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20 November 2009 @ 12:00 pm
Car buying strategies  
I'm trying to figure out what the best negotiation strategy is. The general plan is

1: Go to dealership and look at car
2: Test drive car
3: Negotiate
4: Make deal
5: Take car to mechanic to get it checked out
6: Buy car

The tricky part is, where do i put the break in to go look at the other dealerships? (I'm figuring on going through them all once on Saturday, then going back to the top one or two on Sunday.) Do i try to do all my negotiating up front before going on to the next place so when i get done i have the best idea of who to go back to for the final deal? Do i do a little bit of negotiation before moving on so i have some idea of how flexible they'll be? Or do i wait on all negotiation until after i've seen every car on the list?

The other difficulty is the mechanic part. How many mechanics are open on saturdays or sundays? If i really want to do that (and i have no idea how necessary it is when buying from a non-name brand dealer) does that mean i'll need to take some time off monday to take care of it and finish up the deal then?

Currently i've got four or give Priuss and two Matrixs to look at. (Priuses? Matrixes? Car names do not seem to be designed much with a mind toward pluralization.) However the prices listed are a bit confusing.


From Edwards.com i got the "true estimate" or whatever they call it, which is supposedly the average of what cars of that type actually sell for.

'05 Prius: $14.6k - '06 Prius: $15.8k - '07 Prius: $17.2k
'05 Matrix: $8.6k - '06 Matrix: $10k - '07 Matrix: $12.3k

Alternately, the Kelley Blue Book estimates (using the default options) are:

'05 Prius: $16.8k - '06 Prius: $17.2k - '07 Prius: $17.2k
'05 Matrix: $12.3k - '06 Matrix: $13k - '07 Matrix: $12.5k

(And don't ask me, i don't get the wackiness between '06 and '07 either)

So the decent cars i've found so far within a 15 or so mile radius are:

'05 Prius - $15k, 55k miles (has been in a "minor" accident according to CarFax)
'07 Prius - $15k, 66k miles
'07 Prius - $15k, 50k miles
'08 Prius - $15.8k, 48k miles

'05 Matrix - $12k, 35k miles
'07 Matrix - $15k, 63k miles

There's also one Prius that's a bit farther of a drive:
'07 Prius - $16k, 32k miles

And two more that would be a much longer drive:

'05 Prius - $14.3k, 65k miles
'08 Prius - $15.5k, 31k miles (been in a "minor" accident)

So the odd thing, and part of the reason there are so many more Priuss than Matrixs in the list, is that most of the Priuss are _already_ listed under the Edmunds average price, and a _lot_ under the Kelley Blue Book price, while the Matrixs are almost all above the Edmunds price, and a fair number of them are above the KBB price.

So is there something wrong with the set of Priuss i've found that CarFax isn't aware of? Why are the '07s listed at the same price as the '05 that's been in an accident? Have the sales of more expensive cars been hit disproportionately by the recession and the Edmunds and Blue Book values haven't caught up yet? Have the sales of hybrid cards been hit disproportionately because fuel prices have gone back down to "only kinda high" levels rather than "insanely high levels"?

Of course that will make negotiations a little more complicated. If they don't budge much on the price i can no longer pull out an Edmunds price estimate and try to use that as a bargaining point.
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受け継がれる意志: 86-tokyo :{skuldchan}:doctorskuld on November 20th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
I don't think a lot of mechanics are open on the weekends, which is the problem of getting one to look at it. I think another thing you can do is also arrange for someone to check out the car and give you a report later, like from CarChex.

I'm currently going to go out and look for cars too, so if you have any advice to share, please do!
Ambermaggiedacatt on November 20th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I think you mean Prii and Matrices. ;)
Ambermaggiedacatt on November 20th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Why are you going to look at the ALL?

Here is my car-buying routine:

1. Choose car from list that is most likely to be what I want at a reasonable price.

2. Go see it to make sure it is what I want.

3. See if I can acquire it at a reasonable price. If so, END.

4. If not, thank the dealer for her/his time, and GOTO 1.
DonAithnendonaithnen on November 20th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
Well i've done used car shopping on my own exactly once before. The technique that _seemed_ to work for me then (although it's hard to tell from a single data point) was to go look at the car one day, express only moderate interest and say i had some other cars i still needed to look at before i made my decision, and leave. Then come back a day or two later, try to imply that i'm interested in buying from them but still have the other options on tap, and negotiate some more.

If i follow that strategy it makes sense to go ahead and check out all the dealers that first day.

If i go with your strategy i'd probably get things over quicker, but i might also end up worried that one of the other cars might have been cheaper/in better shape/have more options, if i'd just gone to look at it.
DonAithnendonaithnen on November 20th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, and there's also the theory/advice/something i've heard, that it's always best to sleep on it before making major decisions. If i remember correctly the idea is to give your subconscious the chance to work through your options. There's no guarantee that it will help you make the _correct_ decision of course, but supposedly it helps you make a decision that you will be happier/more content with.
Coraacoraa on November 20th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
That's what I do, too. But then, I'm a satisficer, not an optimizer.
Ambermaggiedacatt on November 20th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Right.

Except, I think in general I might be an optimizer. It's just that I'm a firm believer in the idea that something like car buying can never be optimized. There will ALWAYS be options you didn't check into or things that were impossible to take into account. Thus, I optimize the use of my own time by doing as much advance research as possible and then finding something that fits the criteria I've come up with based on my research.

Also, the "sleep on it" thing... that may be good advice for preventing buyer's remorse, but I don't see how it really makes any difference in the end result. Letting your unconscious blah blah blah Freud was a douche. ;)
Coraacoraa on November 20th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
For me, it's quite simply that the satisfaction of getting the goddamn decision making and buying process done with makes me happier than getting a slightly better [whatever]. That's also why I borrowed my boss's Kindle, played around with it, decided I liked it, and bought that one, rather than researching and trying out all the eReader options out there. Might I have found a slightly better one? Oh, possibly; I'm not going to stake any money on Kindle being The Best Evar. But it meant that I got to stop thinking about it and start reading books, and also that I wouldn't spend my time second-guessing my opinion and trying to determine whether Feature A for the Kindle was worth giving up Feature Q from Sony or whatever.

But there are certainly a lot of people for whom simply deciding 'this is satisfactory, I'll go with it' doesn't work.
Ambermaggiedacatt on November 20th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
See, for the Kindle, I *did* do that. ;) But it doesn't require a bunch of face-to-face negotiation and hassle to do that, so I was glad to do so and know that I made the purchase I wanted.
Coraacoraa on November 20th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I actually am a satisficer for almost every purchase. I do enough research to be sure I'd be satisfied, and then I stop, because I just don't like spending the time and attention on it.

I mean, I bought a laptop off the shelf at Best Buy, which is something they tell you Never To Do.

I rest easy in the knowledge that I do not seem to be noticeably less satisfied with the things I own than the optimizers around me. ;)
DonAithnendonaithnen on November 21st, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
You don't think preventing buyer's remorse isn't a difference in the end? Even if it doesn't actually affect which car you end up getting (which seems likely to me) i think having your brain at peace with itself about the result (at least moreso than the alternative) is rather important.

Freud was definitely a douche, but it's pretty clear our brains are doing something useful while we sleep.

http://www.sfn.org/index.cfm?pagename=brainbriefings_sleepandlearning
Ambermaggiedacatt on November 20th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, and another way my routine optimizes: reduces the number of times I have to say "no" during high-pressure tactics. If you walk away from a dealer, s/he knows there will be no commission. Even if you say you'll talk to that person again if/when you come back, s/he knows that the chances of you coming back are nearly zero. So they do anything they can to make you stay, including telling you that their offer is only good today. Personally, I would not be able to deal with that for 13 different cars/dealers.
Coraacoraa on November 20th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
On a tangent, I am so sad that Saturn went out of business. They had me locked in as a customer on the pure strength of the fact that I could go buy things there at the sticker price, no negotiation needed.
rowrrowr on November 20th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
god I hate negotiating for cars. I have had exceedingly good luck in my personal experience, but I have played the backup for several friends who needed someone to help them by being the one to deal with the asshole weasely sales guys at the car dealerships. Still an awful experience all around, but I find that it helps take the pressure off of the purchaser. If you need a 'bad guy' to assist you in the future I am available! :P
DonAithnendonaithnen on November 21st, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
I can't remember how that part worked out the last time. But that might be a good reason to save the serious negotiating for the second day (if i go with the two day plan.)

First day just look at the cars and maybe do a test drive or two, and ask them some questions about it, but no price haggling.

Still, it would be nice to have an idea of if they're willing to budge at all... *conflicted*
Desireemadduckdes on November 21st, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
They are almost all willing to budge. I think your plan of "first day looksie, next time negotiatsie" is the way to go.
cwendy41cwendy41 on November 21st, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
If they know that you are car-less right now, they most likely will start with a high asking price knowing that you will need it. It looks like you have been doing your own research. This will help you after you've looked at the cars. You can say "That other dealer is giving me a better deal, can you beat them". You can try doing this with a few dealers and then decide which one seems to be giving you the best deal. I'm sure they're always willing to negotiate. Afterall, a sale at a lower price is better than no sale.

Also, I've mentioned it before, but Priuses with the carpool sticker sell for more. They transfer with the car and do not stay with the original owner of the car. The sticker is supposed to be valid until 2011.
cwendy41cwendy41 on November 21st, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
The other thing you can do is look one day and say something like you will think about it overnight. Sometimes they may call you at night (assuming that they have your number) saying that there can be a sale.

If they tell you that the car will go really fast and won't be there when you come back in an effort to pressure you into buying it, tell them that there are other cars that you are looking at so it's not a big deal if that one goes.