Confessions of a Car Salesman

I read a very interesting article today. Edmunds.com hired veteran journalist Chandler Phillips to go undercover at two new car dealerships in Los Angeles. The result of Phillips’ adventure is nothing short of amazing. If you’ve ever bought a new car and gone through the hassle of haggling with the salesman knows what a futile effort it can be.

At times Michael became very excited as he thought of new things to teach me. At one point he said, “Oh! This is a good one! This is how you steal the trade-in.” He looked around quickly to make sure no one overheard him. “When you’re getting the numbers from the desk, they’ll ask if the customer has a trade-in. Say it’s a ’95 Ford Taurus. And say you took it to the used car manager and he evaluated it and said he would pay four grand for it. If you can get the trade for only three, that’s a grand extra in profit.

We bought a new car earlier this year and it was interesting to see the parallels in my own experience as the buyer. The article opened my eyes to the car buying process in a way I didn’t expect. I’ll be better prepared the next time we go to buy a car. I won’t be nearly as trusting of the salesman, no matter how personable he seems to be. It’s an intimidating process, especially when it gets down to the financing process. Forewarned is forearmed.

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