Loss/Leader cars and why you want one

In 1998 I purchased a Nissan Altima for $5,190 off sticker price without haggling one bit because it was a Loss/Leader car. If you're in the market for a brand new car then you should know about the system that dealerships use to market and sell their inventory. Here's the scenario: Your dealership sales manager steps out and looks at his lot of 50 brand new cars of the same model. The colors and trim levels are different but they're the same car. This is a metaphorical scenario here but essentially the sale manager points at 3-5 cars that are identical except for color. These will be the loss/leader cars. The dealership will run an advertisement in your local newspaper promoting this car. If you check they're typically at the beginning of the weekend or the begining of the week depending on where you live. This is where that all important fine print comes in. The price for the ad is usually dramatically lower than the cost of the actual car. The price will be listed in huge colorful print with the fine print reading "3 at this price" with the actual stock numbers listed in the ad. There is no haggling. That's not the price for that make and model. It's the price for those 3 specific cars. There's a subtle but huge difference. The factory and the dealership are willing to sell these 3-5 cars at an actual loss because the ad that generates interest will result in selling 20-25 cars at higher prices. The savvy shopper who knows what they want can pounce on this scenario. You have to be quick though. In my case I was buying a 1998 Nissan Altima GXE with power everything. The sticker on this car was $18678. The ad that was run in my local paper was for 5 Altimas for $13488. I got to the dealership 30 minutes after it opened and I only had 3 left to choose from. You might not get the hottest colors and you definitely won't have alternative choices but if you've decided on the car you want you can save a lot of money by just knowing how this works. If you miss a loss/leader sale chances are there will be another one the next week. I knew about the Altima loss/leader because I had missed it the week before and lucked out when the same ad ran the following Monday.

1 comment:

  1. What a tease! What is the loss/leader car????