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 Post subject: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:12 am 
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An odd question, herhaps: obviously you buy a car at a dealer.

The twist is that I don't want to buy a car, I want to buy a particular car. However I am not able to find a dealer that has it, even though it is a 2012 model.

The car I'm looking for is the 2012 Nissan Versa 1.6 S, also known as the cheapest car on the market. Except it doesn't seem to be on the market, somehow. I am able to find different (read: more expensive) models of the Versa, I can't find this one anywhere (near MT, USA).

Can I order this puppy online somewhere? How do you guys buy a car?


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:34 am 
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I am not sure it actually exists.

I found this, and it only mentions the 2013 version, so perhaps it didn't actually get to market but will turn up next year. It wouldnt be the first time a new car has been tested and reviewed one year but cannot be bought until the following year.

http://www.autotrader.com/Nissan-Versa. ... elId=17423

Also, I would suggest that you look at buying a second hand car if price is a major reason for you looking at this model.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:53 am 
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In an weird twist, there's a shop (far, far away) that's selling the 2013 model for the same price. Or so they told me when I asked.

In fact I started out looking for a second hand car at this price, but then I (thought I) discovered a brand new car for the same price. It may be false hope.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:11 am 
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In my experience things that appear to be too good to be true usually are.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:15 am 
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Yes, perhaps the base model only exists on paper in order to draw customers into the showroom. Or perhaps the dealers aren't interested in selling it because they can't earn much profit on it.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:11 pm 
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I ran into a similar thing 6 years ago. One of the cars I was interested had a manual transmission option when you viewed the mfgrs website. As soon as you plugged in your locale, the manual transmission option went away. For grins, I tried zipcodes for major cities on the west coast as well as a couple of other cities in the midwest and east coast. No joy. I think they only sold it in Canada or something.

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Did some more searching and it seems that the base model is sold (almost?) exclusively in Arizona and Virginia.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Concentrate on 2012 leftovers, especially at the end of December, when old inventory weighs heavily on the books.

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:09 am 
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Why do you want to buy a new car at all? The "cheapest car on the market" is certainly not a new model on a dealer's lot. There are few good arguments for buying new.

After spending way too much money on cars as a teenager, I've settled on this principle: buy the cheapest safe car you can find. Safe is an important condition, since disability or death is pretty expensive!

An argument for buying used:
"How to come out WAY AHEAD when buying a used car"
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/ ... -used-car/

The rest of that guy's blog is pretty terrific, too.

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:21 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
Why do you want to buy a new car at all?

Because:
  • Maintainance cost for a new model is lower
  • New cars meet more stringent safety requirements
  • Fuel economy has improved in recent years
  • New cars come with a few years warranty
Now I would be happy with a used Prius, but that's not the sort of second hand vehicle available in these parts, and I would be concerned with the battery's life.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:49 pm 
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bastiaan wrote:
Maintainance cost for a new model is lower
Help me understand how. I don't have numbers at work, but I will research at home out of curiosity. My wife bought her 04 Corolla new; my feeling is that she's spent more on maintenance for her car than I have for my last three used cars combined. Mainly, this is a result of factory scheduled maintenance, which I think is only free for Mercedes and BMW.

New vs old is the wrong determinant. Instead, I would consider maintenance costs a function of use: my wife drives far greater distances (15k mi/yr) than I do (4k mi/yr). She blew through her warranty mileage limits in the first 3 years. Luckily, it's living up to Toyota's reputation - it's been the most reliable car I've ever (co)owned. She's nearing 180k without major issue. I would recommend a Corolla to anyone looking for cheap basic transportation.

Technically all maintenance is elective, though longevity mandates certain maintenance (oil changes, for example). As a car crosses into "beater" class, you still have to change your oil, but you learn to work around other problems instead of repairing them - beaters can be cheaper to maintain. :D

bastiaan wrote:
New cars meet more stringent safety requirements
My 93 Accord SE ($3500) and 97 Integra GSR ($6000) had 4-wheel ABS disc brakes and front driver and passenger airbags. My 01 Accord EX (6000) has all that and side impact beams and side airbags. All this is anecdotal, and anecdotes are not data. You can use government crash-test stats to research safety. But assuming that new cars are safer because standards are more stringent might be erroneous - does DOT retest older vehicles to the new standards? Here again, I think risk and safety are partially a function of use (miles driven, velocity, traffic and terrain, etc.)

bastiaan wrote:
Fuel economy has improved in recent years
There's evidence for this. The US BTS says that average passenger car fuel economy has increased from 28.5 mpg in 2000 to 33.8 mpg in 2011. Frankly, that's pathetic. And I'm not sure if this aggregate data is applicable to you personally. You could buy 34 mpg cars in 2000, just like you can buy 28 mpg cars today. I don't pay attention to EPA numbers except as a ballpark guide. I wouldn't consider a car that couldn't eek out at least 34 mpg, but this is more for my own amusement since I drive so little.

bastiaan wrote:
New cars come with a few years warranty
While true, I think this has debatable value. First of all, the warranty doesn't prevent a mechanical failure. They may lessen their expense. "Lessen" because you're still potentially missing work or whatever when something breaks. Personally, I believe warranties serve 2 purposes: to catch any major mechanical flaws early in a product's lifetime, and to entice consumers to purchase new products more frequently. A used car will (or should) have had any/all warranty or recall work done already. It will have "survived" the potential problems of its infancy.

Also, keep in mind that Honda warrants the seatbelt/airbag/SRS system for life (at least, all of mine have had). Toyota does not.

Two great resources for reliability and fuel economy:
http://www.truedelta.com/
http://fueleconomy.gov/

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
bastiaan wrote:
Maintainance cost for a new model is lower
Help me understand how.

My only reason for thinking this is that various TCO calculators online indicate that maintenance cost increases with age. The figures remind me of the Fibonacci sequence in the first couple of years.

Jay_S wrote:
bastiaan wrote:
New cars come with a few years warranty
While true, I think this has debatable value.

Yes, good point. I think it can be safely said the value is not very significant. But it does inspire (more) confidence, for me anyway.

Jay_S wrote:
The US BTS says that average passenger car fuel economy has increased from 28.5 mpg in 2000 to 33.8 mpg in 2011. Frankly, that's pathetic. And I'm not sure if this aggregate data is applicable to you personally.

In fact, I'm looking at 99% city driving so the average fuel economy figures don't help me at all. And the other obvious thing to say is that a Prius has excellent fuel economy in city driving. But the Prius is not available in my area second hand, and I'm not sure it would be within budget even if it were. So I have my sights set on something that does 30+ mpg in cities. The second hand cars that I've seen in my area all hover around 20mpg in cities.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:56 am 
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andyb wrote:
I found this, and it only mentions the 2013 version, so perhaps it didn't actually get to market but will turn up next year.

In the US model year numbers are strange. Any model launched this year will be considered a 2013 car so the 2013 car you might expect to be out already. Doesn't still mean that a 2012 might still be available, sometimes no model year number is launched.

Bit of a coincidence but I was in the US on business last week and had a Nissan Versa 1.6S as a hire car. Not my kind of car really. Coming to it from a Mini really highlights how undynamic it is.

I really would side with the buying second hand route. There was an episode of Top Gear where they compared spending £7000 on a new car with what you could get second hand and it was obvious what won: £7000 for a 10 year old Mercedes CL600! I was only able to find it in Russian for some reason:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HN9X4vI23g

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:51 am 
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edh wrote:
I really would side with the buying second hand route. There was an episode of Top Gear where they compared spending £7000 on a new car with what you could get second hand and it was obvious what won: £7000 for a 10 year old Mercedes CL600!

The UK second hand car market is rather different. You mostly find crappy American cars here with a lot of mileage already on the meter. Another thing is that for the Top Gear people racing performance and luxury are most important, whereas that matters not much to me at all.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:03 am 
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I stand corrected: having checked the Nissan USA site, the car that I had was in fact a Versa 1.8 S hatchback.

Having looked through the specs for the Versa (it is not a car Nissan sell in Europe, although many markets get it as a Tiida) one possible reason for not finding the 1.6 S is the different tranmissions on offer. The S is available with a manual or an automatic, the S-plus with a CVT which in this instance is more efficient. You can kind of see why people might buy it instead and hence why it is more likely to be available. The S-plus might make more sense if you did a cost per mile calculation and see if it works out better in the long run.

How many miles will you drive per year? What kind of driving is it? Do you need to carry passengers? If you are doing a big mileage with mostly long journeys then diesel makes more sense monetarily although I know in the US you have little choice although you can get the Golf TDI now.

I would still say second hand makes more sense. You're not buying into cutting edge technology so it doesn't matter if it was made this year or 5 years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:21 am 
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edh wrote:
The S-plus might make more sense if you did a cost per mile calculation and see if it works out better in the long run.

The difference is 2-3MPG. That difference will take decades to make up the $2000-$3000 higher price tag.
edh wrote:
How many miles will you drive per year?

I don't know. Not a huge amount.
edh wrote:
What kind of driving is it?

City driving, as I said.
edh wrote:
Do you need to carry passengers?

Yes.
edh wrote:
..you can get the Golf TDI now.

Not where I'm looking.


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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:32 am 
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bastiaan wrote:
I don't know. Not a huge amount.

200? 2000? 20000? Just a ballpark figure which be a good place to start. As you are mostly doing urban driving this also influences things. If you are only doing a few hundred a year then having a car is not worthwhile. It would be cheaper to use a taxi any time you wanted to go anywhere that is not accessible via public transport, walking or cycling. If you're doing more than that but still only a few thousand miles then are you somewhere where a service like Zipcar exists?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipcar

If you are doing a low mileage then that is another reason not to buy new. It's not like you're going to wear it quickly and fixed mileage warranty/servicing would expire by time rather than mileage, hence you'd lose out from it.

So where have you looked for cars so far? Just the local dealers? What about looking online for lease companies and brokers?

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 Post subject: Re: how to buy a car
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:25 am 
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edh wrote:
bastiaan wrote:
I don't know. Not a huge amount.

200? 2000? 20000? Just a ballpark figure which be a good place to start.

Let's say 10,000 then.

edh wrote:
It would be cheaper to use a taxi any time you wanted to go anywhere that is not accessible via public transport, walking or cycling.

There is no public transport nor is there a taxi service. :)

edh wrote:
If you're doing more than that but still only a few thousand miles then are you somewhere where a service like Zipcar exists?

Nope.

edh wrote:
So where have you looked for cars so far? Just the local dealers? What about looking online for lease companies and brokers?

Local dealers, Craigslist and some other websites. Also some friends who are thinking about selling their cars. ;)


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