Price and Mileage in Used Car Ads?

14 replies
The real estate agent I have the most professional respect for
always put price and details in all her ads. She said it worked
best for her to do that and she was always one of the top agents
in her area. She never ran a photo ad that said too new for photo
instead of a picture, and she did not believe in the call for price tactic.
I've since moved, but I'm sure she's still tops. Really good person too.

Anyway, I am now looking to buy a used car on Craigslist.
I find that I only try to contact the sellers who provide the
most information and good pictures - all around and inside the vehicle
and the tires.

If the mileage is too high, I don't call.

If the mileage is too high, but they list all the work done, I might call.

If they don't list mileage, I don't call. If they don't put an asking price,
I don't call.

If the asking price seems too high and is not justified
by photos and details about maintenance and driving habits, I don't call.

If they don't address maintenance, I don't call. (I realize though that
dealerships often cannot address this issue.)

I see a lot of ads placed by car dealers that don't have price and miles.
I don't call.

Anyway, this made me curious about what those of you in this market
do for your dealerships or clients. What works best? Have you split tested?
Is there industry used research? (Also, you might use my side of the search
to get more motivated and qualified buyers faster.)

Thanks.

Dan
#ads #car #mileage #price
  • Profile picture of the author LastWarrior
    If someone has a f'd up post about car ads... like their grammar, english and spellchecker all broke down at once that I can hardly read, I don't reply.

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  • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
    But you replied?

    To the OP... it's one of those things where you end up feeling slighted if someone couldn't take the time to put the information in. And dealing with car dealerships isn't a place where you want to feel slighted. The customer is either going to buy, or not, so leaving out information isn't going to make them any more likely to buy the vehicle. I think most people subconsciously feel the way you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Price and Mileage are two of the most basic things that need to be listed. Any dealership not doing that has a huge problem.

    Unless it is an exotic "call for price" is not gonna cut it.
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      In the UK:

      New cars are listed as from £ as they don't know what options you will add.

      Used cars just detail everything about the car including the slightly inflated price.

      Houses are sold in exactly the same.

      Property for sale in Mayfair - Flats & Houses for sale in Mayfair

      Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      Price and Mileage are two of the most basic things that need to be listed. Any dealership not doing that has a huge problem.

      Unless it is an exotic "call for price" is not gonna cut it.
      Yup. "Call for price" is weak. It's written by someone who doesn't know advertising. Also, people who won't quote a price over the phone (in my business, it's rampant) are ..well...moronic. If you won't quote the price or mileage, does that built trust? Increase awareness of your offers? Create desire to buy? No.

      In my entire life, I have never said to my wife "Honey, I'm so glad they didn't give us the price in the ad. This adds to my trust of the dealer. Let's drive right over there to find out what the prices are".

      The more detail, the better. The more they know, the more they will buy.

      Advertising is selling.
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      • Profile picture of the author misterme
        It matters to certain buyers.

        But not posting price is all about generating more inquiries, not about selling the goods.

        The psychology behind not giving the price up front is in the fact that it's the one thing everyone wants to know. By posting it online you've basically eliminated a strong reason for people to contact you to find out what it is.

        You may argue that you, personally, would never respond to an ad which doesn't mention price and how you'd never run an ad like that...

        ...yet you probably do a slew of other little machinations to help grease the sale such as cite a higher price first and sell down, get small agreements to get them saying yes, introduce scarcity or urgency, and certainly, prompt for a close.

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Also, people who won't quote a price over the phone (in my business, it's rampant) are ..well...moronic.
        A moron is someone with an IQ of 51 to 70, whereas an idiot has an IQ of 0 to 25. Do you realize this means if an idiot applies themselves and studies very hard, they too can be a moron.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by misterme View Post

          A moron is someone with an IQ of 51 to 70, whereas an idiot has an IQ of 0 to 25. Do you realize this means if an idiot applies themselves and studies very hard, they too can be a moron.
          You just encapsulated my 5 year plan.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I agree with the OP.
    I just bought a used car for my wife last month.
    Year, Price, Mileage were the most important things to me.
    It was amazing how many ads didn't have this.
    Well, I ended up buying a car from a place that had price and mileage in the ad.
    It does matter to the buyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I'm just looking for a daily driver.
    The more information provided, the more time I save.

    I understand private parties not knowing how to sell.
    With dealers, I was a bit curious if they see an advantage
    to just trying to get more calls because they might have other
    vehicles the prospect might want.

    If I were a dealer, or marketer for a dealer, I'd make the ads
    as detailed as possible. Seems it would be the most efficient
    way to get better leads.

    Also, having looked at a bunch of dealer ads and websites,
    I've seen a ton that could be improved. I'm sure it's the same
    at just about every location.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    I remember when I was looking for a car I went right over the cars that had "Call For Price" on the ad.

    I wonder how many people really do call for the price...
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  • Profile picture of the author Blaine Smitley
    Here it is from the well.

    Most car dealerships list the mileage in their ads. The majority of software that that loads individual cars into the inventory databases won't post without it. A lot of private sellers don't list it and I can't tell you why that is because I don't know.

    The reason used car dealers don't list the price is confusing to a lot of people. But this is it in a nutshell.

    The buyers financial situation determines the price of the car.

    If you walk in with cash.. You will get price (A) which is the best price. Also with cash you have negotiating power.

    If you walk in without cash but already have your own financing in place that's verifiable you will get price (A) and have the exact same negotiating power as if you had cash. Because in essence you do.

    If you walk in without financing in place but have good credit score meaning over 680 which is called (primary) you will get price (B) which includes the price of the car and also the included extra cost (time is money) of getting you financing and setting it up for you through a primary bank. The primary bank will have to get their fees and that will also be included in price (B) which is going to be more than price (A) but you will still have some negotiating power because you have a high credit score.

    If you walk in to buy and have a credit score under 680 which is called (secondary) you will get price (C). Secondary lenders charge more to set the loan up and carry it because of the lower credit score. People get lower credit scores because they don't pay their bills and the risk of them defaulting on the loan or being late with payments is considerably higher. This will result in a higher end price on the car, plus a higher interest rate on the loan. The lower the credit score the higher the interest rate will be. The lower the credit score is the higher up front fees to process and carry the loan are from the secondary lender. In effect the dealership selling the car will have to charge more for it to cover this.

    Then there is the buyer who comes in with a credit score under 560. This buyer gets price (D) and can take it or leave it. Most secondary banks will not even loan them anything on the car because of the risk involved. If the dealer sells to the individual it's normally a "buy here pay here" deal where the dealer finances the car themselves. Price (D) has to factor in a 40% default rate on the loan. Also a considerable sum for the fee of repossessing the car and all of the legal fees dictated by their given states regulations before they can resell it.

    The problem dealers face is that people will see a car listed for 9999.99 and come to the dealership to look at it. They like it and want to buy it, but have a credit score of 565. A secondary bank will charge upwards of 3000.00 in processing fees just to do the loan on the car. For the dealership to profit they have to raise the price of the car up to 12999.99 to maintain their profit margin. Now the buyer thinks he's being baited and switched on with a teaser price. That can be ugly.

    Now you know why a dealer won't tell you the price till you come in.. They say it's because you haven't even seen the car yet... But the real reason is they haven't seen your credit score yet. If you're not buying cash? They have no idea what your price on the car will be.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Thank you for the detailed post, Kid Carson. I should have thought of that. I'm
    a cash buyer. Long ago I had a temporary job working for a high risk auto lender.

    The company - no longer in business due to the high risk - disgusted me because they charged 21% interest and the paperwork indicated that at least half a poor person's income went to the car note. Also, they ticked me off because they worked through credit unions. The temp agency people thought this client company was angelic for providing "last chance financing" for a car.

    Also, any down payment was deducted from the back end. If the purchase price was $10,000 and the down payment was $1000, $10k was still financed. The $1k down was deducted from the $37k total financed. I wondered if that was legal.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Besides which, if you do see a price advertised, it's most likely a low price leader. You're probably also missing that tiny small print buried deep down at the bottom of the ad which requires an electron microscope to see it.

    That's where they tell you that price is valid for that vehicle only, not others of the same model. That means when you finally come on the lot and see this low mileage beauty's mud brown with a red pin stripe and cloth seats, that's what you get. Plus the small print will also require you have a high score across the three major credit bureaus, trade in a competitor's vehicle or surrender a lease, must purchase the car by this weekend, be born on a Tuesday and have red hair.

    So of course the idea is to flip you to any other vehicle on the lot and that's going to be as per their regular game. A dealer will move 100 cars this month with that strategy.

    And you guys who only come in if you see a price listed - you're the target. Because you're attracted by price so easily.
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  • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
    I see this same tactic with people advertising jobs on Craigslist. They won't tell you in the ad what they need done. This marks them as an amateur looking to involve you in a multi-level marketing program that they don't really understand and couldn't sell to a serious marketer if they tried.
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