Here's how to avoid these horrible dealership problems.
Car enthusiasts tend to have very different experiences in car dealerships than most people. For one, they tend to know a lot more about cars than the salespeople selling them, which can cause problems. With this in mind, we compiled a list of our five biggest complaints with dealerships. These issues are especially pronounced for younger car enthusiasts, who are not taken as seriously. Here's how you can avoid these five annoying car dealership problems when you go shopping for a new ride.
Talking Finance, Not The Car When we walk into a dealership, we like to feel that the salesperson wants to build a relationship with us and guide us through the buying process. So when the sales person jumps right into their sales pitch before we even have the chance to look at the car, we can get pretty annoyed. A top tip in this scenario is to tell a little fib and just let the salesperson know that you'll be paying cash for the car so that they can simply answer your questions before interrogating you about financing.
Roping Off Halo Cars Halo cars from non-luxury brands are often treated by dealerships as if they're untouchable. For example, the Honda Civic Type R is awesome, but is still less expensive than a moderately optioned German luxury car. However, the Honda dealership likely won't let anyone test drive or even sit in their Civic Type R. Some paranoid dealers may even rope their examples off. This is extremely annoying for anyone who actually wants to buy one of these cars and will likely never get to test drive it. Sometimes these dealers will let you test drive right at the end of the buying process just to make sure you like the car.
After you've filled out every piece of paperwork to buy the car, the dealership can tell that you are a serious buyer. There really isn't a great way around this issue, but we do have a good recommendation for test driving cars like these. If we were shopping for something like a Ford Focus RS or BMW M3, we'd look for a used example at a luxury car dealership that sells much more expensive cars. A luxury dealership (such as Porsche or Maserati) will gladly let you test drive a $40,000 used car because they are used to selling cars that cost three or four times as much.
Unknowledgeable Salespeople When a car enthusiast goes car shopping, it's very likely that they will know more about cars than the salesperson. This makes it difficult to have a conversation about the car. In our experience, a non-enthusiast salesperson can often ruin the whole experience by falling back on the other bad dealership habits on this list. A salesperson that doesn't know the specifics about the car will often only talk about finance, rave about a halo car that they don't really understand and even tell you every reasons why manuals suck. We always try to find the salesperson that actually loves cars, which isn't always easy at certain dealerships.
We've been to certain dealerships (we won't name names) where the salesperson has tried to convince us that a CVT with paddle shifters would be "just as much fun" and "much better in traffic." This salesperson was clearly someone that we didn't want to buy from.
Annoying Calls and Emails Car dealerships really want your business, and sometimes this can result in salespeople that hound you. If you give the dealer your contact information such as email or phone number, they will probably bombard you with calls and emails to see if you are still in the market for a new car. An easy way to avoid this is to give an email address of phone number that is one digit different than your actual information. That way, if you go back to the dealership to buy you can always say that you or the salesperson must have written the information down wrong the first time.
Mistreatment of Young Buyers When young enthusiasts are in the market for a sports car, dealerships may not take them seriously or offer them a test drive. Some high-end dealerships may actually laugh you out of the dealership, even if you can really afford their cars. We recommend calling ahead so that the dealership isn't surprised when a young person comes looking at a car that most people can't afford at that age. Another trick is to go to the dealership with a parent, which can add credibility to a younger buyer. This may not always be an option for some people, but it has helped tremendously in our experience.
We always appreciate dealerships that are kind to every potential buyer that walks through the door. You never know who could be a potential buyer in the future, and taking a little time to be nice can do a lot to shape someone's perception of a brand.