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.


Observer_Mike said...

I struggle with this very scenario often. Friends and family often ask me "why should I spend more and get less with Ford"? I really dont have a strong argument. I am going to be buying 2 vehicles, 1 new, 1 used in the next few weeks. Im struggling with the dollars and sense of buying Ford right now. Im going to sit across from the salesman and lay it out on the line. I want to buy Ford. Convince me to buy Ford.

BiGhEaD said...

Thanks for the reply. One recommendation I can make, is to go out and get prices on some comparably equipped comparator vehicles, from other manufacturers; foreign and domestic. This is one thing I didn't do.
I've also been told be a few that you have to play the game, aka haggle. I'm not into haggling. I'm into getting the most for my money, without having to play games. (no, I don't shop at Wal-Mart)
If you walk into a dealership, with the model, options and price in mind, and they can't make it happen, I can't see why you should let loyalty (or sympathy) to a company keep you from taking your hard-earned dollars else where. I haven't heard anyone yet give me a good solid reason to buy American. I mean, besides the catchy bumper stickers that ask me if I'm out of a job yet.

Peace In,

Observer_Mike said...

Yes sir! Picking up the who ride tonight! Ford Flex, AWD loaded.
I shopped everyone, and I mean everyone. I spent 2 days at the dealerships crunching numbers on both purchases and leases. The bottom line = lease is still cheaper than purchase. No matter what they say, autos are still leasing, and doing it well.
Word of wisdom = Dont hate the playa, hate the game. If you dont play the game, they win. If you are patient and straight forward, you win.