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November 19, 2012



Grundig G2 reporter $74.99 shipped free at Radioshack; reviews are not good.


I bought a CR-V via Costco once. They give you a fixed price, then you pick up the car at whichever dealer they have an arrangement with, which at the time Goudy Honda in the San Gabriel Valley. The dealership gave us a 2-hour tutorial, basically just driving around and playing with the car.

I've gotten two cars since (and am negotiating on a third) and the price isn't ever the bigger deal, it's all the BS they try to add on top, like $1000 wax jobs.


Good point about the BS. It's naive of me to think that just because I get a set price, I'm out of the woods.


This reminds me of a pushy salesman I encountered in my teenage years when I went to Best Buy to buy a basic home stereo receiver and minidisc player (little did I know at the time that minidisc would die a quick death). They had a nice Pioneer 100-watt receiver, nothing fancy, no surround sound, no frills (on clearance for something like $97 bucks), and some nice sounding Sony speakers buy one, get one half off. Their salesman tried his best to talk me out of it and to buy a much more expensive surround sound system and just didn't seem to get the hint that I wasn't interested. I finally had to tell him that if he didn't leave me alone that I wasn't going to buy anything and that I was going to go down the road to Circuit City to buy my stuff. Needless to say he shut right up. Oh, and I still use that Pioneer receiver daily - its what I have hooked up to my computer and tv. Not a bad $97 purchase for something I've used daily for the past 12 or 13 years.


Rarely are "fixed price deals" as good as old fashioned negotiating, if you can stand the negotitating. Saturn cars had fixed prices and so does Carmax. AAA has arranged deals and so does Costco. If you don't like the stress of bickering with a Salesperson and their annoying manager, go for one of the fixed price outlets/arrangements. But if you want the best deal----down to the last dollar----you have no choice but to do it yourself.


And a couple tips: They say grocery shopping when you're hungry isn't a good idea. With car buying, waiting until you are desperate for a new car----you need wheels immediately---isn't a good idea. You'll buy something you really don't want just to get it over with, or if the salesperson knows you're in need, they'll squeeze you. New or used, don't fall in love with one specific car. If you have a trade-in and you don't want to sell it on your own, make sure you separate the deal for the trade-in from the deal for the new car. If the salesman is successful in "combining" the deals, they will either not drop the price of the car as low as they can, or not give you as much for the trade-in as they can. Separate the two. Work your best deal on the new car first, THEN begin discussion on the trade in. If possible, don't even tell them about the trade-in until you make your deal. If the Salesman says "It has to be tonight, the deal is only good for today----can't hold this price." your response should be, "Why, are you going out of business tomorrow?" All that said, realize that the car dealer or used car lot isn't a charity. They need to make money to pay their bills---so don't expect them to sell you a car and lose money or not make a buck on the transaction. Don't be a jerk----but don't let them be a jerk to you either.

J Maffuccio

Find the car you want and negotiate via email, even be willing to leave your local area. Don't be afraid to leverage one salesperson with another. Costco is not a very good deal, much higher than the artificial platform of "invoice" pricing.

I recently bought an Accord EXL, right before the new 13 model was introduced. In Boise and Salt Lake, they were stuck at $28k (sticker is $29k). Dealer invoice is $23k (what the dealer finances the car from the manufacture- called floor planning). Anyways, found one in Houston and got them down to $23.5k. Plus rubber mats, trunk liner, and a few other items. Free flight on delta, stayed with family, free Hilton points, and met some clients in the Midwest on the way home to Idaho, i maximized my travel and enjoyed my wife's new car. If you've got the time, it'll save you money.

Angelo is right, don't be a jerk but be cordial and make sure they understand you have options...including not buying a car.


Angelo gave some key advice: not getting set on any one car because the sales people can always sniff that out. Just don't be in a rush.

Another thing you might want to try is bring along a "bad cop" friend, someone who is impartial and not attached to buying the car who can do the negotiating for you. Hey, maybe Angelo will go with you.

What kind of vehicle are you looking into?

Ken K. in NJ

Me, I hate the whole process, which is really the main reason why I have only bought 2 new cars in my entire 60+ year life. I can afford a new car but I hate the process. For the past 15 years or so, when I need a replacement car I buy a one or two year old low mileage car from a very reputable local used car dealer. Very little negotiating involved, I pay cash, and I then own the car.


It sounds like Costco is no panacea. If I were to buy a car today I would buy a Camry SE 4 cyl. which gets 25/35, a good combo of gas mileage and family size. But I'll wait. My 07 Maxima has only 42k on it.


Jeff: With proper maintenance, the Maxima (Nissan V6) can go practically forever. I know people who've put high mileage on those cars----close to 200K. Age doesn't seem to be a problem for the Maxima either----generally, the paint, interior materials, trim, etc. are made to a high standard. Johnny: I've already been "bad cop" without even trying. A while back, this push salesman was telling my friend (who was looking at a used car---as I recall, a Nissan Stanza) that he shouldn't be concerned with the car's high odometer. As he put it "As long as the oil is changed every 3000 miles, this car can easily go another 100,000 miles----you just have to change the oil every 3000 miles." I then asked for service records, and when he didn't have any----I asked, "How do you know the previous owners changed the oil every 3000 miles? You said that was important." He paused----then stood up and pointed at me, and raised his voice to my friend and my friend's wife-----"He's being negative. He's just being negative."


Ha ha, funny Angelo. Man, car salesmen are so scummy.

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