Update, June 2020
I bought another automobile from Hertz Car Sales, this time a jazz blue 2019 Chrysler Pacifica minivan/bus for the kids to ruin in comfort. Due to media attention of Hertz’s bankruptcy, and the mistaken belief that Hertz is having a fire sale, Hertz dealerships are packed. But here’s the thing: Hertz’s low prices are no different than they already were. The Pacifica was $19,300, about $2,000 below Kelly Blue Book (KBB). I’ve been tracking this vehicle—and others—for over a year and outside of normal depreciation, the price has not changed.
What has changed is the buying experience. I submitted my financing application online at 11 a.m. and the five of us arrived at the dealership at 5:30 p.m on a Friday. I figured we would be in-and-out within an hour. Nope. We didn’t leave until 10 p.m. (My local Hertz closes at 8 p.m., but they’re so backed up that they stay late.)
Also, no one greeted us at the dealership. After 10 minutes of standing inside the dealership (this was after 15 minutes walking around the lot), I said hello to an employee who turned out to be a manager. He said hello back and simply put his head down. I asked to drive the Pacifica, he sighed, and said he would get someone to help “when he can.” I thought about leaving, but money over emotions, I guess.
We test drove the vehicle about 30 minutes later and everything was fine. Except they had not processed the financial application that I had sent in the morning. They ran my numbers and the manager came back with a zero down at five percent interest over 60 months deal. Actually, he didn’t tell me the rate until I asked twice. He was focused on the payment. I’ve experienced this at other dealerships, but never at Hertz. The cost of vehicle is no-haggle, so don’t try to trick me on the numbers, man!
I informed the manager that I had already been approved for 3.49 percent by my credit union (which was now closed). He then said he had a pending offer that could match the credit union. Apparently, the five percent deal was just the first. He asked that I wait a bit longer and he would have likely have a better deal. So I went back outside to the lot, where the kids were running around buckwild, and I saw the manager drive off. I figured he was taking a break, but he was taking his ass home!
I spoke to another employee. He let me know that someone else would take care of me. This finance guy was much better. He said they normally sell 90 vehicles per month. They were already at 120 with 11 days left. Anyway, I got the financing deal I wanted, and he even made paper airplanes for the kids.
Oh yeah, I received an extra $350 off for mentioning that I’m a Hertz Gold member. Well, I had to mention it three times and have them reprint the paperwork before I signed. But…we got the vehicle we wanted at more than fair price. I guess putting in 4.5 hours of “work” at the dealership was worth it.
In an earlier post, I described buying a car from Hertz Car Sales after searching for a vehicle with “plush back seats for the kids’ booster seats or parental intercourse (and) high safety ratings because angry white men in large pickup trucks aggressively ride my bumper.” I ended up buying a 2016 Volkswagen Passat, which, 18 months later, has yet to give me a single problem and still looks new on those rare occasions that I actually wash it.
I returned to Hertz Car Sales (Cincinnati) last week to help my dad find a car. He was looking for something roomy and comfortable with low miles. Of course, being that old school brothas like to show out, he also wanted something with a bit of luxury and style. Inexpensive, somewhere around $10,000, was also ideal.
Here’s the issue: Most of the cars that Hertz sales are standard rental cars with few frills. They do have some luxury rides—Mercedes, Cadillac, Infiniti, and even the occasional Range Rover—but they’re newer models and still cost a premium (though typically $2,000 less than the Kelley Blue Book price).
Fortunately, we lucked out on a 2013 Volkswagen CC. Yeah, I had never heard of it either. According to my mechanic friend, “It’s an Audi A6 without the nameplate.” It had heated leather seats (power), Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, HID headlights, a one-year warranty, and looked like it should be used to chauffeur a diplomat. Most importantly, it only had 31,000 miles and was listed at just $11,390, minus an additional $350 because we used their online promo code: HCSLOYAL.
The buying process was simple. Unlike most car dealerships, all the vehicles at Hertz are priced as listed and there’s “no haggle.” There’s no salesman in ill-fitting khakis trying to upsell you warranties and other stuff you don’t need. I was in and out of there in about an hour.
Anyhow, if you’re frugal like me and demand value when purchasing an depreciating asset, Hertz is your place. So far. If not I’m sure my dad will be right back down there returning the car.