My first car out of college. Fully body kit and HFP rims (which nearly matched the car’s color perfectly) straight from Honda. Custom tail lenses to boot. I loved that damn car.
Yesterday marked the end of an era. Chrissy traded up her 2006 Blue Blitz Micah Scion tC Release Series, of which only 2600 were made. The “blueberry”, as I liked to call it. It was a nifty car and had lots of bells and whistles that most cars from 2006 would have never dreamed of. But it was an insurance killer, it probably won’t do very well with a small child in the back, and I always liked to bust her chops about how much of a “chick car” it was (which, I suppose, in retrospect, wasn’t really busting her chops, because of her gender). But that car got us through a lot, and we’ll always enjoy those memories.
The first time I saw the blueberry was when Chrissy picked me up from Temple University’s TECH Center on a week night during the fall we first met. The car was loaded with other collegiate females, and needless to say, I was a bit intimidated by the whole thing. I was almost expecting some sort of interrogation, and I was ready for the worst. But nothing. Just a calm drive with music and laughter through the streets of North Philly while I was stuck in the tC’s miniature back seat with two of her friends who I still don’t remember. But the radio’s display changed different colors at random, which I thought was pretty cool.
Our entire relationship has been dotted with joy rides in the tC. Broad Street, the suburbs, concerts, the Jersey shore, everywhere and anywhere we could fit into our days together. We opened the hatchback to provide seating at Rita’s Water Ice in the summer. We used it to pick up our doggy daughter Diva from Conshohocken; that same day she took her very first drive in it up towards the Poconos to visit Chrissy’s parents. That little thing even moved us to Augusta, Georgia and back (and survived a few other trips to the Peach State). Most importantly – from my perspective anyway – we used it to tailgate at Pearl Jam’s final show at the Spectrum. That little car did a lot for us.
But, alas, now it’s out of our hands and waiting patiently at a dealership in New Jersey for someone to step up and give it a new life. And we move on, too. This time, with a lower insurance premium.
Chrissy and I are kinda, sorta, almost in the new car market. We have a 2006 Scion tC Release Series (which means it has all the bells and whistles and only 2,600 of this particular car were made) and are getting a bit tired of paying an insane amount of insurance on it every year. The car is owned free-and-clear, is in perfect shape with a perfect history, and, at the moment, retails for around $12,000. We’d ultimately like to lower our insurance rate and put that extra money towards a small finance payment each month. Our semi-serious plan is to trade it in (and not get effed in the A while doing so) and basically pay off most of the new car with that amount.
One of the cars we’re looking at is the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Now, I don’t buy Hyundai, I think it’s a joke; in fact, I only buy Honda. But it’s mostly going to be Chrissy’s car, and it cranks out about 50 more horses than the Scion. Whatever. And so begins the worst experience at a car dealership ever at Piazza Hyundai in Pottstown, PA.
Let’s get started with the “deal”. We test drove a 2011 Genesis Coupe that has been used as a demo and has 500 miles on it (the two previous cars I financed/leased had a combined 50 miles on them). I’m okay with this, though. I hear the discount bells ringing in my ears. The car, after a test drive, is okay. It’s certainly not a Honda and is far from anything special. It’s a Hyundai, so I’m not surprised. But I think that, maybe since it’s been sitting on the lot for over a year and has 500 miles on it, the deal ball is in my court. The reasonable discount? Not even $1,000. The car doesn’t even have a moonroof! And if I’m going to be stuck, in five years, with a six-year-old Hyundai with 500 more miles than it should have, the discount needs to be realistic. I would love – absolutely love – to meet the moron that walks into that dealership and takes this “deal”. I have some things I would love to sell him. Like this damn sock that lost its match in the wash.
Now, let’s get to the trade-in. Again, the car retails for around $12,000, and the KBB trade-in value is around $10,500. I obviously can’t take any less than $10,000. The initial estimate comes in at around $8,000. I laugh. I’m not stupid, and I know what the car is worth – even to a dealer. Obviously, the whole Release Series thing isn’t being taken into account here. Fine. So, our saleswoman pulls together a meeting in the manager’s office about the car. Several of them, apparently, use to work at Toyota dealerships (I see why they’re no longer there). They seem to understand the concept of the Release Series, but they don’t really know what it does to the value. Not rocket science. So, she comes back and tells us that they “feel comfortable” at $8,500. And that, no matter what, whatever computer programs they are using to determine this bullshit amount will never understand that it’s a Release Series and value it accordingly.
So, as I gather, because they use a shitty program to determine trade-in value and clearly know little about Scions (even though nearly every manager used to work at a Toyota dealership), I am going to get effed in the A, while they make at least $3,000 on me. Next, she prints out a sheet of all the different financing options and adds a $2,000 down payment in. So – now they’re only giving me $6,500 for a car that retails for $12,000. Truth be told, our Scion has more features than any of the Genesis coupes we saw, and it’s a Toyota. Hyundai has a 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty for a reason.
My entire family has been in the car business forever, so I’m not an idiot when it comes to these sorts of things. In fact, my grandfather, God rest his soul, got started in the car business with Vince Piazza (Mike Piazza’s father), the owner of this particular dealership.
All of my previous dealership experiences (I’ve both financed and leased a car in the past 3 years at Keenan Honda in Doylestown, PA) have been stellar, so just don’t go to this place unless you know absolutely nothing about cars, resale values, or how to shop for cars – or – you have a worthless (or nonexistent) car to trade in and don’t care about getting screwed there.
Listen; I’m not asking for more than our car is worth, but don’t be an asshole. If you’re going to turn around and sell this for $12,000 (which you will have no problem doing), don’t think you’re going to easily screw me in the process. If the intention here was to not sell me anything and convince me to take some more time and go the private-party route, mission accomplished. But, even when I do that, there’s no way I’ll even consider going back there (or any other Hyundai dealership, for that matter). There’s a clear line between being reasonable and respecting a customer and simply insulting them.
To top it off, I’m told that it’s a “niche car” on my way out. No, it’s not. It’s a sport compact coupe made by Toyota. It’s not a Miata. Don’t try to justify screwing a potential customer. F*ck you very much.
I totally just bought one of these.
In a movie theater parking lot. He must be going to see X-Men.
I recently upgraded from my sexy little sport compact Civic to a much more functional and roomy CR-V (I only buy Honda), and this is my new view. And now, Chrissy gets to keep her beloved (and stupid) Scion with its absurd insurance premium.
I’ll miss my Civic; it was my first car out of school and served as my first real sense of accomplishment. And it started the journey to my dream car – the V6 Accord Coupe, which, pending Chrissy’s blessing, I’ll have in 3 years when the CR-V returns to the dealer. As of yet, I have no such blessing.