No need to say more.

- Know exactly what trim/option we need, and don't change mind. It is a good lesson to me, as I spent many hours on quoting and negotiating for premium KCB-11, but ending up with KCB-12. All my previous hours were wasted.

- Timing. Picking the right timing, IMO, is most important to get a great deal. For example, getting 2019 model now till July because dealers are motivated to clear their stock; or pick the last few days of month when there could be "last day' of month" deal if they are fighting for some sales goals. Select a non-Saturday/Monday when they are relatively free, and have more time for us. Furthermore, go find a dealership who is having clearance sales for the time being (btw - I use motominer.com, highly recommend).

- Talking to the right person. That typically means talking to sales manager, or general manager, if possible, because they have power to give us a better price if they are willing to earn our business. Sometimes it seems hard to push the price down. That is mostly because we might not be talking to the managers.

- Always have a backup dealer as final options, which helps when 1) the deal with primary dealer doesn't work out, for whatever reason, 2) leverage and negotiate for a better price. The biggest cost saving probably happens on the day of signing purchase order, with bargaining.

- Avoid going to dealership, if possible. Whether for price negotiation or car delivery, we don't have to go to dealership. This way we could stay undistracted from our choice of vehicles, keep rational during price negotiation, and save a lot of unnecessary time. Btw - I would feel bad for sales people if I took a lot of their time but end up not buying from them. I know I want a good deal, but I also understand they need sell cars and pay their bills.
 

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Well, the guy shopped online all over the place, which is fine. We're competitive and really, if it gets down to whether or not he wants to drive 300 miles to save $50 is on him.

Man, just like the statistics and real life experience shows, he ended up driving out with a different car than the one he came in on. .

Both the above are true, when we bought our car last time around. But, hey, such is life :)

I have started reaching out to dealers here (same region as OP), so I will update and/or add a post here to see how it goes. This will be our very first ever Subaru anything, so expectations are high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am surprised there are more replies from dealers than from buyers... As I mentioned at the beginning, what I wrote was intended for those buyers who is willing to spend time and efforts to get a great deal. If you don't want the hassles like price negotiation, go get the VIP voucher. Nothing will come free. If you want to save money, devote time. Vice Versa.

In addition, cars are the 2nd expensive item in life, after house. It is fine if you give more tip, pay more gratuity, because the number is small. But for cars which is 30K or 40k? I cannot believe anyone will not negotiate for pricing before buying, as if his money was earned for free! In addition, though there are some nice dealers who really want to earn your business, there are also others who want to rip you off. After all, we've got to be responsible for the money in our pocket.

In my case, the deal was make within 4 emails. We got a great deal, and it was delivered to home. All we needed to do was inspect the car, sign the paper, and hand over the check. The sales manager was happy, because he made a deal with the least amount of efforts (probably also help their incentives). The sales consult was happy because he got the commissions. So I am doing a deal that let everyone happy. Is there anything wrong with it?
 

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- Talking to sales manager helps get a better deal. I do agree, in some cases when the dealer is willing to sell more, even the sales consultant could offer a great deal. But that should be occasional and cannot be always true. My understanding is just like for any job, at any time, our boss always has more power than us. In terms of sales, sales manager could almost always give a better pricing that sales consultant. If anyone doesn't agree, he is more than welcome to prove it.
For clarification -

Having been in the business for a long time, I've obviously had situations where a customer happens to already have a personal relationship with the general manager or the owner, so the customer contacts them first, before coming in, to negotiate a price. Then they tell the salesman what the car is being sold at. No problem, that's part of the business.

Just coming in without that kind of relationship ... good luck.

At least here, I'm empowered to make the deals, to get a commitment from the customer and a number that they'll buy the car. It's not your job to work the desk, that's my job. I specifically say this because yesterday I had a customer do exactly what you talk about doing here. After he left - without purchasing a car, because my manager told him no, we wouldn't do the deal - one of the guys in the office next to me that heard everything asked why the guy was acting so mean and hateful to me and the manager, since we WERE willing to sell him the car at invoice plus doc.

Another customer came in yesterday wanting to test drive a car by themselves, just have me toss them the keys to a $42,000 car, slap a tag on it, and let them go. When I told them, no, either I go on the test drive or you fill out a BVA form and I get a copy of your license and insurance so if you're in an accident, he got mad and stormed off, yelling that he'd been to six other dealerships and driven cars yesterday without this BS (as he called it). Maybe that's how the other places do business - it's a violation of our written company policy. I've been in three accidents while on test drives with customers - it CAN happen.

So, where I'm coming from is that we're really (mostly) not bad guys here - but we get treated that way a lot of times. At the same time, I have customers that have followed me to this dealership so I can sell them another car because they know I'm going to treat them right. That's also part of this business.
 

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For clarification -

Having been in the business for a long time, I've obviously had situations where a customer happens to already have a personal relationship with the general manager or the owner, so the customer contacts them first, before coming in, to negotiate a price. Then they tell the salesman what the car is being sold at. No problem, that's part of the business.

Just coming in without that kind of relationship ... good luck.

At least here, I'm empowered to make the deals, to get a commitment from the customer and a number that they'll buy the car. It's not your job to work the desk, that's my job. I specifically say this because yesterday I had a customer do exactly what you talk about doing here. After he left - without purchasing a car, because my manager told him no, we wouldn't do the deal - one of the guys in the office next to me that heard everything asked why the guy was acting so mean and hateful to me and the manager, since we WERE willing to sell him the car at invoice plus doc.

Another customer came in yesterday wanting to test drive a car by themselves, just have me toss them the keys to a $42,000 car, slap a tag on it, and let them go. When I told them, no, either I go on the test drive or you fill out a BVA form and I get a copy of your license and insurance so if you're in an accident, he got mad and stormed off, yelling that he'd been to six other dealerships and driven cars yesterday without this BS (as he called it). Maybe that's how the other places do business - it's a violation of our written company policy. I've been in three accidents while on test drives with customers - it CAN happen.

So, where I'm coming from is that we're really (mostly) not bad guys here - but we get treated that way a lot of times. At the same time, I have customers that have followed me to this dealership so I can sell them another car because they know I'm going to treat them right. That's also part of this business.

I understand perfectly where you're coming from Carl. The reason I have developed a relationship with my dealership is because of the reasons you've illuminated in this thread. For me, it was far more important to shop around for a great deal on a dealership, rather than a car. At my Subaru dealership, I've purchased my last three cars. My first was a 2015 Crosstrek, and my salesman took the time and effort to help me decide on the car, and understand the pricing and where they could be flexible and where they couldn't. All without pressure, btw. The second car I bought, same salesman, was a 2018 Crosstrek. I was there for the 2018 release event as a Subaru Ambassador (I had been accepted into the program after buying the 2015), and I hadn't expected to buy a car at that time, because I had gone back to school for a career-change. Just for kicks though, the salesman and I sat down and ran the numbers and with my $500 Ambassador coupon and the 2015 as a trade I was able to get into a 2018 for slightly lower monthly payment on the same length loan and have a fresh 3/30 warranty that would cover the time I was in school. AWESOME! Now this last time we traded in the 2018 Trek for the 2019 Ascent (same salesman as the other two). I do have to point out one thing you're wrong about Carl. You can indeed fit 3 teens in the back seat of a Crosstrek. We did it twice on round-trip drives between Washington DC and northern FL. However, they are NOT going to enjoy the experience, and neither will anyone else who has to be in the car with them. For both Crosstrek test drives, the salesman and I took them out. However, for the Ascent, our salesman just handed my wife and I the key fob and told us to enjoy :)



For only the first Crosstrek did we "haggle". Why? Because my dealership is already making very little money on the cars themselves (per unit that is). Their prices are competitive in the first place. Plus, I'm investing in my dealership as much as in the car, so I WANT them to make a little money. They work hard to make the dealership the best one I've personally ever dealt with, and we've proven to my salesman and the dealership both that we aren't there to waste their time or nit-pick. Despite not really liking living in the DC area, I'm dreading the day when we move away from here and I have to develop a relationship with another dealer. It's absolutely worth the time and effort though.


My wife and I develop these kinds of relationships with professionals from other facets of modern life... lawyers, doctors, real-estate agents, contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. Why not car dealers? Having done this, I can trust that my dealership isn't going to be out to try to take advantage of me, and my dealership can trust that I'm not going to do the same. Win-win.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Carl - I think you are out of the point. Your example actually shows people with relationship from manager could benefit from it, as opposed to talking directly to you, isn't it?

However, I wouldn't argue with you. This post is supposed for those potential buyers. As I mentioned in the beginning, there is conflict of interest between us. It is no right or wrong, but on different standing. I have no problem for those customers trying to build a relationship with their dealership. They are very nice. I am just saying from business perspective, that might not result in optimal decision making, or getting the best possible deal. In business, we talked about numbers, and backup plan. It is nothing personal, and is ruthless in a different way of thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My wife and I develop these kinds of relationships with professionals from other facets of modern life... lawyers, doctors, real-estate agents, contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. Why not car dealers? Having done this, I can trust that my dealership isn't going to be out to try to take advantage of me, and my dealership can trust that I'm not going to do the same. Win-win.
IMHO - Maintaining a good relationship is irrelevant to getting a great deal...
 

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However, for the Ascent, our salesman just handed my wife and I the key fob and told us to enjoy :)
A repeat customer that has bought two or three cars from me - I already HAVE their information. Someone like that, that is already familiar with all the safety equipment that Subaru has and our all wheel drive, I'd probably do the same thing. (And have.) Someone who's never been in before and is acting like they did ... uh, no.
 

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This post is supposed for those potential buyers. As I mentioned in the beginning, there is conflict of interest between us.
I completely understand where you're coming from. Just keep in mind that there is a human being on the OTHER side of the equation as well, who is doing what he can to feed his own family. One of my customers told me - and the man made his living as a professional negotiator (he's an attorney) that a fair deal is when both sides feel like they got screwed a little, versus one side or the other getting everything.

While I'm in a larger city - how many dealerships sponsor things in their community and give back? In smaller towns, they're the sponsors of the little league teams. You know we have our Share the Love program, we're doing the Leukemia Society stuff right now, and obviously we all do whatever we can to be green. You can't do stuff like that without at least a little bit of profit at the dealership level.

That's why it's not completely cut and dried all the time, even if it should be. To me, I'm moving metal and rubber - and also helping people fulfill their dreams, whether it's a car to take everyone on the vacation of a lifetime, or provide the needed transportation so they can get to work to feed their own family.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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As a recently retired sales professional of over 38 years, I'm very much on the "relationship" bandwagon, at least for Subaru. Relationships is why I was successful and could retire at age 60 and not have to work or do much in the way of changing my lifestyle. I've enjoyed the same sales person for the last two (including my Ascent) and her sales manager was our sales person for the one previous to that...they both came through with smooth and honest transactions that were acceptable to me financially and functionally. They appreciated the repeat business and made things happen the way I wanted. For Jeep, I had less loyalty because the local folks didn't really care all that much about me nor were they "straight up" about things. Their sales staff seemed to have a revolving door, too. Had I decided to buy another Grand Cherokee instead of the Ascent...I would have likely been buying from a retailer 120 miles away who because of a forum group buy, tends to have one of the best deals in the country. It's worth the one-way train ticket to pick it up as the local service is reasonably good and they don't care that it came from somewhere else other than not offering "free PA inspection stickers" once a year. Interestingly, my Subaru dealer is part of the same "large, multi-brand, car sales family" as the Jeep dealer location...but they each have a very different culture. When it's time for another Subaru, it's unlikely we'd buy elsewhere, even if it wasn't the lowest possible price.

I absolutely agree that a buyer should ascertain what the market is for their area and within reasonable distance as part of their education and preparation for a buy, but if there's only a few hundred dollars of difference, the hassle of bouncing around just isn't worth it. Knowledge is power, but don't forget that while the financial side is a primary factor, there is great value in many non-monetary things when a major purchase is involved. I help manage another very large Internet forum for a vehicle brand and it amazes me how folks will fight multiple dealers over a hundred bucks and choose to drive a long way to get it...spending more in time and gas than they actually "saved" on the final OTD cost. It happens over and over...
 

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I think you have to go in with reasonable expectations, and treat everyone with respect and be honest with your salesperson. I was completely honest and upfront with my salesperson. And I will not buy from someone I do not trust or like regardless of the deal.



the person we purchased from was the friendliest and most knowledgeable of all the salespeople we met, and we decided to purchase through him because of that.



When I said we'd like to buy the car from him, I made a few reasonable requests from my salesperson after two test drives over the course of a few days- 1. to try to come close to ( not to match) the price a larger local dealership was offering on an identical Touring model, and 2. if he could throw in a few oil changes and detail jobs to help offset whatever price differential he would have being a smaller dealership.



-To my surprise, they matched the competitor's price and said yes to the extras I requested (the salesperson could have never even asked his manager about the extras and just said 'no' to me, and he also could have come back with a price near, but not equal to the competitor and I would have still purchased from him). I felt he really want to bat for us with his sales manager. They also offered $1000 more than any other dealer did for my trade, and the Ascent they ultimately delivered to us had more options than the one I had requested the quote on, and they still honored their original price quote to me.



I also purchased the warranty there, for about the same price as the F&I person mentioned elsewhere on these forums sells them for. I've gotten the benefit of the doubt a few times with borderline warranty issues having purchased the warranty from the same dealer where I bought and serviced my cars in the past.


I was completely honest with my salesperson, and I ended up with a better deal than I expected. And the extent of the negotiations consisted of an email to the sales person that took about three minutes to write!! I didn't waste the salesperson's nor my time, and kept it as simple as possible.



And before you consider traveling hundreds of miles or spending hours negotiating to save a few hundred bucks, remember your time is money, and if a few hundred is a big deal, then you are spending too much on your car.
 
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