How to Buy a New CarWe did something in 2016 that we had never done before — we bought a brand new car from a dealership.
The Demise of Our BeaterI left for a week-long Lake Powell canyoneering trip on a Sunday evening. I drove our nice car (the 2005 Toyota Sequoia with 181,000 miles that we always fight over who gets to drive) because I was towing the boat. That left my wife with the crappy car (the 2002 Dodge Durango with 180,000 miles on it that neither of us ever liked all that much, but that only cost us $4K in 2010.) The car had developed a bit of a noise from the engine in the previous couple of days, but seemed to be running fine when I left. Monday morning, I put the boat in the water and we headed off into the boondocks to do a canyon. Meanwhile, Katie ran her first errand in the Durango. That noise got much louder and the car was barely running. She limped it into the mechanic, who pronounced it. “Time of Death- 9:47.” The engine was shot. She went home, got the title, and sold it to a scrapyard for $225. By the time I spoke to her that evening, she was driving my sister’s spare car (which makes the Durango look really nice) and making plans to get a new car. Secretly, I was super excited. I mean, sure it sucks to have to buy a new car, but you also get a new car out of the experience. I would have preferred that someone backed into it in the parking lot (which also would have totaled it but would have gotten me a lot more money from the insurance company) but the engine blowing up is a close second. On Monday morning, after waking up from my night shift, we headed on down to the local dealers.
New Car ShoppingYou see, the Durango was our last beater. As I wrote about earlier this year, I think poor people ought to drive cheap cars but I’m okay with rich people driving whatever they want. In this case, a rich person is someone who is on track to meet their savings goals and has the cash to pay for the car. As discussed previously, my goal isn’t to die with the biggest possible stash. Thanks to investing, I fully intend to spend more money than I ever earn during my life. I deferred spending as a resident and young attending so that I could spend MORE MONEY later, so long as it was spent on something that increased happiness. So our plan when one of our cars died was to go buy another Sequoia. However, I didn’t like the windshield in the newer Sequoias as much as I liked the more vertical one in the older ones, and although it has more power, the gas mileage isn’t as good as you can get with a Suburban. So we decided we’d better go check out a suburban too. Those of you who are tall enough to have to lean forward to see if the traffic light is green know what I’m talking about. Although the Suburban had a lot more headroom, it was a little long for my taste, looked and drove like a bus, and despite the headroom didn’t improve my ability to see the traffic lights. So we decided to get another Sequoia. The Sequoia comes in three trim levels — SR5, Limited, and Platinum. For better or for worse, that’s pretty much the only decision you have to make aside from desired color, which actually makes negotiation a lot more straightforward. The first dealership we went to didn’t have a Limited, which is what our old one was and what we thought we wanted, so we went to a second dealership to look at one. We had a few questions on options so we went inside with the salesman and got all of our questions answered. Then, and this is key, we stood up and walked out. Not because we didn’t know what we want, because we then did. But simply to improve our negotiating position.
Then, and this is key, we stood up and walked out. Not because we didn’t know what we want, because we then did. But simply to improve our negotiating position.
How to NegotiateYou see, in negotiating there are a few principles to be aware of:
- Information is power
- Negotiate on your own turf
- Negotiate on your time table
- Never buy stuff when you’re hungry
- Never be more desperate to buy something than the guy is to sell it
What does that email do? Several things. It tells the guy on the other end that I’m
I’m interested in buying a 2016 4×4 Sequoia Limited with Pyrite exterior and Graphite interior as soon as possible at the lowest possible price and am contacting several local dealers. Please quote me your very best out the door (including tax, title, and licensing) price and let me know when it can be available for purchase.
- Very serious about buying,
- That I already know exactly what I want,
- That I know what the car is worth,
- That he has competition,
- That I’m not going to fall for silly pricing tricks,
- That he better not drag his feet getting me a quote.