Are Those Employee Based Car Buying Services Any Good?

Illustration for article titled Are Those Employee Based Car Buying Services Any Good?
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As Jalopnik’s resident car buying expert and professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve decided to pick a few questions and try to help out. This week we are discussing employee based car buying services, buying a car in the US to export to the UK, and overpriced Toyota trucks.

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First up, do those car-buying programs through your employer really save you money?

I work at Western Union now, and they have an employee service to help but a car.

I ended up getting calls, texts and emails from 4 dealers within about 15 minutes. I did get to see the prices, and they averaged about $3k off sticker (from ~$34k to ~$31k. I don’t know how great that is for the Denver market, but I’m fairly certain I could have done as well for myself by shopping the dealers against each other. A few years ago I got my wife a pretty great deal on a new Outback, which is a much harder car to score a deal on in Colorado, and one of the few cars I think it’s worth it to go ahead and buy new here, because the depreciation is fairly low those first few years.

Also, not all the cars I was shown were the Autobahn trim; the deals that actually were the best (as in, greatest % off sticker) were on the S trim and I guess the Autobahn is on the SE. There was one S trim that was down around $26k, which was a pretty good deal. And there was little information about which options packages each car had, which you’d again have to suss out for yourself to really know how you’re doing on the deal.

So it looks to me like these ‘benefits’ aren’t all that great, which isn’t surprising, though some people might find the service helpful. I wonder how much better I could do if I took the already-discounted $ and tried to go farther down from there, but to me that again feels like it defeats the purpose of the whole thing.

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These services are often just a value-added benefit for employees of a major company. They don’t cost the employee anything and often take some of the hassle out of the process. However, as you said they may not be the most effective way to get the absolute best deal. in fact, most of these programs are “powered by TrueCar” or other similar services that just offer you a pricing certificate. Depending on the car this could be a great deal, or you could put the work in and grind them down a bit further.

These car buying services are different than affiliate discounts for working for a certain employer some brands have additional discounts and rebates on top of your negotiated price if you work for a company or belong to a professional organization that has partnered with that brand.

Next up, is it possible for someone to buy a car privately then export it?

I’m actually considering buying a car in US and importing it into the UK.

Not sure how can I, not being a US citizen nor resident, could buy a car privately there. The UK end is understood, but buying the car appears to be tricky.

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If you are buying a car from a private seller, for the most part, they aren’t really going to care who you are and what you plan to do with it as long as you have the funds to purchase the vehicle at the agreed-upon price. When you purchase the vehicle they will give you a bill of sale and the title, from there you would have to handle the export process accordingly.

What I will say is that there are a ton of scams out there when people post their cars for sale from “international buyers” so sellers may be a bit wary about wanting to work with you on this transaction. Therefore, you are going to want to make it clear that you are physically in the US, are willing to pay cash, and can do so in person.

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Finally, is a fifteen-year-old Tundra really worth $20,000?

Hey, car buying question for you. I’m interested in spending around $20,000 for a new pickup and I really like the first gen Toyota Tundra. I found an ‘04 with 65,000 miles that I love for $20,000.

Is it stupid to spend this much money on a 15 year old pickup when I can get a newer F-150 (maybe a 2010-2013) with similar miles and price?

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This is probably a better question for our Nice Price or Crack Pipe column, and our fine readers can certainly weigh in on this in the comments, but on the surface, $20,000 seems like a lot for an old pickup despite the super low miles. But Toyota trucks have some strange magic in the second-hand market and quality examples go for crazy money. As the saying goes - what something is worth is what someone is willing to pay for it.

Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at tom.mcparland@jalopnik.com!

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)

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