The Cargo Van Purchase

how to negotiate a car price

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With the homework done and the spreadsheet and prepared emails ready, it was the right time to initiate the purchase of the van. It ended up, a matter of just following my detailed plans.

The Purchase

It was about 10 days before the end of the month, enough time to end up on the last days of the month, when sales quotas may put pressure on the price of the vehicle.
It is important to do all communications by email. Sometimes you may have to talk to someone, but always insist for them to email back. Keep your distance, the emails allow you time to reflect and decide what your next step is. Some salesmen come back with non specific offers (NOT the requested OTD Out-The-Door price), but a quick email should set them straight.

It is a struggle to get all bids in. At first some email addresses were obtained from the dealers website, but most websites did not offer that possibility. Some offered only a phone number to call, which resulted in appropriate email addresses. Others offered the opportunity to enter the quote request directly. That ended up a mistake. Somehow this information ended up at a central location, resulting in some salesmen uninterested to work on the quote.

Unexpectedly, it took more than one week to get all the offers in. Some emailed daily for more information, such as about a new or transferred tag or about the options. Some never got back to me.
2016 ford transit lunar skyWhen you get their offer and accompanying build sheets, verify that the invoice price and/or MSRP they used is the same in each offer and conforming to your calculations. Also check that they include everyone of your requested options.
Everyday you get a better understanding of the price levels that are offered. When I finally received most offers (as OTD prices), it was getting close to the end of the month, a time where sales quotas may play a favorable role in obtaining a lower price.
As it happens to be, my local dealer made the best offer, but only by $150.00 or so. A few more offers were in the same price range and other were up to approximately $1.000.00 higher.
To find out, who really wanted to make a sale, I send all dealers that submitted an offer, my second email (see my previous discussion), with a price to beat about $150.00 lower than the lowest offer. Of course, that did not include my local dealer who had the lowest price.

Whether accidentally or not, during this time I also received an email from a General Manager of one of the dealerships that I contacted, stating:

“Due to our commitment to increase sales this month, we are extremely motivated to make you an offer that under normal circumstances would not be considered.”

I asked them to send their best offer.
Within hours, that resulted in a few reconfigured offers, probably from those dealers anxious to sell. Other dealers never responded.
But that one special offer was another $600.00 below the best offer that I received, beating all offers that I received so far. As there were only 2 days left in the month, I gathered and printed out all communications and hopped into my car to my local dealer, who had offered to beat any deal.
At the dealership, the deal was quickly done. They did not beat the lowest offer, instead they even tried to raise the price, but in the end they did match it. And as they offered the lowest deal initially, they deserved to make the sale too and for me it has the additional benefit of a local dealer and of locally spent tax dollars that could benefit my own community.

The price was $38,500 and I was satisfied with that. Incentives are dealt with separately; these will be deducted from this amount at the time of delivery at the then current rebate amounts, so the final price hopefully maybe another $500-$1500 lower. Final price may reflect a better deal than I projected in my spreadsheet and the whole process ran smoothly.

Now the waiting game is on. In may case, this factory order of a 2016 Ford Transit will take approximately three months until delivery, as production of these vehicles still has to begin. In the meantime, it is about keeping a close eye on the status of the vehicle during this time, but that is something I’ll write about as it happens.

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  1. Very happy to have found you on facebook. Doing research to decide if I’d rather go with a new small cargo van (Transit Connect or Nissan nv200) and convert to an rv or purchase an older model Roadtrek (small, the 170 Popular). I figure either way I’ll be paying between 25-30000k. I have no experience at van conversions so the learning curve would be huge. Advantage of cargo van: new with warranty and efficient gas mileage, able to garage park. Advantage of Roadtrek: more space/comfort. Do you have any advice which would help me decide which direction to go? Funds are limited and I don’t mind small. I would like for the van conversion to sleep 2, though. Don’t know if that’s possible with the Connect. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated and I look forward to following your conversion process. Thanks, Rhonda ([email protected])

    1. Modifying or a complete conversion is in the room of possibilities for those handy individuals, that know their limits. But if you can’t change a tire, don’t think you can manage a complete conversion.
      That said, creating or modifying an RV can be a satisfying experience, that will save you some money along the way. Your needs should dictate the type of modifications to your Van/RV. Some spend a few weeks to create a basic bed frame from a couple of 2 x 4’s and some plywood in addition to several standard cabinets bought at Home Depot or Lowes. Others spend $40,000 and a year in their own workshop to build a work of stunning originality.
      I have learned over the years, that everybody has their own ideas, capabilities, funds and use their RV in distinct ways and at different locations, all necessitating dissimilar designs, in varying degrees of complexity.
      Instead of giving advice, I’d rather make you aware of the opportunities and requirements of building your own RV. It starts with choosing the right type of vehicle, as you mentioned. Will you use the vehicle a few times a year or will you make it your permanent home? Do you want it heavily insulated, to withstand the Canadian winters? Or a lot of solar panels to boondock for weeks at a time.
      So, if you’re unsure about some of these things, I would say: “Read, read and read even more!” You apparently are following my advice, because that’s how you found this website. But continue to visit RV forums, like Class B Forum, Cheap RV Living and other RV Conversion websites. I always include a few interesting links in my free newsletter.

      From the choices you presented, the Roadtrek has the major advantage that you can use it immediately and improve it slowly. By the way, the height of many of these vehicles may restrict them from parking in a garage. Smaller size is sometimes favorable, as you can get to places where others cannot go, but again, it depends on your perceived future use. As for the Connect, I’ve seen conversions that would accommodate two persons, but it sure will be a tight fit.
      I hope you’ll enjoy the conversion of my new 2016 Ford Transit Cargo Van!

      Van Williams

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