by Justin Reves, Marketing Manager
It’s been just over a year since I joined the team at the Driving Change Automotive Group. Truth be told, I wasn’t too excited about joining the automotive world as my opinion of car dealers was quite low.
I came from an advertising and technical background and I had honestly never once set foot in any car dealership since I was a kid. They were a bit scary and I kinda assumed that they were full of people trying to rip me off and take my hard-earned money. I’d say I’ve had a bit of an education over the last while. I’ll be talking about a series of myths that have been busted for me since working here. Hopefully they’re helpful to you, too.
Myth #1. Used Vehicles are Way More Expensive to Buy from a Car Lot
Up until this past Summer, the previous 10 vehicles I bought had all been done so privately. When I had looked at cars on dealership lots, they always seemed to be a couple thousand dollars more than at least one I could find privately. I naturally assumed that they were simply money-hungry and playing off people’s fears of getting ripped off privately. Apparently, that’s not true. There’s a few factors that play into the cost:
Now, I can’t say this for every dealership, but here at our group, the average reconditioning cost for every vehicle that comes in is around $1500. That means that there’s $1500 worth of work being done to the vehicle before it gets to you which means that you not only don’t have to pay that, but the vehicle has been thoroughly checked over and is doesn’t need any upcoming maintenance or repairs. That’s nice peace-of-mind to have as well as adding a chunk of value back into the car.
When you’re shopping at a dealership, make sure you ask them for details of what has been done to the vehicle since it came into their care and what all reconditioning covers.
Again, depending on where you go, you’re going to get an included warranty with your vehicle purchase. When you buy privately, there’s no warranty at all. Here, you receive a few warranties.
The first and greatest is the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. This means that as long as you do the recommended maintenance, we’ll cover the engine and transmission for as long as you own the vehicle.
The next is a overall vehicle warranty of either Gold, Silver, or Bronze. This depends on the years and kms of the vehicle, but you’ll get a certain period of time where we’ll take care of anything that goes wrong on the vehicle.
The last is a tire warranty. If for any reason your tire goes flat, we fix it for free. If it can’t be fixed, we replace it for free.
There’s some good value in those warranties that you’re not going to get privately.
I never really realized how important this is, but when you buy something privately, you’re not likely to ever see that person again. They know that, and they’re not in the business of selling cars. I’m sure everyone that has sold a used vehicle privately has done so knowing there are a few things wrong with the vehicle. I know I really appreciate when they’re honest about that, but there’s been times where I’ve bought a vehicle and found out later about a few issues and there’s nothing that can be done from my end – vehicle is sold as-is.
In the case of a dealership, their reputation is everything. As such, they’re going to do their very best to not rip you off or sell you a vehicle with known problems as that is only going to come back to bite them in the butt. I’m not saying that a salesperson or manager somewhere doesn’t get short-sighted every once in a while, but a good business is going to do everything they can to make sure you go away with a quality product. That’s definitely worth something.
All that being said, there’s a very good chance you can find a used vehicle for cheaper privately. Dealerships know what vehicles are worth and pretty much everyone prices them according to “fair market value” meaning that you get what you pay for. If you see one cheaper than another dealership, it’s likely that the vehicle has more kms, less options, or maybe isn’t in top condition. If it’s been sitting for a bit or they need to move some vehicles to meet their quota, they’ll discount it. A good business will work with you to make it fit your budget.
Privately, most of the time, people are selling their vehicle for as much as they think they can get for them. They’re looking at the dealerships to see how much they’re selling them for and discounting a bit below that, but have they put in the work to bring it back up to great shape? There certainly are times where someone does not know what their vehicle is worth, prices it too low, or is pricing it competitively while there’s is in mint condition. They also might be desperate for money and trying to sell quickly. In any case, make sure you take that vehicle and get it checked out by a good mechanic to know what’s going to need to be fixed now or in the near future. At our dealerships, we’ll do that for $25, but you can take it anywhere to someone you trust.
Factor that and some of the other things I’ve mentioned into the price and you’ll find that prices are much more competitive than one might think. Or, at least in my case, I definitely had the myth busted for me.
Anyone else have a similar thought process or what have you found? Agree or disagree?