"Car Shopping" for my birthday (How do dealerships work?)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Hummer, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Hummer macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2006
    Queens, New York NY-5
    I plan on doing a little "car shopping" for my birthday, meaning I just want to go test drive every car I've ever wanted up to this point in my life, but I was wondering how do car dealers work and I'm thinking that there must be something they do to stop someone like me coming off the street with absolutely no intent on buying wanting to test drive any car they please.

    What would I need to do in order to be able to test drive a couple... say expensive cars down at my local dealership with out any obligation to buy or valuable information to put down?
  2. w_parietti22 macrumors 68020

    Apr 16, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Just act like your actually interested in buying. And if they ask if you want to buy the car just tell them that your just looking today but may be back once you do more research.

    Unless your talking about Lambos, Ferraris, etc... you might have more of a problem. But you can always rent them.
  3. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    What do you want to test drive? Might be able to give better advice if I knew that, but generally the dealership will let you test drive most model unless like has been said it's something exotic like a Phamtom or Ferrari. You shouldn't have huge problems getting behind the wheel of a BMW, Porsche or anything more mainstream. I've been offered an Aston Martin without even asking based on my percieved 'body language'.
  4. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Well, here's a decent way to test drive some BMWs. I drove a Z4 coupe and convertible, a 325i, and an X5 4.8, all in the space of an hour, and completely unsupervised. :D

    Anyways, yes, just go onto the lot and say "I'm looking to get a new car, and I'd like to drive xxxx". When you're done, and they ask you about money stuff, just say you need to look at a few more models before you decide. Repeat as necessary.

    That reminds me, I haven't used that to test a TDI VeeDub yet... ;)

    Also, depending on your age, you might be lucky enough to get to sit in a Ferrari, and maybe even brought into the service department to see something nifty (like a 599 :D).
  5. walangij macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    +1, and what others have said are spot on. Just go in, be assertive either with bodylanguage or just asking about models or a specific model. It works no matter what you look like or your age. When I graduated from High School, I just went in and did that, got behind the wheel of all the cars I asked about.

    Of course High End Luxury dealers such as Lambo, ferrari, rolls ect. they'll be very difficult. My brother took his friend from his university who is foreign ("engrish not so good") and who's father owns a bunch of businesses/hospitals. He could choose any car less than 200k, yet all the dealers were pretty much jerks except for the Porsche dealer. He ended up going with the 911 just because of that.

    Good luck with your endeavors! This is by far the funnest part of buying cars!
  6. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    If by "birthday" you mean your 16th birthday, keep dreaming buddy. That, or bring mom or dad with you.
  7. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Yea I don't know if they will let you drive the cars if you are only 16 and esp if you don't have parents with you.

    Basically this is how it works
    1) You get out of your car and you look around for like 2 minutes
    2) A salesman/women comes running out of the building greets you, introduces himself, and gives you a firm handshake
    3) He tells you how great the car is and all its features, depending on how good the dealer is, the person may or may not know what he is talking about
    4) They'll show you the expensive models to make you feel special and make you think think that he thinks that you can afford the car
    5) He'll ask you if you want to take it for a ride (if they let you) and he may or may not go with you- It depends on the dealer
    6) He'll ask for your contact info
    7) You leave
    8) He'll call you everyday for the next week :p

    Without having your parents with you its unlikely they will let you drive what ever you want to drive.
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Dress in a low-cut shirt and mini-skirt, and say "my daddy said I could have any car on this lot".

    Oh wait, you have to be a girl for that to work. Used to work like a charm for an ex of mine though. She could turn that "spoiled rich girl" attitude on and off whenever she wanted...

    But yeah, if you're only 16 you better bring a parent. Plus the dealer is gonna ride around with you, so it's not like you're gonna get to go pick up girls or anything acutally fun in the car.
  9. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Dress in a lacoste polo, some madras plaid shorts, some j.crew flip flops, and get some expensive sunglasses and act elite (but not so much that they don't like you).

    Haha, thats the best I can come up with...
  10. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I'm considering doing a little test drive day, pull out all of my preppy boarding school attire and hit mercedes, bmw and audi dealerships to see what they'll let me drive.

    I'd love to play in a CLK, something with the M tag and maybe an RS something. :D

    Poo that you have to be 21 to do that BMW Ultimate Drive thing...I'll just have to hit the dealerships with everything I've got!
  11. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Oh yea and drive the nicest car you can to the dealer lol.
  12. FrankBlack macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    Looking for Lucy Butler
    You might this web site to be of interest: Dealer Rater

    It's actually a pretty well-managed review site. On occassions when "fake reviews" are detected, they are removed and a warning banner goes up to alert people.

    I don't know where you are in the country, but I can say that the reviews are pretty accurate here in MA.

    I had a bad experience with a Toyota dealership some years ago, when I was getting into Toyota Trucks. My experience was like something out of movie, with the slimy salesman, the "I'll have to check with my manager" bit, and endless chatter about "our award winning service department". (Uh, yes. They invented the awards, and bestowed said awards on themselves.)
  13. Hummer thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2006
    Queens, New York NY-5
    I plan on hitting up the Ford dealer for a Mustang, the Hummer dealer for an H2, the Audi dealer for the TT, the Mini dealer for a Mini, and a multi-"exotic" dealer for the Porsche Cayenne S, BMW 530i, and hopefully the Bentley Continental GT (I know a long shot). I'd be able to do them all in a day considering I start early because we have this strip of nothing but car dealerships, for those of you who live in NY its called Northern Boulevard.

    I think you guys advice will help a lot. BTW I'm turning 17 and not 16. I'll have my senior license once I turn 17. Oh yea and I'm about 6'4" so I could play 19.
  14. steamboat26 macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    Arlington VA
    Whenever i want to test drive sweet cars, i ask one of my rich family friends, she's willing to test drive anything, and since she has a lot of money, dealers think that she wants to buy :D
  15. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    You could play 19, but they'll most likely ask to make a copy of your lisence before you step into the car to drive it (or the salesman who most likely will go with you will hold onto it). Many places, at least where I live, won't let you test drive until you're 18, unless your parent is with you. The Mustang and the Mini will be easy to test drive, and (assuming you don't have to be 18) the BMW and the TT shouldn't be terribly hard (although a 3 series would be easier than a 5). The H2 and the Cayenne are a maybe, and I wouldn't even try on the Bentley, I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted to do a credit check on you before you even got to sit in the car. The fact that it is a multi-exotic dealership makes it even harder, if you go test drive a BMW car, then a Porsche SUV, then ask to drive the Bentley GT they will proably have figured out what you're up to.
  16. walangij macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    Since you are still 16 going on 17 it will be more difficult to test drive some of the cars, expect a salesman to come along with you. Your assumptions on dealers are pretty correct, like rhsgolfer33 said the H2, Cayenne and Bentley are going to be difficult, likely they'll credit check you on your Cayenne or Bentley just because they aren't going to trust a young dude to drive that kind of money no matter how rich they look/act w/o a check of some sort or they'll just ask you to bring the parents.

    Some key advice when talking up dealers
    Just be serious about the cars, ask serious questions, questions that are difficult for the dealer to answer that compare cars in the same class and category. I've done this many times, not very hard to stump a some dealers and then they'll take you more serious since when you talk about competition in the same class (like with the Mini talk about the GTI/Civic Si/MS3 Speed, the H2 talk about the low end Land Rover/Mercedes M class, with the Mustang talk about the 350z, G35, GTO, ect.) I know some of my comparisons are not in the same class since I'm doing this from the top of my head and not checking, but when you are armed with some info it'll help. Also don't go into the dealer like 1-2hrs before it closes, I found that dealers/salesmen want to be lazy before closing. Nice ones will set up an appointment to drive in a few days. Doing these things will work, I went with my buddy when we were both 17 to drive the new Lexus IS250/350s, the dealer treated us with respect, got a test drive with my friend (which is like a WTF? b/c what dealer allows 2 17 years olds take out a $40,000 car alone?). Being assertive, acting responsible and like you are going to buy the car after you test drive will help.

    Oh yeah, and if it helps, I have a babyface so people think I'm like 3-5 years younger than I am. Stinks sometimes but when I'm 40 heck yea I'll look young. Just be mature.
  17. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    I am going to try this at the Land Rover dealer tomorrow or wednesday when I go to pick up my 2 1cm x 3cm bolts that cost me $2.50 each :rolleyes:. Things that might help: I took the manager of the entire auto group's daughter to the winter dance last year, I kinda know one of the salesmen- I played soccer with his son, I met the owner and his wife at a gas station of the entire auto group, and I just bought parts from them. Haha!

    I'll let you know how it goes.

    Then again Rover dealers are notorious for being snotty.
  18. Chrismcfall Suspended

    Aug 10, 2006
    When we bought our GTI we were treated quite well. We went back to get a MK5 a few months back, and the same dealer came out. His eyes lit up when he saw us by a new GTI. Didnt look too happy when we decided on a Leon FR! Try and have some rival brochures as well, and act like you've been to look at them:)
  19. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    Me and my mate went testing cars, one summer, a few years back. He has quite a few big tattoos and was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. When the reps at dealers spied his Breitling we got the keys to:
    Impreza P1
    911 Carrera
    and an AMG Merc of some sort

    Didn't get keys for:
  20. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    I've never come across a rude car dealer before. People tend to reflect your own attitude right back to you however.

    I would recommend against test driving cars you will not be able to afford in the foreseeable future. It just makes the car you can purchase feel that much crappier. I know it's kind of exciting but it's not good for the ego when you come back to reality.
  21. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    Same AM dealership does Bentley, pretty sure I could gone out in a Conti. GT had I wanted too.

    Never really bothered with the dealer test drives for the sake of it thing, but was lucky enough to work for a really cool (and very rich) car nut who literally had 38 Bentleys amongst loads of other exotic and less exotic cars in his collection. While I worked for him I drove loads of stuff including a £600k Bentley. At 17years old he gave me the keys to his brand new Porsche convertible and encouraged me to experience the kick of the turbo, but of all his collection my favourite to drive* was his Lancia Delta HF Turbo; unbelievable performance and incredible grip and traction.

    *I'm sure his F40 would taken the top spot had I got out in it.
  22. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    Wow you are quite lucky. Most of my experiences have been good, but at a certain dealer *coughbmwcough* I got quite ignored eventhought I was looking at used 3 series and could most definetly afford one. It's most likely because of my younger age, but the Audi dealership (which is owned by the same people) treated me exceptionally well, needless to say I won't be buying a BMW anytime soon, eh the 3 series is a womans car out here anyways.
  23. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2006
    i'm not sure what "expensive" means. i've never test driven a continental GT or a vanquish. but out of all the "luxury" dealerships, lexus treated me the nicest, acura came second, and audi came third. volvo was kinda ghetto but it was chill cos i established common grounds w/ the salesdude. saab gave me attitude until the guy found out what cars i've driven. bmw was the most retarded. during a test drive, the sales had the guts to ask, "are you actually buying TODAY or you just wasting my time?" i abruptly stopped the car in the middle of the road and told the guy, "i beg your pardon? the noise insulation in this car is really crappy. care to say that one more time?" :D most of the time, MB just ignores me if i'm on the lot. but that's cool since i usually just walk right out cos the interiors of their cars (c, clk) are so cheap for what you paying.

    but to be honest, all dealerships gave me attitude to a certain degree (probably except audi) cos i look young. but that's b/c some of those peeps are pretty insecure themselves. when you walk in, just be confident and show the sales that you know about cars. 8 out of 10 times those sales don't know much about their products. and don't feel bad if they give you manure. as a perspective customer, you have the right to test drive the vehicle. as a salesperson, it's his/her job to serve you. it's awesome if the experience is pleasurable, but i'm not there to make friends.

    chk out "Confessions of a Car Salesman" if you really wanna know how a dealership works.
  24. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    You absolutely do not have the right to test drive the vehicle. Test driving is a privilige which the dealership can deny to anyone whenever they feel like it. The dealership does it because the alot of people proably won't buy a car without test driving it and because they feel showing off a cars options, power, etc will offer a way to get someone who wasn't terribly interested in one of their vehicles to drive away in one. Test driving a car is just like trying on clothes at a clothing store, the manager or associates can deny you for just about any reason but they most likely won't in hopes of making a sale.
  25. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    Just keep in mind that you are the reason they have a job. The salesmen want you to drive that car you've always wanted so you will fall in love with it and buy one. Being 16, might be an obstacle unless you go looking with a responsible adult (meaning credit.) It's not like the mall though, these dealerships have insurance so don't worry about "you break it you bought it" stuff.

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