Foreword: This is a long post, you will want some popcorn.

Around Epoch Timestamp 1336340341 I was on the hunt for a hot hatch. The new Focus ST was coming out, there was the GTI, and the Speed3. I poured through blogs, websites, visited dealerships, and even used 3rd party sites (such as CarCostCanada) to gather information on dealer invoices and current promotions. At that time I settled on a black Speed3 and was genuinely happy with my purchase.

After I purchased my Speed3 I had a few pricing reports leftover and looked up a few vehicles for friends and family. One such vehicle was a Ford F-150. Fast forward to Epoch Timestamp 1430861941 and I find myself receiving a curious e-mail from a Go Auto salesman with a palindrome for a name.

Hi - POD -,

This is Palindrome from [Random Name] Ford. Our records indicate that you have enquired about a Ford vehicle in the past. I would like to offer any assistance possible in your search and/or answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call, text or email me any time and I will be happy to help. My cell# is: [REDACTED]

You will find we are just as persistent in providing quality service after the sale, ensuring your complete satisfaction, as we are helping you with the selection of a vehicle.

I would like to ask a favor of you. Present me with a challenge that I would need to overcome for you to take delivery of the vehicle. It can be anything: trade-in value, price, terms, or perhaps a different vehicle that you were first considering. Allow me the chance and I’ll get the job done!


Also please keep in mind that Ford rebates on new vehicles are stronger than ever and [Random Name] Ford currently has a promotion that anyone who comes in for a qualified test drive and/or trade in vehicle appraisal will receive a $50 gift certificate to the [Silly] Hospitality Group. So if I am not able to win you over with our vehicles, pricing or trade in value on your vehicle at the very least you will receive a free dinner on me.

I am excited to say that there has never been a better time to purchase with Goatuo with all the new incentives and promotions such as;

FREE LIFETIME Engine Warranty!
FREE Service Loaners!
FIXED Commission Sales
$500 Referral Program!
No Extra Fees, which means you only pay GST!
24/7 Customer Service!
I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards:

Palindrome

Now this is one of my pet peevs. I detest unwelcome solicitations the same way you detest an invitation to play Candy Crush from that one Facebook friend you keep promising yourself you are going to delete but never actually get around to.

Advertisement

However, I also have this clinically certifiable need to see how far I can push things, so I responded;


“I have no interest in a Ford at this time, however my brother in law may be. What is your best out the door (tax, enviro fees, etc.) on a Ecoboost Mustang with a manual transmission and the performance package?

I look forward to your reply.”


I knew full well that I was going to get flashing lights and a big old Bob Barker “Come On Down!!”, but I just had to see what would happen.

Hi - POD -, thank you for your reply.

I think that it may be best if your brother in law calls me and if he buys a car from us you qualify for the $500 GoAuto referral fee. we have a few mustangs in stock that he could look at when he comes in. If we don’t have exactly the car he wants we can find one for him even if it means bringing it in from out of town. there is also the question of the value of his trade in vehicle and what sort of financing he would qualify for if he buys that will all effect the overall deal.

Also by buying from a GoAuto group dealership which [REDACTED] is you have many other benefits other dealerships will not be able to offer such as:

FREE LIFETIME Engine Warranty!
FREE Service Loaners!
FIXED Commission Sales
$500 Referral Program!
No Extra Fees, which means you only pay GST!
24/7 Customer Service!

I will try and answer your question........We have a Mustang Ecoboost with the performance package sitting in our showroom but it has a few extras above and beyond the performance package so the list price is $46,549 also we have 0% financing on Mustangs up to 60 month (no extra fees with GoAuto just GST) term you can look at it here:

[REDACTED]

Your brother in law can come in test drive the vehicle and make us an offer, maybe bring the best offer you have from another dealership and we will do our best to beat it. In any case maybe we make a deal and maybe we don’t but just for his time we will send him home with a $50 gift card for the Century Hospitality Group so he can take you out for steak on us (unfortunately the $50 probably won’t cover the beer lol).

Once again thank you for your reply and I look forward to hearing from you and/or your brother in law soon.

Cheers:

Palindrome

Pretty much what I was expecting, but $46,549?! Even for Canadian price gouging, that almost makes me so mad I’ll forget to say sorry!


“We’ve already test driven and he is simply cross shopping at this point. The “additional benefits” of go auto are not incentives. Lowest off the lot price for an ecoboost mustang in a manual with a performance pack will be the winner. Assume no trade in and assume he will qualify for 0% @ 60 months. However those points are irrelevant as off the lot price is the only information he needs right now.

If you have a quote I’ll pass it along to him.

Cheers!”


Hi - POD -, unfortunately I am not able to email you a quote or quote cars over the phone, my managers strongly discourage this. I would like to invite you down to the store and we will try to beat any competitor’s price you show us.

In addition we will still offer the incentives from my last email and if lifetime engine warranty or $500 referral or no extra fees (our competitors charge as much as $1,500 for admin fees) mean nothing I am sorry but they come with every vehicle we sell anyways.... lol.

Cheers:

Palindrome

Time to turn the heat up a notch.


“Unfortunately your practice of not offering quotes via email is not one we support. We have already received online quotes from other go auto dealerships. If your manager chooses to run his dealership differently, then that is his prerogative.

Advertisement

The lifetime engine warranty is dependent on all service being completed at the dealership, which isn’t going to happen regardless of who he buys from. Your sales tactics are outdated for younger buyers, I can see why millennials are not buying many cars.

If you are proud of your product and your price point, then providing an off the lot quote via email will be no problem. If, however, you feel that a direct high pressure sales environment that idolizes limited utility add on services over a good product at a good value, then your dealership is not one to consider... lol.

Please provide a quote, or please remove my contact information from your database.”


Hi - POD -,

thanks for your time in all this back and forth.....I haven’t been selling cars for very long but one thing I have learned and can safely tell you as an experienced car buyer; if you are only getting email or phone quotes you are not getting their best price :)

Managers don’t want us spending time with customers that are window shopping as we don’t get paid to educate people on the car market. You may be a serious buyer and if that is the case then there should be no problem going to visit a couple of dealerships to get their best price. When you buy a house do you only look at MLS website or do you go and “touch” the house before you buy? Do you pay asking price or do you make an offer? I’m just asking the same thing, come look at the car and make us your best offer....lol. we are open until 9pm every night except Friday and Saturday only till 6pm. If you would like to come down please call or text me at [REDACTED] to book an appointment.

I quote you $46,549 on the black mustang in our showroom and $45,999 on the yellow convertible, you are welcome to give us your best offer and I will see if I can make it work.

Cheers;

Palindrome

Hmm, everyone I know loves to touch house! Even House loves to touch House!

Back on track though.


“Thank you for your quotes. Lets not kid ourselves here, you (or your sales manager) already know the rock bottom off the lot price for each unit you carry. Things like trade in and manufacture incentives can give you wiggle room, but you know your prices.

Advertisement

As an experienced Millennial new car buyer and an auto enthusiast, I already have my off the lot price picked out before I even walk into a dealership, and I advise all family members to adopt the same practice. All I require of a dealership is a price on the exact model I’m looking for. A salesman, respectfully, is a horrible educator. I’ve yet to meat one that truly knows their product inside and out. In truth, the salesman is only needed to run numbers back and forth between the customer and the manager (and once a direct sales model is adopted, salesman won’t even be needed for that). Trying to rope-a-dope with superfluous add ons while avoiding a customers direct questions is insulting to us both.

Now, the quote that I asked for was for an Ecoboost Mustang with a manual transmission and the performance pack. No more, no less. Neither quotes you provided were for that vehicle. This is what wastes time Palindrome. Trying to bait customers to come into your dealership by withholding information and dangling glitter-paint coated incentives with full knowledge that your dealership doesn’t even have the vehicle requested available.

The off the lot price on an Ecoboost mustang with a manual transmission and performance pack option group price point that my brother in law is looking for is $33,000. Now, you’ve already said you don’t have one, if you can do a factor build request at that price, or get one through an inter-dealership transfer at that price (again off the lot), then there may be something to talk about.”


Hi - POD -, thank you once again for the reply. I appreciate your continued effort in communicating with me. Like I said I am not an experienced salesman and I am definitely not trying to fool you by any means. I quoted you the cars we have on the lot and if they don’t match what you want we will get one that does.

When I started this job I said to myself I may not win any awards for sales doing this but at the very least I will spare a few people the pain of dealing with the stereotypical car salesman. I agree with you life would be simpler if car industry functioned like an on line direct sales world, you pick you pay and they deliver the vehicle to you. But for now things still work the old fashioned way......

take a look at the attached window sticker....does this car work for you? is it the same as what you are looking at elsewhere?

What would the price have to be for you to come in and buy? if I can beat the $33,000 all in do we have a deal?

Cheers

Palindrome

The provided window sticker was for an ecoboost 6 speed manual with the performance pack and the recaro seats. Race Red with a black interior, Shmexy!

Advertisement

Finally, we are getting somewhere! And it only too 8 emails back and forth. That’s a new record for me!


“Thank you, this is is exactly what I was hoping to get from the get go. I’ve sent the sticker off to my brother in law (BCC’d him on the emails).

Thanks.”


So at the end of the day, with enough time, underhanded comments, and not-so passive aggressive jabs towards new car purchasing as a whole, it IS possible to get an honest quote online.

Advertisement

True to my word I sent the sticker and the quote to my brother in law. They settled on $33,500 out the door (which for a Canadian Mustang does appear to be a good price) and he has until the end of the day today to decide. The Dealership said they are giving him the %2 fleet mark up rate and not offering any of the glittering prizes along with the purchase (perfect!).

Now I know during the financing process they will try to hit him up with the extra warranty, rust protection, paint protection, road side assistance, trunk monkey, etc. etc. etc. I’m sure he’s strong enough to resist those. Well maybe not the trunk monkey.

Post Script:

The Palindrome did send one final, and from what I can tell, very sincere e-mail.

Thanks for your understanding and yes I told him $33K all in he said “Yeah, for sure we will beat it tell him to come in and make us an offer”.

I worked as a recruiter before, there are some parallels to this job like building relationship/rapport with customers, selling the job (car) to the customer and presenting it in a “good light”....but I am amazed every day at what I am expected to accomplish with little or no information given to me by managers. I haven’t yet seen the actual cost on any of our vehicles, that info is strictly guarded. At GoAuto the salesman gets a flat commission so they don’t want us knowing margins as we are more likely to tell customer in order to make the sale.....its a funny world I am not sure I like it and will probably go back to an HR role once the oil/gas industry is hiring again, but its definitely an interesting life experience working in car sales lol.

Like I said maybe I won’t sell 20 cars a month but hopefully I help some people have a less painful buying experience along the way.

Thanks for your follow ups, I will make sure you are listed as the referral if your brother in law buys....not a gimmick, $500 that can be used on service, accessories, parts, merchandise or toward a vehicle purchase in any GoAuto store.

Cheers

Palindrome

So while I was very hard on poor Palindrome, I think he understood where I was coming from. And at the end of the day, if it gets a family member into his dream car and it gets Palindrome a sale (and me a $500 service card), then it’s a win-win.