Saturday, April 13, 2013

Car Dealers

When the time comes to get another vehicle, I think I'm going to have a hard time. My problem has always been that if I hate your advertising enough, I'll never go your store. Even if it costs more. Never bought a mattress from Resnick's even though Air Tite Windows ripped their sign down. When we were shopping for a car a few years ago, we never shopped any "huge" lots. I really, really hate those ads. Thanks to the magic of DVR I am subjected to them much less frequently. And now, I'm getting annoyed with two other car lots - one where we bought the car and another where it has been serviced a few times. Maybe I'm over reacting, but here's what these two dealerships have recently done.

The dealership we purchased our car from (apart from jamming us for $500 at the closing and never following through with several promised free oil changes) keeps sending us email offering a "fantastic" deal using our current vehicle as a trade-in. In January, our vehicle plus a little over $17,000 would get us a new version of the car. In February, it would have been the trade plus $15,000. In March, the unsolicited offer dropped into the $13,000s. Yesterday, it dropped to $11,146.90 Perhaps, if I ignore them for six more months it will just be an even swap. The value of my trade in only keeps going down. How could they expect me to trust anything they ever tell me again?

The dealer that has done maintenance on the car sent an ad in the mail. But the entire ad is based in deception. They could have sent a flyer, but instead they sent a fake print out of an email sent from the owner to a sales manager. The letter is complete with from, subject, to, an attachment line, some customization to include my wife's name in a few spots and a printed attempt at mimicking a handwritten note. The letter also included a pretend email confidentially notice at the bottom so they could sneak in a few lines about combining offers, other restrictions and an offer end date. Why base your advertisement on a lie? And if it is so important for you to send me a pretend email filled with bullshit, why not actually send me a real email filled with bullshit and spare the tree?

I get that the car business is cut throat. Instead of living up to the sleazy car salesman stereotype, be honest. Maybe that's too much. Be mostly honest. If you have to send me stuff, send me information about what your car dealership can do for me - maintenance specials, deals for returning customers, estimate my trade-in value. Don't blatantly try to trick me when I'm not even looking for a car. I'll remember this when it is time for a new vehicle. The only thing both of these campaigns (and a few others) have done is make me regret ever walking onto either lot.

Maybe our next vehicle will be a jetpack. I've always wanted one and the kids will be out of booster seats by then. I bet jetpack dealers are cool people.

 (Photo from

UPDATE (4/16/13):  I swear I am not making this up. I received an email from one of these dealers earlier today. It's from the price dropping trade in place where we bought the car. I guess technically, the letter was only sent to my email account. The email was directed at the car to celebrate the anniversary of its purchase. Directly from the email:

Dear Malibu:

"Happy Anniversary" from your friends at XXX Chevrolet!

I hope you and Jonathan are getting along well and that Jonathan is taking good care of you. If you have any bumps and scratches, aches or pains, just come in and see us. We are here to care for you. As always if there is anything I can do, please call me at XXX Chevrolet at 518-XXX-XXXX.

I hope you and your owner have an excellent day!


  1. How about the ones with the faux keys informing you that you won a new car, etc.

  2. Those are annoying too. I don't understand why they are compelled to deceive. Saturn was popular because it was straightforward and honest. Here's the price...want it? That got destroyed fairly quickly.