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Reply #42: A word of advice on the whole Buy American point... [View All]

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ElboRuum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-15-06 12:51 PM
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42. A word of advice on the whole Buy American point...
I know that "patriotic purchasing" is one of the watchwords thrown about these days and in the past, but here's a clue about that:

Most cars sold today have their parts manufactured overseas in multiple countries. Some assembly still occurs here, but you can't tell the "nationality" of the car simply by looking at the make. In addition, a lot of cars made by "overseas" manufacturers are actually made by companies owned by others, as there have been a lot of buyouts over the last decade. Ford owns Jaguar and Mazda, VW owns Lamborghini (I think, or was it Ferrari?). And so on.

Often you can get a really good used car that's two years old or less which has depreciated 15% or more below its initial sticker, with most of its good years still ahead of it.

Your niece's recommendation is correct, such instruments like bank loans, whether they be home equity or some other product, are often a better percentage rate and/or more flexible repayment terms. I've also seen some new cars coming out that aren't hybrids (like this Yaris I've seen) that are essentially responses to gas prices and get great mileage. I can't speak to their quality, but that kind of information is readily available with a few quick searches on the 'net.

My experience with the car buying process generally echoes what you've described:

1) Pick something you like within your price range or that suits most if not all of your needs, no purchase is less satisfying than a car that you 'settled' for.
2) Entertain the possibility that you'll be willing to take a used model with low mileage over a brand new car.
3) Never think of a car as an investment. It starts losing value the second you roll it off the lot.
4) Do your homework. How much can you really afford? Read reviews. Check the MSRP. Find out what options are offered. Check the reliability ratings for the make, model, and year. If it's a used car, get the book value of the car and always find out how many previous owners it has had. Being informed will make you more formidable an opponent for the salespeople when you finally get to the dealership.
5) Out-of-house financing options often give better deals than in-house financing.
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