The new car

Tonight we bought a new car.

Actually, we’ve leased it—a Toyota Highlander for 36 months.

I’m not a fan of buying or leasing cars. It’s a pain in the ass, and the wife and I rarely agree on the vehicle of choice. Though she doesn’t love minivans and SUVs, she insists that—as a family with two kids and myriad play dates—we need something big enough to fit in a gaggle of tykes. I agree … but I loathe driving buses. So I aim as small as possible. Inevitably, we bicker, then come up with a resolution.

I’m babbling. Though I never like acquiring cars, watching the wife at a car dealership is like watching a card shark in Vegas. She is, to be blunt, masterful. Without getting into details, by the time we left the New Rochelle Toyota dealership, the price on our Highlander had dropped by $110 per month. How? Relentlessness. Intensity. Mostly, smarts.

Here are the wife’s car negotiating keys:

1. Go within the last few days of a month. And, ideally, the last few days of the year. Why? Because all dealerships have to make their quotas, and toward the end of months and years the incentives are plentiful (Note: Rainy days are a huge bonus.).

2. Do your homework online. Know how much a car will cost; know what features you will want and won’t want.

3. Tell the dealer to give you his best price—then tell him you’ll take that and call the area’s other dealerships. That scares him into believing you’ll give someone else the sale, and will motivate him into giving you a better price. The last thing he wants is you leaving, especially when it’s clear you want a car.

4. Obvious one, but find out beforehand how much the percentage rate will be. That will help you determine how much to put down. The higher the percentage rate, the more you want to put down.

5. Don’t stop until you get your lowest price … until he says there’s absolutely no more room to negotiate, and the dealership has made its final offer.

6. Lastly, work with a dealer you find trustworthy. We happened to luck out today and be greeted by Thomas Acheampong, a warm, friendly, anything-but-slimy 31-year old who was polite and courteous and clearly a long way from the cliched scammer. Thomas has worked for Toyota for two months, and he seemed determined to make a sale without being determined to take advantage of his customers. That meant something to us. And, I must say, if you’re looking for a Toyota in Westchester, I highly, highly recommend the man. He can be reached at:

Now, after spending nearly three hours inside the Toyota shop, the wife needs a nap.

I do, too.

4 thoughts on “The new car”

  1. Thanks for the tips…I always known Catherine to be a tough cookie.

    I figure if Robin and Catherine can team up when I am buying a car–I should get it for free. LOL

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks for the buying tips although I agree with the previous comment. I am surprised you didn’t buy a car from GM (Government Motors).

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