Saturday, August 18, 2012

Little Black Car (or Car Shopping, Part 3)

If you've been waiting all week for this, you can now all breath a sigh of relief! If you have no clue then you can read Part 1 and Part 2 of my car shopping venture. My intention was to type this up earlier in the week, but I guess I wanted to let it all sink in a bit before sharing with the world...OK, that was a bit melodramatic and not the reason at all - ha!

So we left of with me having a good deal in my hand for a 2011 Ford Focus and me wanting to sleep on it (or so I said to the Ford dealer - who was really a nice guy and I feel like I know too much about...). I drove away from the dealer with not a true plan in hand except that I wanted to check out more of the 6 options I had emailed myself during my previous evening online search.

Since I really had such a good feeling while driving the Focus and it reminded me of my sister's Mazda3, I decided to check out a Mazda2 that I saw online the night before. I got to the Mazda dealership and had to wait a couple of minutes for a salesman to be available. When he came he greeted me in a hurried fashion and told me that he was finishing working with another customer who was finalizing their sale and then he would be with me soon.

As I sat and waited I realized all the texting and calling I had done earlier in the day had worn down my phone's battery. Ugh...I had really liked all the encouragement that my family had been to me and I was not looking forward to feeling disconnected...

The salesman whizzed by me a couple of times to let me know he would be with me shortly and finally he was. He got on his computer and we discussed what I was looking for. I immediately told him about what I wanted my payments to be and we set to find a Mazda3 that I could test drive along with the Mazda2.

Also, after my experience with the Focus and manual transmission, I was eager to find something automatic. That proved to be a bit of a challenge with the M3s. There were plenty of options in manual, but the only automatic was actually at a different dealer.

I ended up deciding to test drive the M2 as I really wanted to see how different it would be from an M3 and if it would work for me.  As we went out to the car I assumed the salesman would be going with me as the Ford guy had, but instead he asked if I was familiar with the area and when I said I was, he said he needed to finish up with the customers he had been working with.

So off I went on my solo test drive and I immediately liked the car. There was really only one negative and I already knew that for about $400 I could have it added - cruise control. What's a road trip with no cruise control, right?!

I took the car to Jen's and everyone there took a good, long look. The kids were all over it like it was the coolest car ever - in fact they said it was a cool car. I think they knew more about the workings of the car than I did by the time they were done climbing all over it :) Eric helped with some research and gave his approval as well.

I was pretty comfortable with the M2 as an option so I headed back to the dealer to see what kind of deal I could wheel.

From the moment I returned they assumed I wanted to the car and acted like I had already told them I would purchase it. It was a bit crazy in the dealership and my salesman still didn't really have time for me and had the business manager take me into her office. He told her I had questions about financing. I'm not sure what questions he thought I had but she took that as if I was buying the car. She started filling out paperwork and starting a file for me.

When I was finally able to let her know that I wasn't sure if I was actually buying the car, she screeched to a halt and her attitude changed. She no longer seemed to have time for me and whisked me back to the salesman to continue with him as he was now free.

At some point someone else took my Sebring keys to take a look at the car and see what they could get me for a trade in. Once they had the trade in value it was time to talk turkey. And by turkey, I mean monthly payments. And by monthly payments, I mean under $200. The salesman knew this, the business manager knew this, and now the numbers guy who did the trade-in value knew this.

There was a catch though. Someone else was in the dealership and wanted to look at the car. At this point I had a slight moment of panic because I was so determined not to buy a car on my first day out. Oh, and sure enough, it was while I was waiting again that my phone completely shut down. I felt very disconnected from my lifeline. Anna's last text was "if they say $189, say you'll take it!"

The numbers guy came back a couple of times with a number above $200 and each time I asked them to try again (again, picture me pushing the little piece of paper back toward them and saying, "try again, please"). Sound familiar? By now I felt very comfortable with this process and knowing my credit was excellent, I was looking for a really low APR and made sure they knew it.

As the guy left to run the numbers yet again, I mentioned to the salesman about the $189. I also was praying during the wait. Since I had no way to text, God was the only one I could turn to. I knew He was there all a long, and I knew many were also praying for me during the day. These things were a great comfort to me, and I had peace while I waited.

Wouldn't you know it, but the guy came back with $194!

What?! Maybe I am going to buy a car on my first day looking!

And, yes, in fact, I told the guy that I would take it. I was excited. I felt like I had won! I really was beaming - a grin from ear to ear.

By this time it was almost 6. The dealership was closing and there was a line up of deals that the finance folks were trying to finish before they could head home. While I was waiting for them to finalize their offer, I went to my Sebring to charge my phone and let people know the latest. I was supposed to take Jess out for a birthday dinner, but we were going to be seriously delayed if I was actually going through with this.

Oh, and I wouldn't be able to take the car with me because I wasn't fully insured. My '96 Sebring didn't have full coverage so I would have to establish that before I could take car home.

While I was making phone calls the salesman came out and said the finance folks would be at least another 1/2 and hour and would I be open to leaving a deposit and finishing the deal on Monday after I established full coverage on my insurance. Ah, yes. This was a great plan!

So there. I didn't in fact buy a car on my first day out shopping. I did pick up this yummy, black 2011 Mazda2 with 22,422 miles on Monday evening at about 6pm.

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