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Why is Buying a Car in the USA Such an Ordeal?

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On January 9, 2013 @ 7:30 pm In Consumer Spending | Comments Disabled

The other night, I found myself in a high-rent, commercial neighborhood in suburbia, where most of the buildings were medical offices and car dealers and luxury retailers. Since Mrs. TBP was at the movies with her girlfriend, I decided to pop into a few places to see a what cars on my short list might replace what’s coming off lease in the Spring.

At the Audi dealership, I looked at the A7/S7. At Infiniti, I looked at the G37 convertible and the M37/56.

Perhaps it had to do with the tony neighborhood (Great Neck and Manhasset), but I came away with the distinct feeling in both locales that this was merely an exercise in trying to separate me from as much of my money per month as possible.

It was a few specific things and lots of general sense. Perhaps my prior experiences have colored my expectations.

But what wasn’t an option was walking into a dealer, seeing prices like in a restaurant or department store, and placing an order.

Which raises the question: Why is buying a car so frustrating? Why is what is likely to be the 2nd biggest purchase for most American families so fraught with pitfalls and danger and financial risks and annoyances?

Why does car buying suck?


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