Thursday, October 23, 2008

If it's too good to be true...

You know the rest of the saying. I wanted to point out one of the major flaws in today's automotive advertising world. It isn't the fault of the car dealers, at least not completely. To some extent, buyers who still make the trek to dealers to buy a $10,000 new car that has a sticker price of $20,000 help to perpetuate one of the most misleading advertising techniques in the automotive world.

One pay leases, or just about any lease for that matter, allow dealers to advertise "Drive Off" prices that are so far below the MSRP, they couldn't be real without some sort of catch. The "catch" with these programs is that you do not actually own the car, you are simply leasing it for the period set by the finance company. At the end of the lease, you can turn your car back in or pay the balance.

Leases in and of themselves are not bad. I want to focus on advertising the leases in a way that makes people believe they can buy a car for far below actual cost. People come in to buy a car at an outrageously low price. This price is based upon the total lease payments of the most basic version of a model. When the customer gets to the dealership, reality is spilled upon them in various degrees and at different intervals.

The goal is to get the customer to the dealership, then put them into a different model at a different cost. Despite the majority of people who do not fall for this tactic, there are still enough who go in for $150 payments and drive off at $299. Granted, the vehicle they take home is nicer than the one advertised and probably has a better finance term than the one offered, but it still keeps some dealers thinking that the tactic works. Why? Because it does, and in today's super-competitive automotive marketplace, it is important for them to do what they can to make it happen.

If you see an advertisement that interests you, call or email and get the details. All of the details. Chances are very strong that you will not get the complete picture upon first inquiry. It's okay. Keep asking. When they say they can discuss it more in-depth at the dealership, simply tell them that "if the terms of this deal are so bad that you cannot divulge them over the phone or email, it must be a ploy to get me to come in hopes that once I am there, you can put me in something else at a higher cost and payment."

Wait for a reply. If it isn't a good one, find someone else with which to deal.

Car Buying Tips