Southern Man

Monday, April 28, 2008

Southern Man Buys A Car

Southern Man's ride is a '91 SUV with a quarter million miles on the clock and he's spending north of $500 per month on gasoline, so the time has come for a new car. A very small, very economical car. So after a bit of test driving, Southern Man decided he could live with a Hyundai Accent two-door hatchback. Not that he wouldn't much rather have a new Honda Accord, but the Accent is well under half the price and Southern Man has better things to do with his limited funds right now. The one concession to mid-life crisis is that it's a stick rather than an automatic; it's about as close to a sports car as Southern Man expects to get in the next ten years or so. Note to Honda afficianodos; the Civic was a close second, but it's more expensive and (surprisingly) the Accent is a bit roomier inside. Southern Man's first new car was an '88 Accord hatchback stick which he dearly loved but surrendered when child number two was on the way.

Although they had a fairly limited selection, Southern Man returned to the dealership (and salesperson) where he test-drove an Accent late last week. The salesman listened to Southern Man's desires and pulled a car around front. Southern Man looked it over and then went inside to deal.

The process was surprisingly painless. Southern Man has long studied the new-car-purchasing process and was really quite unsure as to how well theory would survive contact with an actual dealership. He'd done his homework and knew the invoice price, factory-to-dealer incentives, and the current rebate. He kept it simple; no trade, and try to establish the purchase price before talking financing (and even then already having been pre-approved at the credit union). The salesperson made an initial offer that was actually quite reasonable. Southern Man countered with the current "loss leader" sales price of a bare-bones Accent plus the amount of the factory option package. The sales manager came down about three hundred from the initial offer, and Southern Man said OK.

Oh, you want details?

2008 Accent GS 3-Door manual $10,775
Popular Equipment Package (A/C, stereo...) $1,570
Other Factory Options $175

Factory MSRP $13,170

Freight / Handling
Overpriced Dealer Pack (chrome, tint, undercoating...) $2,295

Dealer Sticker Price $15,465
Their first offer was $11,772. Southern Man countered with $10,547, based on current ads featuring an Accent for $8,977 (dealer of course retaining rebate) plus $1,570 for the Popular Equipment package and deliberately omitting the remaining options and handling charge. We settled on $11,477. They financed through Southern Man's credit union (where he is a member in good standing with "elite" credit) at 4.25%. The finance manager "forgot" to include the $1250 rebate at first, but Southern Man readily caught that error (and it's gonna cost 'em on the upcoming customer-satisfacton survey). The only raise that stuck was a $10 title registration fee; the final amount financed was $11,487. Southern Man was in and out in about two hours, and a good forty minutes of that was waiting on the car to be washed and gassed up. Yes, the dealer sent him away with a full tank of gas. When it's that easy one wonders if one left too much money on the table, but Southern Man is quite content with his deal.

It's a cute little car. The little 1600-cc engine hardly produces sports-car performance but it's plenty peppy enough and it's fun to drive a stick again. Not too many amenities; for example, no power locks or power windows or power seats. It's short on gauges, too; Southern Man will remedy that later. Fifth gear isn't as steep as Southern Man would like; the tach reads over 3K at highway speed. It does have a decent factory stereo with a three-month trial of XM Satellite Radio. Working A/C is something that Southern Man has lived without for well over a decade and it's nice to have it back, especially since the car is black (another mid-life-crisis concession) and will probably get as hot as blazes in the Southern sun. And it has an inside-release gas cap cover, which Southern Man hasn't had since the '88 Accord.

The bottom line is, the savings in gas should about equal the payments and insurance and Southern Man's monthly driving costs should stay about the same as they were. The SUV which has served so faithfully as kid-hauler is now a truck, relegated to runs to Home Depot and out to The Land. And now Southern Man is looking forward to showing off his new toy tomorrow!


At Tuesday, April 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I was promised that there would be no math on this blog!

At Wednesday, April 30, 2008, Blogger gouldie said...

Wow - a climate friendly car! Next thing I know you'll have a "Hillary" sign in your yard!


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