A CarProUSA Radio Show listener was curious if the end of the month was really the best time to buy a vehicle or if it was just hype created by the car dealers and automakers. They also wondered if this was true even with the microchip shortages. I have talked many times about dealers hitting their forecast and quotas from the factory. Many times hitting their factory sales numbers makes them big money and they push hard at month end, even with current market conditions.
When I was in the business, that last car to hit your bonus could mean tens of thousands of dollars, and just getting close doesn’t count. Dealers open their gates every single day to sell cars, but they do push harder at the end of any given month.
I’ll address the listener’s question along with some other common car dealers myths I’ve heard over the years, and answer the most common ones.
Common Car Dealers Myths
- Don’t tell the dealer you have a trade until the end.
Usually, this just slows the process. You don’t want the dealer playing games with you, don’t play games with them. Your trade-in is worth the same no matter when you reveal it. If you have a clean trade-in, the dealer will often make you a better deal on the new vehicle just to get your trade-in, especially while new and used cars are short in supply.
- Dealers never lose money on a new vehicle.
They wish! Many dealers take deep loses on vehicles often. It might be on a demo, a loaner, a vehicle that has been in stock too long, or a designated loss-leader, but it happens way more than you think, especially in a competitive environment. It is not as common right now due to lack of inventory, but it still happens.
- If I know what the dealer paid for the vehicle, I can get a better deal.
There is some truth in this one. In normal times, it is easier to negotiate from dealer invoice up, than it is from MSRP down. Offering the dealer a decent profit can get you a fair deal much quicker and with less hassle. Starting at dealer invoice and going down will end in total frustration for the buyer. All businesses deserve to make a profit, even car dealers. What a dealer pays for a car is not important. All that really matters is that you get the best possible deal, even if that is MSRP with the current market conditions.
- Going through the Internet Manager is always cheaper.
Internet Managers are salespeople who can type. Most of the time, their job is to get you into the showroom to go through the normal process of purchasing. However, this has evolved since COVID-19 arose. If you are shopping two dealers against each other, you can get much done before going into the dealership.
- Paying cash always saves money.
Not true. Many times it can actually cause you to pay more. There are extra incentives often for financing with a captive lender like Ford Credit or Toyota Financial. You can often take $1000 or more off the sales price just by financing with the dealership. You can always re-finance if rates drop.
- Buy on a rainy day.
Seriously? Dealers need to sell cars every day, the weather makes no difference whatsoever, unless we’re talking hurricanes, hail, or gale-force winds.
- Dealers need to move the old models out when the new models start to arrive.
This is absolutely true, even right now. Dealers make it a mission to move out old inventory. There is a saying in the business, “cars are not like wine, they don’t get better with age”. The dealers know the longer they have a car in inventory, the less profit it makes or the bigger the loss. Also, there are often factory-to-dealer hidden incentives that they can use to make the deals better.
There are a lot of “experts” out there who give you advice on car buying, unfortunately a lot of that information is false, or often outdated. If you use such advice, it can make car buying unnecessarily difficult and can even cause you to pay too much for your next car.