Monday, November 10, 2014

Of Bargaining...

There are many reasons I'm in no rush to replace the Earthf**ker. Some are financial: Having no car payment is really nice, doubly so now that the Mrs.' car is paid off, too. Taxes are lower on an 8-year old vehicle, as is insurance. It may need the occasional repair, that's true, but unless and until something major goes wrong, I think I'll hang on to the Dodge for as long as I can.

The real reason for this revelation, you ask?

Simple. I *HATE* the car shopping process. When I bought the Earthf**ker, I had it narrowed down to three vehicles: The F-150, the Toyota Tundra, and the Dodge. I forget exactly what it was about the F-150 that turned me off, especially considering I have a friend who's a Master Mechanic for Ford, but the decision came down to the Tundra vs. the Ram.

I was all set to sign on the Tundra, too.

And then the dealership went and reneged on their deal, expecting the Toyota name to be worth enough that I would accept $2,500 below book value for my trade while paying above MSRP for the Tundra. Nope. Doesn't work that way, guys. You want above MSRP for your new vehicle, you pay me top dollar for my trade. You don't undercut every single used car guide out there and not take a penny off the sticker price.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to buying a new car with about as much relish as I am going back to the dentist after a long absence. 

It helps that I have a larger pool this time. I'm looking at small, economical cars. If gas prices stay where they have been, this will be an easy thing. When gas was $4 a gallon, you couldn't get anywhere near a Toyota Corolla. Now that it's under $3 (I paid $2.57 yesterday), larger vehicles are back in vogue.

Also, the field is larger. While there are five vehicles that qualify as full-size pick-up trucks (counting GMC and Chevy as one, of course), there are literally dozens of small, fuel efficient cars out there. I'm also not averse to looking at the used market, either - I won't do that for a truck that will be used for towing, because I've seen *way* too many abused trucks out there to pick up someone else's tow vehicle (unless I personally knew the person selling the truck).

Being willing to walk helps. I'll do my research, have a half-dozen competitors' vehicles in mind, and gather several appraisals of my trade-in (KBB, NADA, representatives on the used market). I'm also not opposed to selling the truck privately if I get a screwball low offer, either. We recently sold our travel trailer in record time in the off season because we knew a willing buyer and made them a rather generous offer. While we could have waited until spring, cleaned the RV up and put out ads, we offered it for a bit below the going rate for other campers of that size and vintage. I'm willing to do the same with the Earthf**ker if I have to sell it outright.

But no, I'm not looking forward to the new car buying experience. 

That is all.


libertyman said...

Try Carmax - there are a couple near you. They may not be the cheapest, but I had very good luck with them. They are also straightforward, unlike the sleazy dealers that hide the prices or outright lie to you.
I shopped them, but did most of my research on the internet for my last car. Carmax just didn't have the car I wanted at the time. They are also straightforward for your trade, giving you a price that is realistic and they really mean.

Anonymous said...

I own a small business and every dolar we earn comes in from a bid process.

I now do that with new cars. I determine what car I want (often any one of several), down to options, color, etc.

Then I visit the various dealerships and ask for the new car manager. I give him a sheet of paper that fully describes the car I want and tell them that they have 72 hours to put in a bids if they wish to. If they are not interested, that's fine, but I tell them that someone is going to sell a car in 72 hours.

I also tell them what my credit score is and that while I already have financing lined up through my credit union, I will consider their financing offer and use it if it is better than mine.

I then review the bids and take the best deal. Works everytime.



Ponklemoose said...

I’ve used a (more modern) version of DCP’s method. I emailed all the local dealers asking for their price specifying which options I wanted and which color were acceptable. I didn’t like any of their (almost identical) prices and started looking at used, but two weeks later (on the last day of the month) I received an emailed offer of 80-85% of invoice if I could make the deal that day. Needless to say we jumped in the car and made the deal.

When we got home with the car I had another email with a similar offer from another (much closer) dealer so I suspect that they both needed to move one more car meet the threshold for some manufacturer incentive.

It probably helped that they knew I wasn’t trading in and didn’t need financing so I could move fast.

abnormalist said...

Like Anon above,
Last time I bought a car, I made a day of it. I called every dealer within about 200 miles that had one in stock (I loves me the internet) and started the conversation with
"Hi, I'm buying a (insert make/model/package here) today. It might be from you, it might not be. Here's my number, talk to your sales manager and come back to me with the best price you can. I have financing setup already, oh, and by the way the best offer so far is (say number that is $500 less than the real best offer)."


Its great, don't tell them who the other dealers are, don't tell them the real prices, don't let them talk you into financing.

Dont give them a chance to wheel and deal, or sell you on some "experience". I had them fighting like sharks on the phone while I was driving to one of them cashiers check in hand.

skidmark said...

A service called TrueCar says they will tell you what others in your area paid for the vehicle you enter specs for. It requires registration and inputting personal data above and beyond the usual.

And don't forget that the dealership pays for the CarFax report - and gets it while you are sitting there so you can see they are doing it live on line as opposed to printing up a saved copy. Caught a salesman doing that and just got up and walked out.

stay safe.

Jeff B said...

Buddy of mine did a heap of research, had a written description of what he wanted (typed, but whatever), and went to the Fleet Manager at a dealership:
"Sir, I ain't in the mood to bullshit around. Here's what I want (*hand the sheet over*) and I have a price in my head that I know is fair based on extensive research. I'm going to grab a sandwich at the tavern next door, and will be back in an hour. You have one hour to give me a single price on this vehicle. If your price matches or beats mine, I'll pay cash on the spot. If it doesn't match or beat my price, I walk away and go somewhere else. No second chances. No 'Let me check and see if I can do better.' One. Chance. Only.""

If you do the research and are willing to walk and have funding in hand... It works.

JRebel said...

Well, I can't say I'm upset with my old F-150. I paid a buddy of mine $2K for it when it already had 269k miles on it. It wasn't really what I wanted, 4x2 instead of 4x4, standard rear differential, it had a lot of miles on it, it came off the line 3 years before I got my license. However it does have one redeeming quality, it has the old 300/4.9L straight 6 rather than the marginal quality V6 now offered, which if you keep the oil changed about every 5k miles or 6 months which ever comes first(for me its the 6 months since I only live 4.5 miles from work and town both) it'll probably go another 100k.

I'm just now getting where I need to buy smallish parts that are going out, like the IAC and EGW valves needing to be replaced. Before that it was *A* ball joint (out of the 4 that have been on since the assembly line), and a harmonic balancer. Looking under the hood it doesn't appear there have been any parts replaced outside of maybe a water-pump if that. Outside of that its the smaller regular crap like spark plugs/wires/belts. It also needs new shocks and a new leaf spring bracket that I need to get around to installing to replace the one that's rusted out, however the piece of plate steel and a bit of welding last year on it have held up pretty well so far. Since I don't have any experience with anything newer than that ol' '94 I couldn't tell you what the truck market is like nowadays. All in all it's been the best vehicle by far out of the 3 that I've owned.