When you are shopping for a car, your local car dealerships present some of the best opportunities to take advantage of a large selection of new, used, and pre-owned vehicles. Unlike a private seller, they have some skin in the game and are interested in retaining you as a lifelong customer. But, they may be tempted to exploit the loopholes if they can tweak things in their favor. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, after all. Let’s consider 5 of the dirty dark secrets that car dealers know, and you don’t.
#1: Gotta Make Those Quotas
A car dealership has sales reps who are expected to make minimum quotas to justify their weekly paycheck that is based on commissions. They may have these quotas at the end of every week, but most likely provide a little bit of wiggle room by looking at the quotas accrued by the end of the month. This means that a car sales rep may be desperate to make that deal if you drive in at the end of the month looking for their best deal.
#2: Dealerships Thrive on Ignorance
The dealerships cater to customers who are busy and want to have everything streamlined and set up for you to get ripped off whenever they see that you don’t care. They do this, especially, at the financing department. They may never tell you what your credit score is so that they can justify hitting you with a higher financing rate than you’d have to pay if you sourced out financing yourself.
The same is true if you don’t extensively research the models that you are considering buying. The dealership has a mix of vehicles that they receive from the manufacturer. Some of these are less desirable models that may have unpopular options that cost a lot extra for nothing. Other models may have a base engine that is way underpowered for the weight of the vehicle and the number of passengers that you expect to take with you. There are so many refined questions that one should ask when comparing the quality of various automotive choices. Don’t let sales reps prey on your ignorance by manipulating you to buy the overstock cars and leftovers that they’d like to get rid of fast.
#3: Never Overlook Incentives and Coupons
Dealerships have to pay a high price to keep consumers interested in shopping with them. In order to lure you into the dealership for consideration of buying something there, they will often put their best incentives and deals right on their website. Here, you can usually find printable coupons for a range of service and purchase options.
For example, you may find coupons for auto lease deals near NYC that require no down payment if you sign a lease by a certain promotional timeframe. The dealerships go through promotional marketing phases for all their materials when they are in a sales slump and need to stimulate interest.
These promotional periods often occur during:
- Seasonal changes
- New Inventory Days
- New Year’s Eve
#4: You Can Find Roadside Assistance Anywhere
The finance reps are always trying to pad up the sales because they have the convenient final number calculations there to inform you how many dollars a day adding this or that will bump up the price. When you are talking about a 60-month auto loan, an extra couple grand seems virtually meaningless, like money being tossed into the wind, if you let them have your ear. Most of these extra services are unnecessary. You can always purchase a better quality of roadside assistance from AAA and get some other hotel and travel discounts on top of it.
#5: You Probably Don’t Need Gap Insurance
Another thing that they will try to sell you is gap insurance. Gap insurance is when you total your vehicle soon after the purchase and you don’t want to lose that 10 percent devaluation that occurs when you drive off the lot. While it all sounds so rational and smart to opt for gap insurance, this should only be purchased if you are someone who is accident prone. Otherwise, the odds are astronomical that you will total your brand-new vehicle right after you buy it if you have never been in a major accident in your life.