Did I get an okay deal?

<p>So I finally got off the fence and purchased the new car, a 2009 Toyota Corolla. Very basic model--I think the only "whistle" is keyless entry. I paid $17,000 (sticker price was $18,000; dealer was offering a $1,000 "volume discount"). I got $1,300 for my 1998 Dodge Caravan as a trade-in and put another $4,000 down. 5.29 percent financing for three years.</p>

<p>I hate the whole car-buying thing but the Caravan really had to go (increasing repairs plus terrible gas milage). I thought about a used car but I do not know any dealers or mechanics I would really trust and the thought of buying another car that would end up with lots of unexpected repairs made me shy away from that route.</p>

<p>I am satisfied though not ecstatic with the deal. Should I be more happy? Less happy?</p>

<p>Congrats on your new car! You left out the important details - like what color? :) I hate the whole car buying process. But since it's over with, just relax! Enjoy that new car smell!</p>

<p>We just helped our son through the process of buying a used car. Helped from a distance (not with money) with lots of son-to-dad phone calls, and helping him search the Internet, etc. My H found these two articles among other things, and found them to be very helpful.</p>

<p>The first is really eye-opening about the various tricks of the trade. It was really helpful in knowing what to do when walking into a dealership.</p>

<p>Confessions</a> of a Car Salesman</p>

<p>The second is just helpful for those buying used.</p>

<p>How</a> to Get a Used Car Bargain</p>

<p>Too late for you, OP, but maybe someone else can benefit.</p>

<p>how many miles on the Caravan you traded in?</p>

<p>My friend's D paid about that for her new Civic. Don't know what features she got.
I hate buying a new car. The last two cars I purchased via the Costco program after lots of research on Edmunds. It was hassle free.</p>

<p>If you are satisfied, then you've done well and should move on. Dwelling on whether you could or couldn't have gotten a better deal is wasted psychic energy.</p>

<p>I really don't like to spend too much time on buying a car. I will just figure out what I want, find out dealer's price and pay them extra $500 on top of it. I have never spent more than 3 hours on car shopping. I then have them deliver the car to my house with the necessary paperwork. Once I get my car, I never wonder if it's the best price, I just enjoy it. </p>

<p>Congratulations on your new car.</p>

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<p>Thanks, Binx, for the link. It was a very interesting article! Probably explains why OP has a lingering feeling of not feeling 100% happy with his deal. He or she has the feeling that somehow he's been "cheated, ripped-off, pressured, hoodwinked, swindled, jacked around, suckered or fleeced."</p>

<p>It's a done deal so now just enjoy your new car. How do you like it?</p>

<p>Don't worry - be happy.</p>

<p>Here's the reality - the dealer made a profit on the deal or they wouldn't have done the deal but if they didn't make profits they wouldn't have been there to deal with in the first place. People can almost always shave a few bucks off of the cost of the deal if they try harder but there's a point of diminishing returns. </p>

<p>When you do a trade-in they usually figure out if you want to be paid a lot for the trade-in or if you want to get the new car for the lower price. They then adjust one or the other accordingly - usually both to some middle ground. </p>

<p>Since it's a done deal, move on with the new car and don't worry about it. You can also always imagine if the transmission or engine was just about to go out on the Caravan and now that's not your issue. There, that should make you feel better.</p>

<p>That's a big driving experience difference from the Caravan to the Corolla. Are you enjoying it?</p>

<p>I hate car buying too. Here is what I did the last time I bought a new car 8 years ago and will do again one day):</p>

<ol>
<li><p>I test drove various cars, models and figured out exacty what I wanted. </p></li>
<li><p>I paid a small fee to find out the invoice price (or something like that) that dealerships pay for the car (can't recall the site- long time ago and in Canada- but it was great number to start with even if its bogus).</p></li>
<li><p>I made a list of a) 'absolutely must haves' (e.g. keyless entry), b) things I didn't care if I got or not (e.g. colour), and c) things I might barter around with (e.g. an upgraded stereo system). I also knew I had an upper limit of what I was willing to pay.</p></li>
<li><p>I emailed all the area dealers, told them my understanding of the invoice price, told them my "must haves", asked what they had in stock and what was their best price. I made it very clear I was emailing everyone. </p></li>
<li><p>I then horse traded around with them, all via email. So I could say "well that is pretty good but so and so said they'd do X for me" and I went around and around until I went with the lowest bidder. </p></li>
</ol>

<p>Soooo easy to negotiate via email!</p>

<p>Its not about the price but whether you are pleased in what you got. </p>

<p>Its like finding a spouse. Not about the obvious outside stuff but what's on the inside. :0</p>

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<p>Definitely! You're not stuck in that little cubicle.</p>

<p>Waiting in that cubicle wears you down. They keep you waiting while salesperson meets with the manager to see whether the deal will go through or not. I think that emailing around could be a very good idea! BTW, last 2 cars we bought were in dealerships without cubicles, where the salesperson already knew the numbers that he could do, and no waiting. We bought from the same dealer, same salesperson twice, and it was a pleasure. Fortunately, H studied all the numbers in advance and knew what he was doing to.</p>

<p>I bought my last car in Feb 2000. Car sales were in the dumps and it was a Wednesday night near the end of the month. Which meant that the showroom was empty and they wanted to make their month numbers. There was a car on the lot that was already discounted and it was one of the boring cars. I took the car home and everyone liked it. I did the negotiating thing the next night and told them what I wanted and that I'd write them a check that evening if they met my number. We negotiated some more and I got my number through free options instead of more discounts - not as good as discounts but I liked the options. It's not something that I like to do very often.</p>

<p>I'm used to Corollas costing about $13,000. But that was 8 years ago. I understand that Corollas are hot cars right now and I think that there's a waiting line at my dealership for them. They have none in the showroom as they're gone when they hit the lot. Forget about the Prius.</p>

<p>Congratulations on the new car. At least you won't have to go through the purchase process again for a while.</p>

<p>You did great... now just enjoy your new ride... Have Fun</p>

<p>I purchased a few cars using a similar method to 'starbright'. First, I use kbb.com or edmunds.com to determine the dealer invoice price and any factory incentives that exist. These sites are free. For a couple of cars I just contacted the fleet department, told them what I wanted, and they came back with a fixed price which was way below MSRP and based on a certain amount - like $200 above dealer invoice. This was a little cheaper than the 'Costco' or 'Credit Union' deals that are another way to buy. They also showed me the invoice and it matched what I already knew from the websites. Dealers usually buy their cars for less than the invoice price due to other back-end discounts they get. The dealer won't lose money. For some of them I actually ordered them from the factories (a Jeep, a Ford, and a Dodge) since I ordered unusual options. I just then waited 6 weeks or so and then went down to pick them up. In all cases I never even met the fleet guy or had even seen the dealership I was working through and when I got there to pick it up they didn't pull any shenanigans - I just paid the already agreed upon price.</p>

<p>For another car, a Hyundai, I did the email thing and found about the lowest price I could. This was after already knowing the invoice price from those websites. However, I happened to be next to a dealer when I was out once and they had the exact one I wanted. I ended up sitting in the chair but made it clear exactly what price I'd pay and when they tried to pull the "I need to talk to my manager" bit I said never mind and got up to leave. The look on the guy's face was priceless. He ended up just sitting down and writing it up at the price I stated.</p>

<p>And it doesn't really matter which dealersip it's purchased at since service can be done at any authorized dealer. In all of the above the best deals were at dealerships that weren't the closest ones to my home so once I picked up the car I never went back to the selling dealership again and had them serviced at the closest dealerships.</p>

<p>Also, I don't trade in the old car but sell it myself so I know exactly what deal I'm getting. Dealers offer next to nothing for trade-ins compared to their real value. But it often is a hassle to sell the car on your own.</p>

<p>We live in a rural area where there aren't many dealerships and have bought several Toyotas over the years. We buy new, pay cash, and drive them till they drop. S1 ran a 1991 Corolla out of oil and ruined the transmission at about 125,000. He's currently driving a 96 Camry with 168,000 miles. We have an 01 Corolla with 78,000 miles and a 1995 Camry with 57,000. All of them were bought with us walking into the dealership (or e-mailing in one case) saying we were looking for a car at the specific price we were willing to pay. In 2 cases, we drove off with an hour with the car and in another we had to drive to a dealership 2 hrs. away to pick it up. That was the most difficult one because the secretary who knew how to do the paperwork on the computer had just quit, and it took hours to get the thing to spit out the appropriate paperwork. Have walked out of our local dealership when they tried to pull the "I have to talk to the manager" ploy--twice. </p>

<p>The last time we weren't even going to buy, just wanted to see what was available. We pretty much knew the going price, and it was the end of the month. We didn't care about color. Walked out 2 hours later with a new car and a 3 yr/no interest loan. I still am amazed that we drove off with that car and didn't pay a cent for almost 6 weeks!</p>

<p>Probably should have made Gitmo detainees go through the process of buying a new car.</p>

<p>Hey, 13K is what we paid for our first Corolla with all possible options in 1993 (price negotiated during a terrible winter storm when the dealership was not able to sell a single car for three days!)! The prices went up since then. </p>

<p>OP, you did well. Considering that local dealers can't keep small cars on their lots around here, and you got a price break - that is nice. Buyers' remorse is always a hard thing to deal with, but you will get over it. I could not sleep for two nights when we bought our first new car. Then I drove it to work, loved the ride and told H to surrender his keys :D</p>

<p>
[quote]
Probably should have made Gitmo detainees go through the process of buying a new car.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>^^A friend of mine says that she'd rather dunk her head into a toilet then go through another car purchase!</p>

<p>Thanks for all of the support! To answer a few questions, the van had not quite 119,000 miles. Up until a few months ago, I had hoped to get one more year out of it but gas prices (with a 60 mile daily commute) plus things going wrong with the van (some things the service guys couldn't even figure out---like all of the dashboard lights would suddenly come on, or the air conditioner would suddenly stop working but then just as suddenly start again) made me decide to trade it in. With all of the problems with the van, I didn't want to try to sell it on my own. I live in a small town and anyone who bought it would have known where my house is!</p>

<p>As for color, that's kind of a funny question. When I went to the first dealer I said I didn't care what color but then he showed me the only basic-ish Corolla on the lot and it was a bright, metallic blue, which I decided I didn't want. Plus the salesman there had told me on the phone that he could order any kind of Prius I wanted and have it in a few weeks but in person the story changed dramatically--the dealer can request what I want but it's up to Toyota whether they send it, and lately they have been sending only the models with expensive add-ons (like a rear-view camera, or something like that). So I went to another dealer a few towns over and dealt with a salesman who a collegue had recommended. He was more up-front, or at least it seemed anyway. The car I eneded up with is grey. </p>

<p>Looking back, my mistakes were first not deciding I wanted the Corolla and not the Prius (actually I still <em>want</em> the Prius but it just turned out not to be practical now) and then not having a firm price in mind when I went to the dealer. So I guess this post was my attempt to alleviate my guilt about those two things and to figure out just how costly the mistakes were.</p>