The Search Continues -- Need to Vent

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by bps, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. bps

    bps Active Member

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    My Fellow Prius Chat Friends,

    Please bear with me for a moment. I don't understand why dealerships are so difficult to work with and I need to vent. :violin:

    Like many others, I'm trying to buy a Prius and use the CARS program. I totally understand that Priuses are hard to come by and finding the model you are interested in is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I can handle that. What gets me is the process.

    I'm a cash customer who prefers a no-nonsense buying experience. I don't need to be pampered and I don't want to partake in endless conversations. For me, it's real simple: if you can get a Prius I want, I'll buy it immediately. With this approach, I prefer to deal with the internet sales department. However, in Kansas and Nebraska, they make it extremely difficult to contact these guys directly. I'm calling tons of dealerships and here's how it goes:

    I would like to buy a car through your internet sales department. Can you give me their email address?

    I'm sorry sir, we cannot do that. Let me connect you with somebody.

    Hi. This is Charles. How may I help you?

    Hi Charles. I want to buy a car through your internet sales department.

    Ok, what would you like?

    A 2010 Prius, my preferred choice is a Package III.

    Ok sir, do you want leather in your Package III or cloth?

    Uh...leather comes in Package IV and not the Package III.

    I see sir. Will let me tell you about the great features of the 2010 Toyota Prius. It has an improved engine... <this is where I cut him off>

    Excuse me. I'm not trying be rude, but I know all about the Prius. Can you get an allocation for a Prius III?

    Well sir, let me check with my sales manager.

    Wait a minute, is this the internet sales department?

    Not really sir, I'm just a salesman.

    Ok, this must be some kind of misunderstanding. I want to deal with your internet sales department. Can you give me their email address?

    I'm sorry sir, I can't give that out. But I can have someone call you.

    <end conversation>

    I've experienced a story like this on the last 5 dealerships that I've called. Why have an internet sales department if you can't get through to them on the internet! :frusty:

    I'm so tired of these endless conversations! Dealerships, I beg of you. It really is this simple...

    Can you get me a car? Yes? Here's your money. No? Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.

    If only the rest of the world could be like Dianne Whitmire... :grouphug:

    Bryan
     
  2. ksstathead

    ksstathead Active Member

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    I've bot 2 cars from Eddy's in Wichita over the years. My guess is that they may not do enough internet sales yet to have it walled off like you want. Just a guess.

    Have you talked with them? My salesman is no longer with them at this point, but I have a lead on another guy who might cut through the bs for you.

    I've read of CarMax doing deals, but have no experience with them. Guessing you are more in the KC to Topeka area if looking in NE?
     
  3. GreenWithEnvy

    GreenWithEnvy New Member

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    I'm totally with you. I wish the salespeople could just tell me what they have coming and when, so I know if they have anything I might be interested in. By e-mail. Don't phone me, I don't want to talk to them if they can't follow a simple request on their Internet contact form to contact me via e-mail, and I won't call them back so they can try and convince me I want something else.

    Whew, now I feel better too.

    Good luck!
     
  4. concertinajohnnyboy

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    I still think you can pick up a Gold Wing Honda Motorcycle for about $22,000.00. The dealers still have some available.
     
  5. gmalis1

    gmalis1 New Member

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    Let's face it. Car dealers are still low end tech. Although they may have "internet sites" and "internet specials", you are stuck having to deal with the nonsense from auto salespersons.

    Part of the "hook" is to get you into their dealership. They are used to finagling upgrades, upsells and upcosts to the customer.

    Unfortunately, since most Prius sales are at MSRP, there really is no negotiating. Of course, there is always the floor mats, undercoating, paint sealer and extended warranty BS they want to oversell you. Getting you into the dealer is an easy(ier) way to get you to bite on those items.

    Besides, if you are taking advantage of the C.A.R.S. program, they have to verify that your junker is one...therefore they need to see you and the pile of heap in person.

    But I do agree that the entire car buying experience is always a rather painful one. At least my last two vehicles...2005 Prius and 2010 Prius IV were at MSRP and no negotiation (except trade in value) was required.

    All I can say is to do your homework, go to a dealer and see what happens.

    PS I actually found a website in the NW suburban Chicago dealer that had the EXACT 2010 Prius IV I wanted in Barcelona Red without Nav. I called, asked if the car was still available (it was) and I bought it that night. So, some internet surfing can be productive.
     
  6. bps

    bps Active Member

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    Actually, I'm from Wichita too!

    As a side-story...
    Back in 2006, Eddy's Toyota didn't seem too interested in selling me a Prius since I was looking for a specific package. So I went with the internet sales department at a dealership in Tulsa. They found what I wanted and after confirming that the car was ready to go, I drove down, wrote them a check, and was out the door with my Prius. The whole in-person process took about 45 minutes from start to finish.

    That's how I prefer it -- akin to walking in a store, picking up a head of lettuce, paying a dollar twenty-five for it, and then walking out the door. I wish the process was as simple as that.

    Bryan
     
  7. georgew

    georgew New Member

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    Why not just call and simply ask what the availability of x car is in x color with x package? Then ask price. Worked for me.

    Also, if you have usaa, american express, and some others I can't think of, you can use their websites to submit info directly to the internet sales department. Also, don't ask for the internet sales department, ask for the fleet manager.
     
  8. jazzy_james

    jazzy_james Junior Member

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    go to edmunds.com and request a dealer quote for the prius. that's what I did and edmunds sends emails to 5 local dealers. that's what I did and I ended buying my prius from the internet/fleet manager who contacted me from a nearby dealership. good luck...
     
  9. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The regular floor sales critters likely see the internet salesperson as a competitor, not as a colleague.

    The problem with many commission sales folks is that they have little or no incentive to pass you on to anyone else. The efforts of some of the guys I witnessed, trying to take my business from others (at dealerships where I didn't want to buy anyway) was appalling.
     
  10. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    I personally never call dealers anymore. I do all initial requests for inof and quotes by e-mail. The dealership e-mail addresses are available from the Toyota site and on any dealer's site. Those e-mails always go to an internet sales person, who almost always have much more flexibility and authority than the floor people. The ones that have something to sell and are serious about making a deal will get back to you.
     
  11. Mitchellsprius

    Mitchellsprius New Member

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    What I did was use autotrader.com and look at inventories. You can find the car you want and send a email through the internet department. You can do this with many dealerships to get for your best pricing.
     
  12. Jim Clark

    Jim Clark Member

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    We were really lucky with our purchase. We originally wanted a Camry hybrid. We drove a used one at a local dealership but they weren't getting any new ones for at least a few weeks. We walked on that one. I called another dealer the next day to see if they had any. The salesman they transferred me to said he was their hybrid expert. He said there was not a Camry hybrid on the ground anywhere on the east coast that was not already sold. He said he had three coming in a couple of weeks that were already sold and that he probably wouldn't see another one until the end of the month. Then he said he had one Prius left IF it had not been sold the night before. I told him I'd call back in a little while. I called a golfing buddy who has an earlier year Prius and he said they were very happy with it. So I called Vincent back and it was still available. I gave him a $250 credit card deposit to hold it until my wife could get there to test drive it. I asked what kind of deal he could offer, he said "sticker" (no surprise).

    The story gets better. It's a model IV in Barcelona Red with tan leather interior (the colors we wanted). The wife showed up and we went for a test drive and she liked it. We said let's do the paperwork. That took a little while, and then it took even longer for them to prep the car. The wife was getting anxious/bored so I told her to take off (in her 2008 Lexus RX400h) and that I would wait for the car.

    Here's the BEST part. We traded a '94 Jeep Grand Cherokee in the cash for clunkers program. It had an approximate trade-in value of $1700 and we got $4500. We "effectively" got nearly 10% off the price of the Prius. Schweeeeet!

    Our salesman Vincent was a real nice guy, a pleasure to do business with. If you're in the Northern VA area, contact Ourisman Fairfax Toyota and ask for him.

    We were really LUCKY!

    We're a 2-hybrid family now. Neither of them drives as good as my BMW 330Cic, but they'll cost a lot less in the long run.
     
  13. Garmy

    Garmy Junior Member

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    I feel your pain! I went through this process a year ago buying a 2009 when none were around.
    Now I am trying to get a 2010 for my daughter. Went to one dealer last night and after the same run around as you had...."here take it for a test drive it has a bigger engine and much more power", somehow I fail to see how I can decern the improved power while driving it a 10 mph on their parking lot around other cars! After jerking me around for over an hour I get the "hand off". First thing out of the new guys mouth is "we get $5000 over MSRP". I tell him thanks for wasting my time and leave.
    I love the car, hate the Toyota dealers!
     
  14. edmcohen

    edmcohen Member

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    The root cause is state franchise laws. Have a look at this:

    Dealer’s Choice : The New Yorker
     
  15. nc_driver

    nc_driver Junior Member

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    I have had luck tracking down Prius models by going to the Toyota website and seaching the new inventory of cars coming into each dealership. You can search by model number II, III, etc. It tells you which colors and options are already at the dealer, and which cars shipping to them within the next 30 days or so.

    Then, I send an email via the "Contact dealer" link on the site. That puts me in contact with their Internet Sales-person.

    But with all the craziness going on with the Cash-for-Clunkers program, I think I'm going to have to wait for the program to end before I want to go near an auto showroom.
     
  16. TKY

    TKY Member

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    Hi Bryan,

    I suspect it is because a lot (not all) of car sales people are trained to sell to us mere car purchasers as if we know significantly less than the sales person, either about the product or about negotiation strategy and tactics. In the dance to buy a car, information is king and the dealership holds most of the information. Buyers may get some information from Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com, BlueBook, or Blackbook, but our confidence level in the information we have is not very high.

    I got pretty lucky by visiting several dealerships, finding a sales-person I could tolerate, but who still pulled some scuzzy tactics, and the dealership had pretty much exactly (package, options & color) the Prius I wanted.

    On the plus side: they had the car I wanted, they put the VIN in the sales deposit agreement, the sales-person asked me if I wanted any their usual dealer port add-ons, they put a hold on the car as soon as I placed my deposit, and it was there when I was ready to take delivery.

    On the con side: I did not receive as much off MSRP as I thought the sales-person originally offered and I asked for two future features (iPod connection was one) at cost, the sales-person wrote this up as 'new car cost', which I heard and suspect is really retail, but I didn't say anything.

    What I found is that when I said something to the sales-person, he wanted to hear what he wanted to hear and tried to twist my words or meaning based on his perception, not what I really said. Even when I say exactly what I mean, using explicit words, the sales-person tried to convince me of something different. Maybe, that was just human nature, but I felt it was more a way of treating customers as just a bit dumber than the sales-person. I figure American English is my native language and I have significantly more formal education than the average guy, I am very capable of saying exactly what I mean, but sales-people are trained in sales tactics that I find offensive.

    My solution: find the sales person I can tolerate, be patient, and calm repetition of what I mean and what I want with the knowledge that I am not as experienced at the car buying dance as the sales-person, but I can overcome their tactics. --TK
     
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  17. denverkam

    denverkam New Member

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    I had been at two dealerships in Denver, both of which said their Prius price was firm MSRP. So I had driven to the closest one to place my reservation/order. I had just arrived in the parking lot when the other guy called my cell phone. I explained there was no reason for me doing business with him since the price was the same.

    His competition gene kicked in, and suddenly he was willing to go $500 below MSRP to get my business. Plus, he had the car I wanted on his list of coming vehicles. I drove across town and had a stress-free experience. When paying for the car six weeks later I had to politely decline all of their add-ons and extended warranty, but wasn't hard-sold.

    My point: don't be afraid to play the dealerships against one another to get a little better deal.
     
  18. MaryL

    MaryL New Member

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    I agree,

    If you go to edmunds or another similar site you will get contacted by those used to dealing by internet. Most dealerships have "internet sales managers" but operate more traditionally. I find that those that contact me by email after a price quote are more adept at true internet sales. I've bought a couple of cars this way....ultimately i still walk into the dealership to write check and pick up car but all negotiating is done by email. With the current prius I am waiting for I started this way but ended up spending more time in dealerships as well. That was my choice. I could have done it all from home - I just wanted to see the color combos before my final decision in person.

    Good luck.


     
  19. gailmo

    gailmo New Member

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    We bought a new 2010 Prius II the last week of July when the "feeding frenzy" of C4C was just beginning to peak. We found our car by using the Get a Quote feature from Edmonds. com.

    I went to the Edmunds.com site, hit the "Send me a quote" button and entered our zip code. We live in central Missouri....so I did this two more times using a zip code for both Kansas City and St. Louis. Within 10 minutes of hitting the send button I had a call from a dealer in KC. After an hour I had over 20 emails from dealers all over Missouri. It was a Saturday night....and on Sunday more emails came in and on Monday my phone started ringing. I did find out from these calls that most dealers were "expecting" the type and color of car I wanted. The first dealer from the KC area called again on Tuesday and told me he had the color and type of car we wanted coming in several days....He wanted MSRP (as they all did) plus $200 for the all weather mats. I said ok and gave him a credit card number to put $500 to reserve it. The car arrived on Thursday and on Friday we drove to Kansas City. We arrived at 1pm and at 1:40pm we were on the road home with our new 2010 Blue Metallic Prius II. I was impressed that it took only forty minutes to sign the papers, give him a check and were out the door. We only received a quick question about the high priced paint sealer and extended warranty. We said no thank you and the finance person moved right on. It was the easiest and fastest buying experience I have had to date.

    I was very pleased with the response I received from the dealers. I do understand that the lower end Prius we wanted was probably easier to find than those better equipped. But using either the edmunds or Kelly blue book "get a quote" button was an easy and painless way to search for a car in a wide geographic area.
     
  20. jkishmael

    jkishmael Junior Member

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    I had been trying to use the car sites as well as the online inventories of the various dealerships in the area. What I found was that because of C4C, I wasn't getting much attention as an internet only customer. (That is from Toyota, Honda dealerships were much better). Using the online inventory was next to worthless as well since it seems every car put up on dealership inventory sites is already claimed.

    The kicker for me that changed my mind away from the internet method was when I asked for a test drive from an 'internet manager' only to go to the dealership at the agreed upon time and date only to be told they had no Prius' for test drive.

    Since then, I just started calling dealerships and asking if they had the model/color I wanted. I finally found one coming in at the time i needed and hopefully next Wednesday I'll be the proud owner of a silver Prius II.
     
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