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Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #101: Nobody likes enthusiasts | Hagerty Media

Last week, in the context of explaining my discount purchase of a brand-new, jewel-like 1140cc Honda motorcycle for a price below that of my last mountain bike, I noted that automakers should never build a vehicle for the enthusiasts. In retrospect, this statement seems both far too pessimistic and far too certain of itself.
New Driver

I've been on both sides of the desk. As a former salesman and a current enthusiast of both cars and bikes. I remember being at a motorcycle dealer and being told that I "didn't want" a particular model made by a certain orange Austrian manufacturer. Dealer wouldn't even quote me the price and agree to take an order. Ending up going 50 miles away to an accommodating dealer, where the deal was made and continued to use them for service despite the distance.

With cars I go in with a fair price (I was a salesman I'm not ruthless), acceptable colors, and specific list of option that I would pay for. The operating word for options is "that I would pay for" and how I've priced the car. Then it is up to the dealer to make it happen. Last two times the dealer came back with the cars, colors and options I wanted, and a bunch of other options that they ended up throwing in to get the deal done and make their monthly numbers. Win win situation.
Pit Crew

Excellent story and insights. Makes me wonder what Ford was thinking with the first gen Mustang when they initially underestimated demand for the car - was this an enthusiast car that just happened to have wide appeal, or the affordable compact car that happened to cross the lines and generate "enthusiasm."
Intermediate Driver

Definitely the latter.
The first ones most Long Island, NY dealers had were white coupes with red interiors, AM radios, 6 cylinder engines, automatic transmissions, and power steering.
They cost quite a bit more than the $2495 (or something) price plastered all over the newspaper ads, but the combination of low (advertised base) price and sexy good looks brought in the customers, a whole lot of whom turned out to be actual buyers.
But the factory ads seemed to be aimed at single women.
Don’t forget, way back then, “real” men, enthusiasts, drove full- and intermediate-size cars with big V-8s and 4 speed transmissions. It was only later that the muscle Mustangs came along, and changed the world.
Intermediate Driver

Okay, I was with you until you decided to hide the keys after you blocked the car. So might have Presidential potential with the right slogan. And still worse than an enthusiast, I bet you dread asking a customer "What they do for a living?" and the answer you get is "I'm an engineer". lol

Engineers are okay; you make a narrow deal with them and get them out the door in an hour. Not profitable, but fast.

Liberal arts professors are the ones who will kill you.
New Driver

So true. Used to work at a Mercedes Benz and SAAB dealership. One salesman would go on tirades about F#@*ing SAAB buyers and their tweed jackets with leather elbow patches making his head explode.

New Driver

I also like hearing from a sales associate. Since 1970 only bought one new car off the lot only because my Dad wreaked my T-Bird days before I had to return to university. Cash sale & managed to buy what I wanted. Since then I have only bought new cars and all for cash (keep it simple). All my new cars were special ordered so I got them my way. I have never been disappointed with a new car purchase and always willing to wait sometimes 3-months for delivery. Learned from Dad do not test drive or talk trade-in until you have locked in an agreeable new car price. That practice has worked for me decades of new auto purchases.
Working with dealerships via E-mail is the way to go. Last new car purchase was accomplished via email even though the dealership was only 5-minutes from home. Researched the auto on the Net, learned acceptable prices so I could get what I wanted yet the dealership made some profit beyond paperwork processing.
Bottom line is too many consumers decide they want / need a new car now and not willing to wait perhaps months to get exactly what they really want at a fare price. Dealerships load up on easy safe autos to sell. Safe colors and safe options...therefore consumers have less exterior/interior options. Manufactures only see silver, black white selling because dealers only offer safe colors, only safe colors available to the consumer, so consumers only buy safe colors because that is only what they are offered.

Another excellent lesson from "Inside the Dealership(TM)". Thanks!

Jack you never disappoint.

Willow Green was a nice color.
Pit Crew

Guilty as charged! I’ve been on both sides of the transaction, and you’re right. The young guy wanting a sporty car is rarely buying. As a former car salesman, an avid enthusiast, and a track rat, I admit I am a huge pain in the butt with new car purchases. Picky, stick only buyer—yes buyer, I’ll actually buy.

The difference is, I like to build good rapport, and I’ll tell them about my knowledge of the auto business, and work history. Once we have a mutual understanding there’s usually no shenanigans.

Kind of like Liam Needon in Taken. “I’ve acquired a certain set of skills over a very long career. If you sell me the car I want, at the price I want, I will not bad mouth you, I will buy quickly with a good CSI survey.”