Talking Trucks Tuesday: Going, Going, Gone

Chevy Dealership Lenz II

By G.R. Whale

I've heard some say younger people are less interested in cars and trucks than ever before, while others provide a contrary outlook. But regardless of how many are or aren't buying, we're interested in how you think they are going to buy one.

Will they do all their research online with no actual driving impressions at all, just a windshield view shown on an 8-inch screen and earbuds with no lower frequency range? Will they compare seats for 60 seconds and exterior design in the flattering light of an auto show to choose a ride? Will they test-drive more than one vehicle or just the one they think they want?

All of those have been done (we've seen it), and we think none are the right way.

If you're a repeat buyer happy with your past experiences, your dealer may have your loyalty as much as any other brand. But how will new customers — accustomed to tapping a few buttons and having a box appear at their door in a couple of days — feel about dealerships and the tedious process many still compare to dental work?

When a friend, relative or colleague asks you for help in buying a truck, what do you suggest they do? graphic by Paul Dolan; manufacturer image



If interest died off it would be a positive.
Get all the posers out of trucks and then the price will come back down to reality.

The dealer makes it for me. Since I no longer buy new vehicles and go for the low mileage one owner under warranty types, finding a good used dealer that sells all brands is huge. I found one already and have bought both my F250 there and my wife camaro, that dealer, has a no haggle sales pitch, what the sticker says is what you pay nothing more or less. When wife drove the camaro, we said we'll take it, and signed the paper work. It was very easy. Back when I bought the number 1 selling FOrd there, I looked at at least 6 other used lots, and they couldnt come close. So the dealer is key for the millennials who dont like to waste time and just want to buy something.

@ Nitro: I totally agree; one can do all the research they want, but in the end, it's the dealer that makes the difference, not the manufacturer. The problem with this is, there are not many good dealers.

The problem with this is, there are not many good dealers.


Beans! What about dentists, or carpenters or masons, or bartenders or ranchers? Is everybody corrupt in your mind?

Car dealers are no more or less honest than anybody else.

@papajim: How do conclude everybody is corrupt in my mind?

Don't spend too much. My last truck, a 4×4 expedition, cost $9000, lasted the family 10 years and never had a major issue even when we traded it in. By in large, vehicles are a horrible investment and should be looked at in a purpose driven fashion. If you can a repairable fix it up and drive it until the wheels fall off.

How do conclude everybody is corrupt in my mind?


I thought that your comment about dealers said it all. The car dealers I know personally are really hard-working people who risk their personal capital every 90 days, and they hustle.

You seem to think differently.


Expeditions are among my favorites. My sister and her family had a 98 Exp. that ran great till it got smashed in a bad wreck. Life in the suburbs is hard on big heavy cars and trucks because there's so much stop/go driving.

I've love to find a really clean low miles Expedition---one of those older first gen Expeditions with the Ford four speed auto and the 5.4 two valve motor. A real lead sled but built to beat the devil.

@ papajim
That is what we had. We live way up north, out in the woods and it was awesome for the wife in the snow and 5 miles of gravel.
Our hand was forced due to the need for more room but tbe kids will always miss it.

Before anything, I suggest all dealers to train better their sales team about their products; I've encountered to often cases where I knew more about their own products which is not exactly the right order....pathetic.

"When a friend, relative or colleague asks you for help in buying a truck, what do you suggest they do?"

Gotta go with what "Nitro" said.

That is especially true if you live WAY up in the North country (like Hayward, WI), and you all you have is Chevy, Ford, and Ram to choose from, --- within +/- 100 miles. Then the good character and reputation of the dealer is EVERYTHING, since we all know that all 3 manufacturers make essentially good, basic trucks (if we are being honest deep down inside...)


"Car dealers are no more or less honest than anybody else."

Posted by: papajim | Apr 4, 2017 2:12:40 PM

Most car dealers I've experienced don't know enough about what they're selling and too much about how to sell it. May work on morons, but is a hard sell to people like myself.


I do what I get paid to do. If selling is the gig, I sell. What's that got to do with being honorable or trustworthy? That is the question

Dealer for cars, dealer for drugs.... Same!

I go to big auctions with car dealers. Shill bidding, and all sorts of scams go on long before you see the car on the lot. 90% have a major issue or are Lemmon status, flood car, etc. You won't know till you need to open a wire harness. When you got a bunch of green wires everywhere you will know why you got such a great deal. Cars and trucks are amazing. I see things come into my shop and it blows me away that they still drive. Rotors busted, spindles with no bearing. Just amazing that they drive into the lot. So unless you pull your car into a shop put it on a lift and look it over you don't know what your getting. Car fax only works if the claims are pushed through. Lots of these cars are bought cash private sale and fixed by the dealers shop. I did work for every dealer in my town. Every car was insane junk with hidden issues. I had to really earn my pay with those and now I don't take them.finding a good guy with a dealers licence is different from finding a car dealer. A good guy will take you to an auction a few times to see what's out there, let you get an idea of how things work. Otherwise if they aren't willing. They are about to take your eyes nose and teeth.

On dealers: From my experience in my smaller suburban town, there happen to be two ford dealerships at relatively opposite ends of the same short highway, and when my mom and I went to purchase the last vehicle we bought, it was amazing to see the difference in how the dealers acted towards us. The big dealer was cold, had no idea about our wants or needs, and was just trying to sell something, as opposed to the smaller dealer, asked if we had any pricing plans or things that could help us bring the price down on a new car, let us walk around the showroom, go into the service bays, hang out and drive whatever we wanted, in some cases because I just said, "wow that looks cool" and it was overall a more friendly experience, and this guy was much more open and personable about it, and when he realized y'know I knew more about it then he did, only slightly backed off trying to "sell the specs" if you will. So to make a long story short I've seen your dealer experience is either hit or miss, and the closer competition is it seems the smaller dealerships would and do more to make you feel comfortable to get the sale, and be more open and honest

I have had good and bad experiences with a number of dealers. One of the biggest issues is getting good service out of the Service Department. It can be hard for dealers to maintain qualified mechanics and service managers. Also with the bigger dealers meeting the sales quotas is more important than service which I do understand it is important to maintain a certain level of volume in order to get a larger allocation of the more desirable vehicles and to get more factory incentives. I don't think most dealers are bad but like any profession a few bad apples can spoil the barrel.

On enthusiasm: I feel it depends on where you are and who you ask. I'm a 19 year old marine and that's all we seem to talk about with each other are our cars and trucks, but just a year ago when I was in high school I'd try to strike up a conversation about anything auto and maybe I'd get someone or two people maybe who'd be interested, again, hit or miss, y'know? Overall though I'd say in this younger generation, my generation, the passion and the love just isn't there for cars and trucks like my buddies and I have. It sucks to me that people don't care, I'm rather passionate and I'm gonna learn my stuff about a truck before I sign my name and pay thousands of dollars for one and sit in it for years, I'll never go sight-unseen with that kind of cash in play, as I personally feel all should

@Jeff S

If you're going to talk about this it might be helpful to actually know something about it first.

Dealer service departments are the life blood of the dealership.

Do you want to know how to easily tell if a dealer is a good place to shop? Ask how long the Service Manager has been working there.

And ask how long the GM has been working there. Places with lots of turnover in these positions are good places to avoid!

Great service departments are everything! Do your homework when shopping. Be a loyal customer. You'll be treated like royalty.

@papa jim--I know that the Service Department are the profit centers but it is hard to keep experienced mechanics. You seem to think you are the only one who has knowledge of dealers. I have a nephew that has worked his way from a service adviser to sales. As for loyalty I had in the past been loyal to a certain Chevy dealer I bought from and experienced their service department going from outstanding to sub par and that was without a change in ownership and more emphasis on the dealer increasing new sales volume. There is a Ford dealership near me that has uses an answering machine for their parts and service department with dismal reputation and another Ford dealership near me that has been family owned for 60 years with outstanding service. I do know something about dealerships and their service departments. I have found an independent mechanic near me that is reasonable and doesn't do unnecessary repairs. For the most part my vehicles have required few major repairs and my service is usually routine maintenance. On my S-10 I have had a new clutch, new brakes, alternator replaced, starter replaced, new shocks, new coolant, 1 tuneup, and few if anything else done but that is expected when you own a vehicle for over 18 years. The other 2 vehicles have only required oil changes and new tires only.

I "test" dealers by asking stupid questions just see what their reaction is to see if they do answer me or just give a generic answer "I don't know"
The stars have to line up just right for me to buy a new truck and I admit hanging out and reading PUTC gets me out to shop for a new truck, PUTC and reading some of the posts gets me excited and gets me thinking about a new truck.

I first ask what they are looking for. If they want a small to midsized car or crossover I recommend they avoid the big 3 minus 1. If they want a full size SUV I recommend they drive the Ford, GMC, and Chevy offerings. If they want a pretend little truck I ask why? Usually they answer something about "too big" and I show them the difference between what they get for their money and they usually don't buy a pretend truck but some do. For half tons Ford is obviously the best, followed by Fiat, and GMC and Chevy. The Toy and Nis offerings are for those that have been burned in the past. For 3/4 / 1 tons usually in diesel its much tighter and recommend they try them all although I prefer Ford and Fiats offerings here. Ford for the truck, Fiat for the engine they so wisely don't make but buy. It all really just depends on what someone is looking for. Nobody makes all the best everything all the time. One has to stay in touch and keep their eyes open. Blind loyalty is just that... BLIND.

@Jeff S

You never asked me why the GM and Service Mgr positions are so critical. ????

It's simple really. If the dealership is family-run, or even if owned by a big corporation, the turnover in GM and Svc Mgr jobs would point to lousy executive leadership in the outfit. If the top guys in the company suck, the whole dealership will suffer big turnover, but the GMs and Svc Mgrs will be the most abused folks in the place, and they'll head for the tall timber if the owners are not top people.

Let me know what you think Jeff.

Makes sense papajim.

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