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I'd like to get everyone's input on what tactics, tips and tricks they use to get the best deals when car shopping. For example, some say to pit dealerships against each other in a bidding war, talking only to fleet managers (who mainly care about moving cars off the lot and not their individual sales numbers). Others say buying at the end of the month / quarter yields better deals than other times. What have you guys heard with regards to getting good deals? What has worked for you in the past?

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Most everything you've mentioned has some truth to it. When I was in college I worked at an Audi dealership so let me share a bit of what I know:

1.) The end of the month or at night is always the best time to go. Typically the dealer will have a "day goal" and "month goal." Carrying inventory over month to month has a cost associated with it in terms of that asset being on their books, so if they can get it out, they make more money on the deal instead of carrying the inventory.

2.) If you can, pick a car on the lot. Lets say you really want Gray, but they have a Moss Green on the lot. Take the Moss Green. They'll be more willing to cut you a deal out of inventory.

3.) Negotiate on PRICE ONLY. Don't let them talk to you about monthly payments. Its their way of getting the selling price they want while finessing your monthly payment. Along those lines, make your trade in and new car separate deals, meaning - first negotiate a trade in value and then a selling price otherwise you're robbing peter to pay paul.

4.) Don't buy the extended warranty unless they're offering you at LEAST 60% off. The value of an extended warranty on a Audi to the dealer I worked for was 500 bucks and they were selling for 1700. The price is completely negotiable. They have in most cases more stringent performance targets on warranties than even the car itself!!

5.) Lastly - demonstrate that you can easily walk away from the deal. Don't say things like "I love it" or "I have to have it". If you have to, physically leave - don't worry - they will call you.
 

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Long winded but my tactic. I went to 4 dealerships before purchasing. I was honest with the sales people. Told them the following true story:

"It takes me about 6 months to buy a new vehicle. This past summer I needed to borrow my daughter's Expedition to drive 400 miles to Los Angeles. I normally drive my 1990 Suburban (last new vehicle I bought) but cicumstances prevented it. The Sub was top of the line every option when I bought it, but after driving the 2008 Expedition I fell in love with seperate a/c zones and heated and cooled seats. The wife and I did not have A/C tempature wars on the drive. This past October I got stuck in a snow storm in Utah and good thing I had my Jeep Cherokee with it's 4wd. I want a 4x4 Tahoe or Suburban that can seat up to seven (Me, Bride, M-I-L and three daughters still living at home) and can tow my trail Jeep, has hot and cooled seats and leather."


Now the tactics. When I bought that 90 Sub it was a lot queen, It was delivered to the dealer in november and now it was April. $24K on the window, they wouldn't budge. I went in very month and talked to the sdame saleman, each time he said $24K I would drop the price of my counter $500 less than the previous month. I was prepared to do that again this transactyion, but maybe $1K instaed of $500. I studied Chevy's website and knew I wanted the fancy interior, the options (preferred no sunroof) desired esp towing for the larger capacity cooling and located the color. I went to my credit union and got pre-approved for a substantial amount.

Then started the dealership pub crawl. When I found a vehicle that met my needs I asked, "What's the best deal you can make me?" I want a military discount and I'll pay cash.

Dealership 1. The saleman really didn't listen to what my desires were even saying "I can put a hitch on for you" $43K
Dealership 2. Drove into a Ford dealership and priced a Flex, got a copy of the offer. Drove directly across the street to the Chevy dealer and told my story and said, can you beat this Ford deal. Short answer, No. Their best price was $41.2 better no cigar. When asked what would it take for you to drive home, I told him my suburban purchaing story & I responded $40K out the door. He said no. I said Ok see you in a month.
Dealership 3. "We have a loyal customer incentive, but you don't qualify"...I responded well the incentive isn't working I am the only customer here. Can you work the loyal incentive for me..No, factory won't let us.
Dealership 4. There are 20 Traverse's on the lot in stock, every concievable mix of colors and options. From the inventory search I know which one I want. I walk in tell the salesman my story, told him about the other dealerships (without naming them) they work some numbers, call the factory and get me the loyal customer incentive, military discount, cash discount. What's the best price you can give me. $38K and some change + tx, license. Thanks. We negotiate an extended warranty for 7yrs/100K miles. Shake hands and my wife is happy.

I think the key was. Financing pre-approval with the credit union, the wife is an employee so the percentage rate is better. Knowing what I wanted and the general feel/price the other dealers were offering. Saying "Get me the incentive! I'm the only customer that has been through your doors in the last 2 hours!" and not being afraid to say no thanks and going somehwere else.
 

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I can't agree more with Boatwrench. I'd say though that even at a dealer you find that you can trust, don't buy on day 1. Buying with a cool head is key to getting any car fair and nice. Always be nice to a dealer, even when they are not. Use the info you gain from other buyers here to leverage your deal. Pre-financing is a must. Not that you have to use your pre-finance, but you at least have it in your pocket if the dealership turns bad during this part of the deal. I'm sure like most buying experiences, you have to deal with a finance salesman at the end of the purchase. I usually refunse nicely, smile and ask for my keys after signing the "don't want" lines of all their c.r.a.p.

I had to write GM directly, and recieved a call striaght from Detriot to get the incentives that a lot of other dealers fudge on. I could be a little ticked that my dealer didn't do the "creative lying" on incentive qualifications, but then again we did do this without bending any rules either. I had GM's specific OK to get 3 additional discounts that I was not qualified for. Over the years, you could see where GM and Ford have been trying to keep the customer from "dealing" down the price of a car too much, but in the end the deals are still there. They just take a little different approach.
 

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Financing is often where the dealer stands to make the most money off your deal - getting kickbacks from frequently used banks in the form of a percentage of your interest rate.

I always shop around for financing, but realize that 90 percent of the time the dealer will be able to match or beat the best financing you'll be able to find. The downside is you have do deal with the a-holes in the finance dept. I looked around before buying my Traverse and found the best deal in town was boeing credit union @ 4.99. The dealership matched it through GMAC and offered 4.5 if I bought an extended warranty.

So - if you take their financing its often the best way to negotiate that extra little bit off the price of the car and still get a good rate...but still come knowing whats a good interest rate and whats not...

I ended up going with a promo rate of 0 from Navy Federal.
 

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I've been reading a number of the posts the last month, but just joined. I "'wannabe" a Traverse owner ... stl1ab ... but St. Louis area chevy dealers aren't being real cooperative. I especially was interested in the posts of "Narg", "dearsmiths", "stumpk" and "boatwrench" and what they did to negotiate a deal. When you wrote to GM, did you write to any particular person/or division? If so, could you share it, and some of the things you told them. Another quesiton: does anyone know if they are going to produce a "Red Jewel" tint model, and if so, when?

stl1ab[/color]
 

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stl1ab said:
I've been reading a number of the posts the last month, but just joined. I "'wannabe" a Traverse owner ... stl1ab ... but St. Louis area chevy dealers aren't being real cooperative. I especially was interested in the posts of "Narg", "dearsmiths", "stumpk" and "boatwrench" and what they did to negotiate a deal. When you wrote to GM, did you write to any particular person/or division? If so, could you share it, and some of the things you told them. Another quesiton: does anyone know if they are going to produce a "Red Jewel" tint model, and if so, when?

stl1ab[/color]
My complaint was they have this huge sale, starting back in November, I went in wanting a BLue Metallic, SLT/2, with overhead DVD, sunroof, and 8 passenger seating, and they were not making them from the factory. I wrote a note to GM Headquarters, and they responded in1 day but they were only concerned with hooking me up with the local dealer. I claimed false adverstising and marketing, you say come in a pick out what you want, but nowhere in Amercia could I find it so in essence, its only about what they want you to buy. And, if I stick with what I want, the plants do not open until Feb 8th, as I did contact TN and heard from them. They even checked what had been built, the configuration I wanted was nowhere to be found. So, if I place an order,and it comes in 6-8 weeks after Feb 8th, they won't gaureentee me a incentive prices because noone knows what, if any, will be available, say, in March. I can atleast be guareented their Supplier price thru the savings and loan website but its frustrating to want something, they have not built it and for the most part, do not really care about taking your order.

dearsmiths
 

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check out http://www.vizualogicperfectapp.com/index.cfm this is the factory system and can usally be installed for about the price of the overhead factory option. This is the system we order and install at our dealership.
As far as the color not being available when new models are released they generally don't offer all colors at first til all small bugs can be worked out and such.

Where are you located I found several of what you are looking for some minus dvd with and without leather.
 

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danthechevyman said:
check out http://www.vizualogicperfectapp.com/index.cfm this is the factory system and can usally be installed for about the price of the overhead factory option. This is the system we order and install at our dealership.
As far as the color not being available when new models are released they generally don't offer all colors at first til all small bugs can be worked out and such.

Where are you located I found several of what you are looking for some minus dvd with and without leather.
Thanks, I actually have dual dvds that attach to the headrests so I was liked what comes overhead from the factory, with the dual lights, one on each side of the screen, its really nice. Yea, I found those without leather but our experience without leather, having 3 sons under 15, is we prefer the leather. We live in Northern VA. I also was looking at the White exterior color with the same configuration but can't find that. Is it better to place the order now, or wait until the fatory opens in TN, and place one the week before?

dearsmiths
 

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I found 2 blue w/leather and your other options in NY.
I also found 3 white the same way.
With you being in Virgina and me in Michigan I realize you are to far away for me to sell you so find a local dealer and see if they can help by locating one for you we will usually go out about 250-300 miles at most.
If you order do it now, sometimes they have vehicles on order and tag them if the equipment is what you are looking for,this happened to me when i was looking for my Traverse at the end of Nov the one I located and was told was available turned out to be a sold unit.
 

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danthechevyman said:
I found 2 blue w/leather and your other options in NY.
I also found 3 white the same way.
With you being in Virgina and me in Michigan I realize you are to far away for me to sell you so find a local dealer and see if they can help by locating one for you we will usually go out about 250-300 miles at most.
If you order do it now, sometimes they have vehicles on order and tag them if the equipment is what you are looking for,this happened to me when i was looking for my Traverse at the end of Nov the one I located and was told was available turned out to be a sold unit.
I just sent you a private message with some questions. Thanks, dearsmiths
 

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As far as getting the BEST deal everyone has to remember that price is only part of the equation. Is it worth saving a couple of bucks and getting sub par service or driving a couple of hours. In the past, before I started selling I always gave the local dealer a least a chance at a far price, and in todays world with the easy availability of invoice prices and such be up front with the person you are dealing with and they will usually be up front with you, but don't expect the best price on a none in stock vehicle because of the extra cost involved
 

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danthechevyman said:
As far as getting the BEST deal everyone has to remember that price is only part of the equation. Is it worth saving a couple of bucks and getting sub par service or driving a couple of hours. In the past, before I started selling I always gave the local dealer a least a chance ...
Good point, Dan. As I've grown older (and maybe a little wiser), I more often find myself willing to spend a little more money for better quality, or more convenience and less hassle. One reason I shop at Radio Shack. They seldom have the best prices on anything, but I know they will always have what I'm looking for, and if I don't know the name of the part, once I describe it they'll find it.
That being said, when it comes to cars that are equal, or nearly so, price may be one part the equation, but let's face it, it is by far the BIGGEST part!
Right now, I'm considering two Chevy dealers. One is less than a mile from my house; the other about 7 or 8 miles (yeah, still not very far, luckily).
After a little pushing on my part, the one farther away is offering me a deal about $2,000 less than my local guy (for cars in stock) -- although I have not bargained with the local one yet, as I'm waiting to see what the Feb. factory incentives will be.
But at some point, even though I'd much rather go with the local guy, it still will depend on how close he comes to the other offer. Doesn't have to beat it, or even match it, but it's gotta be a lot closer than $2,000!
 

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Just so you know the incentives were not better in Jan over Nov or Dec waiting is always the hardest part. The other thing to consider is that there has been a thousand dollar increase on the sale price of the Traverse across the entire line up.
When you have dealers that close price does matter but I really don't see both of them surviving through the end of the year with the current auto market.
We have another dealer about 15 miles away that has fired all of its sale staff and is working with 2 managers and their finance guy selling 5-7 cars a month with 30-40 cars on their lot we have 300 new. Most of the time if they beat our price they are losing money and have to locate the vehicle, they can't survive long doing that very long.
If you are flexible on options try to look for program Traverses these can be cars that are from dealers that have closed we picked up a 2LT w/leather and sold it for around 27000 list was at least 37000.
 

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Dan -- It's great getting your perspective, from an insider's viewpoint. Thanks so much for contributing to this forum -- esp. this topic. Dang, it is sad what's happening to so many dealerships and their sales staff.
You're so right, the incentives have actually been decreasing or holding steady for months. But I qualify now for only $750, which just about covers delivery here in NY, so it's worth a gamble to me to see what, if anything, comes up next. The Chevy's a good value around invoice or below, even without incentives, so as long as I get a fair deal, it'll be fine.
But I'm troubled by the $1,000 increase. How the heck can GM raise the MSRP (I presume that's what you mean) for cars already on the lot, especially in this economic climate?
Tell me a bit more about "program Traverses" -- if that's the correct term. Do I ask my dealer about them, or go through some other channel? That 2LT you mentioned is exactly what I'm looking for, and $27k is right about at my sweet spot.
 

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That increase is for new production. We still have 7 at the lower invoice price at various trim levels. The price increase is not retroactive to vehicles already at the dealers. The price increase is due to manufacturing cost increases IE material cost, also it is not uncommon for a price increase on new models during the year. This is also why older stock cars can have a lower price then fresher stock.
Program vehicles are basically cars that are either demos, for reps or corporate, or vehicles sold at auction from dealers that have closed so it is important that you know the mileage. As for the one we got it was auctioned and we basically won the bid.
 

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HELP !!! I still need the address & person's name at GM Headquarters so I can write to complain about not being able to qualify for "owner's loyaty" discount since I'm not a GM owner at present.

THANKS ... stl1ab[/color]
 

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danthechevyman said:
That increase is for new production. We still have 7 at the lower invoice price at various trim levels. The price increase is not retroactive to vehicles already at the dealers. The price increase is due to manufacturing cost increases IE material cost, also it is not uncommon for a price increase on new models during the year. This is also why older stock cars can have a lower price then fresher stock. . . .
Thanks for that clarification. Makes a lot of sense.
Stopped by my local dealer on a whim yesterday just to eyeball some inventory and he said he hadn't heard of the coming price increase. I wasn't too thrilled with color/trim level availability of what he has on the lot, and of course he said he can get me cars from other area dealers (which, curiously, seem to have only plenty of the silvery Moss Green color!) or I can place a factory order.
But I'm wary of the extra costs (or I should say less-discounted price) that has to come with either of those moves.
I'm not looking to get a car for no dealer profit (his kids have to eat, too), but I want to avoid any extra stuff that can add up fast.
He quoted me a 1LT AWD, with only option I added was rearview camera with navigation, at $33,335 (no incentives factored in).
"That's just $200 over my invoice," he said.
Clearly, I have my work cut out for me, at least with this guy.
 

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Just announced (at least in MI) 0%for up to 60 months good with lease pull ahead and credit union discount.
 

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Thanks, Dan.

Sounds like the $750 cashback, etc. has been discontinued?

For the general, average buyer (with no current lease), is the only incentive now 0% for, as they say, "well-qualified buyers" i.e. high FICO score this month?
Not complaining, just want to figure out where things stand.

Can someone explain exactly how supplier/credit union pricing works, by the way?
Also, I hear sometimes about union pricing. For instance, I'm in the Teamsters -- does that get me anything? :-\
 
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