Buying a car should be fun, but it kind of sucks

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How do you feel about buying a car? Does the thought of it alone give you goosebumps and nerve-racking heat waves, or you are pretty cool about it?

If you are the second type, then you are lucky! Unfortunately, I happen to be the first kind. The idea of buying a car not only sucks for me, but it keeps me awake at night. Why? You may ask. Well, I can easily convince you a lollipop is good for your teeth because I am a great negotiator and when it comes to selling things I can easily make a good profit. But I hit bottom when it comes to buying – chances are I will pay you more than what you’ve asked for in the first place!

Why car buying is so painful?

You know how, for example, in Turkey, you have to negotiate your price, regardless of how low it might seem to you. Well, needless to say, on my trip to Istanbul I failed miserably at bargaining. I actually felt bad that they were selling merchandise a for such low price already that I simply could not ask for less…. which is why I ended up spending twice the money of what my friends did. What does this have to do with buying a car?

Buying a car is not the same as going on a shopping spree, unlike two decades ago, when various dealerships across the country chose in favor of fixed, take-it-or-leave-it prices. Now, shopping for a vehicle has turned into a head-spinning exercise. And going to an auto dealer, instead of making it easier, often makes it much harder.

Should you go for a truck, an SUV, a van, or maybe a sedan? Do you know what you will mainly use your vehicle for? What color should you choose, which brand? Does fuel efficiency make a difference for you? How about the taxes and insurance? How about car reliability?

There are so many factors to consider. But let’s say that you know exactly what you want –the type of vehicle, brand, color. You have been through different reliability reports and know what is right for your needs. The insurance might be a bit higher but you know it is worth it if something happens.

Are you ready to face the car salesman?

Are you ready to sit at the desk and have an arm wrestle on the final price with the car dealer? If you want to go car shopping prepared and knowing the true vehicle worth, so that you can face the sales person and ask for what is right, then I would recommend doing your research. Luckily, today, you can virtually find any information you need online. You have access to volumes of data and can walk into dealerships armed with all kinds of cost information.

Truecar.com is a great place to start from if you want to know what the dealer has paid for the car or the factory invoice number, and how much other buyers have paid in the nearby dealerships for the same car. TrueCar also has a network of dealers it has already negotiated a price with, so you can simply take your money and go buy a car, just like the old times. You can also check Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com. All in all, if you do your research, you can negotiate a good price and get a nice deal on the car. But why does it have to be like that?

What is wrong with the car selling industry?

Many of us have seen the auto sales market change once, and we know it is about to change again. Today, you have a salesperson that is underpaid, with a promise for a great commission. The sales agent and the whole team at the auto dealer have a monthly sales quota that is very hard to reach. Subsequently, this leads to unhappy dealers and, hence, customers. Because the customer satisfaction rate goes down as the salespeople are mainly interested in selling the said number of cars, regardless of whether the cars fit the needs of the customers.

At the dawn of the dealership trade – now referred to as “the outdated and unsuccessful practice” – dealerships would have a flat commission rate so that the salespeople focus on the actual needs and wants of customers rather than the commission based on the number of cars sold.

You might say – “what about the Manufacturer’s suggested retail price, aka MSRP?” Well, the problem is that it is suggested. Many dealerships will add to the price, in the form of minor options, such as door edge moldings or similar upgrades; all of which with the ultimate goal of finding a way of improving their profits. Today, the Dealer Holdback or the amount a dealership is ‘guaranteed’ to make per car has dropped from an average of 3% to around 1%. And that explains a lot!

How is it changing now?

With the internet culture growing more and more, people are changing their behavior in every way possible, including the process of buying a car. If before consumers were willing to go (on average) to 2-3 dealerships, kick a few tires, and physically check out the cars, now, according to Fortune, customers visit on average 1.9 dealerships before making up their mind. And the reason behind it is that they can check almost everything they need to know about the vehicle online.

Moreover, you can skip visiting the dealership altogether by completing the entire car buying process online. Let’s say, you found a vehicle in a car lot out-of-state. You can negotiate the details over e-mail or phone and then have the car shipped to you.

So really, why go to the lot?

Buying a car in most cases is not fun, maybe unless you are considering a long-term investment in a vehicle that is luxury or classic. In this case, you have to work harder to find a good deal and if you are a real car guy then it will be fun for you. Will it require time, effort, money and dedication? Of course. However, in the end, it will all be worth it.

One thing is for sure – if you want to make buying a vehicle less painful, know what you want, how much you are willing to pay for it and, of course, – how much others are paying for it. When you have your criteria set it is easier to narrow down the choices.

And if you need to bring a vehicle you bought out-of-state home, Corsia Logistics will be happy to give you a hand. Connect with us – our logistics experts will be happy to walk you through each step of the vehicle shipping process and resolve your doubts. Our services are built on transparency because we want you to make educated choices when it gets to transporting one of your most important investments.

We’d love to hear about your car buying experience – at your local dealership or out of state. Share your story in the comments below. Thank you!

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About the Author:

Teodora Georgieva - a business and economics graduate with a curious glitch. Don't be fooled! As boring and ordinary the disciplines she studied may look, she is anything but. Born curious and creative, she always thought that there is more to life than what convention demands, which is why she started pursuing photography (in and out of her studies), food-ism and naturalism, yoga and the best of all - writing. Writing can elevate you and it can also bring you down, just like life does, which is why she enjoys it - it's real. You can follow her on her life's endeavors on her instagram profile or her flickr page.
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