Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My other car is a broom!

i have to buy a new car. we all saw it coming -- the day when flora would no longer live to climb another mountain, make it another exit up the parkway or weather another storm. and while she still is creeping and crawling her way through life, it's just barely. clearly, her heart isn't in it.

fun, fun times. so what better way to go car shopping than by dragging along your two best friends with you? that's right. saturday, after we all dropped molly off at the groomers (the pekeapoo, that is, not the fabulous pin up girl), we had breakfast, and then we went to the volkswagen dealership. we meant to just look around a little, but then we found the most non-agressive car salesman ever, who's sales pitch, as KAT can tell you -- included man-handling the hood of the car (Look, it doesn't break!) which is an interesting pitch, certainly.

he sheepishly stood around a few of the cars, so it was me that made the first move - "so can we test drive this puppy?" and he went off to fetch the keys.

despite what j might tell you, i didn't try to kill us and i did not seriously test the ability of the brakes. pshaw. you downshift on the highway once and suddenly he's all up in your business with a panicked expression.

but seriously - it was less painful than i would have thought, and chances are, we'll buy a volkswagen, and we'll buy it from that guy. we're still going to test drive some other options, and hopefully the experience will be less than painful. i'm going to go in with the "we want to pay this. can you do it? yes? okay. no? okay. 7 other vw dealerships in the 15 mile radius."

keep your fingers crossed for us and any car buying tips - this means you, stac! -- please send 'em on.


Molly said...

Phew, so glad you cleared up the groomers thing, I was starting to wonder if I was so out of it at the weekend that I forgot what I did!

Car dealerships - dislike them intensely. Always check them out with the BBB, make sure they are members, read their guidlines on buying a car and don't commit to anything if you are not sure.

Good luck!

Brian said...

Hi. Since I used to sell cars, I have a blog that specializes in car buying tips. Oh... I used to have two Volkswagens and loved them! One of them almost hit the 300,000 mile mark and the other surpassed it.

As for the non-aggressive salesman, please watch out. The salesman is really nothing more than an intermediary between you and the sales managers. Your salesman really has no authority to decide the terms of your deal. So, even with the nicest salesman on the planet, you could get a bad deal if the sales manager is corrupt enough.

I hope you make out great and enjoy your car!

Anonymous said...

Happy Car shopping! Now my RH is going to want a new car with all these people getting new cars...

sj said...

thanks for the advice, everyone!

brian, this is good to know. i hated my last car-buying experience and i'm hoping for something alittle smoother this time around. i plan to be prepared!

KAT said...

I'm not even in the market for a new car, but there's just something about all those shiny new vehicles on the lot that gets you itchin' for one. The PH and I checked out Mustangs at a lot across the road... and had the opposite experience from SJ. The salesman was pushy from the beginning, even when I introduced myself by saying we're not in the market for a car, but wanted to see what the Mustangs look like. He tried to push us into a test drive (hey SJ, wanna drag?) but ended up driving us out of the lot.
And then SJ told me Mustangs have rear wheel drive. Never, ever, EVER would I have one of those in New England. I prefer to be able to get home in a snowstorm!

stac said...

Just one word of advice - don't be afraid to stand your ground and negotiate that price. I have walked out of dealerships that claim they can't "budge" from the sticker price. And when we bought Jon's BMW, I fought for almost 2 hours to get that price lowered. Most of that time the salesman was in the sales manager's office, but I must have sent him back in there a dozen times. So what model VWs are you looking at?

Molly said...

I actually read that you might get a better deal if you get your loan first, from someone else because car loans through the dealership are notoriously bad. Don't know how true that is but might be worth looking at. I refinanced through Capital One and got a better deal because I did it online and have direct deposit.

Now I want a new car....!

Ben said...


1. Treat this as three seperate transactions if you REALLY want a good deal. You need to keep the purchase price of the new car, if you're tading in or not, and then finance three seperate issues. So... if they ask if you'll trade... tell them let's worry about this car first". Like someone said - generally, you can get the better deals by getting an approval from a credit union or something first, but more and more now you fine 0% down 1.9% APR or less deals if you catch it right (and if your CC score is high).

2. Buy last years new model (2006) and only what's on the lot - they'll take almost nothing at this time of year to clear out brand new 2006 models to make space for the newer 2007s. I got my finacee's Golf with a 21.5K sticker on it down to barely over 16K (less than THEY payed for it from VW) to simply get it out of the lot. I was there for about 5-6 hours though and was a bulldog.

3. Remember - you can always walk out and never be afraid to at any time. If you're set on a price and they kind of joke with you tell them calmly... one last chance and I walk... like you said - there are a lot of dealers out there.

4. Do research. Go onto edmunds. Know what the value of the car you want is. Know what a dealer pays for it and every option on it - print it out - bring it with you. It'll make negotiation a lot easier. Plus... that site also has people posting what they paid for the vehicle too... so if you see someone get a similar car 25 miles away for a killer deal - chances are you can get the same deal. ame with your trade... know the real value of your car at trade-in. Never settle for less than bluebook if you can. That info is available online as well.

5. Consider test driving in person but purchasing online through the internet sales manager. Generally, they don't mess around and will simply quote you a price that makes them like $500 bucks more than they paid. I've heard many stories of people getting the best deals this way... because the internet manager knows... if you're comfortable to buy online... you've more than likely researched like a mother online too. Plus - it's an easy sale.

6. Be careful and wary about splitting up the finance/purchase bit. Don't let them arrange things by "what's the monthly payment you want?"... more ofthen that not they'll simply add on 12 months and even increase the interest rate a bit when you probably could have talked them down to 1 year less and even less of an interest rate. For example... you say... I don't wanna spend more than 299 a month... and even though 48 months at 5% might get you in at 289 or whatever... they'll tell you they can get you in at 60 months for 5.6%... which is the same for you, but you pay out more in interest and they make more off you. Many dealers do this to compensate you negotiating a great deal on the purchase of the car. This is why you should know your CC score going in and what rates are generally doing right now for a new car. This is why many people will get a loan elsewhere too.

7. Don't dress up. Don't dress poor. You want to look like blue-collar average joe. Too many people dress up a bit nicer... it hurts you in negotiation. If I walk in with a blazer looking all trendy... they'l think I'll eventually buckle because I can afford it - I'm having fun. If I walk in with a simple sweater and sneakers on - he thinks maybe he should listen to me and go lower because maybe I can barely afford what we're talking about and he wants the sale.

ben said...


If you are looking at a Golf or a Passat... make sure it IS a 2007. You do NOT want the old model (even if it's a bit less). It's renowned for stupid electrical glitches and stuff. They got a lot of bad press about it and they made sure to make the new ones much better.

I like our Golf enough and it's fun to drive. It's never had any major mechanical issues at all... but it's had annoying glitches. Things like the radio fuse blowing about 1-2 times a year (never had a car EVER that did that before). But VWs drive exceptionally well and are the best built affordable cars in my opinion (in terms of safety) next to Honda. The interior quality of VW though is FAR superior to anything else in that price range.

sj said...

ben, you are super, super helpful.

thank you for this! (incidentally, my husband has a golf, so we did look at the rabbits, but i believe i'm looking at a 2007 jetta. the sticker price for the 2007s are lower than the 2006s, strangely enough....)

i'm going in there fully prepared with financing already taken care of (thank you, miss molly), and telling them my price, and fully prepared to walk away if i need to.

thanks everyone!!!