Why are Dealerships in Salt Lake City Priced Lower than those in the Uintah Basin?
I’ll be honest, this is a topic I’m a little bit leery to cover, but we love to be transparent and honest with you, so I will. Have you purchased from a Salt Lake City or another big city dealer and have sat there for hours with the sales staff as they try to keep you in their office, keeps leaving to talk to their manager and you just sit there for hours because you liked the price you saw online? By the time the deal is over, you leave exhausted with an auto loan and new vehicle for upwards of $10,000 more than what you saw it listed for online? That’s their game.
As you know the stereotype of a “pushy car salesmen”. What they are trying to do if you are on the fence about buying a vehicle is, they try to keep you tied up until you’ve been there all day exhausted and tired to get you into the vehicle you were looking at and they make a sale. Then the part that gets you is you end up buying products during the finance insurance process you probably didn’t need (like “window security etching”) but you were so tired of looking at paperwork that you ended up agreeing to items you may never use or even need. That’s where they make their money.
The reason they list their price so low is that most large dealers advertise ALL rebates available through the manufacturer. BEWARE OF THIS! Go in knowing that you most likely don’t qualify for the full advertised rebate amount by the dealer (this is a typical sales tactic to get you through the door and talking about cars). You don’t qualify for the price you are seeing unless you’re a farmer who owns a tractor while just graduating from college while also being an active duty military member and is also a realtor! They will make the attempt to try not to feel bad when they tell you “if you qualify as my other customers do, I could give you those rebates”. Then, they keep you in their office for as long as they need to get you so exhausted, you’ll just sign whatever it takes to leave with your new car, even if the experience you had was horrible.
“I’ll share a personal story, I bought my first new car in the Salt Lake valley and I was at the dealership for four to five hours, I had proper paperwork (maybe one item weneeded to gather) and the deal could have gone quickly, but I wasn’t sure about buying it. So, the salesmen did what he could to keep me in his office to make the sale. I did end up buying the vehicle and I did like it, but at the time I wasn’t experienced in the auto purchasing world and didn’t necessarily know what I was getting into. So, I signed up for products I didn’t need and ended up leaving around 9:30 PM to drive back to Vernal. It was a terrible experience and when I left, I wasn’t even that excited about my first new car when I drove it home. Also, the products I bought ended up burying me in the vehicle, meaning I owed way more than it was worth by the time I sold it.”
When you purchase (and I mean purchase without eligible refund) for a lot of the items they offer in an F&I office, they can make their money back, but it’s not keeping you in mind as a customer and what you wanted to afford in the first place. So, they list the price really low, then hit you with these “gotta have items” or ineligible rebates and you walked out not saving really much money at all in the end.
At city dealerships, they literally call you going into the F&I office “getting the customer into the box” because they know if they get you there, they can sign you up for products and services with the vehicle your purchasing.
Our goal is to be transparent with you in our process, we try to find you something that fits your budget, and your lifestyle. So, our list price on our vehicles tends to be a little higher so that we can stay open and keep honesty and options in the hands of all of our customers.
One thing I want to add is that before you go looking for a new or pre-owned vehicle, make sure you understand to NEVER SIGN A BUYER’S ORDER until you know 100% that you want that vehicle. A buyer’s order is a finance or purchase agreement between the dealer and seller with you stating you are going to be purchasing that vehicle. I’ve heard stories where dealers will get you to sign a buyer’s order before you are ready and at that point, you’ve signed an agreement saying you are going to purchase a vehicle from that dealer.
Here is a few tips car sales staff use to “Close the Deal” that usually is a pressure tactic out at bigger car dealerships:
“Deals only last so long”
– Two things they say, “Someone else is looking at the car” or “This sales event ends today” (I fell for that one the first car story mentioned above). Sure, sales events are true, save you money and do only last a certain time, but it’s not usually that day you are there unless you happen to be there at the end of the month, so this is a tactic they use. “Someone else is looking at the car” usually doesn’t mean anything because they can still find you that exact car even if it’s gone the next day and can get you another one, you may just have to wait a little while.
“Playing on Time”
– Research tells us it’s a sales tactic to play out the clock to make you tired and hungry which weakens your decision making. If you are not sure, DON’T BUY. Most dealers do not encourage you to research, we do. Know what you want before you make that large investment and make sure you are working with people who have you in the forefront of their mind.
– Alternate option or Payment option: Car Sales works by the deal in bigger dealers who don’t necessarily care about the specific individuals or personal relationship with you, just how many deals they make in a month.
– What I mean by this is that they focus on getting you to buy that vehicle in the time you arrive at the dealership from the time you leave, on that day. So, they ask you “If I have it in red [or another color than the one you are looking at], would that make you want to buy today?”, or, “If I can get you this monthly payment, would you be willing to buy today?”. This is their way of trying to get you to make the decision.
– Another tactic is a “Pro’s and Con’s List” which they help you say all the things that would be great about having a new vehicle, and then make you do the con’s all on your own. Which at the time it’s hard to say any that would keep you from buying, so you make a “yes” decision, even if you weren’t comfortable.
“Sending in The Closer”
- So, we all know what a “closer” is in sales from the movies. They’re the person who last swoops into a negotiation and makes the deal happen. Well, that’s a real thing at car dealerships. So, imagine this, you found a vehicle online for an awesome price. You go in, but you will pay no more than $43,000 for this vehicle and you need an $8,000 trade in. You’ve been working with the sales team for over two hours and you think you have them to where they will make that deal. So, the salesperson leaves to go and talk to their manager. Suddenly, another fresh face walks in and sits down and starts going over the deal with you. Your energy was already burned up by negotiating with the other salesperson, now, a fresh face, and a new negotiating style and energy walks in and you have to go over it again? Usually, people just cave, and that’s what the closer is for. So here is my recommendation, if you aren’t comfortable making the deal and even the closer won’t meet your terms. Simply just walk out, one of two things will happen.
- They will make the deal to make the sale.
- Or you leave knowing you didn’t waste all of your time and day to be tired, hungry and beaten down to make a bad financial decision for what you drive.
But, If that’s all you needed was a simple change in the deal, great go ahead and buy! But know this, you are ALWAYS in control, it’s a sales tactic to make you think you lose control in the conversation. If you are not comfortable, DO NOT BUY. You just say “Great, thank you for working with me but I need some more time and I will be back.”. If they are super pushy tell them you will be back and will speak directly to them, that usually lessens how intense they are knowing that you’ll go through them for the sale, even if it’s a lie. Or if all else fails, walk out.
At Downtown Auto Group, we would love for you to come in and work with you to find the vehicle you want. Even if it isn’t on our lot, we can find it for you, and we don’t like these tactics. We want to earn your business by winning every individual customer who walks in our door, that’s why we are so quick to tell you about these tactics and not try and use them. All we care about is your experience when you arrive at our dealership. Because we want your experience to be great for the next time we see you!
So here are a few takeaways from this article:
– Bigger dealers entice you with lower prices on vehicles, but you end up with options and features that make the vehicle cost just as much in the end.
– Do no sign a Buyers Order until you are 100% ready to buy.
– Bigger city dealers care about the vehicles they move, not the customer experience.
– They want to make a sale that day with you and that’s why they try extremely aggressive tactics to make that happen.
– Understand that the list price of vehicles in the city are usually because of rebates and incentive programs you do not qualify for.
– If you travel, expect to make a full day out of one dealership visit.
– Compare dealers, customer service, vehicle programs (such as Downtown Forever) and service departments.
– Take your experience in consideration because if you do have a great one, that dealer will continue to take care of you. Instead of just simply moving to the next sale.
– Beware of the Closer, and don’t let your time be taken for granted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CODY WAITE – MARKETING & BRAND MANAGER
I’ve been in Marketing/Advertising for the past six years and in the Auto Industry since 2018. As a consumer, I’ve been through numerous vehicle sales buying vehicles and understand the tactics in sales and advertisements used to entice customers to buy. I’m committed to the transparency at Downtown Auto Group and educating us all on how the inside of the auto industry and sales work.