Friday, September 30

Car Buying One Year Later

   I was hell bent on buying a new or prior year (leftover) car almost exactly a year ago this week. I did my research, had financing in hand and went looking. I had narrowed my choice to a 2013 or 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT but hadn't looked at them. I was on the fence on the trade off in value vs. savings and it seemed like a wash. On one hand, you get a brand new car but pay more or less market value.

   When buying a leftover, you can save thousands but your new car is already a year older seeming once you drive it off the lot. Even with no mileage, it loses book value. Although I had a good idea of the specs, there were a ton of difference on each. They changed the engine, trim and accessories as well as changed package options. If I wanted navigation, I had to buy both of the top of the line option packages, That adds over $5k to the price.

  This is a 2014 GT I saw at the Providence Rhode Island RIATA  car show January 2014  I never want a white car but they do look sleek. It looks much like other 2014 models with its wide "mouth".

  I looked at well over a hundred cars and saw many beautiful cars. Of course, the Corvette, Z-28, Mustang, Charger and  Camaro always look great, but the one I thought was the best new look in  a car I would consider was the new Dodge Dart. I'm no longer a fan of the brand, but time will tell if it's a hit or miss with consumers.

  At a local Hyundai dealer, I got the chance to see the 2013 model and make a valid comparison between them . The 2013 model has been reported to be a bit under-powered, so they added 25% more horsepower and 18% more torque. Available LED taillights and hidden rear camera round out a refreshed back end.

  When I looked at the two together, it was obvious that the newer 2014 model was the one I wanted, but all the toys I wanted (Navigation, sunroof, rear view camera, heated leather seats, it was above my upper limit of $25,000. The leftover now lesser model was available for a discount of about 44,000 but lacked the appeal of the '14.

Car Modifying

  Then the salesman managed to ruin my day by overplaying the sales pitch. I made an offer on the new model but he immediately brought out his "manager" who, armed with reams of paper, showed me how they could not possibly meet my price. It was likely a hot model and they knew they didn't have to budge. I dropped my business card and left. Of course they badgered me day after day to come back, but it was for the best that I had a change of heart.

  So I decided to keep my 2007 Elantra Limited, with most of those toys and a much lower payment. The car owes me nothing and runs great.  In four years and almost 80,00 miles, I've only had to replace tires, brake pads and rotors and plugs and wires. It still has the original Autumn 2006 battery is it. Now that I brag about it, sure enough, with Massachusetts winter out in full, it will surely die an inconvenient death.
 Here's hoping. Hello, Advance Auto Parts?


Domestic Comparison- Ford vs. Chevy and Who Owns Who?

It seems as though Ford and GM have the most sales for domestic autos. In fact, they may be about the only domestic manufacturers left in the US. So who owns who? BMW is owned by Mini and Rolls Royce. Fiat owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Ram and SRT. Ford Motor Company owns: Lincoln and a small stake in Mazda. General Motors owns: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM owns a controlling interest in Opel and Vauxhall in Europe and Holden in Australia. Honda owns Acura.Hyundai owns Kia. Tata Motors (India company) owner of Jaguar and Land Rover. Mazda is mostly independently owned while Ford has small stake in the company. Mitsubishi is independently owned and Daimler AG owns Mercedes-Benz and Smart. Nissan owns Infiniti. But Nissan, however is owned by Renault. Saab is owned by National Electric Vehicle Sweden or NEVS. Subaru is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries and Toyota is a minority partner in that venture. Toyota is a minority partner of Tesla, with a partnership with Daimler AG. Toyota Motor Company owns Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu and Hino Motors and holds a a stake in Fuji Industries, which is Subaru's parent company and Isuzu. Volkswagen owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche brands and overseas-brands SEAT and Skoda. Volvo is owned by Chinese-automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, aka Geely. Discount Car Parts

Car Buying , Part Two

I've been doing more extensive research this time, looking on the Internet for all the prices for many dealers from a wider area that I normally would have looked in. This allows me to get more comparisons and start to try to play the dealers against each other. Sometimes I wonder if they already know that I'm trying to play them and they're going to play me double instead. I also went to Consumer Reports and I paid to have a pricing report made out for the specific model but I want. It cost $14.00, but I figure for $14.00 it's a small price to pay to have pages of information handy.

I also learned some things I didn't even know about the cost of cars and options before I go to the dealership In addition, I used a service called and submitted my request to three area dealers. TrueCar allows you to print out or save to your phone a saving certificate so that you can go to a dealer with the preprinted certificate in hand and they will take off a particular figure from the price without hassle. In my case its about $3500. You would think that should be in addition to everything else that I can negotiate with the dealer but in reality its just that price of off the MSRP or manufacturer's suggested retail price. Now in my research I have realized and found out that the MSRP is just a number. It's not really what the car costs or what it should be priced at, its just a number, merely a starting point for them to sell up and me to try to get them to come down.

As with anything Internet related, they passed my information to the dealers, and they emailed me my “Savings Certificates” within a minute. Of course, they all called me repeatedly until I answered. This, like using a service like Lending Tree for home loans, turns your phone into a constant ringing machine. Don't use these services if you don't want to be contacted. You could use a different email address and fake phone number if you just want to see the pricing.

One other piece of advice that I got was to make sure that I already know that I am qualified to buy a car in the first place. by going to your bank or any bank and getting pre-approved. It makes sense that way because when it comes to financing you can say “I'm all set I just have to go to my bank and sign paperwork” or in the case of Bank of America if I go to one of their authorized dealers I can just simply have them find out that I'm already pre approved and it shouldn't be a big deal except for paperwork with the bank. My guess is that the authorized dealers do the paperwork on behalf of the bank.

Monday, January 5

Car Research and Pricing at  

    One of the ways I was able to obtain new car pricing was to use a new car pricing service like Edmunds or Yahoo Cars, where you search for a specific model and get some pretty straight up prices you can take to the dealer. I went shopping last week and with my information in hand, knew right away the difference between a good price and a bad one.

   I went to one of my local Hyundai dealers and looked at both a fully loaded and base 2013 Elantra GT. I like the look and utility it provides, with about 50 Cubic feet of storage with the back seats down. There is also an available optional storage compartment under the rear floor on the high end optioned models. Gas mileage is usually overstated, but it would still beat the one I have now.

Stealth Auto - World Class Automotive Accessories

   With my pricing and information in hand, I approached a car I was interested in. The salesman must have seen me coming, and asked if I was buying or looking. I told him it would depend on if I found what I wanted at the right price. He helped me find a couple and I sat in a lower end model then the top of the line loaded one. Of course the leather one was more comfortable.  He asked if I wanted to drive one and I said no. I went inside and he asked me the standard questions, whether I was trading something in and if would I need financing. I stayed deliberately vague, saying I haven't decided. I ended up leaving without getting close to the price I was willing to pay. They called me several times over the weekend.
   When buying a new or used car, you should check not just the model history, but the specific vehicle history. Services like Check Your VIN can tell you about previous accidents, service records, flood and reconstructed titles, things you definitely want to know.

Friday, January 31

Buying a Car Without Getting Taken, Part One

Car buying is one of those things that make many shudder with fear. I really hate the whole process, but it is a necessary one if I don’t want to overpay. What I have learned is that by doing your homework you can save a lot of money, a lot of hassle, and a lot of time. I said to myself, "This time it will be different. I'm not going to feel like I got screwed, I'm not going to over pay for this car and I'm not going to pay too much for my financing. I'm not going to let the heat of the moment and the excitement of a new car over to get to me and force me into a decision that I will regret". Due diligence is always important when looking for a new or a used car. If you take the time to do your homework, take the time to research and print out the spec pages and ask the right questions, you can be better prepared. Talk to your friends and ask them if they're happy with their car. Ask them if they're happy with the dealer and would they go back and buy the same car again the same way or what they do things differently next time? This month, I've been looking at new cars. My 2007 Hyundai Elantra has been very good to me and I'm looking for a newer model of the same car. Hyundai's have really come up in quality and I have had zero problems with mine, save for a new belt, tires and brakes. I really like the look and technology of the new ones so I am looking specifically at the leftover 2013 models so I can save some money. Since I usually keep my cars for several years, I don't worry much about depreciation and Hyundai's warranty will cover my purchased for 60 months worth 60,000 miles, the term of the loan I am seeking. In the past, my car experience has not always been a happy one. Like many others, I really don't like to sit in a car dealership to go see a price or finance or options because in the back of my mind I always feel like I'm getting screwed so, this time, I want the experience to be different. This time, I'm doing things differently because I feel that I was a little bit taken by the fact that I really liked the car and I had decided on that specific one and the price I was willing to pay. This is something car dealers love. Once negotiations were done, I allowed them to raise the price by convincing me to add things on like a remote starter, clear coat paint protection, extended warranty, gap insurance etc so the price of a car that I was paying went from about nine or ten thousand dollars to over $12,000 with warranty. This caused my payments to be higher and I ended up with a longer loan term. Because I am looking at a new car with a warranty that will cover the entire term of the loan, I don't feel it I need to have extended warranty, I won't need gap insurance, the paint will be covered and I don't think I'm going to need to have anyone install anything like a remote starter right away. If I want to have a remote starter put in,I can have that put in for lower cost on my terms if and when I want to do it.