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 bonkers online pricing errors, lease swapping, and buying a used diesel car.
First up, is it possible to hold a dealer to a crazy low online price even if it was an error?
I was searching for a new car on the cars.com app and I saw a 2019 Infiniti QX60 LUXE for $49 I know it has to be a big error but can I hold them to that price? Is there anything I can do?
I know Infiniti isn’t lighting the sales charts on fire, but I can’t image it’s blowing its cars out for less than $50, as you have indicated clearly this is an error and someone forgot to input a few digits. More often than not most dealers toss in some fine print that says something along the lines of “not responsible for errors, please call dealer to confirm pricing.” And a court would likely side that way too.
So I’m afraid you won’t be buying that brand new Q50 for the deal of a century. You might have a claim of false or deceptive advertising, but that would be a stretch in this case. Even if you can prove that there, is no legal mechanism to force that dealer to sell you that car at that price. The best you can do is have a hearty chuckle and move on.
Next up, are these lease sites where you take over someone’s lease worth it?
“What is your take on these like Swapalease where you can just take over someone else’s payments? Are there any risks here? What’s the catch?”
If leasing is your thing, and it’s not for everyone, these sites can provide some good opportunities to grab a nice lease for less than you would have otherwise. This is especially true on high-end hardware like expensive luxury cars. In some cases, the lessee will even give you an upfront cash incentive for doing the takeover.
Like anything else, you need to look at the details. Often people throw their car on these sites because they are going to be over the mile limit soon and they need to get out fast. As a result you may not have much of a mileage balance left on the remaining term and you will want to do some calculations on your projected usage compared to the available balance. Also, some of the cars are listed because the current lessee got hosed on their lease and are paying too much.
I have found the best candidates for lease takeovers are folks that want something interesting but they don’t want to keep it for very long.
Lastly, will diesel passenger cars take a huge resale drop in the future?
“I’ve been looking at and have been test driving potential vehicles I would want, and I recently set my sights on a BMW 328d wagon and an Audi Q5 TDI, both used. While I thought both vehicles fit my need and wants quite well, I’m worried about the future of diesels in the US (specifically California), and not to mention diesels in the US has had a very rocky history. My question is, do you think if I end up buying a diesel-powered car later this year, it would be worth it and still be viable down the line?”
While diesel passenger cars have had only a limited chunk of the American market, there has been a small, but dedicated buyer pool that will snatch these cars up down the road. In fact, if you look at some of the price differences between the used TDI Dieselgate cars and their gas-powered counterparts, the TDIs are going for a hefty premium in some areas.
So if an oil burning German car is what you want, go for it.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!