Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A smiling saleswoman at one of the dealerships in Nashville is standing on an upper level with cars and buyers below her.

5 Things to Look for in a Nashville Dealership

Whether you want to buy a brand new car or a used SUV, choosing the right dealership can make a big difference in terms of how much you pay and your overall experience. With so many dealerships in Nashville, however, it can be hard to figure out which is the right one. Taking the time to do the research and give the right dealer your business might seem like it goes on forever, but the overall benefits are more than worth it.

One of the single biggest factors to look for when considering dealerships in Nashville is the inventory that they have. Not only the manufacturers they support, which is important of course, but also the size of the inventory overall. If you are interested in a used vehicle, rather than one that is brand new, it can also be very important to look for a dealership that carries certified pre-owned vehicles, and not just general used models.

You should also look for a dealer with a service center so that you always have an idea of where to go back to if you need maintenance, repairs, or there is a recall. Finally, look for a dealer here in Nashville that has actual roots in the community. A fly-by-night organization that just wants to flip some cars and squeeze you for every last cent you have is never going to be as good as a dealership that cares about you and the Nashville area in general.

#1 – A Large Inventory

One of the easiest ways to start narrowing down your options as you are looking at different dealerships in Nashville is by looking at their inventories. For one thing, you want to find a dealer that has a large inventory since this gives you more makes and models to choose from. This is true whether you are interested in a new car or want something used. In either situation, a larger inventory means you will have more options on-hand to drive away in – if you know you want something that will require a special order, then this might be less important.

A large inventory also tells you that the dealership is serious about what they do, and they have probably been around for a while. Good car dealers build up a positive reputation over time and draw in more customers. Having more customers requires a larger inventory – so you end up with a sort of “chicken or the egg” situation. A large inventory means they can help more customers, and more customers mean they need a large inventory – both of which indicate they offer good customer service because people keep giving them business.

#2 – The Makes and Models You Want

A couple at one of the dealerships in Nashville is looking at a book with information on the white car in front of them.

This may go without saying, but you would be surprised how often people do not think of this right away and spend time looking into dealerships in Nashville that are completely wrong for them. If you know you want a certain vehicle, or you have narrowed down your options to a specific manufacturer, then stick to dealers who carry that make and/or model. In general, a dealership will focus on one or a few different manufacturers and carry those vehicles in good numbers – by choosing the right dealer you are likely to find better options overall.

More to the point, a dealership that focuses on certain makes and models is more likely to have staff that is knowledgeable about them. While you should do research and learn about any vehicle you are interested, if you show up and know more about a certain truck than the salesperson you are talking to, then that is typically a bad sign. You also want to pick a dealer with a focus on a certain brand that has a service center on that location – preferably with technicians trained or certified by that manufacturer. Once again, this means they are experts in your vehicle specifically and can offer the best service and help when you need it.

#3 – Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

This is primarily for you if you want to buy a used vehicle – look for dealerships in Nashville that also offer certified pre-owned vehicles. These are cars, trucks, and SUVs that have been inspected and certified by the original manufacturer before being released for resale. They are in the best condition, typically have additional warranty coverage from the manufacturer, and might come with additional services like membership in a third-party auto club. If nothing else, you know that these are the used cars in the best shape possible – not too old and with relatively low mileage on them.

If you are only interested in a brand new vehicle, then this might not mean much to you, but even so, it can be a surprisingly good option that opens your eyes to possibilities you might have otherwise missed. You might go in thinking you want something brand new, only to discover a certified pre-owned option that is perfect for your needs, in excellent condition, and at a much lower price than you expected to pay. All of those are good things, so never overlook the possibility of being surprised by the right vehicle.

#4 – The Right Financing Options

You should not be afraid of or try to run away from financing when buying a new or used vehicle – it is just a part of the car-buying process. Instead, deal with financing head-on and look for dealerships in Nashville that offer financing solutions that meet your needs. If you have excellent credit, then your options are quite broad and you should probably focus more on the makes and models you want the most, with financing as a secondary concern.

On the other hand, if your credit is poor or you are just getting established, then you might need to find dealerships in Nashville with more extensive financing options. Keep all of your needs in mind; if you want to trade-in a vehicle, then look for dealerships that accept trade-ins and are known for making reasonable, fair offers on them. You might need to look for a Buy Here Pay Here dealership in Nashville if you have particularly bad or low credit, which can greatly impact your vehicle options overall.

Keys and a loan application are on desk.

#5 – Roots Here in Nashville

Finally, and this may seem like a small thing but it really is important, look for dealerships in Nashville that actually have their roots here. I don’t just mean they do business here, that’s all of them – but look for dealerships that actually care about the community and take part in it. For example, some dealerships around here will sponsor local small-scale sports teams, or invest in major building projects. You might even find some that sponsor or host music events and other activities that enrich the community and embrace the culture here in Nashville.

The reason to look for this is simple: you will get better customer service and have a better experience at a dealership that cares about you. A dealership in Nashville with real roots here is going to encourage a culture of caring because they will see you as their friend, neighbor, and local member of the community. You might think it doesn’t matter that the owners of a dealership sponsor local events, but that kind of attitude really does trickle down within a company. If the owners of a business care about the customers who visit their business, then the salespeople, service techs, and financing experts will care about you too.