Say what you will about the state of the automotive industry now, but over the past two years it’s taken a beating. Once the bulwark of the new American economy, it has, for lack of a better word, collapsed. Coupled with the spiraling credit crisis, car buying has changed unexpectedly — and maybe irrevocably. It was once — not more than a year ago — so bad, Congress had to incentivize car buying by getting us to scrap perfectly good old cars. This was no way to find viable Ford, GM, or even Mercedes deals.

Don’t be fooled. The MSRP stickers on most Mercedes Benz parked on dealership lots are enough to make most would-be Benz drivers think twice — then stop thinking about buying one outright. When you consider buying a new model can set you back more than most people make in a year, the prospect of buying a used one becomes more and more appealing. But this is not to say, strangely, that you can’t find a reasonably priced Mercedes at the dealership itself.

It is a little known fact that most Benz dealers will actually welcome you with a cup of Starbucks quality coffee or latte and then help you find a used model. Yes, that’s right — new car service, used car prices. While some of you may be skeptical, the best way to verify this is by patronizing a dealership and making it very clear you are in the market for a used Mercedes.

This may surprise you, but the sales assistant will not only scrutinize the dealership’s database, but the databases of all nearby and national dealers. If they can find the model you’re looking for, at a price that is right for you, they can order the car be sent to them. That can take anywhere from 5 to 10 business day and includes a thorough detailing and cleaning. That is phenomenal service with a broad, white smile.

Don’t rush yourself, whatever you do. If you’re not convinced buying a used car is a viable option, wait. The good thing about buying new or used is that supply will always outweigh demand. Sleep on it. Take a week or two to mull it over. Crunch your budget and be sure to factor in the cost of insurance as well. Also, take time to factor the costs of paying outright, financing, or perhaps even leasing a Mercedes. Between those three options, you’re bound to find the car you need at a price you can afford.

When you’re doing research online, you’re sure to find any number of viable Mercedes deals from online dealerships and car depots. Don’t jump the gun. Wait and contact the dealership first before buying.