Why does it take so long to buy a new car?

Why Does Car Buying Take So Long

Buying a brand new car from the dealership is never a short process.  Don’t count on the paperwork taking a short period of time and don’t make plans for immediately after you walk through the doors.  Get comfortable, because you’re going to be there for quite a while.  But why is this?  What happens between choosing the car and walking out the door that makes the process take so long, and is there any way to speed it up?  Is it all part of the sales pitch to wear us down?

Short answer, no.  It isn’t an effort to wear us down and just make us sign any slip of paper that they put in front of us out of sheer frustration.  There is a combination of several factors that go into the car buying process that we aren’t privy to, and each one of these processes requires time.  While we may see one or two people during the entire process, there are several people behind the scenes making our exit in a new vehicle, possible.  However, there are also instances where the process takes so long because you’re being raked across the coals.  It’s up to you to make the difference.

First of all, there is a chance that the dealership is beleaguering the process in order to make more money on the deal.  If you’re a skilled haggler, and managed to get their bottom line down further than they expected to go, they’re not making a lot of money on your deal.  Not to mention, a salesperson doesn’t make a great deal of commission on the car itself.  It’s typically the after-market products that lead to high commission paychecks.  So, if your process is taking an inordinately long amount of time to complete your sale, there may be something sinister going on behind the scenes.

In this case, they’re looking to tear down your patience, and hope that you’ll agree to whatever to get out of there.  If you sit there for long enough, doubting that you’re going to get the car, and there are people whispering and passing paperwork in front of you, you get antsy.  At this point, you’re probably hungry, tired from work, or ready to continue with your weekend ritual, and you’re sick of being there.  This is the best opportunity to offer you additional services, because you just want to leave.  To combat this phenomenon, go into the dealership well-armed in advance.  Eat before you go, wear comfortable clothing, and get your errands done beforehand.  Know what you will and won’t pay for, and be prepared to say no.

The aforementioned situation is a rarity, however, as many dealerships try to remain as reputable as possible.  Sometimes you’re sitting because of, well, you.  It doesn’t matter what measure of preparation and research when into the process for you, if you’re not pre-approved or honest about your credit history, there can be a number of complications that will extend the sales process.  Sure, you’ve picked your car ahead of time, but did you make sure that the Discover card you got in college and didn’t pay off isn’t negatively impacting your credit score?

Okay, so your score on two reports is average, or even high, but if these aren’t the reports your dealership is using, they might as well be terrible.  To rid yourself of the potential for this situation, check your credit score across the board.  Check all three of the major reports and call ahead to see which report they’re going to use.  Apply for financing beforehand and see what you qualify for, as this will shorten the process of the F&I person finagling to get you out the door in the car you want.

Another reason for the extended process is the inexperience of the salesperson, or the dealership itself, or both.  By ensuring that you shop for a car from a battle-tested dealership with thousands of sales under its belt, you’re automatically making sure that you’re eliminating the potential for an inexperienced dealership.  Finding a reputable salesperson in a particular dealership and sticking with that member of the sales staff is the best way to streamline the process.  If you’re unsure of what salesperson has the most experience, call the dealership and ask.  Schedule an appointment with that person, even if it means having to wait.  Have your bottom line price in mind though, because the more experience he is, the best he will be at the sales process.

The process of buying a car doesn’t have to be painful.  There are efforts you can make to streamline the process, and there are some small safeguards to ensure that you’re not wasting your time or that of the dealership.  Know what you can afford, what your credit score is, and what are must-haves in your vehicle before you even walk out the door.  Sure, part of the process is deciding which vehicle you want, but other parts can be so much more time consuming.   Keep things simple, and make the process work for you.

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