Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Car (buh-bye Luna (the Mazda))

We haven't gotten rid of Luna just yet - need to call OPB to donate it.  But, we did get a new car.

Yup, a Prius.  A Prius V in fact - which is the larger of the 3 Prius models.

I had been thinking of just getting a car to replace the commute vehicle (the Mazda), but Mary wisely pointed out it might be nice to have a fuel efficient car for all around family use.  With that in mind, there really wasn't much choice other than the Prius V.  It's just bigger enough than the Prius to make quite a bit of difference: I can sit upright in the back seat, it's wide enough to comfortably (relatively) sit 3 people, and the trunk/cargo area is twice the size of the standard Prius (i.e. it's a usable size now).

Mary and I both liked the hybrid Civic, but its trunk was tiny.  I really liked the console of the Civic - and don't like the Prius' at all, but that's not really a sticking point for me.

Once we'd decided upon the car, the question was, how do we go about buying it?

I'd read a couple accounts of people calling around for quotes and doing all the "wheeling and dealing" over the phone, and I was excited to give that a try.  Mary just didn't want to spend a bunch of time at the dealer bartering over a price, so she let me go ahead with the plan.  We were also going to try the Costco deal (a no-haggle thing where the dealer offers $X over dealer invoice) - but we didn't have an account.  I also put a request out through USAA's auto purchase program and got a couple bids that way.  But the real leg work was done by getting a listing of all the dealers within 100 miles of Corvallis and calling them.

I ended up calling 12 dealers, giving them all the same spiel (have financing, no trade-in, 2012 Prius V model Two, dark interior, any exterior but Red or White).  Half called back with quotes, and half called back asking me to call them to get the quotes (arrrg!).  Two of the sales guys I talked two were not at all interested and just quoted me the MSRP.

The dealer in Springfield (winning dealer) told me of their standard offer of $2500 off MSRP, and I was pretty much sold at that point.  The Corvallis sales guy told me they really wanted to keep our business (stay local and all), and then proceeded to give me the highest non-MSRP quote.  I told him it was way high, and he asked to be given the last chance.  A few minutes later we got a call from the Eugene dealer with the best quote (by $100) - but they didn't have any of the cars in stock, it'd be subject to a dealer trade.  The local dealer called me back and said he'd match the lowest offer if I could give him proof so he could show his GM.

Mary and I talked about the choices, and decided to go with Springfield.

I didn't call the Corvallis dealer back, but instead sent him (and the sales manager) an email describing my experience - I felt very awkward thinking about asking for proof from the Springfield guy and then taking that offer to a different dealer.  I figured I gave everyone the same chance, and I even told the Corvallis guy what my best offer was (nobody else had that information), and as opposed to just giving me a straight-up offer, I would have to use a different dealer against himself.  It just felt weird.

So, we drove down to Springfield, did the paperwork (1.5 hours, sigh... still took long), and due to a mix-up of one hand not knowing what the other was doing, we didn't get the car that night.  We got an identical one delivered to our door the next day.  Other than that little SNAFU (which did seem like an honest mistake), the experience with Springfield (Lithia) was good.

The guy who delivered the car got lost trying to get to our house, and was a little late.  But Simone was getting over a cold, so we were just hanging around anyway.

Hopefully the new car will last as long as the Mazda: 20 years and 260000 miles.

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