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Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:14 PM

I have a question about buying a vehicle...

It's been a decade+ since I bought a car. I'm wondering if it's harder to negotiate the sticker price down for cars made by GM or Ford. I used to do okay in my negotiations, but I'm getting the impression that salespeople are less willing to look eager to sell.

62 replies, 3205 views

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Arrow 62 replies Author Time Post
Reply I have a question about buying a vehicle... (Original post)
Ilsa Feb 2013 OP
snooper2 Feb 2013 #1
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #2
Ilsa Feb 2013 #19
Honeycombe8 Feb 2013 #37
goclark Feb 2013 #47
Honeycombe8 Feb 2013 #59
goclark Feb 2013 #61
high density Feb 2013 #40
Honeycombe8 Feb 2013 #60
goclark Feb 2013 #62
LeftyMom Feb 2013 #3
Ilsa Feb 2013 #20
Honeycombe8 Feb 2013 #38
plcdude Feb 2013 #4
Blecht Feb 2013 #6
high density Feb 2013 #42
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #5
newfie11 Feb 2013 #7
Ilsa Feb 2013 #22
newfie11 Feb 2013 #30
SheilaT Feb 2013 #8
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #11
SheilaT Feb 2013 #13
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #14
SheilaT Feb 2013 #15
Ilsa Feb 2013 #26
Honeycombe8 Feb 2013 #39
Ilsa Feb 2013 #24
Nay Feb 2013 #33
Cary Feb 2013 #9
Ilsa Feb 2013 #25
CountAllVotes Feb 2013 #10
Lars39 Feb 2013 #12
SheilaT Feb 2013 #16
madinmaryland Feb 2013 #48
SheilaT Feb 2013 #52
Initech Feb 2013 #17
Ilsa Feb 2013 #18
Initech Feb 2013 #21
NightOwwl Feb 2013 #23
Ilsa Feb 2013 #27
A HERETIC I AM Feb 2013 #29
Ilsa Feb 2013 #28
sdfernando Feb 2013 #31
SheilaT Feb 2013 #53
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #32
llmart Feb 2013 #34
indie9197 Feb 2013 #43
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #45
llmart Feb 2013 #56
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #44
llmart Feb 2013 #57
LeftyMom Feb 2013 #46
kudzu22 Feb 2013 #50
Glassunion Feb 2013 #35
Glassunion Feb 2013 #36
Honeycombe8 Feb 2013 #41
kudzu22 Feb 2013 #49
politicat Feb 2013 #51
upi402 Feb 2013 #54
SheilaT Feb 2013 #55
1-Old-Man Feb 2013 #58

Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:17 PM

1. Buy a used car with less than 10K miles..

best bang for buck..

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:19 PM

2. We sort of did that.

And it was still a whole day of negotiations.

Now putting away the cash to replace the hybrid in three to five years.

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:00 PM

19. That's true, but I think hubby

Will only go with "new". I guess buying a used one will depend on the warranty available and who provides the warranty.

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:46 PM

37. Hmmm. Wonder why someone would get rid of a car with so few miles? nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #37)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:26 PM

47. I have a Ford Fusion 2011 , fully loaded

and I don't drive much anymore.

It has 5,200 miles on it.

I get nervous when I drive and in this FAST DRIVING " Bright Lights, Big City" that is scary for me.


And, the DR. told me 8 yrs. ago not to drive at night so that means that Friends/ Family pick me up and take me to most places.

I drive a mile to church and 5 blocks to the store.

I am considering getting a little used car when I find the right one.

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Response to goclark (Reply #47)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:04 PM

59. So you'll be selling the Fusion? nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #59)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:13 PM

61. Think so



I drove to church today and did "pretty well."

Even though I know the area - I still made a wrong turn.
I could not read a street sign until I was closer to it. I was so frustrated with myself.
Thankfully, there were not many cars on the street when I had the Street Sign Problem.

Did not panic completely and I managed to get there and get home but I really don't want to do it anymore.

This is a BIG CITY and the drivers don't follow the rules of the road -- at all!

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:58 PM

40. Disagree

Most of those "lightly used" cars I see are very near the same price as a new one, plus the financing terms are worse since manufacturers often offer better deals on new cars.

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Response to high density (Reply #40)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:10 PM

60. Comparing used vs. new for your circumstances, sometimes new is cheaper in the long run.

There are sites on the "internets" where you can cost compare new vs used for your circumstances. Sometimes new is cheaper in the long run, if you keep a car a long time. One thing is, as you mention, financing is less for new. Another is...the warranty covers you for more years on a new car. Another is...the used car will start needing repairs a couple of years earlier than a new one. Another is...you don't have knowledge of how a used car was maintained or driven before you bought it. Another is....you'll get more $ for the new car, when you sell it. Another is...you'll be able to keep the new car a couple of years longer than the used one.

Still, if you don't plan on keeping a car super long, or you get a great deal on a used car, it can save you money in the long run, or at worst, you'll be the same used vs. new.

It all depends.

Also, one article I read mentioned that there is no definite way to know the value of a used car, like a new car, because every used car is unique. Even two cars with same mileage, same color, same make and model and year...they could have different values, but you have no way of knowing that, really, since you didn't own the car for those first few years.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #60)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:22 PM

62. Thanks for your post

I posted in this thread and you gave me information that helped.


As I mentioned--- my car is in my garage most of the time.
My friends drive me anywhere I want to go and we "hang out" all over this big city.

My Car note is $600 per month and the Auto Insurance is about $120 per month -- that means I can save at least $750 a month -- including gas if I sell it.

I include the gas because sometimes my cousin/friends drives my car,

I'll keep thinking on it.
My dream would be that a friend would take over most of the Car payment each month and
drive me most of the places that I would need to get to ----

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:22 PM

3. It's the middle of the month.

Try again in two weeks when they need to make their sales goal. Or go online and do it that way, a lot of people have better luck with the internet/fleet sales department.

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Response to LeftyMom (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:01 PM

20. Thanks, that's a great idea! nt

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Response to LeftyMom (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:47 PM

38. I had NO luck with the internet. It's a come-on. They do it to get your name & email.

They promise you the moon. They say they have cars they don't have, just to get you in. And the price they quoted? Oh, that didn't include this or that.

Now, if you have the list of options you want, the make and model, and you've determined the price you'll pay...you can email around and try to find a dealer who will take you up on it. Or not.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:22 PM

4. by researching

online there is little room left for negotiations. I know before I go to talk to them what it is worth and what I will pay. It is a take or leave it proposition for me.

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Response to plcdude (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:26 PM

6. ^This

MSRP means nothing (it never has), but now people know that if they spend a few minutes with Google.

A lot of dealers recognize that the information is out there and are adopting a "no-haggle" approach themselves.

They still try to get you on extras that are not necessary, but it's a much better experience than it used to be.

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Response to Blecht (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 09:06 PM

42. I agree

The last new car I bought had a fair price on it to start with (very competitive with the online buying services like Zag/Truecar), they took a little off of that, and gave me a honest deal on my trade-in. Overall they gave me an offer I couldn't refuse without any hassle or teeth pulling. The "finance guy" experience where they try to sell you $5,000 in plans and warranties is still totally annoying, but I can just say no until I'm blue in the face during that nonsense.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:26 PM

5. Go to an area with alot of competing dealerships and use different offers and comparisons to get

a better deal. Also don't go when it is busy.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:37 PM

7. Why not do the on line search.

Granted our new car is a subaru but when I did a search on line for dealers a link came up for price search.
I filled it out and was contacted from dealers in Colorado and Wyoming.

We had looked at a dealer in Cheyenne before this and were quoted 35,000. They had no deals, that was the end price.

The ones coming from Colorado were 32,000. And the dealer we went with sold it at 30,000.

Worked pretty good for us as any of these would mean driving from 1 to 6 hours one way.
Yes we live near the end of the earth.

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:03 PM

22. Those are significant numbers.

I've done some online stuff, but some places won't give me a quote on what I want (add-ons, etc), they just throw back the base price. I've been aggravated by some of the online responses.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #22)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:40 PM

30. I am sorry to hear that

Maybe their more desperate out here.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:39 PM

8. I am a semi-expert, having recently purchased

or helped someone else purchase a total of eight vehicles in a three year period.

Several rules. Never buy the first time you walk on the lot. You can end up buying the first car you look at, as I did once before this eight car marathon. But look, nod sagely, and leave.

Always know how much money you can spend. Try very hard NOT to think in terms of your monthly payment, but in terms of the total cost. If possible, pay cash, although I do understand that's not practical for very many people.

Make use of the Internet. The Internet is your friend. There's a huge amount of information out there that is very easy to access.

When buying used, also go to KBB.com or www.edmunds.com to do a separate research about the value of the particular make, model, year, and mileage of the cars you're considering.

When you find a car at a dealership that you like, and hopefully you'll find several at more than one dealership, print out their information. If they do not link to the Carfax report on that specific car, ask for it at the dealership. If they're not willing to give it to you, leave. On your printout for each car, note what KBB or Edmunds says the car should be worth.

If for any other reason you feel uncomfortable at the dealership, leave. All of those eight cars I bought or helped someone buy were Honda Civics or Accords, so I got to know all the Honda dealerships in the metro area where I lived. There was one that for some reason just felt sleazy to me. I visited them at least three different times, and I'm not even sure I ever test-drove anything from them. Could never quite put my finger on it, but after a while I didn't go to them any more.

If you are sufficiently knowledgeable about cars then you can look at what I call the tertiary market, those stand-alone, usually somewhat shabby used car lots that are definitely selling older cars. Or, if you have a very good and trustworthy mechanic, then you can go there. Unless buying from a major dealer in your area (and sometimes even then) you must have the car looked at by your mechanic. Same thing applies to buying from a private party.

If you are reasonably comfortable going the private party route, or you're convinced you'll get a better buy that way, then get a 30 day thing for Carfax, and check out every single car you're serious about. And absolutely have any car you're serious about looked at by a mechanic.

Never get rushed into a decision. You really can rent a car for a week or so while car shopping. Really.

I always assume that the dealer has no more invested than the trade-in value. That's my starting point.

The last time I bought a new car this kind of information was not yet out there, the Internet having barely gotten started. But I'd do the equivalent for new. And, if buying new, hopefully you can eventually get to the specific make, model, and trim level of the car you want. Work with at least two different dealers to see which one will give you the best price.

Always buy less car than you can afford. Never max out on the monthly payment. Never put so little down, or have such a lousy trade-in that you start out owing more than it's worth. Never.

I must confess that I enjoy buying cars, and it's been several years now since I've bought one.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 01:30 PM

11. We bought the jeep

After five visits and extensive research on the net.

We found it was priced 2,000 under on line. We got it for the price we intended to pay.

As to cash, delay telling them you are paying cash as long as possible... We did by the way. Doing my monthly payment for the hybrid to my savings account. I intend to pay cash as well.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 04:40 PM

13. Oh, yes, I forgot to say that.

I never tell them I'm paying cash until I've finalized the price, although I think they figure it out when you never discuss monthly payment, only the final price.

Also, there is one particular Honda place I've gotten three cars from, and they really know me when I walk on the lot. There are other lots I've gone to plenty of times over that three years, but haven't bought from. Those salespeople also recognize me and think I'm some weird person who looks a lot and never buys.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 04:52 PM

14. Since the Jeep was used, it came as is

We were able to also keep to our offer due to the fact it already went to my mechanic for a top to bottom review and we knew it needed some work.

Since I am compulsive about saving, I admit, it is... When I totaled the truck, we had the money, but we still figured out how much we could afford to spend, including service and add on, including tires...Oy.

It helps to know they are paying the bank for the vehicles, and we knew those tricks, well hubby did.

You and him should do this together...

Chuckle.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 05:12 PM

15. Perfect!

I have occasionally wondered if I could make a living helping others buy cars. I will never claim I get the very best deal out there. But I do get a decent deal on a decent car. It's amazing how few people think they way they should, the way you did.

It's been my observation that with the advent of the Internet and the incredible amount of information now out there, most car dealers don't pull the crap they used to. It doesn't hurt that overall cars are MUCH better built than they used to be, and are expected to last a whole lot longer than ever.

I also had the experience of spending about four hours at one stand-alone used car lot while my younger son test drove every car that could possibly suit him or his budget. As I waited in the small, crowded room where the deals were being finalized, I got a very good sense of how car-selling actually worked, and especially how this place operated. That son didn't buy from them, but later on that week (do you want to hear the story of two cars totalled in five days?) when older son needed a car, that was the first place we went to, and they had one that worked for him. And then, when that car had an a/c problem almost immediately, they fixed it. My mechanic said he'd have to charge me a thousand dollars so to take it back to them. They made it good. I made a point of recommending them to people ever after.

When I say I've had experience buying used cars, I've had experience buying used cars.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:09 PM

26. I keep paying full in cash as an option, too.

I think a better deal on the final sales price could be better.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:53 PM

39. What do you say when they ask if you'll be financing? They always do. nt

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:06 PM

24. I plan on going 3-4 times before shaking hands on

something. And I'm buying "much less" car than previously. I don't want car payments like a mortgage.

I need something new, or next to new with a great warranty. I am pretty much on my own where I live, no one to call and come rescue me if I breakdown, except a tow truck.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #24)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:12 PM

33. Hubs and I buy ONLY low-mileage cars, 3-4 years old, in the luxury or semi-luxury range. We've

gotten wonderful service from these cars; I still have my Lexus and it's 16 years old. Looks like new.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 12:39 PM

9. Figure out what you want first.

Then get all of the information you can on the internet. It's there. There are a number of sites that give the information.

Then visit 3 or 4 dealers. These days they don't mess with you too much. I ask for the best price. They are entitled to make some money on the car. I let them know I'm not going haggle with them and if they're reasonably close to the best price I'll take it.

That's just my style. I'm not interested in getting $30 or $40 less. I'm just interested in keeping them honest.

You can also watch the deals. You usually get some manufacturer's incentives closer to the end of the model year or on last year's cars.

I love my Chevy Cruze Eco. I get up to 50 mpg if I drive carefully. It's not a hybrid so I'm not going to have to deal with batteries. It's just tweaked for extra better miles per gallon and by the time I was done with everything it only cost me $18,000, fully loaded (for a Cruze Eco that is). Got to go with a manual transmission though. For me that's a plus but I know most people don't think so.

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Response to Cary (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:08 PM

25. I'm not going to

Haggle over small amounts. The salesman and dealership have to make a living, too, but I won't ever pay msrp. I think you and I are of the same mind on this.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 01:24 PM

10. Offer them the "INVOICE PRICE"

and ignore ignore ignore the MSRP!

Luckily my old dad taught me how to buy/sell cars.

He said never pay the MSRP as it is a total rip. The invoice price is more in line with what the car actually costs, not this beefed up MSRP price.

I've done this with every car I've ever bought new -- no MSRP for you!

Saved a load on the last car I bought. They wanted me to finance it badly and cut an additional $1,000.00 off of the price so I did just that and then paid the car OFF the following month!

Total cost for new car w/trade in was $11K. I'm still driving that car btw and it has no sign of going down anytime soon (it is an Accord SE).

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 01:30 PM

12. Carmax for used vehicles is pretty good, if you have one near you.

Can't negotiate, prices are reasonable. They really check the vehicles over very well before they even buy them.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 05:15 PM

16. The problem with Carmax and their no negotiation policy,

is that their prices in the end are noticeably higher than anywhere else. I used to look at them when I was looking for cars, but gave it up, because they really were a lot more than anywhere else.

It is true they only sell good cars that they make sure are in good shape, but so do reputable dealers. That's why when in doubt have your own mechanic check them out. I think Carmax is a safe choice for someone who is completely unwilling to do any research or comparison shopping or even minimal negotiation. But you can always do better than them.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #16)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:29 PM

48. Hmm. We just bought two cars from Carmax. Didn't notice that problem.

One was new, and one was used. Went to several other dealers and all it they did was play fucking games. Whether it was with the price, financing, or trade-in, it was some sort of bullshit that neither of us wanted to fuck around with.

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Response to madinmaryland (Reply #48)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 01:51 PM

52. What I found, back when I was buying cars, that I'd go to the Carmax site

and the price given for a car was well above what the starting point was for a comparable vehicle at another place. Invariably.

It's also been my experience that if you can simply arrange your own financing, which is what you tell them if you're actually paying cash, you don't have to play the financing games. You get a loan for whatever amount, the total cost of your car.

I've also only once ever had a trade-in, for somewhat complicated reasons, related mainly to previous cars being totalled. And the one time I had a trade-in, again, I did my research, knew what it should be worth, and told them I'd take the car I wanted for giving them my car (the trade-in) and a particular sum of money.

Basically, dealerships make a huge amount of their money in the finance department. Games about options and special features, playing with the numbers in the loan, all those depend on a poorly educated consumer. I am NOT suggesting you were poorly educated. It sounds like you definitely knew enough to recognize the games and the bullshit, so good for you.

But in my experience Carmax was decidedly pricier, but perhaps that has changed in recent years.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 05:17 PM

17. Go through Costco or AAA.

I got a new car that way and I was offered $6K off the invoice on a 2013 model. Needless to say that was all the incentive I needed!

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Response to Initech (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 05:58 PM

18. Wow! What make/models do they

Sell at Costco? My husband just joined.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:02 PM

21. The way it works is they have a list of participating dealers.

When you're ready to buy you go to their website ( http://www.costcoauto.com ) and tell them what you want, and they will give you a list of dealers who have that car in stock and have a volume / fleet discount. And then when you show up at the dealer give them your membership card. It's already pre negotiated so the dirty work is taken care of. I got a '13 Altima through the program and saved like $6,000 on a $29,000 model.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:05 PM

23. No need to negotiate anymore.

Consumers have much more information available than they did ten years ago.

http://www.edmunds.com/ and http://www.truecar.com/ are your friends.

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Response to NightOwwl (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:11 PM

27. I'm using Edmunds to value my trade-in...

Last edited Fri Feb 15, 2013, 11:16 PM - Edit history (1)

I know, I know, I could probably do better selling my car vs trading it in, but it also offers another point of negotiation.

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Response to NightOwwl (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:19 PM

29. And two more:

www.kbb.com


www.nada.com

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:13 PM

28. THANK YOU, EVERYONE!!! THESE RESPONSES HAVE BEEN

Very helpful. I haven't done this in awhile. A few things have changed, but it looks like the basics remain the same.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:49 PM

31. Lots of good advice on this thread

When I bought my last Liberty I did a ton of research online. Took the tips a gleaned. Figured out exactly what model and accessories I wanted and what the dealership cost was. Then I found all the Jeep dealers in a 100-mile radius and first called asking for the Fleet dealer...Sometimes I would get it sometimes not. Anyway I ended up sending emails or fax to most of the dealers in the 100 miles with my exact needs asking what they can sell to me for. Some said they didn't have what I wanted in stock, some ignored me. The offers I did get back I played against eachother...as luck would have it one of the dealers quite near me had their "internet" salesman reply. He took my lowest offer and bested that. He also didn't work off commission so that probably helped. So I ended up getting the exact Jeep I wanted, model, color, accessories, everything I wanted and nothing I didn't and got of for a little less then dealer invoice.

Some weeks later another dealership called me up...they were hard sell when I visited and test drove. I told then up front when I visited that I was NOT buying that day. Well, they turned up the pressure...so I had my test drive and left after telling the manager the only way I was leaving with a car today was if they gave it to me for zero dollars. So weeks later I had the joy of telling them I got what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay and I didn't have to deal with a lot of their sales bullshit, which lost them my business.

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Response to sdfernando (Reply #31)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 01:55 PM

53. You'd only buy the car that day if it was zero dollars.

Great response!

I once test-drove something that I disliked so much that I told the salesman that if they offered to give it to me for free I wouldn't take it. It's my experience that the places that exert a lot of pressure really aren't very good in the ways that count, in my opinion. Like really taking care of their cars. Like making the exact costs completely clear to you.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:56 PM

32. It's probably mostly a matter of timing

I bought my Sonata Hybrid on the cusp of the last fiscal cliff, right at the very end of December. It was very uncertain whether a deal on taxes would be reached at all, and I'm sure my dealership probably looked at the prospect of shrinking paychecks from the end of the FICA tax holiday coupled with higher withholding taxes. The standard holiday rebates were generous ($2,500 in all) and I got them to get to invoice price, plus a bit more than they wanted to give for my trade-in. Add the zero percent for five year financing, and it was an offer I couldn't refuse.

I would imagine that if you can hold out a couple of weeks, the sequester might have a similar, if smaller effect. Also, if you go in with printouts from Cars.com, or better yet, spend the money for a Consumer Reports "true invoice" price sheet for the car you're looking for, you might be better armed.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:40 PM

34. Wow! I'm glad I clicked on this thread...

I'm facing a $1,000 repair bill on a 2002 car with 110,000 miles on it and wondering if I shouldn't start thinking about buying a new car. Even though I know I'm going to have to do the repair, at least there's a lot of good info on this thread for me to start bookmarking and thinking about.

I'm on a fixed income at the moment and I always look for fuel economy and could care less about all the bells and whistles, but I want to start thinking about this now. I've been leaning towards a Ford Fusion/Focus but am open to any suggestions.

Also, to those on this thread, when do you finally decide to give up the ghost on an old car? I guess I mean how much do you spend on repairs before you say this isn't worth it any longer?

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Response to llmart (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 09:53 PM

43. 110,000 is not a lot of miles these days

Hopefully at that point it is paid for so you can continue to budget for maintenance and expected repairs. Just curious- what make and model and what went wrong that cost $1000?

Those new Ford Fusions are nice- that would my first choice in a new car. But I never spend more than $5000 on a vehicle!

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Response to indie9197 (Reply #43)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:03 PM

45. $1,000 on a car sounds like serious work. Once in that range, future repair bills typically

get worse.

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Response to indie9197 (Reply #43)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:51 PM

56. I paid cash for it when it was new in 2002.

I need struts and ball joints.

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Response to llmart (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:01 PM

44. If your repair involves something with the engine or drive-train, you may want to consider

buying a newer car, or a near new used car.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #44)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:52 PM

57. No. The engine is OK.

n/t

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Response to llmart (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:16 PM

46. It really depends a lot on the expected life of your car.

Unfortunately small economy cars tend to have low margins and manufacturers often cut corners on them to keep them at or near profitability, and to be blunt some of them are complete crap that falls apart around 100,000 miles. But other small cars are crazily reliable and barely broken in at 100,000 miles.

So really, without knowing what you're driving and what's the matter with it, nobody can really tell you whether or not keeping your existing car is a good idea.

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Response to llmart (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 11:33 PM

50. I ask myself the same thing

I have a 13-year old Toyota that's been good to me. Every time a repair comes up, I think about getting rid of it, but in the end it's still cheaper to repair than to buy new. If the bills got over $1000 per year, I'd probably give it up. It's nice not to have any car payments.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:40 PM

35. Go used for sure.

I've never bought new and it has saved me a fortune.

I personally think your sticker price haggling would be the same with either one.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:44 PM

36. P.S. bring a friend, preferably one who knows about cars.

My friend does not know crap about cars, I know a little. We pretended we were a couple and all I did was repeatedly excuse ourselves and send the salesman away. Everytime we excused him, he came back with a better offer. He inflated the trade, and came down on the price.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 09:02 PM

41. I recommend Consumerreports.org for lots of car & car buying info.

There are links to buy a true invoice printout.

They rate and give you the lowdown and comparisons of various cars. Reliability history, specs, video of their test drive.

Youtube.com has test drives, also.

Rental car places sell their cars, too. Hertz, Enterprise. You can find their cars online. They will be the base models, usually. Autotrader.com and other car shopping sites are sources of used cars in your area.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 11:27 PM

49. All good points

My rules are:

1. Come armed with your own financing. Go to your bank/credit union and get preapproved for a loan. Then you know what you can spend, and it allows you to observe rule #2...

2. Always negotiate the price of the car, not the monthly payment. They will jack you around with monthly payments and before you know it you're on the line behind a 7 year loan and you'll end up owing more than the car is worth. Never get into that situation.

3. Do research and find out what exactly you want.

4. Don't be afraid of used cars. If you shop around you can find a 3-4 year old car that is just as good as new, and costs far less. Or, alternatively, you can get far more car for the same price.

5. Beware of the stuff they sell you in the "office" after the deal is done. People let their guard down once the price is settled, and don't pay attention when they're filling out the papers for you to sign. They try to get you to buy extra stuff because they know you're tired and just want to get out of there. Don't fall for it.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 11:43 PM

51. We played two dealers off each other.

We were looking at either a Kia Soul or a Nissan Cube. We wanted small, efficient, with cargo space and not a Subaru. I went in with a lot of specific requirements (color, fits Giganto-partner, aux jack or iPod jack, etc.) and then spent two days fielding phone calls from the two dealers, telling each one that we'd gotten a slightly better offer from the other. When I got to sticker for the base model (we were shopping for a couple steps above base) I took the offer for the Kia. (Which I love, by the way, and have been very happy with. Would have liked a made in US, but at the time we were buying, there was nothing available in our price range with a good enough reliability rating that was actually made in the US -- badged GM, but actually made in Brazil is not good enough.)

It helped that we had "cash" financing, as in a check from our Credit Union, already arranged.

End of month is best, but be aware that some dealers have their EOM in the middle of the month.

Get a google voice number to use as your contact number with the dealers, that way they won't be bugging you for the next quarter century.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 01:59 PM

54. Kelly Blue Book reviews on kbb.com

edmunds.com reviews forum too

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:08 PM

55. Here's another way to think about the actual cost

of the car you're thinking of buying, and it works best when looking at a used car, in my humble opinion.

Look at the actual cost of the purchase. If you're financing, look at the total cost including interest. Then estimate how many miles you're likely to drive that car, and divide the price by the miles. This gives you a per-mile cost of the car up front. It does ignore the cost of gas and maintenance, but it's a good place to start.

My brother-in-law Kerry suggested this the first time I was getting a car for my younger son. We were looking at an older Honda that already had nearly 125,000 miles on it, and Kerry expressed concern about the mileage. He thought that it would be good for no more than another 25 or so thousand miles. I double-checked many miles that car should be expected to go, and the consensus figure was 200,000 miles. So it would be good for at least another 75,000 miles. I believe we paid about $4,000 for it. Just over five cents a mile. The number you'd like to arrive at may vary, but Kerry felt ten cents a mile was a good target. We bought it. Paid cash.

The very best deal I ever got was the first car I helped older son buy. It happened to be the very first one we looked at. We test drove it (actually, I did all the test driving as son, while 21, only had a permit at this point) and liked it. Liked it better than any other car we looked at in the days and weeks to follow. When they told me what they were asking, around $7,000 as I recall, I just nodded sagely, thanked the salesman for his time, and left. They kept on calling me up and offering a lower price. I kept on thanking them politely. Finally, at $4950, they said, This is absolutely the lowest we can go. This was still the best (for son's needs) car we'd looked at so we bought it.

There's more than one way to negotiate.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:34 PM

58. My days of buying new cars is long gone - 3 year old cars are the best deal out there

Find the car you want and then find a 3-year-old version of it with low milage. It will cost you half of the price of the same car new and you should be able to drive it for at least 3 more years without no more maintenance than regular oil and filter changes.

Oh, and this is another lesson I learned the hard way, never buy a German automobile. No matter what, no German cars.

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