We accidently bought a new car already

I mean, the title of this post kind of sums it up, doesn’t it?

We started off with grand plans.  There was a long list of cars we wanted to check out, and we even made the nerdiest spreadsheet of all time, which listed car costs and features.

D test drove a couple, and we test drove a few together.  We went to test drive the top car on D’s list, a Honda CR-V, one night after work.  On our way there, we promised each other, “We’re not buying a car tonight.”

Fate laughed in our faces.

First of all, it’s a nice car!  And it had some amenities that were on our “desirables” list (again, see the nerdsheet).  More importantly, it had all of the qualities that we deemed important: all-wheel drive (D’s requirement), not-too-terrible gas mileage (mine), cargo space (D’s, but I agreed it would be nice), big back seat (both), USB hookups (both, and I’m aware that this is such a shallow thing to insist upon in a car).

Knowing that the price on the sticker is a big fat lie, we asked what they really wanted for the car.  The brought back a sheet with a bunch of numbers and also a sheet with the monthly payment (they seemed to think it was really important, but we were all, “whatever” and just looked at the bottom line, the out-the-door price).  We said, “Wow that’s a lot,” and got up to go because we were hoping to test drive a Subaru that same night.

Our salesman told us to wait, scurried off, and came back with another price.  This made us pause, because it was lower than Edmund’s True Market  Value (thanks Tom and StackingPennies for that suggestion!).  Still, we’d made our pact – no buying.  The salesman left and came back again with an even lower price, but we still didn’t want to take the plunge.

The salesman got a little pushy at this point.  We’d mentioned we were interested in the Mazda CX-5, and he just started trash talking the hell out of it.  So I did something I’m not proud of – I whipped out the nerdsheet.  I pointed out that the mid-level CX-5 comes standard with all of the features that we’d have to upgrade to get on the CR-V, so we’d basically be paying more to get the same.

He came back with a higher out-the-door price that had us paying less for the car but included an extended warrantly.  At that point, I slung my purse over my shoulder and said that if we weren’t going to buy the car at the lower price, how could he expect us to buy it at a higher price?  I was really cranky because the Subaru dealer was closed and I’d all of a sudden realized that we were haggling over a car that we weren’t sure we wanted to buy yet.

One more price. It included a stupid prepaid maintenance “club,” but he wouldn’t take it off.  Even so, the cost of the “club” + all of the car stuff was still under the invoice cost listed on Edmunds.com.   It was invoice, you guys. We accidentally negotiated down to invoice. I had Edmund’s open on my phone, and I whispered this to D. And then we very politely asked if we could have a few minutes. And we decided to go for it, if they’d give us a cargo tray for the back (it was like $100, probably cost them $30, so not a huge coup).

Our sales guy was a little slimy.  It’s to be expected (I don’t think people become car salesmen to help others).  So he said we had to finance the car to get the price. Fine. We put down the maximum down payment on the car that he would allow (and we’ll just pay off the rest when the bill comes), and put as much on the credit card as he’d let us ($2500).

We though we were done, but then it was time to bully us into the extended warranty AGAIN. They even offered us 0% financing, but it wasn’t worth the $1800 that the extended warranty would cost.  They had the financial guy take us to his office and refuse to let us leave for AN HOUR. Finally, we just were “rude” and said we didn’t want it and that we were sick of being there and being hounded.  Then they acted all offended, but thankfully stopped badgering us. We signed the papers and picked the car up a few days later.

The best part? When we got home, we read the paperwork, and we could cancel the prepaid maintenance club.  Meaning that we ended up paying $250 under invoice.

I’m not fooled into thinking that spending over $25,000 on a car is “saving,” but I’m happy with the price we paid and the car we got.  The only thing we’re kicking ourselves over is the fact that we probably could have canceled that extended warranty too, which would have saved us another $375.  Still, I could spend weeks lamenting the extra money we could have squeezed out of the dealer, and it’s just not productive. Next time, though, we’ll know.

And that’s how we accidentally paid under invoice for a new car.


11 Responses

  1. That doesn’t sound all that dissimilar from us buying a car. Well, we were a bit more emotional about it I think! We paid under invoice too, which was exciting. I think the key is being ready (and in your case, expecting) to walk away without buying.

    Congrats on the new car! I drove my nieghbor’s CRV for a few days last week & if I didn’t hate SUVs on principle, I would say that it is a great car 😉

    • My favorite part about the new car is that it actually feels like it has an engine inside. My car (a Corolla) has virtually no pickup, so much so that Chad jokes there’s a lawnmower motor inside. The CR-V is much more fun!

  2. I hate haggling car prices and your story sounds pretty similar to what it was like when I was shopping a CR-V. Pushy Honda sales people who all but lock the doors to the place so you can’t leave. We wound up with a Ford Escape, mostly because my employer offers a business partner discount, but not helped by the fact the Honda people were, in your words, slimy.
    PS, After being able to escape the dealer, we did an online quote from two other Honda dealers within 20 miles, and one offered us a price about $1000 less than the first place. We called up the first salesman and told him the price, he only cam edown $500! I think that’s when we knew we wouldn’t be purchasing the car there…

    • See, the worst salesmen for us were the ones at Chevy. The salesman there left us sitting at his desk, promising to be right back, while he went on a test drive with someone else! Needless to say, we left and didn’t consider the Chevy further!

  3. I am VERY interested in this because I’ve been looking at the Honda CR-V, myself.

    What was the ‘invoice price’?

    And this was brand new right? I was looking at 2-3 years old to save money but BF always tells me: with new cars, you know what you’re getting.

    • Invoice is $27579 (including destination fee). Taxes were about $900 (3% in VA) and it was another $100 to register the car & get plates.

      We looked at late model used, but they were close enough in price to the new ones (without the neat tech features) that we decided it wasn’t worth the annoyance of used car fears.

    • I should also note, that was the AWD EX-L (so it had leather seat and stuff – I didn’t mention it in the post because it makes me feel like a yuppie). If you can do cloth seats and don’t live where it snows, you could get it even cheaper.

  4. Sounds like you got a great deal. It’s really tough to get Honda and Toyota dealers to come in under invoice!

    Enjoy the new car… and, as I’m sure you already know, the best way to come out ahead w/ a new car is to drive it until it dies… and, with a CR-V, that’s probably 200,000 miles!

    • My husband had an older model CR-V that he drove until it had over 200k miles on it. When he traded it in – and got a nice trade in value for it – the dealer told him it would go to Mexico and be a taxi there for another 150k miles!

    • I told Chad that if we’d gone in there meaning to buy the car, we probably would not have gotten that low. It was only because we were undecided that we were willing to walk away so many times.

      My hope is that we can keep the car in decent shape for 10 years at least. My car is about to turn 7 and it’s still in good condition (knock wood) and I still love it.

  5. My old Corolla lasted over 250K miles. Here’s to the CRV doing the same! 🙂

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