Quantcast

How hard can it be to buy a new car?

Ron240

Well-known Member
Recently I have been very taken by the new Mercedes CLA.....I think it is a beautiful and very classy looking 4 door coupe both inside and out.
I done my research and originally decided on the CLA 35 in Premium trim. There are 3 trim levels - entry level, Premium and Premium Plus, but you need to choose at least Premium to get the 10.25" instrument display to match the 10.25" media display. However I found that this model breached the threshold for the rip off higher rate of VED at first renewal by only £50. Between the model being announced and going on sale there has been a Mercedes price increase and it now breaches the threshold by £130......but on a point of principle I cannot accept such a huge increase in VED over the standard rate for the sake of only £130.

I then decided on a CLA 250 in top spec Premium Plus trim. This model has a 224 bhp engine and is extremely well equipped at a price £4k less than the CLA 35 in lower Premium trim(almost £7k less in equivalent Premium Plus trim).
I got my 5 quotes from Carwow and was pleased to see Mercedes Glasgow as one of them. Although not the cheapest it was still a healthy 8.7% discount and only 60 miles from my home.
I decided to drop in while in the area attending a social event with my girlfriend....we were in her car leaving mine tucked up in its bed at home. :D
I spoke to the person who provided the Carwow quote and he searched dealer stock for my chosen car, but there was none...only 220 and 200 models(190 bhp and 163bhp respectively). Now my last 2 cars have been 300bhp+ so I would rather not go that low. He said in that case it would need to a factory order so the Carwow quote could not be honoured. I knew this was not right because Carwow quotes are for brand new factory ordered vehicles, but I played along and asked him for a price to change including my trade in. He was unwilling to value my car without seeing it, not even on a best price basis which could be adjusted later upon inspection if necessary. Having owned my present car from new 16 months ago and covered less than 6000 miles it is totally immaculate so I knew there was nothing it could be marked down for. His manager confirmed they would not be willing to offer any price at all without seeing my car, so I realised I was wasting my time and left.

Fast forward a week to yesterday and I visited Arnold Clark Mercedes in Dundee. They were having some kind of event and all salesmen were busy so I was speaking to a man who introduced himself as the manager. I told him I was wanting to buy a CLA 250, to which he replied "I've never seen of them". He had to look up the price list to confirm it existed, then searched stock to see if they had one, which they didn't.
He was quite dismissive to my choice of the 250 model saying that nobody wants them and they do not sell so he was not willing to stock them. If I wanted one it would need to be a factory order and that is likely to be around March 2020 because he said Mercedes will not build cars until they have enough orders for that model. Now bearing in mind the car I want has only the engine being different to say the 220 model, I found this hard to get my head round.
I mentioned that the 250 model is available with Mercedes 4matic AWD in Europe but not in the UK due to it being too close to the entry level CLA 35 but at a significantly cheaper price(a fact stated by the motoring press), but he said No it is because people in the UK do not care about 4matic AWD.
He went on to say that post Brexit they are expecting a 10% rise in car prices, to which I replied if that does happen it will have a significant impact on car buying in the UK, but he said No it will make no difference at all and people will continue to buy cars like they always have. I said maybe not on fleet sales but private buyers will be put off.....again he said it will make no difference.
He also derided my personal choice of buying cars with cash rather than PCP.
I found the man quite arrogant to be honest, and if he couldn't sell me a car there and then he wasn't interested.

I have one more Mercedes dealer group to try in Edinburgh, but based on my experience so far I have low expectations. :(
 

Jules Winfield

Well-known Member
I am shocked to find that Arnold Clark were bad. Shocked, I tell you.

I think it's worth looking further away from home. FWIW, I used Mercedes Stafford to buy a C-Class a few years back, also via Carwow and they were great. I appreciate that's probably a bit far away, but not all MB dealers are hopeless.
 

Dodgy_Geezer

Well-known Member
You dodged a bullet by not dealing with Arnold Clark.

Would you consider a nearly new or pre-reg if it ticked most of the boxes and had the engine you want?
 

Ron240

Well-known Member
Would you consider a nearly new or pre-reg if it ticked most of the boxes and had the engine you want?
Yes I would certainly consider it, but while there are quite a few 220 and 200 models in this category there doesn't seem to be any 250.
To be honest I don't even see the point of the 220 model because both it and the 250 are 2 litre but the power is 190 and 224bhp respectively, so if one wants to make the jump from the 1.3 litre 163bhp engine it should be straight to the 2.0 litre 224bhp.
This is my opinion but I'm sure others including Mercedes will disagree. :D
 
Last edited:

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Interesting. Dealers only want to sell cars they have in stock these days and are not interested in anything that requires a bit of effort. The modular build approach means that on most lines, any model in any colour and any spec can be produced individually. The delay is availability of parts - and it could be as simple as the badge on the back! I did some work on parts sequencing for a manufacturer and they could build different models on the same line - let along different engines and trims.

Looking at the CLA, so far as I can see, the difference in acceleration between the 190 & 224BHP motors is pretty minimal, but the fuel consumption is worse. I can see why it wouldn't be a popular model in that case - and fleet users usually don't get to choose much over 200BHP.

The dealer will make virtually nothing on a cash sale. Their margin these days tends to be on finance, extras and servicing, so you are not starting from a particularly strong bargaining position. It's also quite likely that the manufacturer will also be making loss on low volume models. Ford only make proper money on the Fiesta and Focus in their current range. Everything else is marginal at best, with the profits coming from Ford Credit, parts and servicing.

Once the world goes electric, expect the cost of cars to increase, as dealers will not be making anything like the margin on servicing and will need to change their whole business model...
 

deantown

Distinguished Member
Have you tried “drive the deal”. They put you in touch with main dealers once you have put your spec in. Obviously if they do the model you want.
I have bought a Volvo and an Audi (for wife) through dtd and all was good with both deals and saved money.
 

Ron240

Well-known Member
Have you tried “drive the deal”. They put you in touch with main dealers once you have put your spec in.
Yes I have and the quote was by far the cheapest which I believe is usually the case.
I have never followed up on it because the dealer they put me in touch with will undoubtedly be hundreds of miles away and I will need to sell my own car in advance.
Yes DTD will save me money.....but for me there is a lot of potential hassle involved.
 

Ron240

Well-known Member
Looking at the CLA, so far as I can see, the difference in acceleration between the 190 & 224BHP motors is pretty minimal, but the fuel consumption is worse. I can see why it wouldn't be a popular model in that case - and fleet users usually don't get to choose much over 200BHP.

The dealer will make virtually nothing on a cash sale. Their margin these days tends to be on finance, extras and servicing, so you are not starting from a particularly strong bargaining position.
220 v 250 0-62mph is 7.0 sec compared with 6.3 seconds, but the 250 has 50Nm more torque so will probably feel a bit better in everyday driving. According to what I can see in the official brochure/price list there is no quoted difference in fuel consumption between the 2 models.

Yes you are correct regarding dealer margins. I think its been like this for a while, but I have never bought a car on PCP and have no desire to because the way I see it once you go down the PCP route you are effectively locking yourself into this cycle.
Rightly or wrongly I have always preferred to own my own car....and yes I realise this makes me part of a dying breed. :(
 
When buying our GLC43 (now sold) they only had a GLC220 to test drive. I hated it and turned around, I felt like Fred Flinstone and wanted to push it along. Ordered the GLC43 unseen it being the only petrol in the range. Was on 9/9 two years ago, car was factory order build to order with my spec list and was handed over to me on 31/10 two years ago.

I know the 200 220 are popular, but I find them underpowered and not pleasant. I also had a 250d from the service manager once, didn't like it either. Felt like it was struggling.

Only Mercedes diesel I like is the 350d...
 

bransoj

Member
The last couple of times we've bought new cars has been a horrible process both with Vauxhall dealers. Went to our local one trying to get a new Corsa for my wife about 5 years ago and she wanted a sunroof, it was like we'd asked for them to make it out of gold! They were just more fussed about shifting some already built stock. We then got into some bizarre discussion about trade in and something to do with tax benefits that they were giving us a lower trade in against something on the car which my wife, a very well trained accountant, told him was utter rubbish. We had this coming and going of the salesman having to speak to some mystery manager in the back every time we tried to do anything.

In the end during one of these disappearing tricks we walked out completely fed up. Went to a different dealer in a town close by and bought an Astra in the end a few months later with a much better experience. Based on this when we looked to replace our failing Insignia Estate we went to that dealer and it was then bleeding awful again as they seemed to push PCP when we didnt want that so again ended up leaving it. Went to the local dealer and thought we were getting somewhere as we got close on monthly payments for what we wanted only for it all of a sudden the mystery manager arrived to tell us it turned out all the discussion was based on 0% interest and they'd got it wrong and couldnt do it on the Insignia GS Estate. This sent it rocketing up so after they'd tried to tell me a Mokka has the same boot as an Insignia Estate and a failed attempt to sell us an Astra estate as they didnt have any we could look at and expected us to buy without seeing one we eventually left saying we'd look at other brands. As we were leaving the salesman stopped us driving out and asked if he could call us the following day after discussing it with a different manager as none of the salemen liked the one we'd just encountered as he doesnt help them much. Following day we get a call to say they can do it for something more or less what we got to previously so we took it.

All in all whilst we got what we wanted in the end they were painful experiences with loads of messing about and silly stuff. Saleman that, it seemed, couldnt do anything without constantly nipping off to discuss with folk in back offices etc.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom