TiVo Forum Special Member
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: Ocee, Georgia USA
I helped my folks purchase a new van two years ago. They purchased a Plymouth mini-van; their fourth one in a row. Regardless of the brand you prefer, I believe the following info will still apply:
1. Go to your bank and/or credit union and get pre-applied for a loan, if required. Of course, if you are paying in cash, all the better.
2. If you have a vehicle to sell/trade in, research its current value. And be realistic about it. www.kbb.com and www.edmonds.com are both good places to start. Trading in a vehicle will take away some of its value, but takes away the hassle of selling it. Using the two above resources I was able to ID the trade in value of my folks' van within fifty dollars.
3. Use the above sites to determine the MSRP and "invoice" pricing of the vehicles desired. This will give you a baseline to work with. In addition, make sure you determine what rebates currently apply. My folks' new van had a $3K rebate on it. Of course it was never mentioned during the sales process. Just the "we will give you a great deal" BS from the sales guy. Around here, paying at invoice minus rebate is considered reasonable.
4. Don't forget to check with your insurance agent to determine how much your rate will increase with the new vehicle.
5. Information is power. For example, it was almost EXACTLY two years ago that my folks wanted a new van. In June, Plymouth had a $2500 rebate available. I was worried that we needed to buy before the end of the month. It didn't happen. However, on 1 July, the rebate increased to $3K. We were just lucky. However, had I not researched it, I would not have known about it at all.
If you don't think car dealers have a very high margin, take a look at this spreadsheet I made up for my folks. With their last van, their local dealer, who sold them their THREE previous vehicles, actually sold them the van at over ONE THOUSAND OVER STICKER ... talk about ripping off senior citizens!!! Granted, the vehicle was a transfer from another dealer, but that is still ridiculous. So, to show my folks the saving we experienced with the 2002 purchase, I created this spreadsheet. First column was their 1998 van as purchased; second column is 2002 van if it were purchased under the same conditions as the 1998 van; third column is 2002 van if you were to walk in and buy one; last column was actual purchase terms.
Good luck to ya!
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