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My work takes me around the country, and this month I'm in Houston. I've been thinking about an Elise for a while, so when I saw a 2005 for sale on Craigslist I called the Buick dealership that is offering it for a test drive. They told me to come out the next afternoon.

The car is owned by the finance manager of the dealership, and after assuring me that it was in perfect condition, he refused to allow me to drive it unless I signed an agreement to buy.

So - I wasted two hours, a 46-mile roundtrip drive, and I won't be back. Tell me, would you purchase a car with 35k miles without driving it?

Oh, and they wouldn't give me a firm price on it, either.
 

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Acme Super Moderator ** The Enforcer **
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My work takes me around the country, and this month I'm in Houston. I've been thinking about an Elise for a while, so when I saw a 2005 for sale on Craigslist I called the Buick dealership that is offering it for a test drive. They told me to come out the next afternoon.

The car is owned by the finance manager of the dealership, and after assuring me that it was in perfect condition, he refused to allow me to drive it unless I signed an agreement to buy.

So - I wasted two hours, a 46-mile roundtrip drive, and I won't be back. Tell me, would you purchase a car with 35k miles without driving it?

Oh, and they wouldn't give me a firm price on it, either.
Fawk no. Go elsewhere.

San
 

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I bought mine without driving the particular (brand spanking new) car because it hadn't arrived yet. I did however drive three, tres, trois, drei, τρεις, तीन, tre, três, три, ثلاثة , 三 , drie separate cars at the same dealership, at their request, prior to purchase.

A lot of the dealerships early on were not allowing test drives in the new cars. Some had a test car or two that they allowed potential customers to drive. Used cars at the dealerships that I have dealt with have always been drivable.

Did they offer to take you for a ride in it since they wouldn't let you drive it? Perhaps they really don't want to sell it and just use it to get people in the door... Maybe they just thought you were a joy rider... at any rate, I wouldn't have bought it from them anyway.

I may buy at car with 35K miles on it without a test drive if it was located somewhere I couldn't get to but I certainly wouldn't buy it if it was right there in front of me.

I bought mine without driving it.
So did I...

I got the carfax, the service records, and the ECU printout.
Same here...
And how many of you bought a used car that was sitting right in front of you, not from some other city, wanted to test drive it and weren't allowed by the seller?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They wouldn't take me for a drive, either. I was sitting in the car with the engine running at the time.
 

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you should be able to test drive it.

first off, it has 35k miles and is used. the going rate should be between $25k and $31k for the car. most dealerships let you test drive $50k brand spanking new cars (Ford, Chevy, Mercedes, Porsche, etc). W.T.H. is this dealership thinking?

just approach the dealership with this logic. you can even suggest the dealer drive it and you ride in it.


ps - if this is the car, you should be able to talk them down about $3k. it is overpriced at the moment. nice looking car, but you should be able to find others for cheaper.
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=77449&endYear=2006&modelCode1=LOTELISE&startYear=2005&makeCode1=LOTUS&listingType=used&sellerType=d&searchRadius=100&listingId=324909126&Log=0


post note: also i hate to say it, but dress nice when you go and want to test drive the car. car salesmen are definitely materialistic and judge people based on looks. snappy casual with an air of 'i'm better than you' should land you a test drive. Salesmen are all about making their commission. i really doubt they care if you wreck the car or not. (just the owner of the company will care)
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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sad but true. Go in there like you own the place - super sharp dress and attitude. Push the up button , talk to the manager and let him know there is no time to waste, you are busy. Why are they wasting your time?
 

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Nein Kinder
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The car is owned by the finance manager of the dealership
This is a giant red flag for me ... I won't even waste my time when I find out someone at the dealership owns the car. They don't really want to sell it - they want to drive an expensive car they bought at wholesale without having to register it because they're running it on dealer plates while they "sell" it. So right off the bat you know you're dealing with a scam artist.

Glen
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That is indeed the car. I was dressed pretty well - I was wearing very expensive clothing and driving shoes. I won't go back now - I'll be home in Michigan next month and I believe Auto Europe there has a couple for sale.
 

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The local Porsche dealership had two Elises on the lot when I was looking to buy. They wouldn't even let me sit in the car! After I bought my Elise I took a ride to that Porsche dealership and thanked them for they wonderful 'service'.
 

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I would pass also. At 35000 miles I would not buy anything without a test drive. A dealer does not want to give joy rides, but they do have an obligation to you as a customer. I have walked away from many car purchases and driven down the street and bought another one. Especially at a dealership, you are the customer. You are the boss. And customer should be treated like royalty. Obviously they were using the car as a draw to get customers on the lot with the intention of trying to sell them something else. Most of the brand new cars I ave bought were "lost leaders". The ones they under price to bring people in to sell them something else. Some dealerships even threaten to fire a salesman if they sell a lost leader. That dealer did not want to sell the car. They were using it as a draw. Good luck finding the right one!
 

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That is indeed the car. I was dressed pretty well - I was wearing very expensive clothing and driving shoes. I won't go back now - I'll be home in Michigan next month and I believe Auto Europe there has a couple for sale.
I bought mine from Auto Europe in Michigan...
 

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I was dressed in my work clothes when I bought my car (stained jeans and t shirt, beat up steel toe boots, me all dirty from working all day.). Was actually going to get lumber at Lowes and the car was at a dealer across the road.

I stopped by, looked it over.. I'm talking I drug my butt all over the gravel to look closely underneath and everything. Made a list of stuff that was wrong, along with an offer that I felt was fair for the shape of the car. Dealer said no way, so I left. An hour or so later they called me and said to come get it. :D

Just cause you dress fancy doesn't mean your made out of money. I work hard and have paychecks to prove it.
 

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i usually wear a polo shirt with my company logo on it, jeans, sneakers, and a naive, "i am finally making real money and am ready to blow it" look on my face :D, and am yet to be turned away from a test drive!!!!
 

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That is indeed the car. I was dressed pretty well - I was wearing very expensive clothing and driving shoes. I won't go back now - I'll be home in Michigan next month and I believe Auto Europe there has a couple for sale.
Auto Europe is top notch. I bought my Elise from them. I would buy from them again.
 

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if anything, auto europe needs to be made aware of this post. it definitely says good things about them -- and maybe they will stock more lotus(es). :)
 

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I found I had much more luck when I'd call a place in advance and let them know I was coming to look at the car. That seems to give the impression that you are at least somewhat serious. I only drove a few, but never had anyone tell me no. I actually had two places offer to let me drive it without me asking. I only drove one though, because I decided I wasn't going to buy the second one and didn't want to make them take it out of the showroom.

The "you can't drive it it's too special" treatment does seem to be the worst when the car is at some kind of mainstream dealer. I bet that zillons of people that go into a Honda/Toyota/Buick, etc. dealership and see a Lotus there think "OMG! Exotic! and it's at MY dealership so they HAVE to let me test drive it! I've always wanted to drive an exotic car! I'm going to demand a test drive!" On the other hand, I bet that most of those people are too intimidated to walk into a high-end dealership. I'm sure those dealerships get plenty of people who just want to drive a car just to do it, but it has got to be way less frequent than at a regular car dealership.
 

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How can one buy a used car without driving it? A new car maybe but not a used one.
 
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