*Disclaimer: I bought a new car this weekend. This does NOT make me an expert on the subject.*
Buying a car is an incredibly stressful process. Before you hit up all the dealerships on the block, it’s best to sit down and set a budget, clearly defining your down payment and the max amount of money you can afford per month in payments. Once your budget is clearly defined you should begin to research cars on the market and determine what type of car is in your price range. Are leather seats a requirement? Do you need navigation? Do you want a sedan, coupe, SUV, convertible or something else? Does color matter? Do you need heated seats?
There are many resources on the internet to assist you in finding your perfect car. I recommend Edmunds.com – It’s easy to find the reviews for a particular car as well as the recommended pricing. Once you have narrowed down the parameters for your future car, set aside a few days (entire days, ex: saturday) to spend at the dealerships. It is important to test drive a few vehicles, even if you are 100% sure that the first car you drove is THE car.
The Auto Mall in Westlake Village is the biggest Auto-Mall in this area. I spent a good portion of Saturday and all day Sunday driving from dealership to dealership, only to end up at Calabasas Acura 101 West. (I highly recommend them. They were incredibly professional, patient and very kind. It also helps that Acura’s are great cars).
The car salesmen (yes, all men) that I met last weekend fall into three separate categories, or generalizations:
The Awkward Turtle: This salesman is courteous enough to be friendly, but not entirely genuine with his delivery. He is openly nervous and a little uncomfortable with this environment. Don’t be surprised if he talks too much about little things or if he continuously apologizes for himself, even though he’s done nothing wrong. While polite and altogether pleasant, this particular salesman doesn’t come across as particularly knowledgable.
On the plus side: He isn’t aggressive, which means there is no added pressure to buy a car.
Mr. Prada: You can spot this fish from a mile away. He has greasy, slicked back hair and he may or may not be balding. Keep and eye out for brown, rounded square “Prada” shoes. Chances are he will see you before you see him, you can’t escape. Mr. Prada will do anything he can to ensure that you find a car you want, or at least one that you like enough to spend a nice chunk of change on. He won’t understand why you like one car more than another, generally because he doesn’t care to find out.
Unfortunate Attributes: You may feel guilty for not buying a car. Just smile as you slowly walk away
Benefits: He WANTS to sell you a car. You may get a killer deal just so he makes his numbers.
Mr. College: My personal favorite. Usually, this particular salesman is young, attractive and incredibly helpful. He knows its not in his best interest to push and does whatever he can to make you comfortable with the car and everything involved with the purchase. With his charm and good looks, its an easy job – Women (including myself) are initially blinded by the attractiveness of the salesman and often miss the first part of the pitch. There is a lot of paperwork and time involved in buying a new car – it doesn’t hurt to have something nice to look at while you wait.
Confession: I bought my car from Mr. College. He was very cute and he might have been Jewish (his last name was questionably Jewish)
Another thing to remember when you purchase a car: additional warranty packages are not always necessary. According to Forbes, these warranty packages are often sold with a 100% mark up. If you are worried about the electronics or other warranty-covered parts of your car breaking (especially on used cars), take a look at third party warranties. Third Party Warranties often cover the same parts and labor of the manufacturers warranty for a fraction of the cost (SOURCE). Remember to ask the dealership how much the extended warranty really costs – they have a tendency to talk in terms of monthly payments, which makes the warranty seem significantly cheaper.
Buying a car in the near future?? Best of luck! Share your car salesmen stories in the comments below!
For more information on car shopping, check out EDMUNDS