Auto Buying Stinks, That is just the way we want it!

If you have searched the internet for auto sales and car buying tips, you no doubt have seen the hundreds of sites dedicated to help consumers buy and lease automobiles. On one side you have a vast majority of people thinking that every car dealer and salesman is out to rip them off, on the other side, you have a large group that claims consumers are unfair and hold the auto industry to a higher standard then any other product they buy.

I think both sides are correct, but in ways you might not expect. Lets take the argument that all car salesman and auto dealers are liars and thieves.

This perception could easily be justified given the following:

-You can go to 10 different auto dealers and get 10 different offers for the same car.
-The car buying process is complex.
-Car leasing has many moving factors that can work to the dealers advantage.
-Car prices are not consistent.

With a complex process and moving prices, it is no wonder the perception is rarely a positive one. However, it is important to understand why this exists.

Given today’s research tools, it seems odd that the auto industry in large continues these practices. If the consumer truly wanted an easy, no haggle, no fuss process, wouldn’t one exist? The truth is that consumers don’t really want that. A car is usually the first or second most expensive purchase an average consumer will make. On a purchase of this size, consumers want something to negotiate. If you don’t think this is the case, take a look at GM’s attempt to sell Saturn’s under a different philosophy. GM’s attempt failed horribly and today Saturn’s follow the same process as any other GM car.

We as consumer’s want to feel like we got the best price and as a result, we keep the complicated process alive.

The upside to this is that we can argue better deals, the downside is, uniformed buyers will pay more and the door is wide open for lies from a small percentage of dirty car salesman.

Lets look at the second argument: Consumers are unfair and hold the auto industry to a higher standard then any other product they buy.

Well this is true, and it should be. This is a large purchase with a lot of moving parts and one that has a direct impact on consumer’s pocket book if not done right. However, I don’t think that most consumers expect the auto dealers to make no money as they imply, they just want a fair deal that they understand. What really drives this negative perception about auto buyers is the un-informed buyers. See my post on how to be a bad customer. Many auto buyers come in to buy a car un-prepared and expect the best deal with un-reasonable terms. They forgot the rules of negotiation. Unfortunately, these buyers are often the ones that get the worse deals and create the strong negativity about auto buyers in general.

I think with some simple safeguards and some preparation, you can purchase your next car without the common hassles and turmoil.

What are your thoughts?

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