Monday, March 29, 2010

Car Shopping



Is there anything worse? Seriously?

We've come to the time when we need two cars. I mentioned before that we gave our SUV to our son-in-law over a year ago. No need for a big vehicle to schlep soccer players from school to practice, or ballet dancers vying for the lead, as my nest was empty.

During that time I've not missed having two cars. In fact, my husband has been my chauffeur for the last two years. It's kind of nice.

But we live in an area without public transportation, except on a very limited, touristy basis. And being left without transportation when he is gone is getting old. So off to the car lots we go. Only two lots and we were exhausted. I think I'm done. I won't be test driving many, because I just can't handle the tactics used to sell them. The one I hate the most is the "delay, delay, delay." We're going for a test drive and the second lot asks for our drivers licenses to take inside to copy. Okay, sounds reasonable. But he's in there forever! I wanted to ask him how the sneaky credit check turned out...

Off we go for the test drive and he tries to use the very hi-tech, voice-activated navigation system to tell us where the nearest restaurant is located. Only he doesn't know how to use it, and keeps giving it the wrong commands. We sit in a bank parking lot for ten minutes while he tries to figure it out. After giving us some more wrong information on the car, we are finally ready to leave. We tell him thank you, we'll think about it, ask for his card and a brochure. He stalls getting the brochure, asks me for our phone numbers, takes forever to staple his card to the brochure -  well, you get the picture. After all that - we are walking out the door and he insists we meet the manager. Like meeting his manager is going to change our minds about thinking it over?

I wanted to tell him to save his energy. Delaying us and using ancient car salesmen tactics was just making me cranky. It wasn't as bad as one of the dealers a few years ago, however.  They took our keys, on the pretense they needed to move our car, and wouldn't give them back! They ended up literally chasing us out of the parking lot trying to stop us. By that time I seriously wanted to play "bumper people."

So what did we decide?

We don't need a navigation system, air-conditioned seats, back seats that heat or blue lighting on the floor while we drive. We do need something very good in snow and ice, good gas mileage, nice sound system, bluetooth for those calls we really don't need to answer most of the time, room for Lucy, and a car that will not need to be replaced for many years. Especially the last one. I don't think my patience for this is going to get any better with age...

36 comments:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Funny. I'm totally with yo. Patience is out the window when car shopping.

Gemel said...

I hate car shopping too. All those new buttons and controls to learn to use, YUK :-)

Cloudia said...

Sounds like Subaru...Hyunadai is a great value. Enjoy cruising!




Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Roni Faida said...

I'll be test driving a car on Wednesday, I'm buying a car over the next year and I'm starting early. I hope it goes well cause patience has never been my thing...
www.trilingualdiva.blogspot.com

ds said...

Ick. Those are the kinds of tactics (or tactical errors) that give the car business its bad rep.

Natalie said...

I get croonky when i have to go car shopping too. Blergh!

Jayne Martin said...

Save yourself a lot of angst. Just buy a Volvo. I've been a Volvo devotee since 1987. Wouldn't have anything else.

Von said...

Yep in areas like ours you can't avoid it.We do the research at home on line and then go in to test drive tell them not give us the hard sell we don't need it.Works every time.

Elisabeth said...

Oh dear, how dreadful. I too hate to shop for cars. The salesmen are so obvious in their attempts to seduce you into buying.

My husband is fantastic at saying no, so we never have such a terrible time, but it would have to one of the worst 'shopping ' experiences that any of us must endure, that and trying to buy a house. No wonder I don't do it often.

R.J. said...

I agree that it is a stressful major life decision especially for women. The last time we shopped for a car, we shopped online, and went to a car show in Philly. The buyer gets to look at a huge variety of cars and decide which to test drive later. No sales pitches at a car show. The test drive is when hubby gets to play one dealer against another. He loves the challenge and he's welcome to it.We bought online and didn't meet the seller until we picked up the car.Good luck,what will you get?

ellen abbott said...

We bought a new truck about two years ago. Plain jane no frills basic truck. Even got standard shift as automatic was an extra $1000. since we knew what we wanted it was no bother. My sister though had a similar experience. they were just looking, told the guy they were NOT going to buy a car that day and the guy did basically the same thing. finally forced to just be rude and walk out on the guy.

Joanne said...

The last two cars we bought were used, a couple years old each. We bought from private parties rather than dealers and found the whole experience easy, with no hassles, and saved a lot of money on the price. Each car did still have several months left on their mfg warranty, so we felt confident in our purchase.

The Good Cook said...

Ahhh.. car shopping, one of life's nasty little experiences. When I had to buy a new car just last July I did all my shopping onlline, then hit the dealer(s). Test drove 3 cars which took seriously, 3 days... the tactics are unbelievable. Taking your car keys? Now that's about the most desperate attempt I've ever heard of! Good Luck, let us know what you end up buying.

Leah J. Utas said...

I understand. Sales tactics bring out the worst in me.

DJan said...

I have never purchased a new car, only lightly used ones. I am partial to Hondas, but everyone has their favorites. Good luck in finding just the right one! You'll know it when you slide in behind the wheel.

Jeninacide said...

I think you should just BUY one. You can buy cars online now, you know.

maggie's garden said...

Sounds like a nightmare! We have a place out here called CarMax and they are usually pretty good. Used cars though. Hope you find a car soon!

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Good luck with the car shopping. And don't let them talk you into an overpriced "extended warranty" - those are a sucker's bet. I started writing a post for my blog about the mathematics of extended warranties awhile back, but I never finished it. I can tell you more if you want, but suffice it to say that statistically they're a huge ripoff for the customer, and a huge money maker for the dealership.

Rain said...

The way you recounted the experience made me giggle a bit because I went through the same sh*t in 2007 - and I was buying a used car. The salesman was the king of delays, I think I sat there for 90 minutes while he was filling out a 2 page financing form, all the while, trying to talk about his private life and make some kind of rapport with me. I played along, but I knew he was full of it!
I went 3 weeks last winter without a car, because I couldn't afford the repair. I hear you that not having transportation in rural areas really does get old, and kind of gives you a little cabin fever!

scarlethue said...

My husband is a finance manager at a Nissan dealership, so boy do I have some advice for you. And this is insider stuff- the stuff they don't tell normal people.

First, don't buy new. It's a waste. You can get certified pre-owned, which is just as good as new with the warranties and all, but you don't have that initial drop in value when you drive off the lot.

Second, they play a numbers game-- all car shoppers get focused on one of four numbers (monthly payment, overall price of the car, interest rate, or value of your trade). They figure out which you're focused on, and then they adjust all four to make you happy and yet still get what they want. For instance, if you seem to be really focused on getting $2000 for your trade and won't take a penny less, they'll tell you they'll give you $2000 for your trade, but what they're really doing is giving you $1000 for it and bumping the price of the new car up $1000 or bumping your interest rate up or something to make up the difference. I know, it sounds sneaky, but they ARE a business and have to make money.

The absolute best thing you can do is pay as much down as you can, and get the best interest rate as you can. That will guarantee you a cheaper price overall. Try to stay focused on those numbers. Also, buying online through a dealer can usually get you a better price-- they assume anyone smart enough to research a car online knows exactly how much the car is worth. And DO know how much it's worth, and let them know you know. They're less likely to try to pull the wool over your eyes if they think you're informed. But understand that they dealership has to make some money too. It's the way the world works.

My parents bought a Nissan Murano and LOVE it. I've driven them a couple times too, when we borrow one from the dealership, and they ride so smooth, with plenty of dog-crate room in the back. We drove theirs to Illinois over Christmas in case it snowed, which it did, and it handled really well.

Kathy G said...

Three years ago when I bought my last "new" car (which was actually Certified Preowned)I did a ton of research online, narrowed it down to two models, then hit the dealership. Because we knew the day was coming, we had stashed away enough cash to pay for our purchase; that might have made a difference, but I found the whole process less painful than I'd expected it to be.

Meeko Fabulous said...

Car salespeople are the pits.

Lori ann said...

oh dear. that does sound awful. it would probably be better to do your research online to cut out time spent on the lot.
it helped that we knew what we wanted before going and we also took my no b.s. father in law with!
good luck!

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

Josh and I left the lot as soon as they told us our interest rate. We were not desperate enough for that amount...
I asked the salesman what his major was in college and he said "Psychology!"
I made a snotty statement, pissed him off and we left. :) This was after he made several racist jokes about Mexican people and women.

I don't ever want to go through that again.

luksky said...

I despise car shopping myself. Aside from the fact that I get to overwhelmed with choices, I also hate salesman mumbo jumbo. Hence, one of the reasons I am still driving around in a 1994 Subaru.

Sylvia said...

I know: those car dealers are really painful! But how I miss my little black buggy!!! Good luck with your shopping! I hope you find a really special one!

Alaine said...

My husband knew what he wanted 15 months ago, so we didn't have to go through all that BS! We compared it with similar cars online (as to what you get for your money) and went and bought it - a Subaru Forester Turbo Deluxe! It's got everything you mentioned in your last para. A wonderful car, very powerful; sometimes I think a bit lethal in the hands of an old fart!

lakeviewer said...

I hate car shopping! Do let me know when you are coming this way. We'll meet for sure.

Jo said...

My older brother just bought a red Mustang convertible. He said at this time of his life when he doesn't have to strap baby seats in the back seat, he's going to have some fun. It's actually a wonderful car. :-)

Zoom, zoom...

Nancy said...

Thanks for all of the advice, everyone! Every bit of it is right on, especially insider info like Scarlethue's. It sounds like this is not something anyone likes to do. That should be a wake-up call for dealers! Shouldn't it be an enjoyable experience?

We did our research online. My husband is a walking encyclopedia on cars. (So that's what he is doing online when I'm blogging...)

I think we've decided on a Subaru Outback (6 cyl). Several of your suggestions were in the running, btw. The problem is they haven't made enough of these cars, and we have watched two separate times where they come off the truck and they are sold. In less than a day! The last one sold from Medford, Oregon to someone from California.There are plenty of the 4 cyl models, but they quit putting the turbo in that engine, so it doesn't have enough power to get up our mountain easily (and doesn't have an optional manual transmission for coming back down the mountain!) We climb to over 8,500 feet before we drop down into the Lake Tahoe basin at 6,500 ft. Reno is at about 4500. It's a climb, for sure.

So we have to order it. Needless to say, we are not expecting a bargain. But we will have the car for many years, and they are still priced less than any of the others that we looked at.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Buying a new car is such an ordeal!! Hope the misery is short-lived for you, and that you find the car that's PERFECT for you! Can't believe they think those tactics work, can you? Love you~Janine XO

Natalie said...

Testing, testing. Thanks Scarlethue for the advice. ;-)

susan said...

That's rather like going to the department store and having the sales clerk take your clothes away while you're in the dressing room. I'm glad we've got an older, reliable car.

scarlethue said...

I'm glad I could be of some service somewhere in the world this week. :)

Ordering a car, when you know exactly what you want, is an ok thing to do. I'm sure you guys will drive it til it dies, or nearly dead anyway. And it sounds like you have special needs, and that always creates special situations, like ordering 6 cyls.

California Girl said...

It's the registration and the gasoline and the insurance I hate. I love cars. Fuel efficiency is key these days. Who knows what will happen with the price of oil? I have a 2009 Subaru Impreza Sport, two tone, and it's gorgeous. It's my third Subaru, second Impreza. Gets 30+ on hwy & 26-27 around town. If I did not live in snow and ice, I'd have bought a Prius. I drove one as a rental for a week & spent 15 bucks to go 500 miles. WOW! Lots more choices nowadays and a great time to buy a car.

gayle said...

I hate car shopping!! I usually try to figure out what I want and then just go get it. I love my Honda CRV!!