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DEALER WANTS TO BUY YOUR CAR

If you are the owner of a Chevrolet, you may have recently received a postcard from a manager at the Chevrolet dealership where you purchased the car. On this computer-generated postcard, the manager says that she is interested in buying your 2009 Chevrolet Impala. She says that the Chevrolet dealer has customers looking for these vehicles, but they don’t have any on their lot. She asks you to please call her ASAP, and she gives her phone number.

The postcard itself is a top-notch job in marketing. The name, address, phone number, and logo of the local dealership on the postcard gets your attention and keeps you from immediately throwing the postcard into the wastebasket. You have done business with this dealer in the past and have had a good experience. In fact, you probably continue to take your car to that dealer for routine maintenance. If you’ve ever needed a major repair, for sure you have taken the vehicle to a Chevrolet dealer. The “message” on the card is written in the handwriting style of a woman. It’s a personal touch to a business transaction. Finally, the writer appeals to the universal desire for a good deal by saying, “As a manager, I can offer you more!”

Is this a legitimate offer to buy your car, or it simply a trick to get you into the dealership so they can sell you a new car? Does the dealer actually have a potential customer who wants to buy a 2009 Chevrolet Impala? How much more in cash can the manager really offer? If she gives you $500 more than the Kelly Blue Book trade-in value of your car, is that really such a good deal? You would no longer have your car and would have to buy another one. You’d be standing there in the dealer’s showroom salivating over all the new cars. The dealer has you exactly where he wants you.

Ask yourself this question: Would a dealer send out thousands of postcards to find one 2009 Chevrolet Impala to sell? With all due respect to owners of 2009 Chevrolet Impalas, these are not high value collector cars. How much money would the dealer make by selling one 2009 Chevrolet Impala?

More likely, a computer at Chevrolet headquarters has generated thousands of postcards to Chevrolet owners like you. Each postcard is personalized with the owner’s name in the “handwritten note.” Each postcard names the correct make and model of the owner’s car. Each postcard is “signed” by a manager at the dealership. It is all a clever marketing tool to get you into the showroom.

If you really are interested in buying a new Chevrolet, do your research and go to your friendly Chevrolet dealer. You don’t need an invitation. They will be delighted to see you.

—By Karen Centowski