Quest For Wheels


Today we are going to Muse about leasing a car.  If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.

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Auto Lease

 Quest for Wheels

We just leased a new  SUV.  I’ll tell you about the process.

Jeanette was driving a Lexus 330 SE.  She bought it six years ago but never liked it.  It was low to the ground and did not have all the safety features like back-up cameras, blind spot warning, and GPS that new cars have.  I think being low to the ground was one of the biggest issues.  She couldn’t see well in traffic.

She made up her mind that she was going to get a new set of wheels.

We went first to the Buick dealership.  We asked to test drive it.  There were none up front.  The salesman would have to go to the back lot and get us one.  He left.  Came back about ten minutes later.  Didn’t have the keys.  He would have to get the keys.  He left again.  Came back a few minutes later.  No gas in the car.  We left.

Our next stop was the Lexus dealership.  She saw the new small SUV that was introduced a couple of months ago.  Very nice car.  We drove it around the block and were impressed.

Back to the salesman’s office we went and after a short discussion we were given a set of cost estimates based on the length of the lease, the mileage to be driven per year and the amount we put would put down.  The unknown was what the dealership would give on her Lexus.  It was a 2006 but absolutely clean and with less than 35,000 miles.

We were surprised at the costs.  Immediately the salesman thought he could get it for fifteen dollars a month less, no twenty-five less, or actually about forty less.  Hmmm!  That did not sit well with me.  That was nearly $2000.  It made us think,  “How much slack is there in this deal?”

We could not go anywhere at the time.  We had not driven the Lexus and so they could not appraise it.  We thanked the salesman and said we would likely be back.

Next we went to Mercedes.  Car was too big and the salesman was not very engaging.

We drove to a Ford dealership.  We actually liked the SUV there but not enough to go forward.

Lincoln was our next stop.  This time we had the Lexus with us. There were three salesman sitting around a desk chatting when we arrived.  No one else in the building.  One of the salesmen came to help us.  He let us take a test drive.  Didn’t explain the features available on the car.  He couldn’t make a firm proposal because the appraiser was not there and neither was the finance officer.  He would get back to us.

In the meantime, the salesman from Lexus called several times leaving messages, encouraging us to bring our Lexus in to be appraised.  He was certain he could get us more for it because of its low mileage.  Hurry and bring it in!

By this time we were pretty tired of the process.  We decided it would be between the Lincoln and the Lexus, but if it were the Lincoln it would be through a different dealership than the one we had visited.

I googled Lincoln and filled out an e-mail questionnaire about our trade in.  Shortly after we had a phone call from a salesman at the dealership.  He seemed enthusiastic and up beat.  He met us at the door when we arrived and did the normal things a salesman does,  i.e., get you coffee, show you vehicles, take you on a test drive, etc.  He was positive and very knowledgeable.

We got down to negotiating and we nearly came to a decision.  However, we said we wanted to see the Lexus one more time before committing.  Lexus had not had a chance to appraise our car and after seeing so many cars we were not certain we remembered all features of the Lexus.

Our salesman in a last effort to get our committment wrote a figure on the paper, made an “X” with a line next to it and asked, “If I can get it for this will you sign this and we will put you in a car today?”

I had to laugh.  That is a classic sales technique.  Signing the piece of paper has no legal merit, but it does make the buyer feel committed.

As an aside, years ago I was a life insurance salesman in Arizona.  Annually my company had a sales contest in July which they called the July Open.  Everyone was juiced up to sell the most policies in a short time.  One of the best salesmen I have ever known was a guy called “Nap Lawrence”.  When he turned on to you, you felt like you were the only person in the world.  Besides selling insurance Nap was a cotton farmer.  During the sales contest one day he was standing by his car next to his field near the town of Eloy when he saw a worker he knew driving toward him.  Nap flagged him down and proceeded to pitch him life insurance.  When the fellow agreed to purchase a small policy Nap discovered he did not have any applications with him.  Without hesitation he pulled out an Arizona map and put an “X” on it.  “Sign Here”, he said.

“Sign the map?”

” Yes, right here next to Eloy.  I’ll bring you some other papers tomorrow.”

Anyway, back to our car transaction.  Jeanette did not sign.  She asked, “Don’t you think I should look at the Lexus one more time?”  The salesman said, “No”.

I said, “Of course not.  He knows if you leave now the chance of you coming back is very small.  Lexus will probably make the sale.”

But we left anyway for the Lexus dealership.  We called and said we were on our way and bringing our car to be appraised.  The salesman was very pleased.

Once the car had been examined, he came back with new figures.  We were stunned.  They were substantially more expensive than the figures we had first been presented and they were substantially higher than the Lincoln.  The amount offered for our car was not more as he had suggested it might be.  It was less.  And it was forty percent less than the Lincoln dealership was offering.

They got greedy.  They thought it was a done deal.  We were coming back after having seen other vehicles.  We owned a Lexus.  That all indicated a sale.  So they went for the most they could get.

We got the Lincoln.



More to come.

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About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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