Friday, December 2, 2011


I feel like the Terminator, sometimes. Every time I see cars outside, online, or in TV shows and movies, the heads-up display in my mind pops up with copious data on every vehicle within my field of vision. Suffice to say, I'm obsessed.

Unlike a lot of car enthusiasts, 500+ horsepower and impressive times around the Nürburgring don't mean much to me. I'm much more interested in vehicles that meet the needs of average American daily drivers. For this reason, I am blissfully ignorant of brands like Porsche, as I could never see myself buying something that I could never use within a fraction of its potential. Unless it was a Cadillac CTS-V SportWagon. But I digress.

When buying vehicles for myself, I'm pragmatic. Vehicle purchases are often mistakenly referred to as investments. Buying a car is a guaranteed money-loser, so I avoid the "I-word" at all costs. In order to mitigate my own inevitable losses, I use my powers for good by using my knowledge as leverage in negotiating the best price.

My last purchase is a good example of this. In 2009, I purchased a three-year-old Lincoln Zephyr. The Zephyr's MSRP in 2006 was $36,500. With 38,000 miles on the odometer, the dealer was asking $23,000 for this gently used example. Knowing that in 2007, Lincoln changed the name of this car to "MKZ", and recognizing the potential difficulty of selling a little-known model name a few years down the road, I used that knowledge to settle on a selling price of $17,800.

It was a good purchase. In addition to being a great looking car with an enormous equipment list and a smooth ride, the Zephyr (and it's sister ships the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan) made it onto the recommended-buy list of a popular consumer publication. Further, Lincoln beat Lexus in a recent JD Power reliability survey. For this reason, the car should hold a pretty good resale value. We'll soon see.

After attending a VIP preview of the 2011 New York International Auto Show last spring, I'm beginning my search for something new. So I'm sharing my experience, either to help others in the process or to seek help with my obsession. Either way, it feels good to get it all out.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Can I take you with me when it's time for me to buy a car? Maybe you can get them to lower the price of the car by $5K!