Do Demo Cars Actually Get Trashed?

Is there any truth behind the notion that demo cars get trashed by potential customers during the test drive, or otherwise by the employees? I presume that the salesperson comes along on test drives?

Also, the warranty of the car would already started from when it was registered? Or does it start from when it’s purchased?

On balance, are demo cars something to consider in getting a good deal, or should they be avoided? Obviously they’re essentially used cars, but they’re the closest to new.

Comments

  • +23 votes

    Demo cars are fine to buy. They are simply used cars.

    Warranty starts from date of first rego.

    • +3 votes

      The main thrashing done I think would be flooring it?

      @OP, the salesperson isn't requisite for test drives.

    •  

      I think the overall savings is worth the risk with buying a demo. A car is new until you take it home and I don't think the short first drive home is worth the new car price premium.

      • +3 votes

        it's also more than worth it buying 2 year old cars, or any for that matter IMO if they are well kept and not lemons #saynotonewcars

        •  

          Yes after the biggest depreciation and still very new, they are just a bit hard to find for sale at that age.

          •  

            @JTTheMan: Heaps at the auctions of ex lease and repo cars, and probably the best age to get them there is 2 to 3 years, Not seen enough use that if you take care of them from that point they will still last as long as if you bought new

            •  

              @Jackson: if they are indeed wellkept, what formula do you use to work out a suitable $ off? (i would think odo and years would be factors?)

              •  

                @capslock janitor: Really the only broad factor is what they are going for elsewhere in the market and how desperate someone is to sell, and what you are willing to pay. You could try to science that but you'd never nail it down. I find the main factor if you are looking for a bargain is what they are willing to sell for. Some cars go for thousands less than market value simply because the seller can't be bothered, or is ignorant of the value. Auctions are usually cheap, although lately there's more civillians (non-dealers) going. Just by purchasing from there you are getting "dealer wholesale" most of the time

                •  

                  @Jackson: i was thinking maybe there would be a starting baseline, and not just whatever on market currently

                  •  

                    @capslock janitor: Some people look at the redbook values as some kind of baseline, but they are total BS I reckon. At the end of the day the second hand private sale market along with the auction market are unmanipulated and so behave as markets should (unlike or at least to a lesser extent is the new market and second hand dealer market)

  •  

    How is it possible a customer can trash a demo car when they will need pay for any physical damages? I guess staff wont as well because you wont want to let a customer to test a trashed demo car because sale will be gone for sure.

    • +5 votes

      Trashed as in driven hard. Probably not the precise verb but yeah.

      • +87 votes

        I think you mean "thrashed" (with a h).

        • +64 votes

          Dont take life for granite.

          • +40 votes

            @Jugganautx: for all intensive purposes I think we got what the op meant.

            • +11 votes

              @dny: OP surely ragrets their choice of words.

            • -41 votes

              @dny: Just as you meant to say ’intents and purposes’ ?!

            • -3 votes

              @dny: triggered

            • -2 votes

              @dny: "For all intents and purposes"

        • +16 votes

          It never hurts to be pacific with your choice of words.

      • +8 votes

        Yes if its a performance car like a Porsche or AMG. The salespeople usually demo the car by flooring it, and thats usually without proper warmup time…

        • +1 vote

          This. For regular cars people prob didn’t bother driving it very hard.

      • -4 votes

        I believe the usage of trashed is correct. For eg: my partner trashed my place.
        https://sentence.yourdictionary.com/trashed

        • +4 votes

          Thrashed is the word op was looking for

          •  

            @bart2: If Aussie slang was a Demo car, this thread would be proof.

  • +2 votes

    With massive excess payable when they're on a test drive (even for not at fault accidents), chances of the cars being trash would be low.

    • +10 votes

      You can damage a car without it being obvious on the outside. If I was looking at a new car then yeah, part of a normal test is to see if acceleration is what you'd expect, merging, freeway driving, ability to overtake about 80kph ect.. All these actions are not advised on a new engine within is run in/break in period which is usually the first 2000ks. If this translates into issues down the line I don't know, but I would make a very confident bet the driving behaviour of a demo car exceeds the reccomened driving style for a new vehicle.

      • +3 votes

        Well said. When I drove the demo car, I wanted to feel how it goes with the foot down. So I did it. When I buy the new, I didn't do it until it reach about 2000km.

      • +2 votes

        I did this exact thing with the demo car I drove, not a chance in hell I was doing it with the one I bought which was a zero km ex-demo.

        •  

          i dont think its possible to buy a "zero km ex demo" vehicle…

          • +1 vote

            @DiscoJango: Yeah they still drive them off the boat, might be under 10 but will still have something on it

            •  

              @peterpaoliello: Which in that case you'd reasonably classify as zero km.

              They're clearly trying to point out they bought an ex demo that wasn't being driven by employees and customers.

          •  

            @DiscoJango: 0 km is a figure of speach. Please find me a new car that has exactly 0 kms on the odometer, you won't.
            You can find them because dealerships will register cars to prop up sales numbers but the cars are never driven off the lot which leads them to be classed as 'ex-demo'.

            •  

              @ConsumerAffairs: Yeah, I have seen very low kilos cars with this - afaik all cars have some k's not 0 when sold (correct me if I am wrong)

        • +1 vote

          Zero k ex demo?
          There goes all your creditability.

          •  

            @berry580: Current car was an ex demo. It became a demo the day we purchased it. Car came with about 6km on the clock, which to my understanding is what's needed for testing.

      • +2 votes

        We wanted to test drive a car but they had no demo cars so they gave us a brand new car and asked us not to put to many km's on it. I don't know if testing acceleration that early does any damage but I wouldn't have bought that particular car.

        We actually did buy that model and the dealer said they only had the 2 cars out in the lot they could sell and neither were in our preferred colour. Went to another branch of that dealer a couple suburbs away and got what we wanted, the best part is the cars are stored a couple hundred metres from the original dealer they just wanted to clear the 2 cars they had on the lot for some reason.

      •  

        Modern engines do not require break-in. It is mostly a relic of the past.

        • +3 votes

          It's probably not as necessary, but the mechanical parts need time to bed in with each other at the microscopic level. If taking the car out of the suggested tolerance impacts this process I don't know but wearing in is definitely a thing. Doesn't seem overly onerous ask by the manufacturer so I'm inclined to take their advice.

          •  

            @peterpaoliello: True, but those are mostly for other parts, not the engine. New tyres have some kind of lubricant on them, so the grip is initially sub-optimal. Brake pads/discs and springs also need some adjustment period. The engine itself is fine. Most cars don't even need an oil change at 1,000 km as they used to do.

            The manufacturers still recommend break-in RPMs for the first few thousand kms, and it certainly doesn't hurt following their recommendation, just in case. What I'm saying is that it probably won't affect the overall service life of the car, so don't worry too much about the break-in period when you buy a second hand car.

        •  

          Have you ever read the manual for a modern car? They do have requirements for first x km

        •  

          But the user manual says something in line with not to tow or rev hard in first 1000 or 2000km.

          • +1 vote

            @CX9: or sit at a constant speed for too long

            •  

              @Jackson: Thanks @Jackson. Forgot that part :-)

    •  

      trashing is not making physical damages which of-course you will end up paying if they find. It’s
      just being abusive towards vehicle in general, such as flooring to check acceleration, hard braking, slamming doors etc etc. The main thing is manufacturers say don’t accelerate hard on new vehicles.

      people wont do this for say a family car or suv :-) but sportier looking vehicles get abused by this guaranteed.

  • +18 votes

    Please watch this. I think it is fairly accurate and related to this thread!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG4IaHgqH00

    • +3 votes

      Hahaha.

      “One elderly female owner. Driven to the shops and to church every Sunday.”

    • +1 vote

      Great video, but all it tells us is that every secondhand car you buy, be it ex demo, or from someone else could have been “thrashed”.

      Reality is we will never know unless someone at the time it’s due to be repaired, tells us it had be ruined due to some pass aggressive use.

      And then can we also trust the mechanic who tells us that…

    • +1 vote

      Got one without an ad? Oh those ads.

    • +1 vote

      haha that made my day in the office today.

      •  

        Anytime!

  • +2 votes

    I wouldn't count on a demo to be run in properly.. but are you the kind of driver who can keep the RPM low for the first 1,000km anyway?

    I'm sure most who take the demo for a run want to see how fast it will accelerate and that means putting the foot to the floor, which you wouldn't do with your brand new car if you really cared about engine longevity.

    • +7 votes

      I wouldn't count on a demo to be run in properly.. but are you the kind of driver who can keep the RPM low for the first 1,000km anyway?

      Most engines are run in from factory, with only very few exceptions (Yaris GR not allowed to exceed a certain rpm, Supra can't use launch control, and some cars shouldn't heavy tow till they've hit 1,000kms or so)

      •  

        Yep and even if it's not the case the likelihood that you keep the car into years where problems occurred are slim. Because if you're buying an almost new car now chances are you're doing it every few years anyway.

    • -1 vote

      Actually, this is the worst way to run in a vehicle. Run in period needs to be at various revs while under load up to 80% of redline.
      Every engine is spun up to high revs under load on an engine dyno before leaving the factory anyway.

      • +2 votes

        Varying revs, yes, redline, no. How about you read the manual that came with the car?

        • +1 vote

          Which brands and models? You could redline VF's, Stingers and Mustangs from factory.

          Some economically built turbos and heavy duty vehicles ask you to keep it below a certain RPM for a set distance, but that is more about forming habits that should stop the customer destroying the engine under warranty than causing early life damage. Engine burs fall off when they are designed to fall off. Hyundai, in their wisdom, had them falling off at 50,000 to 200,000km in one of their engine series…

          That stink new cars get when the exhaust is first heated is the 'plastic' anti corrosion coating for ocean shipping burning off the exhaust. Most cars will burn it off at ~3000 rpm (first hill in an auto). Nothing to do with engine damage.

          As others have said, most brands test cars at factory.

          • +3 votes

            @This Guy: Lol, redline VF. Nice pun even if you didn't know it.
            As for the Mustangs, the ones that are redlined usually end up into a tree or crowd of people so you don't need to worry about those ones.

            •  

              @ConsumerAffairs: Not a pun. Just brembos and a sunroof.

              As for trees, you're doing it wrong. Find a dealer near a country road with a shoulder (so you can pull over then launch). Customers rarely redline a demo unless it is a two litre turbo.

              Oh, you mean the meme. Those are American's trying to corner. If they bought VF's, Commodores would have the same reputation.

          • +1 vote

            @This Guy: "Hyundai, in their wisdom, had them falling off at 50,000 to 200,000km in one of their engine series…"

            The Theta 2 engine had swarf stuck in oil galleries straight from the factory. Reduced oil flow caused by this debris, especially to rod bearings, tended to kill the engines just outside the warranty period.

            Interestingly, this engine is closely related to and was co-developed with the Mitsubishi 4B11 and 4B12 engines used in the Lancer, ASX and Outlander. The Mitsubishi's are reliable though.

            • +1 vote

              @Dogsrule: I thought it was licenced?

              • +1 vote

                @This Guy: Apparently Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Chrysler co-developed the base engine as part of the
                Global Engine Alliance.

                Hyundai did the block design and Mitsu/Chrysler did everything else. I think the basic engine design is good, Hyundai just stuffed up their manufacturing of it, whereas Mitsu and Chrysler did that part right, thus their reliability.

                • +1 vote

                  @Dogsrule: Thank you.

                  • +1 vote

                    @This Guy: You're welcome! Its pretty interesting how much engineering is shared between automakers, especially the smaller ones that can't afford to do everything by themselves. Interestingly enough, Hyundai used to license engine designs from Mitsubishi back in their early days, pretty funny that Hyundai ended up doing design work for Mitsubishi. How the tables have turned…

  • +4 votes

    Depends on the car really;

    If buying a standard hatchback, just buy a new one.

    If buying something a premium or luxury model, demos often have added on extras (to show case the products to customers) so if this it the car you are into, then do not hesitate to look at demos.

  • +1 vote

    I've bought two demos in the past; both were twelve months old when I purchased. With the first, I had an issue with a rear window suddenly collapsing into the door frame when the car was six years old but Mitsubishi fixed it under warranty as they said their five year Diamond Advantage warranty commenced when I bought it, as the first private registered owner. Sweet! With the second, touch wood I have had no issues but the salesperson was very keen to reiterate that the warranty started from the first registration, and thus the first year of warranty was already complete when I purchased. (Subaru) .So I guess it depends on the make of car you're buying; it seems Mitsubishi have more faith in their vehicles.

    •  

      Is it possible to haggle when buying demo cars?

      •  

        Yes, very much so I would think.

  • +7 votes

    Ok a couple of points

    • test drives - 95% of the time done with a salesperson in the car, so very unlikely to flog it
    • demo's are used as company cars for the sales team. Generally that's fine as they'll be responsible and won't destroy it, need to clean it etc. You can cop the occasional scratch/ding/scuff as a result

    In WA warranty starts when it's registered in the new owner's name. I believe we're an exception to the rule in that case. CPS starts when it's registered

    • +12 votes

      test drives - 95% of the time done with a salesperson in the car, so very unlikely to flog it

      I'm not so sure about this - the salesmen that have come along with me have often encouraged pushing the car harder.

      • +3 votes

        Modern everyday engines are designed to be pushed hard from day one.

        Sure some of the high powered legit sports cars need a run in period but your 2 litre petrol 6 speed is good to go from the dealership driveway.

        Revving an engine up to redline is not the point of destroying the engine. That is the design limit to make your motor last 400000kms.

        Probably the worst thing you can do with a modern engine is sit at a constant 2500rpm for long periods in the early stages.

        Modern engines are designed to be used and occassionly abused. Short grandma driving style trips are not so good. I never understand why people want the car that granny drove to the shop and church once a week.

        • +2 votes

          Short grandma driving style trips are not so good. I never understand why people want the car that granny drove to the shop and church once a week.

          Agree. Grandma driving is great for care and maintenance of body panels (as long as they are straight still) but not great for mechanicals. You need to ‘blow the cobwebs out’ occasionally with a long or vigorous drive.

          Had a friend buy a reasonably old very low km car. When she started driving it regularly up and down the highway the radiator hoses went one by one in quick succession. Car looked great, didn’t like long drives.

        •  

          I wonder why people still push the whole don't buy demos because they've been thrashed line, for example on whirlpool. So it's all in their heads?

          • -1 vote

            @cheng2008: Old wives tales, and people like John Cadogan don't help

            •  

              @spackbace: I watch his videos, but don't always agree with him. Firstly he has too much of a new car slant, but I get that's his space. Secondly, and because of the first point, he's pretty anti-EV. Everyone knows they're expensive to buy up front compared to a petrol car, but you do get your money back if you aren't selling your car every year and keep your cars (like I do) for 10 years or more. I double checked my service schedule after he came out and said EVs do need maintenance, and they seriously don't, the maintenance schedule is a joke to keep service centres in $

              I do think he's generally entertaining, and pretty spot on with his car reviews and analysis. He actually did very early on a part 1 of 2 about buying from an auction but then part 2 never materialised for some reason.

              •  

                @Jackson: Him being anti-EV is because it's a known fact that he's a bit of a shill towards certain brands. At the end of the day, he runs a car brokerage service… A service which can't help with Tesla, who sell at fixed price. So of course he'll just try to bag them

                •  

                  @spackbace: I wonder what his relationship with Hyundai is currently, his fans say he quit working for them long ago but the things he says about them doesn't seem to line up with that…

              •  

                @Jackson: I get that he does what he does (eg trolling) to keep things entertaining, and as long as you know what's going on then that's fine. What I don't get are his fanboys who keep on defending him by saying he's unbiased unlike all the other car journos. Newsflash: he's a business too, of course he's going to be biased. But they don't seem to know or care.

                •  

                  @cheng2008: He does obviously have a better relationship with Hyundai and Kia that he would with Merc or Audi, but that's natural for someone who has a history of bagging Mercs and Audis and generally liking what Hyundai offers, it's not necessarily an indictment. Generally the reasons he likes what he does is on a value basis, and let's face it you don't get value from Mercs and Audis unless that last few percent of performance is worth the additional $40k or so to you (at least in the e.g. 7 seater market which he tends to cover a lot).

                  He's probably strongest in my opinion when talking about consumer rights, not enough people holding companies accountable in these areas.

          • +1 vote

            @cheng2008: I think it's got more to do with the price that the dealers try to sell them at. The difference between new and demo just might not be big enough.

      •  

        I've test driven an Evo X Final edition and a couple of the 2015 WRXs and they were flogged and driven hard on a cold engine, Salesman didn't seem to care and encouraged it (Within reason)

        •  

          I babied my Evo X until it was run in, but I'm pretty sure that everyone who test drives a demo does what you did.

          That all being said, when I bought a C250 after, I went to a 'drive day' where we took demo/newish models (<200km on the odo) for a track drive/defensive driving course (so both full acceleration and hard braking). Someone asked what do they do with the cars after and the instructors/facilitators said they're sold as demonstrators because there's nothing being done which the cars can't handle even when new. Could just be Mercedes marketing but it did give me some comfort.

    • +2 votes

      What's CPS in this context?

      • +2 votes

        Capped price servicing

        • +9 votes

          Thanks, that makes more sense than Cycles Per Second, Clicks Per Second, Central Purchasing Services, and Child Protective Services…

    • +1 vote

      Here in ACT, some brand new cars are sell as demo, maybe there is a tax benefit for car sales.
      test drives - 95% - Nah, I have test drive 5, and only one with car sales person.

      • +1 vote

        It's most likely that they can get a rebate from the manufacturer for demo cars. Selling it as a demo (even if it wasn't one) just allows them to discount the car by the rebate amount when they sell it to you and they still make the same profit.

        •  

          Yep, I bought a "demo" with 10km on the odo last year (ACT). They did it so they could get a rebate on it from the manufacturer, and it was also then part of a 3 year free servicing/roadside package. Was actually very impressed because I'd already bought the car at this stage when they told me, but the promo was based on when it got delivered so I got lucky :)

          •  

            @01189998819991197253: Also in the ACT, I had a very different experience. The salesman insisted that the car was "new" even though it had 300km on it, plus whatever I added during a 2 hr test drive, and the price was not negotiable from the new car price.

            •  

              @Some Guy: Yeah that is a load of crap. I would have walked. Anything above perhaps 50-60km will raise the eyebrows, anything above 100km is getting to the point of a demo. 300km, sheesh that is definitely a demo or a heavily demonstrated "new" vehicle (they can test drive new vehicles with dealer plates and not call it a demo vehicle).

              •  

                @01189998819991197253: I did walk as it just created a level of trust/credibility I could not stomach. He called a lot in the following weeks, would not negotiate on price at all, until I ended up telling him that I'd bought elsewhere. Left me with a bad impression for that brand/dealer.

    •  

      Maybe if you're selling toyotas, but salespeople for Porsche have floored their cars to showcase how 'fast' they are.

      •  

        Porsches are designed to cope with the upper end of performance… as long as it is run in, it's perfectly fine. Where as for the toyota, you take the guess.

        • +1 vote

          Cope with the upper end of performance, right up to the end of warranty…

          •  

            @ATangk: Please tell me your Porsche experience story.