Click here to
show your support
for the NCM
and C5Forum.

Home Discussion Forums Do It Yourself Articles About Your Corvette About This Site

Car Buying 101: Volume 1

So you want to buy a car!

This will be the first in a series on the "How To" of car buying.

Step one:

Budget

Now I know nobody likes to think about it, but it’s time to break open that piggy bank and part with some of that hard-earned cash to buy a new car. For some - I doubt that they are any on this forum - buying a car is for one purpose and one purpose only - to get from point A to point B. I’m going to try and stay in the middle here on the issue of car buying. We are going to focus on buying NEW cars, I will get into USED cars at later date.

How much can you afford?

Now I know that a lot of you on this forum are financially comfortable and a car budget isn’t a problem. But there are some people that may need to justify the cost of a new car.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding how much can you afford.

Vehicle Cost

  • The Vehicle itself
  • Sales Tax (In most states)
  • Luxury Tax (In every state for a few more years)
  • Personal Property Tax in some states
  • Registration, licensing or both
  • Any other taxes or fees that I’m unaware of (some states may have additional taxes)
  • Maintenance (Everything except gas)
  • Repair cost (This is less of a problem now with most new cars because they come with at least a 3 year warranty, many cover more than 3 years)
  • Daily expenses, such as gas
  • Insurance (This is the hidden cost that is rarely looked at until it’s too late)

I know most of you already know this, so please bear with me and remember this is Car Buying 101. So we’re taking it from the beginning.

So now you’ve looked at every potential cost and said to yourself “I think I still have enough money to buy a new car?”

Determining the vehicle cost

Now we all have horror stories about car dealerships. We’ll save those for later.  The cost of a vehicle has two basic parts. What you pay,  and what the dealer paid. This column is about how to get those numbers as close as possible.

Finding the price of a car is much easier than it used to be. The Internet is a giant library just waiting for you to ask the right questions. Newspapers wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for advertising, and auto ads are one of the biggest. The mega dealers spend well over $150,000.00 per month on advertising. Have you ever noticed that car dealers never mark down their cars by percentages?

Here’s a couple of places on the internet to find the price of a vehicle. Both Retail and Whole sale (Or the price the dealer paid)

There are many more, like brokers, online dealerships, newspapers, and magazines. The above two are free and you won't get spammed or have to give a credit card for security purposes. And you can find almost any vehicle's price, and you can use it as many times as you like.  To save time will stick with the two above.

You'll notice discrepancies on both web pages in the cost of the vehicles and the cost of the options.  Don't worry about it, because the numbers you'll find in above web pages won't correspond to what your going to find at the local dealer anyway. It's just a range and were are looking at the cost of the car, not what your going or willing to pay.

Vehicle cost differs from state to state and even from town to town.  Why, you ask?
One word will explain it, location, location, location. Yes Real Estate my friends plays a factor in the price of your car. Where you buy your car from not where you live.

Now, I live in a smaller town near the state capital. But some of the world's most expensive Real Estate is less than 2 hours away. The Bay Area, Silicon Valley, the City, San Francisco, what ever you want to call it. It's expensive to live there, and so are the cars.

You will pay more in heavily populated areas than in the rural areas. But the selection and availability differs in all areas. The dealers have vehicles on their lots, that represent the car buying public of that area. This doesn't mean you can't get a good deal it just means that the asking price is a little higher. The dealers in big cities sell more cars! And can afford to bring the price down very low to sell a vehicle.

Remember popular vehicles, such as Corvettes, are less negotiable.

I will use a basic vehicle for an example:

2001 Chevrolet Malibu Standard model
Using Kelley Blue Book

 

MALIBU

1ND69 Sedan 4D

15692.25

17150.00

Destination Charge

585.00

585.00

---------

---------

BASE MODEL PRICE WITH DESTINATION CHARGE

16277.25

17735.00

(Mfr's. Effective Date 3-2-01 Revised)

Note: Base price does not include advertising and other dealer costs (see below).

––––––––– OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT –––––––––

SPECIAL FEES/CREDITS/INCENTIVES/OPTIONS

R6M

New Jersey Cost Surcharge

48.00

N/C

(Req'd in New Jersey)

---

College Graduate Incentive (Expires 9-30-01)

-400.00

(For Recent Graduates Only) (Regional Programs May Vary) (Restrictions May Apply)

---

Customer Incentive, 1.9% Short Term Financing (Expires 4-2-01)

(N/A w/Cash Customer Incentive or Fleet Incentive-VX5) (Available Only in Western, South Central & Southeast Regions) (Regional Programs May Vary) (Restrictions May Apply)

---

Customer Incentive, 4.9% Short Term Financing

(N/A w/Cash Customer Incentive or Fleet Incentive-VX5) (Available Only in North Central & Northeast Regions) (Regional Programs May Vary) (Restrictions May Apply)

---

Customer Incentive, Cash (Expires 4-2-01) • Models in Southeast, Northeast, North Central & Western Regions

-1000.00

---

• Models in South Central Region

-1250.00

(N/A w/Financing Customer Incentive or Fleet Incentive-VX5) (Regional Programs May Vary) (Restrictions May Apply)

EMISSION EQUIPMENT
(All Orders Must Code an Emission Equipment)

FE9

Emission Equipment, Federal

N/C

N/C

YF5

Emission Equipment, California

N/C

N/C

(Req'd in California)

NG1

Emission Equipment, Northeast States

N/C

N/C

(Req'd in Maine, Massachusetts, New York & Vermont)

NC7

Emission Equipment Override, Federal

N/C

N/C

(Req's Emission Equipment-YF5 or NG1)

NB8

Emission Equipment Override, California/Northeast States

N/C

N/C

(Req's Emission Equipment-FE9)

ENGINE

LG8

V6, 191", SFI (3.1 Liter)

Std.

Std.

TRANSMISSION

MX0

Automatic, 4-Speed w/Overdrive

Std.

Std.

PREFERRED EQUIPMENT GROUPS
(All Orders Must Code a Preferred Equipment Group)

1SA

Preferred Equipment Group

N/C

N/C

(See Std. Equipment Listing)

1SB

Preferred Equipment Group • Base

895.50

995.00

(Items Included in Pkg. May Not Be Deleted)

Base Includes Dual Power Mirrors, Reading Lights, Power Windows, AM/FM Stereo w/Cassette, F&R Floor Mats & Speed Control.

LS Includes Special Leather Surfaced Seat Trim, Rear Spoiler & Power Sun Roof.

OTHER OPTIONS

AU0

Entry System, Keyless Remote Control • Base

135.00

150.00

(Std. LS) (Std. w/PEG-1SF) (Req's PEG-1SB)

B37

Floor Mats, F&R • Base

36.00

40.00

(Std. LS) (Std. w/PEG-1SB on Base)

K05

Heater, Engine Block

27.00

30.00

VH4

Mud Guards, F&R • Base

67.50

75.00

(Std. LS)

UL0

Radio, AM/FM Stereo w/Cassette • Base

198.00

220.00

(N/A LS) (Std. w/PEG-1SB on Base)

UN0

Radio, AM/FM Stereo w/CD • Base w/PEG-1SA

288.00

320.00

UN0

• Base w/PEG-1SB

90.00

100.00

(N/A LS)

UP0

Radio, AM/FM Stereo w/CD & Cassette • Base

180.00

200.00

(Std. LS) (Req's PEG-1SB)

AM9

Seat, Split Folding Rear • Base

175.50

195.00

(Std. LS) (Std. w/PEG-1SF) (Req's PEG-1SB & Seat Trim-G) Includes Cargo Net.

**H

Seat Trim, Cloth • Base

N/C

N/C

(N/A LS) (First Two Characters Refer to Interior Color)

**G

Seat Trim, Custom Cloth • Base

N/C

N/C

(Available & Included Only w/Seat-AM9 on Base) (First Two Characters Refer to Interior Color)

K34

Speed Control • Base

216.00

240.00

(Std. LS) (Std. w/PEG-1SB on Base)

PF7

Wheels, Cast Aluminum • Base

279.00

310.00

(Std. LS) (Req's PEG-1SB or 1SF)

TIRES

---

(4) P215/60R15 BSW

Std.

Std.

EXTERIOR COLORS
(All Orders Must Code an Exterior Color)

41U

Black

N/C

N/C

(Req's an Interior Color)

28U

Blue, Navy Metallic

N/C

N/C

(Req's an Interior Color)

76U

Bronzemist, Medium Metallic

N/C

N/C

(Req's an Interior Color)

33U

Driftwood, Light Metallic

N/C

N/C

(Req's Interior Color-52)

56U

Green, Dark Jade Metallic

N/C

N/C

(Req's an Interior Color)

44U

Maroon, Monterey Metallic

N/C

N/C

(Req's an Interior Color)

12U

Silver, Galaxy Metallic

N/C

N/C

(N/A w/Gold Pkg.-Y11) (Req's Interior Color-92)

16U

White, Bright

N/C

N/C

(Req's an Interior Color)

INTERIOR COLORS
(All Orders Must Code an Interior Color)

92*

Gray

N/C

N/C

(N/A w/Exterior Color-33U) (Last Character Refers to Seat Trim)

52*

Neutral

N/C

N/C

(N/A w/Exterior Color-12U) (Last Character Refers to Seat Trim)

––––––––– STANDARD EQUIPMENT –––––––––

Air Conditioning
Alternator, 105-Amp.
Axle Ratio, 3.05
Battery, 600-cca
Brakes, Power Front Disc
Braking System, Anti-Lock
Clock, Digital (w/Radio)
Console
Cup Holders
Defroster, Rear Window
Door Locks, Automatic Power
Drivetrain, FWD
Emission Equipment, Federal (Must Code)
Engine: V6, SFI, 3.1 Liter
Entry System, Illuminated
Fuel Tank, 14.8 Gal. Cap.
Headlamp Control, Auto
Lights: Cargo Comp't., Daytime Running & Glove Box
Mirrors, Dual w/LH Remote Control & Dual Visor Vanity
Moldings, Rocker Panel
Power Outlet, (1)
Preferred Equipment Group-1SA (Must Code)
Radio, AM/FM Stereo
Restraint System, Dual Front Air Bag
Seats, Cloth (Must Code) Bucket
Stabilizer Bars, F&R
Steering Wheel, Tilt
Steering, Power
Tachometer
Tire, Limited Use Spare
Tires, (4) P215/60R15 BSW
Tongue Load, 100-lb. Max.
Towing Cap., 1000-lb. Max. (When Properly Equipped)
Trans., 4-Spd. Automatic w/Overdrive
Trunk Release, Power
W/S Wipers, Variable Intermittent
Wheel Covers

General Specifications:

W.B. 107.0"; O.L. 190.4"; Width 69.4"; Height 56.4"; Cargo Cap. 17.1 cu. ft.; Curb Weight 3051-lbs. (Base), 3077-lbs. (LS).

Warranty:

3-yr/36,000-mi Limited Bumper-to-Bumper; 3-yr/36,000-mi 24-hr Roadside Assistance; 6-yr/100,000-mi Sheet Metal Rust-Thru.

Engine Specifications:

Code LG8; VIN J; Cylinders V6; Liters 3.1; Fuel Induction SFI; HP 170; Torque 190; EPA City 20; EPA Hwy 29

 

************************************************************************

Now you can clearly see all the available information on this vehicle.

Now Same car using Edmunds:

2001 Chevrolet Malibu 4dr Sedan (3.1L 6Cyl 4A)

Invoice: 

$15,692

MSRP: 

$17,150

  : 

$15,896 Effective until 3/28/2001

Financing: 

6.95%

Destination Charge: 

$585

Gas Guzzler Tax: 

N/A

Dealer Hold Back: 

3% of the Total MSRP

 

 

Check Edmunds' list for currently available incentives and rebates for this vehicle. Be sure to take any incentives/rebates into account when calculating an appropriate price for the vehicle.

[Advertising Charges: Most vehicle invoices include a legitimate advertising fee levied by either the manufacturer or regional dealer groups. Ad fees can range from less than 1 percent of the vehicle's MSRP to more than 3 percent, depending on region. Metropolitan-area dealers are more likely to charge higher advertising fees than rural dealers. When you comparison shop for a car, be sure to ask the dealers how much the advertising charge is on the vehicle.]

 SELECTED STANDARD EQUIPMENT

3.1L V6 OHV 12-valve engine; FWD; 4-speed automatic transmission; front independent suspension with stabilizer bar, rear independent suspension with stabilizer bar; power steering; front disc/rear drum brakes with 4-wheel ABS; 15" x 6" steel wheels, P215/60TR15 tires; air conditioning; Delco, 4-speaker, AM/FM, and fixed mast antenna; engine immobilizer; Instrumentation and warnings include tachometer, door ajar, low fuel, low washer fluid, oil pressure; variable intermittent wipers, rear window defroster; cloth upholstery, folding rear seat; passenger side vanity mirror; tilt adjust steering wheel; manual remote black driver side mirror, manual black passenger side mirror; front door pockets; remote trunk release.

 

 

 

Invoice

MSRP

 

Base Price

$15,692

$17,150

Destination Fee

$585

$585


Option
Code

Option Name

Invoice

MSRP

1S-

Base Requirements
Requires: [1SA] Base Preferred Equipment Group Or [1SB] Preferred Equipment Group 1

$0

$0

1SA

Base Preferred Equipment Group
Base vehicle with standard equipment

$0

$0

1SB

Preferred Equipment Group 1
Front power windows with one one-touch, rear power windows, Driver and passenger power black door mirrors, Front reading lights, Includes: [UL0] AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Cassette and [K34] Cruise Control and [B37] Floor Mats

$896

$995

AM9

Seats, Split Folding Rear & Cargo Net
Three asymmetrical bench front facing rear seats with zero adjustments, Load restraint net, Excludes: [1SA] Base Preferred Equipment Group

$176

$195

AU0

Keyless Entry: Remote
Remote power locks includes trunk/hatch, Illuminated entry system

$135

$150

B37

Floor Mats
Carpet floor mats

$36

$40

K05

Heater: Engine Block
Block heater

$27

$30

K34

Cruise Control
Cruise control

$216

$240

NG1

Northeast Emissions
Emission control level other

$0

$0

PF7

Wheels: 15" Aluminum
Front and rear alloy wheels with partial wheel covers, Excludes: [1SA] Base Preferred Equipment Group

$279

$310

UL0

AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Cassette
Audio system with cassette, Audio anti-theft protection: code, Automatic tone control, Excludes: [UN0] AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Compact Disc and [UP0] AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Cassette and CD

$198

$220

UN0

AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Compact Disc
Audio system with CD player, Audio anti-theft protection: code, Automatic tone control, Excludes: [UP0] AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Cassette and CD

$288

$320

UN0

AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Compact Disc
Audio system with CD player, Audio anti-theft protection: code, Automatic tone control, Excludes: [UP0] AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Cassette and CD, Requires: [1SA] Base Preferred Equipment Group

$90

$100

UP0

AM/FM ETR w/ATC/SCV/Cassette and CD
Audio system with CD player and cassette, Audio anti-theft protection: code, Automatic tone control, Requires: [1SB] Preferred Equipment Group 1

$180

$200

VH4

Mud Guards
Rear mud flaps

$68

$75

YF5

California Emissions
Emission control level California

 

As you can see the prices are very close, but not exactly the same.

What's negotiable and what's not?

The above talks about "Dealer Hold Backs." Forget about it - you aren't getting it, so ignore it. If you think you got it on your deal, then you were lied to.

There's another little fee that shows up sometimes, called marketing or advertising fees. The manufacturers wanted to raise the price of their vehicles with out changing their Base Price so they add this little fee - it can be as high as $500.00. It's not negotiable, so forget it. They may say it is but it's not. It goes to the manufacturer and not the dealer.

Destination charges - you get to pay to have the car shipped to the dealer so you can have the privilege to buying this car. Another non-negotiable item.

Options are a pre-selected group of vehicle features that are a known to be desired by the potential buyer. For example you cannot get a tilt steering wheel with out getting cruise control. It's a package deal. The price is cheap so you end up getting both weather you want it or not.


That's enough for one day I'll take it further in my next column "What is negotiable"!

This page was last updated on 05/28/2001 by HYPRACTV

                           

Copyright © 2000-2017 C5Forum.com. All Rights Reserved.