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AAY – Car Buying 5: Opening Moves January 30, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Home, Yorling.
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Back in Salesguy1’s cube I drop the CarWoo Salesguy2’s big undercut of his initial offer. He’s not pleased. He goes on for a bit about the double-dirty-dog-underhanded dealing tactics of other dealerships and how he refuses to work at a dealership works that way. Oh yes, he’s quite incensed about the whole thing.  It turns out that the Big Bone of Contention is the Delivery Charge: $845.00. This is actually a legitimate hard cost for a new car, and it will be passed on to the buyer no matter who’s doing the deal. The other guy’s offer didn’t include that and Salesguy1’s did. SHENANIGANS!

Unwisely perhaps I let him know which other dealership that quote came from. He quickly identifies the only one they have on the lot and points out that if we add the Delivery Charge and minus the $200 premium paint option the other car has he is actually under the other offer. It’s a fair point, if that’s actually the case.  I don’t know. CarWoo offers don’t have a bunch of details about the offers initially. You have to kind of build a true bid there. I table Salesguy2’s offer for the moment and then I ask to look at the actual invoice from Salesguy1.

He doesn’t want me to see the actual invoice. Instead he prints off the “more easy to read” version. What you see when they give you this isn’t  really “invoice” costs, it’s MSRP. Still, this is a useful piece of information as I now have a full list off all the options on the car. Well, almost – later Salesguy mentions that there are a few extra things on the car not on the invoice: door edge guards, locking wheel nuts, and window tinting. Duly noted. Armed with more information I thank him for his time and go back home and ask Salesguy2 for his option details. It turns out that Salesguy1 was indeed correct in identifying the other vehicle. It had the standard upgrade option package that all Limited RAV4s get, plus premium paint but nothing else. Hmm.

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AAY – Car Buying 4: Driving Mr. Mitchie January 27, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Yorling.
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Last weekend I drop by for the test drive and meet Salesguy 1. He’s the “Internet Sales Manager”, mid-30’s-ish, very personable as your general salesweasel must be. I want to take control and set the basic rule for our first meeting.  I start off with “I’m not buying a car today. I just want to check it out.” “No problem,” is his response. We go out to get the car. He pulls out a very nice looking silver one. I like silver. We start going over all the stuff it has. Having owned a ’01 RAV4 for many years I’m very impressed with what they’ve done with the model over the next 11 years. Sure, it’s mostly small things as the overall basic design hasn’t changed – it’s still a small SUV, but taken all together it’s quite the improvement. And then there’s the fact it’s the top-end Limited model vs. low end base I’ve been driving. There are lots of extra goodies because of that. I try to make mostly neutral-ish sounding noises. At one point he pulls out a pocket knife to fiddle with some recessed tab to show me some neat storage areas the back cargo area has. I recognize the butterfly mark on the blade: Benchmade. He rises a couple notches in my estimation. You gotta give “props” to a guy who carries a Benchmade knife.

I get behind the wheel and Salesguy give me the “key”. It’s just a fob with three buttons: lock, unlock, and “panic”. To start the car you step on the brake pedal and push a button. The car recognizes the fob as the electronic key. Neat. As a guy who’s locked his keys in his car a few times I REALLY like a system where I don’t even have to take them out of my pocket. Off we go – I give it the usual gas and we SURGE forward. Yeah, two more cylinders makes a significant difference. I get it out on the road and get a feel for how handles differently from my car. Everything is buttery smooth and I LOVE the improved acceleration. The ride isn’t as soft as Mom’s Mercedes, but damn, it’s not that far off actually. Salesguy remarks that he doesn’t have all that much to say about the car since I already know so much about the RAV4, which is true. He does get to point out a few of the other things we didn’t look at before we went out though. It’s a fairly short test drive. I WANT this car. Any lingering thoughts about going with a used Mercedes disappear

Overall, it was very hands-off and not at all pushy with this guy. I really dislike high-pressure sales tactics so he rises a couple more notches.  I get the feeling I can work with this him. We head over to his cubicle to discuss things further.

AAY – Car Buying Part 3: Deal Me In January 25, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Yorling.
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Ah yes, per the instructions over there you start with The Folder. Basically you need to make sure all your credit history stuff is in order. Once a year you can request a free one from the Big Three: Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. You can find them on-line and download .pdf versions and check them carefully for errors. Happily there were none on mine. I put them in The Folder (or rather my Kindle Fire, same thing) in case they try to pull any Funny Stuff. Other tasks were to download some spreadsheets and start planning my strategy and best cost scenarios.

At some point I decided to drop the used Mercedes option, I want new. For the 2013 models Toyota made a bunch of changes to the base design interior-wise, but the outside looks much the same except they pulled the spare wheel off the back and stuck it under the back cargo area. Now the rear door opens upward instead of to the side. I’m very interested.

Car Buying Tips recommends getting all your price quotes online and they suggest a few places to get the ball rolling. One of which is CarWoo so set up an account but there I was limited to just searching for the 2013 model Rav 4.  Ok.  I set up another account with a different website (forget which one) and start the ball rolling there too for 2013’s. I start getting responses pretty quickly. And I find out that they dropped the V6 engine option for all 2013’s – four bangers only. Also I find out they’re only just now getting to the dealers and there aren’t many to choose from. On top of that only the base models are available at the moment. No, that’s not going to do. I’ve had 4 cylinder cars all my life. I want, nay need a V6. WE MUST HAVE IT PRECOUSSSSS! So, 2012 V6 Limited it is. I notify everyone and one drops out. With CarWoo the dealer can’t contact you directly. All emails are routed from CarWoo itself. One of the other sites gives your contact information to the dealer he calls me fairly quickly. Here we go.

He offers a $1000 off MSRP of one he has in stock and tell me they currently they offer $1500 rebate or 0% financing. Car Buying Tips tells you that very few people qualifies for the 0%. I’m sure that’s true. It’s not true for me though, that I was certain. It’s easy to calculate which is the better option – %2.99 less the $1500 rebate or 0%? Zero percent is absolutely the way to go. We discuss all this and set up an appointment to do a test drive. I look at some of the other offers, one of which came back substantially under his. Woot!

 

AAY – Car Buying Part 2: The Financial Buggaloo January 19, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Yorling.
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After much punching and crunching of numbers I’ve got my general total cost ballpark range. Happily this range extends to brand new 2012 or 2013 model RAV 4. And not the base unit mind you, but the upper end Limited edition. Sweet. This also extends to late model used luxury brand cars. Like…oh I don’t know…a Mercedes-Benz perhaps? “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? All my friends drive Porches and I must make amends.” MB makes a very RAV4-ish small to midsize SUVs such as the GLK-350 which is exactly what my Mom’s car is. They’re very nice. Or even the M-Class which is even nicer. Some searching shows that yep, there are some around with 40-50 K miles in my price range. Welllll now. Isn’t that interesting?

First things first – financing. Money is cheap right now so this is actually a good time to finance a car anyway. I dropped by my bank and set in motion the pre-approval process. I have a good job, pay my bills on time so I have a great credit rating. I easily qualify for the lowest rate of 2.99 % on $25,000 loan. Time to find me a car.

I will admit, I do not have a lot of experience buying cars. In my life I’ve owned: Chevy Citation II, Ford Probe, Buick Regal (less than a month with this one – stolen), Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and my current RAV 4. I rode a motorcycle for a few months somewhere in there. I’ve owned more bicycles than cars (most of which got stolen). Two of these cars were private purchases, so not a lot of dealer haggling. This is also the first time I’ve even considered going with brand new. Yeah, yeah I know – IT DROPS $10,000 THE INSTANT YOU DRIVE OFF THE LOT!!!! ELEVENTY” or whatever it is. I eat the big depreciation crap sandwich going new, but…I get to be the one to put the important first few thousand miles on it and reap the low maintenance costs later on. I get to be the one who puts the weird smells into the car by knocking over the bong and getting stinky bong water into the upholstery. And so on.

But now we have the glorious INTERNET. The great All Thing that is the repository of all human knowledge. Well, a hefty chunk of it anyway. Surely there must be a site out there to help a fellow figure out what the scoop is on this car buying process isn’t there? Why yes – yes there is. Check it out: carbuyingtips.com. There’s a LOT of information there and the dude keeps it updated too. I start reading, and then I start putting together The Folder.

Adventures in Advanced Yorling – Car Buying Edition January 11, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Never Give Up, Never Surrender!, Science & Technology, Yorling.
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So. Over the holiday weekend I brought my car in for long overdue servicing. The front brakes were shot, wheels all sorts of out of alignment and other whatnots. Total cost was in the neighborhood of 900 bucks. Then not too long after I notice steam or smoke coming out from under the hood. Service guy poked around and said, oh yeah – radiator is shot. And of course it some sort of special “dual-core” radiator that’s extra expen$ive. Basically it was going to be around another 800 bucks. Mmmf. This car is a 2001 Toyota RAV 4 with something north of 120,000 miles. It’s time to consider trading it in. I looked at another RAV 4 on the lot as I drove off and noted the MSRP. It’s a starting place to run some numbers and see what I can reasonably afford.

And so it begins. I really like the RAV 4 car design and I’m seriously considering another. This time I think I will buy brand-new instead of used.