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    Professional advice for buying a car.

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    Owner & Editor in Chief

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    Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by Admin on Thu 16 Jan 2014, 11:58 am

    Hi folks.

    After a number of talks with one of our newest members, Richard, I have decided that it would be of great interest and even greater advice to the members and visitors to ROB to be able to avail ourselves of the vast experience this person has which is connected with the retail car industry.

    As such I am now going to insert a document that he has spent a lot of time and effort compiling so that we can all benefit from his years of experience.

    This is a large document but I feel that because of the myriad of ways that buying a car can go wrong It will be worth studying carefully before taking the plunge.

    Here it is:


    Buying a New Car

    As an ex- New car salesman, I only know too well that you don’t trust us, but more importantly, I am going to show you why you shouldn’t trust us, how our selling techniques are designed to try to take you to the cleaners and how to beat the system.

    My most recent car sales role was at a Ford franchise, so I’ll talk more about Ford’s processes, but you’ll recognise these at all dealerships.

    New car prices have come down, but did you know that in my experience, some 90% of my customers over-paid for their cars often, by as much as £2000 and more.

    You have to understand a few things: I was paid a small basic salary (it is laughable how small it was) and then a commission on each car sold.  I received a fixed amount per car or if the profit was more than £500 on the car, then I received 10% of the chassis profit.  Plus, I received a percentage of the finance commission and extra commission for any add-ons I had sold.  Then, after you bought from me, my Business Manager would try to sell you even more like GAP insurance.  The higher the profit in the car, the more I earned.

    I won’t fully explain how a dealership earns its money, but essentially, they buy cars at “wholesale” prices and sell them at “retail” prices.  But, if they hit their targets, they get a bonus. If they hit 110% they get more and so on.  They also get finance commission.  There’s very little difference between retail and wholesale prices….it’s not like there is £3000 profit in a car.  On a small car, it could be as little as £300.  So how, when I tell you to aim for a £2000 discount, can they afford to do that?  Well, those bonuses and finance commissions plus any add-ons we can get into you, all add up to quite a bit of movement.  And that’s where you can win.

    When is it the Best Time to Buy a Car

    I’m often asked this and unless you happen to know how the dealer is doing against their targets, then you have no way of knowing this.  But, in the UK, quarters tend to start January, April, July and October.  

    Sometimes, you’re best buying at the start of a quarter because the dealer may have “fast start” targets to reach but in any case, they’ll want to get going on their targets.

    Sometimes, you’re best buying at the end of a quarter, but only if the dealer is short on targets and how would you know that anyway?

    Very recently, in the dealership I worked for, we had hit targets well before the end of the month, so we were happy to let those no-profit buyers go to other dealers.  We just didn’t have the same level of motivation to discount cars.

    But the best time to buy a car is after you have done your preparation and research.  This is when you will get the greatest discount from your dealer.

    You may be pressured into taxing and registering a car “this month” but you won’t get it until next month.  Here’s a sure sign that the dealer has targets they are short of.

    Before you come to the dealer

    Don’t go all out and do a full valet on your car; it makes no difference to us.  We go on “auction prices/CAP” and your mileage.  So find out what those prices are and therefore, how much your car is worth.  There is rarely a “CAP Clean” car i.e. one that needs absolutely no work and is totally free of scratches, with a full MOT and updated service book, so base your figures on the average price.  

    Go onto a website like “” and get a price – you should be able to achieve close to that with your part exchange.  And, if they won’t give you that, then sell the car to “webuyanycar”.

    Plus, when you actually turn up with a fully valeted car, it tells me one thing….you’re buying and you’re buying today!  Makes my job easy!

    Now. Go onto the manufacturers’ website and price up your new car.  This serves one purpose in particular and that is to enable you to know what the maximum price you can expect to pay for the car.  

    If you’re going on finance, then input the price you researched for your part-exchange as deposit.  Then add another £1500 deposit.  This isn’t real deposit.  This is the figure you should be aiming to get as discount from the dealer.  In fact, you should aim for as much as a £2000 discount but no less than £1500.  The website will show you then what your monthly payments should be.  I base these figures on the ever popular Ford Fiesta.  If the monthly payments are too high, then add some real deposit.  Play with the deposit until you have a happy balance between monthly payments and deposit.

    This means when you are ready to visit the dealer you should be armed with the following:

     The actual price of your new car
     The price you want for your part exchange
     What deposit you may want to add
     What your monthly payments will be

    I’ve written this list in a particular order that you should follow.  This is the complete opposite of what the dealer will want to do!!!! As you will see shortly.

    So why would the dealer want to reverse that list above and what difference can it possibly make? Well, if you allow the dealer to focus you onto monthly payments and deposit, the price of the car and the part exchange price will flow from those….That is the wrong way!  And here’s the thing; if the dealer only shows you monthly payments and deposits and tries to get you to buy on that information alone they are breaking the law! Tell them they are breaking the law and walk out (or wait for them to comply with the law). Personally, if that’s how they are trying to get your business then you’re dealing with a shady lot and I wouldn’t trust them.

    Think about it logically.  When you know the price of the car and the part-ex then the monthly payments will follow naturally as a simple equation.  Do it the other way around and all sorts of evils can be hidden.

    We used to have a game: “How long can I go without telling a customer how little I’ve given them for their car”.  I’d start at monthly payments, adjust your deposit, get you to order on that basis and BAM!  Gotcha.  You’ve just bought a finance plan not a car!  You have no idea how much the car is or what I’ve given for yours.


    If your car is already on a Finance Agreement

    If your car is already financed, then phone the finance company and ask them for a settlement figure and the date to which that applies.  If you’ve financed from a dealer, then the amount outstanding should roughly match the value of the car, especially if you are some way into the agreement. I’ve found that often, where people have taken personal loans with their banks, they’ve done so on a longer term and you might end up owing more than the car is worth.  In this case you’re what’s known as “upside down”.  The dealer may tell you you’re upside down when you actually aren’t.

    Coming into the Dealership

    There’s two “facts” we always work on:

    1. If you’re in a showroom, where you’re buying from.
    2. Remember, the salesman is trained to think that: All buyers are liars

    So you should only turn up at a dealership when you are ready to make an offer having done your homework and you know how much you are prepared to pay.  Remember.  If that dealer won’t do the deal with you, plenty of others will.

    The Sales Process

    You’d think it is as simple as “Customer comes in, choses a car, price provided, negotiate and sign an order”.  Well it is.  But it has been tailored to maximise the profit we can make from you and it is a psychological process; it is designed, tried and tested.
    So what is the process? Well it will vary between manufacturers and even dealers, but essentially, it will have the following elements:

     Meet and Greet
     Data Capture
     Part-Exchange Appraisal
     Product Presentation
     Test Drive
     The Trial Close
     Present Figures
     Defend and Negotiate (and maybe Second Face)
     Close
     Handover to Business Manager

    I’ll explain each part of the process and give you an insight into the (obvious, now you know) psychology behind it.

    The Meet and Greet

    Ford says that this must happen within 2 minutes of you walking in.  The idea is to start to build some rapport with you.  Rapport is important as you’ll see, because I want you to think that I am on your side guiding you through the torture of buying a car and that my Manager is the big-bad-wolf.  

    We’ll have a short chat “what is it you’re looking for? Who is it for? When are you looking to change?”.  Very quickly I’ll take control and get you into the process. “Ok. Come and have a seat and I’ll get some details and work out some prices” and as I walk off to my desk you all follow like sheep. You can’t help it. It’s psychology at work.  As I walk, you’ll follow.  And so, I’ve got you!

    Data Capture

    So I need to detail exactly what car you want.  Yes, I need everything I possibly can have about you because I need that for our marketing database!  Do you want petrol or diesel? 3 or 5 door? Any preferences on colour? Etc etc etc… We’ll spend some time with you telling me about yourself and it amazing how much you’ll tell me.  And that’s good.  Because the more you tell me, the more I know you trust me and the more you trust me, the more profit I can make.  

    It is amazing what you’ll share.  I’ve had women telling me they are thinking of leaving their husbands and need a car NOW!

    Part Exchange Appraisal

    Some dealers do, some don’t.  The ones who try to maximise the profit from you will appraise your car fully and may even test drive it.  It is largely a pointless exercise except for two things: First, it gives me more time to build some rapport with you and second, if I do reveal how much we are giving you, I need to find reasons to knock the value down.

    “Oh! It’s not a full service history; how did you scratch that? The seat is a little stained”.  Whatever it is, I’ll try to knock it whilst all the time telling you “Don’t worry about that; I’m just trying to get you the best price I can”

    I might even ask you if you have any expectations or have already been quoted (I need so at least know if I have to provide a real quote or not).

    “Ok. Let me just get my manager to work out some figures for you….” I will then bring my controller up to date with all sorts of information.  If I think you are a “white flagger”, he’ll do some high prices.  If you’re shopping around, he’ll come in at list price.  Basically, he makes a judgement of how we will play you. If you say you have a price from “webuyanycar”, I’ll tell you that they won’t honour it.

    Product Presentation

    Sometimes called the “five point walk-around”, this is where I first introduce you to the car you want. More importantly, I will also demonstrate our useless add-ons.  If you are looking at another manufacturer, I’ll tailor my talk to show why our car is better than theirs.  I’ll make a joke out of it.  For example, with a Ford it’s fairly easy because I’ll talk about the heated windscreen you won’t get on that VW Golf.  And that stain on the seat of your part-ex, here’s a product to protect your seats.  The product presentation is not a feature-dump.  You’ll find I mention a feature, then, give you some benefits for having that feature.  It’s all about building desire in the car.  We’ll spend about 20 minutes on this and it may be mainly focused on our add-ons.

    Test Drive

    Ok. So it’s your first drive in the car of your dreams.  Well not yet. “I’ll have to drive off because of our insurance” – load of rubbish. I drive the car first so that I can warm it up so it drives better and to give you more features and benefits.  I’ll do the first third of the drive and you’ll do the other two-thirds.  During your drive, I won’t say a word.  This is to allow you to have maximum confidence when driving.  And the route (in the UK) will avoid right turns as these are sometimes stressful for people. But, we’ll end up back at the showroom.

    The Trial Close

    “I’ll just park the car and I’ll see you at my desk”.  Now it’s time to do business.  So, first things first and “coffee?”  You’ll need a coffee because I want to keep you there for a while.

    Now I need to get you into saying “Yes”.  Again, there’s psychology behind this.  And it is a bit like chatting a girl up. Don’t ask her out on a date straight away, but ask some questions where she answers yes a few times and when you pop the question, because she is in yes-mode, she’ll say “yes”. So, “Did you like the car?”…YES…”Is it the car for you?”…YES… (and now the trial close) “and figures aside, is it something you’d buy today?”….Errr…YES….Gotcha! I now have commitment from you and you are most unlikely to go back on your word. “Ok. Let me see what my manager has prepared.”

    In the unlikely event you say “No”, then I have a bit of work to do.  If you need to check with your wife first, I’ll suggest you ring her, or come back with her.  You may want to “think about” it over-night. “But what if I could give you a really good price right now if you buy now?”

    Ultimately, if I can’t get any commitment from you, I may say “Is it me? Would you rather deal with another salesman?” That’s a good one because it will play on your conscience and might just sway you.

    It is all about getting commitment and commitment to buy now.

    Present Figures

    My controller will want to know if I have commitment.  If I haven’t but have tried everything, I may come back to you and say “Look.  We have a few cars we can do a special deal on, but we’d need to phone a Director, but I can’t do that until I know you’re ready to buy.  So why not come back with your wife and hopefully, those cars are still available.”

    I may present you with some list price figures (in case you go and “shop” the deal to another dealer) and tell you “when you’re ready to buy, come back and maybe there’s something we can do. We won’t be beaten on price.”

    But if I do have commitment from you, then we can begin.  I’ll present you with 2 or 3 finance options and it may read “Your car plus £1000 and the monthly payments are…..” Next I need to judge if we’re close “which suits you best?”

    The figures may be way off the mark. But, if you are a “flagger” then you may just say “Ok” and we’ll have made a tidy profit.  If we’re out, then it is onto the next stage.

    Defend and Negotiate.

    The object of this part of the process is to maximise our profit.  So, I’ll tell you why the price is higher than you wanted to pay. “You wanted the metallic paint…This one has a spare wheel…this is the new engine…”  It is all about defending our price and making you realise how unreasonable you are being.

    Throughout this, I will be running up to get my manager to work the figures out….and throughout, my objective is to get commitment from you: “if we can do that, will you order the car?”

    The first part is simple.  If I’ve given you figures and one reads “£300 a month over 24 months with £1000 deposit plus your car” and you say you need to be at £200 a month, then I will say “Let me see how much deposit you’ll need to put in to do that” and walk off.  This is to make you realise that it isn’t as simple as giving you some discount.  So I’ll come back and say “Good news. We can do £204.78 per month with £2900 deposit”

    So, what have I done? All I have done is to give you the same figures just in a different way.  Now you may say “but I don’t have that kind of deposit.” And so we start to negotiate.

    “How much deposit can you put in?” – you may say (because you know that £1000 will give £300 a month), “well I can manage £1500.” I will add “and what can you go up to?” – you may say “well I can go up to £1600.” I will add “and no more than?” – you’ll say “well no more than £1700.” So what’s happening here….Well this is called “walking up”.  I’ve walked you up on your deposit to £1700 and because we work on the premise that “all buyers are liars”, I’ll come back with figures which say “£1750 deposit will give you £266.89 a month”.

    So what have I done? Again, nothing.  I’ve just represented the figures to you. So now it’s time to focus on something else.  Now you may say “but I can only afford £200 a month”.

    “Well how much can you go up to?” – you may say “well I can go to £210”, “Ok.  That’s good.  And no more than?” – “Well no more than £220”.  Great.  I’ve walked you up by £750 deposit and now £20 a month.  We’re getting very close.

    I’ll see my manager and come back to you with “ok. £1750 deposit, plus your car and we can get the monthly payments to £228.87 a month over 36 months.  That’s only £8 away or less than £2 a week.”  Surely you’ll agree to that!
    So what have I done? Again, nothing. I’ve just stretched your term .  But what is all this extra £8.87? Well some of it is rounding to your deposits, but the 87p at the end is profit.  Well, 87p times 36 months is an extra £30 in the deal for us….every penny counts!

    And throughout this you may have been asking “but how much are you giving for my car?” – “I’ll find out” I’ll say, but never come back with that figure.

    There are different ways this “negotiation” could have gone with some typical tactics to keep the price the same being things like changing the mileage banding on a PCP agreement.  For example, you may have asked for a 9000 mile a year contract and we will have quoted for 12000 to start (then reduce to 9000 reducing the monthly payments as a result).  We may have changed the colour to a less expensive one.  Ultimately, we’ll do everything we can to keep the price where it is without giving a discount.


    So now you are prepared to order the car.  And because you are in Yes-Mode, and because All Buyers Are Liars, I ask “and do you want to take advantage of our accessory pack? It’s only £20 a month extra if you order now instead of £35”.  And you’ll probably say “Yes”.

    Business Manager Handover

    So the orders print, we contract the vehicle and print a receipt for your deposit.  I now sit down with my Business Manager and tell him all about you.  Your hobbies, your family, what you want the car for.  And this is important because he needs to quickly build some rapport with you and to sell you some GAP insurance whilst you’re in Yes-Mode.  Plus, whilst you talk about yourself to him and duly sign the order, you will have not noticed that we loaded the invoice with something called “Delivery Pack of £2000” and only given you £2000 for your car instead of the £3000 you wanted.”

    Did You Get a Good Deal?

    You may well be happy paying £1750 deposit and £228.87 a month and another £20 a month for the add-ons. But, did you get a good deal?

    Well frankly, as we say “we took your pants down”.  You should see that you didn’t.  First, we added £2000 onto the price of the new car, under-allowed £1000 on your part-exchange, gave no discount (even though we may have been prepared to give a £2000 discount), sold you an accessory pack which costs us about £100 for £20 times 36 months!  You’ve paid nearly £6000 more than you needed to!  That’s about £138 a month more than necessary!  Do you have that kind of money to throw away?

    I bet you’re thinking “well this would never happen to me. I’m a great negotiator” and maybe you’re right, but trust me when I tell you that nearly 50% of the cars I sold had all or some of the above built in.

    True Story Number  1

    I had an oldish couple come in to buy a new car. I met and greeted him to be met by “what is it with you car salesman that means you won’t give me a price on my part-exchange? Are you prepared to give me a price BEFORE anything else or I’m leaving”.  Tough cookie eh?  Well, here’s what happened to him in a nutshell.

    “Of course I will. Why wouldn’t anyone? Come and take a seat. I just need some details so that we can quote you” – after taking his details and telling him how awful the other dealers were for not giving him a price, I went and appraised his totally immaculate car. The full service history was there, but one of the stamps was not a dealer stamp.  The full MOT was actually 10 months only.  The alloy wheels had some tiny scuffs (they all do). But I spent a good 30 minutes going over the car with a fine toothed comb.

    And, he’s onto the process. “Right. I’ll just get my manager to work that out for you.  It will take about 30 minutes, so let’s go for a drive in the new car.”  Having done the product presentation and taken the drive, I spent some time “defending” the other dealerships he’d been into.  “You know, it’s the price to change you should be looking at.  I could give you £10000 for your car (£6000 more than it was worth) but then we’d add £6000 onto the price of the new car.  Equally, I could give you a £1 for your car, but discount the new car by £4000.” By the end of the test drive, he was convinced that it is the price to change that was important.

    I presented “the price to change” and he asked “but as I said, how much are you giving me for mine?” I said I’d get that, “but how does £11000 sound to change?” – He was expecting to pay about £12000!!!!  And guess what?  He ordered on the spot.  I never once gave him the price of his part-exchange.  We allowed £4500 for his car (some £1500 under value), added £1500 onto the price of the new car and then sold him an Accessory Pack for £895.  That £3795 more than the list prices and he could have got a discount of £1500.  That’s a whopping £5295!  And then to get him the “Ford Deposit Allowance” of £1500, I sold him onto a Finance plan giving the dealership a tidy commission.  And instead of me just getting £50 commission for the car, I ended up with nearly £400 – that’s like selling 8 cars!

    Am I proud of it? Well, no.  Which is why I have written this.

    So What Should I Have Done?

    Now you understand how the system works, you have some chance of beating it.

    The first thing to remember is that the salesman probably doesn’t care for you in the least despite building such a rapport with you.  It’s what we do.  That’s why we are in sales. Call it the gift-of-the-gab or anything else, but we sell because we gain the buyers trust.  

    So, forget about the salesman. Don’t worry about him.  He’ll make his commission if you buy a car at a huge loss.  By all means, be polite, but be distant.

    The second thing to remember is what I said right at the start. How much is the new car and how much for my car. NOTHING ELSE. If they won’t give you that, just threaten to walk out.  If they try to put you onto the process with test drives and product presentations, just say “This is the car I want, now get me the figures and if your manager has a problem with it, send him over. I’m buying a car, I just don’t know if it’s off you!”

    If you are presented with Finance options, say this: “Look. You’re breaking the law doing this. You’re showing me monthly repayments and deposits without giving me all the information I need to make a decision such as how much is being financed, so get me the figures I want, or shall I call trading standards?”

    You need to see the price of the new car in its entirety. So, all options costed and look out for the word “Discount” with between £1500 and £2000 on it (based on a Fiesta/Focus).  If you see ANYTHING such as “Delivery Pack” or “Document Signing Fee”, get them to remove it.
    I’m afraid you’re going to have to be hard.  And you should be.  

    You should be saving yourself a tidy sum.  How long would you have to work for £6000 after tax?

    The Second Face

    If all relations between you and the salesman break down, or if you reach an impasse on negotiations and are about to leave, you will be “Second-Faced” by the Controller.  His job is to give it one last try. He might say “Look. To do this deal, I need to phone my Director. We all have Managers. If I do, he’ll want to know if you will order, so will you?”  
    We never phone anyone! It is all a façade. We’ll sit at the controller’s desk having a laugh about it.

    Amazingly, the Director said “Yes”.

    A working example

    I’ll use roughly true figures, but it is the principle behind things that I want to demonstrate to you. Let say you are buying a Ford Fiesta 1.0 Zetec in Red, 5 door, and you have a car to trade in that WeBuyAnyCar has valued at £2000. It costs around £14000 list price. You should be able to negotiate £1500 off this, leaving £12500 and with your part exchange of £2000, leaving £10500 to finance.  Ford currently gives £500 deposit allowance so you should be financing £10000.  With a GMFV of £6800 (roughly), you should be looking at paying about £155 to £160 a month (depending on mileage).

    So this is what we might come in with:

    Your car, plus £1000 deposit, plus £500 From Ford is 24 x £249.98
    You tell me you don’t want to pay any more than £160
    Your car, plus £2600 deposit, plus £500 from Ford is 24 x £164.98
    You tell me that’s too much deposit.
    Your car, plus £1000 deposit, plus £500 from Ford is 36 x £189.97

    Whoops! Sorry we based that on a metallic.  Was it a red one you wanted?

    Your car, plus £500 plus £500 from Ford is 36 x £189.97
    So instead of a simple “My car as deposit and £155 a month” it’s costing an extra £35 a month and you’re giving me £500.

    The Bait and Switch

    You might think these practices are a bit old-hat, but they are still alive and kicking.  We would advertise a car, such as a Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec 3 Door with a nice picture of a shiny blue one and for £179 deposit, you’d pay £179 a month.  What a bargain? Motoring in a brand new car for only £40 a week ? I’ll have one….

    So you come to the showroom and tell me about this deal you’ve seen.  Great, but I need you on the process, so….

    Is it a 3 door or a 5 door you’re after ? I’ll have a 5 door
    Bluetooth? So you can hook up your phone hands-free? Yes please.
    What colour do you want? I like that blue in the advert.
    So…let’s go through the process and build some desire. Full product presentation including add-ons and the test drive. Then back at the showroom, it’s time for fun and games.

    “So. That one in the advert was a special offer and we don’t have any left.  In any case, that was for a basic red one, 3 door, without Bluetooth and no spare wheel.  I’ve found one and we will offer you the same sort of deal but its extra for the paint, the Bluetooth and the spare wheel and extra for the 5 door.”

    Is it the same deal as the advert but changed slightly for the extras you wanted? Of course it isn’t. And let me show you why not.

    First, yes the 5 door costs roughly £600 more than the 3 door, but the MGFV is higher by some £250. So if you are looking at finance, it isn’t as easy as £600 divided by 24.  It should be £350 divided by 24, but the dealer won’t tell you that.

    Next, the Bluetooth or “Sync” package is a free upgrade from Ford so you shouldn’t be paying anything for it. The dealer hasn’t!

    Next that blue paint. It’s actually £495, but only £420 to the dealer.
    And that spare wheel, an extra £105!  I wonder how much the dealer paid?

    So, we’ll add £600+£495+£250+£105 to your deposit and it is still only £179 per month.  That sounds fair doesn’t it? Or we can leave the deposit as £179 and add an extra £65 a month to your agreement.  Which suits you best?

    Well don’t take any of them. Because the dealer has just put back an extra £500 profit back into the car. At £179/£179 it was a loss maker.  Now it isn’t.

    And if you were happy to go with the red, 3 door, we’d still try to switch you by saying “we don’t have any of that stock left, but we can do a similar deal on some others”
    This is completely illegal. If they advertise a car, then they must do you that deal otherwise, threaten to report them to Trading Standards! They’ll soon find one!

    So that’s the “Bait and Switch” – Bait you with a tempting offer, then switch you onto a more profitable deal.

    The “Only one left so we have to do the deal right now”
    How many times have I done this? Too many, and it works every time.  Again, highly illegal as under the consumer laws, I am putting undue pressure on you.

    And What about the Add-ons

    Frankly, you’re wasting your money.  The fabric protection so that your seats don’t stain.  Go to somewhere like Halfords and buy a tin of the spray for about £5 and do it yourself.  It takes minutes to apply and you’ll do it better than our valeters.  The paint protection? Useless. We probably won’t even apply it but the whole pack costs about £20 and takes 10 minutes to apply yet I’ve seen it charged out as much as £400.

    The rear parking sensors.  If they mean that much to you, order a car with sensors fitted at manufacture – they will mute your radio so you can hear them and even display on the screen how far away you are.

    The dealer fitted ones are simple beep-beep ones that you won’t hear if your radio is on.  The rest, such as mats and mud-flaps you should be able to negotiate free.  

    The Add-ons are pure profit for the dealer.

    And GAP insurance.  Great idea. Smash your car and you’ll be able to buy another brand new one.  But don’t buy it from the dealer.  Search the web and you’ll find it at a fraction of the cost.
    And don’t buy dealer warranties….always use the manufacturers extended warranties.  Our's weren’t worth the paper they were written on, and they had that many exclusions.

    So, In Summary

    There it is. That’s how we do it.  And trust me, 99% of people fall for it every time. It might only be a bit of extra profit with a simple bait and switch, to a full pants-down.  And you fall for it because the process has been designed to prey on your weaknesses.

    So, finally. It is back to the beginning.  Do your research fully before you visit a dealer.  And when you visit the dealer, follow YOUR PROCESS not theirs. So, spell out to them:

    I’m buying a car, I want you to give me the list price, all the discounts you are applying and the price of my part-exchange.  Whilst your manager does that, I would like a test drive. If you come back to me with finance deals, I will walk out and you will have wasted your time.

    Do a trial close on them. “ If I place an order today, will you discount the new car by £x and give me £y for my car?”  If they won’t commit, then why should you?  Who’s got the wallet after all?

    Then, and only when you have figures that you are happy with, say “Now what finance options do I have?”  And even then, say to them, “if I take that on finance, as well as the discounts you’ve given me, I want free mats, mud-flaps and boot-liner and a full tank of fuel”

    Be firm.  Tell them “I’m buying a car today. Do you want my business or not?”

    REMEMBER – You have the right to cancel, so when you get home, ring other dealers and tell them the deal you have and see if they’ll beat it.  And you are entitled to your deposit back.

    And Finally – When you Collect your new car

    After you order your car, we will order it. It will probably either be “dealer delivered” i.e. already in our stock and therefore, we are already paying for it, or it will be at the manufacturer’s vehicle holding compound (in which case the manufacturer delivers it to us for free).  So don’t allow the dealer to charge you for delivery.

    You also need to know how old the car is. I’ve sold 18 month old cars which were cheaper but I’ve sold them at today’s prices.  Imagine what can happen to the car in 18 months. You’ll find that you have potentially bought an old model year/pre-face-lift car.

    They usually arrive on a transporter but I’ve also had them driven to us, sometimes over 100 miles.  If your new car has more than 20 miles on the clock, I’d worry.

    There are so many cars I’ve had that are scratched and dented and all we do is to carry out a “smart repair.”  Chances are, if you’ve bought a new car, it has had some sort of repair done to it.

    When you collect your car, go over it with a fine toothed comb.  If you spot anything, tell the salesman straight away and either don’t accept the car or insist it is repaired.

    The handover process is important to the salesman.  In the case of Ford, they will send you a viewpoint questionnaire to see how happy you are with the overall buying experience.

    Unless you answer “completely satisfied”, the salesman has failed. But is this right? Should the handover be about the salesman and dealership? The answer is “No” because it should be all about you – you checking the car, and making sure you are happy with its operation.

    I can’t emphasise this enough. If there is anything you are not happy about, then show the salesman. Even though the car arrived perfect, by the time it has been through pre-delivery inspection and valeted (often using a brush), it may have been damaged. Tricks I used if there were dents included parking the car in such a way that you were less likely to notice it.

    Go round the vehicle clockwise checking each panel carefully. Check the lights too; it is amazing how many bulbs are blown.  Run your hand gently over the roof and bonnet – we had a particular problem with tree sap and a clean would hide it, but then you’re left with a residue which will show up at a later date and it is no good for your paintwork.  If you spot this, the paint guys will probably want to “mop” the car i.e. using some sort of cutting paste which will thin your paint.  If this happens, refuse to accept the car and ask for a replacement.  You may find it will be worth less at part-exchange time otherwise.

    Also, check the fuel. The dealer may have only added 10 litres of fuel. By the time it has been road-tested and stood with the engine running for 30 minutes whilst the valeter cleans the car, there’ll be little left.

    Best of regards.......

    Paul R.

    If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem !
    ( Eldridge Cleaver - Black civil-rights activist ).

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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by papa_umau on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 12:58 pm

    Than you Richard for the immense amount of work that you put into compiling that document.

    I am sure that any of the ROBsters that read that will find plenty to think about before going to buy that car.

    Best of regards


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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by zathrus on Fri 01 May 2015, 12:38 pm

    Thanks from me too Richard as I am going to buy a new van soon and I have printed out your report so that I have it with me when I go to buy.

    It certainly is a long and scary document, but I am sure that you would not tell us any lies, would you ?
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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by papa_umau on Sat 02 May 2015, 12:01 pm

    I think we should be very glad about getting this information "right from the horse's mouth" so to say.

    While I am certain that not all car salespersons will be quite as voracious as Richard says they are, it is still good to have this information to hand when entering the lion's den.

    Best of regards



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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by Gandhi on Sun 16 Aug 2015, 9:38 am

    Whilst reading this I couldnt help but remember the old maxim that 'only an idiot buys a new car'

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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by papa_umau on Sun 16 Aug 2015, 11:48 am


    If the better off people don't continue to buy new cars there would be no second hand cars available on the market for the less well off to buy.

    Just look at what happened in Cuba; because there were no new cars to buy the back street mechanics kept the ancient cars and buses running long after they would have failed an MOT here.

    Best of regards


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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

    Post by papa_umau on Fri 18 Sep 2015, 11:28 am

    Zathrus entered a great advice link elsewhere that he and I thought could go into the sticky-post that refers to car-buying.

    THIS is a great way to find out about your legal rights from The AA when buying a car.

    Well done Zathrus. Very Happy

    Best of regards


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    Re: Professional advice for buying a car.

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