The Oracle of Apollo Snippets from the life of Apollo Lee

Jun 22, 2008 - 19:06

Life, Miscellaneous, Personal, Play, Technology

Interesting Car Grumbles

After haggling with some local dealers about the 2009 Pontiac Vibe, the ultimate finalist for “Apollo’s Next Car”, I found that it was nearly impossible to find one with the Preferred Package (Power Windows, Power Door Locks, Cruise Control) and the AC in a car with a manual transmission. After I located one in the Bay Area, I played footsie with a couple of dealers in the area only to find out something very interesting. If you’re a savvy car buyer, take notes on the following.

Nobody’s just going to accept your Capital One BlankCheck. Expect to sign it over and come back for your new car when the dealer gets the money.

The first couple of dealers that said they needed to run my credit saw me turn on my heels and walk out. After I talked to eight car dealers in the area, including the ones selling used cars, it became evident to me that a BlankCheck is not just good for cash. Someone’s going to run your credit and you’re not driving off in your shiny new car, unless you’re really really lucky. (Subsequent calls to Capital One confirmed that this is usually how it goes. They really should correct their documentation.)

After two months of searching and having car dealers quote me $300 off MSRP on new cars (yeah, right, I said “COMPETITIVE”, not “DOUCHEY”), I found a 2008 Pontiac Vibe on a nearby car lot. Sadly, this Vibe has an automatic transmission and is a rental return. It’s not as fast or as fuel efficient, but I don’t drive very much anyway.

I haggled a little bit, but they’d marked the price down on this one. Incidentally, it’s actually the first Vibe I test drove in April, but now it’s much cheaper. I got them to agree to my price and decided to let them run my credit. They decided to accept my BlankCheck, but I have to go get my car another day.

Yeah, I could have kept shopping, but it’s been two months and countless hours of test driving. I now have signed the papers and, soon, I’ll be driving my first new(ish) car in 12 years.

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