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Archive for July, 2010

The Do’s & Don’ts of Car Buying

With all the sales events going on this month I thought I’d take a moment to discuss a few car buying rules. It’s easy to get carried away by a good deal, or worse, a bad deal in holiday gift wrap. The thing is the deals are out there, but you have to keep your head straight. Here are a few of our industry insiders’ top tips for car buyers.

Do shop around. Find overstock offers, year-end clearance sales and dealer liquidations. Don’t fall in love. Expand your options to a few different makes and models, test drive them and compare prices.

Do research loan options. Know your credit score, if it’s better than 720 you’re likely to qualify for $0 down deals and a 6% interest rate bank loan.

Don’t take a long loan. Yes, the monthly payments sound awesome, but the longer you pay the more of your payment goes to interest.

Do lease. Many used 2009 models are back on dealer lots and leasing at the best values on the market.

Don’t lease. I know, contradicting myself here, but due to depreciating car values lease interest rates for new cars are often equal to loan payments.

Do read the business section. With many car manufactures in limbo it’s vital to understand who’s likely to climb their way out, dead brand vehicles are expected to depreciate faster than normal.

Don’t negotiate in person. Take advantage of email and telephone to communicate with dealers, this keeps YOU in YOUR comfort zone and will allow you to think through any deal on your own time.

To sum it all up, do your research and choose a car based on what is right for you. Don’t let a dealer, lender or commercial make your decision for you. Please post your "do’s and don’ts" in the comments, we’re all here to learn from each other.

Volvo New City Safety Technology

Volvo is already known for producing safe vehicles, but the 2010 Volvo XC60 takes car safety to a new level. The 2010 Volvo XC60 has a new safety system called City Safety as standard equipment. It is officially be Volvo’s safest vehicle so far.

The City Safety technology helps the driver to avoid a low speed collision. The majority of reported collisions take place at low speeds, mainly due to a distracted driver not braking in time. If the Volvo XC60’s City Safety system detects an imminent collision, it automatically applies the brakes and gives an audible warning to alert the driver.

The system uses a laser sensor that is located near the top of the windshield, behind the rear-view mirror, to detect objects within 13 feet in front of the vehicle. At speeds up to 18 mph, the lasers will scan for obstacles.

If a possible collision is detected, the system can automatically stop the vehicle without driver input. Between 9 and 18 mph, the system focuses on slowing down the vehicle as much as possible before a collision happens.

A red light flashes on the windshield, as well as a warning light in the multifunction display, to inform the driver that the system has engaged. It also illuminates the brake lights to warn drivers behind the vehicle.

Overall, the system helps to protect occupants inside the vehicle, as well as occupants of the vehicle directly in front and behind.

The Dealer Four Square Technique

New car dealers use various techniques to try to secure a sale with the most possible profit. One of the most popular techniques is called the four square. The four square worksheet helps the salesperson view the total profit to the dealership as well as the separate elements of the deal. The sheet is divided into four squares:

  • Trade-in price: The amount that the dealership will credit you for your trade-in vehicle. This figure is credited toward your purchase of a new vehicle. Consider selling your old car rather than trading it in, you may get more money by selling it yourself.
  • New car price: This is the price of the new car that you want. Often a dealer will write the price of the car in large print, then write “plus fees,” in small print, indicating that, on top of the cost of the car, you will pay sales tax and other fees.
  • Down payment: Here they enter the maximum amount that you are willing to put down. The will try to coax the highest amount possible.
  • Monthly payments: Here they enter the maximum amount that you are willing to pay per month.
  • The salesperson will then try to manipulate the numbers to get the most profit while making the customer feel that they are getting a deal. For example, if the customer is only willing to pay a small down payment, then they will write down a lower down payment and an inflated monthly payment.

    Decide what your maximum down payment and monthly payment should be before going to the dealership. Don’t tell the salesperson the maximum amounts you are willing to pay, tell them the amounts that you actually want to pay. Write all these figures down and stick to them.

    New Fuel Economy Standards for 2011

    The US administration has announced updated automobile fuel economy standards for new vehicles starting with 2011 models. The goal is to reduce gasoline emissions and consumption.

    Cars and light trucks will need to meet a U.S. fuel economy average of 27.3 miles per gallon for 2011 models, a 2 mpg increase from the previous year’s requirements. The change isn’t as aggressive as the 27.8 mpg target that President Bush had proposed in 2008.

    New car fuel economy already averaged 31.3 mpg by 2007, according to the NHTSA. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a waiver that would allow California and other states to set their own auto emissions rules.

    The change will cost auto manufacturers approximately $1.46 billion in fuel saving technologies. It will also save approximately 887 million gallons of fuel over the life of 2011 models and cut carbon emissions by approximately 8.3 million tons.

    Perhaps these new standards will give a new popularity to the small cars and hybrid cars that haven’t been doing very well in the market lately.

    What Our customers are saying

    The lease rate I got by calling the dealer was $67 higher than the rate I got from Car Leasing Secrets. It’s all about the local competition. So happy with my Benz!
    Cristoph Wiese
    Athens, GA
    This is probably the easiest way to get quotes and compare them. I got one from each dealer in my city. One of them was surprisingly low. The quotes are free. No worries there.
    Kristen Fletcher
    Albany, NY
    What a great way to shop around! I wanted a Corolla. There’s only one Toyota dealership in my city but I got a quote for a Honda Civic and decided to go with that one because I got such a good offer.
    Mark Dolan
    Missoula, MT