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You are in the Prices Paid - Buying & Leasing Experiences
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Sedan, Wagon
#1313 of 1988 Re: Interesting forum, but a few things to add [kevinc5]
Dec 20, 2011 (10:50 am)
I've asked several dealers down here in Florida (Delray, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach and Ft. Lauderdale) where I have friends and/or acquaintences working in those dealerships or managing them, and they said that they have ordered lots of them, but this seems to have all started in the summer.
Mercedes Benz had lots of 2011 E350 sedans throughout the U.S. They had so many, they decided to no start building the 2012's until September 1st, 2011. You might be aware that the 2012 E350 coupes and convertibles got to the U.S. dealers in late may, early June of this year. That was 4 1/2 months sooner than the sedans. Thus, there has not been sufficient time for inventories to build up like they usually do over the summer months. There aren't lots of coupes or convertibles around either, but there of many more coupes and convertibles than there are sedans.
Mine was built on September 3rd and I took delivery on October 17th, but my dealer only received "rush ordered" E350 sedans that day, 6 of them. He didn't get another sedan for almost 2 weeks, nor did any of the other dealerships, most of which are owned by AutoNation, the largest dealership network organization in the country.
When I spoke with a few of the managers I know, they told me that they sell the cars (E350 sedans) even before they get to the port because the shortages, and many of the sales are dealer trades due to the shortages. They are all dumbfounded as to the reason Mercedes Benz waited so long to introduce the E350 sedan in our country. The BlueTech and E550's and E63's have been available since August, but the E350's have not.
I have a friend I am trying to help get an E350 sedan for with certain color combination and interior, P1, ventilated seats, drive dynamic drivers seat and folding rear seats, and I've been informed that it will need to be ordered since what he wants is not available in current production, on the ocean, or at a port. Last year, when I wanted my 2011 in silver w/black interior, walnut trim and P1, etc., not only did my dealer have 3 of them, but there wre 16 of them in the southeast region. So, something is definitely different this year from last year.
By the way, I am willing to bet that Mercedes continues their current incentives and financing through the middle of January because there are so many cars currently in production or on the ocean headed to the various ports which were ordered by dealers for customers but could not deliver them due to shortages. Let's see if I'm right.
#1314 of 1988 Re: Conquest Incentive [abacomike]
Dec 21, 2011 (8:09 pm)
My car is scheduled to arrive at the port on 12/26. We're going to get the deal done in '11...but will probably be the first week of '12 til I take possession. Counting the days!
#1315 of 1988 Re: Interesting forum, but a few things to add [abacomike]
Dec 21, 2011 (8:11 pm)
Very interesting post. Thanks for that back-story.
#1316 of 1988 Re: Interesting forum, but a few things to add [abacomike]
Dec 21, 2011 (8:38 pm)
Thanks...I thought the reason for the shortage was inventory management and the desire to support higher pricing. Sounds like there was a lot more to it than that..
#1317 of 1988 Buy/Lease/Sport/Luxury ...?
Dec 22, 2011 (11:40 am)
This forum is really great and it is very helpful to get feedback from all of your experiences. Sometimes it raises a lot of questions and it might be nice to just walk into a dealer and get the car that strikes you without all of the research (just kidding).
I am coming off of a BMW 528 lease, have had Lexus before, and am probably going to get the E350 now. Have several questions which some of your previous posts address, but would like your feedback on my situation.
1. BUY OR LEASE?
My firm pays for car payments, and would pay for lease or purchase. I have leased cars over the years, but am older now (57) and am thinking about buying so won't have car payments after car is paid off. My wife and I are conservative and I probably won't retire for another 15 years the way the economy is. Car payment for purchase with very agressive Mercedes financing at present would be around $900/month. Lease would be around $630/month. Company would pay for either. MB salesman suggested leasing because if I really liked the car at end of lease, I could always buy it and roll it over into a MB financing loan. If I didn't want to keep it, I could just turn it in. He also said that with leasing I won't have to worry about maintainance if things break after warranty ends (he suggested that if I do buy, get extended warranty). This makes sense, but if firm is paying, then doesn't it make sense to buy? Another factor is with changes in cars (hybrids, electric) in coming years, if I buy this car and want to change due to changing technology, would value be greatly lower in next few years?
2. SPORT VS. LUXURY?
My wife and I test drove both yesterday. The ride was definitely different in both. The Luxury was a softer ride and more play in steering wheel. The Sport was more like my BMW with feeling the road more and steering more responsive. My wife liked the Luxury (more like her Lexus) and I liked the Sport. She told me to get what I want. I'm leaning toward Sport but wonder if I would grow tired of the not-as-smooth ride over the years as I get older, and maybe the smoother would be better over long run. Also, the fact that the tires are staggered and can't be rotated has been mentioned. How much is this a real life factor?
The salesman said that the Sport outsells the Luxury by over 10 - 1, which is probably a function of MB making the Sport in greater numbers and it is more available.
Want simple options: only Premium 1 package, lane tracking/blind spot assist.
Any thoughts? Too much overthinking?
Thanks for your feedback.
#1318 of 1988 Re: Buy/Lease/Sport/Luxury ...? [lawcar]
Dec 22, 2011 (6:15 pm)
You pose some very interesting questions, however more information is needed in order to give you a proper response:
*How many miles do you drive in a year? That is needed for lease vs. purhase. If you drive 15000 miles per year, that means in 36 months, you will have driven 45,000 miles. Remember, your warranty is for 50,000 miles. Of course you can purchase the extended warranty, which I have because the dealer threw it in as part of the deal after negotiations were finalized. Definitely worth the bucks if you are going to keep the car for 4 or 5 years.
If you drive 15,000 miles a year, I would lease since the company is paying for the car. If you drive 10,000 miles per year, I would buy. If you keep the car for 5 years (if you buy) you would be able to get a good resale due to lower mileage.
*Sport vs. Luxury: I'm 67 years old and have always bought a sport E350. To me, handling and performance outweigh softer and looser. I used to buy BMW's, so I am familiar with your comparison. I know you will find the Merecedes is far superior in every way.
The dealer was correct that 9 out of every 10 E350 sedans sold is a sport. There are shortcomings to the sport - tire and wheel sizes are not the same front to rear, so you cannot rotate tires; the sport is slightly lower in stance so if you park in an area where there are front curbs for the nose of the car, be careful not to pull too close or you will scrape the bottom of the lower front of the car; interior is slightly different - more aluminum and chrome trim in the sport. I still prefer the sport because of the stiffer feel and better handling.
*The 1.9% financing rate (can negotiate a lower rate, I got 1.6%) is a truly outstanding interest rate for a Mercedes, expecially considering you can extend the loan to 66 months.
*Your sales person is not well informed about leasing. If you drive 18,000 to 20,000 miles per year, your leased vehicle would be out of warranty within 2 1/2 years. If you drive 12,000 miles a year or even 15,000 miles a year, your car would be covered for the term of the 36 month lease. Again, need to know how many miles you drive a year to give you better answers.
*Options: For most, Premium 1 package is more than sufficient. My 2012 is the first one I"ve had with Premium 2, but since I drive alot at night, those Xenon lights, corning lights and adaptive lighting package are a great addition. I also thought the automatic trunk closer from the rear was a waste, but, since having it, I use it all the time. You have two buttons, one to just close the trunk, the other to close the trunk and "lock the car and set the alarm". Whenever we go shopping for groceries, it sure is a handy feature. I also like the keyless entry and start - never have to fumble around looking for my key. So long as I have it in my pocket, I'm set.
But I was very happy with premium 1. Since I live in Florida, I also got the ventilated seats (which require leather seating, another 1600+ option). Boy, they really cool your back and bottom quickly on a hot, muggy day, which we have here 7 months a year. We haven't used the heated seats with ventilation yet, but I would imagine up north, they sure are great. Other than these, sounds like you are getting what you need.
*As for overthinking, remember as we get older, we tend not to make snap decisions as we did when we were younger. We think things out before making a move. YOu are only doing what most of us do.
Once we know how many miles you drive, the answer to leasing vs. buying will be easier to advise you on.
#1319 of 1988 Re: Interesting forum, but a few things to add [kevinc5]
Dec 22, 2011 (6:45 pm)
Inventory management is always a consideration, i.e. floor plan (which are interest costs the dealer has to deal with for the money he borrowed from the bank(s) and/or the manufacturer to purchase the cars he has in inventory. The higher the inventory, the more interest that hs to be paid - but with interest rates so low at the present time, I doubt inventory management had much to do with it, if anything.
As for low inventories to increase pricing, any dealer would rather sell 2000 cars a year with a total front and back end profit of 2000 than to sell 1000 cars with total profit on each sale of 3000, or even 4000. Dealers who sell more cars are considered "favored" dealers by their manufacturers and get more corporate perks. Each dealer pays the same for a car, no matter how big or small the dealer may be, but there are additional incentives "per car" that are provided, above and beyond hold-back.
Believe it or not, because of sites such as Edmunds, Cars.com, Vehix, etc., I have learned that many dealers are offering customers "The Edmunds Pricing" to start negotiations or the "Cars.com Pricing".
Edmunds shows you what the average buyer is paying for a particular car with specific options, once you build your car on Edmunds. So, some dealers have decided on this new policy to cut down on the time it takes to negotiate a deal. When I was n the business, it could take up to 3 hours of hard negotiations to arrive at a price (not all were that long, but the average was 1 1/2 to 2 hours). Now, when a sales person presents their first penciled numbers, they start at MSRP and show the customer the Edmunds price. Their pitch is simple, this is what the average person is actually paying for this car according to Edmunds. They even show the Edmunds fact sheet which is shown online. Once dealer told me theya have cut the time it takes to negotiate a deal by 70%. That makes the customer happier and of course, it makes life easier for the management and salesperson.
Let's assume an average Lexus GS350 MSRP's at about 53,000.00. Let's say Edmunds shows that the average price paid for that identical dealer is $51,000. But let's say the customer says he wants a better deal than the average customer. So, they take another 500 off the price which makes the customer happier. There is still a profit of 2000+ on the car for the dealer, and negotiations were pleasant instead of causing hate and discontent.
Of course, there are so many people using sites like Edmunds prior to purchasing a car that it is almost impossible to make big profits on cars today. It's volume that is important to a dealership now for the above reasons. Many managers and sales people tell me that customers are starting to come into the dealership offering "invoice" for the car and not a penny more. Those are the most difficult customers to deal with because they are inflexible. A dealer cannot sell all his cars at invoice - he'd be out of business in less than a year. He can sell some cars at invoice, and even a few below invoice, but it's the average net profit that management looks at.
Dealers know that they are not going to sell a Toyota or a Lexus for MSRP. So why not cut to the chase. Consumers are smarter now because of sites like Edmunds and Forums like this.
Just thought you might find this interesting, Kevin.
#1320 of 1988 Re: Buy/Lease/Sport/Luxury ...? [lawcar]
Dec 22, 2011 (8:25 pm)
Now that Mike has weighed in and voted for Sport, I guess it's my turn to speak up and vote Luxury! OK, really, they're both great and you can't really screw up this decision. But....I owned a Luxury first....then went to the Sport....and am now awaiting delivery of a '12 Luxury model. I'm 54, a woman. While the sport ride is definitely fun, the BIG difference for me was the noise. The low profile tires are definitely louder. The Luxury cabin has a much quieter ride, in my opinion. I've also stepped up to the P2 this time--in large part for the headlight package. It's not getting any easier driving at night, so this seemed like a smart move for a car I plan to keep for awhile. And to Mike's point about the lower front end, I can speak from experience on that one. That scraping sound over the curb is a killer. Haven't done serious damage but have scraped it more than once. It's deceivingly low. Each model has some spectacular features. You'll love either---promise. Good luck!
#1321 of 1988 Re: Thanks, Mike.
Dec 22, 2011 (10:51 pm)
Thanks for sharng your experience and suggestions. I drive 12,000 miles per year. The lower profile is a real factor, as the curb in front of our house is high, and I've dinged my BMW up when I wasn't as careful as I should be.
#1322 of 1988 Thanks, Bev...
Dec 22, 2011 (10:56 pm)
Thanks for sharing your experience. I didn't notice the louder noise when I test drove the Sport, but it was only for about 10 minute test drive. I did notice the difference in the feel of the cars. The lower profile is a consideration, as I've scraped my BMW on my front curb when I wasn't careful. The pros and cons of the Sport and Luxury is one reason to lease to see how I like the car.