Buying cars is still terrible

posted by Jeff | Sunday, August 19, 2018, 11:41 AM | comments: 0

Yesterday's acquisition of our most recent car was, again, a relatively horrible experience. It was better than last time, but still not great. The big difference this time is that we were able to negotiate entirely by email. I was super direct in initiating the conversation:

"Don't call me. Please quote me on [dealer stock number] for a 3-year lease, [money down], and include the payment with tax. Also disclose the net capitalized cost, the residual and the money factor used in calculating the payment."

What I can't deal with is the bullshit around the emotional things that salespeople pitch. It just grinds on me and insults my intelligence. I'm sure a lot of people buy cars emotionally, but I do not. Give me the numbers, because at the end of the day, everyone knows what the real cost is, what the rebates and incentives are. The Internet is good like that.

I started this conversation with five Nissan dealers, including the one where we purchased the previous Leaf. One didn't respond outside of an invitation to come to the dealer for a $25 gift card. Another responded an entire day later (after we had our deal) asking if we wanted to come in and test drive. Another didn't respond at all. That came down to two who gave me the numbers I asked for, and the losing dealer apparently wasn't aware of the extra incentive for repeat customers. The winner got us about where we wanted to be, once we understood what incentives were available. We had not stepped foot in a dealer yet when we had a deal. We did not play the "let me talk to my manager" bullshit game.

We arrived at the dealer with the car already sitting out ready for us, but it still took us almost two and a half hours to get out, which is super fun when you've got Simon along for the ride. The problem had to do with getting all of the finance stuff worked out, and then a further delay when the Florida DMV was offline and couldn't process the registration transfer. Why is there so much waiting and inefficiency?

Tesla has this figured out. You order the car online, you make you down payment online and the financing is even figured out ahead of time, all online. On the day of devliery, you sign a few things and you're done. It literally takes five minutes. Who doesn't want that? If you believe the dealer associations that are trying to push Tesla out of various states, they insist that people like and want the dealer experience. Who are these people?

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