Shopping basics

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by JLocke, May 31, 2005.

  1. JLocke

    JLocke Karting

    May 26, 2005
    Montgomery, Alabama
    My unhurried search for an F-car will, I know, lead me to one or more dealerships to explore their inventory. I test-drove an F355 last week that was at a Porsche dealership; but, the car sold before I got serious about it.

    So I am wondering what is usual for shopping cars at dealers. Seems that all the Ferraris I've seen so far at dealers are there on consignment. Now, I won't test-drive a car unless I am serious about it; thus, I am probably not going to be shy about asking for a drive. On the other hand, I may not buy for several weeks or months and there is a lot of learning to be had in trying several different cars for comparison. Do dealers have any problem with that? I certainly will be forthright in explaining that I am learning about the cars in an effort to narrow my search. I'm not joyriding under the guise of being a prospect.

    The biggest issue might be the PPI. If a car is at a particular dealer, it is clear that the dealer is an advocate for the car's owner (whether that's the dealer or the consigner). Having the PPI at that dealer seems unwise. So is it best--and usual--to arrange a PPI with a local independent? I can just imagine the "behind the scenes" consternation arising from an independent reviewing a competitor's car!

    Prices. Some of the asking prices for cars at dealerships are upwards of 30% over that being asked by individuals (same model, same year, similar miles and maint. history). Is that normal? Jeez. It'll be interesting offering a saleman $90k tops for a car they have listed for $119,900!

    Any advice on how to navigate these issues is really appreciated.
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  3. lefthook31

    lefthook31 Rookie

    May 28, 2005
    I am also in the same boat. Im trying to learn as much about these cars as possible before I buy. I dont care how much money you have, getting stuck with a bad car that has a history of damage or otherwise, is a horrible feeling, plus the research on finding the right car is a lot of fun. I think a seasoned car salesman can tell if someone is serious, and if they cant understand why someone would want to thoroughly research an expensive purchase, then you dont want to deal with them anyway. I think buying from an authorized Ferrari dealer is probably the best for rookies like us, because that way the lineage of the car can be verified a bit easier, as most of the cars seem to come back to the same dealer they left from, at least down here that is. I would rather pay an extra 10 grand, and know that the car has been serviced and cared for correctly, rather than getting some deal from a shaky dealer. I was just told a story of a guy that put 5 grand down on a car that later he found had been in a bad accident, and the dealer wont give him his deposit back. If he takes delivery of the car he stands to lose far more, so he just blew 5 grand! And remember a man willing to offer is man willing to buy, so dont be afraid to make any offer you want. Just some thoughts...
  4. jungathart

    jungathart Guest

    Jun 11, 2004
    NoVA, AmeriKa
    Full Name:
    Komrade Jung
    After you have chosen the model and then the particular car, the next step has to be a PPI. If the dealership doesn't allow this out of house, then drop it: he may have something to hide. Insists on repair records; you need to see what has been done before and be able to correlate with what you might learn from the PPI. A well kept Ferrari is one for long term ownership and enjoyment because you'll want to keep it!
  5. JLocke

    JLocke Karting

    May 26, 2005
    Montgomery, Alabama
    I have recently learned that a buyer of a 355 had the dealer from which he bought the car (a '99 car he bought in '03) include a major service (belt change included) with the purchase. Anyone else have similar buying experiences?

    Obviously, everything is negotiable. I am trying to learn what is "usual" and, thus, what I can expect when shopping.
  6. Gershwin

    Gershwin F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 21, 2005
    PM'd you w/ questions and info.
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  8. JLocke

    JLocke Karting

    May 26, 2005
    Montgomery, Alabama
    What is the best source for real Ferrari wheels and Challenge Grilles?

    In my 355 search I found an interesting car that has a set of really awful looking aftermarket wheels on it--and the original wheels are not available. I'd like to see what a set of original wheels would cost. One fellow told me a set would cost about $12,000 from a Ferrari dealership parts department. Does that seem plausable?

    Also, is it possible to purchase a Challenge Grille for a 355? And where would be the best source for that?


    Edit: Whoa! Answered my own question:!
  9. cgperry

    cgperry Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 2, 2003
    Chas SC
    Full Name:
    Charles Perry
    You're on the right track with everything. Dealers and listings like the FML are generally about 20-30% above true market. Don't be afraid to make an offer, and don't get caught up in the moment. One authorized dealer waited six months before accepting my offer on a car. My first offer was fair and they literally laughed at me, but they did call back when they wanted to sell the car. I had found another by then, but the point is that if you know the market, don't let the dealers tell you otherwise. These cars are emotional (not rational) decisions, and they know it's easy to get overly excited when your dream is shining in front of you under the showroom lights. First rule of rewarding exotic shopping: There's always another car out there. Shopping is half the fun, so don't rush into anything. I've always purchased from private parties, but more because they had the car I wanted at the price I wanted than for any problem with the dealer concept.

    A PPI from a non-interested party is crucial and shouldn't bother any reputable dealer. Unless they have a very similar car for sale, there is usually no reason for an independent to beat-up a car without reason. Remember, most PPIs are not really a buy/don't buy decision maker. They are more to let you go into the deal with your eyes open understanding any faults the car may have and letting you get a ballpark for what it would cost to put it right. Unreported accident damage or a bad leakdown/compression test would be the only things that would be immediate deal killers for me.

    You do want to be careful with deposits, especially with independent dealers. Laws vary from state to state, but I was burned twice (on Lambo deals, not F-cars) by people with questionable ethics. If you do put a deposit down, make sure it's with a credit card as you then have some strong recourses if you want it back. If you write a check you're basically screwed as the recovery process will cost you more than the lost deposit. Also get IN WRITING that the deposit is refundable for any reason. A little note in the memo line of your check is not good insurance.

    As to including something like a major service in the deal, my preference would be to have them deduct the cost of the major service from the price rather than have them actually DO the service as part of the deal. They are more likely to want the latter because they can tell you it's a $5k service, but at wholesale it may cost them $2k, so they're still making a decent profit. Also, there is incentive for them to cut corners if it's coming out of their pocket. If you just get a deduct, you're still free to use them, or you can shop around for a mechanic you trust who is well recommended.

    As for parts, T Rutlands is a great source as they part out damaged cars. You can also try dealers. Many of them took OFF factory wheels to put on something else for customers, so finding OEM wheels, lightly used, at way below retail is not hard. Ebay is also a great source for things like that. I got my challenge grill by taking a very slightly damaged one off a wrecked car and paying a body shop $25 to make it near perfect.

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