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 getting the best price on a car that hasn’t yet hit the lots, buying a reasonably priced car that will appreciate in value, and whether or not it’s crazy to buy an old Volvo 1800
Our first two topics this week come from the same reader. He wants to know how to get the best price on an all-new Mercedes and how to not spend a fortune on a cool car that might make him some money.
First, my wife wants the new GLE 450, but it’s not on the lots yet. Is it possible to negotiate a price on a car before it arrives or is it smarter to wait six months to gain some leverage?
This is a question that readers and clients ask me frequently. I’ll tell you what I tell them: It really depends on the car and the projected demand. On a car like the new GLE 450 Mercedes isn’t likely to throw any factory rebates on the hood for a while, if they do it at all. So any discount is going to come out of the dealer’s pocket. It is certainly possible that a dealer will get you an order or an allocation at a competitive discount—that way you can get a price break once the car hits the lots. It may also be the case that the dealers aren’t going to be super motivated to discount a car that they feel may be in high demand.
What I would suggest is to do some preliminary shopping with some of the dealers in your region, or even beyond your region, to get a sense of what they are willing to do for a discount on a 2020 GLE 450. If no one is really budging much, you can wait until inventory builds up a bit. The prices will either stay the same or get better.
Second, I’m interested in buying a car that will appreciate. I have a friend who is in the high-level Ferrari ownership circle and I’m amazed how he is able to drive a car for a year and then sell it at a profit.
Personally, I don’t have that level of capital, but I would like to buy a third car to keep for a while that will appreciate. I am looking at E46 M3 coupes, M2s, and 997 era 911s. Do you have any other suggestions for fun cars that might appreciate from the $30k-45k price point? (I include the M2 because of the 1M’s trajectory).
It’s very hard to predict which cars will appreciate in value. There are all kinds of market conditions that impact what folks are willing to buy and how much they are willing to pay. What I will say is there are some cars that are more likely to maintain their current value, or at the very least have a more gradual depreciation curve, making the cost of ownership over time pretty reasonable.
Currently, the Porsche 911 market is pretty strong, especially for 997 generation cars. The 997.2 cars have been rapidly increasing in value over the past several years. As you are likely aware the 997.2 cars were the ones that had some significant improvements over the 997.1 cars namely the new motor that did not have the IMS (intermediate shaft bearing) issues and the shift from the Tiptronic transmission to the excellent PDK.
However, finding a quality 997.2 for sub $45,000 can be a challenge. Due to the rapid increase in popularity of the 997.2, some folks have gotten “priced out” and are now pivoting to the more reasonable 997.1, and therefore values are slowing starting to go up. What I would do is find a nice, later model 997.1 with a manual, sooner rather than later.
And finally, this guy wants to know how crazy he is for buying a classic Volvo he doesn’t know how to fix -
I’ve been considering buying a stupid car, specifically a 1973 Volvo 1800 ES Wagon
I live in Toronto, and I have a garage that will fit a small car (the previous owner fit a BMW 3-series into it; I haven’t been brave enough to try the same with my 3-wagon: there are literally inches of clearance down the driveway on either side.)
I do not wrench (I have replaced my own oil on a motorcycle, but not much more). But I work a lot and am well paid. So I can probably pay the local import garage run by a 70-year-old Portuguese guy to fix things for me.
I think Canadians must use the word “stupid” a bit different than Americans because those cars are awesome. They are apparently also very reliable if well maintained. Irv Gordon who was an absolute legend, piled on over 3 million miles in his P1800. So as far as vintage cars go, those old Volvos shouldn’t be too hard on the wallet if you find one that was well-cared for.
The first thing you need to do is take some hard measurements of your garage and know the exact measurements of that Volvo to see what your clearance is. If the car fits and you are prepared to farm out the work to a local Volvo expert, I say buy it and enjoy.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!