Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's Revenge Time for New Car Buyers!

Well, it’s that time again. My lease on my Infiniti is up—thank God! (Which is why I’ve told everyone I know never to lease a car-I spent $35,000 to drive the vehicle for 39 months, plus they’re hitting me up for $1,100 in so-called “damages” to the car at lease-end—need to know more?)So, I need to buy a car.
Little did I know when I announced that I wanted to purchase a new vehicle that I would be attacked by a pack of starving car salesmen like alligators swarming around a water buffalo who decided to cross the river and got stuck. All I can say is “Wow!” I never imagined that I would be so inundated by car salesmen, seemingly desperate to make a sale. It’s been an avalanche of phone calls, e-mails, postcards –literally hundreds of them. I feel like a high school football star being recruited by all the top colleges!
With car dealerships closing at an alarming rate, and government bailout money flying around like confetti, this is THE time to purchase a car. The deals that I am hearing are literally unfathomable. I don’t think I’m going to truly believe these prices until the day I decide on what car I want to buy and sign on the dotted line. I keep thinking I’m in a car buyers’ fantasy land and that I’ll eventually wake up to find out it was all just a dream.
Huge rebates. 72-months zero percent financing. 30% off sticker. Tax breaks. Every dealer I am talking to is falling over itself trying to capture my business. And since I got so badly stung on my lease (my fault), I am going to work them into a selling frenzy and a bidding war. Am I seeking revenge against the industry in general after my terrible lease experience? Maybe.
Once I have determined which car I want--I am considering five nameplates: Nissan, VW, Chevy, Ford and Mazda--I’m going to call every dealer in Northern California that sells the car I want and have them enter into a bidding war that would make the founder of eBay proud. It should provoke a situation not unlike what you see on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange—a lot of shouting, groveling and flailing arms.
My point is, if you’re like me and currently looking for a new car, work the process big-time and get the best deal you possibly can. Haggle. Play them off each other. Use phrases like, “You need to sharpen your pencil” or “Your competitor seems to want the sale more than you do” –things like that. And don’t settle for 10% off sticker price. Because these dealers HAVE to sell these cars, especially the ‘09’s. Their numbers are down and it’s a do-or-die situation for these people. The end result is that you’ll come away with a real bargain. If you play your cards right, you’ll save a ton on certain models.
I can’t wait for the bidding to begin, because in this case, competition IS very healthy—for me. Anyone who has ever been burned buying a new car (and I know they’re a lot of you out there) it’s payback time!