Friday, March 1, 2013

We Bought a New Mountain Car

Pam and I had three cars. My 2008 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner pickup, my 1956 Thunderbird, and Pam's 2003 Dodge Stratus. When we decided to cruise down the coast, we put the Toyota and Thunderbird in storage and gave Pam's car to her son Sean, who had joined the Air Force and needed wheels.

We decided to give my Thunderbird to my daughter Becky and son-in-law Rick. We're going to be busy building a shack in the woods for the next couple of years and won't have much time to use it. I had planned on willing it to Becky anyway, and so why wait until I croak?

I loved my Toyota truck, but it was two wheel drive. Where we're moving, we need four wheel drive. Since 4WD vehicles sell for a premium up north and aren't worth much here in Georgia, we decided to shop for a car here.

Now, let me set the stage. I used to sell cars, and I was very good at it. I know cars, and how to wrangle a deal.

I bought my Toyota in Stamford, Connecticut. No one drives trucks there except people who do lawn maintenance. It was a 2008, and I bought it in 2010. Book on it was $22k. I paid $16k, and they were glad to get it. I drove it for three years, and here in Georgia pickup trucks are considered country Cadillacs. To make a long story short, I negotiated a wholesale trade of $15,500 for the Toyota. That means it only cost me $500 to drive it three years.

I don't shop around for much of anything, especially cars. I did all my homework on the internet and narrowed my choices down to Kia and Toyota. I contacted two Toyota dealers and one Kia. The Toyota salespeople's responses were slow and pathetic. The Kia dealership responded immediately and wanted to sell me a car.

We bought a new 2013 Kia Sorento, six cylinder and all-wheel drive. The dealer's first offer was $20k and my trade. I beat them up and got them down to $10k. The key here is knowing what the dealer's markup is on the new vehicle, being aware of any rebates or incentives, and knowing the value of your trade-in. The dealer's job is to get you to pay as much as they can, and your job is to be educated enough not to let them.

Anyway, I know this isn't cruising or living aboard related, but it's my excuse for not updating the blog. Tomorrow I'll be reading the owner's manual, trying to figure out how all this fancy new fangled blue tooth Sirius USB stuff works. Oh, and the dogs love the car. It has three rows of seats, and the back two fold down flat so the dogs have lots of room.

So I think we're all set to drive up and down Bleecker Mountain next winter, if we spend the winter there.

And yes, the brand new car already has doggie nose art all over the windows.