For over a year we’ve heard about a chip shortage and supply chain issues that have made it difficult to buy a new car, plus surcharges that have been tacked on the MSRP. I now know that the dire warnings are true, but I still managed to find the car I wanted at a price I was willing to pay.

I had done my research beforehand, so I was pretty sure what make, model, and trim line I wanted; I just needed to confirm with a test drive.

The first dealership I went to was the closest to me and had shown on their website that they had four of the type of car I was looking for on the lot. I was assigned a sales representative who looked to be about 20 years old; I told him that I wanted to test drive one of the cars I saw on the website.

He told me that they didn’t have any of the particular car I wanted in stock. I pointed out that their own site said that they had four such models, to which he replied, “The website isn’t always right.” Then why have it?

I told him that if they didn’t have the model I wanted there was no reason to stay and he just watched while my wife and I walked away. Now, it’s been my experience in previous car buying adventures that once a prospective buyer comes in, the salespeople do anything to prevent you from leaving.

Not this guy; he didn’t take my name and number and promise to call me if one of the cars I wanted came in, he didn’t try to steer me to another model- nothing.

The second dealership we went to was a little farther away, but we made the trip. When we pulled into the lot, I saw the car I wanted: make, model, trim line, and color. I told our salesman (who also looked to be around 20 years old) that I wanted to test drive the car on the lot; he tossed me the keys and we went for a drive.

The car rode wonderfully, confirming my research, and I was feeling good about getting the car I wanted that day.

When we got back from our test drive, I told the young man that I was interested in the car and we should discuss price. He said that they were going for MSRP, which I had expected. But when I looked on the window, next to the sticker was another piece of paper that said, “Market adjustment fee: $5,000.”

I asked him what that was about and he said it was being added to all the cars. I told him that I wasn’t going to pay 5 grand over the sticker and what could he do about that? He shrugged and said there was nothing he could do; I asked to speak to the sales manager but I was told he was “crazy busy” today.

So we walked away and, again, there was no attempt to get us to stay, they let an eager car buyer just leave.

I called ahead to the next dealer to make sure we weren’t just wasting our time, because it was a lot farther away (it’s in Edison and I live in Ocean County). The man who answered the phone assured me that yes, they had several of the cars I wanted, and, no, they didn’t charge a market adjustment fee.

I’ll tell you the name of the third dealership since it was a positive experience: Reydel Volkswagen of Edison. Our salesman, Ray, knew every detail about the car and explained all its features to us while we were taking the test drive. Ray was awesome.

The only thing that wasn’t perfect was the color, but I quickly decided that for a $5,000 difference I could have a new favorite color.

So, after being discouraged by the lack of stock and incredible markups, I bought the car I wanted for a price I (pretty much) wanted. So a long day ended on a happy note.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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