Car Buying Q & A


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When to buy? Saturday Morning?

I love your site. Very informative. When I bought my first car 12 years ago I wish I had followed your advice. The first time I went to a dealer I managed to walk away and got a call from the dealer the next day asking to come back but by that time I had changed my mind and went with a different brand. Got over excited for a one year old demo and paid about $2000 too much. The only redeeming thing is that the car turned out great and I still own it.
I have switched to buying from private sellers or auctions. Have gotten some great deals. The down side is the time spent looking….on average 8 to 12 weeks. But have come to enjoy the search. My wife and I now play tag team which drives the sellers crazy.
I still go to the car dealership and kick tires and on occasion get into negotiations to see if I can get a deal. No luck so far. Now, I must give off an aura because the sales guys don’t even bother to get off the wall and just simply light another cigarette. I have to find them. This is even from dealerships I have never visited.
I find the best thing with sales guys is to be their friend and be honest and tell them I’m just here kicking tires, I usually buy private, I don’t want to waste your time etc.. They seem to open up and are willing to answer some questions without a sales pitch. Has helped me figure out prices. I know they still want a sale but they’ve toned things down and I can get more out of them.
I’m in the process of buying something else in the next 6 months and I was wondering about when to buy at a dealership. I know that you’ve said to wait just before closing but I heard that first thing on Saturday morning is a good time when everyone is still pumped from the mornings sales pep rally. The theory being that a quick sale to start the day is contagious, even a skinny deal. What do you think?

Re: When to buy? Saturday Morning?

Saturdays usually provide the most traffic and yes many dealerships will get the sales staff pumped, I was associated once with a dealership that had on average 25 sales staff and on saturday mornings before the doors opened the manager would crank up the loud speakers so loud with theme music from the movie Rocky for about 2 minutes that would put a jolt through your hole body, when he turned the sound off he would offer spiffs for the day,,, example,,, first car sold $100. 3 cars $200. - tank of gas or free dinner vouchers. etc etc.

The only advantage the buyer may gain shopping on saturdays is the experienced sales person will quickly qualify you and not grind you into the ground for 2 hours because there are plenty of other shoppers to choose from.

So yes the sales people may be pumped up, but as I mentioned in the site, the sales person don' t have the final say and the price will remain the same as it was yesterday,,, personally I used many tricks on a saturday,,, here is just one of many you can read into,,, Mr Buyer, today saturday being our busiest day of the week the dealership has set a target to sell 50 cars and I been told bring any offer because they will sell as low as a hundered bucks over cost till target is reached,,, etc etc

Re: When to buy? Saturday Morning?

Oh my goodness! That’s the exact spin I got when I bought my first car at the dealer ohh so many years ago.
You are right about what you’ve said in ‘What’s your Occupation’ and ‘How dealers Negotiate’, all the angle are covered by the experts. Last time I made a serious attempt to buy at a dealer I got many of the negotiating tactics listed in ‘How Dealers negotiate’. I went in with my family looking for a minivan. It was fun for a while the first sales guy got out his piece of paper and attempted to do a four square. With my two little ones crawling all over his cubicle, playing with his knickknack and asking for candy, he had a hard time keeping track of his own numbers. By the way, I was completely lost. When the second sales man showed up things changes noticeably. He was a pro! I was lucky to grab my credit card off the table and make a run for the hills (thinking back on it, they probably just let me go realizing that I was not going to buy that day). I was not really prepared and knew it. Spent a few weeks cooling off and doing some research on prices before purchasing .

Everyone needs to read’ Tips on how to negotiate’. And follow the first tip. Always sleep on it. All the incentives and ‘goodies’ offered by the dealer will still be there in the 12 hours it takes you to think things through.

The other thing to consider when buying is the price of insurance. The fuel saved on an efficient used small car and easily disappear versus a cheaper used ‘grandpa’ car, especially for younger drivers. When I was buying the van, the tipping point was insurance. One van was considered to be more reliable. The other can was rated lower. In the end I went with the lower van since the insurance was considerably less.
Wish me luck when I start to seriously look for a car in about 6-7 months. Hopefully I can remember a quarter of what you’ve said.