There comes a time in every man’s life where he is faced with some tough choices: Ferrari or Lamborghini? When that time comes, we look back at our first car buying experience where all you had to do was walk in a dealership and simply pick your car, negotiate your loan rate and walk out with a car and more debt.
Well long gone are those days.
Now comes the time for you to pick your first exotic car, and its going to be harder than you ever know. There are many elements that go into buying an exotic car. I have written many articles about the cost of ownership and the best exotic under $100,000, but now is the time for you to actually invest your own money into one. That’s right I said invest, the car game has changed and so have the rules at this level.
The first step is to find which car you want, this is the hardest as you might be limited in what is in your area and the dealers may not be as willing to let you take test drives, and unfortunately you cannot buy an exotic without knowing what its like to drive it. Find a dealer that carries a good mixed selection and be up front with your sales person about your need to feel the cars before making a decision, simply state your budget and please exaggerate by $20,000 so that the range of cars available to drive will increase. Do not walk in asking for a drive, walk in and ask to be educated about the different models, brands, gearing options, maintenance plans, etc then narrow it down to your two best options and have at your first test drive.
Once you have found the type of car, then comes the time to actually find the exact one you like. There are many tools out there like ebaymotors.com, cars.com and autotrader.com that can help you locate the right car anywhere in the country. Do not be afraid of cars that are far from you as there are ways to get those cars over without hassle or cost. Instead worry about the car itself, the color, transmission, options, mileage and condition. Once you have located your car, odds are it is not in your neighborhood and will not easily be accessible, but as I mentioned earlier that is not a problem.
The next step will be to contact the dealer listed and express interest in the car, leave your contact info and request the following to be faxed to you.
- Carfax Report and Autocheck report
- All maintenance documentation
- Any warranty repair docs
- Option list
- Condition of car, brakes, clutch and anything worth discussing
- Condition of paint, if its has ever had paintwork
Once you’ve received the documents, simply review them and do not discuss price until you have done so. Make sure to check the CarFax record and see what the history of owners and locations were. There are some flags worth paying attention to and asking for answers.
- If more than two owners, why?
- Service records should be on CarFax.
- Excessive service records
- Service records show car going in twice for the same issue.
- Lack of annual service
- Who provided the service and were they authorized.
Keep in mind to stay away from any car that has had paintwork, other than a simple bumper repaint, despite the discount you may receive and the look of the car being as good as new, not everyone will feel the same when you are ready to sell it and buy your next one. It is also important to stay away from any car that will require a major service within the next 3000 miles. A simple clutch job will cost you more than $5000 in most cases.
If a car does list multiple owners, it is not necessarily a bad thing, it simply needs an explanation. Keep in mind that exotic cars get traded often and that owners can get bored, have their financial situations change or simply have a change of heart. Ask for an explanation and if it makes sense.
Once you have examined all the records, it is time to play the price war. This is the part where you can easily beat the dealer thanks to the technology on the web. You need access to Manheim auction, which is the new Kelly Blue Book. The dealer no longer looks at Kelly blue book but rather at Manheim pricing, this means they look at what the car they have in stock sells for overnight at a cash dealer auction. This in most cases is a good indicator of what the dealer purchased the car for. To gain access, simply join a car forum online such as 6speedonline.com, lambopower.com, ferrarichat.com and post a thread asking for help with Manheim pricing. Someone will answer that call.
The pricing game is simple, the dealer lists the car on those 3 websites and has a mark up on each one but the price they want to get to is the same on all three. 99% on the dealers have their cars listed $10,000 above what they want to get on autotrader.com. Find an exotic car there, and drop $10,000 from the price, that becomes your target buy price. You will not always be fortunate enough for someone to drop their price this low. The typical dealer will make a deal at $8000 under their Autotrader ad and about $5000 under their “buy it now” eBay listing. You can typically get $6000 off by asking and $8000 by letting them know you are ready to move today. If the dealer has had the car for a while you will most likely be able to knock $10000 off his price and steal the car. So how good of a negotiator are you?
Ok, so you finally agreed on your amazing price and cannot wait to go get your car and get it shipped back but there is one more issue to solve before doing so, you haven’t actually seen or driven this car yet. The biggest mistake you can make is to buy a car sight unseen. I have heard many horror stories that have ended in litigation and have left both parties very unhappy. The first step is to check the dealer’s reputation through their eBay feedback, then to ask for references, and finally to make a trip out to see your car in person. Please make sure to make arrangements to have a Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) done while you are there. Once you have completed it all, feel free to buy your car by writing a big check for it and making shipping arrangements. Enjoy your financial freedom.
But yet…Keep in mind that there is always a way to “Drive a Luxury Car for FREE” That’s the real Secret to Success.