CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

How much would you offer?

Considering buying an SUV - there’s a NEW 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid sitting on the dealer’s lot. It’s listed for about $31,000. KBB lists it for about $30,000. We realize there are dealer costs blah blah blah but why would we want to pay that much when for the same amount or not much more we could get a 2009 or 2010? We’re considering making an offer…where would you start?

Offer slightly less than what you are comfortable paying for it.

I would start personally at $24k or less. What do you have to loose?

This Mercury Mariner is two years old (or soon will be) by the model year. If you purchase it and then turn around immediately and resell it, you will no likely get more than any two year old Mercury Mariner. Also, keep in mind that the battery, the tires, and the belts are 2 years old even though the car hasn’t been driven.

I went through the same thing 21 years ago in the fall of 1998. The Pontiac dealer had a 1987 Pontiac 6000 that had never been sold. I told the salesperson that I was buying a car that week and give me the best price the dealership would accept. I also pointed out that the car was 2 years old by the model year. We were left in the booth while the saleswoman went to get a price from “her boss”. I cautioned my wife not to say anything while we waited, because many dealers have hidden microphones to detect the customer’s interest and how much the customer is willing to pay. The saleswoman came back and said that they would take $150 off the sticker price. I said that the price wasn’t good enough and that I could buy a 1988 Taurus down the street which had an equivalent sticker price for a lot less money. She said that maybe we could work out a better price. I told her that I didn’t have time to waste–her agency had its chance–and I went down the street and bought the Ford. The Ford had a big reduction in price because it was at the end of the 1988 model year.

My guess is that the dealer that has this Mercury Mariner doesn’t want to deal. If you are really interested, take the price for a two year old Mercury Mariner as listed in some trade book that has average miles and start for there. IMHO, your chances of getting a good price from this dealer are slim to none. I think you would be better off shopping for a 2010 Mercury or Ford Hybrid SUV.

The value of the vehicle is that of a 2 model years old vehicle, new and unsold or not, so no way would I offer anywhere near the MSRP.
Call your bank and see what they would loan on it. That may put you into the neighborhood anyway.

The dealer is under far more pressure to get this vehicle gone than you are to purchase it so make it a pure, unemotional business decision and offer 24k and andrew says.
The fact this SUV has been sitting around for 1.5-2 years is unusual and since cash flow is king on a dealer lot it would seem to me they would be willing to make a real deal just to move it.

As I understand it, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid (and the sister Ford Escape Hybrid) are popular vehicles. I’ll bet the dealer had opportunities to sell this Mariner at a reasonable price and make a reasonable profit. He keeps thinking he will get a better price. Maybe he will. Make the $22,000-24,000 offer and don’t budge. If he won’t take your offer, let him keep his car.

21 years ago in the fall of 1998? Tell me mighty time traveler, what is the trifeca for the next few Kentucky Derbys? :slight_smile:

Whoops! This was the fall of 1988. At any rate, this Pontiac dealer didn’t stay in business very much longer–the agency was sold to another owner who really cleaned things up. My guess is that the dealer in the OP that has the Mercury Mariner is much like the dealer that I tried to work with back in 1988. In fact, today, as opposed to 1988, dealers can log into a database and can locate cars in other dealers’ inventories. This dealer may have even had requests from other dealers for the Mariner and wouldn’t work with them.

One more thought: suppose you buy the Mariner and the next week it is totaled in an accident, burned up in a fire, or stolen. My guess is that the insurance company will only compensate you for a 2008 Mercury Mariner. Keep thisin mind in your offer to this dealer.

As I said in the other thread(general discussions), this one was probably a demo car they used and didn’t have to title. I had one salesman offer me an 08 CX-7 that had over 19k miles on it, but it would be titled as new.
So, check the mileage on the vehicle, then go from there. Don’t let them try and BS you about it being a popular car, or hybrids can’t be sold under sticker price. IF it was so popular, why is it still on the lot, especially with everyone clamoring for better fuel economy just a few weeks ago with the c4c program going on. The 08 should have been snagged by one of the first customers

Dealers don’t like a vehicle sitting around for more than a week so one that has been loitering around for going on 2 years is very suspicious.

Before even giving 24 grand for it I would do some serious homework on the history of this car, including contacting Ford Corporate and making SURE that it’s new and being passed off as such.

Who knows. Maybe this thing was sitting around at a body shop awaiting repair due to being wrecked or it’s something picked up from out of state where it was under 4 feet of flood water, etc.
There’s a lot of possibilities and it’s difficult for me to picture this dealer paying interest on the floor plan for 6 months much less a year and a half or better.

Offer $6,000 less than MSRP. It’s last years model. I would not buy it if it was made last August, without getting a lot taken off the price. It doesn’t seem smart to have a hybrid sitting around for a long time. Look at the fuel economy sticker and compare it to conventional SUVs.

Thank you for all the replies. We went out to the lot on Sunday to take another look at the '08 Mariner and, while standing there looking at it - as in walking around it and talking about it - asked what the mileage was. Without even opening the door to look, the salesman ‘guessed’ that it was no more than whatever the mileage is from Seattle to Portland. The story is that the vehicle was ordered by a fleet manager and when the vehicles arrived, the mgr didn’t want all of them after all. The '08 Mariner was one of those that the dealership was stuck with. What was also odd is that this particular salesman didn’t even ask us if we wanted to test drive it - don’t know if he thought we weren’t serious or if he thought we already had test driven it but we been on several lots lately and NEVER had a salesman not ask! Actually, this particular salesmen could give car salesmen a bad name!! :slight_smile:

The idea about contacting the bank is a good one…

If you don’t change the way you’re going about this you’re going to pay too much. Your posts indicate that you’re allowing the sales people to dictate things, and it seems you think they’d be doing you a favor by selling you a vehicle.

This is all backward. Ask yourself this, “Who’s money is it?”

It’s YOUR money (well, the bank’s most likely, but that’s not the point) that’s going to be spent. Don’t you think you should have some control over the process?

Did you tell the salesman on Sunday that you wanted a test drive? If not, why not? If you weren’t ready to test drive why are you looking? Auto salespersons are taught to “grab the customer by the nose and lead them around.” You can change the dynamic by not allowing that to happen.

I wouldn’t believe anything they told me about the vehicle’s history unless it can be proven. “Fleet vehicle?” Yeah, sure, maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. The fact is it’s a two-year old vehicle with unknown (at this point) mileage about which you know absolutely nothing. Considering the popularity of hybrids the last year or two I’d wonder why this one is still sitting on the lot.

I don’t believe in “making an offer” on a vehicle. Instead I do my research ahead of time, decide EXACTLY how much I’m willing to pay for the vehicle in question, line up the money ahead of time, and then I TELL the salesperson how much I’m willing to pay.

Once I name my figure I will not budge. Not a cent. I either buy the vehicle for my price or I walk away and start over. I’ve spent HOURS stating the same price over and over again, to a multitude of sales managers, etc, but I’ve never budged and always gotten the car.

I think any dealer would be more than happy to see this thing go down the road. It’s costing them money to have it sitting around, and the 2010s are coming in. Something doesn’t smell right.

Popular vehicles demand high-prices. If the demand is high and there are fewer vehicles to buy then the price is going to be high.

$31 for an 08 when the 09 or 10 are about the same price. I sure wouldn’t. But some people have paid well OVER MSRP for certain vehicles over the years (Mazda Miata, PT Cruiser, Prowler, Viper). Then 2 years later that same vehicle is selling for less then 1/2 what they paid for it.

You are right and thank you for replying. We’ll certainly take your advice about not budging!!! We haven’t offered anything…have been doing our research on other sites and have been to the bank as someone else suggested (which wasn’t much help after all in determining a price). When we get ready to make an offer, we will go in with a figure and that will be it. (My term of ‘offer’ probably isn’t exactly the right word.) The internet sales rep, whom we contacted last evening, gave us a different story of how they acquired this vehicle but which makes your suspicions about something not being right even more valid. But, he did tell us that it had 598 miles on it which is more than I could get out of the salesman.

Earlier I wrote:

Is anyone else seeing their replies disappear from this thread?
I posted a reply and now it’s gone.
I thought I saw a reply from mcparadise saying
"where did his reply go" but now that reply is gone too!

Never mind. I now see there are two threads on this.

Was looking at a used new SRT-8 Challenger awhile back on a sunday(dealership was closed, that’s why I went). Someone else was doing the same thing and said the Challenger was one of the first off the factory line and the previous owner paid like $65k for it, the dealership was wanting $41k, and you could buy a new one for $1k more. So, the first owner overpaid 20 grand, and probably lost 30(of his original 65) when he traded it in

I would add that since this vehicle has almost 600 miles on it this means it’s one of 3 things; dealer demo, lease car, or insurance loss purchase.

This could bring up a point about why it’s still loitering around; accident, flood victim, or whatever and the car has been going through a bureaucratic paper shuffle, waiting on repairs at a body shop, or possibly months spent trying to iron out the bugs after being submerged.

A call to FOMOCO might clear this up about any “problem” that may exist and the car history.
As of this point, I’d be very antsy about this vehicle no matter if a large chunk were to be deducted from the MSRP or not.

Should have added in regards to an ins. loss that there is a large lot on North I-35 in Oklahoma City that is chock full of late model vehicles which are there for one reason or another. Some are utter burned totals but most are wrecks, flood cars, etc.

Only licensed dealers are allowed to buy there and by my rough estimate there are probably 8-9k cars there. These vehicles are going to wind up somewhere…

As soon as you take delivery it is a used 2008 vehicle with low miles. Make an offer based on the used car price for a low mileage 2008 because that is what you are buying. I’d offer $21K for it. If the dealer dosen’t like that they can counter.

If they insist on selling a 2008 for at a new car price, then get a 2010.