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Signs of program, demo and loaner vehicles

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Dealer Fraud

Buying a vehicle usually requires considerable research so that you can better ensure that you find the one you want with the features that are important to you.

For example, some people want to find a good deal on a low-mileage vehicle. But, there are times when the question for a good deal could lead to an individual walking away with a vehicle that was already used by the dealership, if they’re not careful to spot the signs of this kind of usage before they drive off the lot.

Identifying a demo vehicle

Demo vehicles are typically used by dealership staff or as test-drive vehicles for potential buyers. They are generally well-maintained, as they serve as a showcase model for customers. Signs that a vehicle is a demo include low mileage, minimal wear and tear, and the latest model year. Dealerships usually sell these vehicles after a few months of use, which can provide buyers a nearly new car at a reduced price.

Spotting a program vehicle

Program vehicles are often former fleet cars or rental cars used by manufacturers and then sold through dealerships. They can be identified by higher mileage compared to demo vehicles, consistent wear and maintenance records. These vehicles are typically well-maintained by the company using them, and they come back to the market after a year or two of service. Buyers might find program vehicles attractive due to the substantial discounts and remaining factory warranty.

Recognizing a loaner vehicle

Loaner vehicles are provided by dealerships to customers when their personal vehicles are in for service. These vehicles can be recognized by their moderate to high mileage accumulated in a short period and signs of varying driving styles, such as minor interior wear or different levels of wear on the brakes and tires. Loaner vehicles can offer considerable savings and are typically sold with an extended warranty, making them an appealing option for those looking for a deal.

Why the distinction matters

Understanding whether a vehicle is a demo, program or loaner is crucial for several reasons. Each type offers different levels of wear and tear, which can affect the vehicle’s overall condition and lifespan. Additionally, these vehicles can come with different warranty conditions, affecting long-term ownership costs. Buyers should weigh these factors against the potential savings offered by these vehicles to make an informed decision that aligns with their priorities and budget.

Buyers should ensure that they understand exactly what type of vehicle they’re purchasing, the various warranties it comes with and everything else related to the purchase. If anything is misrepresented by the dealership, there’s a chance that fraud has occurred and the buyer should consult a legal representative who’s familiar with these matters accordingly. After all, knowledge is power and misrepresentation is often actionable as a result.

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