Monday, November 27, 2006

I got car-ied away

I have been driving the same car for about eight or nine years and after 109,000 miles it was time. I reluctantly cracked open the piggy bank because we have two cranky juniors and my two-door coupe couldn't handle a car seat. That's a problem. If I take cranky jr. out then cranky's wife and cranky jr. jr. would be trapped at home. I had done my research and done the test drives over the past couple of months and decided today's the day.

I rarely buy cars but every experience I've had or my friends have had have been more like a assault than a pleasant transaction. This time I brought a friend of mine who used to be in the car business and by the end of the day even he was impressed with where we ended up.

I first called a dealership one town over to get a price on the car I wanted. They gave me a price that seemed about right according to Kelley's Blue Book website. I had a trade-in but I knew enough to get the car price first then tell them you have a trade-in to appraise. The next day with the phone price in hand I went to my local dealership with my friend, the car insider. I told them I could do something today if the price was right. The front line sales lackey gave me a price that was higher than the over the phone price at the other dealership - only $750 off the sticker price. He said these cars are really selling as fast as they get them so they don't really discount them very much. I said, "Well, I'm a little disappointed since my family has bought a few cars from here and I got a better price over the phone from some dealer I had never met." He asked me what price they gave me. I told him I wasn't going to bid against myself and tell him the price that he only had to beat by a dollar to get the sale. I said they gave me a better price without ever meeting me so I was inclined to deal with them since they were willing to be more up front about this. Then the words, "Let me talk to my sales manager" made their appearance. He left and my buddy told me the sales guy has zero authority. It was a total waste of time talking to him but they force you to. Enter the sales manager. He said that he could call it a "fleet" sale and give me another $1000 off. So in one second we go from $750 off to $1,750 off. Not bad. That's the best they could do. Lowest, best price. O.k. give me a trade-in price on my car. Comes to $4,000 and I say, "O.k. well I'm going to go to the other dealership and get their trade-in price and I'm going to buy today before 5 p.m. so here's my cell number if you want to adjust your price before then."

I get to the other dealership and re-establish the price and then get a $5,000 trade-in appraisal. Now this offer became $1000 better than the first deal. I say, "I'm going to go get lunch. here's my cell number if you want to improve your price because I'm going to buy that day." Before we head into lunch I call the other dealer and say, "I got a better deal and they beat you by $1,100. (I'm as honest to them as they were with me.) I'm going to buy today, I've got my title and check with me. I'm giving you a last courtesy call to see if you're interested." He says, "Let me call you back in 20 minutes." In twenty minutes I get a call from him saying they will take another $1,300 off the price of the car. So for a quick recap they went from $750 off and that's our final offer to $3,050 and that's our final offer. And the best part of the deal is that the sales tax in my county if a half percent lower than the other dealership so it's another savings.

I get the car in two weeks and in the meantime I get to try and sell my car. It gets detailed on Monday on all I have to do is sell it for more than $4,000 to squeeze even more money out of this deal since the extra $1,300 off came off the new car price and not added to the trade-in value. It could go for roughly $7,500 so I'll get more than $4,000.

The review from my car friend was that I played it perfectly and that he couldn't believe where we started and where we ended up. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the idiot who pays sticker price and 10 being turning the tables on the car people he said it was all of ten.

So now I have the experience of feeling like I was in control of the car people and actually smiling after signing the buyer's order to lock it in. It could be another 109,000 miles before I shop again for a car so the feeling will have to last. If you were there with me the whole day you would know it will.


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Car friend? And he let you buy one of those?

Well your grammar friend says you have to try to sell your car, not try and sell your car - unless trying and selling are unrelated things you want to do in parallel - or unless you might be a red neck.

1:50 PM  
Blogger d.K. said...

I'm impressed. I bought a new car once, for sticker price, without a test drive, and discovered while driving it home that I didn't fit in it, and that my head hit the roof every time I hit a pothole. I'm a car salesman's wet dream. So, now I've discovered CarMax, where they will not haggle, and feel not quite so victimized after car shopping. Next time, I'll take you with me.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

I'm there brother.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I found this great car dealer news feed - for everyone to check out before buying another vehicle. Knowledge is power.

9:28 PM  
Blogger mrsleep said...

109K? Hah! Barely broken in. Almost all our cars last 150K minimum, and have gone as high as 250K, but then again my wife and I drive at least 30K miles per year (each).

The sons cars haven't lasted that long cuz they get wrecked sooner than that. The oldest blew up the engine in 3 cars over 5 years.

6:25 PM  

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