At first it all went well. They didn't do a switcheroo on the price and made that clear. The dealer was pleasant, they seemed to be very stright forward and friendly.
They they told us the car we came to see was on a "boat" somewhere. There was a mistake. We're still looking for it, no wait, we sold it weeks ago to enterprise and no one recorded it. We do have this simliar one, but it has the $500 "popular equpiment package" (which is two pieces of plastic and a 6-CD changer.)
Ok, well, I'm slightly unhappy with this, so I want my stupid test drive so we can get something out of driving 40 minutes to the dealer, so I test drive this other one. We can't go on the highway because they're "not insured for highway speeds." I hit a curb on the test drive (I guess I will feel those extra 5 inches.)
So then we get back down to numbers. We ask them what they'll give us for the trade in. They say $1000 and I whip out the kbb page. They say "if we used those numbers, we'd be out of business, they're national..." "No they aren't." "well it's a big region and they don't take into acount [insert some lame reason here.] They've also upped the price by $500 because we're paying cash. We came in expecting $17000 - $2500, now it's $18000 - $1000. We move to stand up to leave. (EDIT: greg points out they didn't up the price for paying cash, that was the PEP price increase.
They bring over their "dealing man." So he starts with the whole classic, "so what can we do to have you buy the car today." "give us more for the trade in." "well what about $100 more." I make some completely insulted and astounded noise and move to leave. He asks again what we want, greg says "$1000 more on the trade in." He walks off to the desk, then walks outside to do another once over of the Saturn. At this point, not realizing he was looking at the saturn, I say "darn, they still have our key," and 'nice' saleman says "oh, I'll go get it for you. Oh, my boss has it, he's looking at your car again, that's a good sign." He comes in, crumpling his little number sheet, looking rather disgusted. I think we might have had one more round of "do we have a deal at this?" "no," but I can't really remember. Finally he comes back with a number that's actually competing with the one other quote we'd received and I knew they were the only dealer in the area to have close to what we wanted. So we said deal and started the paperwork. After taxes, the silly MA doc fee and registration fees, we paid $16667 all told.
I cried when I signed over the saturn title. It's been a good car to me, and I failed it, not it failing me.
We went though the paper work, having to say no to exentended warrenties and such, the had to wait a long time for the title transfer to go though.
We left the house this morning about 12:20, we got home about 5.
I don't think I got an earthshatteringly good deal, but I think I got a reasonable deal. Now I just have to get used to it's new size and automatic shift. I've not had the nerve to play with the manual shift mode yet. There is a whole bunch of adjusting and futzing and just learning about my car I need to do. There will be a photo shoot sometime, so you can see why I bought a mazda5.
Was it a good experience? Not really. Was it as bad as I feared? not at all. Do I think they honestly "lost" that car? Yes.