Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Buying The Car


I left you with the basics of my car deal:

$50,820 new (sticker price)
$36,995 as dealer demo with 5,700 miles

$ 4,600 offered for our trade-in (2001 Yukon, 99,900 miles)

$32,395 difference. No way, no how. I had to put on my bargaining hat.

Which brings us back to the Chevy dealership and my mad negotiating skillz. First of all, our salesman (lets call him Ron) came back with that offer of $4600 on our trade-in. Gimme a break. I know nobody wants a gas hog, but HELLO, we were also taking a gas hog off their hands. And the dealer in a town south of us had a 1999 short Yukon for sale for $12,900. I was not about to let them make a potential $8000 off my 2001 long Yukon trade-in. That's just greedy. Ron kept insisting that it was the Kelley Blue Book value for our trade-in in 'fair' condition. I was ready for this, because I heard the guy in the next cubicle trying to pull this on an old man. I had told HH while Ron was out 'talking to the manager' about our trade that he would say it was in 'fair' condition. "Well," HH said at Ron's offer, "our car is in 'good' condition, not 'fair'." Ron said, "I don't know how you can say that. It will need new tires." HH looked at me. I took the printout out of my purse. "Right here in the Kelley Blue Book description, it says what is 'good' and what is 'fair' condition." HH read the part about the tires. Ron said, "Let me see that." Like he didn't know what we were talking about. "Hmm. I wasn't aware of that." Hee hee. They are like putty in my hands, these salesmen. Then Ron had the nerve to offer to 'split the difference' between the 'fair' and 'good' trade-in prices. Poor Ron. He still had no inkling of what he was up against. And to give him credit, he was a pleasant fellow, and easy to deal with.

I told Ron that I did not care what arbitrary value he assigned to our trade-in, but that I was a 'difference buyer', and only cared about what price I would actually be paying. And that his $32,395 value was totally unacceptable. Ron came down about $500. That was child's play. I told him my figure was far lower than that. Ron left to see if his manager could call back the 'buyer' he had for our trade-in, and cut a different deal. After much back and forth arguing and reasoning, Ron got the figure down to $30,000 difference. Goodness no! M-O-O-N! That spells, "I wasn't born yesterday, Ron. I know my way around a car dealership." But my partner in this crime, HH, was tiring. He seemed ready to cave. I gave him the stink-eye. Ron said, "Well, what figure are you looking at?" I told him, "I'd like to trade for $27,000 difference. If we can't agree to that, we have another one in St. Louis that we're going to look at on Monday morning. If that doesn't work out, we can stop back here, since it's on our way home." (Which was no bluff, it was an actual 2007 Yukon Denali, white, that the boss's wife had at the lake when the salesman told us about it. HH told him we were ready to buy THAT DAY if we found a car we liked, and the salesman even called to see if they could bring it in. But it was at the lake until Monday morning.) Ron didn't like that very much at all, that leaving business. He was off like a shot to ask about the $27,000.

I knew that I would not get the $27,000. Perhaps if gas was under $3.00 a gallon, I could have. If I had thought it possible, I would have low-balled at around $25,000, and worked back to it. But let's be reasonable, peeps. Nobody wants the gas guzzlers. They may have trouble unloading our 2001 Yukon, even though it is leather and loaded. It does have nearly 100,000 miles on it, you know. I figured at the $27,000, I was giving them exactly what they wanted for that Tahoe, and getting a trade-in value of $10,000 for our 2001. Or they might slice it differently, and say our trade-in was $4600, and we got $5400 off the price of the Tahoe marked $36,995. (In case my numbers haven't put you to sleep, I'm rounding the price of that new car to $37,000).

Ron came back saying that there was no way I was getting the $27,000 difference, and that the deal would not work on Monday, because his boss had a buyer that wanted to take our trade-in to auction, and the condition was that he pick it up TODAY. Uh huh. They always plan to take the trade-in to auction, because there's so much wrong with it that it won't possibly sell off the lot, even though I could have driven it for another year or two if we didn't want a new car. Not to mention that it was now 4:15 on Saturday, and the dealer closed at 5:00. Ron split some differences and made a couple more trips back to the boss, and came up with a figure of $28,832 difference. He said that was the bottom line. I told him that was still too much.

HH was almost crying. The only thing we've bought NEW is that Toyota. But he sucked it up, and said, "Well, it's been nice talking to you. We might be back Monday. It just depends." Then Ron was almost crying. "How about if you tell me the absolute lowest figure you could buy this car for TODAY?" HH and I had predetermined this on one of Ron's trips to the office. It had to be $28,000, or we would walk. HH took the scrap of paper where Ron had been crossing out and writing in figures, and covered up the 832, leaving $28---. Ron kind of gasped. He said he would go ask the boss. HH kept telling me, "It's up to you." But you could tell he REALLY, REALLY wanted this Tahoe, even though he thought it was a Yukon Denali. I had to be the voice of reason, and tell him that if our little plan didn't work, we could come back Monday morning at 9:00. Nobody was going to buy it before then. They were closing, by cracky. HH agreed.

Here came Ron, with his boss, the manager. I'll call him 'Bill', because he looked like a Bill. He was jolly and nice. Bill took Ron's chair, while Ron stood in the door of the cube. Bill explained that this Tahoe had already been marked down so much that he couldn't do any better. Nobody wanted these big cars like our trade-in. He had to stay in business. I explained that we were buying a big car from him. That it was a 2008, but it was time for the 2009s to come out. And that after all, it was actually USED, since it had 5700 miles on it. And that when we set out today, we were looking for a 2006 or 2007, and we'd found a 2007 with 36,000 miles on it that we planned on driving Monday morning.

Bill asked me to justify my figure of $28,000. "Well, Bill, I figure that's giving you the exact price you're asking for your Tahoe, and giving me $9000 for my trade-in. I know you can sell it for $15,000 like it says in your own Kelley Blue Book for retail value. I don't begrudge you that $6000 profit off my trade-in. I don't even mind coming up from the original difference of $27,000 that I had intended to hold out for. That $1000 is a gift for you. You have a business to run." I really did say that, except for maybe the word 'begrudge'. Bill laughed. He said, "Things don't work that way in the real world. We may not be able to sell your trade-in to get our money back." I said, "In MY fantasy world, you'll be making $6000 off my car, plus that $1000 I gave you as a gift. I would like to trade for $28,000, and I think you will still be making a good profit." Bill said, "I'd like to know where you justify that $10,000 that I should give you for your trade-in." I told him that in Edmunds, the trade-in value was $8890 in 'good' condition, which is almost $9000, and I knew that he could make well over a $1000 profit on it, so I rounded up to $10,000.

Bill wanted to split the difference of the offer on the table, and make a deal for $28,416. I told him no, it had to be $28,000. Bill fiddled some more, said he didn't count our towing package, or some such thing, and got it to $28,199. I insisted on $28,000. Just imagine if a dealer sells 10 cars a day, and he sucks $199 extra out of each buyer. It doesn't seem like much in the big picture of an individual buying a car, but that is $1990 extra in a day for the dealer. These guys nickel and dime you until you give up. You have to be ready to walk. Which we did several months ago over that red car I really wanted at a different dealer. But Ron and Bill were working with us, not insulting us like that other dealer. Bill said, "I can go to $28,143. You have been very logical in your figures. Can't you see, I am the only one compromising? Why can't you take the deal? Is that $143 going to keep you from buying this car?" That's when Benedict Arnold (I mean HH) stuck the knife in my back. "I'll give you the $143!" Ron had to chime in, "See? He'll give you the $143!" I looked at Ron, standing in the doorway. I explained calmly, like he was simple, "You apparently don't know who gives him his money." Bill, wisely, remained silent. I gave HH the double stink-eye. "Are you working for Bill? Because I think now would be a good time for you to check on the boys." HH agreed, and left the cubicle.

I told Bill, "I appreciate you being the one to do the compromising. I understand that you have a business to run. I am sorry, but I can't do the deal unless it is $28,000. If we can't agree, then there are no hard feelings. I have enjoyed negotiating with you, and we may or may not be back on Monday, after we drive that other car. Thank you for your time." Bill said, "Don't be sorry. You know what you want. This deal may not be available on Monday. But let me ask you why you would let $143 stand in the way of buying this car. What is the reasoning behind that? Your husband is ready to take the deal." I said, "There is no logical reason. I am just hard-headed. And if anybody knows that, it is my husband. I want the deal at $28,000, and I still think you will make a good profit at that amount. If we can't agree, then we can't agree." I told him how I like negotiating, and how Toyota would not even give me a hat after dealing with me.

HH came back in the cubicle. Bill looked at Ron. "My time is worth more than this $143, and I've already spent a lot of time on this deal. Find a way to justify that $143 in the trade-in, and we'll write this deal for $28,000. But understand, she gets nothing else." It was all good-natured. We shook hands, and Bill and Ron went back to the office while we waited for the business guy to draw up the papers. In the meantime, HH reported that the boys had spent $7 on snacks in the waiting room. We milled around in the showroom, looking at new cars we didn't want. Bill yelled out of the office, "You drive a hard bargain." I went to the door. "Well, you know, Bill, my boys spent $7 on snacks while we were waiting. Can we re-write that deal for $27,993?" Bill said "NO!"

Go figure.

So there you have it. We have a $50,820 2008 Chevy Tahoe (less 5700 miles, but with full manufacturer's warranty) sitting in our garage, that we purchased for $28,000 and an old Yukon.

It was a sweetheart of a deal.


Melina said...

You're like a vicious badger! I mean that in a good way.

Hillbilly Mom said...

I take that as a compliment! When I start my post-retirement car-shopping business, I'm going to call it "Badger 'S' Me". Like Toys 'R' Us, only it will be "Badger Is Me".