TLDR: Had a great car purchasing experience 600 miles from home; would do it again.
There are plenty of discussions re: the silliness we experience at dealerships - here’s a different story.
Background: this isn’t my first rodeo; I’ve bought 14+ new cars over the last 30+ years. I needed a solid, inexpensive daily runabout that I’d be confident handing down to one of my kids to carry them through school and perhaps get started in their first job.
I started my search last year and purchased in December. I experienced the usual silliness and, as I wasn’t shopping a premium brand, found a greater degree of gamesmanship than usual.
It was so bad that I was about to put my search on hold or move to another make - maybe start anew in 2020 and do something different. Early/mid-Dec, however, I found a car that ticked the boxes (this make doesn’t encourage ordering).
This car and dealership, however, were 600 miles away. Amazingly, though, they were easier to deal with and provided better customer responsiveness remotely than the plethora of local dealers.
As I’d been searching for some time, I knew market price, cost, trunk money, etc. and we sorted the deal quickly. So we landed an agreement on a Fri night and I flew up the following morning. The salesman offered to pick me up - a 4-to-5 hr round trip - and bring me back to the dealership (no cost in a dealership loaner). When I landed, it was starting to sleet and we jumped on the road immediately. Great conversation and lunch on the way to the dealership.
The experience continued at the dealership. It was getting late and weather was moving in, so the salesman and the finance guy worked to get me out quickly as they knew I had a long drive home. No push for undercoating, paint protection or the extended warranty. Just sign 4 pieces of paper and that was it. Fastest time in/out of any of my purchases.
I’ll call on these folks for my next purchase and I’m sure I’ll tell this tale many times to others whether they’re in the market or not. This experience, in short, is how a car purchasing engagement should progress.