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You are in the Prices Paid - Buying & Leasing Experiences
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Acura MDX, Car Buying, SUV
#7634 of 12848 Re: dealer incentive for 09 MDX [eltuti2002]
Jan 04, 2009 (5:55 am)
Sharing my decision and information in the form of a sequential story.
I've been reading and posting here for around a week while working toward a decision and action. Looking to get into a new lease to replace my wife's BMW 3-series lease that is up in two weeks. Once she finally decided on the Acura MDX, I got underway in earnest. These boards, when people post clear information, are very helpful.
We live in southern NJ, between Philly and Atlantic City. This past week we visited two local dealers within 25 miles of our home, test drove for my wife, and I came prepared with a written offer for each for a 36-mo lease for a base MDX. She didn't care about the Tech Package, the base unit was plenty loaded for her. Advice for anyone leasing: always start with the "sell price" - it's the most negotiable element (with warning: watch how the dealer calculates sales tax - search the Internet for your state's method, and don't let them get too crazy on doc fees). The residual rate (%) and money factor are set by the leasing company (in this case, American Honda Finance Co - AHFC).
After reading posts on this board, and paying the $14 to get the Consumer Reports price service (from their web site), I went in with a purchase offer of $34,569, or $214 below the CR bottom line of $34,782, which included a lease incentive of $2,000 and took off the dealer holdback of $1,230. Turns out getting to this "bottom line" was not as simple as I hoped. These first two dealers counteroffered with 36,581 and 36,382. I thanked them and left, saying I was going to keep searching for a dealer who would get to within $500 of the CR bottom line. I got home and worked the Internet sales staff of eight more dealers (this made 10 total) - three in Philly, one in DE, and four more in NJ, all the way north to DCH in Verona. I made clear my offer and intent to move this weekend. All replied except DCH - many of you are buying there, and maybe they're too busy to respond! Without exception, they all replied I was off on two counts: (a) the lease incentive was $1,500 and not $2,000 as I was calculating, and (b) most of them were not willing to negotiate much into the $1,230 holdback figure. In fact, one politely chided me that the holdback was the only thing keeping the dealership alive and in business!
So I worked the phones and internet again, increasing my offer. I also had to decide, do I just wait out the current offer that ends on 1/5/09 and see what 1/6/09 holds? I went back on this board to Aug08 postings to see how previous AHFC offers had changed in the last 5-6 months. The "summer sale" in effect in August had 2008 leases at .00245 MF (it is now .00178 much better) at .54 residual (now is .53) and as much as $2,500 cash incentive. That was end of model year. During the fall months all of these figures moved around, some better, some worse. The money factor went as high as .0027, residuals never higher than .54, and sometimes there was $0 cash incentive. Cranking those ups and downs into my spreadsheet, and seeing the resulting payment, things were all over the map. None of us knows for sure what will happen after 1/5/09, and looking at past trends, I decided that today's offers were pretty darn good (.53, .00178, $1,500), and even if they got better, I would not develop buyer's regret. So I decided to keep pushing ahead for a deal before the current offers expired on 1/5.
It became apparent to me that each dealer differs in how much of that $1,230 holdback they were willing to sacrifice to make a deal. Still working the phones, the best deal I received was $300 into that holdback. The CR dealer invoice for the base MDX is $38,012. Dealer gets the $1,500 cash incentive from Acura corporate on a lease, reducing that to $36,512. Several counteroffers I received were higher than that figure. I got the dealer closest to my home to send me an offer via email of $36,261. I had different dealer suggest over the phone that he could go down to $36,000 but needed $200-400 to get the interior color my wife preferred (she wanted the taupe). I had decided in my mind it was worth $200 or so to get her the preferred color interior; those are the kind of emotional decisions that remove flexibility and lock you in! This dealer closest to me had that color combination. Now, some folks here on these boards got DCH and maybe another Northern NJ dealer to do a lease deal with a sell price under $35,000. That is impressive! As I mentioned, I contacted DCH via email, but didn't get a reply. I could have phone called, but I will admit I was not fond of the idea of traveling 100 miles to them. My choice, it may have cost me, but also, as I read in a post by "goneflyn", that lease deal had a different residual, so I couldn't help but wonder that maybe it was not AHFC? I didn't ask goneflyn. Maybe he can reply here to this post.
So yesterday afternoon I emailed that dealer my offer sheet of purchase at $36,213, also separately citing all the other costs like taxes, state tire fee, tags, registration, etc, that I would pay upfront and out of pocket. I had $0 cap cost reduction, which I prefer to do for leasing. We settled on their offer of $36,261 as they included the dealer wheel locks and rubber mat package, which I could have told them "take it out!" but I decided was worth $48 to me. With the residual of .53 and MF of .00178, the 36 month regular payment came in at $499. All the other costs came in at a little over $3,000 - 595 acq fee, 1299 state sales tax, 336 registration and tags, 499 first payment, 7.50 state tire fee, 195 dealer doc fees, 145 state of NJ LFIS luxury tax. We spent a couple of hours there while the vehicle was prepped and we did the paperwork, and we drove home after dinner last night. The deal is done, I am mentally exhausted, and I hope this story is useful to someone else. Best wishes, and I'll be back on these boards when my next purchase or lease gets underway!
#7635 of 12848 Re: dealer incentive for 09 MDX [dom6183]
Jan 04, 2009 (7:11 am)
I concur with you on the incentive. Sales guys mentioned that the lease incentive was 1500, whereas the buy incentive was 2000.
But the intention of my reply is to thank you for taking the time to write the very detailed message at 5AM!!!. I will post my info when I close the deal.
#7636 of 12848 Re: dealer incentive for 09 MDX [dom6183]
Jan 04, 2009 (7:39 am)
Dom - Thanks for the detailed post. Very helpful. I'm having a very similar experience in MA. I'll comment on 2 things --
1.) I have noticed several different residuals myself. The dealer says they are non-negotiable but I've seen anywhere from 50 to 53. I guess they are set by the bank? If anyone has an explanation that would be great.
2.) Regarding DCH - I had the same experience as you. I filled out the form on their site for a quick quote. After 24 hours I had not heard back so I called and left a message for Donna Valesco. I got no response whatsoever.
Anything - thanks for the information. I have a couple months left on my lease so I am waiting for the President's day sale. Good luck everyone.
Jan 04, 2009 (8:50 am)
This is the first time I noticed this forum and maybe would have been helpful before I purchased my car, but this is the deal I got:
Purchase Base MDX with a Cargo Tray and the all weather mats
36,726 Sales price
2,571 Sales Tax
146.90 NJ supplemental titling fee
7.70 Vin online reg fee
364.00 Registraion/Title fee (that is an estimate)
258.00 Documentation fees
40,081 Total price
.9% financing for 36 months ( I financed almost the entire amount other than what they would put on my credit card. Even I can get that rate on my money elsewhere)
The guy walked me through the MSRP, the invoice price, the rebates/incentives and I think the conclusion was that he was making something like $1,000-1,500 on the sale.
I was fine with this because I figure he needs to run a business plus I like the fact that I told him to just disclose everything and I wanted to buy the car that night. I just hate shopping around and really don't have the time.
From these posts it sounds like I could have done a few hundred dollars better if I wanted to spend the time.
This was Springfield Acura and I dealt with Bill (the General Manager I believe). He haded the paper work to a sales guy named Alex.
I complained that I wanted to be out in an hour and it actually took 2.5 so he offered me the first scheduled maintenence for free if I call him before I come down. They also took my lease turn in and filled out the paper work to have 50% of my over milage waived.
Overall I'm saitisfied especially knowing that within 3 hours Iof deciding to buy the car was driving it home.
When I leased the last MDX I took this same approach at DCH and they did the same thing. I dealt with Otto at DCH. I wish he was not on vacation this week or I would have went back to him. I was afraid to wait until the incentives expired.
I tried Open Road Acura in Wayne but they told me it was the sticker price unless I came in with another offer then they would try to beat that. I just don't have the energy to play that game... I just want a good deal, not the "best deal" if it is going to take to much time.
#7638 of 12848 On the Bank Acquisition fee - A new item to negotiate
Jan 04, 2009 (9:58 am)
This piece below addresses the issue of the bank fee on leases, that I posed on my previous post. Prices of cars should be transparent. I have a feeling that if we start looking at all this "initial fees", we'll find buyers/leasees are getting overcharged. The state regulators should care about this... Or they can let it run wild like they did with mortgage companies and then have it blow up in their faces..
#7639 of 12848 Re: On the Bank Acquisition fee - A new item to negotiate [eltuti2002]
by kyfdx HOST
Jan 04, 2009 (12:00 pm)
That's all very interesting, but...
Responding to the title of your post: Unless the dealer has marked up the fee for extra profit, you can't negotiate the lease acquisition fee.
Unless, like Don Quixote, you enjoy tilting at windmills, it's best to concentrate your efforts on the part of the deal that you can control. I agree with the blogger that nothing about car sales is transparent. I'm not sure why anyone should be surprised about it in this regard, as well.
#7640 of 12848 Re: On the Bank Acquisition fee - A new item to negotiate [kyfdx]
Jan 04, 2009 (1:34 pm)
i think raising awareness on something that looks unreasonable is not a "quixotada". for god sakes...dealers and auto manufacturers are not giant windmills by any means or measure these days. in fact 3 of them are going broke. but let's get specific. i think 595 for taking the time to process a lease (5-10mins) is bordering predatory lending no matter if "all of them" do it. 200, i can understand.
#7641 of 12848 Re: On the Bank Acquisition fee - A new item to negotiate [eltuti2002]
Jan 04, 2009 (1:55 pm)
Re: acquisition fees. That was a very enlightening article! I wonder if over time this item might become negotiable, but from my past four leases in the past 6 years (for me and others in my household), in no case did I try to press on that figure. It may be worth pushing on it next time, even if rebuffed, it can be one item to "concede" in a negotiation (and ask for something else in return, a common negotiation tactic any of us can use to advantage).
Re: posting at 5AM - thanks, but don't be too impressed!I actually finished typing just before 8am ET, the system clocks on this board are evidently set on Pacific Time
One last thought for those who enjoy negotiating (I do, in general, though I burn out after a few days on these deals). I said this in my earlier post today: BEWARE of the sales tax calculation for an auto lease. In receiving multiple counter-offers, the numbers were all over the place - varied by as much as $300. Research and understand how your state calculates sales tax for leases. New Jersey has two options, believe it or not - because their law is written for any type of long-term lease (>12 months), such as for capital equipment, like machinery, computers, etc. In New Jersey, for the more favorable option, you have to pay 7% upfront on the sum of all the lease payments, PLUS 7% on the acquisition fee! This last item was added in 2006 law. The less favorable option is to pay 7% on the ENTIRE purchase price - why anyone would do that is beyond me. If you don't know how to calculate the tax, you could easily get taken for a few hundred dollars, because the sales tax figure does NOT usually show up on your finance paperwork - the dealer can calculate it separately and turn it in to the state quarterly. So a dealer can give you any figure they want, and if you don't know any better, or don't question how it was calculated, they can overcharge you and you would never know it! I saw this disparity on a Honda lease I did in Aug08, saw it this week from Acura, and I recall seeing it on a BMW lease I did in 2006. Also, for those of you in NJ, for certain vehicles (>$38K and/or less than 19mpg average of city/higway EPA numbers), you have to pay a luxury tax of .004 of the sales price (total sales price, not the sum of payments). No choice, just be aware of how it is calculated. The only other variable I always see in a deal are "documentation fees" - I had these ranging from $125 to as much as $295. I think it's okay to pay the dealer for their time and effort to register the car and get the tags, etc (because they usually have to send someone to the state office to get the tags), but it is potentially a negotiable item - to me, anything more than $200 would be ridiculous, but you can have your own threshold; it simply pays to be aware of this and push back if you think you're getting gouged.
It's soooo hard to compare lease deals from state to state, since the costs and fees vary so much. The only figure that people should share here is the sell price, the residual %, the money factor, and maybe if they're putting anything down as capital cost reduction. Putting other costs into the monthly payment equation makes one deal almost indecipherable from any other deal.
#7642 of 12848 Re: On the Bank Acquisition fee - A new item to negotiate [dom6183]
Jan 04, 2009 (6:05 pm)
I have to agree, "out the door price" means nothing to somebody in a different state or buying instead of leasing. Having a trade in the mix also effects the sale price and should be considered.
Thanks to everybody for sharing their buying experiences.
As an aside, does anybody know if the incentives will still be in effect tomorrow on the day they expire.
#7643 of 12848 Got my 08 MDX tech finally!
Jan 04, 2009 (7:08 pm)
Whew! I didn't think it was going to happen but it did! Posted here about month ago about getting a deal on an 08 MDX with tech for 35.5k from several SF Bay Area dealers but couldn't get them to give me what I thought was fair trade in value for my 2006 Volvo S40 so no go. On whim yesterday, headed over to Dublin Toyota to test drive a 2009 Highlander Limited for comparison test drive. Long story short, liked the car but wanted to head over to Pleasanton Acura to see the MDX again and decide if I really wanted the Highlander. Toyota salesman literally held my keys and registration hostage since I had him look at my trade-in and finally got it back and walked out when they gave laughable quotes for the Highlander and for my trade in.
Headed over to Pleasanton Acura and talked to Gary G. and point blank asked him if he had any 2008 MDXs with Techs left and if he did, whether he can match the 35.5k quote I got back them. And if he did, whether he could give me what I wanted for my car. After some back and forth negotiations with him and his general manager I got the car and a bunch of accessories and, this is the part I couldn't believe. Gave me actual fair market value for my car! $12k for a 2006 Volvo with 43k miles on it which was about $2-4k more than any other dealer could do.
Here are the numbers:
2008 MDX with Tech - 35,607
Pro Package, Running Boards, Side Rails, Body Moldings - $1800
Came to less than $40, 700k out the door with the accessories
-$12k trade in for my Volvo POS
I know I ate it just a bit on the accessories since I priced them online for about 25% less but then I didn't have to worry about trying to install the stuff and drill into the MDX for the moldings and it would carry the same full warranty for the length of the car. They didn't have any new 08 MDX with techs on site so they traded a base MDX to Stockton for this car. Dealer said there were few 08 MDX techs left in this region although there were some base models so there is potential to get this deal through the remainder of the incentive, which I think only runs through Monday? Both the salesman (Gary G) and the general manager were great to deal (Dan?) with. It was actually quite refreshing to deal with non high pressure sales tactics for a change!