Recently, the lease on my trusty Passat ran out. I tried hard to get another VW, but it didn’t pan out. There’s no 2011 Passat (new for 2012), couldn’t get to the payment I wanted on a Jetta Sportwagen, and I wasn’t very excited by the new Jetta sedan (not up to snuff if you’re a previous VW owner.) I was pretty surprised that they didn’t try to fight a little harder for a long time v-dub fan. Oh well, too bad.
After agonizing and getting burned out on the whole shopping and buying process, I decided to check out a Mazda3. After looking at my driving habits after having a kid, I realized that I hardly drive; basically just the 6 miles and back to work during the week. We mostly take the Mrs’ wheels on the weekends. So, I really didn’t need anything fancy.
So, the advertised deal was sign and drive, $199 for a Mazda 3i sport. Before testing driving, I made the sales guy a work sheet that had the Mazda 3 sedan and wagon, and 2 different down payments and said that’s what I want. He came back and the payments were quite a bit different than advertised.
I asked why so different and he said that the Mazda 3 in the add is very basic model and the quote was for a car costing more. The only option that I asked for automatic transmission. The best they could do was $1000 down, $229/ mo. I said let me drive it and I’ll think about it. It was pretty basic, didn’t even have cruise control.
While driving, I remembered that in the same ad, they were offering the Mazda6 for $239, sign and drive. Wait a second, why I would I pay for that kinda money for a 3, when the 6 ends up costing less? I asked the salesman, and in a heartbeat he agreed that the 6 made more sense. Like he’d say anything different.
So, next he warned me that the offer in the paper was for a single car (there’s a VIN right in the ad) and that the car may already be gone (likely since it was the last day of the month) but he’d try to get me a similar deal on a different car. So, we went through the lot and found one similar specs to the advertised model and a sticker price that was the same.
I drove it, and it was definitely a step up from the 3. It wasn’t anything fancy, but comfortable enough.
Getting back to business, I was expecting that I’d be somewhere in the neighborhood of the advertised price, but again, not even close. They wanted $1000 down to get to advertised monthly. I probably should have just walked at that point. But, being a glutton for punishment and pretty much sick of the car buying process I took it.
Now, on to the part that’s probably false advertising. When I saw the Mazda ad that got in me, I wasn’t really watching the similar ads from the previous couple of weeks. After getting my car, I looked a little more closely at the ads the 3 weeks after. The ad and offer are pretty much the same (the layout changed a bit), and the same VIN number is listed for the Mazda6. Yeah, the same VIN that probably sold months ago and doesn’t anyone any good now.
I was gonna call up my dealer and complain, but I doubt it’d do any good. They’re excuse is that they had the car when they ordered the ad and because of print lead time there’s a lot of lag. Oh, yeah? You don’t tell people that you don’t have the car when they first come in, do ya? Also, this practice seems to be pretty much industry standard. Many of the other ads in the newspaper list a VIN number for similar reasons.
Ok, rant complete. Making sure to add this to the file for next time, where I’ll walk out as soon as they say that can’t give me their advertised deal.