This hodge-podge series documents my efforts to buy a new car. It has unlimited updates. Who knows how long this shit is going to take? This is Update #2. For the next update (when available), CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!
Searching For Some Trim
I gave up trying to buy an electric vehicle (EV), after growing disillusioned with the scam it seems to have become, and the long wait just to buy one. So I decided to go the opposite direction, and try to buy a good ol’ American gas guzzler.
I figured that with gas prices the way they are these days, surely there must be some gas hogs for sale that nobody wants, and that I won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for, while waiting forever for the privilege of purchasing it.
And I was right. My wife and I visited our local Chrysler dealer and test drove a Chrysler Pacifica minivan. And oh my God, was it heaven! I never knew a car could feel so pleasant and thrilling to settle my ass into and accelerate down the road. It was as if we were sailing on a luxury liner. We were instantly sold on buying a Pacifica.
But this was a two-year-old car with 68,000 miles on it. We wanted something new. But the dealer had no new Pacificas on the lot. “Supply-chain shortage,” he explained.
But that’s okay, Chrysler allows you to order a vehicle from the factory. It’s strange that most domestic and European automakers allow consumers to factory order, while none of the Asian automakers allow this. And what I mean by a factory order is a real order, and not a fake, Toyota-style “factory order.” So I asked the dealer to order one for me.
“No problem,” I was told. “But first you have to pay a $1,000 non-refundable deposit.”
I said, “Whoa, wait a second. Are you telling me that if I try to back out of the deal, for any reason, I’ll lose the deposit?”
“Yup,” the salesman smirked with a glint in his eye. The bastard knew this was a seller’s market, and he was taking full advantage of market conditions. And of my wallet.
I felt nervous about plunking down a thousand clams that I might never see again. And later research indicated my nervousness was with merit. State of California Vehicle Code Section 11736 requires all deposits on the purchase of a car to be refundable on demand by the consumer, prior to taking delivery of the vehicle. So the $1,000 non-refundable deposit was an illegal request from a crooked dealer.
I had enough of that bandit and decided to look for a different, more honest dealer. So I did some Googling and found a variety of Chrysler dealers within an hour or so drive from my house. I got on their websites to check out their inventory.
That’s when I noticed that whenever I opened up a car dealer’s website, a pretty girl instantly popped up in the lower-right of my PC screen, inviting me to chat with her. She always had a sexy name, like Sabrina, or Candy, or Velvet. This is a trick. Should this happen to you, don’t fall for it. She’s a robot.
She asks for your phone number. And if you give it to her then your phone will soon start ringing. But it won’t be her, it will be a sales associate (often a man), from the dealership, trying to sell you a car.
Don’t ask how I figured that out.
Anyway, none of the dealer websites I checked out had the car I was looking for. They had plenty of Chrysler Pacificas, but not at the trim level I desired. Trim has to do with all the goodies and doo-dads that come with a car. For instance, with Pacificas, the trim levels available, from lowest to highest, are the Touring, Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle. You can also choose All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) or Front-Wheel Drive (FWD). I wanted a Limited trim level in AWD.
But none of the dealers I checked out had any trim level in stock, above the Touring L. This seems to be a problem with all car models these days. The higher the trim level you desire, the more scarce it will be, and the more likely you’ll have to order the vehicle.
So, to find a Limited trim, I tried a different strategy. I started an account with Autotrader.com. This is a website that allows you to buy and sell new and used cars online. It’s very similar to other car-buying websites, like Carvana, Vroom, Cars.com, etc. Hell, there must be a thousand of them. But Autotrader is the oldest of this type of online business, so I figured that by now, they must know what they’re doing.
We’ll learn how that went in my next update.