Part 2 of Josh’s Car Buying Process
I’m happy to report we bought a great car, that met all of our needs AND was within our budget— A 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
The goal of my car buying process, was to find the right car for my family, while taking emotions out of the process. The last thing I wanted to have happen, was to show up on a car lot, and become convinced that we “needed” something that we did not.
After the test drives, and pricing research, we decided on a Highlander Hybrid. I had done a good bit of research on Autotrader and ebay motors. I knew that the 2016 and 2017, were our best bets for our sub $40k car budget. However, when we got serious, we found that there were not many hybrids available. So I opened the search to include 2018’s. I was surprised to find a 2018 at a local VW dealership listed for $36,500 … $2k cheaper than any of the 2016/2017’s that I had been monitoring.
Hmmm…The color was not our first option, but I figured it was worth going to check out, and report back to Jenn, with some pictures. This was going to be Jenn’s daily driver, so she had the final decision making power.
I scheduled an appointment for the following day with Tom.
I steeled myself against several variables:
The dealership may try to bait and switch me.
The car could have some undisclosed problem.
The color could be vile.
I came prepared against the used car salesman onslaught with the following:
This was a VW dealership and they may not know what to do with either a Toyota or a hybrid
It was the end of the month and a nasty rainy day.
I had the car’s listed price in writing.
I checked the Carfax and there were no incidents reported.
I was comfortable with my view and options of the market for this car.
At the Dealership
I met up with Tom, who did not immediately irritate me. I got a great cup of Starbucks coffee, and we took the car for a drive. It drove great! I could see this car joining the family. The outside color, live and in person was good, it had all the options, and the inside leather was exactly what we wanted. I sent several pics of me in front of the car, to Jenn, so she would have a good idea of the color… and she liked it. When I started to explore all of the nooks and crannies of the car, I was pleasantly surprised to find all of the cars records! The previous owner had the car serviced at a dealership at the exact mileage specs. There were no problems reported during her ownership. And given that it had 30k miles in one year of service, I knew the car had mostly highway miles and not stop/start puttering around town. The car had a big sticker on the windshield with a price of $41K … the “proper” price for the car. So they had clearly dropped the price to move it off the lot. I was pretty stoked, but I did my best to practice my ujjayi breathing.
After talking to the manager he came back to me with “unfortunate news”.
I told Tom I was ready to sit down and talk turkey. I told him I really liked the car, it was in a great condition and that I only was authorized to spend $35K, could he work with me? After talking to the manager he came back to me with “unfortunate news”.
I KNEW IT. I STEADIED MYSELF!
He was really sorry, but his manager had apparently sold the car that morning to a sister dealership, and they had a flatbed en route to pick up the car. Sorry, if he had known that, he would have called me to wave me off.
“Uh, WTF?” I thought. I just sat there and looked at Tom, wanting to throw my cup of coffee across his desk.
“Uh, WTF?” I thought. I just sat there and looked at Tom, wanting to throw my cup of coffee across his desk. He finally offered, that it would be in both the dealerships best interest (higher used car sales for the month), as well as his own (commission), to sell me the car. There would be NO negotiation and they would have to eat crow with the sister dealership. I had 15 minutes before the flatbed arrived.
My initial reaction was “I am out of here!! I am not a person to be trifled with, by these games.”
I had set myself up to remove the emotion from the equation, but I was letting my ego get the better of me.
And then, I paused and asked for a few minutes to go sit by myself and evaluate the situation and restarted my ujjayi breathing. I had set myself up to remove the emotion from the equation, but I was letting my ego get the better of me:
This car was the right make/model/ and even better year than I expected.
It was in great condition.
It was $2k cheaper than what we expected to pay.
We bought it
I called Jenn and we decided to pull the trigger. On top of that, we got a super low interest rate loan through a credit union. And 2 weeks in, Jenn says it is by far, the best car she has ever driven.
At this point in time, I am pleased with the process and the outcome. We followed the process, we were thrown a few curve balls, we dealt with them, we got a great car and everybody is happy.
Do you have someone who puts this much thought into the car buying process? Should you? Let’s talk if you are in the process of buying a car.