Sunday, June 26, 2011

Heinz 57... (New Car Blues)

Ketchup - err - Catch-up Time (Get it?! Har-Har-Har!)

Man, I stop blogging for a couple of weeks and all hell breaks loose!

Where to begin? Oh, lets jump back to a couple of weekends ago. DH had been hemming and hawing about Scarlet, his 1988 pristine Garage-Princess Corvette, not running properly. Of course, he'd also been muttering, for months (No - Probably YEARS) about how he wanted to buy a new(er) Corvette... It became, kind-of, an ongoing theme of his and my only take on it was "If you can afford it - Go for it!" (in the meantime, it sort of-almost started to become "background noise" whenever he'd bring it up - because I'd already "memorized the tune!")

(Side-Note: We decided, even before we got married, that it would be best for all concerned if we kept our finances separate. We do go-in together on the Big Ticket items, but we keep totally separate accounts. It's kept everyone out of prison and/or the morgue!)

Well... He took Scarlet in to the Corvette Specialist and was vacillating about whether or not he wanted them to trouble-shoot her issues and finally settled on: "No, just give her a tune-up." They also swapped out her ECM (mind you - I have no idea what that means, but I think it's part of her computerized brain) and that fixed *part* of the problem, but Long-Story-Short, it really didn't completely address her problems.

And, to be fair, she does have 137K miles on her and probably *shouldnt* be relied upon as a Daily Driver. And Willie the Tundra only gets about 13 mpg, so he really isn't very economical for daily use either. I've got Red ('97 Pontiac Sunfire Convert w/144K miles and non-functional A/C!) (But I *love* her!!!) and Cream Puff (Mom's 2002 Chrysler Sebring Convert with low-low miles - but she's kind of an "Old Lady Car!"), and Rog isn't listed as a driver on my insurance policy anyway...

So anyway, weekend before last, there was more of the "Humunha-humunha-I-need-a-new-car" chattering going on. Along with a sprinkling of "I don't think the Corvette Place did very much trouble-shooting on Scarlet."

"Well, you told them not to!"

("Oh yeah!")

Then more humunha-humunha Scarlet's not reliable, I need a newer vehicle, yada-yada... Only now there was a change to the lyrics. Now he's decided that he wants a Brand New car. And, at appx $50K (base model), a new Corvette was not very realistic.

"I think I want a Camaro." (See? I was listening!)

Well, I let him yammer about it for awhile (to see if he was serious. He's *generally* not too impulsive - especially when it comes to parting with large sums of money!). Actually, Hubs has done pretty well with his investments this year, and his stock options have performed *quite* admirably, so he has determined that a New Camaro is within reach... Okay....

"But maybe I should have them try to trouble-shoot Scarlet..." "But I really want a New Car..." "I haven't bought a NEW car since 1985...." "But Scarlet's such a GOOD car..." "But the V6 Camaro is only $26,800 and it gets better mileage..."


I let him argue with himself for awhile (No point in me diving into the ring!). In the meantime, I pulled up my company's intranet site to look into vehicle discounts. We do get "Fleet Pricing" with several major automotive manufacturers, so I wanted to see if it would be worthwhile to pursue.

Well, he had printed up the Window Stickers for a couple of specific cars that he was contemplating. I was able to pull up the exact same cars thru the "Discount Pricing" site and it appeared that we could get about $1000 off of MSRP (for the cars he was looking at. The discount was chunkier for the more expensive ones)...

Annnnnnyyyywaaaaayyyy... This must've gone on for a couple of hours, and when he started to ask for my opinion, I totally chickened-out (because sometimes asking for my opinion *really* means it's time to start a lively debate!). "Look, I've printed up these two cars - using my company's fleet-pricing discount - Do you want to buy a new car? If so, let's go, okay?!!"

And off we went. On the way, I did ask about the fate of Scarlet. He indicated that he wanted to trade her in, and that he hoped to get $5,000 for her.

"Not gonna happen. And if it does, that just means they're gonna jack-up the purchase price of the new car."

(Although - since he was a cash-buyer - I don't think they'd have that much "wiggle room" to bury the trade-in in the purchase-price).

"Let's see what they offer you for her. I might be interested in buying her."

('cuz I *need* another friggin' car!!!)

So we went to the dealer with our respective print-outs. We agreed, in advance, that I would keep my "fleet pricing" quiet and let Hubs handle the pricing negotiations. I must say, he did *extremely* well and I didn't have to gnaw my tongue off - not even once during the initial negotiations! They didn't want to wheel-and-deal too much, initially (But c'mon kids - in *this* economy?! Just how many new cars are you selling, anyway? And I couldn't help but notice all those EMPTY LOTS on Auto-Row where NUMEROUS dealers have gone completely kaput!!!). Well, we did end up having to 'fess-up to having a "Fleet Pricing" discount (and I had printed up my 'Approval Code' or whatever), but DH managed to beat the Fleet Pricing, as well - by about $250.00. So Good For Him!

(Our Truck-Shopping Adventure was way more scary than that - but that's a story for another day!)

So then the whole Trade-In discussion started up and, as I predicted, they didn't offer him squat. They were willing to offer $1,000 for Scarlet "As-Is" and Hubs was not happy - at all. However, Scarlet is *not* the kind of car they would feature on their used-car lot. Instead, they'd sell her at some wholesale car auction and she would, undoubtedly, end up at one of those No-Name Used Car Lots in a shady part of town (Happy Jorge's Auto-Rama - "No Credit? No Problem!") Oh, the HORROR!!!

Hmmm... Looks like I might be buying me another car!!!

Anyway... Hands were shaken, and keys were handed over (and - amazingly - we never got locked in "the little room" - nor were we subjected to 'Musical Salesmen'/"Hi, I'm the Sales Manager" yaya-bullsh*t that you normally endure when purchasing a new car), and then we were off to see the "Finance Girl."

Mind you, this is a cash-purchase, but there are papers to review, and contracts to sign, and more opportunities to up-sell sh*t that we don't need! I remembered this routine from when we bought Willie. We got an "okay" deal on the truck - but we totally got raped on the Lo-Jack and Extended Service Plan...

So we're in Finance Girl's Office and there's the whole On-Star Contract ("if you sign-up today!") and the XM Satellite Radio ("Last hot dog in the ballpark!"), and "Roadside Hazard" (which will cover your tires if you get a nail - for *only* $750 - "Are you freaking kidding me???"), and "Paint Protection Plan" (Umm, it's a WHITE car!), and the ubiquitous 72-month Extended Warranty (which is *really* only 36 months - since the car COMES with 36 months Bumper-To-Bumper)

So this is the part where I'm gnawing through the tip of my tongue as Hubs is getting the particulars on each of these "Added Benefits" (and "If you sign-up today, we can use your Fleet Discount to yayayaya..."). I couldn't help but cough -audibly - over the Roadside Hazard Protection ("Umm, you could BUY a whole new set of tires for that!"), but I thought I exercised GREAT restraint!

After about 20 minutes, I couldn't hold my tongue any longer and I suggested, oh so gingerly, that "If you were asking my opinion... Here is what *I* would select..."

I think, the fact that Hubs was paying CASH (as opposed to financing), made him a little more agreeable to money-saving strategies, so he *did* end up taking my suggestions (Whew!). And no blood was shed!!!

So he only got the 72-month Extended Warranty (with $100 Deductible). The XM Radio can be added to my Sirius Account (at a discount) after the initial 3 month-freebie expires. Paint Protection?? Puh-LEEZ! And I think I've said enough about Roadside Hazard Protection! OnStar is on him - if he wants it, he can renew it...

So anyway, we showed-up in one car. We drove home in two.

Hubs was happy and I was - well - a little apprehensive. Looks like I just bought myself a high-mileage "Classic" Car with "Unknown Issues!" And now, for the two of us, we have: 3 Sports Cars, 1 Old Lady Car, 1 Pickup-Truck, 2 Harleys and 1-1/2 Sailboats. Excessive???

Oh, and our house is on a corner lot. Not an "open" corner lot where we've got front-and-side parking! Oh Noooo! It's an "inner" corner where we really only have room for ONE car on the street!

One Very Smart Thing that Hubs did, while we were there: He mentioned that he was gonna have to sell Scarlet on the open market (since - even the salesman agreed - $1,000 Trade-In was not-at-all satisfactory). DH did manage to negotiate a discount on Labor for bringing Scarlet in for trouble-shooting and repair.

We took advantage of that a few days later.

To be continued....................................

Happy Hubs - with his New Toy!
And - GASP - I think I bought Scarlet!!!

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