Maybe GM Can't Sell Cars Because Its Dealerships Won't Sell Them

Consumerist reader Chris decided to take advantage of GM’s please-buy-a-car Employee Discount sale that we wrote about yesterday, so he headed off to two different dealerships in the NY/NJ area. What he found were deserted showrooms with salesmen who ignored him or argued with him over the existence of specific models he’d looked at online. He adds, “tonight I’m off to Toyota for some hard numbers on a Corolla and Camry.”

“Why GM cant sell cars: What employee pricing cant fix” []
(Photo: spcummings)


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  1. Botticelli711 says:

    Toyota will be a much better value

  2. jamesdenver says:

    Will this guy be allowed to comment on his article?


  3. incognit000 says:

    When my Dad bought a GM car back in 1984, salespeople fought over the chance to get to him, each one knowing that there was a fat commission in it if they closed the sale.

    In 2004 when he bought a GM car, he basically had to find the car he wanted on the lot, drag a salesman over to it, and demand that he be charged no more than the manufacturer’s recommended price.

    The thing is, when the cars stopped selling, GM did what every good company does: fire the people who actually interact with the customers, and upon whom the entire business depends. This way executives could continue to collect huge sums of pay and then blame the fact that their cars aren’t selling on those evil Japanese and their tiny, fuel-efficient vehicles.

  4. AskCars says:

    to be clear, his shopping experience had nothing to do with the sale in question, he just got idiot salesmen.

    The sale specifically includes 2009 Chevy Malibus and Pontiac Vibes because the 08 stock is extremely limited already so perhaps there is no stock of certain trims.

    For 2008 there was no four-cylinder LTZ. For 2009 there is.
    For those who don’t know I’m an editor at carsdotcom (not spamming)

    • mmmsoap says:

      @Rabbi Dave:

      to be clear, his shopping experience had nothing to do with the sale in question, he just got idiot salesmen.

      Yes and no. One bad experience is an idiot salesman. But a pattern that starts to appear (multiple people at both of the dealerships he visited not knowing the product and/or not wanting to work with him) is a symptom of a larger problem with the company in general.

      It’s not the mistake that’s an issue, but how it’s dealt with. Why is there no “Sir, where did you see an LTZ 4-cyl? I’m not aware of one that’s available” rather than “That doesn’t exist!”

      For many people, the car you choose is very much about the car-buying experience, not just the price you can get it for.

  5. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @jamesdenver: It’s off topic, but, I figured someone would ask. Let’s just not derail the whole comment thread, so any further comments, let’s take to email. To briefly answer, no; while I have let people back who were willing to change their problem behavior, I do not let people back who insist that they should be allowed to continue.

  6. AskCars says:

    As someone who deals with a lot of consumer stories you do hear quite a lot of negative reports from Toyota dealers (Honda too just not as many) as you do GM or Ford. I think it is the negative experience that gets told most, as Consumerist readers know. I think everyone agrees the dealer experience could be better.

  7. backbroken says:

    A long time ago, before I knew any better, I decided that I wanted to make my first car an American car. I was 23, a year removed from college, and driving a 7 year old Geo Prizm my parents let me have. I drove to the local GM dealership to take a look and possibly a test drive.

    I honestly can’t remember what model I wanted to test drive, but I remember that it took a long time to get anyone’s attention. Finally, a saleswoman agreed to walk out into the lot with me. I showed her the car I wanted to test drive, but instead of handing me the keys, she started peppering me with questions…How old are you? (23, but I don’t see how it matters) Who owns the car you came here in today? (my father, but I’m not planning on trading it in.) Where is your father? (300 miles away in another state. He isn’t the one looking to buy a new car.)

    After telling me that the model I wanted to test drive ‘cost a lot of money’ and that I should come back with my father, I bid her good day and never set foot on a GM lot again. Keep in mind that I went after work, was wearing a tie, and really don’t look young for my age at all.

    Sorry that GM lost my business forever because some bitter saleswoman was likely having a bad day, but that’s the way it goes. She did me a favor anyway as I ended up buying a Toyota that was a much better car than anything I could have gotten on the GM lot.

  8. BrianDaBrain says:

    Good luck Toyota. Their cars are certainly better, but I’ve had issues with their dealers. In fact, when I purchased my most recent car, I bailed on the Camry I wanted because, not one, not even two, but THREE dealers felt like being asshats.

    I also went to a GM dealership, and I was pretty much ignored. Does anybody want to sell cars any more?

  9. kingmanic says:

    @backbroken: At 26, I walked into a Lexus showroom, some salesman comes right up and greets me. Tells me to test drive a Rx350. Takes some ID hands me the keys and off I went. The person I was shopping for, did buy the RX350, so it did mean Lexus got a sale by being nice to me.

    Maybe that’s why Lexus is doing so well.

  10. RStewie says:

    I was looking at new cars recently and had a hard time getting someone to help me on the lot. I’m not exactly a spring chicken, and I know I looked fairly successful (I dressed “up” a little to look at cars that day, knowing they treat you better when you do”. I was also with my SO, and we were very blunt in our intentions to purchase a car that day. (I also told the salesman we finally got that I was pre-approved through my bank but was open to other finance options.)

    Due to the crappy service, we ended up getting my car off E-Bay from one of the reputable small specialty dealerships with listings there. It’s a beautiful Benz, and I love it. I won’t buy a car any other way from now on.

  11. He says:

    I went to a Pontiac dealership genuinely excited to drive a specific car and was greeted with malaise and disinterest 5 years ago. I had a different and awesome experience at a Cadillac/Lincoln dealership, so maybe it’s a Pontiac/Chevy thing?

  12. EbolaVipers says:

    @Rabbi Dave: There certainly is a 4 cylinder version named the Sping Edition Package. It is currently in stock in about 1/2 of the NY/NJ dealers. Features listed off Chevy’s website:

    Four-Cylinder Spring Package
    Available for LTZ, the package includes;
    * EPA estimated MPG 22 city, 32 highway with ECOTEC 2.4L engine
    * ECOTEC 2.4L engine
    * Electric Power Steering (EPS) assist
    * Chrome exhaust tip
    * 17-inch chrome-tech bight aluminum wheels
    * P225/50R17 touring, blackwall tires

  13. oldtaku says:

    Well I’m not sure his dealer experience will be better with Toyota (all dealers are awesome or suck on a site by site basis), but it’s certainly a mercy that he didn’t buy a GM car.

  14. quagmire0 says:

    I think the Toyota dealerships have gotten cocky because of the severe lack of competition from GM and the like. They are resting on the quality of their cars, knowing that most people will buckle and buy their product, even if they don’t try hard to be nice to them.

  15. Norislolz says:

    I work from home so I usually look like a hobo during the day and jerkoff indie rock hipster (sans girl pants) by night. The only time I dress up is when I’m traveling on business.

    I had a fun experience at a Honda dealership standing around in my workout clothes since my local gym is nearby. I had to walk up to the manager’s desk and state that I was interested in buying the car and that I dress up like this on purpose to see if I’ll be ignored and that I could come back in a Burberry sweater in an hour if that would motivate them more. I love being a dick to people like them.

    Anyway, the blogger did himself a favor- fack that whole “BUY AMERICAN” ideal. I buy the best product I can for the best price I can. Subsidizing incompetence because you feel some burning need to “support your fellow American” only screws yourself in the end. Can you really afford a Pontiac or GM in the long run with repair costs and lower resale value?

    Companies start up, companies go belly-up. So the cycle goes. It’s not my responsibility to prop up bad businesses like GM and Chrysler because they have some plant somewhere in the country. I buy Toyota products because they last forever and I met a semi-genuine salesperson at my local dealership.

  16. Botticelli711 says:

    glad to see someone point out the fascist hypocrisy of the consumerist. They love to point out flaws with corporations and the free-market, but the moment you step out of line they ban your account. There is no rhyme or reason to the bannings. They do not tell you why you get banned, it just happens.

  17. kepler11 says:

    Realize that the only reason that salesmen ask you questions is to size you up and determine how much they can bend you over for. Despite what you think and despite their sly smoothness, they’re not there to get to know you or be your friend. They’re getting information to help their own purposes.

    Why give them any info? “Let’s just focus on this car that you want to sell me. I’m not going to tell you about me, my current car, my payments, my house, my mortgage, what I ‘can afford’, and if you want to sell me the car, give me a deal.”

    Not that I’m inclined to buy a new car anyway just to waste 40% of the purchase price in first year depreciation.

  18. kepler11 says:

    correction, maybe 25% depreciation

  19. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    Some things you might not know:

    -Dealerships sales staff (I’m being generous) are paid from the labor rates of the service department. When you see $90+/hr for rates, a considerable amount goes to the sales department. Sales doesn’t work on commission alone.

    -Incentives and holdbacks. Know about these and you can use them as trump cards to whack that sales fool. They treat everyone of us like sheep. Kick them back. Not the tires.

    -Toyota sales peeps are arrogant. It’s a Toyota. You don’t buy it, the next (schmo) will. Take that with any car that has some demand (Volkswagon dealers are next: the new VW Jetta TDI…try getting one at sticker or less.)

    -Dealerships are selling your information. Even if you test drive. That photoID they copied is gold.

    -Dealerships (I’m speculating) may have coerced the manufacturers into preventing direct-internet sales. Imagine car sales without the sales staff! Just go online, build your car, visit a showroom to meet a tech-rep, test drive, order and buy. No more dealerships, just service center. Franchises just like Dunkin Donuts.

    -GM deserves a kick in the teeth. Saturn was the best thing and they took it back and now look…OPELS are the Astra. Opels!

  20. Norislolz says:

    @BrianDaBrain: I had to do that with the 08 Honda Fit. I passed on it for a few reasons (kinda drove like a dog, but the 09 gets 10 extra HP, only $500 savings over a Corolla LE) but the most significant reason I passed on the Honda is because I couldn’t find a salesperson I didn’t think was some scumbag.

    It’s not even like the salespeople were ripping me off. It’s just that they were dumbass dude bros and other typical personalities that stereotypically find a home in sales. I eventually found an older gentleman at a Toyota dealership (after being to 2 that didn’t satisfy me) who I actually liked and I gave him the sale.

  21. neko613 says:


    That’s cause Toyota has been selling so much lately it doesn’t care anymore. The big toyota dealers in California like Longo are the WORST. They are so closed minded, and are so full of themselves because they know they are the largest toyota dealer in So Cal. Went there once with my brother to check out the new IS350 while I looked at a new Corolla, but they just WON’T negotiate a lower price. Hell, they said that if we can find a better price then just go! What a bunch of lousy people.

    Thankfully we found a wonderful dealer at Newport Lexus.

  22. Sudonum says:

    My wife had the exact opposite experience at Lexus several years ago. We just bought a new BMW 7 series. We wouldn’t even consider Lexus because of that experience. It was similar to backbrokens. They told her to come back with her husband.

  23. laserjobs says:

    Tell the Toyota dealership you have access to the Ford employee SPLAN to see if they can do a deal.

  24. AskCars says:

    @EbolaVipers: They must have snuck that one out! Darn it.

  25. Norislolz says:

    @Botticelli711: It’s actually pretty much the same with all Gawker sites, but can you blame them?

    To get the reader to identify with the angle and tone of the blog, you have to make your comments section echo the blog. Therefore, if you’re conservative or you actually think company profits are a good thing, you get muted pretty quick. As you’ve probably experienced, people will call you a troll just for going against the grain. I personally think that company profits are good because how else would a company grow, pay its employees, provide a good or service, or be rewarded for smart business practices? If a company is bad, I just don’t use them. You don’t see me crying about McDonalds because I’ll stop eating there if I don’t like it. The same goes for airlines. When a market is regulated, then you’ll see me brew up a crapstorm over a business because you’re given no choice whether or not to use them.

    Anyway, as you pointed out, it is a sort-of hypocrisy. Gawker wants to make the most ad revenue they can and that involves having a commentary base that is undisrupted and makes the mass of readers feel good about participating. Unfortunately, that means you can’t disagree with the general tone of the blog. And if you think Consumerist is bad, you should see Kotaku… >.>

  26. Botticelli711 says:

    @Norislolz: I have never had a problem at any of the other gawker sites including gizmodo, LH, valleywag or jalopnik. At least those sites bring out the banhammer from time to time.

  27. My girlfriend’s parents recently decided to buy her a new car. She wanted an SUV, I protested–to no avail. She wanted a Jeep Cherokee, they told her to start at the bottom.

    On a Sunday afternoon, we visited two different car dealerships in Koreatown, Los Angeles; House of Kia on Western, and City Hyundai on Olympic. There we were, a white kid escorting his bi-racial girlfriend around two different lots on the east side of Los Angeles, almost begging for help.

    Please forgive the racial undertones, our experience could have happened anywhere in LA. I later learned this when we finally went to a Chrysler dealership in Glendale, even when her father paid for the car with a wire transfer, in full.

  28. wiggatron says:

    @incognit000: “The thing is, when the cars stopped selling, GM did what every bad company does: fire the people who actually interact with the customers…”


  29. The Stork says:

    We lucked out in March when we decided to trade in the ancient Buick Regal. Stumbling into the GM dealership, we were immediately greeted by an older gentleman that we later found out was a cantor at my wife’s parents’ wedding and old family friend. Even before we realized this he showed us an ’08 Malibu fleet with limited miles that was used as a rental, and we got a pretty good price on a damn good car.

    Too bad GM can’t have this type of service at all their dealerships. But it is possible, of course.

  30. engfish says:

    I went to a local Chevy dealership to buy a Cobalt and was offered a two-year-old LT coupe with 31K miles for $200 more than a new off-the-lot one. Some dealerships just make new car buying prohibitive. Sorry, GM; I tried.

  31. shadowkahn says:


    Maybe I’m dense, but I really don’t see these guys censoring opinions all that much, if at all. I got into a big ol’ fight a few days ago. Whether I was wrong or right, the other guy and I had opinions that were polar opposites of each other. One of us should have been edited and banned if the accusations in this thread were valid. I’m still here and as far as I know, so is he. Seems like every forum I go to, there’s a small group of people (or just one individual) that wants to develop a paranoid admin-conspiracy theory in which the moderators are the internet version of the illuminati, always watching, always ready to quietly have you killed if you say the wrong thing. It’s almost always BS.

    Anyway, on to the topic of this thread, if I were a salesperson, and GM was busy offering cars that barely, if at all, made a profit, that would mean I wouldn’t be getting commission on them. So, either I can work my ass off for no commission, or I can take it easy and sip coffee for no commission. Not a whole lot of people would decide to work hard for nothing.

    It would be different if GM would make a good product. “If I work my ass off and sell a few of these suckers, word will spread about how good they are, and then more people will come in to buy them.” but no, GM, despite having several years back sent out a letter admitting that pretty much everything they made in the 80’s and 90’s was crap, and begging people to buy their cars anyway because “they’re different now,” is still churning out crap wrapped in shiny sheet metal. So really, I’m putting myself, as a salesman, at a further economic disadvantage the more cars I sell. “If I sell 10 cars this week, that’s 10 more people who will get pissed off and run around telling everyone they can find how much GM cars suck, and so then I won’t even get people coming through the door on the off chance that GM finally decides to do the smart thing and build something good that isn’t an ultra limited production Corvette.”

    Of course, I’d also, were I a car salesman, be working for Honda or Lexus if I could. Quality product = good sales, almost always.

  32. GearheadGeek says:

    As I posted to Chris’ blog:

    Car salescritters are mostly generic salescritters who happen to be pushing cars this month. (There are exceptions of course, but it’s typically not a career position in the US at least.) They don’t want to sell you a car tomorrow or next week, they don’t want to put any effort into selling a car, and they CERTAINLY don’t want anything to do with an informed customer who knows what they want.

    The way to buy a car is to either know that Dealer X has the car you want, tell them what you’ll pay for it and let them deal (or not) or to fax or email dealers within whatever distance you’re willing to drive, tell them exactly what you want and have them make you an offer. Driving from dealer to dealer subjects you to more and more of the bad salescritters, the law of averages is against you.

  33. Botticelli711 says:

    @shadowkahn: You don’t see it because any dissent is extinguished. If you were in Beijing right now you would think that everything is ho-hum over there too.

  34. Subliminal0182 says:

    @kingmanic: @backbroken:

    What backbroken described is what happened to me, kind of. The lease on my Lexus IS was up and I had saved up some money. I wanted to purchase a new 350z, half cash and finance the rest. I went to the Nissan dealership near my dad’s (Frederick, MD), and after waiting 20 minutes at the desk, a salesman decides to come over. I explained my situation about the lease/cash/finance, and he chuckled and said, “Yeah, right. You’re too young and there’s no way you can afford that, let’s go look at some Sentras.” (I’m 19) I finally convince him to help me look at some Zs but before that, he wants me to fill out some paperwork: Name, address, email, phone, etc etc. I tell him no and he says it’s required before we proceed. Something to the effect of ‘it helps our computer system recommend a car for you’. Right. I knew what I wanted, and I didn’t want a damn Sentra! I tell him where he can shove his paperwork and walk off the lot. Turns out they use that info to solicit the hell out of you (friend bought a car there few months later).

    Went back to the Lexus dealership where I originally got my lease. As I was getting out of my car with my girlfriend, Doug-the salesman who sold me the first lease-greets us with warm energy and a smile. He even remembered my name! I tell him about my experience at the Nissan dealership and he was understanding. He took us inside and told us to have a seat while he gets us some coffee. He comes back five minutes later with two Starbucks lattes and keys to a GS. He said he wasn’t sure if I was still looking for a Lexus, but this one would be perfect. We test drive and an hour later (she’s picky) finalize the deal (he threw in some options free because I was returning and/or the thing w/ Nissan) and drive away in my new Lexus, happy about the purchase. Still occasionally get calls from him asking about the car and if there’s anything else I need and whatnot. Overall the best experience I’ve had at a dealership to date.

  35. katylostherart says:

    gm = meh. that’s why their sales suck.

    i can’t think of anything at this point that wouldn’t derail the thread…

  36. shadowkahn says:


    Funny, I notice a whole pile of dissent in this thread, that’s not even on topic, and uh…it’s here and y’all aren’t banned.

  37. GearheadGeek says:

    @backbroken: It’s a mistake to conflate “car dealer” with “car manufacturer.” It’s unfortunate that manufacturers don’t exercise tighter control over their dealerships, because the dealership experience for the same make can vary tremendously and you’re far from the only person who’s sworn off a make (or a whole manufacturer’s offerings) because of lousy dealerships.

    The low-end sales staff who don’t know their product and make money selling options and dealer extras and stiffing your for your trade-in, the finance people who want to screw you on the rate, upsell you on gap insurance, talk you into leasing, etc. are killing the car industry.

    It intimidates lots of people that car buying in the US is pretty much a battle. I find that I win by deciding what the car is worth to me, offering less than that and being fully prepared to walk if they’re not interested. I have financing arranged in advance but give them a chance to beat it if they can (dealers have only beaten my credit union once in 3 new-car transactions over the last 15 years.) My friends like to take me with them when they’re ready to buy, because like the handle suggests I’m a gearhead and I’m not the nicest guy, but I keep it professional.

  38. meefer says:

    I don’t think you should blame the car company b/c the dealership stinks. I agree that it is ultimately the responsibility of the car company, but to swear off GM because you tried to buy a Malibu and somebody was a dick to you is silly.

    Personally, I’ve been physically accosted at a Toyota dealership b/c I wanted to “think about it.” Went to another Toyota dealership to re-test drive, everything went fine.

    You can drill this down even further to personal interaction. I’ve been to a certain Honda dealership 3 times, twice with my parents for my mom’s car and once for mine. Different treatment each time.

    Lesson learned: buy from the fleet manager, they have the same access to stock as a normal salesman, and all your dealings on the phone/emails

  39. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @GearheadGeek: Especially with the “paperwork” games and the payment games. But this is no surprise. You don’t need my information to tell me WHAT THE PRICE IS. (I do not like most car salesfolk).

    I would have to think GM is trying to prod folks who had thought about trading in/up, but with the economy in the toilet, have re-thought that. Dealers pulling this kind of thing…what can you do? It’s not like GM is going to penalize any of their dealers right now.

  40. GearheadGeek says:

    @SigmundTheSeaMonster: The sales staff you deal directly with at most dealers are indeed dependent upon commission. The ones who are still making a base won’t be kept around if they’re not moving enough units at a high enough margin to be making the dealership money. Now, the higher-up guys like sales managers and general management, the receptionists, etc. are subsidized by the net on service, but they’re probably not in a big hurry to share any of that with the salescritters. Of course there are a few “one simple price” dealerships that pay hourly+spiffs to their sales staff, but my experience is that they’re still in the minority.

    How innocent of you to think that dealers pressure the manufacturer to keep the manufacturers out of the direct sales business! In fact they get laws passed PREVENTING the manufacturers from selling cars directly, and have onerous contracts keeping manufacturers from selling too many franchises or taking away theirs. One of the problems GM has today is that it’s expensive to get rid of a dealer… if they wanted to just make Hummer go away it would cost them a fortune to settle with all the owners of Hummer dealerships. They’ve already been through it with Oldsmobile. They have too many makes and too many dealerships, and too many of those dealerships aren’t friendly welcoming places for the buyers who could save the company.

  41. Snarkysnake says:

    I really enjoyed the original article,Chris. Too bad you’re not allowed a follow up. GearheadGeek is right on- the manufacturer has precious little control over the final sale. That’s why lots of old blood GM dealerships make money while the parent company has a foot in the grave…

  42. stopshopping says:

    As long as they have a jumpee for my kids I’ll buy anything! (kidding) But you can really avoid the paperwork games if you tell them your price, ask for a yes or no only, then have your child throw up in the finance office. The woman typing almost passed out and did our contract wrong just to get us out. Best lease deal I ever made! Know your facts, be nice, and just get up to leave if they treat you wrong.

  43. yikz says:

    A couple of years ago, I pulled into a Jeep/Chrysler dealer to buy a car. The sales guys were out playing football, and basically ignored me until I walked up to a used Dodge Prowler, and all of a sudden, one guy came over, asked if I was interested. I said no, told him what I was looking for, he pointed, and went back to his football game. After 10 minutes, I left the dealer.

    I looked online at their inventory, found a jeep that I liked, looked up invoice price on Edmunds, and faxed an order from work for invoice minus rebate to the dealer. The sales manager called me back, said to come in with a check, pick up the jeep. I didn’t have to haggle. The sales manager asked if I wanted an extended warranty. I said no, he said OK. I’ve done that twice, both times it worked.
    I saved $6500 over MSRP. And the sales guys were giving me dirty look when I came in to pick it up.

    I bought a Ford minivan at a dealer that uses the “Saturn” model. No haggling, lowest price hanging from the mirror, usually within $100-$500 of invoice. The sales people get paid by a satisfaction survey after the car is sold. I get good help at that Ford dealer. I don’t get hassled, and I know the price is as good as I would get if I haggled for several days.

  44. Tank says:

    @SigmundTheSeaMonster: HUH??? I spent 17 years in the car business, and NEVER, I repeat NEVER saw salespeople getting paid from the service department. They either sold and earned commissions, or earned minimum wage for the hours they worked. (Not for very long, mind you – a salesperson who can’t earn a living isn’t worth keeping).

  45. backbroken says:

    @GearheadGeek: I totally agree that car manufacturer does not equal car dealership. But, I’ve got to go through the dealership to get the car and if you leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, then you have been branded by association.

  46. canuckistani says:

    could it be that the GM dealers are so shocked and amazed that someone would enter their dealership and actually consider purchasing a vehicle that they become completely dumbfounded and unable to assist a customer?

  47. ageekymom says:

    The first car (used) I shopped for by myself was a Pontiac Sunbird. Guy (redacted) was the salesman (loved the name!) Guy called me 2 weeks after my husband & I came in together and bought it from him, on the premise that he followed up with all of his customers. Then he asked me out!!! What a creep!

  48. Zyzzyva100 says:

    Lexus was always great to me too. I got into an accident at 20 and had to replace my car. I was looking for a used VW, and a local Lexus dealership had one. Unfortunately it sold before I got there, but they had an es300 that had just come in for a trade – and I convinced them to give it to me for the same price they wanted for the VW.
    Anytime I had to take the car in they were nothing but wonderful to me, and when the fuel injectors got plugged up they gave me a nice rx330 as a loaner (for free) while my car was being worked on. If this was the kind of service I got as a used car buying college student, I can only imagine what I will get in the future. They have earned my future business (in med school now, so in about another decade or two I might be able to afford a Lexus again).

  49. @meefer: If I walk in, am personally insulted by irrelevant questions and treated like dirt by a car salesman, who am I supposed to blame? The car salesman is the one of only two things that has gone into developing my opinion of the car company: 1) the branding/quality of the car, and the level of customer service I receive at a dealership. When there are comparable models to any car, there is no reason to stay and get talked down to someone who you are trying to give commission money to. I don’t understand fighting with a prick to give him a sale. And if you want a certain car badly enough, order it online.

    If you have been to the same dealer 3 times (and I’m assuming one of the times the experience was bad) why do you go again and reward a dealership that puts customer service last on its list of priorities with a sale?

    I don’t understand it. I will never reward someone who is mean to me with a sale. I can partially understand going to a different dealership of the same brand, but its waste the gas. All their competitors are usually only yards away.

  50. Comms says:

    The truth is that most salespeople are actually pretty fucking terrible.

    In a previous life I used to be a management consultant (like the Bobs) with a focus on sales for IT companies and it was astonishing how bad most salespeople were. They didn’t know how to talk to clients, didn’t have deep product knowledge, didn’t know how to mirror, had only one “persona” and used it on everyone regardless of circumstance, prejudged clients–that is, evaluated their ability to purchase from their looks, dress, etc.–were too greedy and pushy–or not greedy and pushy enough, again, context is important and one’s ability to adapt is necessary for sales.

    It was amazing. I would have role-playing sessions with sales people who were in the business for years and they were completely useless. When their sales record was analyzed their successes hovered in the area covered by statistical chance.

    From reading this story my guess is that those dealerships are hiring people who have some sales experience and are just basically throwing them onto the floor to fend for themselves.

    GM, go hire someone like me (10 years ago). It’ll cost you a few bills but you’ll make more money with less people.

  51. Dyscord says:

    @yikz: That’s the best way to handle car shopping IMO. Have everything ready before you walk in. They tend to hate the fact that they can’t haggle with you.

    I remember reading a story on AOL a few years back. Someone had “gone undercover” as a car salesman and showed just how evil it could be.

  52. xwildebeestx says:

    I concur, no such thing as a 2008 LTZ 4cyl.

  53. Norislolz says:

    @shadowkahn: That’s the thing- here they can’t ban dissent because it proves the point.

    Anyway, I don’t think GM could sell me a Cobalt at 14.5k. I’d rather buy the Corolla at 16.5k. I get to enjoy a superior car with better resale value. 2k is definitely worth it. Good job making crap cars for my parents when I was younger, GM. If you gave me a car, I’d sell it to some poor sap and just buy another Japanese car.

  54. PunditGuy says:

    I recently had a good cop/bad cop experience with two Nissan dealerships. (I won’t relate the whole story — it’s probably only of interest if you live in the Twin Cities: [] .) The manufacturer isn’t to blame, and in my case it wasn’t even the salespeople who were the problem — it was the sales manager at one of the dealerships. The experience was so bad, I was surprised when I was treated really well at another dealership — well enough that I bought a car in just under 20 minutes.

    If you want to avoid the tricks used by dealerships, check this site out: [] . I’ve used the advice (totally free) from there twice when buying cars and have saved nearly $8K on combined MSRPs of about $48K.

  55. dohtem says:

    @canuckistani: lol, you win!

  56. CamilleR says:

    The first time I bought a new car (back in 1994), I knew I wanted a Dodge Neon. The salesman at the first dealership I went to treated me so badly I was ready to give up–no offer of a test drive, funky numbers in the financing, and he left me and my Dad sitting in his office alone for over half an hour without even an offer of a drink. I went to a different dealership where, within minutes of walking onto the lot, a salesman approached with keys in his hand offering me a test drive. He didn’t even ask for my ID before handing me the keys. He wanted to sell me a car and I bought from him.
    After 13 years with that car, I bought a Toyota last December (nothing American that looked good could beat the price and MPG of a Yaris). When I walked in, I was immediately approached by a salesperson eager to help me.
    If I’m going to be a few thousand dollars at a place, they darn well better be eager and appreciative to get my money.

  57. MercuryPDX says:

    @Comms: I could potentially get in trouble for this, but it should be said. I’ve done “Service Evaluations” for three different car dealerships in my area.

    I’m told how to dress (Business Casual), what to ask about (Specific Models, options, questions), and given a “checklist” of things expected to happen (with my appropriate responses) during my visit. This is all orchestrated by the manufacturers, and meant to test the effectiveness of their sales training by presenting the “perfect customer”. Obtaining an ‘excellent’ evaluation should be a cakewalk.

    All three of my recent visits were a nightmare because the salespeople were either poorly trained or just didn’t care enough to want to “close a sale”.

    More than one of “us” are sent to each dealership, and they do not know when we are coming, only that we are. Visits are scheduled roughly every two months, and we’re rotated out so we don’t visit the same place more than once every 6 months. “We” can infer that a dealership with a higher number of visits scheduled has some kind of issue the manufacturer wants to confirm or ensure is corrected.

    So some manufacturers are very aware how a given dealership treats potential customers.

  58. backbroken says:

    @Norislolz: You make a great point…no matter how much quality they build into their cars now, they still have to sell to a generation of car buyers with memories of their parents’ GM cars falling apart and rusting in the driveway after 50,000 miles. I know because I’m one of them.

  59. atypicalxian says:

    @Rabbi Dave: My first car was a Honda Civic and I went through hell with their dealers, to the point I swore I’d never buy a Honda/Acura product again. I’ve also talked to others who have had nasty Honda dealership experiences. However, I take your word for it that you don’t hear as many Honda horror stories.

  60. SinisterMatt says:


    You know what’s really ironic about “buy American?” Most GM and Ford cars are assembled out of the country in places like Mexico and Toyota and Nissan (and I’ll bet Honda too, but I don’t know for sure) are for the most part built right here in the good ol’ USA.

    I always think that that is hilarious.


  61. atypicalxian says:

    @shadowkahn: One of the things that is killing GM, and the other car manufacturers in the country, are the unions. I’ll bet I’ll get slammed for saying this, but with the unions, you don’t have to produce a good product to get a commensurate reward. Not that I’m a proponent of slave labor, and certainly American industry is rife with Dilbert-esque or Enron-esque management (I’m shocked many companies in this country remain in business), but the labor costs are so high that they have to cut corners elsewhere.

  62. technopimp says:

    I went into an Audi dealership a few years ago to buy a new TT. I had a 3-series BMW at the time, and wanted to trade it in. The dealership was about an hour away from my home, and I went there on a Saturday. I stood in the showroom for a good long time with no one offering to help. Finally I tracked someone down who reluctantly agreed to talk with me.

    I told him what I wanted, I had already picked it out, and they had it on their lot. He asked me if I had a trade, and I said yes and pointed to my Bimmer. He goes “Yeah, the guy who values our trades isn’t here today…you’ll have to come back on Monday”. I explained how it wasn’t convenient for me to come back on Monday because of the distance, and I was there now. He told me in his increasingly dismissive manner that ‘sorry, nothing I can do, better call ahead next time’. I said “fine, can I at least get the financial paperwork going so that’s ready by the time I come back?” Guess what-the finance guy wasn’t there, but he ‘supposed’ they could fax it to me.

    I waited 3 days for a fax that never came. I called him back, he had no idea who I was or that I had ever talked to him. I called his manager and told him that I was desperately trying to buy a car, but this person didn’t seem to want to sell one to me. He blew me off and said that if I wanted to buy a car so much I should come in and not just bother people over the phone.

    Needless to say, I did not buy a car from them (but not for my lack of trying). So, GM isn’t the only company that suffers from this. In fact, just last year I pulled into a Lexus dealership to look at the new IS250. The sales guy looked at my car and said “is that your Audi?” I answered yes. He said “Oh…well, these cars probably aren’t for someone like you then” and walked away.

  63. organicgardener says:

    @ Botticelli711: OMG, aren’t you afraid you’ll now be banned?

  64. @yikz: Interestingly enough, I also have had great experiences at the Ford dealership in Nashville I’ve been to. I’ve bought two Rangers and an Escape from them over the last several years and every time I’ve beat the other sales prices around town. I’ve had three problems mechanically with all of the autos, and two were in accidents (one while it was parked!yay!). In every instance I just handed them the keys and said “call me when it’s fixed- where’s my rental”.

    They can have my car money.

    I guess we both got lucky?

  65. Norislolz says:

    @atypicalxian: If you had a company under such a stranglehold where you forced them to pay you $20+ an hour for unskilled labor, you’d fight tooth and nail for it when someone tells you that you have to “share” in the 2 billion dollar yearly loss.

    Of course, UAW doesn’t budge and now Chrysler is the “0.5” in the Big 2.5. I wonder what’ll happen to my old hometown when the Chrysler plant eventually goes under. Oh well, companies start and companies end. That’s how it goes. It’s not the American consumer’s job to prop up a company producing goods that people don’t want to buy. Employees suffer because of poor management, but those employees had a hand in making a lame product.

  66. Roundonbothends says:

    I’ve mostly lived in small towns with a single dealer for each type (or really a Ford/Mercury, Chevy, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep) dealer. I think one can expect a good experience from these smaller dealers because one unsatisfied, determined, noisy customer can be poison for them.

    The economy is making for some odd mashups. Now we have here a Ford/Mercury/Dodge/Jeep dealer. More oddly, I think they sell more Dodge trucks than Fords.

    So my suggestion is to check with some of the smaller town dealers – just don’t let them know you’re not local. :-)

    Salesman apathy, though, at the GM dealers makes me wonder if they are just not interested in moving the cars at employee pricing.

    I was in the service department paying for a service for my pickup. I told the service adviser that I had a terrible idea – I wanted a new truck. Who should I talk to?

    He leaned over and said quietly, “Talk to the girl.”

    The “girl” turned out to be older than me and named “Betsy.” She handed me a business “card” too big to fit in my wallet. We didn’t make a deal that day, but three days later she called and said, “I think we just got your truck.”

    Yep, they did, and I bought it.

    The other thing that stands out to me was the salesmen who told me “You don’t want that.” I thought it was awfully presumptuous of him to tell me what *I* did not want. In the end, he ordered it for me, and I drove that truck for 11 years. Since then, he’s inherited the dealership.

    Both were dealers in towns of less than 25,000 folks.

  67. andystep12 says:

    I went to Toyota and Chevrolet yesterday and the guy at Chevy said he could try to order the car I was looking for (only to test drive, so I declined). The salesman at Toyota argued with me over the existence of a base model 4 door Yaris.

    So I think it depends on the person and not the brand. Generalizing to Chevrolet in general is probably unfair, but the particular dealership should not be visited. (On a slightly related note, Chevy’s have low customer satisfaction).

  68. @Dyscord: Here’s the article, from Edmunds. Absolutely fabulous article. Well worth the long read.


  69. Dyscord says:

    @SinisterMatt: The irony of that is delicious. “Buy American! Get a Toyota!”

    @InfiniTrent: You totally rock. It is indeed worth the read and I was a little annoyed when I lost track of it. I recommend it to everyone as it gives insight into the whole car salesman profession

  70. Subliminal0182 says:

    @SinisterMatt: Ohio and Alabama:

  71. sicknick says:

    @Comms: Totally agree. I read consumerist and Gizmodo religiously. I also love cell phones, to the point of knowing a ton about the companies, plans, pricing and future phones that have yet to be released. I also tend to do a ton of research about any semi-major to major purchase in my life, be it for a phone to a suit to a car, whatever.

    Biggest pet peeve is when I walk into a specialty store and the salespeople can only tell me verbatim what’s on the card behind the product, or maybe, if you’re lucky, what’s on the website. I start asking deeper questions, about manufacturing dates, upgrades, aftermarket type things, and you get this blank stare. Try going into a Verizon store and asking about the Open Handset Alliance, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

    Major things surrounding the immediate sale of an item need to be known by a salesperson. Otherwise, all they are is a boob trying to collect commission for filling out paperwork.

  72. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @Botticelli711: Our rules are lined out very clearly. Among them: don’t hijack threads with offtopic negativity about the site.

  73. I don’t understand this entire idea of the dealership doesn’t want to sell cars.

    Look at the issue this way. EVERYBODY wants to be paid for the least amount of work. EVERYBODY. A car dealership is the same way. Of course they want to sell cars. They also want to make easy money. Why work hard if you can make more money working easy?

    Look at the issue from the perspective of the service department. We all know about the new car from hell: the car that the front bumper and left fender must be removed before the oil dipstick can be viewed, the car that has 3 14″ rims with 5 mounting bolts and 1 15″ rim with 7 mounting bolts, the car that cannot travel in reverse if the grade is more than +1%. Yea, that car. The service department absolutely hates that car because of the number of consumer complaints resulting from the poor design or repeated repairs that will never be fixed properly. And no matter how popular that car may be with the new car buying public, the carsellingjerks are going to be told to discourage the sales of that car… no matter what.

    At the front end of the business are the carsellingjerks. To be honest they LIKE my neighbor. There are 3, absolutely identical cars in his driveway. He buys them in sets of 3 (his, wife, daughter) at one time. In terms of profit and work for the dealership this is an easy sale, because even if the guy is an aggressive pricing jerk and negotiates every last penny of the sales contract for 14 straight hours… at the end of the day the carsellingjerk has sold 3 cars versus doing the same level of work only selling 1 car.

    Car dealers like simple sales that will result in good (easy) work for the service department and few customer complaints. We all like working conditions like that.

    So given the choice of simple easy sales versus work your arse off sales, what choice do you think you would accept?

    BTW, I read the complaints about standing and waiting for a salesdude to approach the customer. Let me guess…. Hippie, Yippie, tightwad, 17 year old skipping school, scum of the earth with a strong case of the farts or a beater car with one door and the trunk lid missing is wanting to test drive a new car versus the hottest babe you have ever seen? Guess who is going to get serviced and who will not? Yes, appearances count. Beyond appearances is perceived value and difficulty. Some people just look cheap or tightwads, carry a notebook and calculator along with the chip on their shoulder or whatever their problem is. Of course they are going to have problems. As soon as you walk or drive onto the lot the carsellingjerks are sizing you up and trying to determine if something better might come along any time soon to justify leaving you with Elmer the EntryLevel carsellingjerk.

    This is not just a problem at car dealers. Real estate brokers do it. Bankers do it. To some degree everybody does it. Hells Bells, the girl behind the counter at McD’s does it when she eagerily waits on the broad should stud over the mother with 3 screaming toddlers.

  74. ogman says:

    @jamesdenver: Thanks for pointing that out. Sad to see the direction in which the site seems to be heading.

  75. Seanross says:

    @Rabbi Dave: Dude!! I love your site.. I send all my friends there to find a car when they’re looking for one.

  76. Quatre707 says:

    Why can’t we have the option to buy cars the way we can order laptops from a manufacturer direct? While I very much enjoy buying things I know nothing about with the assistance of a salesperson, I also like having the option of manufacturer direct purchases for products which I already know with 100% certainty what I want and need.

  77. failurate says:

    Just showing up at the dealership to buy a car is not really a good idea. Research, research, then research some more. Then, either send out an e-mail to a few dealerships requesting quotes on the specific model you want with all the specific features… or, use a blind bidding service like the one offered on

    The dealerships will cut each other’s throats to sell you a car and when their competition is right there in front of them, will give you their best possible price. And you more than likely won’t have to deal with a standard issue, creepy salesperson. The dealerships I have seen have someone who is a little more professional, more business like, handle their internet sales.

  78. schiff says:

    I think it would be interesting to see GM start random “secret” inspection of their dealers. They might be surprised just how much the dealerships are hurting them.

    I have never owned a new car… In fact I have yet to own something newer than an ’88. I want my first new car purchase to be memorable for GOOD reasons and not for the BAD. I strongly feel that GM’s dealers make it difficult to have a pleasant experience. While parent companies can not always control what happens in retail outlets its important for them to remember that the “face man” is the one in the retail store and NOT in the commercials/ads.

  79. jamus says:

    Of the 3 dealerships in town (Chrysler, GM, and Ford) I have noticed they have almost no vehicles on the lot. The vehicles they do have are very small cars or fleet/commercial trucks and pretty much nothing in the middle. Not much choice at all.

    As bad as I dislike Dell, I think car makers are going to have to switch to something like a regional “dealership” where they have one or two of a particular model for test drive purposes only. The actual “sale” will be done over the net. About 2 weeks later you then have a nice shiny car delivered to your doorstep (or available for pickup if you wish).

  80. schiff says:

    @Jamus, I think that a model where you could deal directly with corporate would not only increase customer satisfaction, but would also decrease the bottom line of each vehicle. It would allow the manufacturers to product the exact number of cars required as opposed to making thousands and then forcing consumers to take a trim they don’t necessarily want.

  81. snowburnt says:

    @Norislolz: funny thing about that is that the “american cars” have off-shored their manufacturing while Toyota has opened plants in America

  82. balthisar says:

    @snowburnt: Yeah, those damned Canadians stealing our work.

  83. xspook says:

    My first new car experience was very similar (albeit 20 years ago). I was active duty military and had the money to buy a new truck. I went to a Jeep dealer in Ellsworth, ME. I asked about a vehicle, pricing and financing. I was dead serious about buying and would’ve signed papers that day. Instead I wasn’t taken seriously and was given some financing paperwork to take home and come back later. Any salesman knows not to let the sale walk away. The issue I had was I didn’t have a car and was relying on friends to drive me to the dealer which was 30 miles away.

    I bought a Toyota instead.

  84. xspook says:

    One more…I tried to buy a new Ford once. When I asked about a test drive, they said I could, but the car couldn’t leave the dealer parking lot……Bought another Toyota.

  85. chrisexv6 says:

    Funny, a local Toyota dealer is completely the opposite of the GM “drag someone to the car you want” montra.

    I pulled in in my wifes car, they literally opened the door while the car was still running (and barely in park). They are so high-pressure, rush rush rush its nuts. They *hated* me because I started off by telling them I refused to buy something that day, and I only wanted to test drive. At that point they could care less, so it took 4 tries to convince them that a 4 cylinder Camry is completely different than a 6 cylinder Solara. After I finally got to test drive it (hated it, BTW, compared to the Accord coupe at the time), they started forcing numbers. That was fun, when they asked me what they could do to get me in the car THAT DAY, I first said “I told you I wont buy today”, then they kept pushing so I asked for 50% off, they walked me out the door.

    Obviously I will never go to that dealer ever again. But someday I might buy a Toyota……..I understand the dealers are mostly the issue and not the vehicles.

  86. shadowkahn says:


    You certainly won’t get slammed by me for that sentiment. The union pendulum has swung entirely too far in labor’s direction. Aircraft companies that can’t negotiate business deals for fear of job actions and other shennanigans. Teachers unions so powerful that teachers who know almost nothing about their subject cannot be fired. And auto unions that force high wages in times when the company needs to be sinking that money into R&D so that they can maybe figure out how Honda/Toyota manage to make good cars.

    Unions are necessary to prevent management abuse, but who prevents labor abuse?

  87. gaberussell says:

    A running theme here is that people had bad experiences at lower-tier dealerships – GM, Toyotoa, etc. As a few have mentioned, you can get stellar service at a luxury dealership, even if you aren’t buying a luxury car.

    Luxury dealerships often carry used cars of other brands, especially sister brands. If you want a used Accord, try an Acura dealership. Look for Toyotas at a Lexus dealership.

    The staff at those dealerships know that the types of people who buy their cars will not stand for being talked down to. I’ve had far better customer service at Acura dealerships than Toyota, Honda, and Ford.

  88. Dobernala says:

    @Corporate-Shill: In most dealerships, the service department and the sales department do not influence each other. I’m not sure where you got that idea.

    If the dealer has cars on their lot, that means they’ve already bought them from the factory, so of course they’re going to sell them, even if they’re a piece of crap. To not sell them would be insane.

    The service department doesn’t run the show. End of story.

  89. mebaman says:

    Where are these dealerships where the salespeople ignore you? About a year ago, I went looking around at several different cars (domestic and foreign) and could not walk onto a lot unmolested (all dealers in an urban area). This was especially frustrating as I was just in the research phase of my search and was not ready to have someone “put me in that car today” (and yes, they actually use that line). I even had one dealership (a luxury dealership) lie to me about the expiration date for an incentive program (they later called me back with a mea culpa, but I still didn’t like the attitude). I finally ended up driving an hour back to my hometown (a rural area) and bought from a small-town 9 to 5 dealership. In a relaxed setting, we found a suitable vehicle, worked out the right price, and had coffee. Check out some small town dealers – the selection’s not always the best, but my theory is they don’t have a large pool of buyers and have a lot less slack when it comes to reports of bad customer service (i.e. if you pee in the ocean, no one will notice, but if you pee in the kiddie pool, you’re getting your @$$ kicked).

  90. uomdeacon says:

    @mebaman: I guess it depends on your demographic. I can’t get the attention of a car salesperson if my life depended on it. It’s the whole “looks too young” type of deal. I think all car brands have that problem, not just the domestics as this article seems to point towards.

    I’ve actually tested this out 2 years ago, when my dad decided he wanted a new car; made him walk into a dealership about 10 minutes after I walked in (I was ignored the whole time). There was a salesman attached to his hip before he was 15 feet into the showroom. Meanwhile, I’d been standing at a car for a while.

    Oh well I guess. With all the pricing info available on the internet these days, which dealership I buy from really doesn’t matter anymore. If I walk in and get bad service, I just leave and buy from somewhere else.

  91. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    This is definitely a dealership culture problem. My last new car buy was going to be a Toyota, but after trying to get a salesperson to deal with me for over an hour on a Saturday afternoon, including 5 minutes with me sitting at the receptionists desk and writing the manager a note that I then taped over her computer screen, no one would help.

    I drove up the road heading for the other Toyota dealership. As I passed the VW dealership I stopped on a whim, looked at the New Beatle TDI and bought it on the spot. 7 years later still very happy with the Beatle.

    I guess I should be happy that they treated me so poorly as I ended up with a great car, but that ended a long string of Toyota purchases.

  92. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I should add I emailed the national office of Toyota to let them know what had happened. They contacted me and let me know they were sorry for the events and were happy I did find a car I was happy with. I also emailed the dealership, but they didn’t have the balls to contact me back. I still have to go their to get parts for my ’85 Landcruiser and still find the sales floor staff to be arrogant and pricks.

  93. xkevin108x says:

    Something that left a really bad taste in my mouth recently was the fact that on a basic Chevy full-size pickup cruise control is part of a $3,000 options package. Why isn’t such a common feature standard on everything by now? It’s like having to pay extra for headlights.

  94. I-gor says:

    In a fit of momentary insanity, I thought about buying a Buick after they started advertising some pretty decent looking deals. I went to the dealership on a Monday afternoon after work. The receptionist greeted me and started looking for a salesperson. Ten minutes went by, three salespeople appeared to be in one office joking around, but no one came to assist. I waited another ten minutes until someone came to talk to me. I asked to look at a couple of models. I liked one and asked to take a test drive, and was informed I had to schedule test drives in advance. I told the salesman I was ready to pay and go that day, but he “couldn’t do anything for me.”

    I left.

    Went to a Nissan dealership on a weekend. There was one saleslady there. She dealt with the customers in the order they came in. Let us take a test drive. We came back the next day and drove off with a brand new car. No hassle.

    GM seems to want you to think it’s a privilege for you to buy their car. That’s not the best sales strategy when your product is overpriced and underwhelming.

  95. newfenoix says:

    @SinisterMatt: I’m glad that someone has brought that up. Look at the back glass of a new Toyota Tundra pickup. You will see a decal that reads, “Born in Texas, built by Texans.”

  96. @He: Nope, it’s an individual dealer thing.

    Where I live, the Chevy, Pontiac and Ford dealers are good to great while nearly everything else is owned by Bob Rohrman and every one is terrible. The GMC and Caddy dealers are slightly better than Rohrman. Subarus are built here and their employees are treated like crap by the Bob Rohrman dealer and I know several people who drove to Indianapolis to buy their Subaru so that they didn’t have to deal with the local guy.

  97. battra92 says:

    Well, I was treated poorly at the GM, Toyota/Hyundai and Mazda dealerships. The local Jeep/Toyota place was nice but just didn’t have what I wanted.

    In retrospect I should have waited and bought from them (I know the salesman personally) but if he’s not retired in 6 years or so, I’ll buy my next car from him.*

    *He’s probably retiring in 6 months. :P

  98. describe_one says:

    It really depends on which dealership you go to. My friend works as a floor sales rep at a GM dealer and it has been a tough year. He is working until 9p tonight; if you went to the dealership he works at, then you would be sold a car.

    That being said, lots of dealerships have had to cut staff (or have had staff quit) due to the low traffic. This sale may be too little too late, but it is the only way they are going to get rid of all those surplus 2008 models before the 2009 models are delivered.

  99. kpetree10 says:

    I have to say that about a month ago I was shopping for a car and I was treated with the most respect from all the salesmen I was dealing with. I’m only 18 years old but I have a good job so I was looking for a luxury car. I first stopped over at my local Lexus dealer, (Lexus of Toledo) the salesman had the best attitude. I told him what car I was interested in, he ran in, grabbed the key and let me do a test drive, alone, he didn’t even have to come with me!

    Afterward I went down the street to the Buick dealer (this is where GM comes in) this guy was the same as the Lexus dealer, great attitude and he offered a test drive and he let me drive off alone. At the time I was driving my first car, a 2006 Pontiac G6 that I purchased new which again the salesman was excellent… Anyway, when the guy at the Buick dealer showed me the payments and I asked him to come down a bit he basically told me that I should just save some money and that my car was only two years old I should just keep that, he said that I should clean it well and that I will like it all over again…. I was stunned, a salesman telling me NOT to buy a new car. As @describe_one said, it depends which dealership you go to, some are real jerks, and some do what is in your best interest, not theirs.

    BTW: I ended up going back to the Lexus dealer and bought that :)

  100. GrandizerGo says:

    I went with my friend to a Nissan dealer to replace his old Sentra with a new Altima.
    We came in my new Maxima.
    We walk up and a salesman walks over to me, I am looking at a Z with my keys in my hand, and he tells me…

    “Why don’t you come back when you have paid for your car, we don’t give test drives on the Z to just anybody…”

    Needless to say, I walked into John, the managers office, he sold me my car, and I told him what just happened and why we were there.

    He called the salesman into his office, told him to clean out his desk, and leave within 15 minutes.

    He then gave my friend a great deal on his Altima.

    There are asshats out there everywhere. Just like in life, you can’t always spot them until they open their mouths.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if that one works at another car dealership.

  101. vdragonmpc says:

    I ‘loved’ the Priority Toyota experience I had when we bought a Corolla for my mother. I had a friend working there and some salesgirl injected herself into the sale. I enjoyed her calling me a liar when I told her my friend had just purchased a loaded model for under 17k. She demanded the dealerships name and then his name.

    I was irritated but we had found a car and were looking at it. After telling her we would be dealing with my friend she decided not to stop selling. We got up and left.

    The dealer 30 minutes away had the car for the price we wanted and was ready to sell with no games or strings (Mechanicsville Toyota)… The owner of Priority got a reaming by my mother as our family friend was losing a sale due to the way we were being dealt with. Comedy gold was her referring to the dealership as the “toyota museum” where people could look at cars but not buy them!

    Priority matched the price of the other dealer and sold us the car. They tried to play with the numbers but we were able to hold them to what we wanted.

    A major word of warning: Beware the options meeting and the fake financing meeting where they upsell you on options its worse than an Amway convention back there.

    Who the hell buys a rim/tire warranty for 1200$?? Or a car wash subscription for 900?? I loved the “towing insurance” and Gap that we already have through USAA.

    Keep your guard up and research your only weapon is to leave.

  102. backbroken says:

    @GreatWhiteNorth: Did you get the Lennon or the Harrison?

  103. donovanr says:

    Exactly what service or value do dealerships provide? It seems that most only provide a car + misery pain and suffering. Seeing that the manufacturer gets paid roughly the same regardless of how much the end user gets screwed I would think that the manufacturers would want to remove the dealers from the equation. If I were the car companies I would sell cars to anyone who wants to resell them. I would sell cars to grocery chains, big box stores, private individuals, or multi line car stores. But I would cut off anyone who screwed my customers. As for repairs I would do the same. Anyone who was capable of repairing my cars would be authorized to do warranty work. If anything I would insist on separating the two.

  104. Anonymous says:

    This is a really old thread but I wanted to comment on it.

    I recently had a VERY different experience buying a used car from a “liquidation” dealership. I saw the car advertised online and their disclaimer of “bring cash and be ready to deal” and was a little apprehensive that it would be a high pressure type lot. Within about 2 minutes of stepping foot on their lot I was in the drivers seat of the Vintage Porsche that I saw online. About 10 minutes into the test drive I realized I wanted the car. We got back to the dealership and I asked if my friend could test drive the car. The sales guy whisked my friend away and he arrived back in agreement that I should buy this car. The salesman was just there to answer questions and to facilitate the viewing of the car and gave us no pressure and did no sizing up at all.

    5 minutes later we were filling out paperwork and I wrote a check for the car. The car was washed and cleaned while we did the paperwork and was waiting for me outside. Start to finish I was driving away in my gorgeous Vintage Porsche in less than an hour. No hassle no negotiation and no crappy fees. When I need another car I will be going back to this lot again cash in hand ready to have another painless transaction.