Yes, that’s right: not only have we become minivan people but I insisted that we pose in front of the Silver Bullet for a picture. We used the auto-timer and my gorillapod so no innocent bystander was affect by our dorkiness. Don’t mind Jason’s work clothes; I caught him between projects.
I’d like to take a few moments to brag on my husband’s awesome negotiating skills. The dealership was asking $7900 for this van, about $1000 more than the KBB value. Our maximum budget was $5000. And really, Jason was aiming for $4000. He decided to lay his cards out on the table right from the start because in this case, there really was no room to meet in the middle. If he had offered $3000, they may have been insulted. His old car was worth between $1000-2000. We tried to sell it on craigslist but it was unappealing to most buyers because it needed some serious repair to the under-carriage. So Jason’s initial offer was that we’d pay $5000 for the van and they’d give us $1000 for our trade-in. Their first counter-offer was $6200. Jason says they went back and forth several times and his offer never changed. $4000 for the van with our trade-in. Firm. Finally, they said the best they could do was $5200. Jason said thanks and left. As he was walking to his car, he faintly heard over the garbled intercomm, “Call customer back.” One of the sales guys tried to wave him back in but he ignored him and drove off of the lot. Before he reached the main road, his phone was ringing. The sales manager was on the other end (the guy that sits in the little booth and sends the counter offers) begging him to come back. He said they could do $4000 plus taxes and fees (coming out to a little less than $4600), insisting that he’d be making no money on this van. My reaction: Yeah right. Then why did he call back? I am so proud of my husband! I think three major factors that allowed him to get such a good deal in case any of you out there are looking for some car buying tips. 1.) Jason had cash and was prepared to pay that day. 2.) He knew what he wanted to pay and stayed calm and confident. 3.) He was truly willing to walk away.
Why did we want a minivan? Jason has always liked driving vans, while I’m more of a small car fan. There were several motivators that convinced me to hop on board the minivan train:
• room for more people (obviously)
• better gas milage than an SUV
• room for transporting furniture home from estate sales and thrift stores (yay!)
• space for transporting lumber and supplies for home projects (did you see this craziness?!)
• Jason’s sedan was slowly falling apart
• enough space for two kids plus Jason’s music gear
Because of our desire to be able to transport lots of stuff in the van, we’re super excited about the stow-n-go feature in this Dodge Grand Caravan. In less than 30 seconds, the back row of seats can be folded down and disappear into the floor of the van. The two bucket seats in the middle do the same thing, although we haven’t tried them yet. Basically it can become a cargo van in a matter of minutes without us having to remove and store heavy, bulky seats. I love smart design! We’re not “car people” and we generally don’t care much about what kind of car we’re driving. As long as it’s paid for, it gets us around reliably and it serves our transport needs; we’re happy.
Now I need to practice parking this big ol’ bullet.