Spring is here; the weather is warming up and you probably have a tax return burning a hole in your pocket. It is time to go new car shopping. Now some people will tell you that car shopping is a difficult process. They will say the choices are overwhelming and you are bound to get ripped off at the dealerships. These people are stuck in the past. Times have changed. This is the new age of vehicle purchasing, just ask that Tony Stark guy who makes those electric cars. I'm going to tell you how to buy a car...and do it right. I'm a professional and while I normally charge for this advice, I'm feeling generous so you get it for free.
But I already have a car, and it's paid off-
As soon as a car is paid-off things start to break. Car payments are much more predictable than repairs. And do you really want to be seen driving an "old" car? New cars are the only way to go and after a car is not really "new" anymore, it is time for another one. The only appropriate reason for buying an "old" car is either a classic muscle car or some type of vintage exotic.
What car should I choose?
The most important aspect of your next car is the image it projects. All those "other" publications will tell you get something that meets your needs in terms of: fuel-economy, features, safety, and reliability. You know who shops for cars like that? Sheep...you aren't a sheep! You are a free thinker, you are independent. Your car directly impacts how other people perceive you. Think about those Camry drivers; actually don't, you will fall asleep. But think about the type of person you are. Do you want to be thought of as an outdoorsy type? Then you need a Range Rover, because how else are you going to visit your friend that has a dirt driveway? Do you want to be famous on the internet? Then you need a Ferrari.
How much should I spend?
Remember, the more expensive the car the better the value. You are paying for the same labor to assemble a 20k car as you would for a 90k car, so you should get the most for your money. Also consider resale value, people love fancy luxury cars so when it comes time to trade it in you want a vehicle that holds its value, something along the lines of a BMW 7-series or if you prefer 2 doors a Mercedes CL class. Don't worry about budget, car dealers will make sure they get you a car that you can afford. There are 96 month loans, and it might require a hefty down-payment but all that matters is you look good.
What about all those dealership horror stories?
First of all, no one calls themselves a "car dealer" anymore...they are a "product specialist." The days of slick suits, and shady deals are gone. Buying a car is just like buying an iPad. You go into the dealership, pick out what you want, they give you a price, and you drive home. But don't forget about all those extras like warranties, pin striping, and VIN etching. All of these things are crucial for peace of mind and the more you spend on a car the more important you are. You are important right?
So, who are you going to listen to Consumer Reports? Think about that... "reports" you don't write reports; you go on adventures. This is Jalopnik...this is "Drive Free or Die"...so go buy a Viper, because if you don't America will DIE!
My name is Tom and I run AutomatchConsulting.com. I am a professional car-buying consultant, which means people pay me to help them select the right car (NO YOU CAN'T HAVE A PRIUS) and negotiate with the dealerships to get them the best price. If you have any other questions or suggestions for future posts about the car-buying process please let me know. You can find some of my other car-buying articles here.