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What should I offer for this car?

I’m interested in buying a 2004 Mazda 3 with 76000 miles on it. I test drove it, liked it, and now want to put an offer together.

The car is listed for $9983.

I’ve checked NADA, Edmunds, KBB and they’re all over the place and in my opinion, way too high for a car that is 7 years old and have 75,000 miles on it.

Ideally, I want to pay around 8000, maybe a little more, and trade in a well used 97 Toyota Camry with 213000 miles on it.

Does 8000 seem like way too low an offer for this car?

$8,000 Is Way Too High For A 7 To 8 Year-Old Little Mazda, Regardless of Mileage. I Don’t Care, Nor Do I Go By NADA, Edmunds, Or KBB. You Can Do Much Better. Keep Looking. Be Patient.

I just could not imagine starting out with an old car after paying that much. That car is beyond middle-age and unless you know it’s entire history then it could go from an expensive old car to a nightmare.

What is the car’s history, service documentation, and what are the specifics of the warranty that come with it ? Has it ever been in a collison ?


Hi CSA! Thanks for your reply.
The car has a clean Carfax- no accidents, regularly passed inspection for the state. The dealership has some information on maintenance and it appears it was maintained well, according to the records. It just had the brakes done. It has had one owner who traded in for a new Acura. The Acura dealer it went to doesn’t typically sell trade ins that aren’t Acuras, but they’re selling this one. The salesman says it is because of its condition. The cosmetics of the car are excellent- little wear on the interior, paint is in good shape, no major dings, scratches, or rust.
The warranty is a standard lemon law warranty, 60 days, 2500 miles.

What would be reasonable? I’ve never negotiated a car sale before, so I’m nervous about what to offer up front. In terms of what else is out there for sale, this car is in line with what other dealers are listing them for.

With gasoline moving past $4 and heading towards $5, econo-cars like this one are bringing top dollar…The dealer will sell it in a few days for the asking price and he knows it…You have little leverage to bargain with…

You will do MUCH better selling your Camry for cash yourself, not trading it in.

If you disregard fuel mileage, $10,000 will buy MUCH more vehicle than what you are looking at…

If you trade in the Camry, you’ll lose money. Offer $7850 for the Mazda with no trade in. They won’t take it but you will settle somewhere around $8000 to 8500. The Edmunds values are close to reality, KBB is often too high and that’s why car dealers use them when they sell, and Edmunds when they value your trade-in.

Sell the Camry yourself. If it runs it should get you at least $1,000 and if it is decent Camry’s can get $3,000 in a private sale. You should be able to buy the Mazda, sell the Camry, pay sales tax and licensing fee’s and still come in under your $8,000 budget when all said and done.

I was in the market for a car and noticed that since the economic downturn the used car market has gone crazy. Some are willing to pay a new car price to get in a 3 yr old off lease car. I don’t get it, argued my case with many dealerships with residual value and profit margins. In the end they were selling the cars while I was doing basic math. So I caved in and for the 1st time in my life bought a brand new car.
You would do much better if you sold your Camry privately and just haggled online with dealers as far as 100 miles from your home. Print the best offer and walk in the Mazda dealer next door and ask the internet sales person to beat that offer by $200.

I went through the same thing a year ago. We decided to sell (at family discount) our 2006 Chevrolet Uplander to our son who needed a better vehicle. I was going to buy another used minivan. I found a similar 2006 Chevrolet minivan and the price waas ony $1000 less than I paid in 2006 for the Uplander that was a “program” vehicle. After seeing the prices on other used minivans, I sprung for a 2011 Toyota Sienna. Toyota was suffering from the sticking accelerator syndrome,so they were ready to deal.

$8,000 is half the price of a 2011 basic VW Jetta. Find an auto broker, go to an auction, and pay the broker $500 to locate a clean three-year-old Jetta or GTI for $8-10,000. Best is a TDI with 40+mpg.