Save $12,000 in 37 minutes
NEGOTIATING the price on a new car is a harrowing experience for most people.
It can be hard to get any price, let alone a good one. Ring any Toyota dealer, as I did this month, and you’ll be lucky to get a recommended retail price over the phone. I understand the reluctance to offer a discounted price without meeting to gauge the shopper’s seriousness, but surely it should be consumer law to supply a price on goods that are for sale.
Last week I helped a friend buy a BMW.
The salesman wouldn’t print the quote from his computer screen, even with the full recommended retail. I had to borrow a pen and a scrap of paper and write each price down. When I asked for his best price, he said it wasn’t possible to tell me. Come back when I was ready to buy, he said.
I told him I was ready to buy today but needed his best price. I didn’t need the full RRP with the dealer delivery charge and every item that takes a basic $50,000 X1 up to $62,000 driveaway with a few options.
He wasn’t allowed to give me the price because someone else might beat it. At least he was honest about it. I said I’d shop him against one dealer but wouldn’t reveal the price given.
If this other dealer was cheaper, then he’d lose the deal. If the other dealer is dearer, even if the other showroom matches the price, I’d drive back here.
I figure this is fair because anyone can match a price, it takes guts to show how far you’re prepared to discount in the first place without a target.
In the end he got the manager, who tried the same tactic. I was set to walk when he said: “How would you feel if I could do it for $50,000 driveaway?” My friend signed pronto.
The dealer ripped up the $3000 delivery charge (it doesn’t pay for transporting the car, it’s to give the car a squirt with a hose and fix the number plates), $5000 dealer margin and a $4000 BMW factory bonus.
And this was for a factory order, not old showroom stock. The dealer still had at least $2000 in profit left, especially after “hold-back” is taken into account (the bonus a dealer gets for hitting the monthly targets).
I didn’t use my surname. I didn’t mention I’m a journalist, much less take advantage of it. That’s not allowed.
A $12,000 discount in 37 minutes. It would have taken 27 minutes had I been served on walking through the door.
No one begrudges dealers making money — the cost of running such a business is huge and they are major employers. We ask only for transparency.
They’d sell more cars!
Bargain buy: BMW’s X1