Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why I bought a foreign car.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do work for one of the big three, actually for a smaller company that is owned by Ford. I'm a white collar worker with a college degree, and I still have a job – knock on wood right?
So the car situation in our household took a turn for the worse about two weeks ago. My budget transportation that I wasn't planning on driving forever died. It was time for it to go. I needed a car, and fast. Considering I work for Ford, I went to the Ford Dealership nearest to my place of employment. My intention was to get a base focus, preferably manual, 3 or 5 doors. I wanted a hatchback. Then I realized that they were only selling new 2 doors and 4 doors. No hatchback. Next I considered a Fusion.
The great big glowing sign outside said zero down, 199 a mo. for Focus, or zero down 229 a month for Fusion. I mentioned this to the kind salesman who seemed cool, although a bit cheesy (actually the whole place was supa cheese, but I digress) and he said that deal was if I was returning a Ford leased vehicle. "Not so much", I said.
So we worked out a deal for a Fusion, no options, 4-banger, automatic, 12k miles a year, for a mere $306 a month. This was with zero down. I shook his hand, said I'd be back later that night to pick up the car and go through all the paper work. I wasn't exactly feeling excited about my experience, or the boat anchor of a sedan that I had just chained to my neck for the next 39 months.
I called the wife and broke the news to her. She was far from happy as well. We had been discussing our options all weekend, and that was at the top of our budget, for a car she didn't care for much. She let me have it. One of our other options was looking at a VW. I had checked online a bit, and saw a lease deal for a brand new 2009 Rabbit, two-door hatch, manual, for $267. I assumed it was a gimmick, or you had to put a ton down. So I called. The dude set me straight, and I made my way out there.
When I arrived, the first thing they wanted to do was get me in a car for a test drive. That was fun. It's a very solid little car. Very nice interior for a base model, 5speed, with a 5-cylinder engine, that puts out 170hp/177tq. That's 10hp & 21ft-lb more than the 4 cylinder in the fusion and 30/46 more than the focus!! This model also had 16inch wheels and the cold weather package. That includes heated seats, mirrors, and spray nozzles, as well as beefy all-weather floor mats.
Worked out the numbers and the lease for 15k miles/year, for three years, came out to $310/month. This bad boy is worth it. Styling is euro slick, and the lines are tight. Electronic Stability Program is great, especially in the snow. First three oil changes are free, and the first one doesn't come until 10,000 miles!! I'll prolly change it on my own before then though...
So I know in these tough times for the big three, it may seem blasphemous to give my money to Germany. It is my opinion that for this amount of money, I should get the most car I can. I think I did. So let me have it.