Even under a global and deadly pandemic, companies are in business to make money, say what you want to hear, write what you want to read, and lure you into making an emotional decision even if the means to accomplishing this task in hidden in advertising rhetoric. There are no free dinners in this life, none. What you may read online may not be what it seems. Under a pandemic or not…
So, I drive a 2019 VW Passat Wolfburg Model. Yes, it is black, has beautiful leather seats, and the car comes with more technology than a KISS concert. It has a 6 years, 72 thousand miles bumper to bumper warranty! What a rock and roll deal, I got. I won that sale negotiation big, I say. I love my ride, I must add. My wife drives a 2018 Ford Escape, maroon color, nothin fancy but her car is very reliable and cheap to maintain. Her monthly payment and purchase conditions are also very good.
Why do we need new cars, you must be asking. Great question! First, my dad called me saying, “Car deals are amazing out there!” The rebates are incredible, the financing options can go up to 84 months with interest rates of 0% in some car models. He is thinking about trading his car for two new ones, he told me. I know him. He doesn’t exaggerate on things. It got my attention.
Then I thought — We are under a pandemic and because most people aren’t buying much, what my dad told and what what I just read on-line must be real. It’s the right time to change a still new car to a brand new one because the conditions of buying are simply too good. I just saw a brand new Ford Escape 2020 SEL for 18K, as advertised with a 0% 70 month financing terms!
I also saw cars with 10K rebates here, 6 months no car payments there, 0% finance for 84 months in other sites, and a 18.5K advertised price for a 2020 Ford Fusion SE MSRP of 28.5K.
This is must be nirvana! Wake me up! I must be dreaming. In my mind, I thought, “Well, I’m not on the market for a new car. I love mine. I really got a great deal. BUT, wouldn’t be nice for Amanda to save some money in car payment? Maybe I can trade my for that 2020 Ford Fusion. Yeah right.
At 5:30pm, guess what we did? We went car shopping. She was emotional and ready to trade her car after only owning her car for two years, which is rare. How can this be happening? She hates car shopping.
This “deal” must be very good, I thought to myself. After all, she spoke with an on-line salesman and still wanted to visit the dealership. She is not easily fooled, either. Maybe I’m driving a new Ford Fusion tonight with her… who knows! This pandemic is going to cut our car payments in $300 a month, I estimated.
It’s 5:45pm. We arrived at the Ford dealership, met Rick the salesman and after a few minutes, we got keys for two brand new 2020 Ford Escapes, one more beautiful than the other. She said, ” I love this blue one!” “The gold color would be great in Alabama!” So we went for a test drive. She loved the cars!
The new Ford Escape is de facto more compact which she loved and beautiful if you ask me. She was ready to buy her new Ford ride… Then, out of nowhere… the salesman asked, “how much do you owe on your car?” The conversation moved from happy smiles and hopeful thoughts of owning a new vehicle to let’s get serious about doing business. The pandemic isn’t a variable in this trade. It’s business as usual, I felt.
The car price was, for her at least, 26.5K MSRP with a 2K rebate. That was a little higher than the 19.5K dollars we found in a coupon on-line. We were not members of the military or a farm bureau. It made a total difference. I was so emotional that I didn’t even read the fine print. What is more rare is that my wife didn’t read it either.
At that point, my objectivity started to kick in and my guard went up. I thought to myself. How can this be happening? We are under a pandemic and the dealership doesn’t want to give us an incredible deal? Who cares about the fine print? We are buying a car under a pandemic! Is this business as usual, I asked myself? Well, it was… The signs were all there.
Then we thought, chat and concluded… Okay. We aren’t going to save any money with this deal. Can we have at least something to think about, an offer that would match our monthly payment? We would be paying more in the long run but we would at least be driving a new car.
I knew at that point that the chances for us to realistically accept these terms would be a 1/100000000 chance, but hey. We were already there.
After one hour or more of waiting, I knew that the dealership was operating under a slow, typical car dealership protocol, to raise your anxiety in order for us to make a financial decision based on emotions. I closed my eyes and started playing my negotiation game under a pandemic. My strategy was to act slower than them. So I did.
The salesman was anxious, left the desk and brought the manager to explain the situation to us it was nothing unusual, of course. In my head I thought to myself, “How dumb of me, What a waste of my time.” A pandemic won’t be the reason, even if the dealership doesn’t sell as many cars, for us to get a sweet deal.” I was right. Lesson learned.
To make long story short — The dealership gave us 4K in rebates, as expected… My wife’s car had a big upside down which is typical among Ford cars. We were expecting that, actually. What we didn’t know was that when the upside down of a vehicle is higher than 110% of the value of the car, a 72 month 0% finance isn’t an option, even with a 748 credit score.
The best monthly payment she could get was $645 for 72 months! What? Hmmm, no.
So, a 22.5K car with a 8 thousand dollar upside down value — 30.5K total value, which should have costed her $423.61 per month was now almost $650! COVID19 pandemic price. After we obviously denied the stating that we pay significantly less than the proposed sale price, the conversation ended.
I briefly asked about the Ford Fusion but the finance manager told us that the same conditions would apply to me, as well. I quickly realized that the Lord wants us to keep our excellent condition vehicles.
What have we learned from this experience?
No matter how dire the economical or health circumstances of the country may be, business is business. Car dealership advertising is still going to attempt to persuade potential clients to go to the dealership and potentially buy a car by trying to omit key information in the fine print, whether people live under pandemic conditions or not.
Our “COVID19″ car buying experience felt like buying a car before this crisis. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are going to get all these deals that are being advertised, especially if you have more than 10% upside down in your car.
If something is too good to be true, it is. Read the fine print even if the advertising appears to be logical. Business is business. Don’t expect anything other than that. Get educated in the car business. How do banks grant loans to borrowers?
By the way, nobody was angry. We still love Ford and had a great time test driving two brand new cars. We engaged in social distancing the whole time we were there. We left the dealership with a smile in our faces and a big lesson learned.
0% Finance For 84 Months On Your Dreams! For a lot of people including my wife and I. If you have an upside down on your loan.” Get real! In a pandemic or not.
That sweet deal won’t go your way. 🙂