flan wrote:Car dealerships can give you a good deal, and they can screw you. And they're full of people who lie for a living, so it's kind of hard to know if you're getting a good deal, or not, unless you have a good idea what you can get elsewhere.
It's an industry with some interesting incentives. My first car was a hand-me-down freebie, so I've only actually bought one car in my life from a dealer (a Subaru Legacy, lightly used). It was in my pre-credit days, and I paid with a debit card.
*Brief grumbling about what I could have gotten on a PRG (after an FR).* At least I didn't pay interest.
The price was fair, but slightly above the market. The internet and the availability of used cars do make dealer margins pretty thin, so it makes sense that they want to move cars ASAP. What a salesman can make on a used car has, I believe, fallen since there's not as much room for commission. So they need to sell more cars, and therefore sell each car quickly.
Car dealers definitely BS a lot. One thing I learned is that any time a dealer starts a sentence with "I think....X" or "I'm pretty sure...X" it means "I know X is absolutely not true, but I don't want you to go to another dealer". Assume they know everything, and that anything they won't put in writing is BS.
And don't put too much trust any "rigorous, 482-point inspection" claims. When I got mine, the door to the gas tank didn't open. It had been sitting on the lot for a while, and after a few test drives by customers, it was down to about 5% of a tank when I picked it up. So the inability to put gas in the car was a second annoying surprise that day.
Some light hammering got the gas tank door working. Other than that, the car works well, and they've done decent regular maintenance on it. They've also actually told me that some maintenance wasn't immediately needed when I thought it was (and after some further research, I found they were right).
It's a tough business, and one where people need to compromise their honesty quite a bit to succeed. When a customer comes in, you can't find out what they need and suggest the best car for them. You need to convince them that one of the cars you're selling is best for them.
I test drove a lot of cars, including a Honda Civic. Well, I tried to test drive it. It was a small Honda dealership, and their inventory at the time was just Civics. I'm about 6'3, and as you might guess, I had never been in a Civic before. It's a small car, and I'd have had to steer with my knees in danger of blowing the horn. Did the salesman make any attempt to save me time (and a little embarrassment) by telling me I'd never fit? Of course not, because it would mean losing a customer. Selling cars just isn't a business that encourages honesty.