I live in Houston and since Memorial Day I bought a car and leased a car locally. As others have said, some dealerships think they are selling spaceships rather than cars and you can’t be afraid of walking out. However, I found that when you come off as a real buyer they will eventually work with you. For example, I test drove a SQ5 at one of the Sonic locations and afterwards they gave me a lease quote. I questioned the numbers and asked about residual and money factor and when the salesman came back, he actually gave me a higher price because he said they made a mistake when initially pricing. I stood up and told the salesman that he should tell his manager to stop insulting their customers by providing “discounted”sales prices that is actually higher than advertised for that particular car on their website and then walked out.
The next day, another manager called me back, said he would sell me the car at 11 percent off msrp, base money factor, and then ran numbers for me with msd’s. As most people know on this site, Audi’s don’t lease well so the payment was still high so I asked him about sales tax credits. He immediately offered me credits for 5 of the 6.25 percent. He even through I’m Audicare for no charge. After sending me the numbers in writing, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on the lease due to the payment (even with msd’s the MF was high) so I called him and said if he would sell me the car for the same drive off amount as my loaded adj cap cost on the lease I would buy the car. He made the obvious observation that he couldn’t do it because of the tax credit that won’t apply to a purchase. End of the day, he ended up discounting the car further to cover most the sales tax and I drove the dealership, wrote a check for the car and was out of there in an hour.
I also leased a qx60 from Sewell. My wife test drove one at another dealership and later that day I texted the salesman about pricing. Of course, they started fucking with me with crazy pricing. I told him as much and he texted me back his managers “final”price. I then sent an internet inquiry to Sewell and west Houston and west Houston emailed me back an initial offer better than the original dealership. Sewell called me and we talked for 20 minutes and had a good conversation it seemed we were in the ball park. Finally, I got frustrated because the pricing components we were talking were not equating to the payment he was giving me. I thanked him and hung up. He texted me 20 minutes later and wanted to know what it would take. I texted back the number. Another 20 minutes later he replied with a Better offer. I said no. 5 minutes later they agreed. Unfortunately, no infinity sales tax credits in may, but I ended up with a $51k msrp qx60 with only first payment and msd due at signing and 38 more payments at 375 per month (65 of which is sales tax since no credits). Of course 2 days later the original dealership called back wanted to deal more.
My bottom line in Houston is that yes, it is more difficult to get a deal due to the sales tax law, but just like anywhere else, if you are patient, not desperate, professional and not afraid to walk you can get a satisafactory deal.