Buy Your Car For Only A Buck With $49,999 Trade-In!

Over at one of our new favorite blogs,, they’ve exposed a shady little bit of advertising semantics now widely being employed by the automotive industry.

You see an ad pimping a hot deal on a new Jag: for a limited time only, it will only cost you a buck. That’s right: the car costs only one leaf of lettuce, a single dead Washington. Excitedly, you pull a moist dollar out of your sock and head to the dealership, who then inform you that yes, indeed, the car only costs a dollar. But you have to purchase the right to buy it for a dollar. How much does that cost? $49,999.00.

How are they getting away with that? “These dealers are deliberately treating a form of payment — a cash down payment or a trade in — as a discount from the price. What you put down is never considered a discount from the price.”

Reprehensible. But now you know! Blah blah blah. G.I. Joe!

Mazda Madness: $21,000 Cars for $9500* [Mouseprint]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tz says:

    And the state sales tax will be charged on what amount?

    For states with a commong 6%, it means $0.06 v.s. $1200 on a $20,000 car.

    Of course if the states don’t accept the math, then they should also be suing the places for false advertising

  2. Magister says:

    I don’t see false advertisement here. They show the MSRP. They show the amount of your downpayment/trade-in. Then deduct discounts..

    Umm, while it might be a little sleezy to highlight that final price after downpayment, I don’t think any law in the land would define that as false advertisement.

  3. Myron says:

    A Hyundai dealership in Boston used to place similar ads in the paper. It makes the price meaningless and is insulting to customers. At least it is to this customer. Who knows, maybe this is effective advertising.

  4. Triteon says:

    Unfortunately, this is standard practice in car retailing. I agree with Magister.
    What I hate is that dealerships pull the same stunt for television ads– at least here you have time to read the fine print (with or without magnifying glass) to understand the offer.

  5. AcilletaM says:

    Blah blah blah. G.I. Joe!

    Greatest American Hero?

  6. Hawkins says:

    Anybody who believes anything in a car ad is foolish.

    If the ad says, “WE SELL CARS,” investigate first.

  7. jonnypage says:

    Almost all the car dealerships in Edmonton, Alberta use this tequnique. In the paper ever day you will see the prices under the cars, and at the bottom of the add it says (with $5000 trade in) in realy small print. When I went to buy my car, I asked to see their ad, and it did not have this dirty trick on it. If it did, I would have gone elsewhere and told them why they had lost a sale. Terrible way of trying to pull the wool over the customer’s eyes.