In our last installment we left our heroes with a difficult choice, but as anyone who has successfully navigated the tricky waters of matrimony knows, the key is compromise. Brian compromised by not going for the sports car and Donna compromised by not going for the small car.
At 5PM on Saturday afternoon I called Brad, the Honda salesman, and asked what we needed to do to get the ball rolling on buying an Accord Coupe. I told him that it turns out we didn’t really want a blue one after all, “We’d take one in red. Did they have an LX-S in that color?” He thought they did, but he needed to check. I said I’d call him back in a few minutes. When he answered my call he said yes they did. I told him I’d be there in 15 minutes to fill out a credit check application. Our compromising was fine, but what really drove the choice was we could get the car now, because Honda was offering a .9% deal on 60 month loans.
I got to the dealership and Brad and I took a San Marino Red Coupe for a short test drive. When we got back we sat in a little open cube and talked money. I had done my online research by pricing the car on Honda’s web site. Then I headed to Edmond’s and got the invoice figure and what they call a fair market value price, which for this car was about a grand less than invoice (which itself is $2,000 less than list.) I offered several hundred under the list, telling them I had X dollars for a down payment and would finance the remainder at their .9% resulting in a monthly payment of X dollars. That offer also had to include in it the $300 (capped) SC sales tax and any document fees associating with titling and registering the car. I felt this was fair because I knew that they would still be getting more than the invoice price of the car, which is not what they really pay for the car, plus they get to keep any manufacturers hold back money. Brad takes my offer and disappears to the other side of the sales floor to show the figures to the Sales Manager Sam (I didn’t catch his name, but he looks a little like Sam Elliot with white hair and no mustache.) Brad comes back about 5 minutes later (there’s that wait time again) with the famous 4 square box.
One of the squares says $27,000. This is what their sticker on the window reads for the price of the car. They have added wheel locks, mud flaps, a Trunk Condom (a big rubber mat with sides that will catch a whole gallon of spilled milk) and my favorite, the $2500 First Class Finish Package. In the upper right is the figure that really catches my eye, $448 for 60 months. I stand up and offer Brad my hand and say if that’s the best you can do, I’ll be going. He says, “Wait, I’ll see what I can do.”
Now the dancing commences in earnest. He is gone less than a minute, Sam would like to know where I got my figures. I outline for Brad what I did above for you and off he goes again. Brad returns in a skinny minute and says, “They’re working on a better deal.” While we wait Brad fires up a browser and goes to the Honda web site and builds my Accord and sees where I got the list price from.
We are joined by player number three, could be the finance manager or the assistant sales manager. Not only didn’t I pay attention to his title, but I don’t catch the name either. I am too distracted by the fact that he could pass for the John Candy character in the movie Splash and wondering if it would be impolite to wipe my palm on my pants to dry off the sweat he left behind during the handshake. John Candy has a computer printout that shows the list price (just what I said it was) and then their cost that they have in the car with the options and all. John points to a hand sketch of a scale marked in little increments going from 2% to 9% and tells me that dealers need to make somewhere in that profit range to stay in business. He asks if I felt they weren’t entitled to make a little money, so could I please add $5 more to my monthly payment. I look at him like he is speaking Swahili and mention that he can go ahead and take off the wheel locks, mud flaps and remove the trunk tray as I don’t want them. But to show them I was a sport I offered him the $300 up front. John tells me that it would cost money to remove the mud flaps and wheel locks but they would remove the trunk tray. Neither of us mention the $2500 First Class Finish because I think they know I know that this is nothing more than an updated version of the 70’s and 80’s Rust Proofing Pure Dealer Profit Scam. To quote Captain Jack Sparrow to Will Turner, I say to John Candy, “Do we have an accord?” (a nice play on words, if I don’t say so myself.)
I tell Brad my wife is going to have dinner on the table in a few minutes, I better get home and I’ll be back on Monday after work to finalize the paperwork. They don’t want me to leave (maybe figuring I regret that $300 and not come back) so Sam Elliot is back and says let’s finish up the offer sheet and run your credit before you go, it’ll only take 10 minutes. I tell Sam that I’ll do that, but I’ll be coming in on Monday with $50 less if the dinner gets ruined and I have to take my wife out to eat. They don’t have a real figure to work with because I’ve got them rushing, so I am asked to sign something that says I will purchase this car if the following conditions can be met, my new X dollars down and my X dollar a month payment for 60 months. Everybody seems happy and I leave telling Brad I would see him at about 4:30 on Monday to pick up the car.
This is getting kind of long winded, so come back tomorrow night for the tale of today’s stop on the Brian & Donna Buy A New Car Tour.
Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1000