Smart Buy Strategy

I have a smart buy on a 2004 Pontiac GTO that I would like to keep. I paid $250 a month for 47 months and now I owe 16,000 as the final payment, or I can just turn in the car. I am 8K under the mileage limit of 48K. As I said, I would like to keep the car, but I was wondering whether I can renegotiate anything at the end of the Smart Buy which ends in September. I was thinking that the dealership may not want my gas guzzler since they may have trouble selling it in this economy. Do dealerships ever renegotiate at the end of the Smart Buy and what things can I negotiate with them?

You have my sympathy. The clever dealership worked out terms for a StupidBuy contract and renamed it SmartBuy. You fell for it, as many others did. Now you are all “upside-down,” owing more than your car is worth.

Now you must ask yourself, “If I needed a car right now, today, would I want to spend $16,000 on a 2004 GTO?” If you think that price is too high, turn in your car in September and search for a better deal.

If you decide to keep the car you can try to negotiate with the dealer but you must understand he will only offer terms that are highly unfavorable to you. A better option would be to seek a $16,000 loan from your bank or credit union. Pay off the dealer and make payments on your new bank loan insted.

One of the MANY reasons car companies have been losing money in HUGE amounts lately is gas guzzlers coming off of lease programs. Chryco has ceased leasing big pickups and SUVs for that reason.

Apparently GM didn’t figure the value of your GTO too poorly. Their crystal balls weren’t too far off. NADA shows an '04 GTO as being worth $15,450 wholesale and $17,950 retail in my region. Go to and follow the prompts. If you can buy it for $16K, that’s not too bad. There is a possibility that they MIGHT negotiate, but probably not, at least not with you. Since it’s a nice car, they may keep it and sell it at retail themselves. Unlike Jeeps and Durangos, those cars are still sought after, so that shouldn’t be a problem. They may also take it to a wholesale dealer’s auction.

Question: If you had financed that car four years ago, what would the payments have been? Now that you will probably need to finance it for another few years, what will the payments be? Which was a better deal? Are you still glad you leased it?