Advertised vs Actual Price

Question for all you pros out there. I’ll sometimes find a pretty hefty discounted car on a dealer website that looks like a great deal. However, more often than not when I reach out to that dealer, they have stipulations that the price is for sale only, not for lease and includes all available rebates.
At the same time, I see some of these unicorn deals on here who found a car in this exact manner. Is there a best way to approach the dealers?

I got a unicorn jaguar deal 3 years ago which is about to be up so need to start looking again and want to be more efficient. Last time I called every dealership within the surrounding states to get it.

Part of being a knowledgeable consumer is understanding that dealer advertised specials are rarely what they appear to be, are written with a certain level of ambiguity, and always present the best possible numbers. The only thing you should be paying any attention to in a dealer ad, and even then I rarely would waste the time to do so, is the pre-incentive discount. You’re going to have to analyze the available data to pull out what you want, and that means doing your homework on incentives, etc.

Personally, I don’t even bother with dealer advertisements. With only the rarest exception, they’re never good deals and not worth your time.

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There is usually fine print on the bottom of the website that states that the advertised prices includes a several rebates that are purchase only and/or non-stackable.

Rather than waste time on dealer websites use a search tool that lets you look at all inventory in your area. Better yet, some members of the LH community put together some really great tools to find cars from certain brands (I know BMW and maybe Volvo).

Forget the ads. Find out what is a realistic discount and just approach the dealer with that.

I start with that first. I usually have an idea of what unicorn deals are out there before reaching out. Just figured that if these dealers are desperate to get rid of these particular cars (often exec demos), those would give me the best chance of matching these deals I see.

So just finding inventory won’t tell me which dealerships even consider the kind of discounts I’m looking for. I try to find the larger dealerships as I noticed they tend to care more about quantity of sales , especially at the end of the month or quarter.

It really all depends. I have gotten great discounts from large volume dealers and small local dealers that need to get rid of an aging unit on their lot.

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From my limited experience find out what the unicorn pricing is or what price range is considered a great deal and then email a bunch of dealers and do it that way

Ditto on this, I’ve had it go both ways. The dumpy dealer has lower overhead and offers a fantastic deal, or the volume might need a few more deals for the month to hit a certain bonus. Shop everyone

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Agreed. Got my first Volvo from a huge volume dealer, second with a total sales staff of 5.

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All of this is very helpful. When I got my current unicorn deal 3 years ago, I found that it was mostly the mega dealerships who were willing to work with the numbers I was throwing out… This will change my game plan and I’ll include the smaller dealers too.
Right now, since I’m not in a hurry, I think I might wait until end of March since its Quarter end and see if I can find someone desperate to hit their numbers. Unless of course there are some insane deals in February.

Both of my unicorns were from a dealer advertising a giant discount.

What I usually did was call up the dealer, and ask to speak to a sales guy, and ask if the advertised price included all incentives or not. 90% of the time they do, but that 10% that it doesn’t is when it’s game on.

WAY easier to spend 3-4 minutes on the phone and mark one off your list than waiting for an email, getting 3 useless emails, and then dozens of followups and having to unsubscribe.


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