It’s not enough, apparently, to sell you just the car. There is also the hard sell, once you’ve bought the car. The trying to get you to buy what you don’t need – because you just bought a new car, which ought to not need the things they’re trying to sell you.
Like “36 month scheduled maintenance,” for instance – for only $1,328. On top of what you just paid for a brand-new Subaru Crosstrek, as my sister in California just did. The thing is a brand-new Subaru does not need any “scheduled maintenance” for the first three years – other than the most basic/trivial services, such as engine oil and filter changes. These Subaru recommend be changed every 5,000-7,500 miles so maybe twice a year. Assuming two oil/filter changes annually at $50 per, that works out to about $300 out of pocket over the course of three years (36 months).
The rest of the “scheduled maintenance” offered by the dealer involves “checking” and “inspecting” things that will almost certainly not need maintenance of any kind. Or rather, any kind that costs – the dealership – that tried to sell my sister this wonderful “coverage.” Because brand-new cars are brand-new cars. They are made of brand-new parts.
And any brand-new part that fails during the first three years/36,000 miles will be covered by the Subaru new car warranty.
But never mind that. The dealer’s “certified, factory trained technicians and friendly staff stand ready to help ensure that you will be satisfied – and safe . . .”
Then the dealer then proffered an extended warranty on the brand-new Crosstrek, the brand-new car my sister bought so as to not have to worry about car problems. It’s the chief reason people buy a new car – and the main “sell.” You will not have to worry about the car breaking down and costing you money.
You know, like your old car.
The one you’re getting rid of because it is breaking down all the time and costing you money all the time,
Once the dealer has your money, though, the new car tune changes. The skies darken. That new car you just bought is suddenly fraught with down-the-road peril.
To salve your fears about how much you may have to pay if something should go wrong at some indeterminate point in the future is to pay the dealer – right now – $2,995 (sounds a little better than $3,000) for “coverage.” But the warranty coverage is only valid for 100,000 miles, while Subaru covers the drivetrain (the expensive stuff) for five years and 60,000 miles. What are the odds of something expensive going wrong with the car’s drivetrain – its engine and transmission – during those 40,000 “uncovered” miles?
Bet your bippie the extended warranty actuaries – more about them below – have calculated them and know them to be very, very low. Because the way the sellers of extended warranties make money on them is by not paying for “covered” repairs. And if something did go wrong and my sister had not bought the “coverage”? Well, she’d have $3,000 to pay for repairs, wouldn’t she?
Well then, how about some “carefree” paint protection? Yep. They’re still selling this one, too. And for only $1,150! But you are getting the “ultimate” in protection. “Molecular adhesion” will protect inside as well as outside from spills and stains. The “protection” is good for seven years, too!
How much is a can of Scotchguard fabric protectant and a bottle of high-quality wax down at the NAPA store? About $14 for the Scotchguard. A bottle of top-shelf wax such as Zymol will set you back about $17. Put the $1,119 you just didn’t spend back in your pocket. It’s almost enough to pay for Ding Shield ($1,149) which “covers” cosmetic wheel repair and headlight refinishing, among other terrors you might otherwise need to deal with on your own. “Headlight refinishing” meaning they use rubbing compound on the plastic headlight covers when they yellow (as they will) from exposure to the sun. You can do this yourself, with a rag and a ten dollar tub of rubbing compound.
You might keep that tub and rag handy, too – so as to avoid paying another $1,295 for “smart” glass protection. It is sound practice to reflexively assume stupid – and needlessly expensive – whenever you hear about “smart” anything.
The “Smart” windshield protection coating – what that coating is remains mysterious – “improves your windshield clarity and helps protect against damage caused by road hazards.”
No doubt Subaru will be wanting to know that the windshield glass it installs is in need of “clarity” right from the factory. Lawyers, meanwhile, will appreciate the carefully weasel-worded “helps protect” part. Just like the “vaccines” – but more expensive.
You may have some cash left in your wallet for $995 in additional coverage for tire problems, already covered by the tire manufacturer’s warranty coverage.
How much would all this coverage have cost my sister, if she’d been mark enough to pay for it all? A mere $9,807 – or just a bit less than half the $23k the Crosstrek itself cost her.
Al of this “coverage” is provided by a third party entity called JM&A Group, which promises to “drive revenue” and “create efficiencies” . . . for and with the new car dealerships it works with.
And they wonder why some call them stealerships.
. . .
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