Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ya Gotta Know When To Hold 'Em

We have a new addition to our Hillbilly estate. A 2006 Chrysler Pacifica. I think that brings our fleet to six cars, if you don't count the 1970s pick-up that Auto Collector H has been working on for nigh on 10 years now.

We drove one Saturday evening on a used-car lot, and on Monday morning we drove another one at a Chrysler dealer. The dealer Pacifica had more miles on it, but ran smoother and had a complete set of floor mats and fewer nicks and scratches on the interior and a set of new tires. The used-lot Pacifica only had 26,000 miles, and aluminum wheels, but an odd odor that was being masked by air freshener. So... since they both had their faults and benefits, we had to look at the price. That's important in a cash deal, when you're not signing your life away in payments. We had wanted to spend $10,000. We asked both dealers for their rock-bottom price. We were buyers on a mission. We told both of them that we were going to buy ONE of these two cars today. Then the ball was in their court.

Some people fumble, some people make a big play when the heat is on. Same with car salesmen. Of course they are slaves to their managers. But they know the ropes of a deal.

The dealer salesman was as old as a greeter at The Devil's Playground. He was older than HH. He was retired from the Post Office. HH knew him in his former life, but they didn't figure that out until later. Anyhoo, he let us drive his Pacifica, then went into his office and wrote down his rock bottom deal on his business card. $10,760. I was pleasantly surprised. Here's an interesting fact: when we went in, he said, "Oh, are you the guy who called about the Pacifica this morning?" Nope. Not us. But I figured it was the other salesman scoping out the deal.

Having some extra time, we went straight to the used-car lot to drive that Pacifica again. The salesman was at least wearing pants and a button shirt today, though it was flapping loose and not tucked in. I really wanted to give that guy our business, just so he could afford some business cards. He did everything he could to make me change my mind. First of all, he cornered me in the middle of the showroom when HH made a trip to the bathroom. "I checked on the website, and that other Pacifica you mentioned has 46,000 miles." HH had told him 25,000, which is a number he pulled out of his a$$, since we did not know the mileage on it when we talked to him on Saturday. I just said, "I don't know how many, but it was more than he thought." When we drove it, HH said that it had 42,000 miles on it.

We had to leave the boys in the showroom because this dude insisted on riding with us again on our test drive. This time, we went the other way up the highway. Coming down the exit ramp, I felt a shimmy. And I don't even know what that is, but the car shook a bit when the brakes were applied. And HH said it pulled to the right when he was driving. Actually, he took his hands off the wheel at 55 mph, but we won't brag about that right now. We went in, and the salesman went off to talk to his manager because HH wouldn't give him a starting figure. They said their list price was $13,850. I know it had low miles, but it was no prize. The salesman came back with a look in his eyes that I'd seen before, in that chipmunk that sunk its saberteeth into my thumb. A beady, evil look just before the attack. HH continued to refuse an amount, saying, "I buy and sell machines all day long with my company, millions of dollars of machines, and that's not how I do business." The guy came back with an offer of $12,895, saying that was the best they could do, because that's how much they had in it. Too bad, so sad. HH told him we were looking at $10,000 due to it being a cash deal, and that's what we had to work with. The salesman wrote it up, grudgingly, and came back and said that the $11,895 was the best they could do. So much for them not letting price get in the way of selling that car. The lower mileage wasn't a big enough factor to pay nearly $2000 more than I wanted, what with the smell and the brakes and the roughed-up interior.

We climbed back on our turnip truck and walked out. I took the boys to the dentist, and HH went back to Chrysler to work a deal. He got their Pacifica for $10,500. He went and got a cashier's check and agreed to pick it up at 4:00. We stopped by to sign papers for about 10 minutes, and the deal was done and HH drove home in his new ride. It looks like this.

This is the color, but we don't have the fancy wheels or sunroof. Ours is just the basic model, with a bench seat for the second seat, and loads of room to haul something behind that. The seat folds down 35/65 if you want even more room for hauling. Technically, it's classified as a minivan, but I don't think it looks like one. The #1 son reports that the back seat is roomier than that of T-Hoe. It's really easy to get in and out of, what with being level to your butt, not sitting down or climbing up into a car or SUV. It's front-wheel drive, not 4WD. It has 5-star safety ratings, and does not sound like a tin can when you slam the door. The mileage is 17-23 mpg. HH has been getting 20 in his $1000 Caravan. He figures it will be at least that good in the Pacifica. It was a one "owner" lease car. All in all, we are quite satisfied with this purchase.

That smell in the Pacifica we didn't get made me think of Jerry Seinfeld's car that even the bum wouldn't take after the valet left his BO stench in it.

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