Sunday, January 06, 2008

Car shopping games

On Saturday hubby wanted to go out to look at cars. He now has a pretty red 2006 Chevy Impala like the one in the photo here, with sun/moon roof and all the toys but is not happy with it for minor reasons. One of them being the seats are not that comfortable, but a lumbar pillow my son gave him for Xmas helps with that problem. He was saying he wants a car with better gas mileage for the same or less payment because of rising gas prices, BUT what it really comes down to him wanting something "fun" and sporty to drive. A midlife crisis car, like maybe a Corvette, Spider and other cars we can't afford right now.

Since I hadn't been out of the house for awhile, I thought I would go along with him and then we were going to stop at the store on the way home to pick up a few groceries. I wish I would have stayed home because it was a huge waste of time. He said he had fun doing something together, but a movie and dinner would have been more fun.

Well, first, we went to look at the Toyotas. The one we test drove was a brand new Corolla that looks just like the one in the photo here. Fully loaded, one of the better models, but the ride was like crap. Maybe we are just used to bigger cars, but this was terrible. We were jarred by every single bump in the road. And the seats weren't that comfortable, either. And it was boring. The salesboy (I say salesboy because he looked like he was 12 years-old) gave us his card and said to call if he can do anything for us.

Then he drove down to the dealer where we bought his Impala. I asked him what in the world did he think he was going to find there? And I already knew they weren't going to want the Impala back. We went inside and he asked for Julio, the guy who sold us the Impala. Julio came out, surprised to see us after only 14 months. He asked how we liked the Impala and Jon says he still likes it and says it's been a good car, no complaints except the seats. Then he bragged to Julio how he can make it get 38 mpg by coasting a lot on the way home from work. He usually gets between 26-33 mpg so I don't know why he is using the reasoning he wants to find something more fuel efficient. Anyway, he sat in a used Sky they had there, which is like a shrunken Corvette. Jon was way too big for it. He had to cram himself in there and almost needed a crow bar to pry him out of it. Then after looking around a bit he saw the Mini with white racing stripes on the hood like the one in the photo here (only this one had extra fog lights on the front). We took it for a test drive while they appraised the Impala, and it rode very nice for a little car. It's made by BMW so is going to be more solid than most little cars. It had heated seats, all kinds of meters, two windows in the roof with screens. Lights above all seats. It was one of those transmissions where you can drive in manual or automatic. The seats were all black leather. Everything was trimmed in metallic black and chrome. It was really pretty on the inside. Hubby was grinning and his eyes all twinkly while driving it and I could tell he really was having fun. This was a car for him, I would not be the one driving it.

We agreed that if they sold it to us for the same payment each month as our Impala, he would buy it. I can't stand the wheeling and dealing games these car salesmen play. The running back and forth, talking to their manager. The first time they came up with a price that was a lot higher than our monthly payment. Then when we said, "I don't think so" they went back again...and came back with another amount that was close to our payment BUT for 72 months, and only giving us $9,000 for the Impala. I was ready to leave. I went and got some coffee, went to the bathroom while Julio went to confer with his boss again. Finally the manager comes over. He looks like he is Count Dracula, or a cousin of his. Same Transylvanian type accent. He says "You know, your Impala has VERY dirty seats and we have to clean them and also the front tires are so bald we need to put new tires on it so will cost us so much muneeee" Jon says "I will take it and have the seats cleaned and put new tires on the front, then you will give me $4,000 more for it?" The manager says "uh....we will not makea a profit den when we try to resell it. Impalas are a dime a dozen, but the Mini dats a car that holds its value" We brought to his attention that brand new Mini Coopers are about as much as we would end up paying for this 2005 one. So, we may as well go buy a new one. He once again said "let me see what I can do" he disappers AGAIN to hiding and doing whatever games they do with the figures. Came back out with more jiggled figures to try to make it look like we were getting a deal when we were not. The final deal was that we would still lose $4,000 on the Impala, that we would still be paying almost as much as a new Mini as for a brand new Mini (and interest rate on a brand new one would be lower). We took our keys back, and asked for our registration back (they had taken it already to transfer plates, thinking we were going to buy). And then we walked right out the doors...

Nearly FIVE hours wasted of car bullshit. If they had moved more quickly in the dealing process, and if they would have given him a fair trade for the Impala, they might have sold it to him. But the longer we sat there, the more time there was for him to change his mind. Car shopping and dealing makes me feel glazed over. I wanted to lay down somewhere it was so boring. Hopefully he has gotten it out of his system for awhile.

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