Save $12,000 in 37 min­utes

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Welcome - JOSHUA DOWLING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR

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

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