There is an old joke that goes something like this:
How do you know when a politician is lying?
His lips are moving.
You might be able to make the case that the joke applies to car salespeople, and while a lot of dealers are fine some continue to try to use lies to sell cars.
I communicate with hundreds of dealers over the course of the year. I will say that the vast majority of the conversations are fine, but every once in a while I get some doozies from sales staff, usually some combination of stupidity and falsehoods.
One of the most memorable conversations happened long before I started shopping for cars professionally. I was in college, and my mom needed a new car. She liked the look of the new Jetta so we went to the local VW dealer to see what kind of lease they could put together for her. I remember he eying up a black over tan Jetta that had an MSRP of about $25,000.
I thought it was strange that this “premium” compact that was fairly well equipped had rear drum brakes. So I asked the sales guy, “Hey how come Volkswagen put rear drums on a $25,000 car?” Had the guy been sharp, he could have answered that the front brakes do most of the braking anyway, so you probably won’t notice any difference. Or he could have said that the service intervals on drum brakes are longer than discs.”
Instead, he said, “Yeah, well, that’s a new thing that all the nicer brands are doing.”
This VW store also sold Audi along with Chrysler and Jeep. A few cars down from the Jetta my mom wanted, there was a new A6 with a $60,000 sticker price. I looked at the Audi and offered, “Huh, newest thing, so how come the Audis still have discs in the rear?” To which the truth-challenged sales guy responds, “Oh they haven’t caught up yet.”
Perhaps you can chalk that one up to the dealer game being very different in the early 2000s, but recently I was helping a client with a new Subaru. He went to his local dealer to do a test drive and got this line: “Subarus are great family cars because they are a top safety pick...”
Had the sentence ended there he would have been fine, but he just couldn’t help himself, adding: “...Subaru is the only brand that makes cars that are top safety picks.” Oh, buddy, you should have quit while you were ahead.
What is the worst lie or blatant falsehood you have heard from a dealership?