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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I have been in the market for a 2016 Ford Focus ST, with ST3 package for around a month now. I have been dealer shopping using Ford's website to track down inventory that meets my criteria.

I call and tell them I am interested in car X, and they all tell me that a Sales Manager or whoever is going to email or call me. Then I get spam emails from the "secretary" asking me if i'm still interested. I reply back that yes I am interested in discussing a purchase and then I hear nothing back.

This same story with THREE dealers so far. i can talk to a Secretary but as soon as I ask for a quote or to be contacted by a Salesperson, they go completely dark.


Why are car dealerships always the worst consumer experience? I don't have dealerships close that I can just spend my day off visiting, why do dealerships have such an aversion to telephone calls, emails, etc.
 

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I'd ask to speak to a salesman. Be stern and tell them exactly what your looking for. In my experience face to face contact means your serious and it kind of sets the tone. Not saying your not serious and I know you said you don't have a dealership close to you, but what I would suggest is to go to the closest ealership and look around and if they want your money they will help you. If you don't see what you want on the lot tell the salesman directly what you want, color, price range, and so forth. If they want your money and they want to make a sale they will look and go out of their way for you to make a sale. Also if they are a good salesman they will give you a business card with a email and direct phone number to keep in contact. Just my 0.2 cents
 

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I went through this over the summer when I was looking for a new car, at the time a 17 Fusion Sport. That "secretary" does not work at the dealership, they're 3rd party people working for Ford. I found this out when one of them asked if the 17 Sport was even available yet... hit dealer lots in July. He also knew nothing about the Sport or it's specs.. I ended up going straight to the dealers website and inquiring about the specific car I was interested that way (email). I got an immediate response. When I told them about my earlier issues they confirmed that the call I received previously was not from anyone who worked for the dealership. He pointed out that when they call they say "I'm calling on behalf of XXX Dealership..."
This type of customer service sucks and I emailed Ford to express my displeasure with them.
 

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^ That one looks pretty good.
 

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^ That one looks pretty good.
It's beautiful. I would trade my TB for it in a heartbeat if I wouldn't be throwing away a bunch of money that I've spent on mine. You can't beat the price, listed at invoice with $4k in rebates. That is strong.

Funny if I ever ask a dealer about a car I cannot ever get them to leave me alone
Sales people are trained to keep calling/emailing until you buy or cuss them out basically, lol.
 

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Your experience depends on the dealership. In Sept. 2015 I was looking for Race Red ST3.....did the Ford inventory search and found four available within 150 miles. Contacted the closest one (65 miles) via the DEALER website and they got back to me within an hour telling me the car was available and inviting me to come in. Personally I don't think you advance the sale if you start negotiating at this point, I want to see the actual car and sit in front of them and negotiate at that point. We set up a time for early Saturday at 9am, since it is about an hour away I left before 8am. On the way there they called to confirm that I was showing up as agreed. Anyway, the salesman asked straight up what did the price need to be to make the sale. I had an old 2004 Buick LeSabre to trade and knew what I wanted for that so I gave him the net price. And that was basically it, the deal was struck pretty quickly. I thought the dealer was proactive to get the deal done, so it really pays to contact the dealer directly. Not sure why you are having so much difficulty in getting a dealer to respond.
 

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The dealer I ended up buying mine from didn't have one on the lot that i was interested in so they helped me search for one that met my wants and found one at a dealer roughly 70 miles away, they called that dealer and traded with them. I came back a few hours later after it arrived and was detailed and took it home. Very great experience. Moral of the story find a dealer close to you or you like and let them know what you want, don't waste time driving to all these different dealers if the one closest to you is willing to help and willing to bring one in for you. Oh, and this is the second time I've had a ford dealer bring in a car from another dealer for me. First one was over 3 hours away
 

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I would call the dealer directly with the ST you want. When they answer, ask to speak to someone in sales. Tell them you are interested in the x color Focus ST you saw on Ford's website and ask them if they still have it. The salesman will then ask for your number and call you back a few minutes or a few hours later depending on how busy he is. He will say either: "yes, we have it, when can you come in?" or "no, but we have 2 others that you will like. When can you come in?"

If you are calling the dealer directly and no one is getting back to you that has to be a first. Salesmen basically look at you like a walking PEZ dispenser that spits out hundred dollar bills.

I just bought my ST last week by going through Ford's website. I picked out what I wanted, called the dealership, and once they confirmed they had it, I asked if we could talk price. I made a reasonable offer (don't lowball if you want to be taken seriously), they countered, then we met in the middle. In total, it took about 10 minutes and I never had to leave my desk.

With the internet and the amount of information available, car buying now is way different than 10 or 20 years ago. Came as a shock to me when I was car shopping last year. It was my first car purchase in about 12 years. When I found the car I wanted, I thought I would get a screaming deal since the dealer advertised the car at a fair price and I thought I could knock at least another 10% or 15% off. When I got there and tried to negotiate, the salesman told me, "look, we know what these cars sell for and we know that you know what these cars sell for. So rather than waste everyone's time, we just advertise it at what these cars are gonna sell for." But he still knocked $500 off, I think because he felt sorry for me, and we were done in less than 30 minutes. 20 years ago, you had to be prepared to spend the entire day at the dealership to get a good deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
nope no phone calls, no emails.

Been over 48 hours since I contacted the last dealer I tried.

I think there is something going on with Focus ST's. Like they are still on recall status and not being sold. You would think they would be all over me since I am ready to make a purchase ASAP.
 

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That's odd to me that they aren't getting back to you. I work for Honda myself and Ive never heard of it being such a pain in the a** to get a salesmans attention. Either they wanna make a sale or they don't. Simple as that. Every salesman has a quota they must meet and the more they sale obviously the more money in their pocket. Whether or not the recall is happening they should be contacting you if you have been reaching out to them.
 

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Let me share my experience with you, as I just purchased my 2016 OW ST3 on Saturday. TL;DR version is at the very bottom that will cut to my recommendations for you. If you're interested in the narrative, continue reading :)

I live in an area where Focus STs are definitely not plentiful. There were very few dealerships within 100 miles of me that had any Focus STs on their lot, and there were virtually none that had what I wanted (Oxford White, ST3, moon roof, machined wheels). I did a lot of searching using various third party sites (Edmunds, Cars.com, TrueCar, CarsDirect, you name it) to look for something resembling what I wanted.

I started with TrueCar, which sent out inquiries to two TruCar certified dealers. I received an automated response from one of the dealers indicating they got my inquiry, but they never ended up even reaching out to me. The other dealer contacted me via email to tell me they had a white Focus SE on their lot... obviously not what I was looking for. I emailed back and forth with them telling them exactly what I wanted, and they did an inventory search and were able to locate exactly what I wanted (but did not mention where). Discussed back and forth, but the dealer was not really interested in cutting a deal with me, so he wished me "good luck."

When contacting the next dealer (directly, I might add), I had the exact car I was looking for (VIN and all), so I asked them if they could locate it for me and strike a deal... I made sure to mention that I was interested in making a quick purchase and was a serious buyer. Unfortunately, the internet sales guy I spoke with had to be the least competent individual ever. I gave him the VIN and he asked me if I had the stock number so he could locate it (who works for Ford, here???). Long story short, he emailed and called me a few times to check and see if I was still interested (even though I was waiting on him to locate the car). Eventually, he calls me to tell me he has a car and would like me to come in for a test drive. I ask him if it's the one I wanted, and I come to find out it's a black ST3 with snowflakes. Needless to say, he didn't listen to a word I said and I ceased any further deal-making with him.

Next dealership - I contact them through their website and tell them I'm shopping around for a specific vehicle and looking to make a purchase very soon if they can give me a good deal. I provide color and options, but no VIN. Sales manager contacts me a couple days later with a VIN scan... just so happens to be the same car I was looking for. He asks me to come in and talk numbers, so I make the trip (about 1hr) one weekend and we chat. He plays a little hard ball, I walk out. We e-mail back and forth and over the next 1-2 days he gives me a little better offer. I told him both at the dealership and via e-mail what I was looking for price-wise. We negotiated a little more back and forth, and we agree upon a price. He sends me an electronic offer to sign.... but when I review the details, I notice there aren't any. No VIN, no car information, etc. I email him back to ask if the offer I'd be signing would be for the car with the VIN he sent me originally. He calls me back (instead of responding in writing) to clarify some things. I ask him again about the car specifics and tell him I'm not signing anything until I know what I'm signing. He tells me that he's using the information he sent me "as a guide" and is trying to locate a car that meets my needs. I tell him to come back to me once he has a car and I'll come in to sign papers. A few days later, he contacts me to tell me he found a black ST3. I reminded him that I was very specific with what I wanted. He tells me he was unable to find an ST available for trade that matches my description. I'm pretty annoyed at this point, since it seems like these dealers aren't actually understanding me when I tell them exactly what I'm looking for. At this point, I move on again.

I expand my search criteria and finally find the exact OW ST3, down to the VIN #, at a dealership just about 230 miles away from me (just outside my previous search radius). Even better, the deal listed on their site is significantly cheaper than the price I had previously agreed upon with the last dealer for what I thought would have been the same car. I go to the dealer web site and submit a request for price quote. I get an email response by the next day. Literally 1-2 days of emails and phone calls and we strike a deal for $26k OTD before TTL (I have to pay that in my home state since the dealer is out of state) without me ever setting foot in the dealership until I come to sign the papers. Turns out to be the quickest and easiest deal I've made and I drive the car home happy.

TL;DR - Contact dealerships directly instead of through third party sites. If you know what you're looking for, be specific. Also make sure to let them know you're serious (sometimes I get the sense that they don't think you are unless you say so). You'll likely find a better deal if you find a car on the lot than if you work with a dealership to locate.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
shoeb0x pretty close to my experience.

I have contacted dealerships directly. There is only one I sent a Truecar request to.

I provided them with VIN's, exact color and specifications. Its like they have never heard of the car before.

If I wasn't so dead -set on buying a Focus ST I would of walked away already. It's like hunting a unicorn.

They want to sell me the 600 regular Focus's they have, but none of them want to sell me the "ST".

Still haven't heard back from the dealers on the ST's.
 

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I feel your pain... but just be persistent! Follow up with them again and don't wait for them to follow back up with you. Let them know you're serious about buying, but don't give the impression of desperation because if they know they've got you by the jowls you'll have a hard time negotiating a great deal.

Let them know (or give them the impression) that they're not the only dealership in town that you're working with and so you've got the freedom to walk away if they aren't willing to strike a deal that suits your fancy.

If you can expand your search like I did, then you might have a little better luck as well.

Keep us updated on your progress... hopefully you'll find one soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I feel your pain... but just be persistent! Follow up with them again and don't wait for them to follow back up with you. Let them know you're serious about buying, but don't give the impression of desperation because if they know they've got you by the jowls you'll have a hard time negotiating a great deal.

Let them know (or give them the impression) that they're not the only dealership in town that you're working with and so you've got the freedom to walk away if they aren't willing to strike a deal that suits your fancy.

If you can expand your search like I did, then you might have a little better luck as well.

Keep us updated on your progress... hopefully you'll find one soon!
got a callback today.
finally some progress.

still edging towards me coming in to the dealership which I don't have a lot of time for, and the dealership is an hour's drive. feels like it is going to be a drawn out process until I go into the dealership in person.
 

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Try TrueCar.com. Not kidding.
 

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got a callback today.
finally some progress.

still edging towards me coming in to the dealership which I don't have a lot of time for, and the dealership is an hour's drive. feels like it is going to be a drawn out process until I go into the dealership in person.
Buying an expensive item like a car requires a bit of effort. Sometimes the stars align and you can do most of it over the phone, but the whole dynamic of car buying (for good or bad) is for the buyer and seller to meet face-to-face so you will probably have to work within that parameter. Everybody is busy these days but you may just have to make time if you want to buy a $25k+ ST in a timely manner. So your dealer is an hour away, big deal, my closest dealer that had the ST I wanted (color and options) was over an hour away, I set aside a day and just focused on that goal for the day. Did the deal on that day and moved on and haven't been back to the dealer since, that was my preference compared with trying to do it like you over days and weeks via emails and playing phone tag. Take the bull by the horns and make the process work for YOU. It is either that or a continued waste of time and effort, and more frustration.
 
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