Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Honda Pilot Trade In Stories

Honda Pilot Trade In -

Initially when I was considering getting a new vehicle I wasn’t thinking trade-in, it was strictly bring back the Pilot and get a new vehicle.  But as you probably know by now I bought the Pilot so a trade in was a possibility.  I had a new factor in my car buying decision and it made my dealings with car salespeople even that much more interesting.  I have gotten trade-in quotes from four dealerships to date, in order of offer date: Volkswagen, Subaru, Toyota and Kia.

#1 Volkswagen – Ok so there about two months back I was looking at the Volkswagen Golf Wagon TDI.  I had read some good things about the diesel engines and I liked the look of the wagon, I’ll discuss the vehicle, test drive and what not at a later date just focusing on the trade in aspect now.  So off I went to test drive the VW and the dealership said they would have a trade in for me done in about 10 minutes.  So I was back in about 15 minutes and they said they called around to their used car guy and offered me $12,500 in trade.  I nodded politely thinking they were out to lunch and told them I would get back to them once I had thought it over.  Of course there was no way I was going to accept $12,500 in trade.  We emailed back and forth a bit with the salesperson explaining to me that I would also save the tax on the trade in and that I would actually have to sell my vehicle for over $16,000 to get the same as he was offering with the $12,500 trade…. An explanation is in order:

When you trade in a vehicle they take the trade value off the before tax amount, but if you put cash down on a vehicle it comes off the after tax amount.  Let’s use an example of a vehicle that costs $20,000 plus tax and a trade in vs cash down of $10,000:

Vehicle Price
Trade In
Tax on Vehicle
Cash Down
Total Paid
Trade In
Cash Down

So that would partly explain why I would have to get more than $12,500 in a private sale because I would also save the tax on $12,500 trade in which would be $12,500 X 0.13 = $1,625.  But that still doesn’t mean I have to get $16,000 for my vehicle so there was something else included in what the salesperson was telling me.  I figured out that he was quoting me the figure if I had tax included in my selling price.  If I sold my vehicle for $16,000 tax included then I would have to remit the sales tax, which would be 13% of the selling price.  That would leave me with $16,000 / 1.13 = $14,160 to put cash down which is roughly equal to $12,500 in trade.  But of course I would never sell my Pilot for $16,000 tax included and for every dollar I could sell it privately for over $14,125 ($12,500 trade + $1,625 tax savings from trade) would be an extra dollar in my pocket.  For a reference point just go to and look at what a 2007 Pilot EX with 100,000 km sells for….. it is nowhere close to $14,000.  I could save myself thousands by selling privately.  Yes it is a bit more of a hassle but we are talking THOUSANDS of dollars, nothing comes easy people.

Anyway we went back and forth a bit and he said I could bring the Pilot back in and he would shop it around.  As you know by now I enjoy the back and forth deal process so I brought it back in.  I dropped back (after another test drive) and he told me that he was getting a smell of coolant which I would have to get fixed before anyone would look at it, he was concerned I had serious engine trouble he said.  Turns out I had a coolant line clamp that was rusting so $250 later Honda had my $10 coolant line clamp fixed.  I let him know it was fixed and he said the $12,500 offer still stood.  I have no idea if he had any intention of giving me more than $12,500 or if he just wanted me to come back in, but in any event I still wasn’t trading the Pilot in for $12,500.  In a later email he referred to a trade of $12,000 so I lost $500 somewhere along the way.  That was the end of trade in adventure #1.


#2 Subaru – A couple of weeks later I made a visit to Subaru, my mind was switching back to needing a 4wd vehicle.  I made an appointment to see a salesperson who I contacted via email. On my first visit he was a no show and second time he was busy so I just dealt with someone else.  They have a big shiny new dealership but seem to have a salesperson shortage for some reason.  Anyway the guy said their finance guy would look at my vehicle and give me an idea of what I could get on a trade.  He asked me what I was looking to get for it, I told him I was expecting Canadian Black Book Trade value.  Obviously they want to know your limit and then get the vehicle for much lower than your limit.  Normally I would not have said anything but I figured I would try this to see how it worked.  So the trade in guy looked at the vehicle, got on the phone, went to Black Book website and offered me a staggering $10,000.  He went as far to say that they would only sell the vehicle for $14,000.  I am a reasonable person, I am not a stupid person, he was talking to me like I was a stupid person in my opinion.  I told him he was way off the mark and left.  The salesperson emailed me the next day saying he understood they were a bit off on their trade in estimates.  I emailed back saying they were over $2,000 off the trade in offer I had from another dealer and never heard back from him.  If I decide to get a Subaru in the future I will just get a different salesperson. 


#3 Toyota – Ok, so there are good deals happening on RAV4’s and I was still curious if there were any better trade offers out there so I went off to Toyota.  Salesperson I dealt with is great, nice guy, seems very honest.  He sent his guy out to get me a trade estimate and it came back at $12,000…. There was a definite trend emerging here.  It was at this point I figured I would not be trading the Pilot and decided I would go get the brakes done on it and hunker down for the winter.  Then all of a sudden I got a call from Toyota sales guy indicating he may be able to get a better trade offer through one of his other appraisal people…. This seemed strange but I said go ahead, then I mentioned I just went and got a full brake job on the Pilot and I felt the wind come out of his sails.  I guess he figured this means I would be looking for another $1,000 on top of the better trade offer and he was right.  I never heard back from him either….. maybe stories are getting around about the difficult guy with the beautiful black 2007 Honda Pilot EX. 


#4 Kia – I just couldn’t resist trying to see if I could top the $12,500 offer from VW.  The Sportage looks kind of cool, has a new turbocharged engine and had good rates (its no Honda pilot mind you) so I figured I would take one out and let them make me an offer on the Pilot.  Again they asked me what I wanted, I gave a vague answer then I waited 15 minutes for some back room talks to take place and salesperson reappeared with an offer of $12,500.  Now I am sure they are all in cahoots, I am also sure that $12,500 is all I am going to get on trade for the pilot.  He tried a few common sales techniques on me but as usual I just said I would think it over and left with his offer scribbled on the back of his business card.


This does not mean I won’t go to other dealerships just to gather more trade in stories however so stay tuned for further updates!

Here is the actual Black Book Trade Value report for my Pilot:

Your trade-in estimate based on :

Vehicle :
2007 Honda Pilot EX 4D Utility 4WD
Distance travelled :
Options :
DVD Entertainment System

Low † :
High † :

I don’t see $12,500 mentioned here anywhere……

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