aka Fossils at the Dealership

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Harold purchases a used Ford Flex like the one above (Osmer)

By Harold Osmer

Good Riddance: Buying at a Dealership

We’ve had a 2000 Crown Victoria ex-police car in the family for nearly ten years. It served us well. Once the girls were out of grade school, we were also out of walking distance and needed a cheap, reliable form of transportation.

Many, many, many trips to and from middle school (when did it change from being “junior high”?) put on some miles. The eldest daughter turned 16 soon after and was in line at DMV on her birthday to get her license. That car helped her fit the part with ROTC uniform, dark sunglasses, and two big-ass spotlights on the side. She passed the car down to daughter deuce.

So here we are ten years and 80,000 miles down the road. We had to let the cop car go. It served us well.

A replacement was found via a used Ford Flex. We had an early Flex for review some years ago and it remains one of our favorite vehicles of all time. If pragmatic ever applied to a car, put the Flex up front.

Our Flex was purchased through a large local Ford dealer in order to gain the peace of mind that comes with a certified used car. Warranties, service contracts, the whole lot. Mind you it can tough to find a used Flex. People who have them love them.

Research shows that a new Flex goes between $28,000 and twice that. A decent used Flex can run low-$20s. Point is: Ford Flex holds it’s value.

We can debate Flex virtues another day. I called you here to ask about the car purchasing process. Why is this so hard?

Our old Crown Victoria (ex) police car, circa 2000 (Osmer)

I had done my research. I knew what I wanted and was very open with the dealership salesman. Yet he still insisted on trying to sell me the car I had already picked out. Pleasant enough, polite, knowledgeable, and dressed like every other car salesman you’ve met, he just couldn’t get himself off script. They only had one car on the lot in my range and it was fine with me. I just needed something to replace the role of our old Crown Vic. Simple. I had my own money, knew precisely what I wanted. There was no haggling.

My sales guy OK’d the deal after running it by his manager, who had to run it by his boss, who had to check with the financial people, who had to ensure we knew about all finance options currently available ( …“are you certain you don’t want to take advantage of our…”), and it all had to be run by whomever it is that sits up high in the tinted glass office. It took a couple of days for the world to agree and it felt like forever. Why is this so hard?

LACar has several articles about the car buying process and how social media plus technology is changing the landscape. After running myself through the antiquated dealer sales network, I am now anxious to witness that entire process disappear.

BTW, I got cash for the cop car. All we needed was a signed pink slip and a handshake.

Harold O.

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