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Let’s get Physical!

The word physical has a very particular meaning in the car industry: it means a car that is physically in stock, actually on site and ‘in the flesh’… actually, perhaps that should read ‘in the metal’.

The concept of a dealer selling a car that is not actually ‘physical’ may sound bizarre, but it happens the whole time.

Any dealer worth his/her salt will advertise a car from as soon as they know it is available. The ideal is to build up a list of potential buyers so that the moment the car actually arrives they can sell it immediately.

And then for the prospective buyers who don’t successfully buy the car… well, the dealer can then sell them another car from their stock – one that perhaps isn’t quite the same or as good, but once you have hooked the fish it is easy to complete a sale.

What gets worse is that some dealers will purposely advertise cars that they have no intention of stocking, just to snare enquiries: “I’m sorry, but that car is now sold, however we do have in stock a…” This is not what I would call Kosher practice.

So, there are two main reasons why trying to buy a car that is not physical is a bad idea:

1) Your price negotiation powers are very low.

2) You can never be really sure what you are getting.

Most dealers are nowhere near as careful about buying cars as they should be. What may be a grey 170-BHP car with 20,000 miles, can easily turn into a silver 140-BHP car with 30,000 miles (yes, this actually happened to me recently).

And because of all of this I have an unbreakable rule:

I refuse to ever buy any car that the salesman him/herself has not had a good look over (more on that in the next newsletter!).

And if you want an example of how things can REALLY get bad, read this article: (what I love most is how the author obviously thinks this type of practice is acceptable!).

Don’t forget to physi-call me if you need any advice
(Worst sign-off yet? I think so!)

Ashley Winston
(Founder & Owner)

At Palmdale we specialise in taking all the hassle out of the car buying process:


  • YOU tell us exactly what car you want
  • WE search for every available car in the UK that meets your description
  • WE negotiate with the seller
  • WE make sure that the car is perfect
  • WE collect the car and bring it to your door
  • YOU enjoy your new wheels for many years to come

These newsletters are our attempt to teach you everything we know about car buying; however, if you would like us to find and buy your next car for you, all you have to do is ask!