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the deal finder!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my parents were looking for a new affordable safe and reliable car that’s also comfortable on long road trips for 3-4 people, and must be an automatic. First, they wanted to look at the Corolla or Camry. So I went ahead and contacted several dealers to get some internet quotes. I’ve been in the previous gen Corolla and knew it was too small, but since we’re going to look at the Camry anyways, we took a look at the Corolla as well. They were also contemplating the Civic at that time, so I got some pricing, but dealers didn’t want to give a big discount on Civics due to the fact that they’re in high demand. One dealer even said that they didn’t have any Civics in stock. Then, we took a look at the Accord. Surprisingly, the difference in some cases was less than $1k.

We test drove the Accord, and I think that it was better featured on the base model, and even had electronic stability control standard (it’s optional on the Camry, but not very common on the lower trims in CA). Based on the internet pricing I got the price difference between the Camry and Accord was $850, at which case we felt that the Accord was worth it. So today, we were going to buy the Accord, but wanted to buy the LA Times just to see if there were any specials, and they had a Camry for $16,722, which would mean that the Camry would be $2,228 cheaper, so at that price, the Camry was a no brainer.

Of course, we heard of stories that people got from buying ad cars – from the dealer saying they can’t sell it until the end of the day, to saying that the car is sold. A friend of the family had this happen to him, and he hunted throughout the dealer and low and behold, he found the sold car. So if they say it’s sold, then you can take a look around to see if you can spot it. The ad will usually include a 6-digit serial # of the car, which is the last 6 digits of the VIN.

So, we arrive at the dealer at approx. 8:45 AM (the sales dept. opens at 9). We talk to the receptionist, and she says that they’re in a sales meeting. So, I take the time to look at some of the showroom cars. Well, around 9:07 AM, they get out of the sales meeting, and we ask the salesman about the ad car. So, he goes and looks and about 5-10 minutes later, he finds the car.

We go for a test drive, the car had not gone thru PDI, and it had 1 mile on the ODO. The test drive went fine, but during the test drive, I ask the salesman, this is a base base Camry right? He goes, no, it’s got power windows, power locks, and maybe some other stuff. Keep in mind that this is a base Camry…the only option is the automatic. Also, during the test drive, my mom tells the salesman that we want to pay cash. Keep in mind that I had told my mom that it was a bad idea to say this early in the game because then they’ll try to convince you. Well, in any event, when we got back, the car had 3 miles. He sends it off to PDI.

We then go to sit down and fill out some paper work, and…ummm…someone other than the salesman tells me not to say that you’re going to pay cash, because they’re going to give you a hard time. The salesman says, for the evaluation, please give him excellent on every category (not very good or good), and if there’s a problem, then let him know and he’ll try to fix it. I tell my mom privately that if you can get something between 4-5%, and there’s no pre-payment penalty, then go ahead and do it, because it’s always a good idea to keep some liquidity. Ok, well, one guy who is dressed in a suit (prob a sales manager or something), comes in with the paperwork explaining the price breakdown of the car. He then shows the financing options. 7.9% @ 36 mo., 8.9% @ 48 mo., 9.9% @ 60 mo., and 10.x% @ 72 mo. My mom proceeds to tell him that we’re paying cash, and the suited guy tries to convince us for about 5 minutes why financing is so great, and that they don’t make any money on financing. Yeah right, if that’s the case, then they won’t offer it.

Ok, so now, we head off to the financing guy. He also tries to convince us to finance. They say that I don’t need to co-sign, and that my mom qualifies on her own. Keep in mind that we stated in the credit app that the mortgage payment alone is greater than her income (she’s retired). Maybe they come from the same school as the SISA mortgage loans. So, in any event, he starts with 6.8%. After a minute or two, decides to drop to 5.8%. Another minute or two drops to 5.6%, and it’s still a no. I tell him, he can reduce the term from 60 mo. to something shorter if it’d make a difference, but he said it didn’t matter. So, my mom says, give us 4.9% and we’ll finance. The guy goes and talks to someone that he says is his boss, his boss ok’s 4.99%. Ok, then he tries to sell us all kinds of services. $750 for gap insurance (my insurance company wants $5/6mo), maintenance plan, extended warranty, lo-jack, window etching (already on the car). They tout a $5,000 warranty, but there are so many restrictions on it, that the chances of you actually getting any money are next to none. I told my mom don’t get the dealer etching, but she wants it. Oh well, $300 down the drains. She also wanted lo-jack. They first said it was $795. Then $595. My mom said $550. The financing guy immediately agrees. I told her that she could definitely get both for less. But regardless, it’s still a good deal on the car. The finance guy also mentions that he wanted excellent reviews (not very good or good) and if there’s any problem, to call him

So all the paperwork is signed, then we see the salesman again, and he says that the car should be ready soon. About 5-10 minutes later, the salesman says the car is ready, and shows us to another guy who shows us the car. I look at the ODO and it has 5 miles. The guy then shows me the basics on the car, which is pretty straight forward. I thought he was going to show me some tricks, but he didn’t. He didn’t even show me that if you opened with the key, and hit it twice, that it’d open all the doors. This is particularly nice because the car doesn’t have keyless entry. Also, they missed some items on the PDI, there were several stickers still on the car, and also, on the bottom of the rear window, there was a big bug, and still some dirty spots. But overall, they did a good job on the PDI. We get done around noon.

Also, the lo-jack wasn’t installed prior to sale, and the finance guy told us to call the service department to get it installed. He said that they’ll come to your home. So we made sure that “outside installation at no additional cost” was written on it. Sure enough, when we called to make an appointment, they said that we needed to bring the car in. We told them that the finance guy told us that they’d do it at our house. They took our number and promised to call us back, so hopefully it’ll be squared away. If they still give us trouble, then we’ll call the finance guy to honor the agreement, or refund the lo-jack cost.

Overall, I think it’s a great deal (less the sketchy etchy), and the color was what my mom wanted. Hopefully, my experience will help others. And remember, pricing on everything is negotiable, including finance rate.



 

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the deal finder!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
BTW, these were the prices I found. I didn't really research that much for the Corolla or Civic tho.

Code:
Car	                  MSRP*	       Invoice*     	Internet*	   Newspaper*
2009 Corolla auto	$16,770 	$15,565 	$15,646    	   $13,995 
2008 Civic LX auto	$18,230 	$16,836 	$18,103	
2008 Accord LX auto	$21,830 	$19,851 	$18,950	
2009 Camry CE auto	$20,690 	$18,991 	$17,995        	 $16,722 
*Prices include destination, but exclude ttl from LA area dealers
 

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Nice recap. Sounds like you found your Mom a very nice deal there. I think the Camry is much better alternative to the Corolla. Doesn't the Corolla get like 35 on the highway and the Camry 31? It doesn't seem like 4 mpg is worth getting squished. My co-worker's wife just bought a new Camry, he traded cars with his wife for a day and he took us to lunch in it. I have to say, I thought it was really very nice, plenty of rear legroom for me and I'm 6'4".

Anyway, I don't know if it's still like this or not but in the days of the Toyota RS3000 security system, you could buy it online (or from e-bay), take it to Toyota and they would install it. The system enabled the already existing alarm, had a glass breakage sensor but most importantly it gave you the factory (OEM) keyless entry system. And the OEM keyless system came with two remotes that opened the doors, trunk and a panic alarm. I think it was like $150 on e-bay and cost like $175 for the dealership to install? Back when I was looking at aftermarket keyless systems, I felt they used to have huge, cheap looking remotes and were either really clunky or the nicer ones were very expensive.

But again, this was years ago with the two previous generation Camry's. I don't know if they still do this or not but you may look into it if she's interested in a keyless entry system.
 

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the deal finder!
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15,574 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice recap. Sounds like you found your Mom a very nice deal there. I think the Camry is much better alternative to the Corolla. Doesn't the Corolla get like 35 on the highway and the Camry 31? It doesn't seem like 4 mpg is worth getting squished. My co-worker's wife just bought a new Camry, he traded cars with his wife for a day and he took us to lunch in it. I have to say, I thought it was really very nice, plenty of rear legroom for me and I'm 6'4".

Anyway, I don't know if it's still like this or not but in the days of the Toyota RS3000 security system, you could buy it online (or from e-bay), take it to Toyota and they would install it. The system enabled the already existing alarm, had a glass breakage sensor but most importantly it gave you the factory (OEM) keyless entry system. And the OEM keyless system came with two remotes that opened the doors, trunk and a panic alarm. I think it was like $150 on e-bay and cost like $175 for the dealership to install? Back when I was looking at aftermarket keyless systems, I felt they used to have huge, cheap looking remotes and were either really clunky or the nicer ones were very expensive.

But again, this was years ago with the two previous generation Camry's. I don't know if they still do this or not but you may look into it if she's interested in a keyless entry system.
Corolla is 27/35, Camry 21/31. My parents don't really drive that much, maybe 5,000 miles a year, so the MPG doesn't matter to me that much. But the Corollas are selling like hot cakes at this time. I only saw 3 Corollas in the backlot of a dealer, and they had maybe 50 Camrys there.

Oh, and I forgot to add, when getting quotes, it’s best to get it in writing. Nowadays, e-mail is best, but fax would work as well. You can use the dealer’s website, or Edmunds, KBB, or a bunch of others. Beware that different avenues may produce different pricing. Also, I’d suggest getting quotes from many dealers in the area, even if they’re a little far, so long as they’re in the same general vicinity. If you live in a remote area, then you can get some outside quotes. You can also look at internet pricing from dealer sites like http://fitzmall.com/ which a number of people have discussed about on Toyota Nation, that lists no haggle internet pricing. The local dealer may or may not match, but it doesn’t hurt to try. For the base Camry auto, they had one for $17,995, about $100 less than the local internet pricing. Not really worth it in my case, but in some areas, it might be worth it to have them ship the car to you, or you can go and pick it up. I’m a little weary about buying a car sight unseen, because there’s a risk, but if you do decide to do it, make sure to get in writing important stuff like ODO reading and CAR CONDITION, as well as REMEDY (meaning, say you get a car that was promised at 20 miles, and comes in at 200 miles, then what will the dealer do). A car can be sold as new even if it has 500 miles (or more), so long as it has never been titled. I probably got quotes from nearly 10 local dealers.

It’s best ask for the “OTD” price and compare that. If not, then watch out as some places exclude destination charge in their quote, which in my case ran about $700. They may also add other bogus fees. I’d also suggest that you look at the CarsDirect.com pricing. For example on the Camry, the CarsDirect price was $18,584(before ttl). The internet pricing I got for the base Camry auto was $18,103-$19,813(before ttl), most being between $18,103 and $18,500. Also, quite ironic that the $19,813 price was a “VIP” price. I’d rather get the “non-VIP” price and save myself about $1,700. What I did was I got the lowest price, and contacted several dealers, and said, “I got a quote from a local dealership for the Accord LX auto for $20,807 OTD, however, if you can beat it, then I’d go to you.” Several dealers didn’t respond, some did and said that they couldn’t beat it, and others said that they’d beat it if you brought the quote in. One dealer even said that he couldn’t beat it because he’s losing money, but that his best offer was $20,200 OTD, and told me that if I could get the Accord for $20,807 OTD at the other, that I should do it. In my case, I had already had probably the best internet deal for this area at this time. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to try.

If you like to haggle as I do, then you can come in at the end of the month armed with your quotes, esp. on a slow month (last few months have been very slow), and they might be willing to sell a car at a loss to meet sales quotas. The $20,807 offer was good for 72 hours (be sure to check the time period that the quote is good for, some where only good for less than 2 days, though most that I saw were 72 hours), which was good till today, so I didn’t want to come in at the end of the month. I also knew that that price is about $900 under invoice, and they don’t have any rebates on it, so I don’t think they’d be willing to go much lower than that. Plus, there’s a chance of having an ad car, so I waited, and in the end, it turned out better than I expected. Speaking of rebates, you should always check for any active rebates or promotions. Toyota has a $500 rebate for quite a few 09s at this time. These rebates are paid by Toyota Corporate, and the dealer loses nothing.

On used cars, most likely, you’ll have to haggle with the specific dealership. A few years ago I bought a used Solara with a KBB of ~$15,000 for $11,500. They also held me hostage saying that this deal is only good today only. Well, at the time, I really wanted the car, and knew it was a good deal, so I bought it, even though I was a sucker for their scam tactics. Other dealers tried this as well later, and I learned my lesson from this time. But overall it didn’t end too bad because I ended up getting totaled 7 months later when I was rear ended by a hit and run driver, and I got nearly $12,000 from the insurance company. After that, I bought a used Passat for somewhere between $3000-4000 UNDER Edmunds TMV & KBB. From the cars that I was looking for, the Edmunds TMV and KBB values were always substantially higher, so use their numbers with a grain of salt. Also, if you want anything added, then you can get the dealer to install that too. I wanted a CD player, and the car didn’t come with one, and they had a OEM CD changer installed for $200 more. For any dealer installed accessories, make sure to specify OEM, or they might get some third party equipment. Also, check for pricing beforehand, and be sure to underbid it a lot. Most dealers are willing to lose a little on an accessory to get a sale. On another note, I heard of a person who bought a car with dealer installed 3rd party leather seats, and the genius who installed it didn’t make accommodations for the seat air bag, and it didn’t work properly when the car got into an accident.
 
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