Sunday, January 20, 2008

Can You Get the Deal in the Ad? Yes, but you have to fight for it.

The new purchase has been made. Yesterday, I got a good lease deal on a 2008 Honda Odyssey LX. I saw an ad in the Globe on Saturday morning. But I was in a coffee shop, so I didn't tear out the ad. It just seemed rude. It said Cambridge Honda would lease me an Odyssey LX for $109 a month with 20% down. I thought, this is a good deal at my favorite dealership. We've bought two cars from there and have had great luck with them. My '98 accord is worth about 20% of a new minivan, so after much bickering Rich and I set out.

The dealership was busy. One of the chevy guys helped us until the Honda guy was free. I felt bad for him. He had no customers over there. We told him about our '99 Blazer falling apart (wheels-ball joints, fuel pump, brakes-- calipers roters) before 50k miles. He said that a lot of people were in our situation. Chevy lost a LOT of customers because of cars they made in the 90's. He said the product was much better now. It's still not a risk I'm willing to take. A Honda is a sure thing. But the guy was a good salesman and I felt bad for him. He took us on a low key test drive and definitely knew enough about the car to be useful.

Then he turned us over to the guy who would actually sell us the car. We chatted. Then we made our offer. We wanted to lease the van for the $109, with no money out of pocket besides my trade.

He came back with some funny math. And if you're a car salesman in Boston, you really should know this. You NEVER argue basic math with a guy in a Brass Rat. They gave me more money for my car than 20% of the advertised price, but the lease still came in at $160 a month for a 36 month lease. The guy was like, "It's 20 percent of STICKER. You need another $1500 to get the 109."

"Well what's the sticker price?" We asked. He told us. We were still at 20 percent. Even me, with my anti-math Sarah Lawrence degree can figure out 20% pretty fast.

"Yeah, but it's also 20% of sticker including, registration, title and destination fees." He was scribbling furiously, and punching things into his calculator.

The human calculator I married was still like. "Nope. That makes no sense. We're $400 off, not $1500."

He sputtered a while. And I asked for my keys and credit card back. I was really only interested in the car at $109 with no money down. He went off ostensibly to get me my stuff back, but came back with a copy of the ad, and new numbers on his paper. The ad said the $109 was for the 24 month lease. We were like "Sure! That's fine. What do I sign so I can get out of here in the next five minute. I've got dinner guests coming in from out of town."

So, at some point next week, I'm going to trade in my trusty old Accord for a navy blue minivan. And next year when Rich's lease is up on the CRV, we'll find him a zippy, economical commuter car.

So, I got a deal on a car that I feel good about. They sold me a car. A happy ending so far!


Blogger Steve Garfield said...

What price is the lease based on? List price?

Do you only care about the monthly amount it's going to cost you?

10:09 AM  
Blogger Downpuppy said...

You start the post with purchase & end with sale. In between, it's a 24 month lease. They get your Accord, you pay them $2600 + whatever, & in 2 years you got nothin'.

In 2 years, maybe 1 car will be enough. Meantime, I'm looking for lunch.

11:19 AM  

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