BUYING CARS

Saleswomen offer insider information
By Alison Rentschler

Do you want to buy a new car, but you’re not sure how to start the process? Or do you have an idea of your “dream car,” but you don’t think you can afford it? Do you know if you will qualify for a car loan? Not so fast. The salespeople at dealerships can help you and explain the process to you. And maybe you’ll end up with that dream car.  

LEASING VS. BUYING
You may be interested in leasing a car and getting a new car every few years. Or you may want to buy a car. When asked about whether she recommends leasing or buying, Sheri Hoffman, a salesperson at Zumbrota Ford, explains, “It depends on the situation. Every financial situation is different. There are benefits to both.” Hoffman goes on to explain that leasing is a privilege, and it’s harder to enter into a lease than a purchase.

Whitney Brandrup, a salesperson at Clements Auto, says, “I would suggest either a lease or purchase to a customer. My recommendation would be based upon a customer’s driving habits and needs. Both are great options for customers in different situations.”

BUYING NEW VS. USED
Some people may want a new car, but others may be considering a used car for reasons such as cost. When customers are considering whether to buy a new car or used car, Brandrup says, “Whether they buy a new or used vehicle, it’s most important that the vehicle meets their needs and budget.” 

Hoffman notes, “I take the time to educate them and explain the opportunities. For example, many people think they can’t afford a new car. We talk about the total cost and the out-of-pocket costs for new and used cars. We want to be very real with our customers.”

Hoffman explains, “I’m not trying to sell a car. I’m trying to make a friend and be a consultant to help them, educate them and give solutions to meet their goals. I listen as well as I can for things that are important to them.” 

When talking to customers about whether to buy a used car, Hoffman says, “It depends on financing. Zumbrota Ford does a great job. We’re willing to do a one-year warranty. We talk about cost of ownership, the risks and if it’s a good fit for them.”

Brandrup says, “At the beginning of the sales process, we identify each customer’s driving needs, what is important and not so important in a new or used vehicle. From there, we can help find a car that best fits their needs and budget if the customer hasn’t already picked one out.” 

Brandrup also notes, “Nearly all of our pre-owned vehicles are Clements Clear Value certified pre-owned. This gives you peace of mind.” She explains this includes a six-month or 6,000-mile powertrain warranty and other benefits, such as a 30-day exchange. 

NO NEGOTIATION POLICY AND PRICING
Brandrup explains, “Clements is committed to providing outstanding value and service to each customer, every day. We found that our customers wanted an easier way to purchase a vehicle. We listened and developed the Clements Clear Value pricing policy. This is a negotiation-free pricing policy we apply to all of our vehicles. Price is based on demand, availability and how long the vehicle has been in our inventory. We know our Clear Value price is highly competitive because we constantly shop actual sales prices of vehicles in the area, as well as online third-party resources like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.”

Hoffman says, “We’re a unique, market-rate dealership. We consider the age and condition of used vehicles, and prices fluctuate every day. We use guidelines to price the vehicle and use tools for benchmarks. We use NADA Black Book and Kelley Blue Book. We have competitive pricing.”

Alison Rentschler is a writer and editor living in Rochester, Minn., with her two dogs and a cat.