We weren't really in the market to buy a new car, really. We put tires on the Explorer about 3 weeks ago, realizing that the routers needed to be changed pretty soon. A few days later, a dreaded "noise" began. It started vibrating and humming whenever it accelerated and it just got worse. We talked about getting another vehicle eventually, after the Explorer died (it had 155,000 miles on it), but really no sooner.
Until last week.
My mom was telling me that my Dad heard about a way to get some of that "Obama Money" that is apparently floating around by getting rid of your car. There was some new legislation that was passed today called "Cash for Clunkers", where the government is giving 3500-4500 for cars that meet certain "clunker" requirements. We never considered our vehicle a clunker, but after some research, we determined that our beloved Explorer was eligible. After comparing the Kelley Blue Book value of the Explorer to the 4500 it could potentially rake in from Uncle Sam, we decided to look at purchasing a new vehicle more closely.
It's amazing how comparable new cars are with used cars (Cash for Clunkers is only eligible for trade-in towards a purchase of a new car). Patrick did the dealership legwork while I worked the computer keyboard, searching sites such as Edmunds.com, CarsDirect.com, and KBB.com. We learned the ins and outs of Cars for Clunkers and were prepared for how to get what we wanted for a new vehicle. We decided to shop for an American car and Patrick test drove a Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura. After looking at the cars (and some imports and small SUVs), we figured we could be the best deal for what we wanted with Saturn.
We've been looking and dealing with this decision for over a week - should we/should we not get a new car; should we/should we not fix the Explorer, etc. We finally made a decision and were able to close the deal today because the Cash for Clunkers legislation passed and we were able to get what we wanted. Not only did we get $4500 for a car worth $2500, we also got an additional $200 for the scrap metal, since our Explorer will be crushed and recycled to be made into something a little more friendly to our environment. We also got an additional $2750 cash back from Saturn for a model that was listed below invoice (and Saturns usually sell for MSRP, not invoice). SO, we got a really great deal on a new car - a 2009 Saturn Aura.
There's not much info on Auras out there, since it was introduced in '07, but it has really cool features, such as standard On Star, automatic and manual transmission, bluetooth capability, MP3 outputs, etc. We found a model with a few bells and whistles that we weren't expecting to be able to afford, so it's been pretty exciting.
Patrick and I have learned a lot about appreciating the other person's strengths during this whole process. He wanted to make sure he got the car he wanted by working the dealerships, testing the cars, and figuring out color/interior and other things. I wanted to make sure we got the price right, crunching the numbers and making sure we were getting the money we desered from the government AND the dealership. I didn't want to do what he did. And he didn't want to do what I did. Therefore, we made a great team in this whole process.
The kids like Daddy's "New Gold Car". Ethan calls it a sports car and could spend all day in it. Never in my life have I EVER had a brand new car and it feels a little weird. I have to say, though, that it was a great deal. Neither of us are feeling "buyers remorse" and are very glad to have a new addition to our vehicle family. So, if you're in the market for a car and are interested in knowing any info on the clunker bill, let me know. I'm pretty well versed :-).