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Less painful car buying ...

by Bill Osler / July 29, 2006 8:56 AM PDT

The process has not been as bad this time around as it sometimes has been.

My bank took my loan application online in a relatively simple process. Then one of the bank's auto buyers helped me find a vehicle close to what I wanted since I hadn't been able to find one on the lot. She also took care of the price negotiation. USAA apparently offers that as a free service for members! In the end, I'll be paying a little bit over invoice. There was one vehicle on the lot that they would have sold for a bit under invoice but it didn't have some of the things I wanted. Oh well. I think it's still a better deal than I have been able to negotiate in the past, and I didn't get any heartburn in the process.

I won't have the car until Monday, but so far the process has been much less painful than any of my prior purchasing experiences.

The only people who apparently lose on the deal are the salesmen on the car lot. I've dealt with salesmen at 4 different dealerships, including one at the dealership we are actually purchasing from, but I doubt that he gets any cut of the proceeds. I have mixed feelings about that. He did do some useful work (chaperoning us on a test drive) but he made no apparent effort to find a car that matched my request and he didn't even know what he had in inventory when we went for our visit.

I'm glad the process is almost over. Now all I have to worry about is the damage it'll do to my wallet in monthly payments and insurance costs.

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Glad to hear it -- what did you finally get?
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / July 29, 2006 9:13 AM PDT
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I settled on an SUV ...
by Bill Osler / July 29, 2006 11:56 AM PDT

I hate the gas mileage, especially compared to my Camry, but I have been doing a little bit of off pavement driving on a moderately regular basis, and the Camry does not tolerate that well. My son will be stuck with a well used Camry until he can buy something for himself. He doesn't much like that car but I think it will be fine for him.

We eventually settled on a Highlander, although I liked the Murano as well. I didn't like the CR-V, RAV4 and similar smaller SUVs as much. Unfortunately, the hybrid version of the Highlander is pretty expensive and it's popular enough that there are no price incentives. The tax credit and the improved gas mileage do not even come close to compensating for the huge price increase over any reasonable number of years of use. We ended up getting the conventional engine.

The hardest thing about the process was driving to the dealers. I've put several hundred miles on my car this week just driving back and forth since none of the dealers are particularly close to my little town.

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Sounds like a nice service
by Steven Haninger / July 29, 2006 11:23 AM PDT

I wish there was a way to avoid the haggling session and feel I came out with the best I could do. My son and I, in our venture for his first car, went to a place called CarMax. It supposed to feature top quality cars, no haggle pricing and fixed commissions for the sales people. I must say I was disappointed by the vehicle prices. They were only slightly lower than dealer asking prices for similar vehicles. I know I can do better during a sit down negotiating session with a sales person. I just hate that hassle. We won't be financing this car as my son has saved his pennies since he was a kid. Having few personal expenses has afforded him that luxury. Once he has a car, an apartment and bills to pay, his world will change dramatically.

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My wife bought a car the day before yesterday...
by EdH / July 30, 2006 6:42 AM PDT

I was surprised how quickly it went. We have been looking for a car for my daughter to drive so she would stop bugging us and using ours. My wife found a really nice Sable wagon, two years old and loaded. Bought it that day after I did a quick test drive. Low mileage, leather seats, sunroof, CD changer, 12V DOHC, everything. Obviously too good for my daughter.

So wife gets that car, daughter gets wife's '03 Camry and I am stuck with my '97 Taurus which is on its last legs. When my daughter goes off to college in a year I will get the Camry and we will get rid of the Taurus.

At least that's the plan.

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Don't count on it ...
by Bill Osler / July 30, 2006 7:19 AM PDT

I'd wager that the college student will start lobbying to take a car with her about the time she figures out your plan. And I'd bet she won't be angling for the Taurus!

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Yes, but...
by EdH / July 30, 2006 8:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't count on it ...

don't most colleges not allow Freshmen to have a car on campus? That's what I've been told.

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You may be right ...
by Bill Osler / July 30, 2006 9:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes, but...

I'm not sure. My impression is that it depends on which college she goes to. We are not up to speed on that quite yet, but it will become relevant pretty soon in our house.

I won't be crushed if the kid goes off somewhere and can't take a car because 'little brother' will probably be licensed about the same time 'big brother' graduates high school.

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(NT) (NT) DOHC?
by jonah jones / July 31, 2006 12:56 AM PDT
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Dual Overhead Cam
by EdH / July 31, 2006 1:08 AM PDT
In reply to: (NT) DOHC?

Translation: More stuff that can break or wear out.

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;-) thanks
by jonah jones / July 31, 2006 1:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Dual Overhead Cam

i thought maybe it was Delightful Offroad Highly Commendedable

(wasn't too sure about the 12V DC though :-))


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