The Car Buying Journey Begins

On my list of “least favorite things to do” is buying a car. Ugh! I hate it so much. I tend to be the high mileage type, so this happens more for me than it does the average person….well, except a few of you who love the car buying experience and look for ways to make it happen in your life. Some of you know buying a car has been on my radar for a while now, since I was about to hit 200k miles, but I have been a bit stalled in the process. (This is not an unusual position for me in many areas of my life, as many can attest.)

So I began with “What kind of car do I buy?” I thought about upgrading. I absolutely fell in love with BMWs when I did the BMW Experience down in Greenville. After driving all of their cars in many different ways (they were all quite amazing machines), I determined that their sedans were for me. Sport cars didn’t feel right, and SUVs seemed too big and clumsy. But am I really a BMW person? Am I a Lexus person? Am I a Mercedes person? For now I think I am still the Camry type. A few of you have confirmed that to me.
The next question is “Do I buy new or used?” There is no answer there yet. Low mileage matters to me….because of the car buying hatred and the lack of desire to go through this process anytime soon…but I have no strong feelings other than that. Yeah, I know you drive off the lot and it depreciates, but when you drive a car into the ground that matters a bit less to you. So, time will tell what I decide there. My last car was a low mileage used, the one before that new. Both were good decisions for their time.
So here I am. Probably the next step is to go look at new and gently used Camrys and decide what matters to me in a new car. There are a few upgrades I know I want, a few more I want to consider, and I need to really think through what should be my end result.
But I dread the next stage. I hate auto dealerships. No type of business frustrates me as much as they do. I think they remain the most sexist of industries, and no sales people (male or female, funnily enough) have treated me worse than I have been treated in the auto showroom. While I really don’t mind negotiating, and even feel it is a strength in many areas of my life, the process just infuriates me. I have tested my sexism theory out, as have other friends, and while certainly other factors could enter into the picture, I don’t find them to be legitimate. It feels like sexism and I hate it. And I don’t really care to invest what it takes to get beyond it….so we end up at odds.
The last two times I went through the car buying process I ended up buying through the AAA car buying service, which was simple and painless and resulted in a far better deal than I was able to get than going direct to the dealership. I know that because I tried dealerships first, who wanted to charge me a higher price for the same car.  I’m expecting this to happen again, but I am going to try to pursue this with an open mind. I invite you on the journey and will report back the results.
And if you have advise….if I am doing this wrong….I am willing to change my approach. Maybe I am still colored by the very first time I bought a new car when I was in my twenties, and was shown the exact same car in five different colors (even after telling the guy that color was not my first priority.) So let’s talk. How do I make this easier? It’s time to get down to business…my car is starting to show its age and I don’t have time for car trouble. I hope that possibly this time the experience will be different, though I am already checking out the AAA listing. Let’s call it realism through experience, instead of a weary pessimism.

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