Having good credit is essential to many financial milestones of life. Good credit is needed for things like renting a nice apartment, buying a house, getting a business loan, even some employers check the credit history of potential employees. However people do not usually associate good credit with test driving a car; financing a car sure but a test drive?
It looks like a new trend is starting to develop among dealerships. If you want to test out their flagship cars then better be ready to have your credit run! User “aj996tt” of the 6SpeedOnline forum (lets call him “AJ”) from Texas found out the hard way. See, AJ was in the market for a new car. Hes a family man so he had a few trucks and SUVs on the top of his list but he kept his options open for sports cars as well. On his list of potential sports cars was the upcoming Corvette Stingray and the current Nissan GT-R
He stopped by one local Nissan dealership to check out the GT-R for himself. The staff at the dealership seemed to be from the “pinky ring and gold chain” crowd as AJ described it but the manager was nice and gave him a quick tour around “godzilla. Unfortunately, the weather was bad that day so he never went on a test drive.
Later, he was contacted by a sales rep from the Orr Nissan dealership in Corinth, TX. The rep invited AJ to check out a 2013 GT-R they had in stock. The listed price seemed like a good deal so AJ took them up on their offer and went out to the location of the car which was actually a good 50 miles away from Corinth, in Greenville, TX.
Once he reached the location he was told only a manager could show him the car. Once he finally met said manager he immediately informed AJ he could only test drive the car after filling out a credit application and being approved for financing. AJ promptly expressed his displeasure of being subjected to a credit check for a car he wasn’t even sure he wanted and then left the dealership after some choice words were exchanged.
AJ happened to have a friend who works in the legal dept at Nissan corporate and she informed him that the “credit before drive” policy is something being adapted by many OEMs with their dealerships. AJ says he has never been asked to do such a thing when shopping at Mercedes or Porsche dealerships. Frustrated, he vented to his fellow forum members.
Many users agreed that the practice smacks of “poor business etiquette” and that they have never been subjected to such a thing in their past dealings. However a user “YellowBull” who also happens to be a GM of a dealership chimed in and made some good points.
YellowBull’s take is with a car like the GT-R which is just as popular with young broke college kids as it is with affluent older adults, dealerships need to take measures to weed out the “tire kickers” and joy ride seekers, from serious buyers.
But AJ was a serious buyer and the whole experience has turned him off to GT-R’s period. What do you think? Would you be willing to submit a credit application to test drive a GT-R? Or do you think its wrong for dealers to demand such a thing from customers, even if it is in regards to a high-dollar sports car?