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Pre - Driven New Cars. Good deals or to be avoided?(22 posts)

Pre - Driven New Cars. Good deals or to be avoided?Kristin
Dec 23, 2001 8:42 AM
Yesterday I cut my shortlist down to three cars and headed out.

2001 Honda Civic - noisey, but lively motor. Uncomfortable drivers space. Good reliability/safety.

2000 VW Jetta - nice luxuries and space shuttle like interior, but it doesn't have good reliability, is high priced and expensive to repair. Found a 1999 w/49K, but that's too many miles.

2001 Nissan Sentra - comfortable front seat, nice ammenties, good relability, acceptable safty.

I've settled on the Sentra. I will practice negotiating on the VW guy this Wednesday. He's leaving for a cruise on Friday and seems quite anxious to make a sale. Unfortuneatly, he can't put me in that car for a price I can afford.

The Nissan dealer has 5 2001 Sentra's. 3 demos w/7K, one rental w/2.4K and one used w/13k. I liked the rental w/2.4k. Couple questions. Any blarring reasons I shouldn't consider a car with some miles? And how do I determine what to offer for it?

Details. 2001 GXE loaded with 2,400 miles
Sticker: 15,048
MSRP: 15,467
Invoice: 14,150

I'm assuming that I would get less than invoice right? But how much less? I know my bottom line (i.e. how much I can borrow). But I need to determine my offer amount and ceiling. I'm not sure what is fair in this case. Thanks for the help again!!!!
re: Pre - Driven New Cars. Good deals or to be avoided?zzz
Dec 23, 2001 11:46 AM
I just checked Kelly Blue book on-line and they gave the price from a dealer for a used 2001 Sentra GXE "fully loaded"(read below***) with 2400 as $14,765. From a private party for one listed in "good" shape as $12,600 to one listed in "excellent" shape as $13,600. The difference in prices being that it is assumed that the dealer will have gone over the car and taken care of any small or large problems. At 2400 miles there shouldn't have been any problems.
From Edumnds I found that Nissan has a 3% holdback and no incentives or rebates on a 2001 Sentra. If this is a car that was a rental from the dealer they will still get the $424 in holdback.
This gives the dealer a base of $13726. Invoice minus holdback.
I would start with the Kelly private party price of $13,600. The reasons being that you could get this car from a private party and have no need for a dealer inspection or work on a 2400 mile car. A friend of yours is a mechanic and would look it over for free. You just need a starting point that sounds reasonable in some way.
At first don't mention anything about invoice or holdback or give any indication you know things like that.
The dealer Kelly blue book price ($14,765) gives the dealer a profit of $615 over their invoice and $424 of holdback. $1039 plus whatever they made on rental charges.
Remember this is a USED car. Use that fact as a bargaining point. Remind them that their profit on this should be reduced because of the money they made renting this car and the miles on it. The figure for the value of mileage at Edmunds and Kelly is $24 per 100 miles. 2400 miles means $576 less in value.
From the $13,600 start you have $1165 to come up to the Kelly dealer blue book price.
Only bring up invoice and holdback when you need to make the point that you know what the numbers are here.
Your final offer should be what you feel comfortable paying over their cost of $13,726 for a car that has been used(a decrease in value because of mileage$576) and that they have made money on renting. At 2400 miles it really isn't used that much. Some demo's have that much or more. It should play a role in your offer but I wouldn't worry about it on a mechanical problem level. The car should have the remainder of its warrenty and that should cover you.
***ALL my figures here are based on a FULLY loaded car in my zip code. If you go to Kelly and Edmunds sites and use your zip code and the exact options the car has you can use those figures instead of the ones here. I have laid out the process here for you though
Dec 23, 2001 1:17 PM
Whenever your buying a car that was driven by others carefully inspect it for signs of an accident. In bright sunshine make sure there are no area's that have slightly mismatched paint. Visually go over the entire outside of the car. ASK if the car was ever in an accident. Buying from a dealer gives you a little more legal leverage if something turns up later.
Dec 23, 2001 3:28 PM
have it inspected by a qualified independant mechanic. They will pretty much always find something that will either make you want to walk away or give you negotiating leverage.
Dec 23, 2001 5:11 PM
A title search and mechanical inspection gives you valuable information. If you look at an older car than this I would contact ALL the previous owners and ask them about the car.
Also check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site and see if the model and year of car your looking at has any recalls or service bulletins. The 2001 Sentra has no service bulletins but has 3 recalls. All of these recalls were probably taken care of but check to make sure.
Okay...I'm drowning in numbers hereKristin
Dec 24, 2001 10:15 AM
But I think that's because I'm coming up with numbers different than yours. I also recieved more info on this car, after pressing the dealership for specifics. They told me that this car wasn't a rental was a service vehicle. i.e. driving to pick up stranded repairee's by that 18 year old kid! I'm not sure I want the car knowing that, but I can use it as a barganing chip if I do.

My biggest question is this...Should expect to pay over dealer cost for this car or under it? Should the dealer make a profit on a car that that drove for 2,400 miles.

Numbers I found:

Kelly BB car w/2.4K & Options Private: $13,600
Kelly BB car w/2.4K & Options Dealer: $15,110
Kelly Invoice: New 2001 Sentra w/options: $14,972
3% Dealer Holdback: $450
Other Dealer profit: $0
Estimated Dealer cost for the car: $14,522

The AVG newspaper listing for a used 2001 w/4-16K is: $12,334
why do you want to buy from a dealer?gtx
Dec 24, 2001 11:58 AM
For anything except a new car, I'd say you should buy from a private party. The price will be better, and probably less chance the car has been abused or wrecked. Just make sure to have it inspected by an independant mechanic (not a lousy dealer one).
Can only find newer models w/less than 15K...Kristin
Dec 24, 2001 12:22 PM
...on a dealers lot. I've searched, believe me. I really don't want another high milage car. I'm tired of changing vehicles every two years. (I put on 3-400 miles a week).

Merry Christmas
Can only find newer models w/less than 15K...gtx
Dec 24, 2001 12:55 PM
yeah, buy a used car can be difficult and frustrating. But I think a car that has been abused for 10-15k miles will end up being much more problematic than a car that has been treated well for 50-70k (more expensive initually, and then more expensive in the long run). Anyway, best of luck and happy holidays!
Dec 24, 2001 5:34 PM
I'd get them to go down on the price. However, that being said, I wouldn't worry about the car being abused. Yeah, maybe it was driven by an 18y/o, but would he be playing "speed racer" if he was driving with customers in the car? I doubt it. I'd do the title search anyway; it might miss something, but it will catch other things, $20 well spent, if you ask me. At least @ the dealer, you'll probably get some kind of a warranty. Private party? Good luck! Good luck, and Merry Christmas!
re: Pre - Driven New Cars. Good deals or to be avoided?gtx
Dec 23, 2001 12:16 PM
Not sure I'd want a demo. Manufacturers downplay this now, but I still think cars need a easy break-in period--i.e. mellow driving for the first 1000 miles, keeping the revs down and varying your highway speed. Demos get driven hard. My other feeling is that you should by new cars from dealers, but used cars from private individuals. If you don't want/can't afford new, I'd look at 5 year old, 1-owner cars with low miles and all maintenace records. You have to be patient, and flexible on model/color choice, but I think this is where the best deals are. Like I said in a prior post, you can get a 1997 Volvo 850 Wagon with 50-60K miles for less money than this small Japanese cars. Good luck!
If you do go used,mickey-mac
Dec 23, 2001 2:40 PM
check out one of the on-line services that allows you to run a vehicle identification number (VIN) for a fairly low charge. Although the search will not catch problems like lack of maintenance or minor accidents, it will tell you whether the car was ever declared a total loss, whether it has clear title, mileage history, and other useful information. If I recall correctly, you subscribe to the service for a set period (30 days?) and can run unlimited VINs during that period. It's well worth the minor investment.
Here's a linkmickey-mac
Dec 23, 2001 3:14 PM
the vin number isnm
Dec 23, 2001 5:34 PM
located on the drivers side dashboard where the windshield meets the dashboard.
Yep andmickey-mac
Dec 23, 2001 5:50 PM
if you are looking for cars on many web sites, such as, most sellers include the VIN. I'd recommend running it before going out to look or calling the seller to get the number before going to the car.
LOL - Thanks. I did know where the VIN number wasKristin
Dec 23, 2001 8:55 PM
I used to sell insurance. At least I know something, eh? Big thanks for the tip on the AutoTrader lookup. I do need to get insurance quotes and research 3 potentially hazardous recalls.
LOL - Thanks. I did know where the VIN number wasmickey-mac
Dec 23, 2001 9:00 PM
Autotrader is a great source. I found my current car through a private seller on Most sellers include photos and fairly detailed information about their cars. Happy shopping.
Dec 23, 2001 8:46 PM
I've been told by independant mechanics that those services (specifically Carfax) are unreliable. Their databases are not necesssarily gathered from state info, but rather a pool of third party sources and some state info. In otherwords, there are holes. I fell into one of these holes.

I am not a mechanical wizard (as you know), and I did not note the indications of a previous accident in my current car. I purchased the 95 Skylark privately last Sept. and paid a GM dealership to do their (worthless) 110 point inspection. They gave me no indication that the car had been hit. I also did a carfax search which revealed a clean, one owner title. Hit is was, and hard too! After I purchased it, I began noticing several spots where the body did not line up perfectly. This door...that fender. Two mechanics expressed that this car was prob. totalled in a drivers side collision. Having trusting the dealer inspection and carfax has granted me a $2000 loss on the car. My trade in value may well be fixed at under $1000. I'm going to fight hard to get $1700, but if I can't, then I'll keep the Skylark and drive it till it dies.

Moral: Just beware of the title searches...they aren't perfect.
Title search...jrm
Dec 23, 2001 3:54 PM
Im dead serious on this one. Regardless of miles, or prior the bucks and get a title search done and a evaluation. If the cars a lemon, and you find this out after buying your recourse is limited. so do the research NOW.
re: Pre - Driven New Cars. Good deals or to be avoided?peloton
Dec 24, 2001 8:44 AM
Cars like these can be pretty good deals. Generally the dealer owned cars are taken care of very well, although the used one may be too. Run the VIN so that you know the history. It's not perfect, but it's something. Another good idea is to have an independent mechanic that you can trust look the car over and give you some feedback. You can pick things that may be negative out this way, and the dealship should be happy to let you do this. If they say no- walk away- that is a very bad sign.

Cars like these are generally marked about 1000 over what the dealer will sell the car for. Know that when you make your first offer. That is general though, so it may change some. Look up the Blue book for your area too, and don't be afraid to point out other good prices that you have seen.

Good luck
those are all POS...get a real carFred temarles
Dec 26, 2001 10:10 AM
why not be done with it and get a real chick car like a cabriolet.
Dec 26, 2001 10:13 AM