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We deserve all the car that we can afford

My criticism of ‘easy terms’ financing of all things in general and automobiles in particular is well articulated here

The manufacturers don’t need to offer high value/low cost vehicles as long as there is cheap money available for long term financing.

Dude, you seem to have misplaced your sense of entitlement. Did you leave it somewhere? Did someone borrow it? Why don’t you have it?

You know, I agree with the sentiment of your post’s title. I think we do deserve all the car/clothes/vacation we can afford. Note I said afford–not finance. I think there’s a difference.

I’ve noticed that the last few times I bought a car from a dealer the first question wasn’t how much are you willing to pay, but how will you be paying for it? They seem happier to finance a car for you than to take your cash.

Last car loan I took I asked for a 4 year loan. As the guy was writing the paperwork my wife and I explained that we’d sign a 4 year loan but planned to have the car paid off in 18 months to 2 years. They guy looked at us and said “Save your money, take the 4 years to pay it off.”

Riiight…save money by extending your loan…

I had an automobile salesman tell me 49 years ago that to be total car salesman, you had to sell three things: 1)financing; 2) life insurance on the financing; 3) the automobile in that order. I was buying my first new car and I wanted a very basic car and was looking for a stripped down Rambler American. This salesman understood what I wanted and was a cash buyer. He said, “Would you really like to save some money? We have a 1965 Rambler Classic 550 (the bottom of the line in the Classic series) with 7000 miles and the balance of the warranty”. That was exactly what I wanted and I paid $1750 for the car. I drove that car for years–through my second round of graduate school and saving up to build a house.

I have colleagues that buy cars on the size of the monthly payments. To me, that makes no sense. Doing that is just renting money and its expensive rent at that.

I bought my last four cars and my last five motorcycles cash, no financing. The savings compound, not only do I not have to pay loan interest, but I don’t have to buy the full coverage insurance that most banks insist on as a condition for the loan.
My current motorcycle, being a “sport bike” would almost have been un affordable had I gone full coverage with the insurance. Liability only is very reasonable on motorcycles, even “sport bikes”.

It’s just as easy to put a monthly payment into your savings account before you buy a car as it is to make payments after you buy a car.

@Triedaq Salesmen are programmed (“trained”) to sell the financing and all those add-ons. We bought my wife’s 2012 Mazda3 from the nearby dealer. The salesman asked if we had “bank” financing or did we want to use the special Mazda low interest plan.

I told him we were paying cash for the car and he got very uncomfortable since he never had processed a cash transaction. He kept trying to sell the Mazda fiancing!

We paid with a bank draft which had to be OK’d by the sales manager.

yes, I only tell them I m paying cash after we ve agreed on a price in most cases

I think that the article misses the point. Dealers order cars speculating on what most people want. The cars on their lot sell more quickly that way. Cars without options are available, but only if you order them. You can get anything you want or leave off everything extra if you want to and are willing to wait for the car to arrive. Or you could buy a brand like Honda that doesn’t have options, just a lot of trim levels. There are 12 different trim levels on the Civic alone, not including transmission choices.

Depending on the car you can find stripped down models on the lot (Nissan Versa Note,Toyota Yaris) but most of the demand these days is really for at least a mid level trim with Power Windows/Locks/Keyless for not a huge amount more. Some don’t build anything without power windows and haven’t for years (Subaru for example) The dealers in my area order what is in the most demand with maybe 1-2 basic models compared to 10-20 of the next trim level.

@jtsanders – It has become very difficult, at least here in the St. Louis area, to order a more basic trim vehicle. Last time I was able to do that was for my 1987 Olds. I tried to do so for my Impala in 2007 and couldn’t. Again, a few months ago, I tried to order an Accord configured basically and couldn’t, couldn’t do so with the Camry either. And that was with talking to multiple dealers. What I really miss is being able to do what I did for the '87 Olds; order an otherwise basic trim level but with the bigger 6 cyl engine. No can do. Only way to get the top of the line engine in most sedans is buy an upper trim level with the sun roof, nav sys, leather seats, maid and running water. I can’t really afford the price tag on the premium trim levels but resent being stuck with less engine performance simply because I don’t want to shell out for the luxury amenities.

@Marnet, the Accord doesn’t have any options. The base model is the LX model. There are no options except dealer installed ones. You never have to accept them if the dealer puts them on. When I bought my Accord in 2005, I wanted the EX V6. It came with a lot of standard equipment that I wanted and had no options.

I know. I would have liked a 6 cyl in either the Accord or the Camry but without the sun roof and nav sys. Doesn’t work that way. Either live with a 4 cyl or with the sun roof and nav sys.

I bought the Accord with sunroof in 2005 and haven’t had any problems with it.

Things have certainly changed for the worse, as far as Toyota is concerned

My 2005 Camry has the V6, and no sunfroof or navigation

But what would the dealers have in stock if financing was limited to 24 months with 20% down? You guys are tighter than me with your money but it appears that most Americans lean toward the “owe it to myself” category and the banks and dealerships make the most of that. If financing was much tighter there would likely be quite a few of the more basic models with standard transmission, manual windows and w/o blue tooth in stock, don’t you think.

I’m also a tightwad

I’ve always paid cash

And I don’t buy $1500 beaters

I m not a tightwad

I ve always paid cash

I buy 1500.00 bargains

In theory at least you can have the Camry SE without Leather or Nav but according to edmunds you can’t have the backup camera without also selecting the moon roof. But getting the dealer to order one that basic might be the challenge.

@Docnick–The line I have used with salesmen is this: “I have some money and you have a car. What I am here to determine is how much of my money it is going to take to buy your car”.

I don’t see why a dealer would not order exactly what you want. He can put the order in with his next spec order and the car is sold as soon as it arrives. The Camry is built in Kentucky so it is not as if it has to be delivered from Japan.

Dealers are frequently shipped more cars than they want and have to pay financing charges on those cars until they are sold. If you come in and special order a car, it does nothing to help the dealer to clear his backlog. Never tell the dealer you are paying cash until you have a price set, he is hoping to make a profit on your financing (kickback).