Is the dealer blowing smoke?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by puma1552, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    I'm looking at a very clean '98 Mustang GT at a dealer in a neighboring state. 78k miles, loaded, exceptionally clean. Bone stock, 2-owner car. Looks well cared for.

    I called the dealer on it (a Ford dealer) and asked if it needed anything and they said no of course; he did run through what the car had gotten when it went through the inspection when the last owner traded it in--new brakes, fuel filter, some other small maintenance stuff. He said otherwise everything checked out fine.

    He mentioned that if it did need anything, they definitely would've done it because apparently the service/parts department is a separate entity (maybe contracted...?) from the dealership entity itself, so he said anytime a car needs something the service department bills the dealership directly for it, and the dealer absorbs the cost. Basically what he was trying to show me is that they aren't trying to slide a car through that needs stuff, that if it needed stuff, the parts department had every reason to go to town with repairs/maintenance since they'd be profiting from it.

    My question is, is this normal practice, to have the service department completely separate from the very dealership? I've never heard of this.
  2. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Most of the dealerships near me have their service departments in house. I'd be concerned that an independent service department—rather than going all out—would care less as the customer is never going to come back to them freaking out about something that broke.
  3. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Like I've heard of body work usually (if not always) being farmed out to other shops through contracts; a friend of my mom's is a body shop owner and although a local dealer has a body shop in house, the dealer themselves rarely uses it because it's cheaper to farm it out to my mom's friend/other third parties, so I know it happens with body work, I just always assumed the Ford certified mechanics at the Ford dealership were all working together for the Ford dealership...?
  4. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    You're in Japan and getting a Stang GT?!?!?!

    Wanna trade a Cobra for a R34 Skyline??? Pleeze? Pretty pleeze?
  5. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
  6. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2009
    I think he forgot to change his status. From the original post it sounds more like it's happening in USA. Plus, I doubt they make rhd Mustangs. And you're right, if a Skyline is available why would anyone in their right mind buy a Mustang or anything American? I wouldn't buy an American car even in USA.
  7. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Yes, they're blowing smoke up your ass. Dealers wouldn't be profitable without service departments. They do internal billing but that's immaterial. Take it to a mechanic to check it out for you, especially at that mileage.

    And don't put too much stock into a Carfax report. They only get info from certain states DMVs and from maybe a third of dealers and repair facilities. Lots of things happen to cars that never make a Carfax report.
  8. Doc750 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2010
    the only mustang worth looking at would be either the 2011 stang or a classic cobra mustang.
  9. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Independent mechanic inspection, they shouldn't care if they are telling the truth.
  10. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    A lot of American cars have been well, something I would not buy. With that said, the new 2011 5.0 Mustang is really, really nice. After many, many years of being far from the top, the new 5.0 really takes the cake and it is not that expensive. IIRC they do have imported Mustangs in Japan...we always want what we can't have...why else would anyone drop $100,000-150,000 into a R34 GT-R V-Spec to get it US legal? For some reason, it is still something I would considering doing despite a ridiculous price, as it's a really neat car and in many ways, an American Unicorn. With that said, if you're in the $150k market, the new 911 Turbo S is hard to say no to given its capability...but I am a little biased as I have been a huge 911 Turbo fan since I was 14. :)
  11. puma1552, Feb 1, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011

    puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Thanks guys. The dealer, who pressured me about buying the car about 6 times in twelve hours, has all but disappeared after I told him I don't like pressure, but had asked for undercarriage pics.

    No undercarriage pics, no sale. I have no doubts that it's clean as can be, but still--no pics, no sale. Not going to buy a 13 year old car in a northern state without seeing the underside. I'm pretty sure the car has been driven little/sparingly in the winter, but still I'd need to see pics.

    Yes it's happening in America. I'm still in Japan but I'm coming home in a few months so we will be needing a car.

    After three years of driving tin cans here, I want something with some power that just goes, but that also isn't too expensive because I want to buy a house. I want to get back behind the wheel of a torquey RWD V8 with a deep rumble--I've been away too long. A '94-'98 GT/Cobra can be had in clean shape with low miles for under $10k now--considerably under $10k. A Mustang seems to be the best car that fits my criteria--quick/torquey, RWD, V8, and can be had with low mileage and in great shape for a good price. Also cheap to work on/fix if it breaks, unlike the two BMWs I had. BMWs are great but fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me--I won't touch one without a warranty anymore. That and they just don't have the V8 feel/sound/torque/feel I'm looking for. This GT I was looking at was too high priced for the mileage but it was basically flawless so I was just asking some questions to the dealer. Had I been looking last week, I could've got an immaculate '98 with under 40k miles for just over $8k asking price, but it sold. This one I was looking at, they were asking $10k for it but I got them down to $8800 but they wouldn't go lower, so I wasn't going to buy it because it's just too high for the mileage compared to all the other cars going for sale for less with lower mileage that are equally clean. Truthfully I was surprised that Cobras weren't really any more expensive, and that's a substantially faster car; there are a couple in the 30k-50k mile bracket on autotrader that look flawless and original as can be going for about $9k. So this GT I was looking at was overpriced, but I was looking to see what they could do on it. Guess they don't want to sell it though; tough time of year to sell a Mustang in a northern state.

    We do have LHD cars here, Japan allows both; freeway tolls have a lane for LHD cars. There are Mustangs and Camaros etc., here, but they cost an arm and a leg to bring in.

    As for the Skyline, they are just basic transportation here. No idea why everyone creams themselves so badly over them--they haven't aged well and look extremely dated IMO and they are a dime a dozen here. They are nothing really head-turning. But as has been mentioned, we always want what we can't have so there you go. Truthfully I find them really ugly, all R32/R33/R34 cars. Don't ask me why, but the back is just hideous, and the front just looks like any other 15+ year old Japanese car--dated. But to each their own.

    But anyway it seems the dealer no longer wants to sell the car, or has something to hide with the undercarriage, so I'm moving on. Thanks guys:)
  12. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Northern state and a RWD car as a primary driver? That would be a deal breaker for me, even with snow tires.
  13. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    If you are considering getting into modding, want to go faaaaassssst and would go a bit higher, one of the best platforms in the history of fast cars is the 03/04 Cobra, which has been deemed 'The Terminator' for a very good reason. That engine uses more forged parts than the Supra 2JZ tt. 600-700WHP is actually quite cheap to get to and even on pump gas, 550-600 is actually quite streetable. Stock they are greatly underrated, and you can literally gain gobs of horsepower by basic mods. Guys are rollin around 10 second 'street' Terminators. Once you get above 650/700 WHP, you need to drop a lot more money into it, but some built engines on these things are four digits of horsepower.

    You can get around with RWD and real snow tires (Blizzaks, M3 Winter Sports, Nokians, etc) can't get around very well, but you can limp a bit. Snow tires are literally a whole different world compared to radials...I've always had a set of summer and winter wheels/tyres for my cars made to go vroom vroom. I developed a love for the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 and would auto-X the hell out of them and IMO they are almost as good as R compound rubber...with that said if they see below 25 degrees F or something like that, they can get ruined so they aren't year round :p...the last pair I had were mounted on Volks, so I didn't want to drive those near salt anyway.
  14. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    I actually prefer RWD in the winter, actually until I moved to Japan all I ever had was RWD. Truthfully I do think RWD is safer in the winter; you can steer the car with the throttle--it starts to fishtail, let off the gas and it corrects itself. Once you lose it in a FWD car you're basically up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I like to keep my steering and power wheels separate to give me more control. Most people prefer FWD for winter, but I prefer RWD year-round with a good set of M+S rated tires (I don't even swap for dedicated snow tires, just gotta be careful). Of course you do have to be careful, if you see an uphill red light you gotta start creeping slowly towards it from far away so that it turns green before you get there because once you stop on a hill in snow with RWD, that's it. With RWD you just have to be more careful, and stay away from everyone, and drive a bit slower. The car I'm getting will stay bone stock, as I already have a Camaro for a summer toy. I know it's a bit odd to have a Camaro as a summer toy and then subject a Mustang to snow/salt, but meh...I just want one for a few years and the price is right. I'll just have to take it to the coin power wash once a week and blast the undercarriage to keep her clean.

    No doubt, but out of my budget. Never did warm up to the '99-'04 body style either though. Awesome cars, just too much like a "car" to me, and less like a performance car. The Cobras are awesome though, no denying that.

    In any regards the guy got back to me today, said yesterday was his day off but he will get those pictures to me tomorrow and a total out-the-door price delivered to my house. I've got another car or two I'm going to call about tonight too.
  15. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Off to bed now, hoping to wake up to pics.

    On the plus side I qualified for a mere 3.99% interest rate through my credit union. That's the lowest currently offered even for new cars...I guess they no longer factor the car's age in--they go purely based on credit score so yay for perfect credit.
  16. Rooskibar03, Feb 2, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011

    Rooskibar03 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    State of Denial
    Coming in late to the thread but seeing as how I've worked in the business for 8 years I can answer.

    Yes this is a very common practice. Parts, Service and Sales all act as seperate businesses under one roof. Of course at the end of the day the owner makes his money from all of them.

    Its not uncommon for the parts and service departments to charge difference prices to the sales department for services. Some dealers charge sales more, others give them a break as the sales department is a pretty good customer to have.

    In reality the sales department is hostage to whatever the other two want. After all how does a sales manager at Ford dealer "A" justify to the owner he send work out to dealer "B" cause the rate was better?

    But on the car you're looking at. I would still have a 3rd party inspection. Typically on an older car like that a dealer is going to perform a safety inspection on the car. It will address those items only and perhaps an oil change. Don't expect everything to be in total working order and if it is, then be prepared to pay more for the car since they did work you would have done anyway.

    Good luck, buying a new car should be fun.
  17. wpotere Guest

    Oct 7, 2010
    Get the car up on a rack and check the underside. Do a leak down check on the engine for health. If the dealer really wants to sell the car, they won't have a problem with you taking it to an independant mech for a check up...

    Where are you located? I know a few great places across the USA of trustworthy mechs...

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