By Kevin Miller
My sister in law, Jill, recently needed to replace her worn-out, decade-old Mazda. She wanted a small, fuel efficient five door hatchback. Knowing I’m a “car guy” (and being fairly un-interested in cars herself), she asked me to help her figure out what cars should be on her shopping list and to go shopping with her. I did some research for her, which led to us test-driving the Honda Fit, Scion xD, and Nissan Versa. She had also wanted to drive the Suzuki SX4 Crossover, but the fact that Suzuki’s nearest dealer was 40 minutes away resulted in the Suzuki being crossed off of the list. After driving and deliberating, she decided on a Scion xD with automatic transmission.
We had originally been planning on a month-end shopping trip in an attempt to get a better deal, but Scion’s Pure Price scheme made doing so a non-issue. While we had test-driven the xD at a suburban Toyota/Scion dealership, we didn’t end up returning there because the sales reps were high-pressure and condescending, and the whole place had a dishonest feel to it. We ended up finding the Nautical Blue Metallic xD she wanted at a downtown Seattle Toyota/Scion store (which is known for its no-commission sales force) using the store’s online inventory tool. We tried on a Saturday morning to make an appointment at the dealership for that afternoon, but only got to leave voicemail messages, and also got no response from an emailed request. So we simply showed up at the store to buy the car.
Fortunately, we were greeted promptly and introduced to the dealership’s Scion specialist, a knowledgeable and friendly woman who confirmed that the blue xD was in inventory and led us out for a test drive to confirm that Jill still wanted to buy the xD. There was never any pressure, and none of the people at the store had the slimy aura we had experienced at the first Toyota dealership.
Because of Scion’s Pure Price policy, we went in essentially knowing how much the transaction would cost: $16120 for the car, plus around 9 percent state sales tax and a couple hundred dollars for licensing fees. Jill had saved up money for the car, so there was no financing to worry about. On the typically-dreaded trip to the F&I office, I figured we were in for a sign-and-drive, in-and-out experience. While we were in the F&I office longer than I had anticipated, it was actually not a bad thing. Continue Reading →