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Discussion Starter #1
Coming down the stretch; doing it by committee. I am traditionally not a new car buyer (leases not attractive). Rather, I normally purchase a corporate demo or prior-year model and hold long term. This time (a reprise of the Ms. Kingfish 2014 purchase) I am wading back into those foreboding new-car waters. Highlights of my developing grand plan:

BUYER TEMPERAMENT & STRATEGY Like most buyers, I’m looking for a reasonable deal using reasonable means (not a scorched-earth buyer). My strategic lean is to (1) identify the vehicle options I want and the (2) learned price I am willing to pay [maybe truecar.com + Costco]. Beyond that, (3) I like the arms-length idea of dealer conversation via email. The two info sites cited seem of limited value but maybe I’m missing something. Not a Costco member for one, and the other initially seemed a shill for dealers.

FINANCING Eschewing all manner of purchased money from GM, my plan is to secure any needed financing from the Credit Union. As it should be, this divorces the loan process from the car-purchase negotiation. As with most CUs, my local rate is competitive (2.49%)

MISCELLANEOUS No trade in. Request of an Out The Door (OTD) price seems routine best practice. GM incentives change month-to-month, so a moving target (plus likely skinny on this high-demand product).

SUPPLIER & VETERAN INCENTIVES Equal to the Supplier Discount, I currently have a Veteran Discount. The latter is a recent promo extended to persons discharged long ago, but vet must take delivery by May 31. I also have the Supplier Discount after that but would need to invoke a small favor.

$1000 PRIVATE OFFER Also in the incentive category, I was told by a salesperson that this stacks with the above. I am familiar with via the high-volume forum posting but the process seems a bit bizarre. It’s no small change but I am cautiously curious as to my chances of winning the prize.

AVAILABILITY My vehicle (loaded/red) could be ordered but a yesterday salesperson found 16 units within 200 miles. I realize those dealer locations are proprietary per the GM network. I also know that my full negotiating power will come from direct contact with those dealers and am quite familiar with the shotgun practice of identifying and visiting dealer websites in search of targeted product. Per chance, has a more efficient way to do this evolved? All search tips appreciated.

As always, your input is valued. There are a great many facets to a new car purchase, corresponding of course to the amount of money on the table. Please feel free to fill in any gaps shown above. I am a good researcher and learner, but still very much a new-car novice.
Thanks,
TheKingfish
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
 

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Cars.com gives you a good first cut of models/colors at what dealers, but don't believe the prices. Some of the expensively priced ones will discount and some of the cheaper priced ones will do dealer add ons to up their prices, but not show them on the website.

If you really want a deal, wait until the end of 2017 to buy your volt. By then the Bolt and Tesla Model 3 will be in reach and EV fever will make the volt seem like yesterday's news, though it is a wonderful car. But if you insist on buying now, then just haggle like a ferengi online and be patient, wait them out, and be willing to walk. There are more of volts out there...that's what more means.

It's probably too late if you are buying soon, but consider getting a GM BuyPower credit card, cycle all your regular purchases through it, pay it off fully to avoid finance interest charges, and earn 5% up to 250 per year, the 2% after that until your next anniversary, plus they throw in $750 bonus cash rebates once in awhile. They used to do top-offs, but that seems to be long gone now.
 

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Proper preparation for buying requires studying the GM Financial Dealers Guide. While it's "confidential and restricted" information the May edition is available online. Warning - it's a 370 page document. If you want a great deal in May get a LT automatic Cruze.

I asked my salesman to justify leasing over buying and his fairly convincing argument is that TCO over 10 years is cheaper by thousands of dollars over buy and hold. Car is always under bumper to bumper warranty, you have the latest tech, expendables like tires or brakes never have to be replaced (price a set of tires lately?), a little bit of negotiating gets free routine maintenance.
 

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Coming down the stretch; doing it by committee. I am traditionally not a new car buyer (leases not attractive). Rather, I normally purchase a corporate demo or prior-year model and hold long term. This time (a reprise of the Ms. Kingfish 2014 purchase) I am wading back into those foreboding new-car waters. Highlights of my developing grand plan:

BUYER TEMPERAMENT & STRATEGY Like most buyers, I’m looking for a reasonable deal using reasonable means (not a scorched-earth buyer). My strategic lean is to (1) identify the vehicle options I want and the (2) learned price I am willing to pay [maybe truecar.com + Costco]. Beyond that, (3) I like the arms-length idea of dealer conversation via email. The two info sites cited seem of limited value but maybe I’m missing something. Not a Costco member for one, and the other initially seemed a shill for dealers.

FINANCING Eschewing all manner of purchased money from GM, my plan is to secure any needed financing from the Credit Union. As it should be, this divorces the loan process from the car-purchase negotiation. As with most CUs, my local rate is competitive (2.49%)

MISCELLANEOUS No trade in. Request of an Out The Door (OTD) price seems routine best practice. GM incentives change month-to-month, so a moving target (plus likely skinny on this high-demand product).

SUPPLIER & VETERAN INCENTIVES Equal to the Supplier Discount, I currently have a Veteran Discount. The latter is a recent promo extended to persons discharged long ago, but vet must take delivery by May 31. I also have the Supplier Discount after that but would need to invoke a small favor.

$1000 PRIVATE OFFER Also in the incentive category, I was told by a salesperson that this stacks with the above. I am familiar with via the high-volume forum posting but the process seems a bit bizarre. It’s no small change but I am cautiously curious as to my chances of winning the prize.

AVAILABILITY My vehicle (loaded/red) could be ordered but a yesterday salesperson found 16 units within 200 miles. I realize those dealer locations are proprietary per the GM network. I also know that my full negotiating power will come from direct contact with those dealers and am quite familiar with the shotgun practice of identifying and visiting dealer websites in search of targeted product. Per chance, has a more efficient way to do this evolved? All search tips appreciated.

As always, your input is valued. There are a great many facets to a new car purchase, corresponding of course to the amount of money on the table. Please feel free to fill in any gaps shown above. I am a good researcher and learner, but still very much a new-car novice.
Thanks,
TheKingfish
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
From what I can tell, the mil/vet discount is exactly the same as supplier/Costco pricing. And Costco pricing is available year-round, unlike this "limited time mil discount". You could literally join Costco, then go down to the dealership and buy your Volt later that same day, then cancel your Costco membership a month or 2 down the road (to make sure all the paperwork clears) and get a full refund of your membership cost. So don't be influenced by the 31 May deadline for the mil pricing.

If you can wait at least 30 days, sign up for your local farm bureau. GM offers $500 to farm bureau members AND the $500 stacks with another private offer (conquest cash or $1k online private offer). Only caveat is you have to be a farm bureau member for at least 30 days before being able to use the rebate. Joining a farm bureau should cost well under $100, so that's an extra $400+ in essentially free money.

My suggestion is to find a leftover '16 Volt. You can go to Chevy.com, punch in your zipcode, and search for '16 Volts in your area. If you do find a leftover '16, there is no "these are in high demand!" excuse the dealer can use, as if they were selling like hotcakes, the dealer would have no '16s left.

edit: oh, I just realized you are in MI, a non-CARB state. Finding a new '16 would mean searching in the nearest CARB state....which seems to be Maryland. And possibly having to arrange transportation.
 

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I recommend the following tweaks to your process. Visit, or otherwise communicate to some number of dealers on the same day your specs, let them know that you are giving the same specs to multiple dealers, and let them know you will compare only the bottom line out-the-door numbers and purchase the best value (not necessarily the lowest price) three days from then. For me, most recently, I purchased from a dealer who had to bring in the car I wanted from another state. I didn't care since I was interested in only the bottom line number.

KNS
 

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I recommend the following tweaks to your process. Visit, or otherwise communicate to some number of dealers on the same day your specs, let them know that you are giving the same specs to multiple dealers, and let them know you will compare only the bottom line out-the-door numbers and purchase the best value (not necessarily the lowest price) three days from then. For me, most recently, I purchased from a dealer who had to bring in the car I wanted from another state. I didn't care since I was interested in only the bottom line number.
Ditto to the above, just ask for the bottom line number - I've done this for almost 15 years now, ever since online inventories were shown on web sites. Those with numbers can be compared, those that reply with the "come on down let's talk" crap and do not provide a number are OUT.
 

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Proper preparation for buying requires studying the GM Financial Dealers Guide. While it's "confidential and restricted" information the May edition is available online. Warning - it's a 370 page document. If you want a great deal in May get a LT automatic Cruze.

I asked my salesman to justify leasing over buying and his fairly convincing argument is that TCO over 10 years is cheaper by thousands of dollars over buy and hold. Car is always under bumper to bumper warranty, you have the latest tech, expendables like tires or brakes never have to be replaced (price a set of tires lately?), a little bit of negotiating gets free routine maintenance.
That might be true comparing MSRP to lease prices, but I got my volt heavily, heavily discounted which blows the formula out of the water. Cars last much longer than the B2B warranty, a set of tires is $500-600 a set which is far less than 3 additional years of leasing.

Car salesmen need to be believed like Meghan Trainor sings "You know they lie, their lips are moving..."
<Sarcasm>Be sure to get the scotch guard fabric protection, extended warranty, rustproofing, and vehicular maintenance plan</sarcasm>

True story, a coworker traded in a perfectly good CUV because they were too late to get the extended warranty on the vehicle, so the dealer got them into a new CUV with the extended warranty, they are now upside down on the deal and regretting not working through the math while they were enjoying the new car excitement. Stupid tax!!!
 

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Ditto to the above, just ask for the bottom line number - I've done this for almost 15 years now, ever since online inventories were shown on web sites. Those with numbers can be compared, those that reply with the "come on down let's talk" crap and do not provide a number are OUT.
I've bought my last 2 cars all through email to dealers, negotiated their best price, then drove in for the test drive before driving the car away. I got $10k and $23k off of a CTS and D Volt respectively
 

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Since you have a MY14 now and want a MY16/MY17 leasing is your better strategy plus you can buy it outright at turn in, often cheaper than originally purchasing outright...Then if you have an accident even if it's not your fault, you can turn it in and not worry about the huge depreciation hit...

The buying process is all about the least amount of time/effort it takes to get the price...Step one is going to the dealer and test driving a LT and Premier to decide exactly what model and options you want...After the test drive, I'd have EXTREMELY low expectations that your local dealer will give you the best price but the salesman will want to talk...But again, minimal time and effort, right? what you do ahead of time is take a screenshot on your cell of this advertised deal http://www.quirkchevy.com/new-vehicles/chevy-lease-and-finance-offers-near-boston-ma/ ($0 down, $145/mo 36 month lease). Tell the dealer you were planning on buying from that dealer and paying a few hundred for shipping but if they can match you will buy from there...About a .0001% chance they'll match but it probably won't take long to be told no, you don't have to deal with the games and can give your local dealer a shot...

Once done you email no less than 10 local dealers with the exact model and options and give them a date of when you plan to buy (eg this saturday) and are accepting bids...

Alternatively you can just buy/lease from the dealer above and pay the few hundred for shipping...
 

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That might be true comparing MSRP to lease prices, but I got my volt heavily, heavily discounted which blows the formula out of the water. Cars last much longer than the B2B warranty, a set of tires is $500-600 a set which is far less than 3 additional years of leasing.

Car salesmen need to be believed like Meghan Trainor sings "You know they lie, their lips are moving..."
<Sarcasm>Be sure to get the scotch guard fabric protection, extended warranty, rustproofing, and vehicular maintenance plan</sarcasm>

True story, a coworker traded in a perfectly good CUV because they were too late to get the extended warranty on the vehicle, so the dealer got them into a new CUV with the extended warranty, they are now upside down on the deal and regretting not working through the math while they were enjoying the new car excitement. Stupid tax!!!
Outside of specific incentives (eg Lease conquest) if you buy at a sales price than you can lease at the sales price...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Many thanks for your on-point input. One piece of advice (don’t be influenced by the May 31 Veteran Discount deadline) is worth repeating and is a pillar for all sale scenarios. Make the buy at your own pace, making sure you are comfortable and confident in every aspect of the deal; don’t be rushed. And if in any way you feel rushed, that becomes an instant/valid signal to shut it down – to live and conjure another day.

I would submit that that wonderful buffer actually rolls advantageously and effortlessly into place when the buyer (astutely) defines email as the mode for all communication/negotiation. Running with that excellent thought, I especially embraced KNS’ comments (which were reinforced by several others). That is, the whole nutshell method of how to conduct a dispassionate search. Normally I would exclusively target dealers having my car but s/he correctly points out that virtually any dealer can play the game; that would be me getting the best-value however the seller acquires the desired vehicle.

With great past success I have worked this know-your-market method when purchasing dealer used cars. Absolutely telling no lies, I advise each player (dealer) that I will be taking delivery on a new car next XXXXXday (preferably a weekday). I assure each dealer of my willingness to do the drive to their location, however long. With multiple sellers lined up -- that makes the car they each possess a commodity. At that point they come to post, or wistfully call me afterward to confirm that I was true to my word (i.e., their lost-deal remorse). It’s extremely powerful.

So, my next task in the present is largely administrative. To conduct a thorough search on cars/autotrader.com, plus whatever other good sources come from future feedback here on the forum. My goal will be to fashion a complete list even though it’s hard to know when that’s been achieved. I will then target dealers having my precise product; ready to zoom an email toward each one. That may happen toward the end of the month, so maybe some individual sales-quota leverage will also be taking shape (???). I will keep you apprised herein but also encourage your helpful thoughts.
Thanks,
TheKingfish
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
 

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I recommend the following tweaks to your process. Visit, or otherwise communicate to some number of dealers on the same day your specs, let them know that you are giving the same specs to multiple dealers, and let them know you will compare only the bottom line out-the-door numbers and purchase the best value (not necessarily the lowest price) three days from then. For me, most recently, I purchased from a dealer who had to bring in the car I wanted from another state. I didn't care since I was interested in only the bottom line number.

KNS
Ditto to the above, just ask for the bottom line number - I've done this for almost 15 years now, ever since online inventories were shown on web sites. Those with numbers can be compared, those that reply with the "come on down let's talk" crap and do not provide a number are OUT.
This is essentially what I did a few weeks ago. I got some help from FightingChance.com for details and research, but still the same process of using email and phone to have dealers bid against each other.
 

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Many thanks for your on-point input. One piece of advice (don’t be influenced by the May 31 Veteran Discount deadline) is worth repeating and is a pillar for all sale scenarios. Make the buy at your own pace, making sure you are comfortable and confident in every aspect of the deal; don’t be rushed. And if in any way you feel rushed, that becomes an instant/valid signal to shut it down – to live and conjure another day.

I would submit that that wonderful buffer actually rolls advantageously and effortlessly into place when the buyer (astutely) defines email as the mode for all communication/negotiation. Running with that excellent thought, I especially embraced KNS’ comments (which were reinforced by several others). That is, the whole nutshell method of how to conduct a dispassionate search. Normally I would exclusively target dealers having my car but s/he correctly points out that virtually any dealer can play the game; that would be me getting the best-value however the seller acquires the desired vehicle.

With great past success I have worked this know-your-market method when purchasing dealer used cars. Absolutely telling no lies, I advise each player (dealer) that I will be taking delivery on a new car next XXXXXday (preferably a weekday). I assure each dealer of my willingness to do the drive to their location, however long. With multiple sellers lined up -- that makes the car they each possess a commodity. At that point they come to post, or wistfully call me afterward to confirm that I was true to my word (i.e., their lost-deal remorse). It’s extremely powerful.

So, my next task in the present is largely administrative. To conduct a thorough search on cars/autotrader.com, plus whatever other good sources come from future feedback here on the forum. My goal will be to fashion a complete list even though it’s hard to know when that’s been achieved. I will then target dealers having my precise product; ready to zoom an email toward each one. That may happen toward the end of the month, so maybe some individual sales-quota leverage will also be taking shape (???). I will keep you apprised herein but also encourage your helpful thoughts.
Thanks,
TheKingfish
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
I'll say that the last week of the month is, nothing more than higher odds, that a dealer will wheel and deal with less time/effort expended...Send 10 emails on the 6th of the month, might get 3 replies...Send the same email on the 25th odds increase of getting 6 emails back...I guess it fun to refer a dealer as a player but they actually prefer that their time not be wasted either...Email (vs coming in or calling) is the fastest way for both parties to come to a quick solution...With that being said one strategy to increase your odds of an email reply is to call the dealer first, ask for the internet manager, introduce yourself, ask for their email and tell them you'll be sending them one...Also you do not need autotrader, you can order the exact car you want with the options you want at the same price...This method above is preached by many experts as the least time consuming way to buy a car and it's always worked well for myself (I've never bought a car that wasn't at least $2K under invoice for myself, GF, friends and family) but understand not everyone may share this view...Some people simply enjoy personally visiting a several local dealerships...I do not, in fact my Volt purchase didn't even require stepping foot into the dealership which is a big deal in traffic heavy L.A....All the negotiations were done over email, dealer sent a courier to my work at lunch for myself to sign the paperwork and drive the car to my home a few days later...I paid $1500 down (in cali we get $1500 back) and $204.99/mo for an LT w/leather, comfort and bose along with 12K/year miles...If I get into an accident or the MY18 gets fast(er) charging or 75 miles of range I'm turning it in...If I love (I won't until GM/Apple fixes BT autoplay after a notification issue) my Volt at turn I can purchase it...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the perspective on timing (success likely enhanced toward month’s end). Also agree with the dealer personal touch, preceding email communication with a phone call. Individual introduction goes a long way toward a fruitful relationship. And even though dealers are players in the sense that they choose to “play” your game, there is nothing gained by overtly reducing their professional efficiency.

However, I do see considerable value in the use of AutoTrader as a means for gaining a perspective on price. It’s a big world out there and AT is a use-with-caution tool that should not be dismissed. I don’t know from long personal experience that an edge on purchase price can be had by pulling a vehicle from the lot (as opposed to ordering), but it sounds good in theory. Theory would say there is some degree of motivation by the dealer on an existing car, and AutoTrader can be the macro search engine for finding same. Humble opinion.....

One constant that I do see from personal experience is the need to be patient; to purposefully hold self in research mode. Like a rolling stone, you will benefit from the accumulated knowledge. More often we tend to discount that advantage, thinking we’re pretty-smart pretty-fast. Two small beneficial go-long examples from my current hunt: First, my May 31 expiring Veteran’s Discount had the recent good luck to be supplanted by a Suppliers Discount which allows for the longer view. Second, the passage of time has prompted a personal evolution toward a different more-desirable color (red >> green). In the end I have found that introspection and sand through the hour glass tends to bring greater buyer satisfaction. I recommend it.
Thanks,
TheKingfish
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
 

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The buying process is all about the least amount of time/effort it takes to get the price...Step one is going to the dealer and test driving a LT and Premier to decide exactly what model and options you want...After the test drive, I'd have EXTREMELY low expectations that your local dealer will give you the best price but the salesman will want to talk...But again, minimal time and effort, right? what you do ahead of time is take a screenshot on your cell of this advertised deal http://www.quirkchevy.com/new-vehicles/chevy-lease-and-finance-offers-near-boston-ma/ ($0 down, $145/mo 36 month lease). Tell the dealer you were planning on buying from that dealer and paying a few hundred for shipping but if they can match you will buy from there...About a .0001% chance they'll match but it probably won't take long to be told no, you don't have to deal with the games and can give your local dealer a shot...

Alternatively you can just buy/lease from the dealer above and pay the few hundred for shipping...
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?240794-Can-this-17-Volt-lease-deal-be-real
Post # 8, they won't sell to someone out of state. I also think it would be more than a few hundred to ship a car from MA to MI.

I'd also be careful about using the accident scenario to promote leasing, as many people put money down on a lease and that money is gone if the car were to be totalled.
 
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