Did you pay too much for your car?

You work hard for your money. You have better things to do with it than give it away to a greedy, conniving car dealer. But if you shopped at an auto dealership last year, chances are you paid too much. By a lot.

Car dealers across the nation are crowing about the record-breaking profits they’re making during the pandemic.  Their fat profits are being fueled by people who are flocking to buy cars — understandably fearful about taking public transportation, flying in airplanes, or using ride-shares or other modes of transportation where they risk being in an enclosed space with others who may be spreading the Coronavirus.

According to Automotive News, “AutoNation, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., hit a record-high quarterly F&I [Finance and Insurance] profit per vehicle retailed on a same-store basis with an average of $2,172, an increase of 12 percent, or $240, from year-ago figures.”

AutoNation is publicly traded on Wall Street. They operate over 315 new car dealerships nationwide. Over the years, their biggest investor has included an entity affiliated with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Keep in mind that $2,172 is just AutoNation’s profit on the financing and insurance products they foist off on consumers. They also profit handsomely on the price of the car itself.

Imagine what you could do with $2,172.  Maybe feed your family for months. Pay college tuition and get a better job. Get a much better vehicle you really like, that’s friendlier to the environment and safer for you and your family.

Plus — something AutoNation apparently doesn’t like anyone to mention publicly — they deliberately sell their customers cars with dangerous unrepaired safety recall defects. Especially cars with killer safety defects that you cannot get fixed because there are huge shortages of repair parts.

So if you buy that recalled car, there’s no way you can get it made safe. Sometimes the parts delays can last for months, or over a year. Meanwhile, you are your family are at serious risk of being injured or killed.

Please don’t assume you will have time to get the recall fixed before tragedy strikes. Auto safety defects are like ticking time bombs.  In San Diego, four members of one family –a highway patrol officer, his wife, their 13-year-old daughter, and the officer’s brother-in-law — were killed by an unsafe car the same day, just hours after a dealership handed the CHP officer the keys. They were on their way to a soccer match when the fatal defect happened.

If you don’t feel like overpaying for a dangerous deathtrap, please consider buying from another consumer and avoiding car dealers altogether. You still have to be careful, and do your homework. But at least you won’t be stuck dealing with a dealership chain that is out to maximize their profits at your expense.

How can you take control of your car buying experience, and get a good deal on a nice, safe, reliable used car? Check out these step-by-step tips from pro-consumer experts.

Your life is precious. You deserve to get the full value of what you pay for. Stay safe — and save!

Car Dealers Rake in Billions

Auto dealers like to pose as “Main Street” “mom and pop” businesses, in order to get concessions from legislators and regulators. But according to Automotive News, “The $1 billion club for 2012 includes 34 [dealership] groups, including 13 with more than $2 billion.”

Increasingly, auto dealerships are consolidating and thousands are publicly traded on Wall Street. Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one of the largest investors in the nation’s largest auto dealership chain, AutoNation, which reportedly grossed  $15,668,8000,000 last year.*

*Automotive News, “Top 125 dealership groups in the U.S.” – March, 2013.