A Very Cool 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Hey Cool Car Fans,

S65_1

As The Cool Car Guy, I get notified of some really cool cars that come around from various sources that I have access to and sometimes they include photos.  This particular vehicle, I had to showcase on CoolCarGuy.com because once in a while, a vehicle shows up on my radar that is an amazing deal.  I’m not selling this vehicle here at CoolCarGuy.com, but simply showcasing it as a cool car for my visitors.  I don’t know if it’s still available for sale, so if you are interested in it, you would have to contact me and I could check into it for you.  I might be able to track one down similar to it too, but this was one of those “deals” that if I did have a client that was in the market for one, at the time of writing this article, I would have called them immediately.

The 2007 Mercedes Benz S65 AMG

S65_2In 2007 Mercedes Benz did a redesign of their S-Class model.  If you’re not familiar with Mercedes-Benz the S-Class is their luxury sedan and in 2007 it was a top competitor with vehicles like the Audi A8 and S8, the BMW 7 Series, the Maserati Quattroporte, the Lexus LS460, the Jaguar XJ Series, The Cadillac DTS and the Bentley Continental Flying Spur.   For the revamp, Mercedes focused on better handling and performance and expanding the scope of luxury with better technology oriented features.  I have heard that the owner’s manual is over 700 pages and it may take you a month to figure out all the features and options on this vehicle.

 

S65_3

It’s an amazingly cool car and one of the coolest luxury cars on the planet.  This is because it’s the ultimate sleeper cell  It is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing as you will discover when you drive it.  It’s the car where you are sitting at a stoplight next to the kid who pulls up in his tuner car and thinks he has a really fast car, until you hit the gas pedal for fun and you quickly start to disappear.  If you’ve ever driven one of these with the AMG package than you know what I’m talking about.

The 2007 S65 AMG came equipped with a 6.0L 604 hp twin-turbo V12 engine.  In case you just missed that, this vehicle delivers 604 horsepower @ 4800 RPM and 738 pounds of foot torque @ 2000 RPM in a luxury car.  You’re not buying this vehicle for the gas mileage, but it still does pretty well for being a high performance vehicle.  In the V8 S-Class you could expect to get between 14 and 22 mpg, but the V12 is still rated at 12mpg to 20mpg, which is fantastic for a muscle, luxury car like the S65 AMG.  It’s the incredible German engineering you would expect from a Mercedes Benz. 

 

S65_4When you punch that gas pedal you’re going to get awesome power delivery. with no hesitations. and the air suspension in this vehicle is fantastic.  It even feels good on bumpy roads.  The handling is amazing, but it is rear wheel drive in case you are wondering, with all the luxury features that you can dream of that were pretty much standard on the S65 AMG.  I will list the features and options that were included on the window sticker of this particular one below, so you can see what I mean.  

The features included things like heated and ventilated seats in the rear with massage and night view assist.  It’s the little things that I like included in German cars, like this one, with things like their remote sunroof controls, which allow you to open the sunroof as you approach the vehicle with your remote.  This allows you to let the heat escape the vehicle on a hot Summer day before you get into the vehicle, which is literally a cool feature that I use all the time on my BMW 335i in the Summer to cool off the inside of my black on black car before I get into it.  

S65_5This particular vehicle sold new for $191,215.  You could probably pick it up for about $65,000 to $67,000, based on it only having 13,000 miles, which is a steal for a one of a kind vehicle that had an original list price of $191,215. A lower priced V8 model is going to sell for as low as $25,000 to $40,000 and you may even be able to get a higher mileage 2007 with the AMG package for $40,000 to $50,000.  This one though with all the options and an original sticker of over $190,000 is unbelievable for the money because it is barely driven.

This is a car that very few people are going to have and the neat thing about Mercedes-Benz is that they do not have a body style change very often, every seven years as I recall.  They have a redesign of this vehicle for 2014.  What this means for the savvy car enthusiast is that they can drive a 2007 and the public doesn’t know that it’s not a 2013.  This would be a great car for a collector to add to their portfolio or the ultimate daily driver for someone who appreciates luxury and incredible performance.  If you like the Mercedes-Benz product line and you can afford this price range of vehicle, you should definitely check out the 2007 S65 AMG as a serious option.

OfF The Window Sticker

040 Black
501 Black Exclusive Leather

***** STANDARD ACCESSORIES *****
K11 Adaptive Brake Light
051 Phone Sys. with VCS (Handset/Cradle sold
218 Rearview Camera
297 Rear Side-Window Blinds
401 Heated and Active Ventilated Front Seats
423 5-Speed Automatic Transmission
432 Driving Dynamic Front Seats
461 English Inscriptions
475 Tire-Pressure Monitoring System
494 Emission Equipment
524 Paint Protection
530 DVD COMAND Navigation
536 SIRIUS Satellite Radio
581 3-Zone Automatic Climate Control
582 Climate Control/Rear Compartment
595 Infrared Glass
610 Night View Assist
615 Bi-Xenon Active Light System
619 Cornering Fog Lamps
634 First Aid Kit
636 Collective Code
668 Sea Packing & Dispatch
731 Burl Walnut Wood Trim
789 AMG 20″5 Spoke Wheels
814 DVD 6-Disc Changer
875 Heated Washer System
881 Electronic Trunk Closer
889 KEYLESS-GO

***** OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES *****
233 Distronic Plus $2,850
402 Active Ventilated Seats/Rear $1,690
406 Multi-Contour Seats Rear $800
413 Panorama Sunroof $1,000

Cool Car Guy Rating:  Blow The Doors Off Luxury

 

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Why Buying The AAA Membership Makes Good Sense

Hey Cool Car Fans,

2008-Volvo-S60-10I get pretty busy as The Cool Car Guy tracking down vehicles and getting paid to solve problems for my clients.  This week I had an interesting situation take place with a client who had purchased a 2008 Volvo S60 with about 75,500 miles on it.  It was a used vehicle that is now six years old and in Colorado we are a very dry climate as a high desert region.

What this means is that hose can often crack, even on vehicles that have lower miles since this vehicle was only driven about 15,000 miles a year.  That is actually pretty low miles for Colorado where people like to live in the suburbs, work in the city and go to the mountains on the Weekends, so they tend to put on about 18,000 to 20,000 miles a year.  It wasn’t an expensive vehicle either, but as anyone who has owned a Volvo or other European car when something goes wrong it can be expensive.

The radiator hose ended up blowing on the vehicle and it damaged the radiator that needed to be repaired.  My client did some research on their own and they were going to get it installed at the Arvada Car Wash where it was shipwrecked for around $600 on site with refurbish parts.  I made a few phone calls and the cost was about $700 at a shop, but I put a call into my friends over at Tires Plus in Lone Tree where I get quite a bit of work done on vehicles.  They gave me a huge discount because of the amount of work that I do with them and they agreed to fix it for $440, including parts and labor.  I told my client that I would also pay the $40, so that they would be looking at a new radiator and hoses for $400.  Everything sounds good and my client is super happy, but then the problem arose.

“HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM.” 

join_card_members_2013The vehicle could not be driven because the radiator was toast, so it needed to be towed.  Unfortunately, my client didn’t have towing on his insurance.  I made a few calls to towing companies and I don’t know if you’ve checked into the cost of towing a vehicle, but I ship vehicles across the country all the time and getting one towed is ridiculous!  The first place a called with a discount for me as The Cool Car Guy they wanted $85 to hook it up and $4 per mile to tow it.  The distance between the two locations was 28 miles, so my client was looking at $197 to get it towed.  I called the next place and they were $80 to hook it up and $3 per mile, so $164 to get it towed.  That was enough for me, so I decided to call AAA and see how their program worked.

AAA offers a basic membership for $75 that includes four roadside assistance calls and they will tow your vehicle up to 4 miles with that membership.  They offers some other benefits as well, but that’s not what I was interested in finding out on this call.  I was trying to see if I could help my client solve their problem.  By the way, I’m doing all of this for free for my client while he’s working at his job, for those of you who wonder why people use my service.  The second package is called the Plus Membership and it’s $125 for this membership, but it includes up to 100 miles of towing included in the package.

Wow!  That’s less than a tow truck, but could he become a member today and actually use the service.  The answer is that he would have to wait until the next day when the service became active to get the membership benefits.  However, why not wait one more day and get your vehicle towed up to 100 miles for $125, plus get a year of AAA benefits?

That’s a great deal!

So for those of you driving older cars, you should make sure that you have towing on your insurance because it can be a costly experience or get a AAA membership with the Plus feature.  They also offer a car buying service like Costco, but they still can’t compete with The Cool Car Guy because this is all I do.

By the way, his wife ended up calling her Farmer’s Agent and they added towing to her policy that cost them $90 to get it towed.  The AAA was still the better deal because of the additional benefits, but they wanted it towed and fixed in one day.  Either way, problem was solved and their Volvo is getting fixed complete with a warranty from Tires Plus for the repair.

You can check out AAA’s Membership Programs by clicking here.

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Why You Should Get A Car Loan

Hey Cool Car Fans,

Now you may think that is a crazy title to an article here at CoolCarGuy.com, but allow me to explain.  It’s not that I believe it is a good idea to put yourself into debt with a car loan.  The fact is that most people don’t have enough money to pay cash for a vehicle, unless they are trying to buy something for under $6,000 it seems. Here is the reality though and this is why I suggest that people take out a car loan instead of buying a worn out vehicle for $6,000 or less.

Right now, there are two different Honda Accord’s listed online that I pulled to illustrate my point as to how crazy people are when it comes to buying vehicles.  The first one is on the website of JFR & Associate, Inc. where I have my license listed to sell vehicles as an Independent Contractor.  If you want to buy this vehicle contact me and I’ll get you financed on it, even if you have credit challenges.

20011Accord1

The first vehicle is a 2011 Honda Accord EX with only 17,691 miles that someone can buy right now for only $17,800 and here’s the listing and a couple of photos…

Year: 2011
Make: Honda
Model: Accord
Trim: EX Sedan AT
Mileage: 17,691
Stock #: GJ028616
VIN #: 1HGCP2F72BA028616
20011Accord2Trans: Automatic
Color: Gray
Interior: Cloth
Vehicle Type: Sedan
State: CO
Drive Train: FWD
Engine: 2.4L L4 DOHC 16V

Now contrast that with a 2005 Honda Accord that I pulled off of Autotrader that is being listed online by another dealership with 169,519 miles for $6,994.  If you want this vehicle, do not call me about it because I won’t sell it to you, even if I could get it from the other dealer.  I do not advise that you spend this much money for this vehicle, as I’ll show you in a minute.

2006Accord1Somebody is going to go and buy it though, after they take a class at some Church from some financial guru, about how they should never have a car payment!  I see it all the time and it’s stupidity in action.  Instead of making payments on a vehicle that will last them at least five years, they will be making unknown car payments to a mechanic for unknown and often costly repairs.  Instead of driving a vehicle with a low car payment that has 151,828 fewer miles, they will opt to pay cash for a vehicle like this and think they are being smart financially.

First of all, we know that there is a huge market for vehicles under $6,000 because people are always looking for vehicles for their teenage children.  In addition, there are millions of people who have filed bankruptcy or have other financial issues that will not allow them to get financed on a vehicle (so they think).  As  a side note, if you filed bankruptcy and have $3,000 or $5,000 to put down on a vehicle, I’m pretty sure that I can get you financed on a newer vehicle, instead of having to settle for somebody’s problem car.

What this means is that you could buy the 2011 Honda Accord, drive it for 150,000 miles and probably sell it for $6,000 based on what this 2005 is selling for right now.  The 2005 is nine years old, which means that you could drive the 2011 Accord, make payments on it for five years, drive it another year and a half, after it is paid off and recover $6,000 of the $17,800 that you spent on the vehicle.  And you can use someone else’s money to finance it and be in a much better position financially, while driving a much nicer and safer vehicle.

Let’s say that you drive 20,000 miles a year, which is more than the average of 15,000 miles a year.  In six years, you will have put on an additional 120,000 miles, plus the 17,691 miles for a total of 137,691 miles, which is still less than the 169,519 that the second vehicle has currently for $6,994.  You can drive it for another year and a half to equal the same number of miles!  This means that the 2011 Accord, if you keep it in good shape and maintain it, like you have to do with either vehicle, would only cost you $11,800 to drive for 7.5 years, plus interest or about $1,573 a year, plus interest!  That is dirt cheap because of the way the Honda Accord obviously holds its retail value.

Yet, the experts will tell you to never have a car payment and to instead drive around a car that is virtually worn out and that you’re paying a massive premium for to begin with.  In my opinion, you should be financing the one that has already been hit with major depreciation and that you can get an incredible deal on and then sell it to the guy who doesn’t want to have any debt.  I never keep vehicles with these kind of miles to sell to my clients because I don’t want them to have problems down the road.

Let me illustrate this one other way for you in case you’re still skeptical.  Let’s contrast these two vehicles using a leasing scenario to really drive home the point. If you were to lease a vehicle, like this 2011 Honda Accord or even the 2005 back when it was new, and you were given 15,000 miles on your lease then you would have 45,000 miles on the vehicle after three years.  

What would happen if you went over 45,000 miles?  A leasing company is going to charge you $.15 to $.25 per mile depending on the vehicle and the structure of the lease, when you turn the vehicle back into the leasing company.  Now let’s look at those 151,828 additional miles on the 2005 compared to the 2011 and do some simple math that the financial guru’s, obviously do not understand about vehicles.  It’s clear they don’t get it because they keep telling people to buy worn out cars and trucks.  

If we now take the 151,828 miles , which is the difference in miles between the two vehicles above and multiply it by $.15 a mile, it is $22,774.20 and at $.20 a mile it is $30,365.60.  I won’t bother with the $.25 a mile calculation for this illustration.  I think the point has been clearly made as to which vehicle is the better option and why you should consider financing the more expensive vehicle, instead of trying to pay too much for the worn out one. 

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

The Importance Of Your Credit Score

credit cardsHey Cool Car Fans,

I thought I would take a few minutes and write an article about how credit cards can affect your credit report and how your credit score can affect your interest rate on your car loan.  Many people will come to me to get an auto loan and they are amazed when they discover that their credit score is not as high as they thought it should be.  This is often because they will have a credit card maxed out to the top of the credit amount limit that they have been offered, instead of using no more than 30% of what is available to them.  This affects their credit score dramatically.  They would be better off having two credit cards and splitting the balance between the two of them to keep it at 30% or less and dropping the total credit limit available.

For example, if you have a $10,000 credit line of your VISA card, you do not want to have more than $3,000 on that card at any given time, so that it doesn’t drop your credit score.  You would also be better off to have a $5,000 limit instead of $10,000, if you don’t have $3,000 on the card that you need to use.  The same is true for your other cards that you might have.  In particular, the consumer cards that you might get at an electronic or furniture store.  What often happens is someone will go to the store to buy some furniture for their new home and they will be given a $15,000 line of credit and then they buy as much as they can to max out the credit card.  They then come to see The Cool Car Guy to get a vehicle and they are shocked that their FICO score has dropped from 750 to below 700, which can greatly affect their purchasing power, based on the interest rate that they will now qualify for to get an auto loan.

I recently heard that home buying is going to go the way of auto buying where the interest rates will be tiered like auto loans.  Let me explain how this works with a Credit Union and a real life example.  I had a client recently that came to me and he thought he had a 750 FICO score when he had pulled his credit bureau online.  His report was through TransUnion, but when I pulled his credit report through Experian it was only a 685, so instead of getting a loan for 2.99% the credit union was at 7.94%!  That’s a huge difference in purchasing power.  Fortunately for him, I could pull a TransUnion credit report and his FICO score had not been updated yet with TransUnion to get closer to what Experian was reporting, so I was able to get him a rate of 3.49% instead of 7.84%.

His rate was still not as good as someone with a higher score who would qualify for 2.99%, but he was still able to get the vehicle he wanted at the price that he wanted, so it worked out in the end.  If he had gone to that credit union by himself and got qualified like most of the “experts” suggest that people do, he would not have gotten the 2.99% rate because banks and credit unions are in business to maximize a profit on their interest rates.  The chart below from ComplexSearch.com illustrates how people have credit scores that vary drastically.Credit-Score-Range

Some banks and credit unions though will only use a specific bureau and not all dealerships have access to lenders like I do through the dealerships where I have my license placed, as an Independent Contractor.  This is one of the things that people often overlook about the services that I can offer.  They are only shopping the price of the vehicle and not the entire package.

The people who really get creamed on interest rates because of their credit challenges are people who have had a bankruptcy or have student loans that are not paid off.  I’ve see interest rates of 21% that people pay on auto loans through a number of dealerships.  They like the salesperson and think that they are getting a great deal, but it is costing them more money than they realize.  Had they worked through me and I could have obtained a rate of say 19% based on their credit score, I would have saved them about $1,500 that they are giving to the bank for doing the same loan on the same vehicle.

Sometimes people with credit challenges fail to realize that they could have gotten an even lower rate on a different vehicle than the one they are wanting to purchase.  They get too emotional about a specific vehicle when they could be saving money on a vehicle that makes more sense for their situation.  Again, this can be significant as well.  At 18% the difference is almost $2,000 over the term of the loan compared to 21% and usually these are people who really need an additional $2,000.  In fact, if you’ve been in a high interest rate loan for six month or a year and you’ve been paying your loan on time, you should be calling me to trade it in on a different vehicle.  This way you will not be paying such a large amount in interest based on your credit score.

Managing your credit report is very important today.  The key is to get as low of interest rate as possible, so that you’re giving the banks less money, pay off your consumer debt and keep your FICO score healthy.  If you have questions or comments let me know and I’ve included a loan repayment calculator, called Pre-Payment Calculator here at CoolCarGuy.com under the links section on the right.  You can put in your loan and calculate how much of an extra payment will help accelerate your auto loan, which I plan to write a different article about here later this month.

If you want to save time, money and hassle for your next vehicle give me a call and I can put you in a better position financially with your automobile situation.  Be sure and sign-up for my notifications when I post new articles here.  Have a safe and healthy 2014!

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

The Million Dollar Mistake Manufacturers Make

Hey Cool Car Fans,

AutoRepair

One of the most amazing things that I’ve witnessed over the years is how automobile manufacturers lose their customer base over service issues.  I thought I would end the year by writing an article on this topic because I find it fascinating.  I could write a book as The Cool Car Guy on sales and marketing and how dealers and manufacturers do such a wonderful job ticking off their clients.  Any other industry would probably take the time to figure this out because they care about their customers, but I’ve watched this happen year after year in the automotive industry.

I’m talking about how fast an automobile manufacturer is willing to give up their clients to a competitor, after the sale.  The automobile industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising to try to get a customer.  If you watch any football game, you’re going to see beer commercials, prescription drug commercials, credit card commercials and automobile commercials.  These ads are not cheap.  Automobile manufacturers will spend millions of dollars to try to get people to drive a VW, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Subaru, Chevy, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Kia, Honda or Toyota. When I start naming off these brands, it’s very easy to think about the commercials that we’ve seen for each brand mentioned above and any that I may have left out.  The Lexus “December to Remember” or “Jan” sitting at the front desk talking to someone coming into the dealership to buy a Toyota, how someone has fallen in love with their Subaru, how Ford trucks are built “Ford Tough” or how you can “sign then drive” off in a new VW, each brand trying to earn our new business.

bentleyYou know what I’m talking about because everyone knows these brands and their advertisements.  When you buy one of these vehicles, the manufacturers even hire a third-party company to take surveys from their customers to rate the salesperson and the dealership on the experience they had.  If the salesperson doesn’t get a “10″ out of “10″ it will show negative on the dealership and the salesperson.  What the manufacturers are failing to realize though is that this is not the real problem with their brand.  It’s not the initial sale that is the issue, but it is what happens once someone owns their vehicle.  The real problem is the service side of their product.

Let me illustrate what I’m talking about with my own experience with Apple computer.  I’ve used Apple products since the Apple IIe, which was way back in the 1980′s.  I sold over $12 million in PC computers in the early 90′s when I worked for a company called ZEO’s International and I still used Mac’s for my personal computers at that time.  I’ve owned iPods, iPads, iPhones, Macbooks, iBooks, just about everything that Apple sells, but recently they really ticked me off.

computer laptopNow you would think that if someone has spent tens of thousands of dollars with your computer company over the years that you would want to take care of the client?  Apple doesn’t care though because they are Apple and that’s how most car companies act as well.  What changed my opinion of Apple Computer?  My daughter spilled water on my computer by accident and fried it, so I went into the Apple Store and they basically said, “Sucks for you Mr. Customer.  We are Apple and you need us, but we don’t need you.  Spend another $2,000 on a computer and we’ll help you out.”  Now, anyone who has ever sold anything in their life knows that if you treat your customers like they are not important that they will find another place to spend their money.  You risk that your customer will do what I’m doing, which is telling potentially hundreds or even thousands of people who read about my bad experience with Apple.

This is exactly how automobile manufactures treat their clients and it is pretty psychotic.  I mentioned last month that I had a client recently that needed a $5,000 repair on their Mercedes Benz.  They loved their Mercedes, until they found out that the differential on their vehicle went out with under 100,000 miles on it.  Since it was out of “warranty” it was going to cost them big time.  Do you think Mercedes Benz is smart enough to make sure that they save this client by figuring out how to reduce a $5,000 repair through their Dealer network?  Nope.  They instead allowed a third-party, an automobile mechanic at a local shop, to offer them a better deal than their own dealer network.  Does this make any sense?  Wouldn’t it be worth it to save a client by doing the repair at your cost and keep that client in your vehicle, so that they can get another Mercedes-Benz in the future?  Instead Mercedes-Benz will give millions of dollars to an advertising agency to try to get a new client, while ticking off their existing client. The client went and leased a Toyota Highlander and I doubt that they will ever own a Mercedes Benz again.  The customer is gone. So much for the survey when selling that new vehicle because it doesn’t matter.  Who cares, if you are going to lose them down the road when the vehicle needs a costly repair?

It’s not just Mercedes-Benz that does this, but they all do it.  I had a woman tell me recently her nightmare about owning her Chevy and how she will never buy a Chevy again.  It was almost identical to the people with the Mercedes-Benz, but a different problem with her vehicle.  She had a repair that was required on her vehicle and it was thousands of dollars, but the dealership cost was more than the third-party vendor.  She had nothing good to say about her Chevrolet and she hates the company because of the repair her vehicle needed.  What about the Subaru that needs the head gaskets replaced at 80,000 miles and is a $2,500 repair at the dealership?  How about the transmission that went out on the Nissan Pathfinder that I delivered to a client new and several years later when it was out of warranty based on the miles, the dealer gouged them to get it repaired?

How about the client who purchased a Ford Escape from me and two years later they called me angry because the transmission went out on it and the dealer quoted them $3,000 for the repair?  I knew of a third-party repair shop in Colorado Springs and they fixed their transmission without having to rebuild it completely for about $700.  Ford may want to send me an advertising fee for saving their client for them.  If we couldn’t have done that though, I would have traded them out of it and they probably would have never purchased a Ford again.Why couldn’t the Ford Dealership have done that for them? Why would you allow a third-party service provider to offer a better deal on repairs to your vehicle brand than your own dealer network?  Think Apple Computer is all I have to say about that one.

Automobile manufacturers are arrogant, but where would GM and Chrysler be without the American taxpayer loaning them money to stay in business?  Where is Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Hummer, Saturn, and Suzuki?  If you don’t take care of your customers they will find another place to go with their business.  My entire business model is based on service.  People pay for me to bring them their vehicles and they utilize me to save them time, money and hassle.  If the automobile manufacturers asked me for my opinion, I would suggest that they take some of those advertising dollars and spend money on keeping their existing customers happy.  It’ s much easier and more cost effective to save an existing client than to find a new one.

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Why Dealers Use Rebates To Sell Cars

2013-Hyundai-ElantraHey Cool Car Fans,

Many of my clients contact me toward the end of the year wanting to take advantage of the end of the year rebates that manufacturers place on their vehicles.  Rebates serve a great purpose for the automobile industry and they typically come when the new line of vehicles are coming out for the following year.  A rebate really has to do with the fact that a vehicle has depreciated over the course of the year, so the manufacturer is trying to sell their remaining vehicles to get ready for the next model year.  You are really just getting a discount on the vehicle because of the depreciation that has taken place throughout the year.

However, rebates can be a great way to roll negative equity in a trade.  For example, if there is a $2,000 rebate on a vehicle and someone has $2,000 in negative equity, it could mean the difference between qualifying for a loan and not qualifying.  Many times rebates are also placed on vehicles that are available for lease and they will call it “lease cash” or some other type of incentive.  This additional money from the manufacturer can again be a fantastic way for someone to solve a nightmare that someone may find themselves in with their current vehicle.

I had a client who had this problem recently with their Mercedes Benz that needed a $5,000 repair.  Rather than paying for the repair on the vehicle, they traded out of it and took the hit on the trade value of their vehicle, so they had about $5,000 in negative equity.  They were able to lease a new Toyota Highlander because of the incentives that were on the vehicle and their payment on the new car only went up slightly from what they were paying for their older, broken Mercedes Benz.  In three years they will be able to start over, while driving a new Toyota that included two years of free maintenance, with a lease that was structured to fit the number of miles that they drove each year.

cpo_index_carThis is a great example that many people often overlook when they are in a difficult situation with their vehicle related to repairs. Why fix an old vehicle that you still owe money on when you could start over with a lease and drive a new vehicle under warranty that can even include free maintenance?  Too many people are “anti-lease” when they really don’t realize the benefits that leasing can often offer.  It all depends on the structure of the lease, the situation of the person and the incentives that are included in the overall package.  I recently did a lease like this for someone who was only paying about $450 in interest over three years on a $45,000 vehicle, where if they were to finance it they would have been paying more more than that in interest each year for five years.  Many manufacturers will also offer 0%, 1.9% or 2.9% financing options as well, so it’s important to look at all the offers available.

Rebates and incentives can be a fantastic tool that many people can take advantage of as we head toward the end of the year.  Many manufacturers like Honda and Subaru clear out of their 2013′s fast, but other manufacturers still have inventory that they have incentives on that you can leverage before year end.

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

The Amazing Chevy Volt

Hey Cool Car Fans,

ObamavoltThe Chevrolet Volt is sold as an amazing “electric car”, but it’s really just a hybrid vehicle like a Toyota Prius that has been around for years. Now before the die hard Volt fans start screaming that the Volt is totally different, let’s just look at the reality of how these two vehicles work.  The Volt and the Prius both allow you to plug them in before going for a drive and then you travel a certain distance on electricity before the batteries are exhausted.  Once you’ve run out of juice, the gasoline engine will kick in and you carry on like a familiar hybrid vehicle.

What’s the big difference between the Chevy Volt and the Toyota Prius then?  For one thing, the Chevy Volt uses a different battery pack than the Toyota Prius.  A standard non-plugin Prius has a 1.6 kW-hr, nickel-metal-hydride battery. The Volt’s battery is a whopping 10 times larger.  It’s a liquid-cooled, 16.0-kW-hr lithium-ion (chemistry by Argonne National Lab and fabrication by LG Chem).  This allows it to go up to 40 miles before the engine kicks in, which is pretty fantastic on a single charge before burning gasoline.  This allows many people to drive to work and back on virtually zero gasoline, which is the big rage about the Chevy Volt.

priusThe plugin Prius version uses a different battery that is manufactured by Panasonic for Toyota.  It is 73 percent smaller than the battery used in the Chevy Volt and it’s only a 4.4-kW-hr, actively air-cooled lithium-ion battery.  What’s the big deal between the two?  How about the price tag? I would say that is something pretty important to look at, wouldn’t you?  If you need to replace a battery pack in a Chevy Volt down the road, you’re maybe looking at about $6,000 and they spent another $4,000 on the battery pack structure and those are the costs that GM paid.  This is according to Bob Lutz, when he wrote about the vehicle in Forbes in September of 2012, after GM was accused of losing more than $40,000 per vehicle.   He stated that the raw battery is about $350 per kW-hr, which is more like $600 in reality when you start adding all the other costs associated with making the battery work, but who’s counting.  His article was funny though because he tried to claim that the cost of the vehicle was about the same as a Chevy Cruze, which it looks like a Chevy Cruze, but there isn’t a $10,000 battery pack in a Chevy Cruze.  It’s kind of like the difference between a duck and a goose.  “They both have wings, funny looking feet and seem to handle the cold water pretty good.”

chevyvolt12It was reported that GM had spent an estimated $89,000 per vehicle to produce the Volt and I’m not sure if anyone really knows what the real costs were in the Land of Oz.  The bottom line is that a ton of research and development, along with other manufacturing costs went into producing this vehicle.  What I do know is that if you ever need to replace the battery in the Prius, it’s about $2,500.  When I called a GM Dealer and asked what it costs to replace a battery in a Chevy Volt, I was told by the Service Department, “We have no idea, we haven’t had to replace one of those yet.”  I should have asked if he knew the difference between a duck and a goose.  I guess you could take that as good news and bad news.  It is good news that the battery is working, but bad news that you are driving blind.  If you ever do have to replace one that isn’t covered under their warranty – it could be very expensive.  I know that some of you are saying that it’s covered under the warranty, but you obviously have never gone into a dealership and had them tell you that “Oh yeah, that’s excluded for this reason.”, which I encounter several times a year. Forgive me if I have a slight distrust of automobile manufacturers and their warranty claims.

Which brings me to the question of whether or not the Chevy Volt is a vehicle that you should be looking to own?  I do mean own and not lease.

If the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz were to sing us a song about General Motors (The Wizard) and their Chevy Volt, it might sound something like this – “If ever there was a lease there was, a lease there was, because, because, because, because…because of the unknown things it does…” Yes, the Great and Powerful Oz has spoken that this is a vehicle you should be leasing and not looking to purchase anytime soon.

In my opinion, you do not want to own a Chevy Volt. Even if the State of Colorado is going to give you a tax credit to own one, unless you have money to burn, don’t do it.  If you do have money to burn and you really want to own one, please call me and I’ll be happy to sell you one for over retail, so that you can feel really good about owning one.  And I will feel really good about taking your money.  Seriously, you should never dream of buying this vehicle or it could turn into a nightmare down the road.  However, you should seriously consider leasing a Chevy Volt.  Right now you can lease a Chevy Volt for under $300 a month, which is totally crazy to drive a vehicle that costs an unknown large sum of money to produce.  There are people right now driving this vehicle for around $5,050 for two years that cost GM an unknown sum of money to manufacturer.

The problem though is that GM is an unpredictable company, a bit like The Wizard of Oz.  Which is why Bob Lutz can some out and say that they didn’t really lose $40,000 per vehicle because he doesn’t really know anymore than I do.  This is a company that needed $60 billion in Government assistance to keep going, so who knows if they will keep this vehicle and continue to service it long term.  After all, the Feds ordered them to kill Pontiac in order to get the money they needed and guess who got screwed on that deal?  The customers who purchased a Pontiac and watched their brand die, along with the equity they had in their vehicles.

pontiacI recently had a friend who owns a Saturn and needed a part for her vehicle and she has had it in the shop going on two weeks waiting for GM to find the part for her car that they discontinued. GM has disposed of Pontiac, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Saturn and these were complete lines of vehicles, that actually had profitable products with a large following of customers.  Why in the world would they continue to produce a vehicle that they are losing money on, each time they make a sale?  I could be wrong, but I don’t think they will keep this product long term unless sales really take off, so if you are thinking about the Chevy Volt, make sure you lease one.

Toyota on the other hand has been committed to and producing the Prius for years with a great track record for customer service and knowing that people are loyal to their brand.  They understand their hybrid customers much better than General Motors.  I wouldn’t think twice about recommending that my clients purchase a Toyota Prius and I have many clients who own the Toyota Prius and they have had great success with them.  I don’t dislike GM, but I don’t trust them when it comes to this particular vehicle.  If I were writing about the GMC Yukon, the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, Corvette or Camaro that’s a completely different story, but the Chevy Volt is an oddball car for this car company.  It’s buyer beware, but it’s a fantastic vehicle to lease.

There are other hybrid vehicles on the market and they are becoming more popular, with quite a few more options that will be available in 2014. This technology will continue to get better, but be sure and look before you leap, know the company that you keep, as with any vehicle purchase.

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

2009 Tesla Roadster Video

Hey Cool Car Fans,

10Roadster.1

There are a number of great reviews and videos on the Tesla Roadster on Youtube, but I thought I would post this one on The Cool Car Guy Network for our visitors and Members to check out.  The Tesla Roadster was the first really cool electric car on the market.  It was only manufactured from 2008 to 2012 and then Tesla switched to a Sedan, the S Model.

The car is based on the Lotus Elise body style and I have to say that I was disappointed that they discontinued this vehicle because it’s a super cool ride, as you’ll see by watching the video. According to the U.S. EPA, the cool little Roadster could travel up to 244 miles or 393 km on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack and then you charge it up like your cell phone each night in your garage.  This fast sports car can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in 3.7 or 3.9 seconds depending on the model.

10Roadster.2

I always get a kick out of this with electric cars, but the the Roadster’s efficiency, as of September 2008, was reported as 120 mpg, which really made no sense because it runs on electricity.  The Roadster was the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells, which was pretty cool.  It was also the first production BEV (all-electric) to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge, which was revolutionary and Tesla sold out of these vehicles every year.

One other things that was really cool about this car was the way that it was sold.  Tesla has stores like Apple in high-end shopping malls, like Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, Colorado for example.  It’s right across from the Apple store, so they catch the techies as they leave one tech store to go see another tech product, which just happens to be an electric car.  The Roadster had a 2010 base price of US $109,000 in the United States.  However, financing was only done through Bank of America at the time and I’m honestly not sure who will finance a used one right now, but I’ll have to check into that and update this post or comment on it.

I10Roadster.3 have seen a few of these running through the Dealer Auctions and they still command a pretty penny.  The 2010 in this photo only has around 3,100 miles and it’s listed for about $75,000 through the dealer auction.  It’s a sweet ride though for the money.  Enjoy the video.

10Roadster.4

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Why Can’t I Get Kelley Blue Book For My Trade

KelleyBlueBookHey Cool Car Fans,

I have people ask me all the time to get them Kelley Blue Book for their trade-in vehicle.  Some people get confused when I cannot get the NADA or Kelley Blue Book wholesale trade value for their vehicle.  I believe it’s because they have a misunderstanding of what Kelley Blue Book and NADA book values really are designed for.  Understanding the history of the Kelley Blue Book will help to see how this tool came into being and what it has become over the years.  I decided that I would write a quick post about this topic to educate my visitors about the subject.

In the early 1920s, there was an auto dealer named Les Kelley who sold a ton of vehicles through his very successful car dealership.  He created a list of cars that he wanted to buy from dealers and banks and he promised to pay a stated amount to any dealer or bank that would bring him one of the vehicles on his Kelley list.  Dealers would get people who would come into their office wanting to trade their vehicle and because Les was so good at estimating what a car was worth, the salesman would pull out Kelley’s list, see if the car was on it and then use it to make an offer on their vehicle.  His list eventually evolved into what became the Kelly Blue Book, which is an actual book, but more people go to KBB.com today.

However, Kelly Blue Book today doesn’t buy cars for what they say they’re worth anymore, like Les would do.  He wanted the vehicles for his used car inventory, so that he could turn a profit on selling them.  What they are actually doing today is just giving an “opinion” and they make it clear on their site that actual prices depend on market conditions, vehicle conditions and all kinds of other disclaimers that they have in their fine print.  This is because every vehicle is different and no two used cars are the same.

Think about it logically for a minute and take the emotion out of the equation.  You and your neighbor could own the same exact 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but your neighbor may be letting her teenager son drive her Jeep.  The 17 year old is bouncing it off curbs periodically, taking it off-road with his buddies and your neighbor hardly ever changes the oil.  In the meantime, you baby your Jeep, it looks like the day it left the showroom floor and has 5,000 fewer miles, regular maintenance, every time a light bulb gets dim you change it.  Are these two vehicles both really worth the same?  According to Kelly Blue Book they are because they are the same year, make and model.

Many of the pricing guides, like The Black Book, Kelly Blue Book and NADA also pull auction data now as well.  I’ve stood in the lane at the Dealer Auctions right next to someone working for these “sources”, who will write down what vehicles are selling for at the auction.  They don’t take into consideration though that one vehicle may be a condition of 2.0 out of 5.0 and another may have a condition of 4.0 out of 5.0, so they are not exactly the same vehicle.  A vehicle may not have a clean CARFAX and might have been in an accident that isn’t disclosed in the dealer lane either.  They have to average all the vehicles to arrive at what they believe that one is worth for their book values.

When it’s time for you to sell your vehicle, you go into your local Dealership and the Used Car Manager looks up what your vehicle has been selling for at the dealer auctions.  He gives you a price for your vehicle based on the average of recent sales without considering the condition of your vehicle because he may have to sell it at the Dealer Auction himself in 30 to 60 days, if it doesn’t sell on his lot.  He is also going to subtract for if the tires are worn, the windshield needs to be replaced or there are other problems with the vehicle that need to be repaired, should he want to try to retail  your vehicle.

This is the reality of the automotive business, which is why Kelly Blue Book and NADA are vehicle guidelines.   The real purpose of these resources are so that banks and credit unions can loan money on a particular vehicle.  The banks need some way to know that the money they are loaning on a vehicle has collateral that can be taken back and sold to recover their investment, should the borrower default on the loan.  This is the real value of knowing the “book value” of a vehicle.

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

CARFAX Stories From The Front-Line

REAL STORIES OF CARFAX PROBLEMS

Hey Cool Car Fans,

2010C300A few years ago I wrote an article about the problems with CARFAX and how it’s not a fool proof system for checking out a vehicle.  The problem of course is that most people think that it’s Gospel and fail to thoroughly investigate a vehicle from multiple sources before purchasing or selling their vehicles.  Since I first wrote that article, I have been contacted by television station reporters, who have interviewed me as an expert and individuals telling me their horror stories and challenges, asking for advice.  I can’t post all of the emails that I have received over the years, but here are just a couple examples that will give you an idea of what it’s like to be a “seller” instead of a “buyer” with a third-party website service devaluing your vehicle.

In other words, CARFAX and other online car history reporting services can be great tool for buyers, but it can be a nightmare for sellers when the information provided is not correct. The two emails I’m showing here are mild compared to some of the stories I have received where people have lost thousands of dollars trying to sell their vehicles that reported wrong information or information after they have purchased their vehicles.

My own vehicle is a great case in point on how CARFAX can miss the boat and give people the wrong impression about a vehicle and its history.  I purchased a 2010 Mercedes C300 4Matic off the show room floor.  When I recently pulled the CARFAX to sell it, the vehicles history show that there were two owners.  This is because I originally leased it, but I bought out the lease.  There were not actually two owners of the vehicle, but really just one owner.  The CARFAX doesn’t know this though because it just sees that a lease was bought out.  It doesn’t tell the whole story, but only part of the story, so someone buying it would think that two people owned the vehicle based on the CARFAX report instead of one person.  You can see the report below.

CarfaxMBThe Dealer Didn’t Know About The Carfax Report At The Time Of Sale…

“Hey John,

I read your piece on incorrect Carfax reports.  I am dealing with them on an issue right now similar to what you described in the article- they are reporting “structural and frame damage.”  The report has this accident happening 13 days before I bought the car- clearly I wouldn’t have bought it if that were the case, and the Carfax was clean at this time.  I’ve owned it for over three years now and haven’t had a problem at all.  I took it to a local auto rebuild shop and they inspected every part of it and said there is absolutely no structural or frame damage whatsoever.

I emailed their data team and have talked with a few of their reps- they said there next step is to discuss the matter with whatever entity reported the structural issue in the first place.  I feel like because it was so long ago I’m going to get almost certainly screwed.  Have you had luck with getting something like this removed before? 

Any words or advice you can offer would be great.

Best,

E”

I Don’t Need The Vehicle Anymore And Carfax Is Now Bad…

“Hey John,

I have a problem with my infinity G 35. It is a 2008 at 62,000 miles on it.

My company is putting me in a fleet vehicle and I need to sell this car is I will have no use for it. When I took it to the Infiniti dealership to see if there was any price they could offer I was informed the Carfax was not clean, that is it been in an accident.  They indicated that they were surprised at this and pulled another auto report auto check, another version of Carfax which showed it clean.  

They then took the car into the service area put it up on the blocks to show me that the screws all around the frame had not been changed and that the original frame had not been touched. I believe what they are saying about it never having been in a wreck that altered the frame. They indicated they were going to try to contact the Carfax people and changed Carfax but did not offer anything on the car.

I realize it going to an auto dealership is not the place to sell your car back, but I was shocked to learn about the Carfax situation. Do you have any advice for me on how to best sell a car that is in good shape 62,000 miles, and great working condition? Again I love the car, I just have no more use for it as a result of my companies changing the policy.

 Thanks,

B”

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

These situations are actually quite common.  Since I wrote the first article, CARFAX now has a “minor damage” report as well.  They used to just say “accident”, but many people still read “minor damage” and immediately think the vehicle is a lemon.  In other words, someone could have been bumped in a parking lot, had their bumper repainted and many people think the car is not worth what it should be anymore, which is ridiculous.

The fact is that Carfax is a third-party service and pulls information on vehicles, but it’s not 100% accurate.  It’s a tool to check out a vehicle and I always recommend that you check CARFAX and AutoCheck to compare the vehicle reports and have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic.  The second person’s situation shows that the vehicle is fine and the data happens to be incorrect at CARFAX.  I’m not saying CARFAX isn’t a good tool, but it’s not a fool proof service.  In fact, on their website they have the following disclaimer…

Indemnification. You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless CARFAX and its affiliates and their respective directors, officers, employees, and agents from and against any and all claims, actions, demands, damages, costs, liabilities, losses, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising out of your use of the Site or any information you obtain from the Site or its reports.

Much like Kelly Blue Book and other resources that have disclaimers for their services, CARFAX is just a tool to assist you in checking out a vehicle, but it can create a huge problem when people see information that they believe to be true.  It can greatly affect the price of a vehicle, when it’s accurate or when it’s not accurate and as you can see from the emails that I have received it can be very frustrating for the owner of a vehicle when the data is not accurate.

TRUST BUT VERIFY

In the end, you need to trust, but verify the data when purchasing a used vehicle.  Sometimes you’re much better off just buying or leasing a new vehicle and keeping it for four or five years and letting someone else worry about buying used cars.

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

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