Groupon, the social media deal website/app that's racked up over 80 million members by offering 50-percent off your next hot stone massage or $10 off a large pizza from Mama Santos, is ready to start wheeling and dealing on more expensive products, namely cars.

This week the company offered its ever deal on a car: $199 for $500 off the purchase or lease of a vehicle. The catch is that the deal's only good at LaFontaine Auto in Detroit. Also, we hope you read the above closely, because the deal isn't $500 off the purchase or lease of a car, it's that you pay $199 to get $500 off, which means you're really only saving $301. And who's to say the dealer doesn't list the price of its cars a few hundred dollars higher to cover the cost of the deal? Mama Santos can't do that with her large pies; everybody in the neighborhood already knows how much they cost.

This is Groupon's first attempt at angling for car buyers, though. In this particular case, it only seems worth it if you were already planning to buy a car at LaFontaine Auto in Detroit. Otherwise, you're just saving a few hundred bucks to deal with someone new who may or may not give you the best deal on your new car purchase. In any case, we're more interested in what this means for the long-term – will Groupon make a more serious move into the auto buying space? Stay tuned.


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  • 16 Comments
      Tone
      • 3 Years Ago
      LaFontaine Auto in Highland Highland Highland
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      It got groupon a mention on Autoblog so I'd say it worked. I've never heard of groupon before reading this so regardless of the deal, bravo marketing dept.!
        axiomatik
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        seriously, you've never heard of it? They have ads plastered over the entire internet.
      Mr. Sunshine
      • 3 Years Ago
      The clueless, social networking car salesman who pitched this idea to his manager should be fired.
        meatwad427
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mr. Sunshine
        You shouldn't fire people for an experiment. I can't really see how this can backfire. If 100 people buy it, you have 100 people who are psychologically locked into your dealership. If 50 actually buy the car, you get 50 sales with a net $300 discount you would have given them anyway and a $10,000 in free money (maybe enough to make the Groupon buy cost free) I think it's clever. Sure, a sophisticated buyer wouldn't fall for this nonsense. But there's a ton of rubes that might think this is great.
          Kuanyu Chen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @meatwad427
          @Mr. Sunshine : for someone named "Mr. Sunshine" your opinion on the matter is rather gloom and cloudy
          Mr. Sunshine
          • 3 Years Ago
          @meatwad427
          Call me a skeptic but Groupon is nothing more than a beguiling pie-in-the-cloud Ponzi scheme. Car dealerships are no better so they are a match made in hell.
      beejreit
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a terrible deal. The best bargaining chip you have is the ability to walk away.
      budwsr25
      • 3 Years Ago
      This isn't no deal. The dealership added $1000.00 to the asking prices.
      SweatyOgre
      • 3 Years Ago
      As others have said...the negotiation process makes "car coupons" pointless. If it were a manufacturer rebate, then perhaps it would have some validity.
      axiomatik
      • 3 Years Ago
      meh. American Express used to have a similar deal as Groupon, called Daily wish (they just recently cancelled it a few weeks ago). Each week they would have 3 deals, usually for 50% off. The things varied wildly from video games to cameras to cruises to steaks. However, twice I saw them offer cars. Back in December they offered a pair of BMW 3-series for half off MSRP. Any options cost full price, but you could get a base 3-series with msrp of $34k for $17k. This spring they did it again with a Ford Fusion Hybrid. Again, only 2 cars were available nation-wide, so your chances of getting the deal were very slim, but some very serious savings if you were lucky enough. I tried for the Fusion, but no luck.
        omegaslast
        • 3 Years Ago
        @axiomatik
        hahahah the amex wish list is NOTHING like groupon. it could not be further from what a groupon is. amex wishlist is a lottery, groupon is a big group of people buying things to get deals and promote businesses. in this case there is no deal, its just a car dealership claiming theyll take $500 off for $200, theyll build that $500 back in when the math is all said and done, and groupon is basically stealing $200 from you. Youd be better off not touching the groupon at all and just buying invoice through costcoauto
          axiomatik
          • 3 Years Ago
          @omegaslast
          umm, actually it operated very much like Groupon. Just like Daily Wish, there are often limits to the quantity available. The biggest difference is that the Daily Wish program was nationwide versus regional, so the deals were open to a much larger audience.
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Customers are to smart to believe that by paying $199 to save $500 at a car dealer is a valid saving. Plus the dealer can just mark up the back-end profit to compensate for loss on the price. You can read an article on car dealer's back-end profit here: http://www.hoopdi.com/guide/index.php/Car-Dealer-Secrets/The-Back-End.html It would be interesting to see if the dealer generate any business from this campaign.
      megamelfina
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think a lot of people will be interested in using these new deals to save on purchasing a car. A car is something many people need, but it is an expensive purchase. One great site to use to save money is http://www.dailydealpool.com. This site will compile a list of the best sales and deals in your area and email them to you daily. This keeps you from having to search!
      rmyoafno666
      • 3 Years Ago
      "This week the company offered its ever deal on a car: $199 for $500 off the purchase or lease of a vehicle." Is that two spelling errors in one sentence?
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