Author Topic: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)  (Read 3059 times)

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9740
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« on: May 11, 2017, 03:32:13 PM »
Hi Mustachians,
Here's your chance to help someone spend a lot of money, without guilt and with no hit to your bottom line.

I am trying to help out a friend who needs a new car. I have no experience buying a new car, so I am turning to you for NEW CAR BUYING ADVICE. This is not should she buy a new car, it's she's going to buy a new car. So, the requested help is how to get the best deal on a new one.

Things to know:
1. My friend is more frugal than I am (I'm FIRE, she's FI but not RE yet), which is to say VERY frugal.
2. She can afford to buy a brand new car, with cash.
3. Her 21-year-old-Volvo has died and her trusted mechanic says it's past time to let it go to Good Car Heaven.
4. She is about to undergo treatment for thyroid cancer, so this has to be EASY.

She's pretty sure she wants a 2017 Camry XLE [Edided to add: it must be a V6]. She only drives about 7 k/year. Her daily commute is about 7 miles each way to public transit. She's open to a hybrid, but it doesn't seem to pencil out, given her low usage. She intends to baby this car and drive it for at least the next twenty years. She is very sad that her car has been given a terminal diagnosis at the same time she's boldly tackling this cancer. She says if one of them has to have a terminal illness, she's glad it's not her.

She can't go too much smaller because she's used to a 1996 Volvo 860 Turbo. She has an elderly father in SF who she runs to appointments and stuff. She lives in the East Bay.

Should she take the
1. 0% currently being offered by Toyota?
2. Do some kind of CC hacking?
3. Suck it up and just write a check?

What about the actual purchase? Dealer? Costco? Other options? She does not have the time or energy for haggling, but is loath to overpay. Criticism not needed, helpful advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks, everyone!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 10:19:55 AM by Dicey »

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2265
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 03:53:17 PM »
If the goal is to keep things as easy as possible, this is not the time to wrangle sixteen options to save $200.  I would suggest either:

1.  Go to Costco and use their car buying service.

Or

2.  Email all local dealers with the precise make/model/trim she wants.  Ask them if there are any incentives available (meanwhile, check Edmunds to find out the actual answer).  Tell them she is ready to walk in and write a check [Saturday?] for whomever gives her the best deal, meaning out-the-door price with all fees, taxes, etc. included, and that if there are any issues or tack-ons at the last minute, she will walk.  Gather responses, go meet with best one, look over car, read papers carefully, sign.  If they give any degree of shit, walk, go to next dealer. 

Honestly, I hate Toyota dealers -- have never had a good experience with them and have never bought a Toyota in part as a result.  So I would prefer option 1, but option 2 can work as well if she is firm.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 930
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 03:56:44 PM »
Camry's should be on blowout pricing because a new model is coming this summer and Toyota likes to keep the Camry the #1 selling midsize sedan in America. My parents walked in in November and easily got $5kish off a 2017 SE... plus 0%. No haggling. We actually had a great experience at our local Toyota dealership which was a surprise.

1) Check truecar.com for the going rate for a Camry XLE, and I'd personally aim $1k lower or so. Truecar is showing me almost $6k ($21k) for an XLE... I'd shoot for $20k. This will be more like $22k OTD (I generally estimate 11% for tax, title, and license in CA)
2) Some dealers will let you pay with CC, some won't. Some have a limit... I was able to put $5 (or $7k? can't remember) on a CC to get all the cash back rewards.
3) 0% financing will make sense if your friend has her cash accumulating interest elsewhere.

Costco is OK but you may be able to do better yourself. Go onto Yelp or dealerrater and see which dealers have the best reviews. IMO the EASIEST thing is to email the internet sales manager - what's the best price they can give you to be done with the deal TODAY? They need to break down any additional fees, taxes, and add-ons (refuse any dealer add-ons - these are all BS).

Being in California means you have a lot of dealers at your disposal ... they are competing with one another for business so one of them should offer you a great price.

With that said, a Camry is a pretty big car especially for such a short commute. Is a Corolla an option - they're quite big now. Better on gas and cheaper, but with almost all of the same amenities.

Edit: a 90s Volvo 860 is ~183 inches long... and so is a 2017 Corolla. Camry is 190".
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 04:06:37 PM by lbmustache »

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 974
  • Location: NJ
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2017, 05:08:19 PM »
If you want fast, easy, and a good deal, try Tom McParland (a Jalopnik writer) who has a car buying service - http://www.automatchconsulting.com/how-to-beat-the-sellers-market.html


chemistk

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 330
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2017, 05:55:07 AM »
If you want fast, easy, and a good deal, try Tom McParland (a Jalopnik writer) who has a car buying service - http://www.automatchconsulting.com/how-to-beat-the-sellers-market.html

Whoa, I was thinking of recommending him, too. Great to see a fellow Jalop reader around here!



To the OP - I might recommend the 0% financing option, if your friend can take some time to understand how it can be leveraged into a better deal. Dealers almost always earn more commission when they get a buyer to finance a car. She'll have to read the T&C of the loan, but she could probably finance it at 0% and then pay it off whenever she wants. I bet, no I advise, that she go in with the intent of getting at least $3-$5 thousand off the purchase price. One of the best tricks is to pit dealers against one another - get a good offer (in writing) from one dealer, then walk into another dealer and challenge them to beat it.

Plus (and don't take this the wrong way), but your friend could leverage the sympathy/empathy of the salespeople. Anyone with half a conscience isn't going to scam someone fighting cancer (well, I mean some dealers will...).

jane x

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 05:53:55 PM »
Mileage-wise, what would you say is the usage at which point the hybrid is the better deal?

If annual mileage usage is around 13,000 will the additional hybrid cost make sense?  And the fact that the hybrid battery might need replacing in 7-10 yrs? 

We're looking at the Camry right now and the price difference between a basic LE and a hybrid is $4k, but we might need to put in another $4-5k when the battery needs replacing. 

I'll check out the Truecar site.  We got a quote of $20.5k OTD for a 2017 Camry LE and $24.5k for the 2017 hybrid.

*Re: truecar.com - do you need to create an account (with the required name/phone/address/email) to get the actual local pricing or can I just go off of the truecar average for my zip code?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 06:01:44 PM by jane x »

calimom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 864
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 07:14:28 PM »
What about a service like Cartelligent in the Bay Area? They might make is as painless as possible, avoid the dealer, showroom stuff etc. If she has a super huge cc limit put it on that. Can you do that? There could be a first class trip to Europe in her future if she did.

I have a 2009 Volvo wagon, so I get the Volvo size a safety thing. A Camry sounds like a good bet for her.

And  mostly just wanted to say you're a good pal to help a friend who's going through so many challenges right now.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 08:25:05 PM »
Honestly, I hate Toyota dealers -- have never had a good experience with them and have never bought a Toyota in part as a result.  So I would prefer option 1, but option 2 can work as well if she is firm.

I know EXACTLY what you mean.  My VERY ANECDOTAL experience getting around this is to keep fishing.  The further I've moved from a "big city" (or a medium city that THINKS it's a big city) the less asshole-ish the Toyota dealerships become.  I have literally talked to a dealer that treated me like crap, driven 50 miles north and had them dealer trade for a car on the lot I was previously shopping at.  Less hassle, cheaper price, nicer salesman: done deal.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9740
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2017, 10:17:27 AM »
Mileage-wise, what would you say is the usage at which point the hybrid is the better deal?

If annual mileage usage is around 13,000 will the additional hybrid cost make sense?  And the fact that the hybrid battery might need replacing in 7-10 yrs? 

We're looking at the Camry right now and the price difference between a basic LE and a hybrid is $4k, but we might need to put in another $4-5k when the battery needs replacing. 

I'll check out the Truecar site.  We got a quote of $20.5k OTD for a 2017 Camry LE and $24.5k for the 2017 hybrid.

*Re: truecar.com - do you need to create an account (with the required name/phone/address/email) to get the actual local pricing or can I just go off of the truecar average for my zip code?
I was amazed at your prices, but in rereading my OP, I see I failed to mention she's insisting on a V6. Her dad's house is up a very steep SF hill. She will inherit the house, so it is a long-term consideration.

Truecar came in at $28.2. Haven't gotten the Costco quote because you have to go in person, yuck. I'll modify my OP now.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4459
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 10:30:51 AM »
I question the wisdom of buying a full-size sedan in one of the most dense cities in North America. If she wants power, have her test-drive a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9740
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2017, 11:34:37 AM »
I question the wisdom of buying a full-size sedan in one of the most dense cities in North America. If she wants power, have her test-drive a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
She doesn't live there, she visits. Shockingly for SF, the house has a huge garage and a 4-car driveway. FWIW, I don't disagree with you, Paul, but it is not my place to TELL her what to do, particularly under her current circumstances.

Thinkum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 725
  • Location: SoCal
  • Life is Good
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 12:05:06 PM »
I would not TELL her and I do not think that is what Paul was really getting at either. I think it better to SUGGEST to her, if she is open to it. There are a LOT of other cars that are smaller, less expensive, reliable, and have more than enough power for the hills of SF or CA in general. For reference, I drive my 10+ year old Prius up and down the VERY hilly area that I live in and it gets the job done and then some.

Regardless, to your OP, if she wants EASY, then she can just walk into any dealer and tell them what she wants and that she will be paying cash. Done and done. If she wants the best bang for her buck, she'll have to do a little light work, like emailing internet/online managers to get their "best" price. I would also suggest she get the 0% financing and invest the cash if she is savvy that way. I am sorry she has cancer and hopes she has a speedy recovery!

jane x

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2017, 12:10:44 PM »
We test drove the smaller Toyota models which do give a better mpg and are cheaper, but there is quite a bit of difference in the driving experience.  The Camry is much quieter, smoother and has a bit more oomph for acceleration.  If you're keeping it for 20 years, the extra cost is well worth it, especially as you get older. 

Is $20.4k OTD a good price for the 2017 Camry LE V4?  We're in the Bay Area and used the Costco program with the local dealer they offered.  It was a very easy process once we figured out what model we wanted.  Very straight forward, they gave us this price as their best offer and we left to make our decision.  Our hardest decision was whether to go for a hybrid or regular and we've decided to go with regular as we don't think we will recoup the extra cost of the hybrid. 

jane x

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 587
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2017, 12:23:09 PM »
FYI - the Costco program might work well for your friend.  This is what happens:

You go online to the site provided and select your vehicle - very easy for her since she knows exactly what she wants.  She enters her zip code and then her member info.  She will receive a printable page with the dealers Costco has agreements with and a list of contact names and phone numbers of the agents at that location.  That page will also be sent to her email.  The page has a spot where she can write down the dealer offer on her vehicle. 

Within minutes of this transaction, she will receive a phone call and an email from one of the agents at that dealership.  I was without a car for a few days and explained that I could not go in person and we exchanged info over email and phone regarding what I was looking for.  I imagine that if your friend explains her situation they would be very accommodating.

The price process is very simple and very quick  - ours was 5 mins per vehicle.  They are offering a $2500 cash rebate so that will make the transaction even easier - no financing paperwork to worry about. 

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4459
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2017, 01:33:49 PM »
I question the wisdom of buying a full-size sedan in one of the most dense cities in North America. If she wants power, have her test-drive a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
She doesn't live there, she visits. Shockingly for SF, the house has a huge garage and a 4-car driveway. FWIW, I don't disagree with you, Paul, but it is not my place to TELL her what to do, particularly under her current circumstances.
If she's set on the model and just wants purchasing advice, then yeah forget it. If she's still looking, I'm not saying you should drag her to another choice, but one of the advantages of buying a new car is that you get to test drive whatever you're even mildly interested in. Virtually every car sold in North America is capable of driving up and down the hills of any paved public street in good weather, so I think wanting a V6 is translation for wanting a sporty car. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And in the sporty car department, one can do a lot more fun and practical than a V6 Camry. And I say this as a huge Toyota fan.

Disclaimer: I drive up Queen Anne in Seattle with a 1.8L Corolla loaded with 4 adults and ski gear with no problem whatsoever. San Francisco has some steeper streets, but most are the same ballpark.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9740
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2017, 08:47:01 AM »
It's time for the rest of the story. After chatting with you fine folks and doing some Internet research,  I contacted Costco and True Car. And then was flooded with emails, texts and phone calls.

The TC quotes from 3 dealers were okay but none of them were for the exact model/color she wanted, grrr.

Then the first guy who contacted us from the Costco Program  (a different and closer dealer than TC) was a total used car salesman. Turns out they didn't have the exact car either and wanted to sell me something other than what we'd requested, which pissed me off. Also, you don't get any pricing in the confirmation email. You have to go to the dealer to get the price. I also received an email from the GM of that dealership saying all the blah x 3 about he hoped everything was wonderful.

At that point, we started the repair the old car vs. buy new discussion again.

Two days later, I got a "How was your experience?" email from Costco. I decided to respond to the GM's email and tell him about my experience before I responded to the survey. I got a call back from a different salesman within 10 minutes. This guy was night and day from the first guy. He listened, found the car, and quoted me a price over the phone. He agreed to have the car transferred to their dealership. We made an appointment for Sunday.

On the appointed day, DH and I met our friend to the Toyota Dealership. She test drove the car and decided she liked it. She put 10% on a rebate CC (the most the dealership would allow), wrote a check for the rest, and traded in her Volvo.  We did haggle a bit on the trade in. Their first offer was $1k, but their second offer came in at $1250. Given her circumstances, that was close enough. She also wanted door guards installed, which had to be ordered and paid for separately. The parts came in yesterday and she brought the car back for them to be installed. The service guys tried to charge her $450. The sales guy had quoted her $350. When she politely reminded the service guys that she was buying through the Costco program, the final price dropped to $319. In all, her very well equipped 2017 Camry V6 XLE was a smidge under $30k out the door.

In conclusion, buying through Costco was relatively painless, but you still have to pay attention to the details, and advocate for yourself (or your friend, in this case). It was kinda fun spending someone else's money. Now she can focus on her recovery and enjoying life and her new Camry for at least the next few decades.

Thanks for all of your help!

To jane x: interestingly, a friend of hers purchased a basic 2017 Camry SE for $20k the same week.

justchristine

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 384
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2017, 09:01:04 AM »
Lots of good advice here but im going to throw in my 2 cents on the financing.  I've seen multiple people recommend the 0% financing which is what I would suggest for most money savvy people with the sense to keep their money invested.  However, since she's had her last car for 20 years, presumably has not had a car payment in a long time and is about to go through a bit of a life upheaval with cancer treatment, i would suggest paying cash so there is one less bill to keep track of and potentially forget.  Just something to consider. 

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9740
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Help for Friend Who Needs A New Car (And Can Afford It)
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2017, 10:48:18 AM »
Lots of good advice here but im going to throw in my 2 cents on the financing.  I've seen multiple people recommend the 0% financing which is what I would suggest for most money savvy people with the sense to keep their money invested.  However, since she's had her last car for 20 years, presumably has not had a car payment in a long time and is about to go through a bit of a life upheaval with cancer treatment, i would suggest paying cash so there is one less bill to keep track of and potentially forget.  Just something to consider.

IIRC, the rebate was $2750 with cash or $1000 with 0% financing. Since she is basically FI and had plenty 'o cash, $1750 to get 0% financing didn't make sense.