This is pretty similar to a guest post we did on GRS like a decade ago. One big difference is that it is very hard to find email addresses on dealership sites now. Still, if you live near a city or two, even a couple of hours away, I strongly recommend using this method after you’ve decided on a car.
First: I made a list of all the Honda dealerships in a 2.5 hour radius. I then found the contact information page for each one.
Here’s what we emailed:
We are in the market for a 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Base Model, any trim. We are not willing to pay extra for add-ons.
What is your walkaway price?
Usually this would start with a generic email that didn’t autopopulate asking if we were sure that we wanted a [blank]. Then we’d be invited for a test drive. Next we’d get an email asking for a phone number or to come in for a test drive. We’d reply that we weren’t interested in a test drive and preferred to do business via email. And then we’d reiterate that we were looking for a walkaway price. Enough iterations of this and someone would finally send a walkaway price. Those started coming in: $36,443.82; $36,771.90; $36,086; $36,059.63; $35,573.50… and a bunch in the 37K range. Once we got the $35,573.50, we mailed back everyone who had given us a quote and asked if they could beat it. Several dealerships offered $35,500, which we then emailed back to people as they sent in new $37K offers. At that point everyone left converged on “we can beat $35,500 if you come in right now and talk to us in person”, at which point I went to the local dealer and said that if they could match or beat $35,500 then we’d buy from them. After some confusion in which they thought they’d given us a walkaway price when in fact they had not, DH went to the local dealer and bought the car.
Sadly they only valued our trade-in at $1000, which was lower than the $1300 minimum that KBB suggested our car (in “fair” condition) was worth as a trade-in (it’s worth quite a bit more according to KBB as a purchase). So DH didn’t trade in. I’m not looking forward to selling on Cragislist, but DH says he’ll take care of it. I suggested he add any amount he gets over 1K to his allowance.