If you’ve ever driven past an auto dealership, you’ve probably seen the host of inflatables that adorn the lot. The standard tube men with wiggling arms, gorillas, and even dinosaurs have all been used in an attempt to attract customers to purchase a car at the dealership. However, most consumers need a little more incentive to buy cars than an amusing blow-up sign.
While some believe that the demand for cars will go up in the future, many dealerships are struggling to sell cars in a market where ridesharing and public transportation is more practical. One dealership in Utah is offering what they consider to be a sweet deal on a used Ford Focus RS. The car costs $25,900 and a free vape pen is included with purchase. A vape store is conveniently located right next to the dealership.
It’s a reasonable price for a car with an MSRP of over $40k, and the freebie is a nice perk for consumers who vape. Out of all the gimmicks that dealerships use to sell cars, this is one of the more creative ones that we’ve seen. Here are some promotions that you may be more familiar with.
“For today only”
Most car dealerships want you to walk out of the lot with a car on the same day of your visit. They may try to say that the low price tag on a car is only good for that day, putting a lot of pressure on the customer to get the best deal. In reality, you’re likely to get the car at the same price if you leave and return a few days later.
Low monthly payments
While you may see advertisements for as low as $250 a month, it’s not always the best deal. Salespeople often convince customers to go over their budget by urging them to buy more expensive vehicles with lower monthly payments. By focusing on selling the monthly payment instead of the sticker price, dealerships often end up with more profit from interest rates.
Even after you’ve selected your vehicle, the salesperson often isn’t ready to call it a day. They may try to sell you extended warranties, tire packages, improved stereo systems, and other upgrades.
These last-minute add-ons often have prices that are highly marked up, but the consumer wouldn’t know that without researching beforehand.
Bait and switch
Car dealerships often run ads for one or two popular vehicles at low prices with the hopes of attracting a lot of customers. However, you may be informed after arriving at the lot that the car has already been sold, or that you need exceptional credit to qualify for purchasing it. They can then persuade you to buy another car at a higher price that’s “just as good.”
Car sellers are masters at moving vehicles off the lot, and some of their tactics are more unsavory than others. However, such as the case with the free vape pen, not all promotions are too good to be true. A Pontiac dealership in the ’60s ran an ad for a new car that could be purchased with 1,395 bananas. While this was originally intended as a joke, they ended up honoring the promotion when a woman showed up with 25 bananas as a “down payment”.
The bottom line is that most gimmicks used to sell cars should not be trusted. Research the numbers on your own before going into the dealership. You won’t lose a lot of money if your dealership forgets to honor the free vape pen in its advertisement, but you could end up losing hundreds of dollars paying for upcharges and extended loan terms.