Monday, December 27, 2010

New Car Blues

Now that Christmas is over it's time to go back to work and start saving up for our next major purchase...a new car.

Both of our cars have long been paid off, and given the cost of new (and even decent used) cars, not having a car payment is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, we have one car that's pretty much inert and another that has all the winter road traction of Vaseline on waxed paper, and so we're grudgingly starting to think about the horrifying possibility of a new vehicle.

The absolute cost of the car is only the tip of the economic iceberg, though. By the time the dealer gets done tacking on all the destination charges, transportation charges, preparation charges, delivery charges, surcharges, cavalry charges, and overcharges; the governor takes his cut via sales tax and personal property tax; the DMV takes a slice with registration fees; and the insurance company gleefully calculates its premiums, that $34,000 car ends up costing about $497,000 and change. Jerry Reed said it well ...

All of which brings me to this helpful guide to automotive acronyms that has been compiled by the incomparable Miss Cellania:

BMW - Big Money Waste

BUICK - Big Ugly Indestructible Compact Killer

CHEVROLET - Can Hear Every Valve Rattle On Long Extended Trips

CHEVY - Cheapest Heap Ever Visioned Yet

DODGE - Drips Oil Drops Grease Everywhere

FIAT - Fix It Again Tomorrow

FORD - Found On Road Dead

GM - Grinding Metal

GMC - Got Mechanic Coming

HONDA - Hold On, Not Done Accelerating

JEEP - Just Enough Engine Power

KIA - Killed In Action

MAZDA - Made At Zoo by Demented Apes

MG - Mostly Garaged

OLDSMOBILE - Old Ladies Driving Slowly Making Others Behind Increasingly Late Everyday

PINTO - Powerful Incendiary, Neatly Toasts Occupants

PLYMOUTH - Please Let Your Mother Out from Under The Hood

PONTIAC - Poor Old Nebraskan, Thinks It's A Cadillac

PORSCHE - Piece Of Rusty Scrap, Cost Highly Expensive

SUBARU - Still Usable But All Rusty Underneath

TOYOTA - The One You Ought To Avoid

VW - Virtually Worthless

We're going to put off the agony as long as possible, but sooner or later I'll have to grit my teeth and turn Agnes loose on some unsuspecting salesman. She's a much better negotiator than I am. A long time ago we were looking for a new car for her (emphasis on the "looking" part), and at one of the dealerships we visited a hyperaggressive salesman latched onto us and just couldn't get the message that we weren't going to buy anything that day. He pushed and prodded and badgered us so much that by the time we finally walked out in disgust, he could have offered to give us the car, pay the insurance, throw in lifetime gas, service, and detailing, hire a chauffeur, and build a new, climate-controlled garage for us to keep it in, and Agnes would still have still told him to go to hell.

I wish I could be like that, but it's just one more reason I'm lucky to have her.

Stay tuned for more of the ongoing car search agony.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

I'm taking over my brother's 10 year old car.....We'll delay the pain of a new car until Richard has graduated and found a job.

Leslie David said...

Just joined the 100,000 mile club (not to be confused with the Mile High Club)and went over 100,000 miles on the odometer. The car will be paid off in the spring so I will enjoy having the title in my hot little hands and no car payments. If I'm lucky I'll get another 5 years out of this (2005 Ford Focus) before I buy a new one. I've owned 2 Mitsubishi's, 2 Fords and 1 Honda, and if I were going to buy another car right now, (aside from a Prius or the Volt) I'd probably get a Ford Fiesta. It got a pretty good rating and I like small cars. If I only did commute driving in the city I'd consider a Smart car but given I take the car on the Interstate with big trucks and everything, that's not a very smart choice.

KKTSews said...

Yesterday morning I saw a weird looking (from the rear) small SUV, with the model name "Cayene S" on the back but no make. I sped up to see if we could see anything on the front and was amazed to find the Porche shield on the front grill. WTF? Porche makes an SUV? The world has gone really crazy--and it was ugly, too. Have fun shopping and buy from the first salesman that doesn't do a hard sell (probably because the cars are good enough to sell themselves).
For what it's worth, Mark's current Volvo has gone over 185k miles and still looks and operates like it's got 10k on it.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

good luck to ya. I've heard that the Ford Fusion is a good bet on the American made front, plus they are really pretty. I love my focus too.

Mike said...

Remember when the hybrids came out? A new battery pack was supposed to cost $800 - $1200? Try $3500 installed. $2100 if you want to do it yourself.

KathyA said...

I think I like Agnes!

We lease our cars -- we like this much more, especially since mine comes with total maintenance.