Monday, February 05, 2007

No Deal

My new favorite blog, Consumerist, links to an article at Bankrate that reminds me of my pet peeve no. 247: people who love to tell you what a great deal they got on their new car. In this case, the article's subject is the ridiculous "factory invoice."
The invoice that most dealers are happy to show you represents a theoretical price the manufacturer would charge the dealer if the dealership sold just that one vehicle. Of course most dealers sell hundreds or thousands of vehicles a year and manufacturers offer all manner of incentives to encourage dealers to sell even more.
In other words, getting a car "at invoice" does not mean you are a hard-bargaining SOB who should, nay, must share the tale of your conquest with everyone you meet. It means the price you paid is the same as a made-up number on a piece of paper that some liar in a Kia collared T-shirt showed you. Despite what they say, the dealer will not lose money on that car, the salesman's children will not go hungry, and your name will not be whispered in terror at the manufacturing plant in Pusan.

The article does note that getting a price near the invoice is generally decent, but don't let me hear someone spouting the "great deal" nonsense. Buying a new car can make sense for several reasons (new-car warranty, special new features like hybrid engine, the smell, etc.), but "I got a great deal on a new car" is oxymoronic; no new car is a great deal.

Tomorrow, pet peeve no. 248: those really thin cigarettes. I like the way I look when I smoke them, but where's the meat?


Mike said...

no new car is a great deal

Pretty much sums it up.

teh l4m3 said...

The thin cigarettes are nothing -- have you smelled the new self-extinguishing ones? They smell like burning plastic. Nasty.

S.W. Anderson said...

Walking into a car dealership is like walking into a casino. It's all stacked against you from the instant you step through the door.

BTW, one of my favorite car pricing phenomenons involves the new VW Beetle. I think new ones are about $4,000 overpriced. But used ones in my area, even three and four years old, have ad prices surprisingly near the supposed original list price. It's been this way since the first used ones became available.

You might think Beetles are big sellers hereabouts, but you'd be wrong. They're not that common, new or used. How, then, can the price of used ones always be so inflated?

Otto Man said...

I have two things to say:

1) I just got a really sweet deal on a new car.

2) I can't believe you had a post about car dealerships and didn't use the title "Put It In 'H'!"

Thrillhous said...

Man, I missed a chance to use "Put in in 'H'". I'm getting old.

The Beetle people are a whole different breed. Seems like once you have one, you are fated to buy only Beetles for the rest of your life. Same thing happens when you go with Haband for wardrobe items.

.... meow >^^ said...

wait, I know a place where you can get ... EMPLOYEE PRICING!


Smitty said...

I like, when are "bargaining" with an employee of a dealership, how every time you make a counter-offer they disappear to go "talk to their supervisor" to see if they can "make it work." Almost always, they are able to.

I have suspected that what they actually do is go in for a quick cup of coffee and have a chuckle with their other buddies, also in to "talk to their supervisor," about the idiot they're dealing with who thinks they drive a hard bargain.

S.W. Anderson said...

Smitty, when I bought a pickup a few years back, the sales guy did just that. But on the second counter offer, the supervisor (closer, actually) appeared after a few minutes to try and induce us to finance the purchase — a nonstarter as we intended to pay it in full.

When that didn't fly and we started making noises about moving on to look elsewhere, the closer said he had to go talk to the manager. Fifteen minutes passed and we had one foot out the door when the sales guy reappeared to assure us our second counter offer would be OK.

Shortly, the closer stuck his head back in the door and told the sales guy to go ahead.

I think we got a fair deal, if not a super one. But getting there was unnecessarily annoying. As you indicate, they're not fooling anyone. They know what they can let a vehicle go for, and everything else is game playing.