Monday, January 31, 2011

Buying a Car

pontiacLast week my eldest spawn passed her driver’s test.  This lead me to on the ever frustrating hunt for an affordable used car that would be halfway dependable and as safe as possible.

I started out shopping at is a nice website for car browsing.  However, unscrupulous dealerships (like Texas Nissan in Grapevine) put false advertising on to attract buyers.  Basically what they do is put pictures of cars that people want.  The selection and prices are almost too good to believe.

You get away from and go directly to the website owned and operated by Texas Nissan (the dealer from Hell).  Their website has the same cars pictured.  A 2008 Sentra with 80,000 miles for $3900.  It’s almost believable.  I mean, it could be your lucky day so you give them a call.

“Do you still have the 2008 Sentra for $3900?” I inquire.  “Of course, we do!” says they.  “When are you planning to come and look at it?”

I asked a friend at work if he’d take me out there, just in case I had to drive the car back to the office.  We arrive and the Sentra as well as the other 6 cars I had looked at are nowhere to be found.  I swear to you, a salesman came out who looked like Guido and talked like someone who learned English watching the Sopranos.  He wore the fake leather coat, walked with a swagger, didn’t look anyone in the eye, had the balding head with the comb over and the attempt at feathered sideburns that kind of made the side of his head look like a vertical ocean wave.  He shall henceforth be known as Guido.

Guido says, in his exaggerated gangster accent, “Oh ya know, we can’t keep that website updated.  We sell cars faster than anyone else in the nation.  Look it up.  If you just sit down for a few minutes and let me get some information from yas we can get you in exactly the car you need.  Now what are you looking for anyway?”

“Well, I’m looking for the 2008 Sentra on your website that I just called about.”

“Well, who did ya call?  If you talked to those Web guys, they don’t know.  You have to call us directly.  As soon as we get a trade, we take pictures and put them on our website, but then those cars are gone in hours or we have to send them off to auction.”

“Oh Guido, Guido, Guido.  You are pissing me off.  Amazon moves more product in 30 seconds than you do all year and they keep their inventory up to date.  Are you sure you’re not just a stupid ass?”  I just adlibbed a bit for dramatic purposes.

“Well, sirs, I’m not a stupid ass, but if you can tell me how much you are willing to invest in the safety of your daughter, I’ll find the perfect car for you.  We have this one over here.  Just came in today.  It only has 30,000 miles and you can drive it away for $10,000!”

“Okay, I’m outta here Guido, thanks for playing.”

“Hold on, hold on!”  proclaims Guido, “Let me go get my manager and see if he can find out what happened to the car you saw on our website.”

I kid you not.  His manager was a big burly black man who said the exact same thing Guido said only without the accent.  I swear they have this stuff written down somewhere to piss people off.

The moral of this story that wasn’t.  Don’t buy anything from Texas Nissan until they do something about this policy.  Or just don’t.  I went and asked around and heard the story about an older couple who were also trying to buy a used car for one of their grandchildren.  They, like I , called Texas Nissan to make sure the car was available.  This couple drove over an hour to come get the car only be told it wasn’t available.  Now, I can’t verify the truth of this, but after the run around I got, I can see where it could be true even if I can’t prove it.

I went to 4 other dealerships after I left Texas Nissan.  They all had accurate inventories on their websites and were all very helpful.  I went to Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, Huffines Chevrolet in Lewisville, Carmax in Irving and Grapevine Motors.  I ended up getting her a car from Grapevine Motors which was at a good price because of some unrepaired hail damage.  Grapevine Motors is a small shop that specializes in affordable used cars.  I was quite pleased.  They may not have been the most “professional” bunch of folks, but they were friendly and their inventory was accurate.


  1. Personally I don't understand this need to get a car the moment you pass the test. If she truly need it, then okay. If not, then there's no reason to buy one immediately. Maybe it's because I'm not an American.

  2. More specifically not a Texan. I think I've blogged about the lack of public transportation before.
    Texas is a wide open area. You literally can't walk anywhere. They don't have bicycle lanes or walking lanes on most streets.
    I've been at hotels before where I could see the store I wanted to be at, but was unable to walk there because of the way the roads are constructed.
    So my daughter is 16 now and if she wants to get a job; either her mom has to be her chauffeur or she gets a car.