We’ve been looking to acquire a car over the last few weeks, and now we’ve finally succeeded! Apparently, the Toyota Corolla is a New Zealander’s car of choice, but we’ve found them surprisingly thin on the ground. Is this because they so popular that, having bought one, people never wanna give them up? * Having visited two Toyota dealerships, we’ve failed to find one that is within our price range, and seems to be reasonably priced. How do I know it’s reasonably priced? Well, I looked at around 50 cars on Trademe (New Zealand's most popular buy'n'sell website) and compared year, engine, mileage and price, and spreadsheeted the data. I could’ve gone for a linear regression model, but I think that may have been overdoing the geekiness a bit.
Two weekends ago, we caught the train out to Lower Hutt to visit a dealership. “Go to The Hutt” they said (“they" being my work colleagues), “cars are cheaper there”. They had one car which we took out for a drive, but when it came to price negotiations, they only took $200 off the advertised price (I thought it was worth about $2,000 less than they were asking) so we walked away. Disheartened, we then went to the Toyota showroom in central Wellington on Saturday last, where again they had nothing to show us. They did, however, have two cars in their other showroom, one of which they could bring down for us on Sunday. “Great”, I thought…
On Sunday, we turned up at the showroom to find that the car that we thought we were going to test drive was out on loan…so the saleswoman had brought the other car down instead. This was a Toyota Allex, and it wasn’t bad…until we tried to drive it uphill. It had a 1.5l engine, and it couldn’t really cut it around town in Wellington, so BoB knows what it would be like out in the mountains. We didn’t even get to talking about price on this one - we walked away.
On our way to the Toyota garage on Saturday, however, we’d walked past the Ford dealership, and noted that they had a Mondeo at a reasonable price. So, after our disappointment with the Toyotas, we went back and spoke to the salesman in the showroom there. Turns out that not only did he have the Mondeo, but also a Focus. I told him it was out of our price range. “Don’t worry about the price!” he said, in true car-salesman style; “take her out for a drive!” We did, and we also took it home to see if we could park it in our “difficult, difficult, lemon difficult” parking space. (Digression: why is our parking space so difficult? We live at flat 1, and the parking spaces are ordered numerically, so we have the corner spot furthest from the garage door. Unfortunately, flat 2 drive a Mitsubishi Shogun.)
Well, we liked the Focus, but we couldn’t afford it. So we took the Mondeo out as well, and tried that out in our parking space. We took it back to the dealership and told them that it was too long, we just wouldn’t be able to park it. So we needed to talk about the price of the Focus instead. Frankly, he needed to knock around $3,000 off the price to bring it into our range, and I didn’t see that happening…and I was right. They were prepared to take $1,000 off, and I could’ve probably argued a couple of hundred more, but even so, too rich for our blood.
“But wait! I have another car in our Porirua showroom!” he said. Same year (2008), same model, higher mileage (or kilometrage?) So he drove us out there and we took that around a bit. It was (a) a nicer colour, (b) better to drive, and (c) (after a discount) in our price range (just!) So we signed on the dotted line, and paid a deposit, and I’ll go and pick it up tomorrow evening after work.
* You've been Rick-rolled!