This hodge-podge series documents my efforts to buy a new car. It began with unlimited updates. But I’ve finally bought a car, so this will be the final update. This is Update #6. To read the previous update, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!
Back in September I started this series of posts, with “unlimited” updates. The updates were unlimited because I didn’t know how long it would take for me to buy a car, in today’s crazy supply-chain-shortage world. The most recent update was September 30th, about how I backed out of a suspicious deal for an “in-transit” 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Limited.
Since then, I resigned myself to waiting until the 2023 model came out, which I planned to factory order through a dealer. But a few weeks ago I checked out the dealer’s website, and found they had just the make, model, and trim level of the 2022 Pacifica I was looking for. And it was white, which is the color I prefer.
I sent the dealer an email inquiry, asking if the vehicle really, truly was in stock, or if this was yet another case of false advertisement so common with car dealers. And I asked for an Out-the-Door (OTD) price. The OTD price is the amount you would write the check for, if paying cash for a car. It includes destination fees, taxes, license fees, and other fees that normally get tacked onto the sale of a new car. The dealer came back assuring me that it really-wheely, truly-wooly was in stock and was available. And the salesman quoted an OTD price of around $60,250.
I balked at this price, and a back and forth ensued. I got him to remove a dealer-installed security system. You know, the kind that makes your car honk all night, keeping your neighbors awake, after a cat jumps on your car. I told him I wanted no dealer-installed products whatsoever.
I also got him to go under the MSRP a little. Chrysler is owned by Stellantis, and I’d heard that Stellantis vehicles often sell for less than MSRP, even during a time when many cars have been selling for above MSRP. So this is what I asked for. After some weeping and gnashing of teeth, we worked out a final OTD price of $57,858.
I also worked out what seemed to be a fair trade-in value for my car. I did this by going to CarMax and another online website, requesting bids on what they’d pay for my car. I then got the dealer to match an offer I received.
After all the wheeling and dealing via email, my wife and I drove the 40 miles to the dealership to finalize the transaction. We arrived about 4:00 PM, and drove off in our new car about three hours later.
If I had paid cash, it would have likely only taken about an hour, but I wanted to finance, and that requires a lot of time-consuming paperwork. I got 7.99% APR on the loan, which is a bit high. I didn’t try to negotiate a lower rate, because I plan to pay this loan off quickly. But I did refuse gap insurance and an extended warranty. Getting the dealer to drop those items reduced the payment substantially.
I love this new car. It’s pretty much what I was expecting and hoping it to be. The Pacifica is a minivan, which has been stereotyped as a vehicle for large families who have a bunch of screaming, squalling, snotty-nosed kids occupying the copious amount of rear seats, while vomiting candy and making faces at passing cars.
But my wife and I have no kids. I wanted this van for the cargo space. It has Stow ‘n Go rear seats that tuck down under the floorboard. After stowing the seats, I took out my tape measure and found I could just barely fit a 4′ X 8′ sheet of plywood in the back. Not that I’m in the market for plywood, but that’s an impressive amount of space. This space is longer than many pickups offer, though it’s a little on the narrow side, compared with pickups. But unlike a pickup, it’s all enclosed.
Who knows when I’ll ever see those rear seats again?
I’m happy with the purchase, and that my patience has paid off. I also want to give a shout-out to Your Advocate Alliance (YAA). This is an online business, at JoinYAA.com, that has provided me with very helpful information about the current state of the auto business, and how to buy a new or used car without being screwed over. I tend to be a lousy negotiator, but YAA has helped me improve my negotiation skills up from being lose-my-ass terrible to being save-my-ass mediocre.
YAA puts out a short YouTube video every day, with useful information and updates on the auto industry. Usually a father and son present the video. The father is a retired car salesman, and the son has followed in his father’s footsteps. Their videos are not only informative, but are often spiced with light humor. Even if you’re not looking to buy a car, you might enjoy watching YAA’s videos, just for the entertainment value. Here’s a sample:
If you’re looking to buy a car, I wish you luck. It’s a jungle out there. I invite you to read my series from the start, so you can learn from my mistakes. And check out the JoinYAA.com website. But above all, do your research and due diligence.
This ends my series of “unlimited” updates on how not to buy a car. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the road!🚗