January 30, 2007 – Do I Still Have Sucker Imprinted on my Head?

Here’s a picture of what I think I usually look like:

Here’s a picture of what I think I must look like to a car salesman at Kia of Des Moines:

Now the story…

Last week I caught the tail end of a radio ad about new 2006 close-out minivans at the Des Moines Kia dealer. I have been starting to look around for a replacement for the ’98 Grand Caravan with 143,000 miles. I did a quick bit of research and found the Sedona was a decent car – a Consumer Reports best buy, the safest minivan on the market, 10 yr 100,000 drivetrain warranty and 5 year 60,000 bumper to bumper warranty.

I stopped in to the dealer to find out what the fine print was on the new $16k minivans. After transport, this and that the final price was $18k+ Since I was only planning on spending up to 13k, I wasn’t interested in paying 18k, so I left. I tell the salesman if he can find a way to get me into the van for a total of 16k he’s got a deal. A few days later he calls me back and after a conversation says he can get close. I repeat – I’ll come in there with a check for 16k and drive out with a new van, you’ve got a deal.

Of course, he has to get back with his sales manager. Right. Anyways, the end of the promotion looms, and two days before the end of the month he calls back again to get details on the trade-in. We agree to a deal over the phone, pending my van is as I represented it. I scurry with my banker to get the money lined up in less than 24 hours.
We arrange for me to come out and take a test drive after work. After that and some conversations about financing (I told him I’d go with him if I could get the 2.9% deal they had.) At any rate, we’ve been playing the sit and wait in the cube for about an hour and he finally comes in with the deal. He says he can get me into the van for 18K+. I look at him and say “What kind of a game are you playing? I’ve been working with you for two days on this, got financing arranged and it’s as though nothing happened as we are back to the original price. Quit wasting my time I don’t play these games.” He says he’ll go back to the sales manager and see what he can do (which he’s already said he did the previous day). At that point, I got up and walked out.

I thought these kinds of tactics were a thing of the past. It did not run into them in my previous good buying experiences at Rochester Ford/Toyota and Southview Chevrolet in Inver Grove Heights, MN.
one year ago…