I purchase a vehicle infrequently. My current vehicle I have had 7 years, the previous 9 years. One main reason is that it is just cheaper to drive till they are worn out, one has many years of payment free driving. In fact my last two vehicles were purchased with cash so no payments for many years. Dave Ramsey would be proud 🙂
Another reason I buy infrequently – I am reminded of each time I buy a vehicle. Dealing with Car Salesmen is such a awful experience. I believe most people hate this experience, but for me, a very poor negotiator, it is especially painful. I always coming away feeling I’ve been robbed, and the feeling is probably founded in truth.
It started with the salesman’s revelation that the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit is only available to those who lease. If I buy with a conventional loan or cash, I won’t get it. This confused me, it went against everything I had read. I challenged him. The salesman showed me the paperwork that said this.
$7,500* NMAC Customer Lease Rebate can only be used as a Capitalized Cost reduction on NMAC Nissan LEAF Lease. No portion of the $7,500 may be taken as cash by the customer.
I studied this for a minute or two ( I noticed the salesman cheeking Facebook while I did this), and then I said. Oh this means that Nissan won’t give me $7,500 off the price up front unless I do a lease, the way I see it I have to go to Uncle Sam to get the credit on my taxes next year, which is what I expected anyway. I saw the footnote which helped clarify, it read
*this is a pass through of the $7,500 incentive for federal tax credit available to NILT by law.
The salesman conceded this point, but the went on to say that I’d only get the credit when I filed my taxes next year if I still owed at least $7,500. If I was due money back or owed less than $7,500 then I wouldn’t get some or any of the $7,500. This went against everything I know about tax credits. Having got a tax credit for windows on my home last year, and I’m due to get a credit this year for an AC unit on my home. I know how tax credits work. Oh that’s different, the salesman said. By now it was clear he really was trying to angle me towards a lease. He advised me to speak to my tax adviser, ‘who is that by the way’ he asked. I said that would be me, I do my own taxes thanks very much.
I did get some good information on the Nissan warranties for the LEAF. Bumper to bumper warranty is 3yrs/36,000 miles, like most Nissan vehicles. There is 5 yr/60,000 mile power-train warranty, which includes the main drive motor and other drive-train related electronics. Batteries are on an 8 yr/100,000 mile warranty. It was clear the salesman didn’t know anything more than this, he was reading it off the web as we spoke. (Note to self. Use the Nissan LEAF experts available through the website, not a salesman. I have used the live chat several times and the experience has been pretty good.)
By now I was discouraged by the experience. If he was doing this on purpose, he was succeeding. I explained I had lots of questions, I like to be sure of what I’m getting into before I do commit. He was appreciative of this. I asked what he’d give me on my trade. he wasn’t comfortable giving me a number since a lot could happen between now and the vehicle arriving. I conceded that point, but now I was frustrated, I couldn’t compare what I’d get for my trade to what I was paying for the new vehicle. Normally I focus on the difference between the two (i.e. what I need to write a check for). It was looking like I’d need to agree a price before knowing my net expenditure, I felt really uncomfortable.
I asked him what sort of deposit I’d need to put down to order the vehicle. Oh you’ve done that already he explained. Ordering on-line is not a commitment to purchase, that happens when the vehicle gets here, you test drive it and if you like it we go to the finance office, just like any regular car sale. If you don’t like it you get your $99 back and we put it on the lot for sale. In fact if you told me now you didn’t want it, I’d be happy to take delivery and sell for more than sticker, it’s in demand right now by those who don’t want to wait in line. I realized at this point I had made an error not ordering on-line months ago, I missed an important piece of information, oh well, you can’t undo what’s done.
The way I see it, he was actively discouraging me from getting the vehicle. Strange way to sell, he was up to something. We finally agreed on a price.
The good news is that I placed my online order for the LEAF and the confirmation says it’ll be here in 3-4 months. The bad news is I probably came out on the wrong side of the deal and had to go through an hour long go around with the salesman. I’ve never bought a new car before, so I had more than the usual questions. One thing I forgot to ask about before agreeing the price was if there would be any delivery fees. I asked after the fact (brilliant I know) and the salesman said it would be between $800-900 destination fee. Whether I can get this waived or not at the time of purchase, or added to the value of my trade I don’t know, we’ll see. It’ll be a function of how well the car is selling, Selling well, I’ll be lucky to get it waived, selling poorly will put me back in the drivers seat. Hopefully literally as well figuratively 🙂 If I get the shaft at the time of sale, I suppose I’ll be forced to walk away.
Update 2001-04-01 : Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I had come across the car buying strategies website before accepting my price. They list true dealer cost for almost all new cars, including the leaf. I probably overpaid by $500-1000. Let’s hope I can make that up on my trade if the LEAF doesn’t sell well in the interim. Time will tell.