Monday, August 14, 2017

The Reveal and the Art of the Deal

There it is in all's glory, a 2017 Toyota Sienna. We've swung the pendulum from three Honda's in our household to two Toyotas and one Honda. I still like Honda but the nearest dealer is an hour and a half drive away and the nearest Toyota dealer is about 2 miles as the crow flies. I also don't like the little swoop Honda put in their rear window design a few years back.

When buying a new vehicle these days, the rage is to send out dozens of emails to make dealers "compete" with each other. I have a good friend who sales cars for a living and another that owns a car dealership. I'll give anyone reading a hint. The "best" price quoted via email is about $500 to $1000 more than the "best" price quoted to a person sitting in the dealership. Their reasoning is simple. It is much easier to negotiate with someone sitting in front of you than trying to attract one of the thousand email quote requests that get sent to you into the dealership. As the old saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush... or in this case probably a thousand.

Still I like to do my homework so I not only looked at the price ranges of the model and options I wanted but the same model without options. I also looked online at dealers within 150 miles and see what they were advertising those models and options for. With that information written down on a piece of paper, I called up my friend the car salesman and set up an appointment. I also previously discussed our max price with my wife so she wouldn't be surprised later.

When I sat down in his office and casually laid my piece of paper on the desk with all my writing so that it was sideways to both of us. As I had hoped, I could see him eyeing it while we were chit chatting about various options. He now new what I was expecting for a price range. Since they didn't have any of that model on the lot at this time as they were making room for the 2018 models to be released later this year, he had to search his computer to find the one I wanted. When he found one without any options, he gave me a price which coincidentally was right at the median point of the previously research price range they were selling for in my area according to several websites.

I said I would pay the low range value which turned out to be about $700 less than his first quote but that I also wanted a couple options valued in their pricing guide at about $1000, plus rust, paint and upholstery protection which was another $700 all included in that value for $700 less than he quoted. This is why I always price out the model without options and then add them later for no added dollars to give me leverage rather than starting out with all the options included. So all told, my offer was valued at $2400 less than the one he initially quoted but the actual dollar figure only went down $700. He did the old "go-and-see-the-manager" routine and came back asking for another $200 which I agreed to and shook his hand. According to the websites, the price I paid was in the "excellent deal" column though purchasing it at the end of a model year and having a $2500 cashback incentive going on really helped out.

I normally shy away from their rust, paint and upholstery protection stuff but he told me that it came with a five year guarantee. If anything stains, rusts or peels in the next five years, they will make it like new again. With two kids and another totaled out van with very stained floor and seats, I thought it was probably worth the $700 gamble. The only problem is that the fumes are horribly noxious and overpowers the new car scent that I always enjoyed but knew in the back of my mind that they were noxious as well. As of writing this, we've only had the vehicle for 24 hours so I'm hoping that the odor goes away fast.

To celebrate blowing a big wad of cash, we went out to eat and blew another much much smaller wad of cash. It just made sense!  Since it has been ten years since I purchased a new vehicle (that I mainly drive), I'm having to learn a lot on how to work all the controls. I'm also excited for winter now since we have two vehicles now with AWD for when the roads get bad, assuming we get some precipitation again.


Susan said...

I am a fan of Toyotas, although I now drive a used Hyundai. My next (and, hopefully, last) vehicle will be a Toyota RAV - but I will finally opt for automatic transmission. I hope I can stand it, as I have driven a manual all of my driving life... Congratulations on your new vehicle and thanks for the insight on how to negotiate the deal!

Ed said...

Susan - My wife drives a RAV4 and loves it. She is small and petite and doesn't like a large vehicle but wants to be up high where she can see in traffic and the RAV fits the bill nicely. I have always had manual transmissions but have given up on them. So many people from auto mechanics, to oil changing personnel to my own family don't know how to drive them and don't want to learn. I've probably bought my last manual transmission and that was twenty years ago.

Kelly said...

It looks very nice! It's been about 8 or 9 years since I got a new car and I know when the times comes, there will be all sorts of bell & whistles with which to familiarize myself. We just drive GM products. We have a family discount that takes all the negotiation out of things, which makes it nice.

I wasn't sure if they even made manual transmissions anymore, at least in "normal" vehicles (as opposed to high end sports cars). I think they're fun to drive and do okay with them, but I wouldn't be comfortable having one for day to day use, especially on hills!

Ed said...

Kelly - According to the latest stats I have seen, something like 4% of all cars sold are manual transmission and just about all of those are foreign manufacturers. Toyota and Honda both make manual transmission sedans and compact cars. However, the last time I looked, they were almost special order.

Bob said...

You can't go wrong with a Toyota, in my view. Good job and congrats. I drove a Corolla (with manual transmission) for 11 years and loved it. I tried to teach my wife to drive it and she had neither the interest nor the inclination.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

There are VERY few things I like less than dealing with a salesperson at the car dealership. But it sounds like your recent experience was rather uneventful. I agree that doing homework IS important in this case. It makes it easier to walk out, if needed.
I bought a new car in 2015, it was my first in 13 years, and I felt like I was driving a spaceship with all the fancy stuff my old car didn't have.
I'm glad your new purchase went well!

piseth san said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vince said...

Congrats, big time. Just be careful with the ABS system. It's usually a button push on the door side of the drivers console. But you need to read the book for sometimes they come with it on but mostly they ship with it switched off. And it's darn darn hard to tell just looking at it if it's on or off.

sage said...

Nice looking car. When I came to the site today, having seen your title, I was afraid I was getting a review of a book by a particular President (or whoever it was that wrote the book with his name on it)

Ed said...

Bob - I've had a couple over the years and they have all been excellent cars. I have a number of minor complaints about Toyota compared to Honda but in this case, I'm willing to live with the deficiencies (as I see them) for a vehicle with AWD. In case anyone is wondering, my complaints that are instead of large all weather floormats to cover the back, they put in five small pieces that move around and slide here and there getting in the way. They also don't offer a cargo protection mat. So I had to buy a one piece floor mat system and cargo mat from a third party vendor. The other thing is the way the rear seats fold into the floor. There are multiple steps, that aren't intuitive and you end up with the seat back facing up which when scuffed with objects is readily apparent. Honda had one single strap to pull and they folded up with the seat bottom facing up so if scuffed, you never knew with the seats in place.

Pumpkin Delight - Not all car salespeople are the same for sure. I had a really awful one when I was buying a RAV4 for my wife and I ended up walking out on her and going elsewhere. I tend to hang onto vehicles longer than most so there is a real learning curve on adjusting to all the gadgets and electronics. I spent a day reading through the manual and sitting out in the garage figuring it all out!

Vince - In this model, the ABS and all the other traction control devices are on full time and stuff like the ABS can't be turned off at all. The only thing I can disable is the traction control and even then it resets to on whenever I turn on the car the following time.

Sage - I would like to say I planned it that way but I had completely forgotten about that book (which I have never read) and the author whom is the current occupant to a large white house.

Leigh said...

Thumbs up all around! Interesting about the email negotiations, I suppose not being able to "size you up" in person helps (?) Dan and I could certainly use a new vehicle, but it will likely be a tad older than new. Yours looks good and I hope it is serviceable for as long as you need it to be!

Ed said...

Leigh - For many years I always bought used and had really good luck with them. Most of the time I think it was probably cheaper to own a vehicle that way. However our lives always seem so busy these days so I've been buying new and just driving them forever. Our last one didn't work out that way but all the other new vehicles I have bought I still own and drive.