Monday, March 19, 2012

Our "Car Story"

Jacob and I decided that, this year, with our tax refund money, we would invest in a new car.  I've been toying around with getting something new for a while.  I got my car (a Hyundai Elantra) back in 2006.  It had a few electronic glitches, but nothing was horribly wrong with it.  Pretty much, after driving the same thing for 6 years I was ready for the something new.  Plus, I've had issues with the head room for awhile (I'm tall and in the Elantra I couldn't put my sunglasses on top of my head, or go over a large speed bump without hitting my head on the ceiling!), and really wanted something with a hatch back and more trunk space for hauling large or unusually shaped items.  My car has been paid off for several years now, so I know that any trade in value would go directly to a new purchase.  Plus, what we have as "My Car" is going to be the family car.  Jacob drives a 2-door Scion TC... not exactly baby friendly!

So, this weekend we decided to start shopping around.  And, by shopping around I mean actually going TO dealerships... we've been checking out different models of cars in parking lots and via the web for a couple of months now! lol  Jacob reminded me that we were just going to look, and not to expect to by anything this weekend.  I agreed.  And off we went.

This was the first time that I'd gone car shopping 'by myself".  The last two cars that I've bought I've had my dad there helping me with the haggling process and dealing with the sales people.  I was a nervous... particularly since I don't know much at all about cars, and Jacob is not one to question things.  So, I made sure to have a conversation with Jacob before we got to the first dealership regarding what our actual budget was, and what we were going to tell the salesmen our budget was.  I know that they would try to make us go higher than our agreed to "budget" so, I figured if we gave them a low number we'd be more likely to hit it closer to home. =)

At the first dealership, a Ron Tonkin lot, we took a look at about three different cars (crossover/station wagon styles).  We test drove a Ford Escape, and it was nice, but being the first place that we looked, and knowing anything about that particular car, we left it there... especially since it started to pour down rain on us!

We then came home (thankfully we have about half a dozen dealerships within a 5 mile radius of us!) and looked up the specs on the Ford Escape and customer reviews.  They weren't good.  We wanted something with decent miles per gallon, and the Escape did not have that.  We then went to another dealership, this time Dick Hannah.  We looked at a Dodge Caliber (too small/short) and a Jeep Limited (I liked it, but a bit over budget and had high miles) and then we test drove a Volkswagen Toureg.  Jacob and I both really liked the Toureg, but, again, didn't know anything about it.  So, we returned home and visited our friend Google.  We found out that the mpg was HORRIBLE (17 mpg).  I didn't want something that was going to leave me worse off than my Elantra (which I think got roughly 27 mpg).

By this time in the day I was tired, frustrated and feeling icky (I caught a pretty bad cold and was trying to pretend that I was functional... I think I was failing miserably).  AND it was raining/hailing/snowing outside!  But I'm not someone to give up.  Jacob and I sat at our computer for about an hour or more looking at the online inventory of different dealerships in our area, as well as checking out Google.  A lot out in Beaverton had a couple of Subaru Foresters that looked of interest, but I didn't know if we wanted to make the 30-45 minute drive out there just to be disappointed.  Meanwhile, Jacob started to look at Prius dealerships.

Something that you should know about Jacob is that he is ALL about the cool new gadget.  He has his heart set on getting an electric car (specifically a Tesla) one day, so it was no surprise that he started to look at hybrids.  But, at the same time, they were WAY above our budget (even our real one! lol).  By this point, I had to go to the bathroom (for, like, the 20th time that day).  When I came out, Jacob was on the phone telling someone that we could be there in 10 minutes.  Apparently he had remembered that Ford had a hybrid version of their Escape (remember, that was the first car we test drove and we liked it, but weren't fond of the mpg) and he found only two in the metro area for sale... one which happened to be at another Ron Tonkin dealership down the street.  So, back in the car we got.

The asking price on the hybrid was about 2k over our "max" budget.  Not a whole lot, but still more than I wanted to spend.  I voiced this and Jacob had arguments lined up about the money we'd save in gas (this car was supposed to get 30+ miles per gallon, both highway and city).  By the time that we'd gotten to the dealership they were pulling the car up to their covered area (as it had started raining again--HARD!).  It was a cute car.  A newer model than the one we had test drove and a silvery blue color.  Jacob handed over his driver's license and we took it for a spin... in the snow! lol  It's not very often that you have the chance to test drive a car in the snow in Portland! =)

We both really liked it.  Except for the price.  I handed over the keys to my Elantra so that they could take a look and give me an estimate on trade-in value and we headed inside to talk numbers.  This is where I really got concerned.  It was suddenly getting very real, and I was going to have to "play the game".

They asked me how much I was expecting for my Elantra.  I told them... but, of course, I told them high (as I knew they'd come back with a lower number and I wanted to get as close to what I actually thought I could get has possible).  I'd blue-booked it before coming, so I had an idea of what I could expect.  They also asked what we wanted to pay per month.  I told them that we could figure out financing once we settled on a purchase price, and let them know that we had good credit and planned to put down a down payment as well.  I also expressed to the salesman that the sticker price on the car was about 2k over what we had originally wanted to spend on a car.  I know that I was taking a risk here, and we would, no doubt, go over our budget a bit, but I also had an idea (again based on blue book value of the Escape... which I also researched before I left) that there was no way we could get it under our budget.  The salesman left to "see what we could do."

He came back a few minutes later with a list of "payment options".  They had agreed to give me $2500 for my Elantra ($500 less than what I told them that I wanted, but spot on with what I REALLY was expecting. lol) but that they couldn't drop the purchase price of the car as it was already on a "discount".  I KNOW that no one pays sticker for a car.  So this annoyed me a little bit.  I asked the salesman to give Jacob and I few minutes to discuss it.  I expressed my concerns to Jacob, and told him that I felt we would be offered a better deal if we left our number and walked away.  But, I also told him that I was willing to make a hard, final offer for 1k over our budget if he was (which still meant that they dealership would have to come down to our level).  He said that he would stand behind me on it.

We called the salesman back over and told him that we were not willing to pay the sticker cost, but that we would drive it home today if they were able to take another thousand off.  He asked if taking $250 would sway our decision.  I said "no".  He said that he would be back.  He then brought over the finance guy who gave us another offer that was $550 off the sticker price.  I saw this as a good sign, but, again, I told him no and asked for the keys back to my Elantra expressing that we were already going over our budget, and that there was another dealership that we hadn't hit yet with some cars of interest.  He said that he understood and that he would get our keys.

Not 5 minutes later our salesman comes back... not with keys, but with another offer that is at our 1k mark! =)  He tells us how much of a "loss" they are taking and asks that we recommend him to all of our friends (and gives us several of his business cards). lol

We signed on the line, and then went to their little waiting area for the finance guy to put the paperwork together (and Jacob bought me a Snickers out of the vending machine, as we had now been there for roughly 2 hours and I was STARVING!).  Another hour later, I was removing all of my possessions from my trusty Elantra, and we were driving home in our new Escape Hybrid!

I'm not looking forward to having car payments again (and am scared that I'm going to damage it! lol), but am excited to have something new.  And am very proud of myself for being able to haggle without my dad.  He taught me well. =)  Jacob texted his folks that "Pregnant Brittney is a lot better negotiator" that he is! lol

Here's our new ride... 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid (so much for only looking this weekend! lol

1 comment:

Jennifer Williams said...

Reading about how you got the dealer to knock down the price reminding me of computer shopping with your dad. The salesman told him that best buy is not a "Turkish tobacco stand" haha!! But, I am very happy you guys got the one you want, and at the price you wanted!