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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Piaw buys a car


I buy a car once every 10 years or so. While there are some who enjoy the person-to-person haggling, I don't enjoy it. 10 years ago, I bought my Chrysler Convertible, and it's served me quite well, but this year, it's starting to cost a lot in repairs and mainteneance, so it was time to buy a new one. Selecting a car turned out to be quite easy, since John and Pamela Blayley picked out the Honda Fit as the only tiny car that can handle a full size tandem without couplers or an external rack. We did try out the Nissan Cube, and it didn't work. I also liked the way the Fit handled.

Here's the process I used to get a reasonable deal for the car. Note that the Fit was apparently one of the top sellers during the cash for clunkers program, so don't expect super good deals.

  1. Visit, and select your car and zip code.
  2. Click "View Full Dealer Directory". This gives you all dealers within 50 miles.
  3. Copy and paste the specifications of the car into the text box, and fill out the details, for every dealer. Specify all details like trim level, transmission, and color preferences. (Annoyingly, most dealers won't actually read what you wrote, but since you're spamming everyone, you'll get a good chance of getting a fair number of reasonable responses.
  4. Visit Cars Direct. Select your model.
  5. Click "See our price"
  6. Click "Continue" on the Save with Cars Direct link. This is your backup price. If nobody else gives you this price, just buy it from Cars Direct!
  7. If your best price came from a dealer, you might try to drop the price further by calling another dealer close by and seeing if they'll match or beat it. You can play this game over the phone a couple of times or until you get sick of it.
  8. Confirm your final price over the phone and make your appointment.

When you show up, don't get talked into paying for features that the dealer installed and want to sell you as part of the package. It's not your fault they installed it. Don't get talked into extended warranties or anything like that. (Though in my case, there was one deal that I couldn't pass up --- a reimbursable extended warranty which meant that I was buying an extended bumper-to-bumper dealer warranty for 8 years for $50 and foregone interest on the premium --- given how low interest rates are, the NPV of foregone interest is very low)

Anyway, here's to hoping this new car lasts way more than 10 years!


thaiwey said...

Not that it will help you since you have already bought your car, but I thought this Ignite presentation is very useful. Haven't tried it myself, so I don't know if it really works.

thaiwey said...

Arrrgh, I forgot to include the URL to the video presentation.

TomB said...

When I bought my car nearly 10 years ago, I got a reimbursable warranty. Just so happened (not by chance, I think) that the first time I had my car in for regular service, they found some minor problem that was covered by the warranty. Invoking the warranty made it no longer reimbursable. I really believe it was a scam by the dealer. if they pull this on you, get proof of the problem before you let them fix any warranty problem.

Piaw Na said...

Good point! I'll keep that in mind!

md said...

Cute car! I was tempted by the Fit when I was getting a new car a couple of years ago, but I had time limitations - basically my car was dying, and I had a limited number of weekends to look for a new one. There was no Honda dealer close by, and I never got to try one out. I had heard that the Fit has a "car noise" problem when highway driving, which made it less appealing, too. Still wish I'd had time to try one, though.