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How To Buy a NEW Harley: 101

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Old 11-30-2008, 02:34 PM
Scubadog Scubadog is offline
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Default How To Buy a NEW Harley: 101

I have read a lot of posts on buying new bikes and people wondering if they are getting a good deal.

I am an ex-salesman. Made a lot of $$$ and hated the job. So here is my ten dollars worth of opinion and what I’d suggest. Some may like it and some may not. That’s what public forums are all about. What a country!!

New Vehicle Purchase: 101

Do all of your research and decide on the exact “TOTAL OUT THE DOOR” deal you want. Write it on the back of a business card.

Go into the dealer one hour before closing. Ask for the sales manager and tell him or her that you have done all of your research and that you know exactly what you want and that no sales are necessary. Give the business card to the sales manager and ask him or her to please call your cell before the end of TODAY if they decide to accept your offer. Tell them that you might change your mind tomorrow or you might continue shopping around with other dealers, but that THIS is the ONLY deal that you will make TODAY. Tell them that you are RESPECTING them by being HONEST and by telling them exactly the deal you are willing to commit to RIGHT NOW to make a deal TODAY. Tell them that you will RESPECT them by being totally HONEST with them and ask them to RESPECT you by being totally HONEST with you. Ask them to RESPECT you by not having you sit in an office while they “see what they can do” and to RESPECT you by NOT calling you or bothering you with ANY deal that is other than the exact deal you are willing to make TODAY. Then politely thank them for their time and head for the car, but take a minute to look at a few bikes on the way out. If you get to the car and drive away without them calling you back in then you will have gained valuable information and confirmed that your offer is a deal they cannot possibly make. Or.. You might get your deal. You can always go back tomorrow. I promise that you will not hurt their feelings or otherwise jeopardize the process of you giving them your money on another day.

Here’s the simple truth. It is the dealer’s job to sell the bike for as much as they can get and it is your job to buy the bike for as little as you can. A salesman’s responsibility is to make money for his family and a buyer’s responsibility is to save money for his family. It’s as simple as that. All of the sparring and BS that goes into a new purchase is completely fair game for both parties. This purchase should be strictly business, no emotions and no guilt trips. Always remember that the seller invented the game, made all of the rules, has home-court advantage and has paid off the review judge in the instant replay booth.

A Harley salesman is no different than any other new vehicle salesman. The job by nature is designed for them to benefit by intentionally providing you with false information. So for arguments sake, let’s just say that intentionally providing false information is lying. If dealers do not like this word they can solve the issue by placing a bottom line price-tag on every bike and that would be it. But in the real world, the sales manager instructs the salesman to be ‘less than honest” with you about the “BEST” deal he can make. I know that sounds harsh and all of the Defenders of the Dealers will cry foul. But vehicle salespersons and sales managers will not tell the truth 99.99% of the time and here is a simple test to prove it. Walk into any dealer and ask for the sales manager. Tell him that you are here to make an HONEST deal and that if he RESPECTS you by being completely HONEST with you, that you will RESPECT him by being completely HONEST with him. He will say OK. Ask him to please RESPECT you and tell you the very best deal he can make you on an 09 Ultra with ABS and security. Once he gives you the number tell him that you will make the deal RIGHT NOW if he takes off $300 and throws in a free 1000mi service. Write your offer on a business card, politely thank him for his time and head for the door. I guaranty that you will never make it to the car, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Why?? Because the sales manager did not RESPECT your request to tell you the best deal he can make. Dealers will call this process “negotiations” and I agree that it sounds a lot less harsh than “Lying”. Whatever you want to call it, you have the power to eliminate all of it by making it CRYSTAL CLEAR that you are not here to negotiate. You are here to make a firm HONEST offer and you are simply asking for HONESTY and RESPECT. If the salesman continues to “negotiate” or “sell” then politely stop him and calmly explain what you meant by “RESPECT”.

A Dealer has a right to make a profit. A buyer has a right to pay whatever he wants. For every Wolf that makes a deal this month there will be a Sheep that paid $2,000 more for the exact same bike. It is YOU that must choose between being the Sheep or the Wolf. The sheep are easy to spot. They spend all day at the dealer negotiating a “deal”. Once that deal is done the Sheep will typically grab their ankles and walk backwards over to the chrome department.

If you are worried about developing a lasting and loving relationship with your dealer than have some pizzas and beer delivered after you make your deal.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:51 PM
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UH60Hwkdrvr UH60Hwkdrvr is offline
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Great piece of advice, but you don't tell us what we should be paying; only how to get the deal I want. I have read articles about automobiles, which offer advice about invoice prices and about a fair profit for the dealer. What SHOULD I be paying for an '09 Ultra with ABS and Security? MSRP? Invoice? 2-3% above invoice? How do I know I have gotten a great deal when my only reference is MSRP? What is a fair profit margin for the Dealer? Are there any public resources available which will inform me of what the Dealer paid for the merchandise?

2008 FLHX Vivid Black ABS/Cruise
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:34 PM
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EGlideKid EGlideKid is offline
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Scubadog has made valueable points. I have now owned my first Harley for two years now, and have seen a pretty good range of prices for bikes - especially Ultra's - since I've been visiting the various dealers. I've talked to dealers (in Dallas) who were asking 10% OVER MSRP - no dickering allowed, then I saw other dealers who would give you all kinds of goodies in the deal.
When I got serious about buying my Ultra, I put a "spec sheet" that told the part number of every item I wanted added to the bike. That sheet had everything on it - except for one thing - the bottom line price. I called about 20 different dealers and spoke to the sales manager at each location, asking them if they would be interested in bidding on this bike. Some eagerly said sure, some acted like total dolts and hemmed and hawed around, some flat out told me the price was retail (or 10% more), two actually told me they weren't interested. Of the 13 that I faxed/emailed spec sheets to, I got about 8 bona fide replys. The dealer I ended up buying from (Bleu Bayou in Monroe, LA) matched the lowest price I had found from the other 7 guys, gave me 10% off all parts for the first 30 days, 4 t-shirts, plus $400 worth of in-store credit. Incidentally, I told them up front I was paying cash and not financing the bike. I paid about $1600 less for just the bike in Monroe vs. what I would have paid in Dallas.
Maybe Scubadog's approach is quicker and maybe it'll save you more money - I don't know. All I know is I walked out feeling happy with my deal. After all, I hate feeling like I got took when buying something expensive.
Happy Hunting,
2015 CVO Road Glide Ultra in Abyss Blue over Crushed Sapphire with blue LED's.

With gratitude to my new wife Patty, who loves the back seat as much as I love the front, and who loves the whole Harley scene as much as I do!

And dedicated to our beloved and now deceased spouses, my wife Gerri and her husband Joe Bob, both of whom loved to ride. With all our love, honor, and respect.
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:12 PM
Scubadog Scubadog is offline
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Originally Posted by UH60Hwkdrvr View Post
Great piece of advice, but you don't tell us what we should be paying; only how to get the deal I want. I have read articles about automobiles, which offer advice about invoice prices and about a fair profit for the dealer. What SHOULD I be paying for an '09 Ultra with ABS and Security? MSRP? Invoice? 2-3% above invoice? How do I know I have gotten a great deal when my only reference is MSRP? What is a fair profit margin for the Dealer? Are there any public resources available which will inform me of what the Dealer paid for the merchandise?

I'd say to just ask around and then make an offer that works for you on a bike that works for you. A new vehicle dealership is kinda like a casino. They win some, lose some and break even on some. But they seem to always be open and have lots of shiny new things to attract both Wolves and Sheep.
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Old 11-30-2008, 04:29 PM
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tn_chopper_man tn_chopper_man is offline
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Timing has a lot to do with it also....I offered $2000 below MSRP on my 08 ultra on supposedly an inventory clearance sale because of new 09's coming
in the following week....Guess it was an actual clearance....He asked "Would I take it today(a Saturday night). I said yes and it was mine. I'm happy but ole lady wasn't.....But now she is now that the 07 is gone that had 24,000 mile on it.
2014 Vivid Black Ultra Limited, V&H Power Duals,Rush 2.5 Slip Ons, Fuelpak FP3, Medium Dark Clearview Windshield
"Nutting But Baggers Now"
"Ride Till U Can't No More"
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:58 PM
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ArgyleRider ArgyleRider is offline
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This thread has some good price info, I think.

Frogs at the bottom of a well can see only a small part of the sky.
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:33 PM
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bluffalobob bluffalobob is offline
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Scubadog, that's some good advice, and is pretty much how I bought my bike. The only difference is that I got closed bids from three dealers, and gave them each one chance to get my business. I walked in and asked for the sales manager. Told them what I wanted, and to write down their best offer. I also told them I was doing the same on three dealers, and that this was their one and only shot to get my business, so make sure to give me their very best deal the first shot. There was almost 1.5K OTD difference between the three dealers.

Don't forget there are three parts to any deal:
  • The price of the bike
  • The interest rate, or price of the note
  • The amount they offer for trade, if any
Money managers will always tell you that if you can't afford to pay cash for a recreation vehicle, you can't afford it. True, but many folks out there finance their bike. The dealer often makes big time profit on the note. If you are going to finance talk to a credit union first, and get an idea of what a fair finance offer is.

You will also most likely always get more for your trade if you sell it outright, but many prefer to let the dealer sell it and avoid the hassles of having to sell it on their own. At least look it up on Kelly Blue Book or similar sites to get an idea of what it's worth.

Like Scubadog says, the dealer wants to make the best deal possible for them. It is not uncommon for them to knock off 1K on a new bike, only to make it up and more on the note and the trade.
Bluffalo Bob
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:35 PM
Gumby256 Gumby256 is offline
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I just purchased an 09 Ultra. I went to 6 dealers and most were MSRP. The dealer in my back yard was $460 over MSRP and the lowest said they would not charge the $375 freight - the only one under MSRP ( I suspect part of the reason for the high price was most of them had 2008's on the floor they want to sell and I wanted a 2009 special order.

I ended up with a great relationship with, nicest people, several test rides - they were the only dealer with 2009 demo bikes. I was riding down to Baer on a Friday morning to place my order but before I left I called ECHD to see if they had a lower interest rate available. The interest rate was the same as Baer so I told the salesman at ECHD I was riding down today to place my order at Baer since I have a great relationship with them and ECHD is only $375 less. He immediately said he can do better and said if I could wait 2 weeks they could give me $1500 off! Well I rode both places that day.

I really wanted to buy at Baer and I stopped there first and told them of ECHD offer, they still were not willing to budge off MSRP. So I rode over to ECHD, he told me for what I wanted - since it is not on the floor or coming in - he could only do $1000 off MSRP. I wasn't too happy with the $500 raise from over the phone but $1000 is still a lot of accessories! I asked them to throw in heated grips, they said they would install for free and 20% off the grips so I placed the order and had it about 1 month later and they ended up throwing in the grips after all!

With every sale at ECHD they throw in first service (1000 mile) for free, a beautiful plaque with a picture of the bike, a t-shirt and 15% off any accessories or clothes for a year. For my area I believe it is the best deal around and that's all that counts!

Last edited by Gumby256; 11-30-2008 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 382

I bought my 09 Ultra for $474 below MSRP. Mine is Vivid black $20999 with profile laced wheels $450 and $375 for freight was a total of $21824 MSRP. I walked into the dealer looked at the bike it was marked $23595, I told the salesman I would pay $21000 right now, 10 minutes later he was back with a counter of $21700, I told him no thanks we were headed to another dealer and thanked him for his time, before we got out the door he stopped us and asked if I would split the difference of $700 to make the bike $21350? We talked it over and called a couple of other dealers to price the very same bike and couldn't beat that price so we made the deal. When I bought me 07 Street Glide new I got it for $500 under MSRP.
2009 Black Ultra Classic
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:09 PM
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BadPiggy BadPiggy is offline
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Location: Knoxville, TN
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I can kinda reiterate what Scuba says regarding my new truck purchase 2 months ago.
'08 Ford F350 Crew Cab, Powerstroke, 5th wheel flatbed
Window sticker was a shade over $43,000
A sticker hanging on rearview mirror read $35,873
I walked in with a biz card, wrote $30,000 plus tax on the back.
Told them "call me if you want the deal"...then I walked out.
I wasn't 2 miles down the interstate, phone started ringing.
They took it.
I was willing to give $30,000 for just the cab/chassis, so the 5th wheel flatbed was bonus.
Sold the flatbed, installed a to work I go!

So yeah, what Scuba!
Bone Stock 2006 Harley Davidson FLHX Street Glide

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