Anyone purchase from CARMAX?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ted Lee, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    my girlfriend will be picking up a SUV within a few months. we haven't really done any shopping yet, but i consider myself a "smart shopper" and will be thoroughly doing my homework/research before buying anything.

    anyway, we're thinking about checking out carmax. they seem to have a decent selection, decent prices and even a return-policy!

    so, i was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with these guys?

    thx,

    ted
     
  2. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Yep, I helped an ex-girlfriend buy a ML320 at Carmax about a year ago. Was bar none the best car buying experience I ever experienced. And it should be, there is no way to haggle with anything (well maybe a little bit with financing). You basically go in, pick out the car you like, the price is listed, they value your trade, they plug all the information into the computer and you drive away shortly there after.

    I highly recommend it if you can't deal with car salespeople (and most people can't, despite what they think), or if you simply don't want to deal with the agrevation involved (ask me sometime about the MB dealer where I had the Sales Manager, the "closer", the saleswoman, the finance manager all in the room telling me what kind of great deal they were giving me and 15 minutes later them all agreeing on how bad the deal really was). The prices are a little higher than what a good buyer can do on his own, but not by a whole lot. The trade in values are very good (about what a good buyer would be able to negotiate and still keep a good price on the car being bought). And if you are buying a car that would be 3 or more years old, I think Carmax would be the safest bet as to getting a good car.

    Andrew
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Read about buying cars at www.edmunds.com - there is really good information there. Carmax has a reputation for high prices which is bad. They also have a rep for high valuations on trade-ins which is good.
     
  4. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Reading about buying cars is ok, but it doesn't prepare you for what you need to do, get you into the mindset as it were. I spent 4 years working as a "buyer" for a fairly large corporation so everyday I dealt with sales people and dealing with their tactics and how to work around them usually in higher dollar numbers, so I have a little more experience when it comes to dealing with pro sales people. With the car buying it's actually easier, since I'm not after a typical win-win situation (and neither is the dealership), so I can crank the noose down a little tighter. But even so, it's a ridiculous process to go through, it's very tiring and frustrating...but can whack some money spent off the bottom line.

    As to prices, it really does even out in the end. Carmax may charge a little more for their cars, but they give more for trades. The best choice would be to buy elsewhere but trade the car in at Carmax, but then you lose the tax benefits of having a trade (you pay sales tax on the net price of a new purchase after your trade, no trade no benefit there).

    Anyways, I highly recommend the place...just do your homework, find out what similiar vehicle sell for at other dealerships and compare pricing.

    Andrew
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks guys.

    i'll definitely be doing my homework, checking other places, comparing prices, researching online, etc.

    we're not in a real rush so there's no pressure there...which is nice.
     
  6. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Carmax prices are very high, but they provide value in ease of shopping and the security of their return policy.

    However.... New car dealers are offering insane deals with insanely low financing (if you have good credit). We were priced a 2001 Toyota Sienna w/21000k for $21500 at CarMax with 5.9 APR. New 2003 (similarly equipped except no leather or alloy wheels) was $23000 w/3.9 APR for 5yrs.

    Definitely check Edmunds. CarMax prices will consistently be on the high end of their used car figures, while new purchases should easily be had for the Fair Market Value (I think it's TMV) with no haggling.

    Good Luck !
     
  7. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
    Michael
    Figure out before-hand, before visiting a dealer:

    What options you want

    How much you want to pay (exactly!) for the car you want with the options you want.

    Once you are at the Dealership:

    Don't let them talk you into anything you are not comfortable with (Rust Proffing, detailing, etc.)

    Don't be afraid to say: "NO"

    Don't be afraid to get up and leave (if need be) during the negotiating, if your salesman is not listening to what you are saying.

    My approach on my last vehicle purchase (2001 Nissan Pathfinder) was to figure out what I wanted in options, look at the invoice prices listed on edmunds.com, looked at the prices on carmax.com, figured out what I wanted to spend (exactly!).

    I then emailed 10 Nissan dealers in the area I was looking to buy listing the vehicle and options I was looking for and what I was willing to pay. Within a couple days: 9 of them said they couldn't even come close to my listed price, but one of them said "Sure, we have that exact vehicle now and it's yours if you want it." Went to see the dealer - Pathfinder was there waiting for me (w/ 3.7 miles on it) took it for a test drive, went back in and signed the papers for exactly what I wanted to spend.

    I highly recommend the email or internet method when looking for a new car. Some dealers even have special internet pricing (but still don't be afraid to email them with what you are willing to pay!!!) or internet salesmen that are allowed to sell cars for less than other salesmen can.

    Check the net!! It's your friend!!

    Good luck!
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    If it's a used car being purchased, be sure to have it checked out before you buy it. Don't rely on "Gold Certified!" as proof it passed some inspection on merit.
     
  10. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    TMV - True Market Value. What other people are typically paying (based on Edmund's research)
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  13. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    Edmunds has an article where they compared 'traditional' buying vs internet buying like Michael is describing. His experience certainly backs up what they said - cheaper, and far more convenient if you know exactly what you want. Read about it here

    Andrej
     
  14. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx again guys! last time i bought a car i got bent big time, so this time i'm ready for the heat of battle! [​IMG]
     
  15. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  17. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Find the invoice price on the net, KBB, Edmunds, Carpoint, etc all will give you the invoice price of the car. And all of them will tell you any other discounts that the manufacture runs for dealers. However, it won't tell you if a specific dealer get's certain discounts, like the larger high volume dealers will usually get a bit more of a discount than a non high volume dealer.

    As to how much over you should pay? 5-10% can be good or it can be way off, it depends on so many things. If you are looking for an SUV from a "high sales" type manufacture, like a Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, etc then that number can go down quite a bit. If you are buying from a lower volume manufacture like BMW, Mercedes, etc then the number will go up a little. If the car is very popular, you probably will only get a small discount from list price. There are a million different variables involved.

    Basically take in the whole picture and figure what a fair price is. When you buy a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti the price you are paying goes for a lot more service, like real loaner cars for service, better service overall (My ex-GF had a warranty issue with her ML320, the MB dealer sent a tech out to her work to fix the car, he drove up in an E-class loaner car in case he couln't fix the problem on site), etc. That type of service is what the dealer provides, not the manufacture, so paying a little more for the car is more justified. For that mentioned high volume manufacture $500-1000 is probably about right.

    Andrew
     
  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  19. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    phillip - i will definitely be checking out edmunds. i read it once a while ago, but now that i know we'll be getting a car soon, i'll be double-checking the site for sure!

    we'll probably be buying a pretty mainstream SUV. something from toyota, mitsubishi, ford, etc. definitely nothing too high-end (bmw, lexus, etc are all out of the question). it's really her ride so i'm letting her choose, but i'll be playing the guardian angel role.

    i think it's good advice to consider the final price being dependent on multiple factors. that's something i didn't think about.

    i'll certainly be posting more questions as the time comes nearer. at that time i'm hoping to provide specific numbers so you can help me out more...if that's cool.

    as always, thx!
     

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