Tuesday, August 2, 2011

the art of negotiation

cricket's been talking about upgrading his wheels over the past few months. his 1998 pathfinder has been on its last leg for a while. it's a reliable vehicle, don't get me wrong, but it's 13 years old + soon to become a liability. he's taken great care of it over the years, but it's lately become our workhorse vehicle. i'm pretty sure dave ramsey would be proud of him.

cricket has had his eye on a toyota tacoma double cab TRD. we hope to have a family soon, so the 4 doors of the double cab were the only logical option for a truck. despite the shortened bed, it'd be the best for our future. we don't do a lot of hauling, so it'd be a good compromise. besides, the extended bed might not fit in the driveway. we've had our eye on autotrader.com app and other sites over the past few weeks + used the handy-dandy feature to save trucks we liked within the app (which also saves them on the desktop site).

last weekend, we had to take my car into the dealership to get the AC fixed. so while we were on dealer row, we ventured to the world toyota dealership down the road to check out their used inventory. we'd seen a few online + figured we'd check them out in person. uh oh. THE truck was there. just not in the used section. brand spankin' new.

being in the auto industry, i'd heard that the economy's downturn had created an increased demand for used vehicles. folks can't get financing, so used car demand rises. as do prices. so when we saw a brand spankin' new truck with all the required bells + whistles on the lot for less than some were listed online, despite being 2-3 years older, we were shocked.

we thought about it over the week + did a lot of research. there was really no rhyme or reason why a brand new model was listed for just a tiny bit more than a 2008 with similar accessories.

so we went back on saturday for a test drive. cricket hadn't driven one yet + we figured it'd be smart to at least drive one before pressing on with the search. we pulled into the lot at 5:30pm with zero intention to purchase a vehicle. we were planning to go to the mall afterwards.

we left the lot at 9:37pm with a brand new truck. "magnetic gray metallic" (charcoal gray) toyota TRD sport double cab. 16 miles on it (4 of which were from the test drive). the trim line, the price, + the payment we wanted. needless to say, the mall was closed.
[moving into the new truck]

we were both extremely proud of ourselves with our negotiating skills. we've each been known to compromise here + there, thus throwing the co-negotiator off-balance. a few things that stand out for anyone considering a new purchase:
  • knowing the bottom line. we knew our max spend + weren't willing to budge
  • knowing our max payment. we knew what we wanted our monthly payment to be + how long we'd be willing to finance. period. there was a point that cricket was like "well, $20 more/month is just twenty dollars" + we talked about how that could be a slippery slope. twenty bucks here, another ten here, + before long we'd be way over our threshold.
  • knowing what we could afford for a down payment + agreeing to it. we knew we didn't want to wipe out our savings towards the down payment. we new our comfort range + stuck with it.
  • knowing we didn't need a truck today. we were just curious to what the #s could do. we weren't even sure we had a checkbook with us! we were really just curious as to the affordability of new vs. used. having done our research, we were confident the truck would hold its value, so the immediate depreciation off the lot was almost a non-issue.
  • knowing it was the end of the month. dealerships clamor at the end of each month to wheel + deal. they need to make their numbers, so they're usually more willing to deal. they even said so.
  • knowing our trade value. we'd used some online evaluation tools like this and this, so we weren't expecting much at all. the pathfinder had hit a deer back in 1999, so it had some serious frame damage that'd been repaired. this doesn't show well on a carfax report.
  • knowing we had excellent credit. this helps with the interest rate--the higher the credit score, the better. since i've technically had an AmEx since before i was  ever even born (thanks dad for adding me to the account 2 years before i was conceived--still not sure how this worked, but oh well), i'm pretty popular among the credit agencies. cricket, too, fares well. this is good. very good.
throughout the 4 hours, there were lots of back + forths on pricing, rates, + financing terms. we were amenable to agree on certain pricing, contingent on financing. of course, the calculator in my head told me there was no way they'd make it work at that price without a negative interest rate, but we'd let them try. and try they did. again and again and again. ultimately, the dealership worked with us. they gave us 450% more on the trade to get where we needed to be. that's right, four hundred + fifty percent. this is where they were able to show us the concessions they were making.

at the end of the day, kudos to danny the sales rep + july the finance guy for making it all work. not to mention the manager, aka the guy in the back office, for being willing to make a deal.

i just ran the Kelley Blue Book evaluation tool on the truck--well, a similar 2010 model since the evaluator won't let me do a 2011 tacoma, and well, the TRADE-IN value is over $1k more than we walked out the door with it for.

it's our first time to buy a brand spankin' new car. and we aren't the least bit upside down on it!!!!! hallelujah!!!

[ben the truck: sittin' in the driveway, worth every penny + then some]

*autotrader.com pays my real job salary, but this had zero influence on the purchase we made or the review here. autotrader.com also owns kelley blue book, but still wasn't an influence--they're just the experts on vehicle valuation. both of their sites + tools are, in fact, quite useful. besides, the competitors' app kept crashing.

1 comment:

  1. I'm jealous! Looks like a nice ride!

    p.s. good to run into Jason the other day by Fellini's! Miss you, friend!