On a cross-country plane trip, a gentleman from a small town inquired about car buying. After explaining how he should be using the Internet to get price information, we asked him how he bought cars in the past.
"When I need a new car I call my guy at the Ford dealership," he said. "I pay what he tells me to pay."
Negotiating a deal on a car depends on having the ability to take your business elsewhere. In rural areas, however, there is often only one dealership for miles around.
In the modern era of car buying, those with one dealership in the county have just as much bargaining power as those with 10 dealerships within a square mile. In fact, rural buyers can often find themselves at a significant advantage when buying because of how the dealership networks are set up.
Edmunds.com sent out consumer advice editor Mike Hudson to the rural West and Midwest to talk with dealers about how their businesses differed from those in the major cities of America. Here's what he learned.