Car buying is a crazy process. The salesmen are unpleasant, the negotiation process is at best shady, you can't get the car you want, and a lot of money is involved. Why isn't buying cars more like buying groceries, clothes, or consumer electronics?

This is the third car I've bought and this time I used a broker: Hammer Auto. I was going to buy direct from the dealer but the salesman didn't seem particularly interested in helping me find what I want. So I called the broker, paid them a fee of a few hundred bucks, and let them find me a car and negotiate a price.

I ended up with the car I wanted at a better price than I would have gotten myself, even got a better deal on the trade-in than I hoped for. But the best thing was the convenience. No strong-arm negotiation tactics, no bait and switch, no "let me talk to my manager" crap. There was a bit of weirdness with the broker, but in the end I think it was all an honest mistake. Basically the broker's working for you, not the car company. It's a good thing.

  2005-03-10 01:53 Z