Buying a new car - tricks of the trade: Test drive
We ask MotorTorque’s Adam Leys, our resident automotive expert, to uncover the tricks employed by car dealers to extract your hard-earned.
Last time we revealed the work that goes into a dealership’s forecourt, cars and layout even before you arrive – and how what you see at a dealership aren’t there by accident, but a conscious effort to make you feel welcome, relaxed and more importantly, comfortable enough to part with your cash.
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However the dealer has got a few more tricks to get you into a car – and a contract – once you get there.
The test drive
A dealer will be keen to get you into a car. That’s because even the cheapest cars on the market are clean, shiny and will - more than likely - be in a better condition than your part exchange model.
Dealers exaggerate the condition of their cars in comparison to your part exchange model by using a number of tricks.
New cars are obviously clean, tidy and well polished – they’re all simple touches that can make a car seem much nicer and more desirable than if it were dirty.
But as well as polishes, shines and waxes across the exterior, dealers will also use a silicone spray inside the car for that unbeatable new car smell.
Take a seat
After your senses have been attacked, you’ll notice that you’ve ended up behind the wheel of the car.
A good salesman will kneel down next to the car once you’re inside, putting themselves on eye-level with you, close enough to create a relaxed atmosphere without looming overhead.
Once a dealer is at eye-level, they’ll reel off a list of pre-determined questions to make you feel comfortable and like you’re in charge.
They’re designed to elicit positive replies first and foremost, because the majority of buyers aren’t rude or confident enough to criticise - but also because they give you little room to say no.
You’ll get asked whether the seat’s in the right place; whether the steering wheel feels too high or low; how the pedals feel under your feet. They seem innocuous but they’re designed to create positive responses.
On the road
Once you’ve set you’ll be asked how the car feels, how you feel in the car and the salesman will show you a number of neat features such as gadgetry or practical elements like cup holders.
Most motorists won’t know what to look for with regard to how a car handles, so the salesman will fill you in. Guess what ¬- it handles really well!
You’ll stop at a nearby window and asked if you can “see yourself in the car". Guess what, you look great behind the wheel – and, yes, you can see yourself in the car!
Chances are you’ll be asked to park the test car next to your old car. Doesn’t look as good as this one does it? It’s no coincidence you’ve been asked to park next to your clapped-out old banger.
Tomorrow our industry expert gives you an insight into your part exchange model and how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
Image courtesy of dhilowitz via creative commons licence.