One Born Every Minute

My first week back at work has been horrendous. Back-to-back meetings and things to do have kept me in the office until late every night and totally knackered me out, but I should have written about this last weekend.

I took my car for a service on Saturday at the local Ford dealer and, after checking it in, me and Mrs P went for a wander round the showroom seeing as I was due to trade it in in March. As it happened, it was the launch weekend of the new Focus when one of the circling sales people homed in for the kill.

Was I interested in a new look Focus. Just a bit, I said, wiping the saliva from the corner of my mouth, but I wasn’t planning on doing so for a month or two. Salesperson frowns. Let me just check something. Returns. You do realise that with the new Focus now launched, yours will drop £500 by March. Oh, I said, with a deflated sigh.

But I can’t change mine yet, can I? Of course you can. To cut a long story short (test drives, choices of extras, computer finance projections, form-filling, digging out paperwork at home etc) I drove away from a car service with a new car, metaphorically, not literally.

I’m dead pleased. And so is Mrs P truth be told. For one, she doesn’t have to spend the next few months of me agonising about which new toy to buy. But there were other advantages, like a shed load of Nectar points and — wait for it — his and hers mountain bikes. Not sure if I’m up for it — Mrs P is the fitness freak.

Hopefully I can tell you how good (or bad) the new Focus is next week. However, the point of this post isn’t for me to bang on about my new car, but to offer a few salutory lessons.

During all of the above, I chatted with the sales bloke and learned a few things. Number one I knew already: the ‘as advertised on tv’ second-hand car dealers. I won’t name names for getting sued reasons, but the ones who say that your old clapped out car is a deposit.

The scam is that you have to take their finance which is out of sight outrageous. My nephew fell for this one. What he was paying for a secondhand Punto could have bought a new one.

Next the secondhand dealer who offers really great deals way below what other dealers are offering on the same make and model. They are probably foreign imports, mostly from Ireland I think. Yes they are good value — until you try to trade them in.

At which point the dealer does a car history check. Is any money owed on them? Has it been stolen? That sort of thing. Cars registered in the UK will have a long print-out: from anywhere else, zilch and they won’t touch it with a barge pole.

So take care out there — or is it me that needs a minder when with car salesmen strike?

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Pirate 14th January 2005

    I met my husband when I bought my Ford Ranger 10 4×4 years ago (just about exactly 10 years ago now). I bought it and as soon as I'd bought it he asked me out. Later he asked me to marry him. I thought the after-sales service would be great, so I said, sure.


    Just kidding. He's out of the car biz now. Has been for a long time. I don't know what it's like for salespeople in your part of the world, but in North America they are treated like the lowest scum of the earth. They are considered expendable and few sales managers or dealership owners would bat an eye if losing a salesperson. They just don't give a hoot. The car business is a sleazy business. It is the business office and the service areas that make all the money.

    Congratulations on your Focus. What color is it?

  • Shooting Parrots 14th January 2005

    That's some story!

    I don't know how well or bad car salespeople are treated here in the UK. I suspect those with the large dealerships do okay. It's more how they're viewed by the public — slippery snakes after your cash.

    The one who sold me my car was a nice enough lad, but he continually ignored the 'how much?' question until he figured he'd hooked the sale. I wanted to shake him and say that it really doesn't matter how good the car is — I know my budget and if you go over it, tough. I take a lesser model.

    The colour is magnum grey, by the way, as per the pic now on the post.

  • Mosher 14th January 2005

    Focus is one of the cars on my list of "possibles" for the new company car. I am still tempted, though, to go for an old one rather than a new one. With any luck, they'll be offloading them and I'll get more toys in it. I'm not fussed what shape it is and if it's got an extra 3HP if I can get heated seats, a sunroof and a CD changer for the same cash.

    As for ctap dealers, there's a place on Thornton Road, Bradford who I'd name if I could remember. Bar stewards sold me a Rover 214 (I loved that car) with a damaged head gasket then refused to repair it under warranty. £4k for a car + £1k repairs within 2 months of purchase.

    I've had company cars ever since.


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