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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since my 89 Honda is on it's last legs, along with the fact that we just made the payment on the wife's Mazda... I've been thinking about replacing the beater with something more dependable. I'll spare you all the gory details of how I narrowed the search down to a used Chevy Impala, but suffice it to say it seems like a decent ride and there's a zillion of them around SE Michigan for 15K or less. Almost all of these Impalas are ex-fleet cars with 25K-35K miles. Since they are GM Certified, they come with the balance of the 5yr/100K as well as a 1yr/10K b-to-b warranty. Nothing else I've looked at seems to be as good of a value. I plan on driving it til it dies.

It's been a long time since I've bought a car from a dealer, and I need some advice on negotiating the best price. One car that caught my eye is an '06 Chevy Impala LTZ, 34K, 3.9L V6, leather interior, loaded. Asking price is $14,530. KBB suggested retail is $16,850; private party value $13-14K; trade-in value $11-12K. My gut is telling me $13,500 would be OK (hell, $14.5K seems fair), but then again, it's the worst time in history for auto dealers so why not try and push it even lower?

Does anyone have a suggestion about where I should start with an offer? If they are not willing to move much on the price, what might I ask them to throw in? Any pitfalls I need to look out for?
 

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Well, make sure you use all the usual sites for determining value, not just KBB. Then I would start with about the high trade value and work up from there. Since their trade-in prices are determined in different ways, it's likely they have less than low trade in it.

As far as what to get them to throw in if they won't come down much. I wouldn't get them to throw anything in. I find it better just to focus on the price. I'd leave them with the highest price you would pay minus $750, and let them think about it for a day or two. I can assure you they will call you back. Maybe with counter-offer, but they will call. And maybe that counter-offer will be about what your highest offer would have really been.
 

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Since these are popular as lease or rental cars, you might want to ask about the car's history. Probably half the late model mid-sized American sedans for sale at dealerships fall into this category, although it may be less likely with a LTZ.
 

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you can get a good low mile 01 bullitt for 10 to 12k..that would make a good winter driver
 

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How about a 2010 Mustang with Ecoboost V6? :rolleyes:
 

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For less than $14,500 you could get an average mileage V6 Mustang coupe w/ auto.

They are very reliable and you may find one that's certified.

At least you'll stay in the "family"

Either way, I suggest you ask for a buyers order to identify the dealer fee and any other charges.

Then offer 90% of the asking price [ $14,500 will result in a $13,050 offer].

That' generally a good place to start and be taken seriously.

Good Luck and let us know what you wind up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the buying advice. Especially the part about "being taken seriously." I've been reading up on how car dealers operate, and I just want to be prepared when I take the plunge. I tend to wilt under the pressure of a slick sales pitch. I'm also getting pre-approved for a loan thru my credit union. If I can get a better interest rate thru the dealer, I'd consider going that route.

I did consider a Mustang V6, but a 4-door sedan is more practical for carting around my kid in the winter. We can also use a vehicle with a decent sized trunk for hauling stuff from Lowes, etc. As for buying American, I believe the Impala is built by our commie socialist friends in Oshawa, Ontario. A big factor influencing my decision is that the only dealership in my small town is a Chevy dealership, and there is only one other service shop in town. My choice is as much about supporting my town's economy as it is buying USA.

Based on my research and your recommendations, my plan is to find 3-4 cars that I would in fact buy if the price is right. Then I am going to contact the dealerships and tell them straight up that I am ready to buy, but I need their best offer. From there, I can negotiate if necessary based on their buyer's sheet or blue book value, etc. I think the mistake I want to avoid is telling them up front what I want to pay. Hopefully, somebody will want to make me an offer I can't refuse.
 

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I think I have had a different experience with every vehicle I have ever purchased. So you never know what you are going to get. You just have to make sure that they do not talk you into buying anything you don't want or need when you make the purchase. Of course the last 3 have been new and I think they are a little easier to deal with.

Get the salesman on your side early on. You actually must take control and have the upper hand in this friendship though. They work for the dealer, but they can be swayed. When they understand that it is you, their equal, that is going to put food on their table, they will work for you. If necessary, make the dealership look like the obstructionist that is keeping you from getting what you need, and keeping him or her from eating :D

When you get that far, there is usually a F&I guy that will then try to butter you up. He will discuss how tough things are right now, try to make you seem like you are his friend, and how similar you are going through the same crappy economy. He will often try to mention his five great children. He also might carry with him a very authoritative voice. His job is to take money out of your pocket, and he is trying to get the upper hand on you. Listen to his pitch and just decline anything you don't need. He may turn into and A-hole, but that's ok. The feeling that you turned your back on another family man will fade quickly. Getting stuck by a shark will last :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I ended up buying a 2006 Chevy Impala LT for $10,990. Black with charcoal cloth, 34K miles, pretty much fully loaded, new tires. The first car I called about was an '06 Imapala LTZ, with a 3.9 V6 and leather seats. Asking price was $15,330. I offered 90% of that, but the dealer told me "it's already been on the lot over 90 days, and we've discounted it as far as we can go." I guess they don't mind having it sit on the lot another 90 days...or more.

I found the car that I bought at a dealer about 30 miles from where I live. It was the cheapest of all the Impalas listed on AutoTrader... by a couple grand. Apparently, the car had been bumped in the rear (as it were), so the CarFax report showed "very minor accident reported". I can see where the back left of the bumper is pushed in a fraction of an inch against the tail light. I decided for the asking price, I could live with it -- you have to know what your looking for to even spot it. I knew there was no way the dealer was going to go any lower on the price, so after a half-hearted attempt at haggling, I signed on the dotted line. Ultimately, the brand new tires swayed me pretty heavily. With $1K down, my monthly payments are $320 for 36 months. The salesman and finance guy were both very professional and easy to work with.

So far, I'm happy with the car. Obviously, it's a marshmallow compared to the Bullitt (but what isn't?). The car was obviously designed for freeway cruising. It's very quiet inside and rides smoothly. The remote starter is the sh*t. Hopefully, it last as long as my '89 Accord. Ironically, I paid more money for that used Accord 15 years ago. At the end of the day, I drove away feeling like I got a good deal on the Chevy.
 

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You got a good deal. You did good. And you bought an American car. Made in Canada? No problem, same for Mexico. I figure if things are good enough down south, they won't come up to the US for work.

I usually beat myself up about the price. I always find a better deal on a car after I buy one. The exception is the Bullitt. I think you stole that Chevy. No need to worry about your deal.
 

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SnowDog1026 said:
Since my 89 Honda is on it's last legs, along with the fact that we just made the payment on the wife's Mazda... I've been thinking about replacing the beater with something more dependable. I'll spare you all the gory details of how I narrowed the search down to a used Chevy Impala, but suffice it to say it seems like a decent ride and there's a zillion of them around SE Michigan for 15K or less. Almost all of these Impalas are ex-fleet cars with 25K-35K miles. Since they are GM Certified, they come with the balance of the 5yr/100K as well as a 1yr/10K b-to-b warranty. Nothing else I've looked at seems to be as good of a value. I plan on driving it til it dies.

It's been a long time since I've bought a car from a dealer, and I need some advice on negotiating the best price. One car that caught my eye is an '06 Chevy Impala LTZ, 34K, 3.9L V6, leather interior, loaded. Asking price is $14,530. KBB suggested retail is $16,850; private party value $13-14K; trade-in value $11-12K. My gut is telling me $13,500 would be OK (hell, $14.5K seems fair), but then again, it's the worst time in history for auto dealers so why not try and push it even lower?

Does anyone have a suggestion about where I should start with an offer? If they are not willing to move much on the price, what might I ask them to throw in? Any pitfalls I need to look out for?
Without reading the other posts here, I'd say you can't go wrong with the Chevy Impala. I bought an '05 a couple years ago, and it had been an Enterprise rental. I bought it at the Chevy dealership and it had the balance of its warranty at 24,000 miles. Ironed what few "bugs" it had the first month I owned it and its been nothing but dependable ever since. I have about 74,000 mi. on it now and its still humming right along (and getting 32 mpg highway!).

I offered them $3,000.00 less than asking price and they snapped up on it immediately. In fact, they agreed so quick that it crossed my mind that I could've gotten it for even less. Try offering $5,000 less and then dicker. Good luck!

Oh, disregard the above, SnowDog. I scrolled up and see you went ahead and got it. And you did good! Very good! You won't be sorry you got it. Fine car, good ride, good milegage. You can't beat it with a stick! Way to go!
 

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SnowDog1026 said:
I ended up buying a 2006 Chevy Impala LT for $10,990. Black with charcoal cloth, 34K miles, pretty much fully loaded, new tires. The first car I called about was an '06 Imapala LTZ, with a 3.9 V6 and leather seats. Asking price was $15,330. I offered 90% of that, but the dealer told me "it's already been on the lot over 90 days, and we've discounted it as far as we can go." I guess they don't mind having it sit on the lot another 90 days...or more.

I found the car that I bought at a dealer about 30 miles from where I live. It was the cheapest of all the Impalas listed on AutoTrader... by a couple grand. Apparently, the car had been bumped in the rear (as it were), so the CarFax report showed "very minor accident reported". I can see where the back left of the bumper is pushed in a fraction of an inch against the tail light. I decided for the asking price, I could live with it -- you have to know what your looking for to even spot it. I knew there was no way the dealer was going to go any lower on the price, so after a half-hearted attempt at haggling, I signed on the dotted line. Ultimately, the brand new tires swayed me pretty heavily. With $1K down, my monthly payments are $320 for 36 months. The salesman and finance guy were both very professional and easy to work with.

So far, I'm happy with the car. Obviously, it's a marshmallow compared to the Bullitt (but what isn't?). The car was obviously designed for freeway cruising. It's very quiet inside and rides smoothly. The remote starter is the sh*t. Hopefully, it last as long as my '89 Accord. Ironically, I paid more money for that used Accord 15 years ago. At the end of the day, I drove away feeling like I got a good deal on the Chevy.
congrats!

We did nearly the same thing here with our 01 Taurus, which was going to be my recommendation until I read you had settled on a Impala. Taurus are hte same thing, cheap, low miles, fleet, etc (but I probably don't have to tell you that :D). We also bought the cheapest one on Autotrader and was in excellent shape, it too had been hit in the rear :D but was completely fixed (no issues anywhere to notice). I asked him if it was his bottom line, and he said with that, yeah, we're not going lower. So I signed right away. Completely happy and an excellent price.
 
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