My experience with buying a new car

Why am I sharing this with you?  Well, I have had good and bad experiences that I want to share in order to make your experience a lot better the next time you buy.  What I discovered was very interesting.  It was an eye opener.

First, as a woman,  I have been treated with a lot less respect than if a man would come into the dealership.  That is, until I walked into the KIA dealership in Rock Hill, SC.  Good KIA is the name of the dealership.  This was such a pleasant experience I just have to share that.  But first let me share a totally opposite experience.

My daughter and I drove up to a KIA dealership in Spartanburg, SC.  I had already talked to a salesman in Rock Hill, but the Spartanburg dealer seemed to think they could get her into one.   She wanted to see if she could reduce her payments by trading her present Toyota in.  The first thing that happened was we stood out in a cold wind looking at the cars until, after seeing that no one was going to wait on us, we walked into the showroom to get warm and hope we got noticed.  Finally, a woman came up to us and asked if we were being helped.  We told her no and she asked us what we were interested in.  We told her that we were both interested in buying a car.  She walked out with us and we explained that my daughter wanted to look at the charcoal colored one and I wanted to drive the spicy red one.  She said she would go in and get the keys.  Finally, a man came out holding only one set of keys.

He said he couldn’t find the keys for the red one so we would just drive the gray one.  That was his first mistake.  He evidently didn’t take me seriously.  We explained that we were both looking to buy.  I got into the passenger side of a 2011 KIA Optima and fell in love.  My daughter drove it but I could tell from just being in the passenger seat, that it was the car I wanted.  She fell in love with it also, but we have different taste so I still wanted the red one.

I had come in wanting to purchase a 2010, but they said they didn’t have any on the lot.  Well, once I rode in the 2011, there was no comparison and I was sold.   I didn’t tell him that.  I just stood back and waited for him to make his next move.  The salesman asked if we could concentrate on my daughter for now and I just looked at him and said, “of course!”  Obviously he didn’t think I was a potential customer.  He didn’t even offer to let me drive it.  That was his second mistake.  Had I been the salesman I would have made an effort to have both keys and take the time for both of us to drive.  He didn’t, and that was the turning point.

So, after sitting in his office for an hour or so they finally came to the conclusion that she could not reduce her payments sufficient to make it worth her continuing.  In fact, her payments would have been a lot more than she was paying now.  So, with that, he turned to me.  Still no offer to let me drive.  By this time I was so ticked off at how he was treating both of us that I explained that I was in no hurry and please don’t go to any trouble getting a spicy red one because I wanted to look around.  He told them there were no red ones in the region and I might consider a different color.  I told him , no thank you and basically pacified him that he could contact me later.  But, I knew and Jennifer knew that it would be a cold day in hell before I bought from them.

So, I had stopped by the Rock Hill dealership first and just talked to the salesman briefly and really liked him.  He was much different from the other salesmen I had dealt with in the past, so,  I went up to Rock Hill and told him I wanted to buy a car from them.  He asked if I was still interested in the 2010 and was surprised when I said, No!  I want the 2011.  Well,  he treated me so well, and I felt so relaxed and cared about that the process was pretty easy, unlike my previous purchase of a Dodge Caravan three years before.

Let me tell you about that experience before continuing.  It is important to know just what I experienced so you can avoid this in the future.  One of my required features was a SIRIUS radio.  We already had a year’s subscription on my present car and that was a must!   I think I asked the salesman at least 20 times during the all-day marathon that I was put through, “Now, this car has a SIRIUS radio, right?”  He just smiled and assured me that it did.  For some reason I didn’t quite believe him subconsciously, so I felt the need to verify this every time we talked during that long day of back and forth and back and forth.

I am not a detail person and I tend to be a bit spacey and I didn’t know much about buying a car, let alone that if an accessory was on the car it would be noted on the list of accessories that came with the car. At the KIA dealership I had to sign a form saying that I had read the list and agreed with it before continuing with the paperwork.   I didn’t think to look there with the van because I was rather new at car buying.  I just wanted to buy a car and I was looking at the bottom line of price and a SIRIUS radio.  The rest wasn’t of much interest to me except that it was a van for family trips with my daughter and grandchildren.  I trusted the salesman.  DON’T DO THAT!

So, even up to the point when he handed me the keys he told me to go home and contact SIRIUS to set up the radio.  I didn’t know that if it had the radio, it would be set up at the dealership before I left with it.  So, I drove merrily home only to find out that I didn’t have a SIRIUS radio and because it was my word against his,  I had to purchase a radio and pay to have it installed.  Let me tell you that I was so angry that I could barely be civil.

So, make sure that the salesman shows you every accessory you have on the car and make sure you check to make sure they are all in there before you sign any papers!

OK, now for the good experience again.  The Rock Hill dealership bent over backwards to get me into a car.  The salesman was low-key, not pushy, and very helpful and attentive.  His name is Jim and he heralds from New York, originally.  Now, let me tell you about the car.  It is Spicy Red with charcoal gray dash but with beige fabric seats and interior.  To sit in it is like sitting in a race car.  It is low slung, sporty, and has a cockpit to die for.  The lighting on all the gauges is red and is easily seen even in the daytime.  I had trouble seeing my dash instruments in the Dodge Caravan in the daytime as they were a neon green.

It has a huge trunk.  I’d say it is a two to four body trunk…just kidding!  You can lay the back seat down and have extended room to carry long packages, etc.  The great thing about it is the passenger side is like a cocoon surrounding the passenger and you feel very protected there.  It has a curtain of airbags around the whole thing that makes you very protected in case of an accident, God forbid!

Now, I let my 6’2″ grandson sit in the back.  If he could sit comfortably without his knees clear up to his chin, then that was an extra benefit.  Though I hadn’t bought it with him in mind, I wanted to see just how much room there was.  Well, to my surprise, he fit nicely, even with the passenger see pushed way back.  He had a one inch clearance with his knees.  And, with it pushed back that far my feet did not reach the end of the leg space in the front passenger section.  But then, I am only 5’4″.

So, not only did I get a car big enough to be able to be used to pick up my grandchildren from school, I got sporty to boot.  Now, the radio channel changer and volume things are on the steering wheel.  Neat!  You just have to try one out.  And I got the entry-level model without the power seats.  The rest comes standard, including the SIRIUS radio.  It is an automatic, dual exhaust, fuel injectors, 4 cylinder that really gets up and goes.  It has power outside mirrors.  And, if that wasn’t sweet enough, there is a light strip on the outside mirrors that comes on when you use your fob to unlock your door and when you put on your turn signals.

It has a USB port for MP3 players as well as two electrical outlets and an AUX outlet.   It comes with Blue Tooth also. This is all standard!  Oh, can I say enough?  And it has a sun glasses holder that actually shuts without having to tape it shut like the one on my van.  Blessing all the way around!  LOL!

Now, they ordered in a Spicy Red one for me from another dealership outside our region because I guess they are popular.  I had to pay to have it brought down but it was reasonable.  I think he said it was 20 cents per mile. It cost me about $150.00 or so.  Well worth it to me.   And, they financed it in with the rest of the financing.

I was a little frustrated with the part where we talked to the guy who handles the financing, but I do understand that it is their job to sell us their finance package, etc.  However, we had walked in with financing in hand and I suggest you do that because we estimated that it might have saved us $5,000.  Luckily we bank with USAA and they have a program where they find us the best deal and then they provide us with a certificate that tells the salesman that we already have financing in hand.  That allows us better leverage in the deal because we know we can walk out any time and go somewhere else if we don’t get what we need.

Always ask your lender, if they provide the wrap around warrantee stuff with the financing, what those benefits include so when you are talking to the dealer finance guy, you know what kind of coverage you have.  They will try to sell you their package so you need to know what you already have with your bank in order to compare what is the best deal.  In our case it was comparable except for one thing.  Through the KIA  financing, they did not offer Debt protection coverage.  Our bank offered it.  That was the deal breaker.  At our age, it is wise to purchase debt protection.  That means that you pay insurance so that if something happens to one of us, the car is paid off in full.  This is a must and since KIA didn’t offer it, we went with our own bank, even though we might have gotten it  1% cheaper through KIA.

It is imperative that you do your homework and come in with all the information you will need to come from a position of power.  It is their job to sell you on their packages because the dealership gets a kick back on each thing they sign you up for.  It is not that they are trying to con you, they are just salesmen and they have a job to do.  It is your job to be informed and know what is going on so you do not feel taken advantage of in the end.  Especially if you are a woman.

So, it took a few days for the car to be brought in and they called to tell me I could come in and get it.  They showed me the manuals and the emergency phone numbers.  They took me out to the car and showed me all the buttons and what they do.  We opened the trunk and the gas lid.  It opens by pushing a button inside the car on the door panel.  Neat!   I got to meet the service people and even the dealership manager came out and shook my hand.  They filled my car up, detailed it and even transfer the plates from our trade-in vehicle to the new car.  It was effortless.

That is what you need from your dealership.  Service, respect, and that they really care about you.

Now, go out there and buy that car.  Do your homework first!

Chris

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~ by womenstudycenter on January 18, 2011.

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