I usually eschew credit, preferring to use cash as my bargaining chip. In this endeavor I'm fairly successful. I don't want to know my monthly payment - I want to know the price I'm paying, and its that I'm usually negotiating. Furthermore, the best place for this practice a car dealership. Another thing I no longer do, is buy brand-new vehicles. They're just not worth it.
Unfortunately for me, a series of events made all these things impossible. And to add insult to injury...I never even got the opportunity to experience the sweet taste of even a month with no car payment since paying off my wife's Satrun.
Last month when I had to take her car in for $1000 repair I was hoping this would be a one-time thing and that the car would run another several years. Unfortunately, after about sixty more miles on the car, it required another repair, this one the alternator, for which they wanted an additional $765. Yes, I could've picked up the part at Auto Zone for $215, but once again, the engineering of this car would have required I pull the engine to replace, something I just wasn't up to the task of doing. Furthermore, I'm convinced this would have been the second of many replacement parts for this car at only 63,000 miles.
I drove the car to the Hyundai dealership and parked it. I've been eyeballing the Tiburon for several reasons. First and foremost, it comes with a 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty. The best on the market. Secondly, its a coupe. I like coupes. I'm hard pressed to find a coupe these days, as America is pushing 'Euro sedans' again. If I wanted a Euro sedan, I'd buy a European car. Thirdly, and possibly most importantly, the GT comes with a V6. I am so very sick and tired of my inline-four I want to scream every time I sit behind the wheel. Of course I was looking for a one to two year old car. Alas, they are few and far between. I read some time ago that in order to maximize your wealth, you should buy the best house you can afford, and the cheapest car you can live with. I'm a simple man with simple needs. This particular car fits me well. It embodies me. Of course I owe all of this to Avis, from whom I rented a Hyundai when I was in DC several months ago. I hadn't driven a Hyundai since the Excel came out in 1988!
Screaming against everything I know to be true about car dealerships, and the way they manipulate data and use their voodoo triad of interest rate, sales price, and trade-in, I presented them with my newly paid-off vehicle, and told them I wanted a Tiburon GT for no more than $300 a month. Poor drax0r was with me during the entire 3-hour ordeal, and this is my story:
They took $500 off the price of the $20,080 car, offered me $2500 for my defunct $27,000 top-of-the-line wagon, and happily presented me with a working estimate of $349. I explained that the trade-in offer was embarrassing the both of us, thanked him profusely for his patience, apologized for wasting his time, and walked out. drax0r and I got as far as my car, which wouldn't start. "No wonder they only offered me $2500 for the car - it won't even start!" The second, more senior salesman overheard me. "Is this whats stopping you from buying a car today? The price they offered you on trade-in?" Well, that and I was very clear about $300/month payments, I explained. We got the car started, the Used Car guy comes out and re-inspects it, explaining that he will not go over $4300. What an ass. The more senior sales guy asks if I would buy the Tiburon today, if I could get $300 a month, with the $4300 trade-in. Only because I was desperate I agreed. Oh - and in case you're wondering - they didn't know I was desperate. When I purchase new cars, I put on different persona's so to speak. When I purchased my Sebring LXi, I was the asshole professional. I told them what they would give me for my trade-in, what they would do to the new car prior to my purchasing it, and how much I would pay them for their car. I was a quiet, professional asshole during the entire transaction, once getting up and walking out of the finance department without a word when I saw the 10% interest rate they were going to give me. It was one of the most beautiful performances of my life. This time, I was the well-paid IT professional who was looking for a fun car. I was laughing, standing, moving, never sitting still, full of energy and very, very polite.
The sales guy comes out with a piece of paper (which he didn't show me) and said, "I need you to go $320."
"Sorry, no can do. Thanks for everything." I said as I gave drax0r the sign that we were leaving again.
"Can you give me anything between $320 and $310 a month?"
He finally revealved the paper. This is why I hate salesmen. I said, "Zero down, $300 a month, buy today," replete with a line for my signature. Asshole. I signed it. Later, he came out again, and this my friends, was my only mistake. I agreed to give him $500 down to make my payment under $300. I thought the wife would be pleased. I found out later from the overly candid finance guy, the son-of-a-bitch put my monthly payment at $299. No worries, I was only out $500, and a learned a new lesson. In all honesty, because that was reported as "down payment" its still equity in the car. Let's move on. Finance time. The finance guy unintentionally ratted-out the sales guy with the $299 information, then asked if I was interested in extending America's Best Warranty to include 10-year, 100,000 bumper-to-bumper (over just powertrain) for a mere $14 more a month. Of course I was interested! All the shit which has plagued my wife's car since 60,000 miles I would be free from! I explained that I would love to take advantage of this opportunity, but that my wife was very clear on what I could, and could not do, and I could not go over $300 a month. He asked, "If I could get you that extended warranty and your car payment still be only $300 a month would you want it?"
This sounded like a trick question. Absolutely I would want it! What was he playing at, and more importantly, how was I about to get screwed? I said, "Well of course." A couple of key-clicks later, its done. "How did you do that?" I asked. He explained that I had perfect credit, and that they rarely see someone in here who has meticulously paid off a $27,000 car, then traded it in the month it was paid off. I kept my mouth shut and shrugged. He 'simply' paid down my interest rate (in essence, paying himself instead of the bank with the same money). So I feel for once, that the voodoo worked for me, instead of against me. And how they managed to sell me a $20,080 car for only $500 down with a $4300 trade-in, plus tax, title & license for only $300 a month, is PFM to me. I'm sure I'm taking it up the ass somewhere, but for now, I'm happy.
I like the stick coupled with the V6. Its been seven years since my last manual transmission. There's plenty of torque and the dual exhaust makes a nice throaty sound without sounding like some teenagers Civic with aftermarket exhaust. I've had leather seats, and I've had cloth seats - these are, in a word, perfect. They're mesh seats with leather bolsters, and I finally made the move back to a leather steering wheel - something I've missed greatly since my LXi. The stereo plays MP3's natively, and it corners better than my Sebring - the 17" wheels matched with how very low this car sits. The rear-disc brakes are a nice touch too.
The only thing I'll miss on my Cav is the lifetime tint job I had put on it...but that's coming as soon as I close on the house.