The Fleet Manager car dealer scam is fairly common in modern dealerships that do not have a fleet department on their premises.
I really like this one. There are so many individuals and web sites claiming they know the secret "two words" that make car dealers squirm when you say them, and these same individuals are selling this information to you for a huge pofit.
Here are the two words: FLEET MANAGER.
These so called experts tell you to call or go to a dealer and ask to speak with the fleet manager and you're guaranteed to get a great deal.
I'm sorry folks, but this is absolutely false. First, not all dealerships have a fleet manager or even a fleet department. If you called one of my dealerships, or many like it, and ask for the fleet manager. You would be directed straight to one of the sales managers only acting as a fleet manager.
What is a Fleet Manager?
There are a few dealerships that still have a full time fleet department. The fleet department of a dealership may consist of only a single fleet manager, or may also include a couple of salespeople depending on the volume of vehicles sold.
Some car dealers have combined their fleet and Internet departments together. These departments deal with high volume, low profit sales with highly educated car buyers.
These salespeople are in charge of selling cars and trucks in bulk to businesses, rental agencies, construction companies, utility companies, etc. When selling cars to these types of companies, the fleet managers have the power to discount and sell vehicles at rock bottom, discounted prices.
A huge misconception about fleet manager's is they're all on a salary, therefore making money when they sell a car is not important to them. This is NOT TRUE! Some are salaried employees, but some also get a percentage of the car dealer holdback they don't discount to the customer.
There are also several dealerships out there that their fleet manager is just another commission based salesperson. You just never know whom you are going to deal with.
The Truth About Fleet Manager Books for Sale
I've seen some books on the web sell for as much as $99. These books claim to have the secret ingredient to buying a car. Sad thing is, people pay for this information every day. Even when they can get more information from web sites like this one for free, and its coming from a professional in the car business.
Asking for a "FLEET Manager" could get you a good deal when buying a vehicle from a car dealership. The hard part is finding a dealership that actually still has a fleet department and allow you to be able to meet with him.
With more car buyers than ever using the Internet to comparison shop for cars. Most dealerships have phased out their fleet departments completely, some have combined them with their Internet departments. Calling local dealerships in your area to find a fleet manager may open you up to becoming a victim of the fleet manager scam.
If you don't know what FLEET stands for in the car business let me share it with you:
Full List Each and Every Time!
Instead of wasting time to hunt down a dealership that actually has a fleet department, protect yourself and avoid this scam by using online companies such as CarClearanceDeals, Edmunds and CarsDirect to receive free new car quotes, and don't rely on a "fleet manager." You can use the quotes you receive to compare to what the fleet manager quotes you also.
Read more detail on how to get car dealers to bid for your business.
How The Fleet Manager Scam Works
Buying a car through the dealerships fleet manager sounds like a pretty good deal. The problem is finding a car dealership that really has a fleet department with one of these individuals in it.
Car dealers that do not have a fleet department like my own, do not want to miss out on these sales opportunities. We have a plan when someone calls or emails inquiring about a fleet manager. These inquiries are normally forwarded to the new car manager, he will then "pose" as the fleet manager. We even had extra business cards printed with the fleet manager title, for such an occasion.
The fleet manager scam works like this; you call a car dealership and ask to speak to the fleet manager. The receptionist notifies the new car manager there's a phone call with a customer wanting to speak with the "fleet manager." The sales manager picks up the phone "posing" as the fleet manager and sets an appointment with you.
You arrive at the dealership and ask for him by name, he then takes you to an office to negotiate a deal on the car you want to buy. The sales manager will discount the car, but did you get the lowest price? Who knows? Remember what FLEET means in the car dealership world?
Full List Each and Every Time!
I promise you he will attempt to hold some kind of profit on the car deal. This is where your free price quotes will come in handy. Do not offer them up front, wait to hear what his best price is before referring to your quotes.
How to Avoid The Fleet Manager Scam
- Take advantage of competitive pricing by using recommended online companies such as CarClearanceDeals, Edmunds and CarsDirect to make sure a fleet manager is quoting you a fair price.
- Don't worry about seeking out a fleet manager at a car dealership. He's not going to do any better than what you can do on your own, and you won't end up in the middle of a fleet manager scam.
- Figure how much a dealer paid for a new car from the manufacturer to determine how much profit they're attempting to make off your transaction.
- Doing your own research and negotiations online through a dealer's Internet department will benefit you more with better discounts and greater rewards when buying your next new car.
- Take advantage of the best car buying websites to research and compare vehicles of interest to you. Read our tips on how to research new vehicles online.
Benefits of Buying from a Fleet Manager
There are some benefits to buying just a single car from the fleet department, and you may still get the same benefits that come with buying cars in bulk. This is what a lot of the books for sale on the Internet base their information on.
In my personal opinion you should still do your own research to make sure you're getting a good deal, even if you buy from a fleet manager.
Benefits of buying a car from the fleet manager:
- No hassles or haggling with the retail sales department. Not dealing with front line car salesmen saves you time and stress from back and forth negotiating.
- When dealing with a fleet manager you're normally able to deal with only him during the entire process of buying a car. This saves you time and money not having to worry about those, "I have to check with my manager" episodes.
- The fleet manager deals in higher volume and sometimes can offer you a better price.
- Fleet managers are professional salespeople and more knowledgeable about the product they're selling. They are also more willing to locate a vehicle in a different color or with different options from a competing dealer for you.
- The fleet department of a car dealership has less overhead than the retail sales side. They often benefit from special manufacturer incentives and kickbacks exclusive to the fleet department.
Why Doesn't Everyone Buy From the Fleet Department?
The easy answer, "not all car dealerships have fleet departments." The ones that do will allow an individual to buy a single car, but do not advertise the department to the general car buying public. Some dealers will even use stratagem to keep a car buyer from reaching the fleet department.
Another reason a car dealer doesn't advertise its fleet department is because they realize they don't make as much money as if they sold the car to a buyer on the retail sales floor.
The dealer has a much greater chance to make money on an uneducated customer that comes through the door, looks at the M.S.R.P, negotiates the price, and finances through the dealer.
Read more car buying scams here.
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