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Old 08-31-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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MiSaturn is on a distinguished road
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 1,251

2002 SL
1991 SL2
Default Re: Former Saturn Owner Struck by "Unresponsive" and "Inattentive" Treatment from Toy

The Japanese brand dealers have known they've had the upper hand for years. I, too tried to buy a Toyota (once) and was blown away not only their unwillingness to deal, but even sell me a vehicle at full MSRP.

In the late 70's/early 80's, after two well orchestrated oil "shortages", the dealers could (and did) dictate what they would sell their vehicles for. If you could find a dealer who would sell you a car at sticker price, you had to brace yourself for the not-so-hidden margin enhancement/gouging in the "dealer pack" you had to swallow.

A $3.99 can of Scotch Guard sprayed on the seats ran $75-100, "Lifetime" wax (that you had to re-apply every year) was $250, and undercoating was somewhere around $99-150 (even though manufacturers would tell you it would invalidate your warranty). And yes, you also had to take a lousy vinyl pinstripe for $45, if you wanted the Toyauto of your dreams.

And since American car manufacturers have been asleep for the past 30 years, nothing much has changed for the Japanese car dealers. I sat in on my sister buying a new Honda Civic, which was bought through her Costco membership. No chance for gouging, right?

They allowed her to purchase the car at $200 over "cost" - although nobody would show her their dealers invoice, she got nitrogen filled tires ($60) and mandatory "optional" mud flaps for $60. And since it was a Costco sourced deal, I think they worked twice as hard to force all the other BS - warranty, extended service contract, wax, etc. At least she didn't have to get it pinstriped.

The more things change, the more they stay exactly the same. On a different note, I would have loved to see the recent cash for clunker program apply to American (OK, North American) made vehicles only. I realize it would have limited the number of more fuel efficient vehicles one could purchase, at least the financial impact would have been concentrated at home vs. benefiting countries that didn't need our help.


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