I keep reading a lot about Car Supermarkets. Are they good or bad?
I understand you cant test drive the car, and haggling is pretty much not available (given that they have low prices anyway). I've also heard of cars being imports without paperwork, or dents etc, but I wondered if they get a raw deal?
I like your posts. You ask very good, sensible questions.
What do you expect to get when you buy from a supermarket? By that I mean Tesco, Asda etc. You won't see a lot of staff and may queue at the till, but you will get superb products at cheap prices.
A good analogy, IMHO, to car supermarkets. If Uncle Henry has a boatload of Focuses which someone has backed out of receiving, where do you think they end up? Spot on.
German makers build to order, so the only way they're going to be at the supermarket is when they nip across the channel and buy imports.
You would lose goodwill from the maker's UK importer. 1 year warranty vs 3 years, reluctance to help you with known faults outside your warranty. All that stuff.
I don't believe much about dents, missing service books and stuff. You have all of your sandwiches present for your picnic, Phoenicks, don't you? I just know that you would check. So would I. The point I'm making is that you get exactly what you pay for so supermarkets are a good thing.
The block exemption's being relaxed this Sept. Anything except cars can be bought in various places. Currys, Comet etc compete to sell you a washer, but you can only buy a Golf at the VW dealer (except import). Not so, after Sept.
Power transfer from Maker to Dealer. What will happen? Prices down. Mercedes worried enough to ditch their franchisees and open their own "Mercedes Direct"
Simple answer is that there are probably a few dogs out there but there is no reason to avoid this way of buying.
Not all supermarkets are created equal. Some specialise in defleeted, high mileage, underprepared stock and stitch-up finance deals. Modesty and the site rules prevent me from naming them, but suffice to say that they don't get discussed or recommended on this site very often.
Looking at stock for the Great Trade Centre, most of it is very good; some of it isn't. If you are careful, insist on FSH, get a good warranty (read the small print), know what the car is worth, and are aware of your finance options before you go in, you should be fine.
You can be stitched up like a kipper, of course, but then many franchise dealers will do that just as gladly.
Cheers for your posts. I wouldnt actually buy from a Supermarket myself as i feel i could get a better, more satisfying deal through auction/broker/importer myself with more haggling. It was more because I've heard a lot and thought i could get peoples collective responses.
Saved 25% or £4k on a Mondeo at Motorpoint with a standard 12 month warranty. You have to ask, is the extra two year warranty worth the extra 2 or 3k the car would have cost from a main dealer? My car needed a few trim faults sorting but other than that it has been perfect.
Road tests? Go to the main dealer and use them, or Fords of Winsford, they give road tests.
Personally, I fail to see how one can better the deals available from Motorpoint,et al. Only if you want something specific,colour, spec., or model wise do you really ever need a main dealer.
I am waiting for the '04 model Mondeo to arrive at Motorpoint and I know I will be able to save £5k on the Ghia X model and most important it will be exactly the same as any model from a main dealer.
Motorpoint were fast and efficient and that is all I need, I don't want to be on first name terms with the sales rep. especially as I would be paying for the privilege.
AFAIK they're UK main dealer, pre-reg, and they already have £4k off the 04 model Mondeos, e.g., Ghia X 2.0 at £15694. Motorpoint wants £14999 for an 03 model plus possibly some valeting/registration charges and I guess you only get two years' warranty, probably.
Reputable car supermarkets are obviously best.
Although you don't get a wonderful showroom, you do save yourself many pounds which can be used on fuel for a year. If you get a reliable car in the first place, there would be little difference from a dealer and supermarket. Furthermore, the dealers aren't knowledgable about what they sell anyway so your not really getting anything more for your money.
In theory, I think supermarkets are better because they sell different makes of cars and are more likely to point you to the reliable ones. Dealers only sell one make and so could end up with a citroen that breaks every 20 seconds.
IME Car Supermarkets simply don't want to sell you a car - they want to sell you a finance package. If you go in there with £5K cash and say I want to buy a car, they're not interested. They are interested in the people who DO NOT HAVE the money to buy a car because they can sell them finance. This is after all where the sales guy makes his commission, not the car itself.
Add to that the fact that every car is over priced by at least £1500 (I was told by a salesman that they will knock £1500 of the windscreen price of ANY car in there right off the bat, so one can only assume they're not making a loss on this) and it seems to me that they represent a very poor deal for the customer. Avoid.
If you've been to the Great Trade Centre, or looked at Motorpoint's prices, you'll know that they're not at least £1500 over the money. Obviously some cars are better deals than others, but that's not nearly the same thing.
On the other hand, 'supermarkets' like you describe do exist and are to be avoided. Just don't tar them all with the same brush.
Just reporting my experience David. I didn't mean to tar them all with the same brush. I actually started typing a sentence to this effect but as any names I mentioned would be removed anyway, I didn't think it was woth it.
I wonder if I'm allowed to say that the supermarket I was referring to in my previous post was in Rochdale and is advertised on TV quite a lot (if you live in the North West anyway).
I have also heard very good things about a supermarket in Winsford, Cheshire. Again, mentioning no names.
I've used GTC and Trade Sales and have nothing but praise for the way they worked. For me, it takes the hassle out of haggling which I'm not confident with. TS saved me over £5K on list prices and GTC were about the only place which seemed to be asking prices which agreed with Parker's Guide. The reduced warranty at TS may yet become an issue, who knows? But then, put that against the massive reduction in price, and I think I've got a good deal. Regarding only being interested in finance deals, I don't agree. The salespeople were direct, and not pushy in any way. I bought my cars in minutes and didn't have to go through hours of smooth sales pitch. I'd recommend both these places.
RN, I know exactly what you mean. We were after a mondeo a while back and went into a wannabe supermarket near us. They had several, but were all 1.8 and we wanted a 2 litre. Out of interest I wanted to know what trade in they would offer us on our old car. The salesman told us we had to pick a car we wanted before he would gives us a price. OK, I said and pointed to the first mondeo I could see and said that one. Then we were marched into the showroom and given a scolding cup of coffee. We thought the salesman was valuing our car, but no, he got this mondeo running and insisted we go for a test drive. All the time it was question like, doesn't it drive well ? trying to convince us it was the car of our dreams. Back to the showroom a few checks on our financial status and we were invited to see the 'bankmanager' who does not normally see customers, but he would see us since we were so keen on this car ! I am not joking, the 'bankmanager' must have been no more than 20. He goes off about APR and flat rate and how much a month did we want to pay. He then wanted us to sign a contract there and then and he could get us an extra 500 quid off the price. At no time did he show us the trade in value of our car. When we refused to sign he got really mad and said we were wasting his time. At that point we walked out. My partner was nearly in tears.
The impression I got was that they didn't sell cars, they sell finance packages. Anyone who upsets my partner like that will never see a penny of my money, and I never tire of telling this story to anyone I know who is thinking of buying from this establishment.
On the other hand we tried motorpoint ( Derby branch) and was very impressed. The staff was always courteous and helpful and we was very pleased with the car we bought and the value for money.
Just tried this and it does look interesting BUT they are charging full whack for metal paint and want £150 for driver delivery or £300 for delivery via transporter.It doesn't mention whether road tax is included. So overall the better known supermarkets are about £1000 cheaper. The question I would ask is if that is a sufficient premium to pay for an extra years warranty ( give that mine has been trouble free ) and choice of paint.
I got a new pre reg punto from new car discount.com about a month ago.
The price at the time of order was very good although others are now offering similar prices. Punto Active 3 door cost £5765 against list price with metallic paint of £7280.
The car was delivered on time however the car when recieved had a dent on the drivers door, which was fixed fairly quickly by a dent removal company, you wouldnt know it was ever there. The car also came with a CD player which isnt standard equipment.
Also the warrenty/service book has yet to materialise.
Overall would I use them again, probably not on balence.