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5 Shades of Gray, Buying a car in the Post Covid Era

Updated: Feb 1, 2023



I visited a local Honda dealer recently to look at and possibly test drive a humble Honda Civic. I wasn’t surprised that the salesman was pre qualifying me while walking to the car. (Yes, they had four in stock) To my surprise, arriving at the car was the sticker price with a $12,000 market value adjustment. The salesman stopped his presentation when I suggested that was suboptimal. He asked if I had any wiggle room on the price? I realized immediately that I was being interviewed to take a test drive! I confessed to the salesman that it appears I am wasting his time and that I’m sure he had a showroom full of uninformed customers (or suckers) who will be happy to pay his price. Good luck, I said and left in my paid off car. Don’t get me wrong. I am shopping for a replacement of my thirteen year old car. I drove to another Honda dealer where they do not charge the additional markup. They also had no cars in stock. You can order one. You can test drive the “gently” used ones we have in stock. Yes, one of the used Honda Civics had a bird nest of wires hanging beneath the dashboard! Professional.

Sadly, the car dealership experience has not changed since I wrote the book, Get WalletWise. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578937875 Let’s just say, they are not exactly looking out for you, the consumer. If you are in the market for a new car you have to do your due diligence.

Consider using a car buying program. Consider AAA’s car buying service. https://www.ace.aaa.com/automotive/get-a-vehicle/car-buying-service.html

Check with your favorite bank or credit union to check to see of they have a car buying service. Use the service as a starting point. You are not obligated to accept their deal. Get the numbers and see if you can score a better deal on your own. Checkout dealers outside your immediate area. If you are buying a more expensive vehicle it may pay you to research prices in a town 50 or 150 miles away. Do not fall for the trap of working with a dealership online rep who changes the numbers between online and on location. If this happens I suggest you walk. It will be hard to predict what else they are hiding from you. They should not be trusted. However, if you are good negotiator use this faux pa to your advantage.

Please let me know if you have any questions! I’m happy to help.





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