More on Car Sales

Apparently I’m not the only one who hates buying cars: Data today shows that BMW’s July SUV sales are down 31% year-over-year, Audi sales are off 2.6%, and GM/Ford/Chrysler are suffering badly.

Okay, okay, this also has to do with higher gas prices, a weakening dollar, a sputtering economy, and consumers who can’t pilfer home equity for car money any more, but it’s nice to pretend that other people find this whole car buying thing as un-fun as I do.


  1. car buying is one of the last vestiges of forced bargaining. The sticker price is not the price at which you make the transaction, but is only an indicator around which you make a deal. It would be the same hassle if every time you bought clothes you had to negotiate a discount from the ticketed price.

  2. That’s why I have negotiated my last three car purchases completely over email. It’s the only way I could tolerate it. You’ll find that most dealers have internet sales folks who will deal over email and are more honest typically then your avg. car sales person (though not all). Tolerable but still not enjoyable.

  3. This is one thing the net has really helped with. Combined with a couple of other steps, you can make your life pretty easy.
    1)You can use any of the variety of sites to figure out what you should be paying for the car you want
    2)You can find car rental places that even carry the Audi’s and BMWs of the world. Rent one for a day or two — yes it’s pricey but (a) less pricey than buying the wrong car and (b) you actually get to enjoy driving the car without continual stupid sales patter
    3)Walk in to the dealership, try and find the least obnoxious looking sales person, tell them what you want and what you’ll pay. Give them 10 minutes for a yes or no and make it clear you’ll leave if they don’t comply. If they don’t come back in 10, go to a competing dealership.
    I just finished step 2 on my hunt for a new Audi A4. One of the local corporate hertz offices rents Audis. Picked it up late on Fri and took it back on Sun. Cost ~$300.
    As for emailing, I’ve found those salespeople to be no better than the regular floor sales folks.
    At least when it’s face to face you can be an ass and use it as therapy 😉