I dealt with Modern Nissan over the phone for a couple of weeks on a very specific vehicle (a 4WD Armada). During our first call we haggled on price a bit but the dealer would not move on price because the SUV had only been on the lot for 2 weeks. Understandable. They offered an alternative which was 2WD, and I declined. I clearly stated that I was not interested in a 2WD because I was replacing a 4WD. I needed a 4WD.
Fast-forward 2 weeks, and I’d secured a deal with a competitor for a 4WD Armada at a price in my comfort zone. I called Modern Nissan back to see if they wanted to sell their 4WD Armada to me (e.g. reduce their price), or whether I should proceed with my purchase from their competitor (I had a slight preference for their Armada, mainly because of color, otherwise I would not have called). After a few back and forth calls in the same day, I was pleasantly surprised by the sales associate (who seemed unusually sheepish this particular time on the phone) when she gave me a price that was close enough to the competition to get me to switch to their offer and drive over 1.5 hours to get my new car. I had back-to-back meetings scheduled for the rest of the day, so I quickly accepted her offer, told her I'd be there around 7:00 PM, rushed to the bank to get a certified check, and proceeded to my afternoon meetings.
I arrived at the dealership at 7:15 PM, excited to see that they'd washed my new SUV and it was ready to go. I was immediately greeted (by a different sales associate), so I had an expectation that I'd be back on the road with my new Armada in under 30 minutes ...until... I realized they'd prepped the 2WD. I told the new salesperson that they prepped the wrong SUV, and that I was there for the 4WD. She went back into the showroom for at least 20 minutes (waiting game), and (long story short) she came out and said I'd need to discuss the price difference between the 2WD and the 4WD with the sales manager. I was livid. I walked into the showroom and demanded that they honor the offer they'd made earlier in the day, but they refused, saying it was an "honest mistake" (hmm, how can this happen? Don’t they deal in cars all day every day, how do they keep it all straight? At this point it was apparent that they’d quoted the MSRP from the lower price vehicle just to get me into their showroom). The manager offered me a price within a few hundred dollars of the price he'd quoted 2 weeks earlier and told me he was willing to "lose money" because of the misunderstanding (lose money, as if). He even showed me a computer screen that showed how much he'd be losing. I told him that I was a Computer Engineer and that my son could write a program like that in 15 minutes, possibly in his sleep (computers don't lie right?). He backed away from the “computer” deception pretty very quickly after that. But I was still at a disadvantage. I had driven over 1.5 hours (look-up: Sunk Cost Fallacy) with family in tow (more sunk cost, I needed another driver) and "new car" on my brain, -and- they had successfully reset the negotiation back their favor. I should have walked out right away, but against my better judgement we haggled at the dealership (again: sunk cost fallacy - it is more powerful than I realized). I ended up paying more than I'd resolved to pay for that specific vehicle the night before - I would not have driven to Winston Salem had they given me this price over the phone...Modern Nissan won.
Shame on me for not getting the offer in writing, complete with VIN number and out-the-door price - I was in a hurry because of my hectic schedule. Cost me a few hundred at least.
Shame on Modern Nissan for switching cars on me (or "honest mistake"?). I learned a new trick that car dealers can use...again: cost me a few hundred dollars. I hope this does not happen to you.
Shame on Modern Nissan for using a bogus computer program to try to convince naive customers how much they "lose" on each car sale (poor guys, it is amazing they are still in business after selling so many cars at a loss, gosh)
Advice: Finally, if you are a savvy negotiator, be aware there are at least 3 levels at Modern Nissan -- If you ask for a manager, you’ll get someone with “manager” in their title, but they have little to no negotiating power. Ask for their manager...I think the title is “Director of Sales” - don’t quote me on that one though. The “manager” was not able to budge from the “almost MSRP” price (I would have walked), but the director was able to shave a little more off.