Memorial Day weekend is a great time to buy a car; there are several factory incentives and many dealerships are offering serious discounts. If you are in the market to get a new ride, you can probably score a great deal, but be on the look out for sales that don't seem quite right. I heard this ad on the radio on the way home about a local dealer having a "quality control" vehicle sale. I immediately went to their website to get more details. Here is what I find strange, they go out of their way to spell out the following:
"You're the 1st owner"
"Driven less than 50 miles"
"Full factory warranty"
Any new 2014 model should have those qualities anyway. The fine print does not mention anything about what determines a "quality control" vehicle. So I called the dealership and inquired about the sale.
Me- "Hi...yes, I heard your ad on the radio about a "quality control" vehicle sale. What does that mean?"
Salesperson- "These are vehicles that are being given to us by the manufacturer for a special sale. Were you interested in something specific?"
Me- "Sure I would like an Impala, do any of those qualify?
Salesperson- "You see we don't have all of them in yet, so I don't have any Impalas right now. But I am sure we will have some tomorrow."
Me- "What makes them a 'quality control' car?"
Salesperson- "Well they have a few miles on them, but less than 50. Maybe they were test driven, or loaner cars, or Chevy used them for testing or something."
Me- "So they are demos."
Salesperson- "No not really, they just have a few miles on them."
Me- "So how are they different than any other new 2014?"
Salesperson- "Well you won't get the full warranty, but you will be the first owner. They have never been titled."
Me- "But your ad says 'full factory warranty'
Salesperson- "You will get the full factory warranty that will cover everything it just starts at whatever miles are on the car. So if the car has 50 miles on it instead of getting a 50k warranty you will get a 49,950 miles of coverage."
Me- "So what kind of discounts are we talking?"
Salesperson- "Well each deal is VIN specific to a certain vehicle. How about I get your name and number and I can call you tomorrow when we get some Impalas."
Me- "I'd rather not, maybe I'll call you tomorrow."
So on the surface it doesn't sound too bad, but something seems fishy to me. The salesperson spins this like it is coming from Chevy/GM yet there is no mention of any program on Chevrolet's website, nor are any other Chevy dealers in the area running a similar promotion. Also, they don't have the cars on their lot. Usually any dealer that is trying to blow-out inventory for the end-of-month/holiday sale is going to discount what they already have, not bring in extra vehicles. Furthermore, I have never heard of a deal being VIN specific, if a dealer is running a special on Impala LTs than all Impala LTs qualify.
There may very well be some excellent deals to be had, but given all the recalls and stop-sales issued having a "quality control" Memorial day sell-a-thon isn't exactly confidence inspiring. So if you are car-shopping this weekend ask questions, get the details, read the fine print, and if it seems too good to be true...it probably is.
I'm Tom and I run AutomatchConsulting.com; I also write articles about car buying. If you have any questions about the car-buying process feel free to drop me a line in the comments or find me on Twitter @AutomatchTom and Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting