Do you ever read the Tavarish "Why buy new when you can buy a used Veyron" posts and think: Does anyone actually follow this advice?
Recently, someone that I work with just did.
My colleague, who currently owns a Subaru WRX STI, bought his car brand new in 2004 and after many years of hard driving, it has finally started to exhibit signs of impending failure. So, as you can imagine, it's time to replace it with something else.
I love it when people are in the market for a new car - but only if it's something that I'm interested in or if I am able to assuade them into purchasing something that I actually desire (I have no shame). But if all they want is something cheap, ordinary and practical to transport them from point A to B, then I really have no interest whatsoever.
His STI has over 120K miles on it and it's clear that he has thoroughly enjoyed driving it. It truly is the antithesis of what you would imagine a garage queen to be; I don't even think his car has ever even seen a garage! And I don't necessarily mean this in a bad way - it's always nice to see people actually driving their cars and not care so much about keeping it in perfect condition.
Lately, the repair bills on his slowly dying STI have become entirely too much and although he has already put some money into his car, there are still $2K worth of repairs that he needs to have done. What a hassle!
When he was considering buying new used cars, several options were on the table. Imagine my surprise, when I found him to be actually paying attention to what I was saying! Now remember - this wasn't a situation where he wanted my advice - I just forced myself into his car buying journey and started working my voodoo magic on him and putting thoughts into this head like...
"You must buy a 2012 E63 Wagon because who wouldn't want to be driving a 550 hp wagon??"
In reality, the car he buys now is only temporary. He will most likely replace it with a used version of a car that has only recently come out - and one that we test drove first - the Infiniti Q50 hybrid.
Both of us were quite impressed by the hybrid mostly because of the large amount of low-end torque the car had similar to the Tesla P 85. It was so much fun to floor the car from every stoplight; we couldn't get enough of the instant torque generated by the electric motor. The salesman in the car with us didn't like us much very much.
We drove a number of M3s, all of which were a blast to drive. Then, we threw the BMW M6 into the mix which neither of us liked and ultimately realized that the M3 is actually a much better car which I talked about here.
After looking through a couple other options, he kept coming back to the M3 since it is such a great combination of practicality and fun - and most of all it had a manual option which he really wanted.
Now the question was, where should he buy one from?
Here is where I was able to share Doug DeMuro's experience with CarMax and their awesome warranty. Like the good friend that I was, I used one data point (Doug) and made the generalization to boldly state this:
"CarMax cars are a slice of heaven - buy one now".
All joking aside, people are generally surprised to find out about CarMax warranties. My colleague definitely falls into that group. He hadn't thought about CarMax prior to me bringing it up and so we went to take a look at a manual 2008 M3 which he liked quite a bit. It seemed to be in great shape with only 69K miles on it.
At CarMax, he had the great idea to take the M3 to the BMW dealer to do a full inspection. The plan was that if the dealer found a major problem with it that would cost him potentially thousands of dollars, he could return the car back to CarMax thanks to their 5-day money back policy - now, that was good thinking.
He was better at this than me!
He was sold on the CarMax deal and was about to pull the trigger until he happened to find this beauty at the Subaru dealer: a black on black on black on black on black E92 M3 coupe.
It was a 2008 model with a few tastefully done exterior modifications like the front bumper, rear spoiler along with a few other things.
My first reaction was "What?! Don't trade your car in, you'll get totally ripped off."
But, it turns out, I was actually wrong about this.
All the Dealer Trade-In Benefits
First, they were willing to give him $10,500 (upped from an initial $9.5K offer) for his STI which already needed a couple thousand dollars worth of repairs. So even if he was able to sell it privately, he wouldn't be able to make that much more on top of the expensive repair bill. Not to mention the hassle of getting everything fixed and selling - that sounds like a nightmare to me.
Second, you have to pay sales tax on only the difference between the value of the car he was buying and the trade-in. This is actually huge because it means a grand in savings at least.
Also, the dealer agreed to sign a document stating that my colleague could take the car to the BMW dealer for a full inspection and that the purchase was contingent upon the fact that nothing major was wrong with the car. Now, that was a fantastic idea.
And so, the dealer let him drive the car to BMW of Austin where they did a full inspection and found that the M3 was a piece of junk.
No - just kidding - fortunately that wasn't the case.
There was really one thing wrong with it - and it wasn't even that bad. The battery in the car was the original battery that came from the factory in 2008 and just now after all these years was it starting show signs of weakness. We could hardly believe that the battery in the car was the one from 8 years ago! In every car that I've owned, the battery has never lasted anywhere close to that long; I go through them as often as I go through tires.
But here is one thing that's even crazier. The dealer agreed to cover the battery replacement, which BMW quoted at $425. Now let's just hope nothing else goes wrong with the car if that's how much it costs to replace the battery!
The dealer also replaced the brakes which are not cheap on an M3. Also, the tires are basically new.
At this point, the CarMax M3 soon became a distant memory - the dealer M3 was the one that he bought for $31K minus the STI trade-in value.
So, let me sum it up for you. This black 2008 M3 ended up being a fantastic deal with only 59K miles with brand new brakes and tires that were almost new and a new battery. And, nothing was wrong with the car. So, if he decides to sell it in a year, there is a high probability that he will not have pay for anything out of pocket aside from an oil change for one year of ownership and maybe the cost of a ticket or two.
I was so envious of his remarkable purchase that I made a deal with him - after one year of owning this car, he will sell me the car for $20K.
Just joking - of course that would never happen. What will happen though is that he will let me drive the car occasionally which I am ecstatic about.
Who knew trading a car in would actually work out so well?