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 leveraging out-of-state deals against a local store, how much reconditioning dealers do for used cars, the potential price difference between the 2019 and 2020 Volkswagen GTIs.
First up, if you find a killer deal from an out of state dealer is there any way to get that price nearby?
“After a lengthy set of test drives and comparisons, I’ve decided to purchase a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica. The combination of trim & options means I’m on the hunt for a unicorn, which I’ve found 2 of at a dealership in Illinois.
I’ve been test driving the van at a local dealer near me here in Massachusetts, and they only seem to want to search for similar vehicles within a 100-mile radius. I was offered a similar vehicle in a different color, and several without one of my “must-have” packages.
What’s the process if I want to buy the vehicle in Illinois? It’s offered at a pretty good price (nearly $13K on the hood) and the financing and incentives before Labor Day are awfully attractive. Can I ask the local dealer to get me that vehicle? Or do I need to just deal with the out-of-state dealer and figure out a way to deal with my trade and/or shipping the car?”
The reason your local store only wants to search within 100 miles is that if they go any further than that, it’s going to cost them to ship the car. And those shipping costs will have to get passed on to you. Furthermore, it’s often the case that dealers can discount their own cars more so than bringing something in. And some rebate programs, like dealer cash, vary by region. That store in Illinois might have more factory money to work with than your local dealer.
So even if your nearby dealer could get that car, chances are you would be paying more for it. Your best bet is to do business directly with the out-of-state dealer.
Next: When purchasing a high-end sports car, how much reconditioning is expected?
“I am in the market for a lightly used 2015-2016 Nissan GT-R. By lightly used I mean sub 25K miles. I’ve been watching the market for about the last 6 months observing what they are actually selling for and the sweet spot seems to be $68K. Once a listing hits that it generally disappears off all the car sales websites.
I’ve done my research on the maintenance and work GT-Rs need and it seems like the 20K mile mark is the danger zone where they need new brakes, tires, differential fluid, and transmission fluid. That can add up to a lot of money to get the car running like new again. I am not sure if you have worked deals for used GT-Rs before or not but I’d be interested to know if I am off base expecting the dealer to take care of these things at their cost prior to purchase (if needed). “
This is an excellent question, and the answer—like most scenarios—is that it depends on the dealership. I’ve brokered a lot of sports car and specialty car deals and have encountered dealers who spend serious money getting the car reconditioned for a successful sale. However, these dealers tend to be the types of places that cater to higher-end car buyers, whether it’s a franchised Porsche or Ferrari or whatever dealer or an independent one that specializes in sports cars and exotics.
Unfortunately what I have seen with GT-Rs is that a lot of them were bought, driven hard, then traded in before the maintenance costs became serious. Therefore, a lot of dealers are trying to sell them for a quick flip while minimizing their costs. So if you come across one at a Nissan dealer or perhaps a used car lot with a random selection of cars, they may not be as likely to do the necessary repairs. Worn tires are obvious, but stuff like brakes and other components require a deeper dive.
Just like anything else, get a pre-purchase inspection and use that report to either request the necessary reconditioning or leverage the price down.
Next up, now that the Volkswagen GTI is losing the long warranty, will it be harder to get a deal?
“I’m interested in the MK7 Golf GTI, in particular the 2018-2019 given the warranty. But I don’t plan on buying one for awhile. Do you think dealers will increase prices (or negotiate less off MSRP) on the MK7 given it doesn’t seem like people like the 2020 GTI as much, and it doesn’t have the longer warranty?”
First of all, no one really knows when the MK8 GTI is coming out. We have seen some pictures and a lot of folks aren’t jazzed about the styling, but VW has indicated a performance increase on the MK8 and I would imagine we would get some upgraded technology as well.
That being said once the MK8 GTI is destined for America, dealers will want to clear out old inventory. VW will likely be offering some kind of rebate programs to assist with this. I don’t think the warranty advantage alone on the 2019 models will make them more valuable.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!