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Bankrate's 2007 New Car Guide
Dollar$ & $en$e
Status and styling aside, many car-buying decisions boil down to bucks and budgets.
Dollar$ & $en$e
Select a conversation:
Shark (salesman):
"What a morning for car shopping, huh?"
  [No eye contact, looks skittish -- better use the casual approach. Don't want to scare him off.]
Tire Kicker (customer):
"We could smell the hamburgers from the interstate."
  [The buffet's open, kids!]
"Bet it's a little cramped, a family like yours in an SUV."
  [Mr. Mom, meet minivan.]
Tire Kicker:
"Yeah, especially the way they're growing."
  [Whoa, kids, it's not a hot dog eating contest ...]
"This sports van would double your capacity, cut your fuel cost and reduce your monthly payment. Care to take it for a spin?"
  [Let's turn this sale into a Daddy pig-pile.]
Tire Kicker:
"I guess a short drive wouldn't hurt."
  [My wife's going to kill me.]
"Big difference from the SUV, right?"
  [Will he bite?]
Tire Kicker:
"Oh my God, it's fabulous! Did you hear how quiet the kids got when you flipped down the DVD screens?"
  [I could quit some of my medication.]
"What's your SUV costing you per month, if you don't mind my asking?"
  [Can I get you in this beast without a shoehorn?]
Tire Kicker:
"I think about $400 or so. My wife pays the bills. Unfortunately, we have about a year left on our SUV lease. I'm really just sort of daydreaming."
  [She's going to kill me.]
"What if I said we have a special purchasing promotion going this month that would allow you to wrap your current lease into a new financing plan and STILL lower your monthly payments?"
  [Even if your kids will be grown before the lease term is up.]
Tire Kicker:
"(Laughs) I'm a dead man!"
  [I'm a dead man.]
Where he went wrong:
For the cost of free burgers and soda for the kids, The Tire Kicker kicked common sense to the curb, and The Shark had him for lunch instead. By shopping with a gaggle of children, haggard Mr. Mom gave The Shark all the information he needed to zero in on his wants and needs, then upsell him to the deluxe edition with the flip of a DVD screen.
When Dad divulged his monthly SUV payment, he showed his only remaining card; all The Shark had to do from that point was adjust everything else upward in order to beat the $400 monthly nut. The Tire Kicker's only objection -- that his lease term was a year off -- opened a lucrative little bonus opportunity on which The Shark was quick to capitalize.
Early termination "wrapping" costs plenty; you may have to pay your remaining payments over a longer term, and may have to pay the difference between the current value of the vehicle and what you've already paid for it. This is one weekend dad who should have stuck to McDonalds.

By Jay MacDonald -- Posted: Aug. 2, 2007

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