Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Car Shopping

So, a couple weeks ago I got a postcard type advertisement in the mail from Infiniti. It said they were offering deals for up to $8000 off, $1000 above Blue Book value for your trade-in and a $500 Coach gift card (no, I'm serious). Then two weeks ago, I got my registration renewal from the MVA and they want $120.

Let's see, new car with lots of discounts or same old crappy car, with squeaky brakes, broken interior lights, discoloring rear fender thanks to random Spanish repair guy, and a new bill to go along with it. Seemed like a no-brainer. It's time to get a new car.

I searched the internet to find out more about some cars I was interested in. Having driven and loved my G35 Sedan, I was intent on getting something comparable to it, so that brought me to narrow my search to the new G37 Sedan (and all those savings!!!), the Nissan Maxima, the Lexus IS250, and the BMW 3-series. And then I remembered that I hate BMW and all they stand for. Try growing up in Potomac with the popped collar yuppies and their "beamers" and you'll relate to my hatred. But I digress.

My mom already owns an IS350 that my brother bought and pawned off on her, so I eliminated that one quickly, as who really wants to drive the same car as their mother, so the decision seems to be making itself for me. And then there were two.

So, Easter Sunday rolls around, and I haven't really gotten a good look at Maximas. I drive up to the Nissan dealer in Rockville and as I'm looking into the Maximas that are on the lot I realize, this place is actually open!!?? So, hell, let's test drive and get some pricing on this puppy. After driving the Maxima with a sports package and feeling how stiff it is, I'm reminiscent of my 350Z that I turned in after less than 2 years on my lease as it made my back hurt (yeah, I'm old now). I decide that maybe the premium package would be better and the guy lets me give it a drive as well. Definitely smoother, plus it's got iPod interface and heating and cooling seats. Nice.

I've decided what I like, now let's see what it costs. Why is it that it takes like an hour to "determine" what the best price the dealer can give you is. He's gotta consult with his manager, and the financing guy, and some random woman, and a midget with one eye, I mean, what the F!?? At what other retailer would people stand for this kind of service? It's like this is completely expected and therefore acceptable. If it took the butcher at the grocery store an hour to find me a steak, I'd eat chicken. But, there I sit until I get my price. And then I did what every prudent car buyer should do...I left.

Two days and four calls from the Nissan dealer later, and I'm on my way to the Infiniti dealer to see what he can offer. Long story short, the dealer is a big dick, leaves me sitting without any semblance of him wanting to move things forward for nearly an hour, he helps two other people, then offers me a monthly payment that's almost $200 more per month than the Nissan for a sale price that's only $2000 more expensive. Then when I mention that, he miraculously drops the price by $100...like immediately.

OK, now onto another ridiculously accepted standard in car purchasing. Where else can the price fluctuate by 20-40% merely by what you say? If I'm at a restaurant and the lobster tail is $50 and then I say that I can get it at another restaurant for cheaper, I'll leave if they change the price. That usually means one of two things...I'm gonna get "the old one" or I'm gonna be eating pubes. Then again, I never order lobster anyway. Who am I, Ted Turner?? So, I didn't want the car with pubes on it from this cock head, so I bounced.

And you're probably wondering about the $8000 off and the other deals that started all this craziness. Yeah, they don't really exist. You mean you didn't see that it said "up to" in front of the $8000? I can show you a car that can have $8000 off...but that's not the type you were interested in. Oh, my bad...shady...very shady.

Day 3 is Wednesday, and I'm off to the Nissan dealer in Germantown. I was OK with the deal the Rockville guy offered me on Sunday, since it was definitely a better deal than the Infiniti, but let's compare apples to apples. I'm armed with a favorable price, the fact that I've been to Infiniti, and the fact that my mind is numb from having sat at car dealerships for more than 4 hours total thusfar. And then the battle begins.

I wanted a black car. They only have a navy blue car with the premium package on the lot. I didn't want to pay for the navigation system. The navy blue car has navigation. Will I settle? Yes, but it'll cost them. And that's the angle I'm using.

An hour of bullshit and waiting later, and they're gassing up my new navy blue Maxima with the premium package and navigation system. It's got a price tag $2000 more than the one I test drove at the Rockville dealership, and the monthly payment is $40 a month less. It's got 10 miles on the odometer and my coveted iPod interface...which is exquisite.

And the next day, I'm driving it with my parents in the car...and the sunroof cover breaks.

Which leads me to my final gripe with car dealerships. New doesn't always mean good. And when a new car isn't good, they don't give you a replacement. Instead, they give you a Nissan Xterra. No, I didn't get another new car, it's the rental car they gave me while they fix the problem in my new car, which they took yesterday and will hopefully have for me tomorrow.

Perhaps I should stop reading advertising post cards.

1 comment:

The Anything Place said...

I agree that new doesn't always mean good.

I like buying used cars, because honestly the value of new cars right when they leave the dealership depreciates so much!