Fiesta: It’s done, it’s mine, finally

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So, today was the day to finish that multi-month long quest of purchasing Ford Fiesta. Finally, after month-long wait, and way too many tweets, I got a call today from the dealership that the car is here, and I can come and get it.
My first mistake was not do the quick appraisal from Carmax. Because I thought that, well, big-name Ford dealership, buying at face value, pre-registering and all that stuff would result in a reasonable offer for my old 2003 Nissan Altima 2.5 S. In retrospect? A-ha-ha-ha.
Next time I won’t be so naive any more.
While waiting for the car, my friends did want to buy it for about $4500, but found a sportier red car. As it was destined to be a first vehicle for a young driver I think they did the right thing. The first crash of one’s driving career needs to be in style (thank you, Oldsmobile). Kelly Blue Book appraisal for trade-in of “fair condition” Nissan showed $4300-$4500. I picked “fair” because thanks to a small accident where some reckless driver cut off SUV that was driving in front of me (in rain, at the traffic light, across two lanes — those Californian guest-drivers go bananas in Austin) I had that distinct “trailer latch was here” mark. Otherwise car is fine, the battery is new, oil was changed regularly (full synthetic) yadda yadda.
Their offer? $3000. With big eyes and attempts to convince me that it’s a completely fair price.
No, thanks.
Attempts to leave signing for another day resulted in:
– reminder that because I didn’t have a deposit on the car it could be technically sold to some other buyer (“Well, I guess the deal wouldn’t work out this time, I’ll try CarMax and, if anything, wait to buy a new car”)
– there’s a number of people who want to buy right now, with cash (“Great, so if you can’t help me with the trade-in, you won’t have any issues selling it then”)
– would I agree to $4000, because it’d cut down on tax, so I’d save another 200 dollars on tax (“Huh? Naw, I prefer regular saving, not tax-one”)
– I’ve waited for so many months for this car, how could I let it get away now (“Then you certainly see that I have enough patience to wait a bit longer”)
– KBB is an estimate and is not accurate (“Other sources speak to the contrary”), KBB takes value across the country (“But they specifically ask state/city/zip, so they are tailored”), KBB only checks car auctions once a year, prices have changed, we want to buy at auction price (“Sorry, but I think my number is quite reasonable”)

After seeing “what manager can do” and bringing a different guy, I was very bored (plus foursquare application seemed to be down at the time, I couldn’t even play check-in), some more delays (SMS chat, news, email — thank you, Sprint) and finally manager decided to walk to my car with me. Fine with me. He pointed again that I have a defect on the bumper (“That’s why I picked Fair and not Good condition on KBB”) and then he said that he just wanted to give me a good deal and get good marks on post-purchase questionnaire and he signed off on my price.

I think at that point it’s been more than an hour.

Financing took another hour, though initial attempts to see “what number I was looking at in terms of monthly payments” were quickly culled with “I’d rather check the APR please” and request of short term financing (goodbye, loan insurance).

When I actually got to the financing guy, it was 8:30. Because there were 3 other deals “in progress” the dealership wasn’t really closing at nine (plus, can you imagine if they’d get a deal to go away after all this hand-wringing and trade-in repricing?), and financing guy was quiet, polite, and didn’t try to push anything.
We chatted a bit, he offered extended warranty, but I’ve noticed that it was Fidelity Warranty Service plan. A simple question about regular Ford extended warranty (yes, I’m a sucker, I prefer to pay another thousand or so and guarantee that when/if something dies right after 3 years of initial manufacturer’s warranty, I won’t be out more than $100) brought out Ford extended warranty, and that was that.
Bonus weirdness such as
– “prepaid maintenance” ($750 pre-paid and financed for regular oil changes? No, thank you)
– “tire hazard insurance” (another sizeable amount, that seems to roughly equal price of all 4 tires, and new tires these days do come with the road hazard protection)
– some other options
were politely declined, and he didn’t try to push anything on me.
Sign, sign, sign, initial, copy of everything for the records, and I have Capital One financing. Percentage not “the lowest” according to bankrate, but it still was better than standard financing from Ford and Bank of America, even though I managed to get into the highest grade tier. Oh well, there’s no pre-payment penalty. And given that final amount was still more than $5000 (credit card transaction maximum, because dealership would have to pay about 2% to the processor) I agreed to it.

Salesman helped me to move all my junk from the old car to the new one, and tomorrow I’ll drop off another key and certificate of the title.

All in all not bad, though that little dramatic episode with trade-in value (on which Maxwell Ford South Austin certainly will make a couple thousand bucks, as used cars in similar condition now don’t seem to go for less than about $6k) certainly left quite a bad taste in my mouth.
Sometimes I wonder why the law doesn’t allow buying/trading from Ford directly, without any of that “let’s make a deal” stuff.

New Fiesta has less than 50 miles on it, it’s silver, it’s pretty and has more buttons on the console than all my other gadgets combined (excluding keyboards). Exhausting last step of the quest, but I am satisfied 🙂

Now all I need to do is adjust to a bit weird feeling of switching between 1st and 2nd gear on this new automatic transmission and everything will be fine.

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