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On buying cars

I hate it. I hate dealing with the sales guys. I hate dealing with finance guys. Can’t stand it. But we grabbed a Honda Pilot (4WD just in time for the non-snow) mentioned here. We went by to finish up some paperwork and all that. This is the part where my wife became annoyed because my credit score blew hers out of the water. Hers is still great, mind you, but mine is a few points shy of the max. So, the finance guy said we’d get a better rate if I was the applicant.

I don’t know why they call him the Finance Manager since he’s really the Sell You Extended Warranties and Other Shit You Don’t Need Manager. We were, no shit, in this guy’s office for an hour and every few minutes he’d get up and go check on something (his words) while we were left to discuss some piece of junk package he wanted to sell us. The third time he left to go check on something, I looked at the wife and said This guy has 20 minutes to get us out the door or this deal is off. This is taking way too long. I’ve closed on houses faster than this. He came back and was most expeditious this time. I figure they have a microphone in the Sell You Extended Warranties and Other Shit You Don’t Need Manager’s office and he heard me.

Any way, we got the car. And dig it. But one other bit of bad ju-ju: They detailed and cleaned the car for us last night and had it looking quite spiffy. But, in case you haven’t heard, we were supposed to have a blizzard today. So, the Mrs. had the misfortune of being stuck behind a salt truck on her way home after having her brand new car detailed. So, it looks like she’s been off-roading at the beach. Bummer. And, of course, the blizzard never came. Stupid global warming

21 Responses to “On buying cars”

  1. Draketungsten Says:

    The weathermen in this town need their ass kicked. This is the third false alarm in as many weeks.

    Enjoy the new ride.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    My wife thinks the weather persons are in cahoots with 1) teachers who want the day off and 2) grocery stores.

  3. Les Jones Says:

    I was thinking about you last night and wondering how long it would take to buy your Honda. It took us six hours even though we went to the dealership knowing the exact vehicle we wanted right down to the VIN number. Some of that time was haggling (my wife is the Queen of Haggle), but still.

    P.S. Did they title you in Knox or Blount County? We live in Blount, bought it Knox, and the tags say Knox.

  4. SayUncle Says:

    we just transferred our tag.

  5. GLN Admin Says:

    Here is how I deal with dealerships:
    1) Look at cars on a work day over lunch.
    2) When you get slimed by the sleaze, explain your short time frame.
    3) If you have a chance of success, negociate quickly. – remind them of your timeframe.
    4) Always be prepared to walk out. This is the most important thing.
    5) When you agree on a price, explain you need to get back to work.
    6) Tell them to work the paper work done and you will be back at 6 to sign and be done.
    7) Also tell them that if it takes more than 20 minutes, you are walking out without the car.
    8) They will protest that there are alot of decisions to be made.
    9) Explain that for any decision that costs money, the answer is NO. That will cover everything.
    10) Leave.
    11) Arrive at 6.
    12) Leave at 6:20 – Dinner with family thing. I have always left with the car.

  6. straightarrow Says:

    I once rolled the driver’s side window up on the neck of a salesman that really thought I wasn’t going to leave after he lied to me 3 times in 2 minutes.

    I dropped my car into reverse, drug him into traffic, dropped into drive and didn’t roll the window down until about 30 miles/hr. He was still rolling last time I saw him. My wife buys all our cars now.

  7. drstrangegun Says:


    That’s a *wonderful* fantasy.

    Try not to admit to attempted murder where you can be tracked, ok?

  8. Homer Says:

    My trusty 4WD T100 will be 10 years old this month, and I’m not looking forward to having to replace it in a few years. When I bought it I got the usual song-and-dance from the sales weasels. After about 5 minutes of that I wrote a check for what I thought the new truck was worth to me, pointed out that the truck I drove in (and they had previously provided a trade-in value sheet on) was low mileage and quite serviceable for another 5-7 years, they had 60 seconds to accept the check or I would tear it up, and I started staring at my watch. When I stood up at the one minute mark and reached for the check the sales manager grabbed the check, whined the usual “we’re losing money” and signed the paperwork.

  9. straightarrow Says:

    Not a fantasy, and I warned the sonofabitch three times to get away from me. He believes me now. l lived in that town for another year and I didn’t hide from anybody. Nobody came to check it out.

    It wasn’t attempted murder. If it had been I would have killed him. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Not because of him, but because even as angry as I was I couldn’t justify it. Once he stuck his head next to mine in my car and wouldn’t move, he was mine. My wife happened to be with me when it happened.

    She will tell you I am one of the easiest people in the world to get along with, until pushed that one step too far. I usually try to get away from the situation if I see it coming. But, damn a man that chases me down to push that extra step.

  10. straightarrow Says:

    that was 1977.

  11. drstrangegun Says:

    Ahhhh, a different era.

  12. Captain of a Crew of One Says:

    Car Dealers

    Sayuncle has a post up about a recent car buying experience and it reminded me of my last foray into the wild and wacky world of car dealerships a couple of weeks ago.

  13. nk Says:

    I love my Altima. Well, maybe, just admire and appreciate for you literalists. We reduced the price by $1,500.00 when I put on my coat. The “finance manager” gave me exactly the same spiel he gave Uncle. I said, “My warranty is that this is a car that does not need a warranty. If it does, we’re not buying it”. My wife backed me up: “We can pay [this much] per month. A penny more and we are not buying it.”

  14. _Jon Says:

    A few points:

    1. It is good to know that it isn’t just the Domestic auto sales people who are jerks and treat their customers like crap.

    2. Because I know most everything about cars and their finances, I often am asked to come to a dealership with friends and family.

    3. I can get A-Plan for family, or X-Plan for anyone I know (which is 4% more), so there is no “negotiating”.

    It is pretty disgusting how these “finance people” just pile stuff on and lie about it.

    I could write a book on how bad my experiences at various dealerships have been.
    Unfortunately, it would be labeled as obscene due to amount of profanity it would include.

  15. countertop Says:

    I don’t buy new cars.

    Forget financing, I don’t want to eat the depreciation.

    I got my Saab as a 1 year old program car (was actually driven by a GM VP in Michigan – found a bunch of credit card receipts in one of the hidden pockets – as well as some cash – and was able to ID who he was). Got my wife’s Isuzu Rodeo (a fantastic vehicle) as a 1 year old off lease (as I was about to sign the paperwork they hit me with a $500 processing fee … saw it and got up to walk out…managed to get that and another $500 taken off the total price). Picked up my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee (perhaps my favorite car ever) off of Craigslist 3 years ago. It had 65k miles on it. Its now (offficially) an 11 year old vehicle and still has under 100k miles on it (93).

  16. tgirsch Says:

    GLN Admin is right, but you don’t have to do the leave and come back thing. All you have to do is tell them that if it’s not done in 20 minutes, you’re not signing or buying anything, and be willing to walk out if they don’t comply. If they believe you’re going to buy if they act quickly, and that you’re going to leave if they don’t, believe me, they’ll act quickly.

    Of course, I’ve never, ever bought a new car. They lose a quarter of their value as soon as you drive ’em off the lot. I always opt for late-model used that’s still under warranty, preferably a car coming off lease. That’s your best bang for the buck, so unless you’re in love with the idea of a new new car, it’s the way to go.

  17. tgirsch Says:

    Damn, countertop beat me to it. 🙂

  18. JustinB Says:

    Have you ever tried CarMax? I found my 4Runner on a Friday via their web site…went to the dealer on Saturday at 5pm and was out the door by 6:30pm. The dealer was great…didn’t push me or try to load on shit/extras I didn’t need. he just asked me one time if I wanted an extended warranty and left it at that. They even gave me $500 more than Blue book on my car as a trade in. I *might* have bought it for around $700-$900 less at a “dealership” but fuck that…it was well worth paying a wee bit more to not have to put up with the usual car dealer bullshit/

  19. R. Neal Says:

    I feel your pain. I’d rather get a root canal than buy a car.

    On the “finance” guy (with the ulterior job description you note), here’s how I deal with it.

    I talk to the salesman, negotiate the price, the trade-in, negotiate away the “undercoating” and “fabric protection”, and go through the whole “I’ll have to check with my manager” etc. etc. song and dance.

    (I usually don’t quibble over the “document processing fee” or whatever they call it on the sales contract, because they “have to charge their own mother that!”. I give them that because there’s no use arguing with them about it, but I try to figure it in to my offer price.)

    When the deal is “settled” (they presume it isn’t, but as far as I’m concerned it is), I throw in one more requirement. I tell them, look, I’ve been very patient. We’ve been here a long time. The finance guy has to get me out of here in one hour, or the deal’s off. I’ve already checked around, and here’s who I want my financing with. I ain’t buyin’ no extended warranties, theft protection (big scam!), credit life, disability insurance, or any other bullshit. I’m paying tag, title, taxes, principle, and interest. That’s it.

    The salesman will go in to the “finance” guy’s office and close the door. It usually goes pretty smoothly after that. And the salesman will check in with you and the “finance” guy from time to time if necessary to see how the deal is moving along.

  20. Homer Says:

    Two tricks I learned from my old man about cars: first, finance for five, but make payments based on a three-year loan, and; keep making the payments after the car’s paid for, just make them to yourself. You’ve already budgeted for X dollars a month and gotten used to not having it to spend, start stuffing it into a savings account somewhere with automatic withdrawal from your paycheck, plug it into higher-paying CDs as you accumulate bucks. At some point every car will need replacing, and by the time you get to the 7-9 year mark you’ll just about be able to pay cash.

  21. straightarrow Says:

    drstrangegun, not just another era, it was a different country. This one is not recognizable from the one it used to be.