After a 12 year run my trust worthy 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S finally developed a problem that was too expensive to justify fixing. I bought the car when my previous car, a 1988 Acura Legend, died after I blew its transmission. My Altima was about to have the same problem so I decided to sell it and use the money to get a new car.
The entire process of buying a car is pretty painful. I recall doing this exact same process when I had to replace my wife’s car with out Honda Odyssey only 2 years ago. I wasn’t expecting my Altima to fail me this soon, I really did think I could keep it going for a few more years so I could get my mid life crisis car. I did keep my promise to my father though when I first bought the Altima, I promised to keep the car for at least 10 years so he would let me get the car I wanted back then.
I originally wanted a 2015 VW GTI because I’ll admit it was a cool car, fast as hell, and it reminded me of my fathers 1979 VW Rabbit. Being the internet age, I started doing research on pricing and options on several sites regarding the GTI but I also did some research on the Honda Accord just in case. After doing some research and determining a price I wanted to pay I decided to take a test drive of the GTI. I went to my local dealer and asked to take a spin. They didn’t have a GTI to test but they had a Rabbit which is essentially the same car but with a smaller engine. So why not, I took a spin and was impressed with how it drove. Now the thing I hate is all the people you have to deal with in buying a car. Using my previous experience I got out of the dealership quickly so I wouldn’t be trapped there for hours negotiating. That’s what email and the internet is for. I did this successfully with the Honda so I should be able to do this for a VW.
I decided to use TrueCar to get some quotes and once you hit that “submit” button the emails start flying and my phone started ringing in minutes. I decided to negotiate with the closest dealership for the car. My wife and I decided on a price target for the car and I did almost everything online via email. It was the last day of the month so they were real eager beavers to sell me a car so they could show a strong month in sales. Whatever I didn’t really care about that. Th sales guy I dealt with was pretty cool, I definitely liked him a lot since he was willing to work with me but the finance/general manager was a total dick since he wouldn’t budge on price or financing. After a few hours of back and forth I decided to abandon the idea of the GTI since the other dealers I called didn’t have the car in the color or options I wanted since it was so new.
I decided to try the back up car on encouragement from my wife and found a 2013 Honda Accord V6 at a dealership near our house. I knew what I wanted to pay for the car and this time I tried Edmunds to get a guaranteed price from the dealership. I got a call from the dealer asking me to come in but since it was late I decided to try on Friday to get the car. The salesman again was very nice and I liked the car. Now for the pain…… the real shitty part about buying a car from a dealer is the negotiation on price and all the other people you have to deal with. All the people at this dealership though were willing to work with me unlike the VW one I went to. The maddening part was all the waiting I had to do as they tried to meet my requirements. Th first problem was the price which they thought was a little on the low side but eventually they gave in on that one, only took 20-30 minutes for that part. The next was the credit check and financing since I wanted to get a certain financing option that was available for 2014 models but not 2013 models. Since I already pay Honda a kings ransom for my Odyssey I thought this would be a breeze but this part took at least another 40 or so minutes. After looking at the paper work and negotiating the payment a little more I signed on the dotted line to agree to purchase the car. Now the next part was the real kick in the balls. I had to wait for a finance manager to be free to do the rest of the paper work. Enter another hour of just sitting on my ass with my family in the near empty dealership waiting for one dude to be free. You would think that in this day and age the process would be way quicker. Anyway, off to the finance managers office I go for 15-20 minutes of signing paper work to agree to pay more cash to American Honda for my brand new car. After almost two hours of being at the dealership I could see daylight, or in this case my new car parked outside since it was closing time.
Now normally the sales guy takes you through every button and feature in the car. I did that with the Odyssey when I bought it and that almost took another hour but it’s part of the service right? This time I just waved him off and said I could figure it out, it’s a Honda and I already own the most tricked out Odyssey they made in 2012, an Accord won’t give me any problems. He looked a little concerned since it was part of his job but I gave him a pass since it was late, the family was hungry, and I wanted to just get out of there with my car. Needless to say I have a new car to drive for the next 10 years probably. Honda still owes me my deck lid spoiler and the body side molding but I can get that this weekend.
I can now see why there is so much fear regarding Tesla. Tesla totally takes the dealer experience and throws it away. The cars are all built to order so you have to wait but here’s the kicker, there is no price negotiation, the financing can be done online through their website or at their stores (not dealerships) and once the car is ready they bring the thing to you. That’s how car buying should be! The reason I hate the car buying experience is because of all the needless waiting and time spent talking to multiple people to get something. The dealer way of selling cars is old and antiquated. When you buy from a dealer you’re enriching the dealer, not the car manufacturer since the dealer bought the car from the manufacturer! Reported car sales are really about what did dealers or fleets bought not consumers and of course they do all these little gimmicks to get you to buy from them like free oil changes, car washes, reduced gas, etc. buying direct from the manufacturer is the way to go. Think of how awesome it would be to just go to a store, pick out the car you want with the options you ask for and then have the car manufacturer either build it for you or take it from their inventory and deliver the thing. Sheer awesomeness! I suppose this model wouldn’t work well for used cars but places like Carmax do something similar.
I hope I don’t have to but another car for a long time because it’s way too time consuming and stressful. This was an extra long post but I guess it’s to make up for the months I haven’t posted anything.