Monday, October 30, 2006

A Winning Strategy: As Little Human Contact as Possible

I should have known that my preferred method of buying a car would be--via e-mail.

After feeling I was in a hostage negotiation at Classic Toyota in Round Rock early last week, I decided to start looking at dealerships outside Austin. There was a dealership in Killeen (which is about an hour away)--this dealer, actually.

Over the course of about twenty-four hours, I exchanged about a dozen e-mails with the salesperson (who is a dedicated Internet salesperson, by the way), and there were two phone calls that lasted about two minutes each.

So for absolutely ZERO hassle, we got a 2007 RAV4 with all the options Gloria wanted, and the price was over a thousand dollars below MSRP. We picked it up Saturday morning.

That's how you sell a car.

You guys sent me some pretty fascinating e-mails about car buying, along with some excellent suggestions. Chris Kessel told me about Costco's car buying program, which is very cool, and you can see information about it here. Aaron Daily suggested Cars Direct. Matt Welch recommended a service called Fighting Chance, which offers some specific information for your region and model. zy recommended Autobytel.

Several people recommended Edmunds, and Ryan Brandt sent me a pretty fascinating link to an article about someone working at Edmunds who became a car salesman for a few months. It's a great look inside the car business, and you can read it here.

One other thing I'd highly recommend is using Consumer Reports for dealer cost information and model reliability.

Finally, Jarod Werbick sent me a story about the best car buying trip ever, and I'll be sharing it with you later this week.

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