(Crap! this wasn 't supposed to post until Friday! So, consider this my Friday post!)
I mentioned yesterday that I have been battling the car sales wars--sparring with car salespeople, trying as we all do to get the most car possible for the lest amount of money. To be fair, I sold cars for 11 months, so I know it's a tough way to make a living, especially in the current economy. I didn't survive; I lasted 11 months before being handed my pink slip. The dealership expected me to sell 10 cars per month; I was only able to average 7 per month. (That was back in 1992)
That stint in car sales, plus my experiences purchasing vehicles over the last 40 years or so compelled me to write this post. My Jargon Translations are in red italics.
The Car-Buyers Dictionary of Car Sales Jargon, or What they really mean when they utter this phrase:
1. What kind of car are you looking for?
What do we have in our current inventory that we might be able to pawn off on you, whether or not it meets your needs.
2. How much are you looking to spend on a car?
Give me a figure to which I can add a thousand or two and sell you the car that gives me a better commission.
3. Did you have a monthly payment in mind?
I should be able to add $75 to that and sell you the car that gives me a better commission.
I can fit any car into that montly payment if I extend the term long enough;
4. Would you like to drive this car home to show your spouse?
If we can get your spouse hooked on the car, then the two of us can gang up on you until you fold!
5. We were lucky to get this interest rate on your loan!
If you're willing to accept the first interest rate I quote, the dealership will make extra money on this sale!
6. I strongly recommend you purchase the extended warranty contract; it only adds a few dollars to your monthly payment.
If I can get you to buy the service contract, we can make more money on this sale!
7. What would it take to put you in this car today?
I know if you leave, you may buy elsewhere, so if I throw in floormats or a GPS system, will you sign on the dotted line now?
At one dealership (whose name I will not mention), the salesperson asked us what we were looking for. We said we wanted a Chevy Malibu or Impala, any color but black or white, and we absolutely wanted a sunroof. "I think I have the perfect car for you," he said. We were instructed to take a seat in the showroom while he fetched it. He drove up to the door in a white Impala with no sunroof. When we explained that this car would not work and why, he asked again what we were looking for exactly?
Once again we said, "Malibu or Impala, with sunroof, remote start, in any color but black or white."
"Oh, I know I have the car you want!" he responded, and proceeded to show us a black Nissan Altima.
At this point I was thinking a colonoscopy would be more fun than this, so we gave up on that place!
We visited a couple other dealerships with better experiences, but they did not have the car we were seeking. Finally, we ended up at Quirk Chevrolet in Portland, Maine. We had the good fortune to work with Alishia Topham. a true sales professional. She listened to what we said, and showed us only cars that met our needs. She quoted a price and left the decision to us; she didn't apply pressure, she didn't pull the "What do I have to do to put you in this car today?" line. We were able to negotiate a deal that was satisfactory without haggling or stress. If you are in southern Maine and looking for a car, I strongly recommend Quirk and especially Alishia. I promise you won't regret it. And tell her I sent you--I do get a referral fee if you do, but I wouldn't recommend Alishia if we hadn't had a really positive experience. She's extremely helpful and comfortable to work with.
used) 2009 Chevrolet Impala LTZ: