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I've often been amazed the car-dealer industry has lasted this long. It's all too often based on deception, disrespect, intimidation, and rip-offs - from the showroom (overcharge as much as possible), to the trade-in aspect (under-charge using the same tricks ... go figure) to the financing (bury the overcharging in extra years of interest paid), to the garage (a skilled mechanic will often still charge far less than the dealership for the same service).

No, not every dealer works this way. Just the majority. If Tesla can make a change to this phenomenon, then good riddance to bad rubbish.

As an aside, this (long) story from Edmunds gives outstanding insights to how dealerships work, and what options are available to consumers.


It's fascinating to see how racial profiling comes into the mix. An ethnic group - according to dealers - will be known to have bad credit, or to pay the overcharged price no matter what without a fight, or (as dealers claim of white people) chiefly car-shop online and come armed with information looking for the best price.

Agreed. Also very often within the dealership itself: Salesman lies to you, finance guy lies to you, other salespeople completely ignore you. The only person relatively nice is the receptionist.

It's interesting to think about how much of this crap is ultimately enabled by the ubiquity of car loans.

Transforming the sticker price into a much lower (in terms of which number is absolutely bigger) monthly charge completely changes the psychology of it.

How many people don't do as much research as they should because they're thinking in terms of $500/month instead of $25,000? How much BS can the salesman then get away with because of that?

How often does a salesman successfully pitch some completely useless extra as being "only $20/month" when the buyer would never pay $1,000 for it if they actually sat down and thought about it?

How often do buyers end up spending way more than they intended to because they don't properly factor in interest, or the added cost of extras, or down payments, or the costs of taking out the loan itself?

I bought a car in cash last year and it made the whole process pretty nice. A whole fat layer of nonsense was just stripped away.

I realize this isn't practical for everybody, but how much of it is that it's outright impossible for people, and how much of it is that Americans are conditioned to buy cars on credit, end up spending more than they should and buying more car than they should, making it harder to save up money, making the whole cycle repeat.

In many ways, it's just another example of how it's expensive to be poor, and cheaper to be better off.

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