Please note that my situation may be different from others - I have no trade-in and will not use dealer financing, not eligible for any current rebates or Chrysler employee rebates. One would think this will make it really simple for dealers to give me a quote but this didn't turn out to be the case.
1) Create a throw-away email address and do not specify your real name (you can thank me later).
Gmail is good because it offers free email forwarding and POP. Unless you use Web UI 100% make sure you are replying using throw-away account in Outlook or whatever email client you use.
2) Which website to use to submit requests?
I only considered 2 options - Edmunds.com and Jeep.com (there may be others I don't know about). Edmunds.com didn't have 430N radio in the list of options for Laredo, so Jeep.com was the only choice.
3) Submission process on Jeep.com
Jeep.com only allows you to submit your request to one dealer at a time (Edmunds allows to submit to several at once). This is major PIA considering that Jeep.com doesn't keep your car configuration for a long time - browser session times out very fast. This is how it manifests itself: submit request to 1 dealer, press "Back" in the browser to pick another from the list. Click on the link to your vehicle configuration - you will get a message that session timed out even though it does show Grand Cherokee 2011.
So if you use "Back" button, select new dealer and re-submit you can never be sure they will actually receive your configuration. I didn't realize that until I was on dealer #15
To work around this problem you have 2 options:
a) [If you like pain and suffering] Configure your Jeep from scratch each time
b) Put full configuration in the message field (this is what I did after I figured out there is a problem). This also checks attention span for email recipient. Do this even if you pick option a) - just copy and paste the same text. Ask to include all fees and charges except taxes in the quote.
I submitted requests to about 30 dealers in NYC area in 50 miles radius preferring NY, some where in NJ
You will immediately receive automated confirmation email from pretty much everyone. DO NOT RESPOND TO THEM IF YOU ARE SURE YOU SPECIFIED VEHICLE CONFIGURATION. You will receive emails from humans soon.
4) Response from dealerships
SUMMARY: be prepared that in most cases you will never receive a quote via email (details below).
I know it sounds ridiculous but I only received 5 quotes out of which 2 were too good to be true ($1,000 and $2,000 under invoice and there are no incentives at this time). 3 quotes where what I would call "actionable" and warranted further communication. These 3 quotes were in [invoice-$160...invoice+$100]
range with me spending very little time to have them bid against each other
It has become obvious that most of the dealers use the same 3-4 IT companies for their web marketing. One can tell from email address like "******@dealerportal.com". Also canned letters from different companies were EXACTLY the same except return email address - this was pretty funny.
I only received quote in first email from 1 (one!) dealer (and it was one of the actionables). Yes, you read that right - 1. However, since I wasn't sure who received exact configuration I had to give everyone benefit of a doubt - I replied with vehicle configuration to each email that seemed to originate from a human.
At this time it has become clear that wast majority of dealerships still don't get it. All they really wanted is for me to call them or to come to the dealership. HELLO???? IS ANYBODY HOME???
The whole point of my quote request was that I don't want to visit 30 dealerships or talk on the phone with them. This "email" thingy seems pretty convenient to me.
One person said literally "Well, I don't give quote in print". Then why did you register for this at Jeep.com? There was one dealer listed at jeep.com that had a phone icon instead of radio-box which meant they don't quote over the email - sounds fair to me.
Some dealers would respond with prices for vehicles different from what I required about. The one with used Toyota Matrix for $32,000 was the most hilarious. This clearly means they don't have sufficient attention span to even read my email.
My advice: if you don't receive a quote in first email - reply back with exact car configuration and if you still don't receive a quote - stop talking to them
- it will be nothing but a waste of time. Even after I replied to all of them with exact configuration most still would respond as if this weren't the case, sometimes with canned letters trying to get me to call them or come to their dealerships.
5) Actionable quotes
Once actionable quotes are identified you can spent some time trying to bid them against each other. Some of the dealers will ask you where they stand. If you tell them - they will sometimes reply with a better offer. You don't have to give them names of other dealers at this time.
Final prices all ended up in [invoice-$160...invoice+$100]