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« Why I Buy New Cars | Main | Is Retirement Changing? »

November 09, 2010


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Great read! I recently traded in an older car with well over 100,000 miles on it for a low mileage used Jeep. I can relate to point number 2- I could have gotten more if I had sold that old car privately to someone that I knew was interested in purchasing it for their 16 year old girl. However, I knew EVERYTHING that was wrong with and was not morally comfortable selling it to them just to get a little extra cash. Not trying to toot my own horn but it was interesting to see that you made this consideration as well!

Jenn --

How are you!!!!???? I hope well!! ;-)


Did the massive Toyota recall for faulty accelerators/brakes factor into the decision at all? You never know what safety issues Toyota might be hiding.

Congratulations on your new car!

J Baba --

I thought about it, of course, but in the end I deemed that even if there was a problem (a guy in my office still claims it's a big media conspiracy against Toyota) the chances of a problem are both 1) slim and 2) fixed/eliminated.

The fact that the Highlander fit both my garage (which the Pilot didn't) and my head (which most other models I was looking at didn't), kind of made my choice for me.

The Pilot didn't fit your garage?

Rich --

Nope -- it ate my garage. ;-)

Nice choice. Congrats on the new car... enjoy that new car smell! :)

Here is how the dealer financing tends to work:

They have x days (90 is standard) with 100% of the vehicle financed. After 90 days, they have to pay off a % of the vehicle. X days from then (30) they have to pay off another %. X days from then (another 30) they have to pay off 100%. So lets say 150 days after hitting the lot, a vehicle has to be 100% paid in cash by the dealer.

Dealers hate having to pay for a vehicle.

So one dealer might have more motivation to get rid of the same exact car.

Breaking even on a new car sale is a good thing for a dealer. Financing, extras, used/trade in, and continued maintenance are the profit centers. New vehicle sales for the dealers I know, are a breakeven part of the business.

I thought the final report on the Toyota problems was that it was driver error in most cases (hitting the acc instead of the brakes)?

Congrats on the new car FMF!

I don't know if we're going to buy new or used for our next car - commuter car for my wife - her '99 Accord has 145K on it, we bought it certified used 7+ years ago (only 40K miles on a 4 year old car). But we've started saving for it already. We expect to get at least 50K more, and hopefully 100K more out of it without too much maintenance. If we go with a Ford or Hyundai we'll probably buy new. If we go Toyota or Honda again, we'll probably go used, but at least look at new.

The nice thing is that you have ordered your financial life that it's your choice to buy used or new. Here's to many years of driving fun!

One more question :) Did you consider Hyundai at all? Why or why not?

J Baba --

I did look at the Santa Fe (my neighbor had one) but it posed a headroom issue for me (curse my height!) ;-)

@FMF - congrats on the car! I'm like you, buy a new car and drive for 100+K miles. Good story. What percent of the negotiation did you do by phone vs email?

texashaze --

All of the negotiation was via email (so I could be nice in person.) ;-)


you got ripped off.

I'm also tall (6'2"). When I drove a Highlander several years ago, I found it uncomfortable - not because of headroom, but because the dashboard and steering wheel were very close to my knees, no matter how I positioned the wheel or seat.

Maybe they've changed the interior since then, or maybe I have more height in the legs and less in the torso than FMF. Anyway, enjoy the purchase!

You didn't tell us how much you ended up paying :)

08graduate --

I did the same thing. Several years ago I drove a Highlander and it didn't "fit" me. So I was surprised when the new ones did...

Eric --

Read -- I give a hint there. ;-)

congratulations on the purchase. i've driven it as a rental and like the vehicle

i am interested in 1) how much time you invested in this endeavor end to end - from start to finish and 2) what were the savings in terms of raw dollars compared to a buyer who would have called 5 nearby dealerships and had them bid against each other? an approximate would be fine

Sunil --

Are you asking what my total time was or my INCREMENTAL time (versus another alternative)? The incremental time of buying a car versus the "standard method" was small (you still need to test drive, seek out information on the cars you are considering, etc.) -- maybe 5 hours at MOST. And based on my price versus Edmunds' TMV, I saved $2,500 (though it's hard to tell if the Edmunds' number was accurate -- as I noted above.)

Oh thanks FMF. Missed it while reading the post the first time.

On a tangent, when your kids get to driving age, do you think you'll buy them a new car? Or maybe pass on your used car to them? Or even have them pay for a part of it? What's your thinking there?

Eric --

I think the first child will get my wife's car and she'll get a new one. The second kid could get the car I just purchased, but that's far enough away that I really can't say for sure.

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