Monday, March 19, 2012

New Car

Did I mention that day before yesterday my wife bought a new car? 


Well, she did.

Hadn't intended to. She was driving a two-year-old RAV4 and it was tooling along just fine. My wife has had good luck with Toyotas, a Camry, 4Runner, the RAV.

(Aside: Back in the days when I was a lad and Detroit mammoths still roamed the Earth drinking quarter-a-gallon gasoline and belching lead into the air, solidly-middle class families used to routinely get new cars every two or three years. Wasn't because the old ones wore out, those V-6 and V-8 monsters being worth a hundred thousand miles, easy, but because that was how you showed the neighbors you were doing well during the Eisenhower years. You traded in the "old" one for a new car. 

Given the price of a new car, we tend not to do that now, save for people who lease. I owned two cars for twenty-nine years: A Volvo sedan and a Mazda Miata–seventeen and twelve years, respectively. The Cooper Mini I've got is six years old and I plan to drive it until the wheels fall off or gasoline goes extinct, and no bets as to which might happen first.)

Um. Where was I? Oh, yeah, how come she got a new one? Well, the St. Patrick's Day sale at our local dealer had some good prices. But more importantly, the interest rates for automobile loans have fallen precipitously in the past couple of years. If you own a house, you probably know how that works for mortgages: Say you buy a house and get an interest rate of seven or eight percent. The financial times go bananas and those rates drop to four or five percent. If you go in and renegotiate your loan, you can wind up with considerably less debt, smaller monthly payments, or a shorter term, sometimes all three, so it's worth filling out all the paperwork.

What it boiled down to in our case was, business as slow at the dealership, and they were willing to deal. We could get top dollar for our trade-in. Coupled with the lower rate, what this meant was, we could replace my wife's car with a new model having more bells and whistles, for only a few thousand dollars. Would you buy a brand new car with heated leather seats for three or four grand added to your existing note, you could get it? Effectively, that's how it worked out.

We were just going to look, but there was a car she liked, a deal that was very much in our favor, it was a rainy Saturday and we were putting off doing our taxes. So ... 

Vroom! Vroom!

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