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Steve:

Thank you for taking the time to stop in. You raise another interesting point I did not flesh out in my post -- used cars. With the exception of my first Camry, which was new, I always buy newer used or floor models.

Sometimes I treat myself to an upgrade on the interior -- so leather seats with seat warmers or 6 CD reader for example. I refuse to lose a couple thousand bills just for the pleasure of driving off the lot in a new car. And Toyota has excellent warranties and a track record with floor models.

Anyone else take advantage of floor models for their car purchases?

Valeria,

Every time an auto spot comes on TV, I say the same thing to my wife: "I've never gotten interested in a car because of a TV ad."

1. I don't buy American made cars. Too many bad experiences with sales, service, and quality, as well as the craziness of every feature being an "add-on" to price.

2. I've had great experiences with German cars for the past 25 years. I buy them through a local certified mechanic who specializes in them and always knows who is trading up.

The one time that I bought from a dealership, the experience cost me more money and didn't deliver a better product.

Punchline: I trust the guy who knows the insides, doesn't make the bulk of his living off of hustling cars, and has served me well for many years.

The auto industry's "middle men" add to the price and detract from the experience.

Carolyn Ann:

Indeed the emphasis is still on the units sold, even for the best experiences. I called my rep only after I was sure I wanted to buy a specific car and model and gave him all the information to get a number of choices for me to test drive once I went in.

But, and here's the difference, I can call him at any time for help with anything related to my purchase and he's come through for me numerous times.

Is it possible that a newer generation of people getting involved in auto dealership can shift the focus more to customers? It seems that the old timers have gotten used to the way things were...

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