7 Confessions Of A Car Salesman: Kia

Carl spent some time selling Kias at a dealership in Colorado, and has written in with a few insights about Kia, selling cars, and some buying strategies for you. Some highlights:

•Consider A Credit Union For Financing. “Get a pre-approved loan through a credit union, most of the time they will approve you up to a certain amount and give you a check that can be used at the dealership of your choice, which turns you into a cash buyer, you already know how much your payment will be a month, and it makes it so you have one less thing to negotiate with the dealer about.

• Selling Kias is about volume. “Most salesmen don’t make squat selling new cars alone, it is all about volume, at the Kia dealership we made $100 per new car from the dealership with Kia offering an incentive called “Kia Cash” where you would call a number after a car had been registered with corporate as being sold and you could “win” anywhere from $25- $500 for each sale you made. Our dealer would also offer weekly “spiff’s” where you would get an extra X dollars for every car sold if the dealer sold Y number of cars, or on a weekend if you sold more than three you would get a compound bonus where ever car would be worth 50 bucks more to you than the last one 1st one 50, second car 100 etc..”

• At Carl’s Kia Dealership there was a time limit for each customer. “The way we made money pretty much meant that we weren’t going to spend anymore time with a customer than necessary. The manager’s had an unofficial time limit, if you were with a customer for more than an hour without closing in on a sale, they would either step in or send in a Closer to make the deal go. If we spent more than two hours with a customer they had better be making a bulk deal because it really wasn’t worth the time invested.

• Kia dealerships can be sort of sleazy. “Kia markets their cars as a lower cost alternative to Japanese cars and as a result most dealership’s aim their marketing at high credit risk customers, because of this,the dealerships can be pretty sleazy to deal with because they know that most people who look at Kia’s have been turned away from every other new car lot in town. If you were to wander in to a Kia dealership I would pretty much expect every high pressure trick in the book to be thrown at you.”

• Stay away from big chain dealerships. “I would recommend staying away from chain dealerships, auto malls, and anyplace billing itself as “THE BIGGEST (insert brand here) DEALER IN THE REGION!!!” because they are going to be high volume which means that the sales team doesn’t have any particular reason to keep you as a return customer. Employee turnover at chain dealerships can be extremely high, especially for positions like management and finance, which can be the most cut-throat positions in the dealership. Not uncommon to see a new sales manager every week or two at some of these places. Small family owned dealerships that have a good reputation in the community are disappearing but they are the way to go.”

•Try A Vehicle Buying Service. “Most credit unions also have a vehicle buying service, where an independent party will find a vehicle of your choice and get you a price that is usually right around invoice. I don’t think most people could go to a dealership and get the same results that buying services do, and it can save you a lot of time if you know what you want in a car.”

• If you’re happy, let the dealer bribe you with free gas. “Customer satisfaction surveys are a joke, at the dealer I worked for we would bribe customers with free gas if they let us fill out their surveys when they come in the mail.” Sketchy, but hey. It’s free gas.

Thanks for the tips, Carl! According to Consumer Reports, Credit Unions can be a good place to get a low interest rate.:

“Because they are nonprofit, their operating costs are fairly low and their lending rates can be quite competitive. Many people belong to credit unions just to take advantage of the convenient loan policies.”

Bankrate says:

Once they get pre-approval “members can essentially shop as a cash customer and that’s what we instruct them to do,” says Larry Jones, vice president of marketing at ORNL Federal Credit Union in Tennessee.

“Pre-approval is a way you’re sure you’re going to get the loan,” said Ellis Waller, product manager for automotive lines with the Credit Union National Association.

“You can go into the dealership with money in hand at a rate you know is attractive. When you say you have the financing, the dealer won’t try to convince you their 2.9 percent financing is better. It’s almost always better to take the rebate and finance with the credit union.”

There is a clear advantage for the credit union, too. Fewer members end up with dealer financing.

Credit Unions are definitely worth checking out, even if you end up with a better deal from the dealer! —MEGHANN MARCO

For more info about financing and credit unions:

Credit unions get up to speed for online car shopping [Bankrate]

Where to shop for an auto loan [Consumer Reports]

If you work in the car sales business and want to offer some helpful tips to our readers, write to us at tips [at] consumerist [dot[ com.

(Photo: Ian Muttoo)