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Syllabus
AutoBuyology 101

 


AutoBuyology.org©


An Arts & Sciences Crash Ph.D. Course in CarBuyology 101©
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Uparmoring Car Deals - Do-It-Yourself Troop Support
Tell Car Makers To Make Cleaner-Air Vehicles
Tell Ford Motors Company to Get it's Gas in Gear



Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood-the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life. - Theodore Roosevelt

Is freedom needing or having to have a car? Are we free if we need a car to meet 75% of our living needs? Are we free if we need a car that pollutes the air we breathe and contributes to global warming and climate change?

Troop Support - Uparmoring Consumer Car Deals

Auto Consumer and Misc.:
References & Resources

Partial List (Also see AutoBuyology's Links page)

(AKA: More cases against the Auto industry: or, Why Americans enjoy a warm and personal relationship with the Great American Automobile Industry... (:-)

Name any other so-called legitimate industry with such a wonderful reputation that libraries and books stores have whole sections addressing its shortcomings and offering advice and aid to consumers in avoiding the hundreds of "tricks of the Great American Car Deal?...).

"Relying on a single source for auto sales, lease or service deal information is a car buyer's second mistake, and this is especially applicable if that single source is an auto industry "professional." Look both ways before crossing, shop and negotiate prices and proceed with caution, only if you cannot avoid buying a car, after lengthy reflection. Although the auto industry has paved only one lane (with y'our rmoney), the Great American Car Deal is a two way street.CARveat Emptor." This is one right-of-way every auto consumer and the carless should insist on.



Tell YOUR auto maker to help clean up our air and make vehicles more cost effectcively fuel efficient
Tell auto makers to help clean up our air NOW
Let your automobile manufacturer know how you feel about high fossil fuel emission vehicles polluting the air you and your family breathe.

Ford Motors, The American Road, Dearborn, MI 48126
Daimler Chrysler. 1000 Chrysler Drive, Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766
General Motors, 30009 Renaissance Center, POB 300, Detroit, MI 48265-3000
Honda, 1919 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90501
Toyota, 19001 S. Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90509


Let Ford Motors Company, et al., one of the most successful high-end SUV pollution unit sellers know how you feel about its high-octane efforts to dilute government regulations pertaining to automobile fuel emmission standards. You may want to ask how it is that auto manufactuers can rake in tens of thousands of dollars per pollution unit in profits and straight-facedly work to weaken clean air standards, claiming excessive costs would need to be passed along to the consumer. Mail your letters to : President/CEO, Ford Motors, The American road, Dearborn, MI 48126

More Auto Industry Contact Info for your convenience:

Alan Mulally, Preesident & CEO
Ford Motor Company
Customer Relationship Center
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126

Sergio Marchionne, CEO
Chrysler Corporation
PO Box 21-8004
Auburn Hills, MI 48321-8004

Daniel F. Akerson, Chairman and CEO
General Motors Corporation
General Motors Headquarters
300 Renaissance Center
PO Box 300
Detroit, MI 48265-3000

The Detroit Project (Anti-SUVs Site)


Books and other references to help us become better auto consumers.

For SUV Alternatives

"An Analysis of Traffic deaths by Vehicle Type and Model"

"Car Free" by J.H. Crawford

Massachusetts Consumers Car Smart Buyers Guide

American Scientist Magazine/.Journal, April-March 2005 - "Fuel Efficiency and the Economy:
Input-output analysis"
shows how proposed changes to automotive fuel-efficiency standards would propagate through the economy by Roger H. Bezdek, Robert M. Wendling

"High and Mighty: SUVs -- The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way" by Keith Bradsher (Available in September 2002) [Apparently dangerous for occupants and other drivers and passengers in other vehicles on the road]

"Don't Get Taken Every Time You Buy A Car," by Remar Sutton

"Buying A Car For Dummies" by Deanna Sclar

"Auto Repair For Dummies" by Deanna Sclar

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car" by Jack R. Nerad

"How to Buy or Lease a Car Without Getting Ripped Off" by Pique Lyle

"Prevasive Prejudice" by by Ian Ayres, a soon to be new book showing disparites in automobile pricing for white women, white men, black women and black men, etc.

"Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America, and How We Can Get it Back" by Jane Holtz-Kay

"Taken For A Ride," a documentary film about the wrecking of 28 municipal rail systems by Big Auto, Big Tire and Big Oil, by Jim Klein and Martha Olson-Karocki. (Distributed to Education by sale and rental through New Day Films) --'Why do we spend so much time [money & gas] sitting in traffic? Why does America have the worst public transit in the industrialized world, AND THE MOST FREEWAYS [earth graffiti]?


TAKEN FOR A RIDE reveals the tragic and little known story of an auto and oil industry, led by GENERAL MOTORS, to buy and dismantle streetcar lines. Across the nation, tracks were torn up, sometimes overnight, and diesel buses placed on city streets. -- The highway lobby then pushed through Congress a vast network of urban freeways that doubled the cost of Interstates, fueled suburban development, increased auto dependence, and elicited passionate opposition. Seventeen city freeways were stopped by citizens who would become the leading edge of a new environmental movement. -- With investigative journalism, vintage archival footage and candid interviews, TAKEN FOR A RIDE presents a revealing history of our cities in the 20th century that is also a meditation on corporate power, city form, citizen protest and social and environmental implications of transportation.'

Redefining Progress -- The Real Cost of Driving

"Don't Get Taken Every Time You Buy A Car," by Remar Sutton [Unless you want to? ] This book may include discussion of the dealer's best weapon against consumers: "System Selling". Check it out before buying another car or lease deal, and shift System Selling into reverse -- System Buying, and burn some dealer, er., car deal rubber. If you do one thing in life, make sure your teachers, students, associates, clients, friends and families (near and far) know about his one.


I
f you are a professor or school teacher, let your students in on this great little secret. It could save them gobs of cash over a lifetime. They may not remember the hoary details of your best lecture, but they will remember the best car buying tip around today. Vroom... swoosh! The AutoBuyology tip is to auto consumers what "break a leg" is to thespians. Buying, leasing, or servicing a car... Don't! But if you must have one, go to your library first and learn the rules of thear deal road before being taken for your next car deal ride mistake. CARveat Emptor!

"How to OutNegotiate Anyone: (Even A Car Dealer)," by Leo Reilly, (If you buy one book on negotiating, especially car deal or lease negotiating, this may just well be the one to get. It may also be available at your library. If not, get a copy and donate it to your library immediately after reading it and passing it around to ten of your best friends and family. Mr. Rielly is an attorney, accomplished negotiator, and articulate spokesperson for negotiated settlements. He presents seminars on negotiating and is well recommended, and apparently deservedly so. This book contains sub-chapters on "Buyer Remorse", and more importantly from a consumer's perspective, "Seller's Remorse." This book will benefit its readers in many life experiences besides car buying, leasing or servicing.

AutoBuyology and this book (along with rehearsal and practice and car deal test drives over a lifetime) will give you the basic weapons and ammunition in which to wage a relatively successful guerrilla auto consumer campaign against the most formidable car deal fortress and forces marshaled in the automobile marketplace against American consumers -- our friends and families.) Go get 'em tiger or tigress, er., Mr. Mrs.or Ms. Car Deal Guerrilla!

All vehicles do not pollute equally. ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy), 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC 20036, publishes "Green Guide to Cars and Trucks," which offers detailed information about he fuel economy and air pollutant emissions of specific makes and models of cars, vans and trucks along with a rating system. Since even you and your family and friends must breathe the air you pollute while driving, consider not driving, or driving greener cars, vans and trucks. If you need to keep up with the polluting Jones... try the new Ford Polluterator-Global Blast Furnace (largest SUV yet - 1999) or better yet get an eighteen wheeler and join the cream of the polluters.

"Divorce Your Car" by Katie Alvord, by New Society Publishers; 305 pages. Paperback: $16.15

"Car Buyer's and Lessors Negotiating Bible," by W. James Bragg (friends don't let friends buy or lease cars without it?)

"Everything Women Always Wanted to Know About Cars," by Lesley Hazleton [Everything?]

"Lease Your Car For Less," by Richard L. Kaye [or leave a big tip?]

"Auto Insurance Handbook," by Consumer Reports

"What Auto Mechanics Don't Want You To Know," by Mark Eskeldson Also see what Ford is doing to its customers through its lease deals... [Have you been driven by Ford lately?]

"What Car Dealers Don't Want You To Know," by Mark Eskeldson

"
Consumer Information Catalog," [Just Get It!]
(1-888-878-3256) or fax (1-719-948-9724)
free with SASBE to:
Consumer Information Center
Pueblo, CO 81009
(offers the following brochures for $0.50 each and other consumer materials free:

"How to Get A Great Deal On A New Car";
"Keys to Vehicle Leasing";
"How to Find Your Way Under the Hood and Around the Car";
"Glove Box Tips";
"Buying A Used Car";
" Buying A New Car";
"Child Transportation Safety Tips";
"Automotive & Home Inspection and Safety Guide";
"Air Bags & On-Off Switches"; and etc.

"The Lemon Book"
by Ralph Nader and Clarence Ditlow

"The Complete Car Cost Guide" by Peter Levy of IntelliChoice (800) 227-2665

"The Car Book" by Jack Gillis, for good used car buying tips.

Carfax, for used car's original title in most states (1-800-346-3846; $20. fee) or obtain this from the seller or other avenue such as your State Department of Motor Vehicles, or don't buy the car. Title searches are advised in order to determine any hidden repair or service problems. Beware of title washing, another car deal trick, not to be confused with lemon laundering.

From you library, lender or insurance office:
"Kelley Blue Book's Used Car Values"
"Edmund's Used Car Prices"

[
"Official"]
Used Car Guide," by the National Automobile Dealers Association

"Send This Jerk the Bedbug Letter, or "How Companies, Politicians, & the Mass Media Handle Complaints & How to be a More Effective Complainer" by John Bear. Publisher: Ten Speed Press. $12.95 or possibly free at your library.

NHTSA (Submit your auto safety complaint to NHTSA)
NPS 21
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
(202) 366-0846
(800) 424-9393 (Ask for , "How to buy a safer car", and request a safety complaint form... keep it on file, copy it and share it with others.

"How To Buy A Car" by James R. Ross [Are you listening, yet? [Give a copy to Aunt Sadie and Uncle Merle...]

"In The Driver's Seat" by W. James Bragg

"Little Secrets of The Automobile Industry: Hidden Warranties" by Clarence Ditlow and Ray Gould

"What's Wrong With My Car?" by Bob Cerullo, Plume Books/Penguin ($11.00)

"The World's Most Complete Auto Troubleshooting Guide" by Alden G. Zimmer, Vantage Press ($10.95)

"The Answer: Getting More and Paying Less for Auto Service" by Jeff Shumway, Preston House Book Publishing, ($14.95)

"Lucille's Car Care" by Lucille Treganowan, Hyperion, ($19.95)

Paint Prep / Body Repair / Rust Repair (Videos), from Triangle Productions, POB 972, Dept. MT, Glen Ellen, CA 95422 (800) 562-8855

Center For Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow, 2001 "S" St., Washington, DC 20009 (Sent us a stack of quality and satisfaction complaints and safety related reports on VWs, etc.) Send a self-addressed, stamped, business envelope along with the make and model of vehicle you are interested in receiving safety related information on.)

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), (703) 247-1500) rates bumpers, crash tests, and head restraints against whip-lash injuries, and other insurance cost factors). Obtain their latest mini-van crash test results for good ding list material for negotiating a lower mini-van price or for avoiding mini-vans with abysmal off-set front collision test ratings. Also has some info on air-bag safety considerations. Mailing address: c/o
IIHS
1005 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22201

Highway Loss Data Institute
1005 North Glebe Road
Arlington, VW 22201
(703) 247-1600  

(IIHS -- November 11, 1997) rated 11 small car models according to its criteria for highway crashworthiness / safety. None made their "good" rating, three rated "poor", seven "acceptable", and two VW models as "marginal".

(IIHS's -- November 1998) rating of hey-Sport Utility Vehicle crash tests is now available. Only one rated "good."

IntelliChoice - info on cars, the auto industry, and car dealing and buying:
And remember, don't pay too much for recommended buys. Dealers and manufacturers will want to try to use consumer ratings to inflate negotiated prices. Don't buy it. A car model should get a good rating and every make and model has its fair share of lemons. Do your homework. Learn how to negotiate... its a science and an art... practice and perhaps sometime before you die, you'll be able to purchase an automobile in American without getting dinged by the dealer or manufacturer.

Consumer Reports' New Car Price Service (Manufacturer's invoice price {dealer's costs?}), POB 8005, Novi, Michigan 48376, (313) 347-5810 (Nominal fee considering that you may be able to save $100s or $1000 off the dealer's mark-up or window sticker price [also known as the MSRP -- Manufacturer's Suggested Retail (rip-off?) Price])

ROAD RAGE: A site dedicated to credentialling Road Rage Therapists -- Consumer Reports also has a page entitled to Avoiding Road Rage... see links above.

CAR TALK RADIO, Tom & Ray Magliazzi, 1-800-332-9287, #1 Car Talk Plaza, POB 3500, Cambridge, MA 02238 (Encourage Tom and Ray, Click and Clack, the tappert brothers, to support local, state and national Fair Car Sales and Service Practices consumer and auto industry integrity protection laws and CARveat Emptor)

Check out your local junior colleges or vocational-technical schools. Some offer classes or instruction in buying or maintaining cars. Request your children's high school include car buying and maintenance classes as part of its standard curriculum. Make sure your HS guidance counselors, teachers and college professors share the CARveat Emptor CAR (Can Anyone read) Deal Literacy tip with their clients, staff, students and associates... something they all will remember and appreciate for a lifetime of car deal mistakes... The Gift That Keeps On Saving....

Buy America (You mean there's some left to buy?) (if you do this at home alone, do so very carefully!) Foundation, POB 82, Abington, PA 19001 (215) 886-3646 . If all politics "is" local, perhaps economics "are" too...? Charity begins at home... but quality sometimes travels? Be patriotic, but also be product quality and price savvy. Or better yet, just "Don't Have a Car, Man!" and pocket the $450,000 or so which on average is how much it costs for a lifetime of average (not SUVs or luxury models) automobile ownership and operation. And reTIRE early.

AARP [excuse us] (American Association of Retired Persons), 601 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20049 (202) 434-3930, (AARP supports [too timidly in our opinion] consumer protection at federal, state and local levels. Request a copy of AARP's consumer protection policies, and request that AARP strengthen its support for Fair Car Sales and Service Practices consumer and auto industry integrity protection legislation).

AARP prints several consumer brochures to help educate seniors about various consumer issues. "Deals on Wheels," is a particularly enlightening one, available from AARP, Consumer Affairs, 601 "E" Street NW, Washington, DC 20049.

NICE (National Institute For Consumer Education), Eastern Michigan State University, 207 Rackham Blvd., Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 (313) 487-2292, (313) 487- 7153 (fax). NICE is also on the WWW.

"The Betsy," by Harold Robbins (A novel about the inner mechanicals of Detroit's auto industry / "culture")

"Rivethead: Tales From the Assembly Line," by Ben Hamper, [beware of the "Monday Cars," those which are"ass-embled" on Monday by hung-over assemblers, or which were assembled before, during, or immediately after labor "relations" disputes.]-- if you cannot keep up, take notes...

Knowledge Unlimited, (educational videos with guides and posters). "An Introduction to Economics" and, "MARKETPLACE: Explaining the Stock Market," for ages 10 through adult, may be worth exploring. (800) 356-2303, or fax at (800) 618-1570, web address at: http://www.ku.com, or e-mail at: ku-mail@ku.com.

"Guerrilla Selling," by Jay Conrad Levison. More evidence that consumers are the targets between the cross-hairs of the jungle warfare waged between competing manufacturers and retailers and against consumers by savvy and tricky wholesalers, retailers and merchants. (check this one out at your library before buying anything, as it will arm you with the same ammunition and weapons used by industry and marketers against consumers. Cover yourself.

"Cheap Psychological Tricks: What to Do When Hard Work, Honesty, and Perseverance Fail,"
by Perry Buffington, (described by the author as: "faking it honestly" or doing-it-to- the-other-guy-before-he-does-it-to-you) (sounds like a variation of the Golden Rule: Screw Me, Screw You...? to us). From Peachtree, $9.95 (unnegotiated -- or check your library and have it ordered for you).

"Consumer Terrorism: How to Get Satisfaction When You're Getting Ripped Off" by Bruni & Burkett.

"Down the Asphalt Path: The Automobile and the American City" by Clay McShane [Roads and highways are asphalt graffiti on the earth.]

Consumer Information Catalog, Consumer Information Center, Box 100, Pueblo, Colorado, 81002. Fee booklet of consumer catalogs. The 1995 catalog contained eleven titles of brochures at nominal fee or free on automobiles and related topics (Get extra copies for friends and family or copy and share, er., network). Good free and nearly free consumer advice brochures.

1. Buying a Safer Car
2. Buying a Used Car
3. Glove Box Tips
4. How to Find Your Way Under the Hood & Around the Car
5. How to Get A Great Deal On a New Car
6. New Car Buying Guide
7 .Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs
8. Underhood Tips to Help You Keep Your Cool

Consumer's Resource Handbook, Single copies available free by writing: Handbook, Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, Colorado 81009. Contains brief consumer tips on buying and leasing new and used vehicles. Its free and its a good start. Every consumer should have a current copy of this publication.

Buying a Car? Consider the environmental impacts. "A Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices", by Union of Concerned Scientists (as opposed to the Union of Indifferent Pseudoscientists to which Rush Limbaugh, Meteorologist, apparently maintains a membership.) Common Sense About Consumer Choices: Paper or plastic? Bus or car? Old house or new? Cloth diapers or disposables? Some choices have a formidable impact on the environment while others are negligible. How do you know which choices matter? UCS's new book--"The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices"-- helps you identify what you should consider carefully as you make your purchases and what you can safely ignore.

UCS's Consumer's Guide offers the first comprehensive look at the full range of modern consumer activities, identifying those that cause the most environmental damage and those that cause the least. It shows that only a few activities--our use of cars and trucks, consumption of meat, and choice of homes and appliances--are responsible for causing the greatest amounts of environmental damage by far.


Miscellaneous Auto Industry / Consumer Info & References:

70% of auto technicians tested in California could not diagnose and repair routine auto repair problems.

40% of all auto repairs are unnecessary, costing cosnumers over $40,000,000 (40 million dollars) every year. The majority of the half million consumer complaints filed with consumer protection agencies (many complaints go unfiled) every year involve auto sales and service matters. Thousands more may be assumed to have been mistreated, yet do not for one reason or another file a complaint. A recent study was reported to show that only four (4) percent of consumers with legitimate marketplace grievances actually file a complaint. No wonder auto dealers and manufactures believe they do not have a public relations problem, or know but ignore it.

Honda Motors: To find out how much of your last or next Honda car deal costs went or will go for dealer bribes of Honda executives for granting exclusive dealership franchises (Manufacturer Authorized and value priced?)... News wire report December 5, 1996: Honda dealers indicted for allegedly bribing Honda's Honchos for increased vehicle deliveries and for coveted dealership franchises (value priced? you bet), Hendricks of Raleigh, N.C. who owns 60 (Sixty) dealerships was reportedly indicted by a federal grand jury for bribing Honda executives for special favors. Perhaps slipping the dealer a little under the table will get you a better deal, too? Don't bank on it.

Reported in the November 1995 issue of Dealer Business (an INTERTEC publication),
a Federal District Judge jailed and fined a senior vice president of American Honda and five other former Acura and Honda sales and marketing employees for accepting "at least" $5 million in bribes and kickbacks from Acura and Honda dealers between 1979 and 1992. "Honda Payola"?... its not a new model of car... accepting under the table "payola" for preferential treatment in awarding of franchises and distribution of hot (selling) cars. The executive in charge of Honda's sales and marketing operations in the US admitted taking $60,00 a year in "salary" from one dealer, rent payments for his $780,000 Laguna Hills, CA "home" from another dealer, and furs, jewels and free cars from other dealers for family and his priest (Judas?). The executive reportedly expressed remorse (at a discount perhaps, as remorse is reportedly priced cheap these days), pleaded guilty to the charges and cooperated with authorities in prosecuting others involved. But another form or auto dealer "flipping and turning?"

How much extra would you like to pay for your overpriced Honda or inAcura, Mr. Ms. & Mrs. Auto Consumer? Thanks for your generous charity? Did we hear you Accurately or inAcura? Perhaps they call it an Infinity because it seems that the payments will go on forever before its paid for? Try the Altima, or the Twotima.

"The Hidden Costs of Buying A Car Through Lease-Purchase Agreements," by Emerald Yeh and Christine McMurry (San Francisco Sunday Examiner - Chronicle Sunday section, July 7, 1996), available at your library (perhaps on micro fiche)...get your hands on this before even considering buying or leasing a car. Report says people planning to buy a $12,000 Toyota were "sold" a lease costing over $26,000 by a Toyota dealer for the $12,000 Toyota. Some customer service, eh? -- A $12,000 car for $26,000, -- where do we all get jobs like this in the all new and improved downsized economy...? Be particularly wary of "Professionals" in the auto industry not disclosing the lease rate, inflating the price of the lease by the amount of your trade-in and other very sleazy and anti-consumer sales and lease practices.

How long are we going to permit this industry to sham the American family on basic personal transportation? Demand Fair Car Sales and Service Practices laws today to protect our friends and families from the raw sham of unfair, manipulative and fraudulent sales and service practices in the auto industry. Be very wary of lease deals, avoid them if you can, and be especially wary of lease/purchase deals. When a dealer tries to sell you a vehicle through a lease deal, remind him of the $12,000 Toyota that cost a consumer $26,000. Apparently the Toyota Dealer was "authorized" to ding its customers thusly.

An interesting quote from the above referenced article:
"With a major portion of the lease market having shifted to the average consumer, the 'opportunity' for confusion became high," said Peter Welch of the California Motor Car Dealers Association. [How unfortunate to have found themselves with such an opportunity to exploit. Isn't it helpful that the government stepped right in immediately to continue the "opportunity for confusion" until October 1997? Hey, what's the hurry, confusion is confusion, and opportunity is knocking -- customers]. {Unless you are an auto mechanic or dealer, you likely are a decided disadvantage when it comes to deciding whether sales or service representations are of value to you or to the dealer or mechanic... the more you know, the more questions you learn and dare to ask the better the chance that you will not be taken in by self-serving service and sales sales pitches... begin to build up your automobile literacy library today, and help others to do the same... Think globally, pollute locally?

A note in this regard. Your federal government (Federal Trade Commission) only recently took up the issue of auto dealers cheating consumers through lease and lease-purchase agreements. In October 1997, auto dealers will be required (only by law) to make certain minimum disclosures regarding lease and lease-purchase deals, but not necessarily all information essential to ensuring that consumers have complete lease interest rates or the total costs associated with these greasy lease and lease-purchase deals. Do your homework before leasing or buying a car through a lease or lease-purchase agreement, and watch out for slippery dealers who lease vehicles which customers think they are buying outright. This happens all too often and many consumers have been run down and driven over by lease and lease-purchase deals.

"Dealing With the Dealer", a report by Consumer Reports. This report may be included with Consumer Reports' new car pricing service, well worth the nominal fee Consumer Reports charges for its manufacturer's invoice pricing (dealer's costs?) service. (Everything -- every strategy Consumer Reports said dealers might try, they did, and more). Are you still paying twice or more for "regional advertising", or other doubly dipped costs? (Everything Consumer Reports said dealers might try, they did in our case. Dealers are programmed to treat consumers like numbers in working their deal milking and manipulative System Selling tactics, always (well, usually anyway) with a smile and firm handshake, however). Learn as much about System Selling as possible from available books and personal experience (carefully study the tactics dealers use to motivate consumers to purchase and pay too much for the vehicle and for unnecessary extras by cluing in on your wants, needs and desires, and what "turns-you-on" about a vehicle or option(s)).

Consumer Reports (February 1993 and subsequent). Consumer Reports typically rates new vehicle models with its February through April issues. Detroit's new models typical come out in October (May differ for VW and other "foreign" auto makes). Consumer Reports usually publishes its new car reviews in March or April of the new year following release of the new model year vehicles. This is a good advertising or sponsor bias-free source for consumer information (possibly as good as it gets, without being perfect of course, as they simply have too little time to do a complete review and report).


It may pay to wait for CR's evaluation of new models before buying to compare with the industry boilerplate and advertising driven trade journals such as Popular Mechanics, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Consumer Digest, etc. While Consumer Reports is not infallible, the information is generally worthy of consideration.

Consumers should have CR's information available for creating a complete Guerrilla Consumer Car Deal Ding List (find something[s] wrong with the vehicle and write them down), and if you are in love with the inanimate object, or you just gotstahavit, rehearse and fake a genuine indifference or a realistic but subtle "take-it-or-drop-dead" attitude (courteously, of course with a warm and friendly smile) for price negotiating advantages. Practice convincingly in front of a mirror, family, friends, and strangers, including a few dry run "drive-bys" at unsuspecting dealers. Never pay too much for any car no matter how badly you gotstahavit. Try biofeedback if necessary in controlling the dilation of your pupils. Skilled auto dealers may discern your physiological response to a vehicle model or option. This may inadvertently telegraph your play on the deal.

Keep in mind that Consumer Reports' new car reviews are typically based on a vehicle they purchase, and often the reviews of new cars do not have the benefit of time or history for a more comprehensive evaluation. For used cars, Consumer Reports publishes a list of lemon vehicles for vehicle models which have proven to be lemony yellow in color and behavior based on a longer review period over several years. Don't let the dealer use a favorable Consumer Report review to inflate vehicle pricing on a deal. The same dealers likely would not discount any unfavorable CR review of its vehicles. Vehicles should receive favorable reviews--they should perform as designed and intended, and that they may do so should not increase their value substantially.

Consumer Reports Used Car Price Service: For $12 (or thereabouts) Consumer Reports will provide you with the dealer's costs for a vehicle make which can be useful in avoiding paying too much for any new car, (800) 933-5555, or (1-900-446-0500, $1.75 a minute). Used car prices may be available without cost at your library or from other publications or services. AAA also provides similar services to AAA members.

Advertising Age Magazine (Sept. 1993). "From Beetle to Bedraggled, Behind VW's Stunning US Decline," outlines VW's twenty year history of losing market share in the US reportedly due to poor product quality, low customer satisfaction (CSI) and poor initial quality (IQS) surveys. (Advertising Age may be available at your library?) Be Very Wary (VW?). Near the bottom of the heap according to credible industry rankings (1993 reports).

Motor Voter Press (now C.A.R.S. NEWS) [Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety] rating of 10 manufacturers according to the number of formal lemon dispute complaints filed against the car makers scored VW the worst among ten car makers ranked in 1993 in California, and worst by a factor of three over the 9th worst ranked car maker. You may contact or subscribe to "CARS NEWS" at: 1500 West El Camino Avenue, Suite 333, Sacramento, CA 95833 (916) 759-9440 t / (916) 750-9442 f. Saturn rated the best with eight other manufacturers rating between Saturn and VW, based on 1993 data. (This may be a good source of information indicating how well manufacturers back up their warranty and claims of customer service and satisfaction, or how well the do at faking "customer service").

VW seems to have gone out of its way to ding its customers and its nearly 45 degree slide in annual unit sales over twenty years in the US seems to be a textbook case of the market (consumers) rejecting shabby sales and service practices and abysmal quality problems. The best warranty isn't worth the paper its printed on unless the company "backs it up". A limited (very?) 10 year / 100,000 mile "power train" warranty pro-rated over the life of the vehicle, isn't worth as much as a 10 yr. / 100,000 bumper to cheap unreinforced 2.5 mph bumper warranty (of which there are none). Don't overvalue or let worthless "unbelievably fantastic" warranties make you think you should pay more for any vehicle.

Keep in mind that there are many systems other than the power train which can, upon failure, and most systems fail, render an automobile inoperable or unsafe (unroadworthy?).

Many consumers are finding it difficult to schedule factory promised service, because dealers are unable or unwilling to schedule warranty maintenance in a timely manner, resulting in consumers incurring costs of having the work done by independent service shops.

Time Magazine (July 25, 1994), "Good Guys Finish First." This 'story' includes a list of tricks industry insiders admitted playing on unaware consumers to milk inflated profits on car deals. Suggests (Oldsmobile) dealers that under(went) a 12 step-like demon propitiation and honesty reprogramming end up selling more vehicles than traditional sham oriented dealers. Duh, the no-brainer car deal -- honesty pays? Well, almost, as it turned out a high percentage of those sales personnel who undertook the retraining programs resorted to the "old dog" dealer tricks soon after completing the course. (See if your library has this one. Read between the lines.)

The rest must be selling "no-dicker" or non-negotiable "value priced" deals -- (one price fits all) with which auto manufacturers (GM at first, now others too) are posting record profits. Well, at least everyone pays too much equally with the so called "value-priced" deals. Some value, eh? Keep in mind that these deals are value priced for the dealer and manufacturer, not for the consumer. So try to negotiate even no-haggle or value priced deals too, as these so-called value priced deals are where the profits are.

Newsweek (July 28, 1997) "Oh, What a Feeling: Toyota tries to teach dealers the soft sell" by Daniel McGinn and Tara Weingarten. Toyota tries to rein in its dealers, essentially admitting that its dealers have been mistreating its customers. Story includes a "Dented Image" rating, with Saturn, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Cadillac, Ford and Chevrolet scoring above average in a survey of car buyers, and with Honda, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Jeep, Hyundai, and Kia scoring below average.(Rating Source: J.D. Powers & Associates and Automotive News). [Toyota: I Love What You Do To Me ...? ]

Toyota is now trying to defend its independence and control over (read price tactics) its dealers by discouraging Auto Nation (The Blockbuster of Auto Dealers) from buying up its independent franchises. See Awful Notions, a web site dedicated to exposing the underside of Auto Nation. Toyota is also refusing (challenging) a requirement in California that it fix smog control devices on 300,000 of its vehicles in the state which do not meet the Air Quality Boards emissions control standards. Apparently, Toyota's new marketing slogan must go like this, [Toyota: Killing our Customers is Good For Business... or Toyota, I love what you do to me...]

The California Motor Car Dealers Association blamed Chrysler for Laundering Lemons in California--oops, ran the stop light before the California New Motor Vehicle Board reversed the DMV's decision to revoke Chrysler's Drive Shaft License in California for 45 days. The DMV has an opportunity to revisit the case and sustain it through the Superior Court or offer another penalty. This memo is rather incriminating... even though the dealers seem to be trying to protect themselves by blaming Chrysler for not settling the case before dealers stood to lose approximately $60,000 each for the 45 day suspension. DMV could merely permit the sale of Chrysler vehicles while confiscating all proceeds to Chrysler and its offending dealers as a proper punishment, while protecting those Chrysler dealers who were not charged with laundering lemons.

The above matter is now in court, and Chrysler lost a round with the Judge who refused to remand the matter back to the New Motor Vehicle Board (an entity essentially staffed by and run by the industry for the industry) and will permit the case to proceed.


(Update)... the California New Motor Vehicle Board, staffed by auto dealers and their sympathizers, ruled in favor of Chrysler--surprise-surprise. The matter is back before the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which is taking its time to come up with its next move...your voice might help, but don't let this get in the way of your next round of golf or Ladies Aid meeting.

(October 1998) -- News-FLASH... Chrysler recalls 750,000 (3/4 of a million of its "products")... seems that they don't stay in "Park" and sometimes roll away. Keep the kids away from these, and make sure they stay away from the catalytic converter if its exposed beneath the car or where children playing near it may touch hot parts...

United States Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) (Public: As in "We The People")

San Jose Mercury News (Sunday, May 22, 1994),
"A Car Buyer's Guide to Sanity: Here's a low-price, low-stress route to getting the most for your dollars" (may be at your library on micro-fiche?). Find out why 44 auto dealers retaliated against the newspaper for printing this story-- why they did not want consumers to have this information, and why this story has not been reprinted since its original printing (except once in Maryland which was picked up on the FTC's radar scanner). The Federal Trade Commission found that the dealers' actions against the newspaper violated Federal Statues against restraint of free trade practices. The newspaper reportedly caved to restore its advertising revenues from the dealers which was reported to be between $200,00 and $1,000,000. You likely will not see this story printed again in any other major "middle-of-the-road" US newspaper, due to institutional biases favoring commercial and corporate self-interests. Get your hands on a copy of "A Car Buyer's Guide to Sanity," as it contains much of the inside information car dealers and manufacturers don't want consumers to have or know... it may be available at your library in its newspaper archives. Save this one in your files. Share it with family and friends. Have it bronzed like a pair of baby's shoes!!!

Washington Journalism Review,
"Auto Dealers Muscle the Newsroom" (Sept. 1991). (Defending a God-given right to lie, cheat and steal for fun and profit? or inCARhoots? ( :-) Family values? Ours, not yours!

American Journalism Review,
"Those Sensitive Auto Dealers Strike Again, and Another Newspaper Caves" (Sept. 1994). (Is there a pattern developing here? More inCARhoots & bad CARma.. :-) We have it on pretty well rumored authority, that Hell reserves its hottest depths for wayward car dealers and mechanics.

Scripps Howard News Service, by Mary Diebel,
"Lemon Autos Secretly Sold In Other States, Consumer Groups Want US to Probe Car Laundering." (Nov. 1995). (What, who? Not us, surely not us? Ever notice how its always the other guy who is responsible for sham sales and service practices...? Never the dealer or salesperson you're talking to?)

"The Tangled Web They Weave: Truth, Falsity and Advertisers" by Ivan Preston (The slippery truth slope of advertising and how advertising can be fixed to better serve commerce and consumers without lying. Keep in mind that in order to be illegal, advertising must both be false and misleading. The truth, no matter how misleading is never illegal under current law. So, if you're going to lie, do it truthfully.)

"The Sponsored Life" by Leslie Savin (More on the mediaization of our culture.) [Isn't it wonderful to be a "free" and self-respecting democratic people?]

"Four Arguments For The Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander (Guide to TV media / advertising education for the media age. How to watch TV intelligently (is this possible?) by understanding the medium, its effects on human physiology and the medium's inherent biases and limitations) (Read this and improve your television viewing intelligence quotient -- great educational tool for children who have become addicted to TV). They may as well know what TV is doing to their brain cells and mitochondria. Just call it the Alpha State Machine (ASM)... the opiate of the masses. Ahhh... Frrrreeeedumb.... "Four Arguments..." includes the following:

1. The Mediation of Experience
2. The Colonization of Experience
3. Effects of Television on the Human Being
4. The Inherent Biases of Television

"Understanding Media" by Marshall McCluhan ('The Medium Is the Message')

"Coercion: Why We Listen to What They Say" by Douglas Rushkoff

The Baffler Magazine
Blunting the cutting edge... ["bleeding edge"?]

"Auto Dealers Muscle The Newsroom" Washington Journalism Review (Sept. 1991) (More inCARhoots?)

"Those Sensitive Auto Dealers Strike Again, and Another Newspaper Caves" American Journalism Review (Sept. 1994) (So much for freedom of the press?) (inCARhootiehoothoots?)

"From Beetle To Bedraggled, Behind VW's Stunning US Decline" Advertising Age, September 1993 (At your library?) (Are you considering rewarding VW with your business for its twenty year, nearly 45 degree slide in US sales figures due to poor customer satisfaction and initial quality surveys?)

"Volkswagen and Its Workers During the Third Reich" by Hans Mommsen (In German, no English translations planned, [non, ne ce pas?]). According to Associated Press, the book has renewed discussion of VW's use of "slave labor" during World War II; 'Complete with photos of Der Fuehrer admiring a Beetle model, it is the most comprehensive -- and potentially damaging -- history ever written about the Nazi-era birth of the company. (Book commissioned by VW) (AP story may be available from newspaper archives around the date of November 8, 1996). This book will likely become evidence against VW and other German companies which have been sued (August / September 1998) in a case to gain reparations for their abuse of slave labor before and during WW II.

So if you didn't have a good excuse for paying too much for a VW, perhaps you do now?

The new buggier VW-Mexican McBeetle (VW's Concept One) now promised by VW for over three years (building up demand to inflate demand = increased price?), is reported to be coming out in the spring of 1998. The only pictures we've seen show it conspicuously in Lemon Yellow (Truth in Advertising?). Made in Mexico! Supposedly to be available 'starting' at over "ONLY" $16,000. Fools rush in. Savvy consumers let automobile fruit ripen on the lot to increase the dealer's and manufacturer's demand for consumers, and to let the less savvy consumer guinea-pig the bugs in VW's new Mexican Beetles. Practice your dealer milking skills. If you just gotstahaveone, practice your walking skills. Plant the heal of your left or right foot and push off with the other foot, doing a 180 degree maneuver, or just make your best lowball offer and dig in your heels and spurs and pull, always courteously, and with well rehearsed humble civility of course. Wait for VW to get the bugs out of its "new" Mexican Beetles, before biting.

"Nice Guys Finish First?" by Paul Gray, Time Magazine (July 25, 1994) (A story that suggests that (Oldsmobile) dealers that undergo consumer orientation retraining (sort of a twelve step program to de-sham sales personnel) increases sales,--but also unearths some of the seedier side of the industry and reveals that many who undertake the retraining return to the "old dog" dealing tricks of the industry.) Honesty pays, eh? Novel idea! This is probably why "value pricing" works so well for the dealer and the manufacturer, -- because everyone feels that paying too much equally is better than having someone else negotiate a better deal on the same vehicle model at the same dealer. Some choice, pay the no-haggle price or negotiate for a fairer price. If you are not negotiating value priced deals, you likely are paying way too much, as manufacturers are posting record profits using these pricing schemes. The job of consumers is to exercise their moderating effects on profit creep and price gouging and to keep manufacturer and dealer profits to an absolute minimum. When dealers post record profits, this means consumers are not doing their job well enough. Be ready, willing and able to walk, and when enough consumers do the same, prices will come down accordingly.

"SmartSense" (Duh-wah?) Publishes Car Buying Site by Ed Stevens (Mr.Stevens trained car dealer sales staff for 18 years and now apparently wants you to buy his book on how to deal with the dealer... possibly some good information, but you can likely find similar information at your library or via other publications... and of course, you won't see anything about dinging the manufacturer in Mr. Steven's presentations, as expected. If you believe that buying a car is smart and makes sense perhaps this site is for you.) Relying on a single source for information is a car buyer's second mistake.


CarSmart is another car buyers web resource (search by name). Cars are smart? Yeah, sure. CARveat Emptor. Chronic Car Deal Illiteracy Syndrome, which is at epidemic levels in America, even as the automobile celebrates its 102nd birthday, can be erased.

"A Car Buyer's Guide to Sanity," by Mark Schwanhausser, San Jose Mercury News, (May, 22, 1994) (check your library or call the paper, (408) 920-5000. Find out what the dealers didn't want the San Jose Mercury News telling consumers about how to negotiate fair dealer profits.

DATELINE NBC's CARveat Emptor "Carpycat" Site: References Lemon Resales Rip-offs; Good US Lemon Law Reference Site Page & Map. Borrowed "CARveat Emptor" without permission or credit... ofvaah!

Find out which of the American auto manufacturers were able to have their auto factories in Germany protected from American bombing raids, and who supplied the German war machine with vehicles and equipment before and during the war against the Allied forces. Find out which major U.S. newspaper family required favorable reportage by its editors and reporters of Hitler's Nazi Germany before the war. [Socialism, you say? We'd settle for merely democracy and capitalism. But, fat chance of these taking root in America, especially now that Prozac has become so popular. Keep in mind that, 1% of Americans own 90% of the wealth in America, and the bottom 80% of income earners are working more and earning less in real dollars and they have been for the last twenty years. This is capitalism? This is democracy? This is economic fascism! More free trade anyone? Here, pass the gravy-train, too? Unfortunately we have ceded economic, political and social democracy to the undemocracy of the corporatocracy. ] Would a self-respecting, free and democratic people permit others, wielding the state created privilege of the corporate truncheon to appropriate as much as 2000% of the value of the productivity of labor? So why do we? This isn't capitalism and this isn't democracy, its cultural default... '...if you want to control people, tell them they are unworthy and promise them freedom at dollars on the penny..."

"Go figure" your annual & LIFETIME of car ownership costs: (Is it worth it?) (Try $400,000 or more for merely average (much more for luxury vehicles and SUVs) car purchase and operations costs over a lifetime). Half this amount or less per auto consumer would fund mass or public transit works programs for better transportation and healthier air, and provide viable and competitive alternatives to the private automobile for many personal transport needs. "Laugh, You're Paying For It. "Think Globally, Pollute Locally?" Expensive Superpolluting SUVs - killing you (us) softly... and invisibly... cough, cough, hack, hack, sputum, sputum...

Add up the ownership costs for a year, for the life of the vehicle or for your lifetime of driving. Include insurance, license and registration, depreciation (cost of car minus current trade-in-value, divided by years of ownership) and finance charge, if any. How much of your income taxes pay for highway and road construction and maintenance? Note that the average depreciation costs of a new American car is around $3500. Calculate the costs of car ownership over various periods. Project your lifetime of car ownership and operating costs based on your car purchasing history -- how often you buy a new or used car. This is what you could save if you went carless or if you used public transit instead of the expensive and inefficient private petromobile.

The average total cost for car ownership and operation is approximately $7,000 per year. Assuming you own a vehicle for sixty years of you life, you're looking at approximately $420,000 in total car ownership and operations costs assuming you don't get dinged on deals more than the average person does routinely. The trick to the Great American Car Deal is to avoid it at all costs if possible--just Don't Have A Car, Man!, and if you must buy, lease or have one serviced, the trick is to keep consumer costs to an absolute minimum by negotiating thousands off the price of every new car.

Go figure your LIFETIME of car operating costs: It adds up! Laugh, You're paying for it...? An average lifetime of automobile ownership and operation costs now exceeds $450,000, more than twice the cost for median priced American homes.

Add up all costs for operating your car per year and for the period of ownership of the vehicle.
You can estimate these costs by taking the costs for a month and multiplying twelve to give you the yearly costs, but actual costs over the time period is more accurate. Include gas, oil, tickets, tolls and parking, maintenance costs, car washes and other car related costs including property taxes which fund road construction and repair. Etc.

Consider subscribing to AAA or other auto club, (Yield/Caution Here - AAA has been reported to have been working politically to prevent increases in required mileage per gallon of new vehicles. Proposed increases in fuel efficiency wouldn't have even gone into effect until years from now. Perhaps AAA does not see air polution as a serious public health threat?) if not immediately upon purchasing a new car, then within a year or two, as you can recoup the costs of membership on one or two flat tire repairs -- if you need road service, its worth it to be enrolled. You likely will need roadside service within the first few years of car ownership, with such needs increasing as the vehicle ages. Shop around for the best policy. AAA, Allstate Motor Club, and others may be good sources for information such as annual car ownership and operating costs (this information may be difficult to extract from the manufacturer of dealer. Demand it anyway as a condition of your personal consumership policy -- be dealer-like in this regard).

"When Lemons are Packaged as Peaches: A Report on Californians Who Don't Know They Own Lemon Vehicles: Who Are They? Who's At Fault" Who Gets Hurt?" by California Legislature Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection Governmental Efficiency and Economic Development (Jackie Speier, Chair), October 24, 1994, POB 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0001 (916) 324-7440, f- (916) 445-0511

"COST OF OWNING AND OPERATING Automobiles, Vans and Light Trucks 1991," by the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Information Management, Washington, DC 20590 (Published in 1984 and 1991, (there may be a more current update) -- Rates the per mile ownership and operation costs of subcompact cars, compact cars, intermediate sized cars, full-sized cars, compact pickups, full sized pickups, mini vans, and full sized vans according to depreciation, insurance, maintenance, parking & tolls, tires, finance charges, license, registration and taxes, fuel & oil (excluding taxes), fuel & oil taxes, and total criteria: with Subcompacts costing 28.9 cents per mile; Full sized cars costing 37.9 cents per mile, and full-sized vans costing 44.8 cents per mile, based on 12 years of suburban ownership and operation for a total of 128,500 miles -- the miles per year driven are based on decreasing averages beginning at 12,500 miles the firs year, to 8,200 miles in year 12. Your experience and costs may vary depending on your driving mileage and habits (addictions?). If published at seven years intervals, the next edition of this informative booklet should be out in 1998. You mean the government knows how much cars costs (without fraud, waste and abuse added in) and yet there is no meaningful and comprehensive auto industry regulation to protect the industry, consumers and our economy from the negative impacts of unfair, manipulative and fraudulent sales and service practices. Yepsiree!

Your state or county department of motor vehicles (DMV) or consumer protection agency (if they have not been closed down or emasculated by government 'downsizing') may be a good source of automobile consumer awareness and assistance in resolving dealer and manufacturer problems (check your phone book for local offices or call information at your state capitol for phone listings).

"Getting to Yes," by Roger Fisher and William Ury. (General negotiating principles, published by Harvard University Press) (have a best alternative to a negotiated settlement at the ready during any negotiations -- another vehicle, no vehicle or no deal,-- a bicycle or public transit?) Also see, "How To OUTNEGOTIATE Anyone (Even Car Dealers)" above.


Leasing a car?
Is leasing a better deal for you, your friends and family?(Generally not!) Find out why dealers like leasing so much that 2000 consumers in Florida who thought they were buying cars outright, ended up being leased cars unwittingly by Shyster Motors, Inc.(©) Check out the following car leasing checklist which may help save hundreds if not thousands of dollar$off the price (Cap costs?) of your next new car lease:

The Reality Checklist for Vehicle Leasing

send $1.50 SASE to
Consumer Task Force -
Reality Checklist for Vehicle Leasing
POB 7648
Atlanta, GA 30357

(don't get dinged on "Cap" costs in auto lease deals....many have! (:- (

If you don't know what you are doing, consider educating yourself until you do before proceeding. Dealers are pushing leases because they profit more from lease deals. Make the Car-Deal-Literacy-to-Library-Connection to avoid the gazillions of car deal and service tricks and consumer mistakes which cost consumers tens of billions of dollars unnecessarily every year in America alone. Just go to y our library or bookstore and spend some quality time with a few of the many books available on how to buy, own and operate automobiles, if you cannot just Don't Have A Car, Man!, without getting taken for the classic car deal ride, every time... Invest your savings, reTIRE early, or be more charitable... society, the economy, and the environment needs your generosity and care.

New leasing rules do not require dealers to disclose APR costs which is the lease interest rate (similar to loan interest rate). Demand that this be provided and disclosed in writing. Verify this and compare between lease deals before leasing.

"Auto Leasing Concerns - Things to consider before leasing a car" by

Florida Attorney General, Robert Butterworth
4000 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 505-South
Hollywood, Florida 33021

(2000 Florida car buyers were leased vehicles they thought they were buying)


General Consumer Tip: When paying with cash at convenience or small retail establishments, call out the denomination of the money you are handing the cashier. We've experienced a situation on several occasions where a twenty was tendered to pay for small items. The cashier was able to hide it and display a $10 bill and return change for the $10 instead of the $20. Always count your change.


Auto Alternatives | Drive Shafts | Dealing With The Dealer
Hidden Profit$ | Consumer Driven Deals | Car Consumer Resources
Auto Industry Cases | Car Deal Repair Kit | My Last VW Mistake
"Ten Reasons" | Lemon Proofing Deals | CARveat's Caveat
You Can Help | CARveat Emptor Flyer | VW Junkyard | Links
My Other Car Not A VW | Legislative Alerts | Dodging Chryslers
Mini Van Junkyard | Activist Flyers True Costs of Driving | Car Deal Illiteracy
15 Sec. Car Deal Lecture | Parallel Parking | Test-I-Moanials

 

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