Buying a demo / loaner car vs. used

I’m email haggling right now with a dealer over a demo unit for a particular model that’s relatively low popularity. It has a small number of miles (< 5k) and is last year’s model. There have been no substantial changes since 2018. The car has never been titled.

Their offer is $32k, not including tax and my trade in. This includes the same rebates, incentives, etc I would get with a brand new 2019 model. The new 2019 model would be roughly $3,000 more.

I countered with $28k, which is the KBB fair market price for a used model with the same options and mileage.

Now they’re pushing back and saying that’s just not doable, arguing that I’m getting a few thousand additional miles of factory warranty, which makes the difference reasonable.

I’m thinking that 5,000 miles of warranty isn’t worth an immediate hit in depreciation. The moment the car gets titled to me, it’s worth $4,000 less, and I’m underwater on a car with 5,000 miles of somebody else’s farts in the upholstery.

Am I off base here? I’d like to offer to split the difference and propose this:

  • Sale price: $30,000 before any incentives
  • I get the 0% financing deal they’re currently offering on new cars

Am I completely off base here? I’ve never tried to buy a demo unit. I realize finding an actual used car with extremely low mileage like this is extremely unlikely, but I don’t feel like they’re giving enough consideration for the depreciation.

There’s your answer. Stay firm on the KBB price.

It doesn’t matter whether you buy this one or a brand-new one; it’s still going to be worth a few thousand less the moment it is titled to you.

Are you able to find, anywhere on the market, even nationwide, a used car with the same options and mileage? KBB is presumably a synthetic number if you can’t come up with a direct comparable.

Like slash says, you lose money upon purchase of any car, new or slightly used cars especially. The question is whether with the same money in-hand if you can actually get a better deal.

Also note the 0% financing isn’t 0%. You are simply getting an additional discount over the new price for the cost of the interest on the money they are loaning you.

Around here, dealers use NADA pricing, not KBB. The two can differ quite a bit. It’s possible that the dealer “knows” the value of the car better than you.

Citing KBB doesn’t do much. Citing NADA can make things happen: A deal is quickly made or time to move on.

Interesting. The low end of the NADA range for a new (not demo) model comes in at $1k less than my offer. The midpoint of the new range is $1000 more than my offer.

This is an very, very unpopular car, so I realize the sample sizes for KBB / NADA / etc are small but now I’m feeling even more reasonable than I was yesterday.

True, but a brand new one has the FFF (Fewer Farts Factor) going for it.

Until you’ve owned the car a few weeks and seasoned the seats with your flatulence.

Why do you even want this car?

Something like RAV4, there’s a clear case for it. It’s the size and form factor for most families and has Toyota’s excellent reliability, lowering your TCO. (especially the hybrid variant)

If other people don’t want this car, I’m imagining it has some distinct drawbacks, and it’s probably expensive to maintain, if for no other reason than the manufacturer spent less on engineering the vehicle.

But how can we even give an opinion if we don’t know what car (or what form factor, or even the make of the car)?

So what’s the car?

(Or is there a reason you didn’t mention the car? Afraid we’ll find your dealer and buy it out from under you?:~)

What is the make and model of the car?
Why are you haggling via email? My experience is that shopping online for cars is the worst. You only find the most expensive cars and dealerships are less reasonable. I don’t know this, but I think it’s because they would rather focus on the person who is physically there on front of them. YMMV

And I see that digs used ninja skills on me :slight_smile:

I would question this assumption. Simply because while you may find unreasonable dealerships, or even have a bad run of luck, how can you remotely compare the time savings?

The OP here just has to say “no deal” in a 30 second email. Then either the dealer comes down in price or they don’t. Meanwhile, the OP can be negotiating with all the other dealers in the city with about 20 minutes a day spent emailing back and forth.

Eventually he’ll get a deal that is a good one and maybe take it.

I keep checking back to find out what kind of car it is. I’ve got some advice that may be appropriate, depending on that.

Same here. I sell these things for a living, so I’d be happy to share any insight I may have. But the car matters, popular or not. Trim level matters too.

Hey, OP!
You around?

Nope, I think he bought a slightly-used __________ , and drove off into the sunset.

OP here. I’m the proud owner of a new to me Buick TourX with a few thousand miles on it.

I ended up going in to the dealer yesterday because it was a slow day.

I showed them the KBB, Edmunds, and NADA values for a “new” unit which were all within a couple of hundred bucks of each other.

Then had a frank exchange of views on whether 20 cents/mile or 40 cents/mile was fair for depreciation on the demo, and agreed to 30 cents/mile.

Then they applied the incentives.

Then they lowballed me on my trade-in by 60%.

Then I showed them KBB, Edmunds, and NADA for my trade-in, plus a Carfax value for my old car from the dealer that I’d taken a test drive at last week.

Then they told me the deal was impossible.

Then I told them that due to a screwup on my part I’d left the pre-approved loan check from my bank at home (100% true), so we should all probably just sleep on it and maybe I’d be back the next day.

Then the sales manager came back with a fair offer on my trade in and a finance rate that beat my bank by a half point.

So now I have the car. I got within $500 of my target price. It’s nice.

I can’t say the email negotiations were all that useful, but my circumstances were a bit unique in that I was dealing with a demo. I think email is probably the right way to go if you’re dealing with a brand new model of which multiple units exist in your area. Unless you have a ton of time on your hands, you’re probably better off letting a buying service handle it for you.

It’s a wagon. That’s why.

I wanted a 250hp, AWD wagon with decent rear legroom that doesn’t drive like a wannabe crossover. With leather and Android Auto and all that shit.

I haven’t been all that impressed with the handling of the latest-gen Outbacks I’ve driven lately, and I’m pretty sure when the new XTs come out they’re going to be going for above MSRP for awhile.

An AWD V90 is too rich for my blood, so I got the Buick instead. And I’m probably one of 5 people in a 20 mile radius who has one.

Wow, congrats, and thanks for the update!

We never wanted a domestic car, but were very impressed by the new Buicks. And bought one after a lot of haggling (but nothing as fortuitous as “Oops, left the check at home!” :~)

My wife was unaware of how boring Buicks used to be, and was baffled when the kids responded to our purchase with “Hey, gonna drive your new Buick to bingo tonight?”

We’ve had it for over a year, and still love it. Hope yours serves you as well!

Congrats. I just read a review of that model and it sounds like a great car.

If they really want to make a deal, leaving will spur them into action. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a valid tactic. I think their thinking goes from “How much money can I make on this sale?” to “Will this person show up again and will I get any money at all from them?”

Yeah I didn’t have great luck with email either, you being in the showroom and playing hardball in a polite way seems to work the best.