New Car Dealership or Used Car lot, positive or negative?


Asked by Feb 19, 2016 at 12:38 PM about the 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

I've read so many posts on this forum about people getting horrible deals on
purchasing used cars.   Unfortunately,  there's a legion of unscrupulous used
car salesman and dealers at used car lots,  and stay away from "buy here, pay
here" lots,  they frequently charge the most interest and have draconian rules.   
The best place to purchase a "used car"is at a " new car dealership ".    When
people get screwed ,  they either purchased the car as is or from a dealer with a
not so not reputation.    If the dealer won't give you a 6,000 mile warranty or 6
months,  walk away.   Do you agree and what's your experience with purchasing
used cars,  positive or negative?

7 Answers


Try decaf, my friend.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

There's an awfully good reason why "used car" dealers have a terrible reputation. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. Good equipment ain't cheap, and cheap equipment ain't good. New car dealerships have a vested interest in keeping people happy, they need repeat business and have a lot more stake in the local community. I'm not saying all used car dealers are dishonest, there's exceptions , but, by and large, their perceived as a shady business and have been known to just set up a lot and leave overnight.


Au contraire, Mark. You've got it backwards again! Larger new car stores and chains are interested in MONEY, making it incrementally on sales volumes by leveraging floor planning, selling their "unknown condition" trades for pure profit once in awhile before they head to auction, where they're sold "as-is". Even the "been through the shop" bragging usually means a surface prep and safety check,,,maybe an oil change... but sometimes just driving it in the left door and then quickly out the right! Sometimes you'll find new car stores who buy younger pre-owned specimens in the off-lease or finance markets, wherein "prep" can vary widely. Private, individual preowned dealerships (I'm a tiny one, btw), survive longterm STRICTLY on either volume through low prices in churning markets, or by establishing a higher quality of prep and even "certification" (that's me), prophylactically addressing repairs and services ahead of time to provide a superior specimen to market. To wit: I routinely buy preowned Subies off of authorized Dealers' "front lines", with "certification" stickers, etc., and still pour many hundreds of bucks into perfecting them. Some "indies" walk a middle line, repairing as necessary, and perhaps wanting you back later (after warranty!) for "normal" services (this is of course what new car dealerships do, referring to the practice as "double-dipping", wherein profits are compounded long-term. I'm describing a scenario that's prevalent here in the Northeast, where strong consumer laws have significantly cleaned up the landscape over the past 25 years. But a good example is the border between MA and NH (where all sales are "as is"), where shady resellers establish shops on the NH side in order to flip problematic specimens without recourse. But further up in Maine better behavior ensues. Regardless, the real answer, after my 33 years in this biz, is that players, REGARDLESS, of their professional affiliation, vary hugely in the professionalism and ethics employed. Professing that somehow quality level or value is correlated with size is simply completely not true. Like many "mom and pop" shops that have been operating in cozy neighborhoods for many years, I find that my sales have been a full 90% to repeat customers or strong personal it should be. It's been an interesting 1/3 century.... You'll probably exclaim that there are exceptions to any "rule", but again the truth is that size doesn't matter, wherein superstores TEND to be more interested in money management, but indies, especially in strong consumer-protection areas, operate to generate loyalty from pride in their work. Please rethink your position and perhaps be more careful?


Ernie, I know you're a reliable seller of used cars; and have cultivated a thriving repair shop, congrats. You're the exception. And, as for just shuttling cars from the front to the back door and calling them "certified", I imagine that there may be some unscrupulous dealerships out there doing that, anything is possible. As I've told you previously, I purchased my 2010 from an extremely reputable dealership here in Southern California who has been in business since 1966. Do you think for one minute that they would jeopardize their reputation on a certified car? Or, let me put this another way, do you think Subaru would allow them to continue to represent their company if they did NOT follow the rules? I purchased my car in May 2014, and you know what, not one single failure, period. There are countless stories on this forum where people purchased a "used car" and in nearly every case, from a "used car dealer" and found that in a very short time the car failed. In some cases, it failed within ONE WEEK. So, don't tell me that this is normal, because it's NOT. The truth is, used car dealerships have a bad reputation and it's up to them to clean up their own act. They can start with GOOD dealers like yourself and weed out the troublemakers. The place you should be looking are people who are selling used cars in that arena and it will make it easier for you to sell yours, but, I understand you're retiring, correct? Be well, peace.


"...follow the rules..." Are you kidding? Manufacturers have NO authority over their stealerships. You should stop being that naive. Your personal experience is extremely limited, and of course idiosyncratic. I'm just telling you what the REAL landscape least provincially.


Look Ernie, any dealership that's been in business for 50 years must be doing something right! You're very cynical or have been dealing with less than honorable people. I'm not naïve, I'm very careful to make good choices on who I deal with.


Ernie, FYI- California has very strict consumer protection laws; here's something on that for you. Cars classified as certified have to meet certain criteria.

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