Miscellaneous

How Not to Buy a Car, Update #1: The EV Scam

This hodge-podge series documents my efforts to buy a new car. It has unlimited updates. Who knows how long this shit is going to take? This is Update #1. For the next update, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!

The EV Scam

Don’t buy a car. That’s how not to buy a car. It’s a seller’s market these days and dealers, in all their smugness, can and will treat you like shit.

But if you don’t mind bending over and getting screwed, and then crapped all over, be like me and buy a car. This is what I have done. I have volunteered to brave the headwinds of the shitstorm that is known as purchasing a new car in 2022. And as a result, I am now covered in smelly, gooey excrement.

This series will document my attempts to buy a new car, with updates every few days, or as unfolding events warrant. I don’t know how many updates it will require, due to all the crazy unknowns in the auto industry these days. So fasten your seat belts, we could be in for a long, bumpy ride.

I first became interested in buying a new car back in 2021. That was back in the good ol’ days, when a car purchase was mere Hell on Earth, rather than the current tornado of razor blades, mallets, and diarrhea showers.

Back then I wanted to buy a plug-in hybrid car. Ha! I even posted a series about electric vehicles (EVs). How naive I was in those days. Little did I realize what a mare’s nest I was wandering into.

I decided to wait another year to make my purchase, in the hopes that EV technology might improve a little. That was a big mistake. Had I made a purchase in 2021, I might have found what I wanted with just a short little wait of eight or nine months.

But apparently, supply chain shortages have worsened since then. Nowadays, if you want a plug-in hybrid, or any kind of EV, there’s a good chance you’ll have to wait one or two years. And you’ll also have to pay out of a very long nose, so I hope you were born with a large proboscis.

Here’s the problem, as I understand it. The government, in all its wisdom, has made generous tax credits available to those who buy EVs. This has driven up the demand for such cars to such an extent, that the tax credit you receive is eclipsed by the inflated MSRP price and dealer markup.

Also, the demand is so high, that it has created an extreme shortage of electric vehicles. Plus, there is a shortage of semiconductors. EVs require a lot of semiconductors, so factories are stymied in their attempts to keep up with demand.

I have come to the conclusion that while electric vehicles were once a good idea, the electric vehicle market has become a scam. If and when you have the high privilege of being able to purchase one, you’ll pay an extraordinary amount of money for it. And there’s little chance you’ll save enough in gas, over the life of the vehicle, to make this purchase worthwhile.

I did my due diligence. I researched the hell out of the auto market, and narrowed my choices of plug-in hybrid vehicles down to three models: The Toyota RAV4, Kia Sorrento, and Hyundai Santa Fe. I then got online and found three local dealerships that ostensibly had these makes and models for sale. Stupid me. I relied upon what they advertised on their websites.

So I visited each dealership. What I found was that no, those vehicles had already been purchased before they even arrived on the lot. And I was also told that I could not order those vehicles. Apparently, cars made by Asian manufacturers cannot truly be factory ordered. Rather, the manufacturers provide cars to dealers on a willy-nilly, haphazard, random basis, while you wait for them to accidentally send the model and trim level you desire.

2022 RAV4 Prime XSE. A beautiful car.

So, let’s say you’re looking for a Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE. You go to the dealer, and the dealer will put your name on a waiting list (which is Toyota’s version of a “factory order”). You may also be asked to put $500, or more, down, which may or may not be refundable. Now you wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. Hopefully, eventually, the Toyota gods will smile upon you and accidentally send just the right RAV4 Prime you’re looking for, to the dealer. And if you’re next in line for it, you’ll be the Chosen One to buy it.

But this doesn’t mean it will be the color you want. That’s determined by chance. Also, the factory will have likely installed all kinds of expensive “options,” that you may or may not want. Why they call them “options,” I don’t know, because they seem to be mandatory.

Then there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay the full MSRP price, plus a $5,000 to $10,000 dealer markup over MSRP. They may also harass you into paying for a lot of unnecessary dealer “options,” in addition to the factory “options,” such as nitrogen in tires, VIN etching, protection packages, and your own custom-made horse cock shoved up your ass. If you refuse to pay for these mandatory “options,” you may be threatened with losing the deal, and the car going to someone else.

After I got a grasp of this situation I said, “Fuck those bastards!”

In a day and age where everyone wants to go green so badly they’re willing to pay thousands over an already grossly-inflated MSRP, I called bullshit and went the opposite direction. I began looking for the most luxurious, large, and spacious gas-guzzling monster I could ever want to steer over America’s highways. I wanted a tank.

In my next update we’ll discover how searching for a tank can be a tankless job.

###

Categories: Miscellaneous

57 replies »

  1. You make me real happy that we bought my “gold nugget” last year!
    I hope you are able to outsmart the car dealerships soon and get exactly what you want! Until then sounds like you need lots of naps and tylenol for your head in dealing with the chaos! If you find a magical cowbell, that may help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been waiting for my car since April 2021….sigh! I think I might get “the call” by December but have no idea if it will be in my preferred package and colour. What a difference from the last time I bought a car…

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I bought a new vehicle this year, but it was not an EV or a hybrid, it was a Toyota Tacoma pick-up. But rest assured that the shortage of electronics is affecting the unelectrified vehicles almost as badly as the electrified vehicles. The Tacoma is a rather old new vehicle that they just keep making each year, which was part of its appeal to me. Surely they must have figured out most of what they did wrong when they first designed it and have the design and manufacturing process running smoothly by now. But even being a less-than-modern vehicle, it is still crammed with computer stuff. And I can tell you, because it’s my job, that many electronic gazmos and flibbertygibbetzes have 52-104 week lead-times these days and the government orders get to skip to the head of the line.

    Anyway, my process was: I thought about this for about a year as I usually do. I finally decided on what I wanted and went to the local dealer that does not charge an arbitrary dealer mark-up. There are dealers like this.

    They had 2 year-old used versions of the vehicle that I wanted on their lot and they cost as much as the new ones did. The only advantage the used ones had was that you could buy one immediately. But I am a patient person, so I told the sales guy what I wanted (any color except white). And it was like you said, they get a rather random allotment of vehicles and you can pay a deposit and get on a list to claim one when it begins its trip to the dealership. So, I paid my $1000 deposit and figured that I’d wait for 3 – 6 months to get a car. And this was fine with me. This was in April, I think.

    about 2 months went by and the sales guy called me and told me about a vehicle coming in, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. It was a long-bed and I knew that it wouldn’t fit into my garage, so I decided to wait for the next one. And then I waived off the next one. But in mid July he called me with truck that met all my specs and to top it all off – it is white. So, I said “let’s make it happen”.

    Late July rolled around and the vehicle showed up at the Toyota dealer and I went down paid the balance and drove home in a new white Toyota Tacoma pick-up that according to my tape measure and the Toyota Tacoma spec sheet, would fit into my garage.

    Now I technically paid MSRP without a dealer mark-up, but it was like you said: there were some mandatory dealer-installed options. Mainly fancy black wheels, all-terrain tires, and the little steps to bang my shin on when getting in. They also put in a bed-liner and cargo rails which are quite useful.

    The day I drove it home, I had person waiting with cash to buy my old car and so that was done too.

    Now I had a white Tacoma pick-up with fancy black wheels and all-terrain tires that was an inch too long to fit into my garage because of the license plate bracket on the front bumper. Because someone put a water softener in a stupid place in my garage, I paid a plumber $800 to move it, and now I have my new white Toyota Tacoma pick-up with fancy-ass black wheels, all-terrain tires, and the short-people shin-knocker steps, and plastic bed-liner all parked snugly in my garage with about 3 inches of clearance to the garage door.

    Eh, I’m happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think you are right that the plug in hybrid is probably the best option these days in this era of limited battery supply. But everyone seems to be rushing to buy the full BEVs. I looked at the RAV4 Prime but I am not sure that I will live long enough to get on that wait list.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well, as my White Toyota Tacoma (Jason) sits in the garage, its 100K-mile curse was apparently to throw a u-joint. Consequently, I’m presently driving Husband’s old (I bought it off him last summer), 296k-mile, 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. It had a few repairs… ahem… after I hit a deer with it. But in 2004, Hyundai apparently didn’t care if their customers ever felt any need to buy another car. (Though I understand that’s not the case anymore.)

    I understand Tippy’s grief, however. I wrote in here about buying my current truck in an article titled, “Stress”. However, after accompanying Husband to a dealership in Reno to look at a returned lease, 2019 Subaru Crosstrek with 19K-miles that he saw online, I decided that I must just look like a sucker.

    Husband explained the “used” car by pointing out the $6,000 “dealer markups” along with another $5,000 in dealer “upgrades” on new versions. The pre chip-shortage lease vehicle, he also observed, had full dealer maintenance records and had to be returned in good condition. Regardless, the first thing Husband said to Mr. Salesman before the test drive was, “I’m not going to negotiate on the markup.” Mr. Salesman didn’t say a word, walked into the building, and returned a few minutes later with a new price at $6,000 below what was in the window! And that was pretty much it.

    The u-joint bearing extractor arrive today. Shame… I was kinda’ looking for an excuse to beat the little suckers out with a hammer!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That Hyundai is quite a durable car. I’ve heard Hyundai’s and Kia’s have had problems lately, throwing rods or some damn thing. They also don’t have engine immobilizers, and kids have been hotwiring them, right and left.

      Looks like your husband got a good deal. Seems dealers are in the habit of quoting very high prices, hoping the customer won’t return the favor by offering very low prices. But when they do, like your husband did, dealers sometimes cave.

      Good luck fixing that U-Joint.

      Liked by 1 person

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