Location: Port Angeles, WA, USA Unwanted by AS, Hilton-Diamond, Starwood Platnum
It depends on how good of a negotiator you are more than anything else. Negotiate your best price and offer the credit card. If they refuse the card let them know you will need to talk to your banker in a couple of days and see if he can arrange a car loan. Don't EVER let the dealer arrange a loan for you. Then leave!!!! If they let you leave they will call within a couple of days to see how you are doing. Tell them you haven't been to the bank yet and that a friend gave you an internet site where you can get some really FABULOUS deals and they take credit cards too!!
In most cases I'll bet you have a second call from the dealer before the day is over.
"A day without Points is like a day without SUNSHINE"
"Hilton Doesn't Love me anymore"
Location: Massachusetts, USA; AA Plat (2.85MM). BA Silver, DL GM and Flying Colonel
When it came time to pay for my current car I gave them my AmEx. (I had previously checked to make sure they'd authorize the charge). They balked. I pointed out, nicely, that their merchant agreement requires them to take it. They offered to give me LoJack, already ordered, free if I paid cash. Since the $695 price was worth more than the miles to me but their own cost for it was less than their credit card fee would be, it was a win-win for both of us. I wrote them a check.
So, even if they won't take (or won't want to take) a credit card, it can pay to suggest it.
My experience was similar to Efrem's. In my case, it involved a Lexus. I initially sent out e-mails to a number of area dealers and a number of auto purchasing web sites (never received responses from several). In addition to details on the vehicle I was looking for, I was explicit that I wanted to charge the vehicle on my Amex (after checking with Amex). I was late enough in the model year, that only one dealer actually had the vehicle configuration I was looking for. The rep was close to indignant when I reminded him that I wanted to charge the entire purchase price. They said that dealership "policy" was a max of $2,500 but would allow me to charge $5,000. If I thought that any similar vehicles were nearby, I would have walked (and maybe should have anyway).
Foreseeing modern Y seats, B. Franklin wrote "There will be sleeping enough in the grave."
My brother is in the car business. Of course, they don't want to take credit cards in large amounts because of the bank charge. That's when you walk out of the dealer and let them chase after you and beg you to take the credit card and buy the card.