Volkswagen MkV R32 and the CarsDirect buying experience
Since having seen a Volkswagen MkIV R32 a few years back while driving down a freeway, I decided then and there that if I were ever to purchase a vehicle it would be an R32. Four years later – after Volkswagen’s announcement of the Mark V R32 – I decided that it was time to turn dream into reality.
Naturally, I wanted the simplest purchasing experience that would a) ensure that the out the door price (OTD) was the best that I could get, b) was not time-consuming, and c) was stress-free. Fortunately, we live in an age that allows us to complete much of our shopping online before ever having to step into a dealership. Thanks to services like CarsDirect, the process is simplified even further reducing the dealership interaction to simple paperwork signing and shuffling.
The decision was made. I would not step inside a dealership until the absolute last moment. Translated, "I’m not coming until the vehicle is prepped and waiting, papers are ready for signing, and keys are ready for hand-off". For the most part, the purchasing experience through CarsDirect and University Volkswagen went exactly as planned and I couldn’t have walked away happier with the purchase.
CarsDirect, get a price, find a dealer
CarsDirect offers visitors a variety of tools designed to educate and facilitate the purchase of a new or used automobile. Because I had already pre-arranged the financial aspect of the purchase and my mind was already set on the MkV R32, I did not need to compare vehicles or access financing through CarsDirect lenders.
Using the drop down menus under New Cars I began my search for a 2008 Volkswagen R32. Immediately after selecting ‘Go’, CarsDirect requests a zip code in order to establish and identify participating dealerships in the vicinity. The final step before selecting your vehicle features is confirming that CarsDirect does have the correct vehicle selected.
The next step is fairly straight-forward. CarsDirect displays the vehicles MSRP, Invoice Price, and CarsDirect’s Target Price. Note that throughout the entire process, CarsDirect offers hints and tips concerning every aspect of the process – ensuring that the first time car buyer, or first time online car buyer experience goes as smoothly as it can.
Because the R32 does not offer much in the arena of extra bells and whistles (the vehicle is essentially a loaded Volkswagen MkV GTI), the initial CarsDirect Target Price is the figure to focus on. If I had been purchasing a vehicle which offered customizable features or road packages, the Target Price would change depending on which extra features are selected.
At this point in the process, there are two options: 1) allow CarsDirect to send a quote request to a local dealership, or 2) save the vehicle in your CarsDirect garage for later configuration and submittal.
No extra bells and whistles added, just how you want it
I was ready. I double-checked that the R32 was selected, that my primary and secondary vehicle colors were chosen – Candy White & Tornado Red, and that my contact information was correct. After selecting the giant ‘Click Here’ button, I sat back and waited.
Within minutes, I knew that the online car purchasing process was under way. CarsDirect immediately emailed confirmation that my request for a 2008 Volkswagen R32 in Candy White had been sent to a preferred CarsDirect dealerships. From here on out, correspondences would be handled by the local dealerships internet department via email (my preferred choice of communication). The next day, I received an email from an internet department salesperson confirming that the vehicle I was looking for was available and was available for an immediate test-drive.
I wasn’t exactly prepared or willing to pay the Target Price, rather… I was set on paying a figure below the Target Price displayed by CarsDirect and offered by the first dealership. (Note: "first dealership"). There is room to bring the price down, and the internet allows car purchasers to do just that via email – in much less time than calling or stepping foot inside a dealership.
CarsDirect found the car, make sure you’re happy with the price
Remember how CarsDirect notified preferred dealerships about my search for a 2008 Volkswagen R32 in Candy White? That meant that salespeople from internet departments at multiple dealerships received notification of my interest in the vehicle. That also meant that I would soon receive contact info from all dealerships that have or planned on taking delivery of the vehicle within the specified time frame that I had mentioned in my CarsDirect quote request.
Corresponding with dealerships using the email address registered with CarsDirect AND a separate email as a feeler contact point will help ensure that the price finalized is one you’re happy with. Using the CarsDirect Target Price as reference, I began contacting the internet department at multiple dealerships via email.
Dealerships will compete with one another for your business. The same goes for someone who begins the car purchasing process by physically visiting a dealership, or for someone who begins the process via email. If a dealership knows that they are "bidding" on your business by offering the best price, you walk away knowing that the price your finalize is the lowest that you will receive.
There is no right or wrong way to begin receiving bids for your business via email. There is only more time consuming and less time consuming. Each dealership that contacts you will close their email or phone call with something like
…this is a fantastic price, would you like to come in for a test drive and delivery?
If you have no care for where your money goes, you may immediately email back to accept the price and confirming that you will come down for delivery. Personally, I had made up my mind to waste no time in fishing for the best offer. Actual out the door (OTD) price of a vehicle will change considerably after tax, title, and licensing. So, I began pushing for the lowest possible OTD price. I did this via email informing dealers that I was working with other dealerships and that my business would go to the lowest bidder.
As you already aware, I am ready to finalize purchase and delivery. Although you have been quite helpful throughout the entire process, I am afraid your price takes you out of the running. However, if you would like to make another offer, feel free to do so by the end of the day.
Fortunately, depending on the dealer, casual emails work as well. Here is a similar excerpt to an email I sent to a dealer.
I’m currently structuring a deal with [other dealership]. You’ve been really helpful and informative but the price offered was a little too high. I’d really like to offer my business but the price needs to come down. You think you can make it happen?
A dealer who truly wants your business will continue to tweak the numbers in your favor. A dealer who continually insists that the price is a great deal is probably one who won’t budge.
In the end, I decided to go with the salesperson who was persistent and personable while offering a slightly more competitive price. Once the deal was structured via email, I made my way to the dealership, signed a huge stack of papers, and drove home.
#2692 – 2008 Candy White Volkswagen R32
The 3.2L V6 engine growls like no other V6. So far I’ve put on 800 miles… Slowly making my way towards that 1000 mile recommended break-in period. With helpful tips from VWvortex and Ben, I need to remember to pace myself before turning this .:R into an expensive tuning project.