Buying a car is a ridiculous hassle

This Wired article about auto dealers getting in a huff about Tesla “education stores” brings up a long-simmering annoyance about the ridiculous protectionism afforded auto dealers.

As part of a family that is thinking about replacing an aging vehicle, I have recently experienced this craziness.  Not open on Sundays? When do you expect families with small kids to shop?  Only located in the hinterland? (Except notably Borton Volvo)  Why can’t you just bring a few cars in the city?  Why do you need a ginormous lot?

As expensive as they are, a car purchase should be a full-on spa treatment in my opinion.  I can do my “shopping” online, thank you, but I think a well-trained dealer should drive a car to my house or my work for a test drive.  I think I should also be able to shop online and get the full, non-adjustable retail price, just like any other retail product.  No destination charges or special offers at each dealer.  How many jobs are we really protecting by keeping the current system the way it is?  I might buy cars more often if the experience weren’t so horrible.  And, we certainly aren’t doing ourselves any favors land use-wise by enabling these companies to locate in places where they can keep a whole year of inventory on-site.

One thought on “Buying a car is a ridiculous hassle

  1. gosh, I could not agree more. My wife and I are a one-car household right now, but that’s likely to change soon as we will probably be buying a 2nd car (along with our suburban mansion). It’s been on our minds for over a year now, and the thing holding us back is the completely ridiculous bartering and tom-foolery involved in buying one. When we do buy, it will likely not be from a dealer because I don’t want to deal with all the slimy garbage that comes along with dealers. I’ll probably buy something used off craigslist or car soup or something.

    I’ve heard some people have had a lot of luck by negotiating with dealers via email only, which allows you to solicit bids from dozens of dealers at the same time (then you just pick whichever is lowest). A lot of dealers won’t play this game, but you only need one….

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