Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Plan

So I am back to considering selling the pilot again, but this time with a new plan.  My new and improved plan is to :
  1. Sell the Pilot, pay off some credit card stuff and have a few bucks left for a downpayment on a less pricey vehicle but something half interesting but fuel efficient. (I am thinking golf wagon or subaru impreza wagon).
  2. Once the four year lease is up on new inexpensive vehicle all of my other outstanding debts will be paid off so then I get my dream car.  Meaning I wouldn't have to be so fussy at that point, I will just go get myself whatever I want within reason (most likely a new black BMW).
Simple plan hey.  As you know by now my plans change from month to month and sometimes week to week but that's my new plan.  So I am going to put the pilot up for sale to see if I get any bites.  If I do then I don't know if I will actually go through with it......

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Buick Regal CXL Follow Up

So I went back and took the Regal out for a bit longer of a test drive.  Just like most of the reviews say, this thing just has NO fun factor.  You can floor the accelerator and there is just no real get up and go. It's a really nice looking car, you don't see many around so it is kind of unique, really nice leather seats, very quiet cabin but I think the turbo model would have to be the way to go.  The local dealership has two 2011 demo models available and the total lease payment is only $411 a month which is very good for the car you are getting but it just needs a bit more fun factor for me.  That is about $100 a month cheaper than similarly equipped Accords or Camrys, not to mention more upscale vehicles it competes with like the Acura TSX which will run you almost $200 more.

The salesperson being new and all really didn't help sell the car either.  I think it was due to the fact that I knew way more than him about the car so he felt useless to some extent.  He was nice enough though about it all......

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My interesting car of the week - 2011 Buick Regal

New week.... new car that catches my eye.  This week it is the 2011 Buick Regal.  I just happened to go to the local Buick dealership because it is close to my work, its one of the few places I hadn't looked around so far.  It's technically a GM product.... well it is a GM product but its not at the overcrowded GM / Chevy dealership so I didn't mind going there.  I had read some decent reviews and although the word Buick conjures up thoughts of 80 year old men drivers I figured I would give it a shot. 

The new Regals look nice but the major knock against them is the underpowered motor, it only has 182 HP, but there is a turbo model with 220 hp.  For 2012 there is even a more spirited GS model with 270 HP, now that one may be able to call itself a sports sedan. 

So I went in and asked what the deal is on a four year lease.  The sales guy didn't know what the current deals were so he went to ask the manager person.  The sales guy told me he has only been there a month and a half.  It was clear they are not used to people asking about the Regals.  They sell a LOT of GMC pick up trucks at this dealership and their lack of knowledge about the Regal's really shows.  Anyway he told me they have a $1,500 rebate from GM, $3,000 rebate from Terra Nova Motors and the Connect and Win thing where you get a minimum of $1,000 off any vehicle.  So right off the start they are offering $5,500 in rebates..... now I was interested.  On top of that they were offering 0% interest on all 2011 leases.  Of course any good car shopper knows why they can bottom out the lease rates at the end of a year run..... well don't you???

It's because the residual has probably dropped substantially from when the car first went on sale so you are basically paying off more car but at a lower rate.  A total car pricing nerd like myself would go to the Buick website and see what the residual is on an equivalently equipped 2012 regal and it is about $2,000 more than the 2011 model.  To use an example, if you have a 2012 regal that costs $30,000 the residual is about $12,000 after four years so you are paying for $18,000 worth of vehicle.  For a 2011 at $30,000 the residual is about $10,000 so you have to pay for $20,000 worth of vehicle.  In an approximate world, the 0% rate on the 2011 is equivalent to about a 3% rate on the 2012.  In any event a 3% lease rate on a  new model or 0% on an older model is a good deal. 

If you put the 0% together with all the incentives I was quoted a $445 lease payment over 4 years.  That is a good payment, compared to say $500 for an Accord EXL, the Buick in my opinion has much better styling and driving feel than the accord.  Of course the other sport sedans from Acura, Audi, BMW and Volvo were up around $700 per month.  All of those were also smaller cars with the exception of the TL.  Don't doubt me, I have the numbers to back that up.  They were well ahead in the power department though, but not $250 a month worth.

So the next step was a test drive, which I lined up with my nice but totally unknowledgable sales guy.  He was kind of funny making jokes where possible, nice guy who just needed to read his Buick Regal book a bit more closely.  I knew way more than he did about the vehicle, it was almost embarrassing for him I figure.  So me and oldest son went for a short test drive, sales guy came along (I don't know why they do that).  Anyway it was a really nice ride, underpowered yes compared to sports sedans but enough power to get around for sure.  Nice leather seats and plenty of room for my tallish son in back.  Nice dash layout, just overall a really nice ride.  The 2011's came with 18" wheels standard which are nice, the only thing missing was a sunroof on the one I had out.  I actually had the demo model, it had 7,000 km on it.  They told me I could have an extra $1,500 off which brings my payment down to about $410.  Wow, perilously close to $400 a month all included for a really nice 2011 Buick Regal, and they still had wiggle room left, I could sense it.

So I expected nothing from my Buick visit and end up with a VERY tempting offer on a nicely equipped 2011 Buick Regal.  I could probably sell the Pilot and be able to pay for the entire lease.  Of course I wouldn't pay off a 0% lease when I have all kinds of other way above 0% things to put money on but you get the picture.

Buick Regal..... sounds old and stodgy but they are actually nice looking vehicles that drive really well.... I mean what old guy would want 18" tires???

Oh also I got $1,225 on the connect and win so that's $225 more off the vehicle, down to $405!!!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lexus es 350 - possible purchase

On NL Classifieds this week something caught my eye, check it out here:

This is a 100% loaded Lexus mid sized sedan, if you were to buy a 2011 model with all these options you are looking at $52,000 + tax and whatever else the dealer piles on top (admin fees, warranty etc...).

So I made my way up to Capital pre-owned to check it out, they have a new building so I was also interested to see what it was like.  When I went in I saw three guys sitting at desks all out in the open, they took open concept to the extreme here.  I think it looks horrible but what do I know about the car selling business, no reception area, no anything but the three guys and their desks.  The three guys were regular joe type guys, no slick salespeople here.   They sell mostly used Hyundai vehicles, the same family owns the bwm / hyundai / mitsubushi and subaru dealerships in town.  Thats why they all take up adjacent hunks of land on kenmount road.

One guy approached me and I told him I had been in email contact with one guy already so he pointed that guy out to me.  I had mentioned to guy #1 that I had been looking at vehicles a long time and out of curiosity what did he think I could get on a trade for the pilot.  He asked me what I wanted and against my better judgement I told him $15,000.  He told me that they would only sell the vehicle for that.  Again, I hate to call car salespeople lyres BUT they have 2 2007 Honda CRVS on their lot right now for $17,000 with close to the kms my pilot has.  So what he was telling me was that they would sell a Honda Pilot for less than a Honda CRV....... I am doubtful.

Anyway I went over to see guy #2 and he was all ready with the keys or rather key fob for the Lexus.  Man this vehicle is loaded to the hilt.  Beautiful heated and ventilated leather seats, touch screen navigation, panoramic sunroof, top notch sound system, push button start and on and on.  It does have a wood steering wheel and console but it is nice looking not cheap or ugly at all.  Anyway car guy asked me if I wanted to take it for a run and of course I did.  He came along (I am not sure why some come along and some don't but I prefer when they don't).  Went for a quick run and this thing has plenty of power and is very comfortable.  Not sporty like the BMW but it is like driving on air, you don't feel and bumps and the cabin is absolutely silent.  Very different than the sports sedans but very very nice ride.  And it gets excellent fuel economy to boot with I think 270 HP.

Anyways that was that so I said I liked it and then went back to plan out the litany of questions I would be asking.  I asked for the VIN so I could do a CarProof on it, with no intentions of paying $50 for the car proof and sure enough not only did he give me the VIN but gave me a car proof for the vehicle with a work order for the work they did on the vehicle when they got it in.  I found out that they get the trade ins from BMW which explains the few nice cars mixed in with all the elantras on their lot.  They also have a nice 2007 Acura TL and Volvo XC70. 

The work order showed new brake rotors on front and indication of an oil leak.  I asked about the oil leak and they said it was not a leak but the mechanic over filled the power steering fluid and they mistaked it for a leak.... hmmmmm.  I asked if they were open on the weekend and he said no so I emailed back to see if I could take the vehcile for the weekend (you never know).  He said there is no way the MANAGER would let the vehicle go for more than an hour.  So it appears to have an oil leak and they wont let the vehicle go for more than an hour, at this point my spidey sense is tingling.  Most car places could care less how long you take the car out for if you are a serious buyer. 

Now you might also be wondering why a $52,000 four year old vehicle with only 60,000km now is selling for $20,000.  Aside from standard depreciation, the options depreciate almost to nothing after a few years.  This was a fully optioned Lexus for $20,000, if they had a lesser optioned one it would probably still be around $19,000.  You can really get a great deal on optioned up cars used some times.  The other reason for the good deal I figure is that it looks a LOT like a Toyota Camry.  Of course Toyota makes the Lexus so that makes sense, it has the same underpinnings but the body and interior is higher quality, it has a lot more features and rides much better.  But it doesn't look flashy at all, quite boring actually.

From the work order I could also tell that this vehicle has been on their lot for 3 months now and with winter setting in could be there much longer.  The oil leak thing worries me as well, and they told me I could get up to $13,000 for the pilot on a trade for it..... not enough.  Second last time the sales guy emailed me he said and I quote "

Anyway we will see how it goes, but that was a really nice car and the price was reasonable.... makes me think there is something wrong with it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Car's I wouldn't buy.......

Normally I am very decisive about things, I size up the options, make a choice and stand behind it.  I think I make the right choice about 80% of the time, for the other 20% its easy enough to change your mind afterwards.  But when it comes to car buying I am really struggling with not only if I should get a new car but what type I would get if I was going to get a new one and after which type then which model, options etc....

I think part of it is that once you buy a new vehicle there is no changing your mind for at least a few years unless you want to throw away a bundle of cash.  One of the reasons I have always leased is that after 3-4 years you get to start over and try something new.  You can do the same thing if you purchase but then you have to try to sell the vehicle yourself or trade it in and take a beating that way.  The only sensible way with vehicles is to buy one and keep it for 7 or 8 years but that's no fun.

So I thought I would narrow down my vehicle options for if and when I go to buy a new vehicle by considering the vehicles I wouldn't buy.  Some of the reasons for not buying a certain type of vehicle are good and some are just me being silly but either way it gets some off my list, so here goes.

  1. Anything over $50,000 - I just can't afford it, actually I can't afford anything over probably $30,000 but I won`t let that stop me.
  2. Any large SUV vehicles - Once I get rid of the Pilot I won`t be getting any large SUV`s, they are just too hard on gas and I don`t really use the extra capacity anyways.  Cheaper to rent a moving truck for that one time every couple of years you need cargo capacity.
  3. Suzuki - The local suzuki dealership is absolutely crummy looking and you never hear many good things about suzuki.
  4. Mitsubishi - I don`t like the look of them and someone at work just had the engine go in theirs after 160,000 km.
  5. Non-certified used vehicles - Had bad experiences in the past with used vehicles but may consider certified used because you get the extra warranty.
  6. Gm - Something about Gm that I just can`t get into, the dealership is just too large.  The GM website for car pricing is horrible as well. 
  7. Dodge/Chrysler - Never hear anything good about them in reviews although they are getting better it seems.
  8. Anything with less than 23+ mpg fuel economy - Most vehicles are well over this now, I get about 15-16 from the Pilot.
  9. Nissan - My father wasn`t impressed with his nissan or the service there so that's good enough for me.
  10. Compact sedan or smaller - We have a 2010 Mazda 3 2.5 which is a really nice car but I think our family car should be a bit bigger than that, need to be able to fit 5 in a pinch.
I think that's a good start.  If I could just decide between SUV/crossover or family sedan then I would be a lot further ahead.  Part of the reason I like the BMW option is that it is a nice sedan with AWD.  There are not a lot of AWD sedan options out there.  If something like the Sonata came in AWD it would be a great option for us who live up north. All the suv/crossover vehicles come with AWD as an option and some of them look cool as well (tucson / sportage / BMW X1).  Of course the sedans are almost always better fuel economy and less expensive than the SUVs, especially the Sonata and now the new Camry is the family sedan fuel economy leader.

Anyway I think that helps me out a bit, I will have to try and narrow it down a bit more though.

In case you are interested has a great article on the new 2012 BMW 3 series, you can find it here:


Saturday, December 3, 2011

December rates

Figured it was time for a rate update.  Not a whole lot of changes over the last little while but it is obvious that leasing is getting more and more back in the good books of the dealerships.  Mazda have come out of nowhere with 0% to 2.9% three and four year lease rates, they must be trying to build up their certified used fleet.  Hyundai lease rates have come down a bit over the last couple of months as well while Subaru rates have gone up substantially with the introduction of the 2012 models.  I included both the 2011 and 2012 Camry rates so you can see what happens when a boring outgoing model overlaps with a not so boring better fuel economy newer model.  On top of the rate difference there is also a $2,500 discount on 2011's because they couldn't put the purchase rates any lower than 0%.  Overall car rates are still very low on all fronts.  As a general guide, a 1% drop in rates can mean anywhere from $20 - $30 a month less on your monthly payment.

Here are some of the current rates:

4 yr lease5 yr purch
2012 Honda Civic       1.99        1.99
2012 Honda Accord       3.99        3.99
2011 Honda CRV       0.90        0.90
2012 Subaru Impreza       5.90        5.90
2012 Subaru Forester       4.90        4.90
2012 Subaru Outback       4.90        4.90
2011 Camry SE       1.90           -  
2012 Camry SE       4.90        4.80
2011 Rav 4 4WD       2.90        2.90
2011 BMW 328 I X Drive       1.90        1.90
2012 Mercedes C Series       3.90        1.90
2012 VW Jetta TDI       5.90        4.90
2012 VW Jetta   2.5 L       3.90        2.90
2012 Jetta GLI       3.90        4.90
2012 VW Passat TDI       5.90        4.90
2012 VW Passat 2.5 L / 3.6 L       4.90        2.90
2012 Acura TL AWD       3.90        5.90
2012 Hyundai Elantra       2.99        2.90
2012 Hyundai Sonata       3.99           -  
2011 Kia Optima        3.90        1.90
2012 Mazda 6       1.90        0.90

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 2011 New Car Deals

I have started my monthly scouring of car sites to see if there are any interesting deals for December 2011.  Toyota has a great deal on 2011 Camry's if you don't mind driving the most boring looking car in existence but at the same time a vehicle that holds its resale value well and it know for great reliability.  The 2011 Camry's have $2,500 discounts in addition to 0% purchase rates over 5 years on the XLE model and lease rates of 1.9% for 48 months.  You can get a well equipped Camry SE for just over $500 tax included on a 5 year purchase or just over $400 on a four year lease.  That's a good deal by any standard.  A similarly equipped 2012 model will cost almost $100 more per month, of course they are totally redesigned for 2012 and look much better, but still not great. 

Honda have Civics going out the door with 1.9% purchase and lease rates along with a $1,000 bonus.  A Civic EX with sunroof (but no heated seats) can be leased for $300 a month or purchased for $440 over 5 years.  If you want heated seats you have to bump up to an EX-L which will be $355 and $513 respectively.

Nissan are offering $2,500 discounts on the Rogue and $3,500 on Altima along with 4 months of deferred payments.

Mercedes is offering 1.9% financing over 5 years and 3.9% lease rates over 4 years on the 2012 C Class Sedans along with 3 months of waived payments up to $1,350 for leases.  These are not just deferred like Nissan, you actually don't have to make the payments.

That's it for now, may be more updates later.