Buying and Maintaining a Car
Great Buying Experience

Related Links
Discussion Boards

By ShiningDawn
April 29, 2008

Posts selected for this feature rarely stand alone. They are usually a part of an ongoing thread, and are out of context when presented here. The material should be read in that light. How are these posts selected? Click here to find out and nominate a post yourself!

DH & I purchased a new car this weekend, a base 5-door WRX with sports grille. We were not planning on buying a vehicle until summer, but the deal was good enough to go ahead with it now.

We attended the auto show the weekend before and received a $500 cash back certificate if we purchased before 6/1/2008. Subaru was also offering 0% interest for 24 months on all Impreza models, as well as $1,000 factory to dealer cash.

We didn't do the email or fax methods that many people have done here before. DH had very specific requirements for the car (most notably color) and there was only one in the 200 mile area, in Erie, PA. If we were willing to go out to our old stomping grounds, there was a second one at one of the dealers in Dayton. DH wanted to have the dealer install two things to the car, a short-throw shifter and fog lights.

DH called the dealer we bought my Impreza from and asked if they could get the one from Erie in, and how much they would want for the vehicle (sticker price $25,790) and get the 0% financing. The dealer said they could get the car in and offered $2,400 off sticker (to include all incentives). The sales guy we bought my car from (at a different dealership now) offered $2,500 off sticker (to include all incentives).

DH finally called the dealer in Erie, and the sales guy up there said we could have the car for $22,500 or $3,290 off sticker. Taking into account a 3% factory holdback (from Edmunds) and all of the dealer/customer cash, this price gave the dealer about $475 in profit (2.2%). I quickly looked online for complaints about the dealer and did not find any. So we agreed to drive up to Erie (about 130 miles) the next day. DH took the day off to go up there (he works Tuesday - Saturday).

About 50 miles from the dealership we received a call (from the general manager) telling us that the car was not ready to be delivered that day due to tree sap on the hood that they needed their detailing guy (not working that day) to remove safely. We told the guy we needed to discuss this new wrinkle and give him a call back.

We pulled over to discuss the options before continuing up. We really didn't want to drive up, purchase the car, and have to drive up again to pick it up. So we discussed the options we felt were acceptable and told the dealer that we would continue up, if they would agree to either:
1) Flatbed the car down to our house after the repair was made
2) Arrange to have the sap removed, at their expense, in Pittsburgh

The dealer said they would flatbed the car, so we decided to continue on up to see the car and make a decision. When we arrived, they had the car pulled up and washed for us to see how much sap was on the car. We took a look, and had a side conference where we discussed what we thought, and also looked at another WRX on the lot, but it had more options than we wanted.

We decided to go ahead, but to request that the short-throw shifter and fog lights be installed while they had the car instead of having them installed down in Pittsburgh. We decided to offer $500 more for the car, for the parts and installation, which would only cover the parts, and negotiate from there the price of the dealer installed options since we included no labor in the offer. The sales manager came back and said they would include the parts and installation for $100 less than our offer ($400) for a final car selling price of $22,900 (before tax, title, etc) due to the inconvenience of the sap and such.

After the price was agreed to, we went on to the finance manager. I've had bad experiences in the past with finance managers so I was not looking forward to the next step. However, we didn't experience any hard sell tactics in the financing area either. We were approved for the 0% financing and completed the paperwork very quickly.

Overall, this was the best car-buying experience we have ever had. Everyone we dealt with was professional and exceedingly nice. At no time did we feel pressured or did we experience the sleazy car-salesman vibe. If we would have experienced any of those things we would have left. I actually felt pretty good leaving the dealer.

After purchasing and installing the parts & delivering the car (flatbed), let alone paying a salesman's commission, I'm not sure they made anything on the car except for possibly some advertising dollars from the manufacturer. Edmund's shows a TMV of about $24,500 for the car (not including the short-throw shifter, but including fog lights) in the Western PA area so I feel that we got a really good deal.

The final test will be after the car is delivered to us (yes we have the "We owe" receipt listing the parts & installation and delivery to us on a flatbed with a delivery date). I'll give a final grade to the dealership afterwards.