How joining the APA can save you money when buying your next car
Svetlana was a bit disappointed. She figured we were just getting warmed up. Why not move in for the kill?
I explained it would take too long and be too aggravating and they were going to grind us every step of the way. We could expect two or three more long trips to his sales manager, followed by the full court press from the manager himself, and still they would be reluctant to budge completely in our direction.
Better, we leave the next move up to them. They will call me later this evening or tomorrow – and we will be in a better position all around. By the way, this story began here.
That night I went online and renewed my membership in the Automobile Protection Association. (APA) It cost $44, and there are many benefits to being a member. The benefit I was most interested in is they will provide up to five comprehensive, no haggle quotes on a new car of your choice – and chances are those quotes are FAR better than you will do on your own.
It took five minutes to join, and two minutes later I had the quote I wanted for my Acura TSX. On top of the 0.25% lease rate and the no cost scheduled maintenance:
- My purchase price would be $1,655 lower than the MSRP.
- There would be no $595 admin fee, and nary a mention of an etching fee or wheel nut fees.
- The initial deposit would be only $688, and not $3,135
I quickly called the APA, and a very helpful, knowledgeable telephone operator crunched my lease payment, and provided me the contact information for the sales person at a local Acura dealership who is authorized to make APA deals.
I called the Acura salesperson, and within 30 minutes I was sipping an espresso in their beautiful, bright, spacious dealership.
He was very professional and clearly experienced, and we warmed to each other quickly.
He confirmed the APA calculations immediately, and suggested they might buy my Acura TL from me also.
It can be attractive to trade in your car at this point, as you can reduce your provincial taxes by 8% on the new car – but you have to be careful to ensure you are getting fair value for your old car.
I already knew the range of values on my TL, as I had checked the Black Book value online before heading over to the dealership.
The salesman and his manager went out to the lot and checked out my car, and came back five minutes later with an offer which was quite reasonable – not the lowest “wholesale value” of my car, and not the highest “retail value” either.
This is a good example of a win-win offer. In my experience, most dealers will simply offer the wholesale value – take it or leave it. (I lose, they win)
I agreed to his price, and they quickly papered up the deal. Of course, I would still have to sit with their finance manager to complete the credit application, and listen to the various extras I must have for my peace of mind.
The finance manager was just as professional and competent as the salesman. He realized quickly that I was not interested in extending my warranty, or adding any bells and whistles to the car, or in scotch guarding or paint protecting my new baby, so he too got right down to business.
And so, within an hour and change from when I first called the APA contact on the phone, I walked out of the dealership with my new car deal secured, and my old car sold, on terms I was happy with.
At the end of the day, my monthly payment (including taxes) will be $417 (not $543), and my initial payment will be $688, not $3,135. And I will receive a fair amount in the form of a check for my older car.
No stress, no going back and forth between the sales person and the manager, and very little time and effort expended.
Despite Saturn (GM’s ill fated attempt to take the hassle out of negotiating car prices); and in spite of a well informed consumer (thanks mainly to the internet); and clearer fine print policies legislated by the regulators, buying a car these days is still a great leap into the unknown.
There are not many other consumables out there which require you to be so sharp and vigilant when making a purchase. Will the car industry every evolve to the point where the process is much smoother and less painful for everyone involved? In the meantime, if you are in the market for a new car, consider joining the APA. It will save you hours of grief, and lots of money.