How Not to Buy a Car, Update #3: “In-Transit”

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 #3. To read the previous update, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next update, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!


Where or where does one find a new Chrysler Pacifica Limited? This was my next goal in my ill-advised quest to buy a new car.

I used Autotrader’s search engine, and finally found a Limited trim level at a dealership over a hundred miles away. It was a white, Chrysler Pacifica Limited, All-Wheel-Drive. It was fully loaded, with all the doohickeys and electronic gadgets nerdy dudes like me love. And in fact, there were four such vehicles ostensibly on their lot. My heart skipped a few beats.

Autotrader provides a way to send an email to a dealer, to inquire about vehicle availability. So I fired one off. And waited. For about three or four hours there was no reply. Finally, at risk of looking too eager, I went to the dealer’s website and made a new, direct inquiry. About a half-hour later, my phone rang.

I was told that there were no such cars on their lot. Rather, they were all “In-Transit.” Further inquiry revealed that “In-Transit” means they haven’t even been built yet. What a bunch of lying fucks there are in the car industry! They pervert terminology like “Factory Order,” “Options,” and “In-Transit.”

This is not necessarily what “In-Transit” means. Stupid me.

You’d think that “In-Transit” means the car is on a truck or train, heading for the dealership. But based upon my personal experience, here’s what I’ve concluded “In-Transit” actually means in car sales vernacular:

Chrysler allocates cars to dealers, before building them. This is the same system that Asian car manufacturers use. But in Chrysler’s case, they let the dealer know many months ahead, what cars have been allocated to them, including model and trim level. This gives the dealer a chance to advertise the car, as “In-Transit.”

After a customer is lured by the advertisement to the dealership, the customer may be told by the sales associate that the car is being built even as they speak. But that would be a lie. The car is not yet being built. Chrysler is awaiting the go-ahead from the dealership.

The customer is convinced to put down a $500 deposit, to reserve the car. Then the dealership informs Chrysler of the reservation, and asks that the car be built. Then, whenever Chrysler decides to get around to it, they build the car and ship it to the dealership.

In my case, the Pacifica I want has apparently been “In-Transit” since January. That shows how low the demand is for gas-guzzling Pacificas. I was told I’d have to put down a $500 refundable deposit, to reserve the Pacifica. Well, that was a breath of fresh air. Sure beat an illegal, $1,000 non-refundable deposit.

Dick Dastardly

I was told by the salesman, whom I’ll call Dick Dastardly, that the Pacifica was currently being built, but that it would take about a month to start building it. Huh?! Further inquiries over this contradiction in language failed to achieve clarity from slippery Dick.

But after I closed my eyes, held my nose, and plunked down the $500 deposit, I was given some paperwork that showed an estimated shipping date of late-September. This was in late-August. So since it only takes about 20 to 30 hours to construct a car on a modern-day assembly line, it stood to reason the car wouldn’t be built until late September.

By the way, I did this all over the phone. Hell, the dealership is over a hundred miles away, so I sure as heck wasn’t going to drive all the way down there, only to be bent over a counter and be royally ass-fucked. I prefer the convenience of having my sex over the phone.

I also learned, after the deal was struck, that the Pacifica is not an American-made car. No, it’s assembled by our friendly neighbors to the north, in Canada. But the factory is in Windsor, Canada, just a socket wrench’s throw across the Detroit River from the decaying, nearly-dead city of Detroit. So, close enough. I can drive my car while whistling, “O Canada,” and still imagine a giant Star-Spangled banner being burned by protesters in the distance.

Could buying a nice, new car in 2022 really be this easy? We’ll find out in my next update.


Categories: business

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