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Discussion Starter #1
With my '94 Camry about to call it quits, I'm ready to purchase a RAV. No sense in waiting for prices to be more negotiable if I have to start pouring money into the Camry.

I was eager to use Edmunds.com, but it reports "no participating dealers in [my] area." (I live in Rochester, NY). Additionally, there are no Costco's in the area (tho I am a member of BJ's).

Can anyone recommend any similar services, in which I can specify the car I want, and the local dealers (I know of three) will send a price?

As an alternative, might it work to just email the specs to the dealers and ask them to email a quote back to me?

Because I don't know much about cars, and I'm not the world's best negotiater, I hate to just go into a dealer cold.

Thx!
 
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www.carsdirect.com

Also, just familiarize yourself with the invoice pricing and work with that. 500-1000 over invoice should be very doable but it will depend on the quantity in stock. Its easier to get a deal with in-stock units. Try the big volume Toyota dealerships.

Also, if financing, get pre-approved first by CapitalOne.com or your Credit Union, before walking in into the dealership. That way, you have an alternative to whatever the finance manager will be offering you.
 
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I just trird cars direct for grins and, in my area, they are quoting MSRP for Base 4WD 4 cyl. No thanks Carsdirect. Im 50 mi outside of Chicago.
 

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You can also check out cars.com. It gave me 4 dealers for Rochester. I know you're a bit of ways away but I stuck in Buffalo and it gave me 2, Amherst and Williamsville. If you're willing, expanding your search outside your immediate area should give you better negotiation power.

I second rav4newb's recommendation about knowing as much as you can before negotiating.

One thing to know about Toyota's financing, if you get preapproved at a rate lower than what Toy's offering, they will match it. If you qualify for the $400 rebate for graduates (graduated in the past 2 yrs or will in the next 6 mons, I think), and dealer is willing to match a lower APR, you can get another $400 off your bottom line. You can only qualify for the $400 if you finance through Toyota.

Good luck!
 

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In my case, Toyota financing could not even match my financing. I got 4.25 from a local credit union. They didn't advertise the rate but I did ask for their best rate. I also got 5.30 from capital one through Costco.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the ideas. Last night, I tried cars.com, selecting 3 dealers (their max) from whom I'd like to receive quotes. This a.m. I got emails from two of them, both to the effect, "Sure, please come in and we'd love to talk with you about a new RAV4." Hmmm. I coulda done that without cars.com. At least one of them -- the one that would have been my preferred dealer anyhow, based on experience and positive reports -- claimed to offer a "low internet price" that is shopped weekly against the competition. :roll:

Coupla other questions:

Let's say I do end up using this place that offers the "internet pricing." They ask me to contact a particular sales guy -- their internet guy. It just so happens, I'd visited this dealer, and spoke to a different saleguy, several months ago and test drove a Matrix and RAV 05. Once he heard about our needs, he said that we might want to consider waiting for the '06 RAV, which is what we've done. (But, really, he made know effort to upsell us from the Matrix to the RAV) I was wowed by his low-pressure style, and the fact that, rather than "try to get me into a Toyota today," he suggested waiting. I'd like him to be rewarded for that, so if I go back, I'd like to deal with him. Should I just explain this to the internet guy? Or should I start off going to the original guy and tell him we'd like the "internet pricing"? Or does it really make no diff?

Thx!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I realize that this may be a bit off-topic, but since the subject of financing has come up:

I tend to try to avoid debt (tho, of course, I've financed my house). I'm sure it depends on personal circumstances and preferences, but is there any good reason why someone would want to finance a car purchase if they had the means to pay for a vehicle with cash?

Thx.
 

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edwinston, wow, lots of questions. I'll provide my 2 cents.

As far as dealing with your preferred sales guy, you can always call him and ask him if he is authorized to offer the same deal as the "internet" guy. Maybe he'll even tell you if the internet price is better. I know several dealers in So Cal where the fleet dept.'s internet price is the MSRP. :roll:

If the guy says he can't offer you the same deal, work with the internet guy but let him know the other guy helped you decided on the RAV and it's what sold you on the dealership. They should be able to take care of him.

Most dealerships have a buddy system anyway when more than 1 salesperson will try to close the deal and they split the commission. If the Internet guy is in fleet, some fleet dept. don't work on single sale commission but rather monthly sales targets and total profit gains.

Overall, I would still recommend that you contact as many as possible to help your negotiations. Using something like cars.com really is just to give you the invoice pricing and to be as informed as you can. Costco, Navy Fed, USAA, and some other credit unions do offer to negotiate for you to some degree but I don't have experience to comment if credit unions' negotiation is better than doing it on my own.

On to financing...
kendfw got a great deal at 4.25 (sheesh, can't believe it was better than mine!). I'm actually surprised that his dealer didn't offer to match but it could be that they weren't making a large profit off of him. I got some options that made my dealer some money so I think they were willing to take it on the short on the financing. I got 4.5% at 60 mon. Could have gotten 2.9% at 36 mon. But I'll try to explain why I went with the higher % for so long and hopefully this will help answer your question.

I also don't like debt but my bottom line is to keep as much money in my pocket as possible. I put ~43% down in order to get my monthyly payments at $300. That was the highest that I wanted to pay monthly (which is why I didn't choose the 2.9%, which would have cost me +$150/mon) and because that was about the break point of max savings on monthly. I could have gotten 4.5% on 48 mon but the difference in interest rating wasn't as good as keeping the money to invest. I could have paid for the whole car but it meant liquidating investments that's earning more in one year than what I would save in interest in 60 mon. (I hope this is all making sense.)

To make it simple, if I'm paying 4.5% in interest but I can earn 6% with investments, I can essentially cover my interest payments + a little more by taking the loan. But you should also consider what those investments are (stocks, savings, CDs, etc.) and how risky they are.

Is this as clear as mud???
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Actually, that's very clear, PuttPutt. Thanks!

I certainly can see that it makes sense to keep the money in your pocket, as long as you are confident in the needed rate of return in your investment and you are disciplined enough to actually make the investment. There was a time when I may have been more confident about my ability to meet those criteria than I am now.

Really, I hate to cough up such a big chunk of change. On the other hand, it's nice to not have that monthly payment. While I like crunching the numbers, I also can't deny a psychological component to the equation.
 

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I know what you mean. It was very hard to get over the comfort of not having a car payment. I didn't have one for 15 years and all of a sudden, boom, $300/mon to add on to all those other expenses.

Some CDs or even higher earning rate savings can get as high as 4.3% right now. Or even putting that money into a 401K or a Roth IRA could earn more in the long run. There are options but I understand the satisfaction of not having to worry about car payments. Oh yeah, one other factor to consider is if someone is planning on purchasing something major, like a house. Then I'd have to highly recommend waiting to buy anything until after the mortgage loan closes.
 

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puttputt said:
sheesh, can't believe it was better than mine!).
Savings account interest rate is 4.25%.. try hsbcdirect.com oh btw,

If you couldn't come up with a positive number on your investment gain, you should consider taking the loan then.

interest for taking the loan < investment gain - taxes
 
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Can anyone recommend any similar services, in which I can specify the car I want, and the local dealers (I know of three) will send a price?
You might want to check out Consumerreports.org. They offer a service that provides dealers cost, including any current 'deals' as well as dealer kickback. Also negotiating tools, which I recommend. Remember the dealer negotiates every day, so they know all of the moves that gets a sale, and good profit for them. Don't hesitate to threaten to 'walk' if you aren't satisfied. (They won't let you normally.) The RAV4 demand gives the dealers a lot of leverage, however.
 

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If your a member, I believe you can access Costco.com and be able to get a referal to a dealer in your area still. Not 100% sure. I'll check it out but just had to jot down the thought first.

M.
 
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