Wednesday, December 11, 2019

All I Ever Wanted

Last Sunday, I had the greatest experience buying a car, and I wanted to write about it. Not just about the car, which is awesome, but about the dealership and the salespeople and the finance guys.

But first a little backstory... 

In 2006, a co-worker who just moved to the area bought a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe. She was so excited about it. When I saw the car, I instantly fell in love with it too. At the time, I was driving a Honda Accord that I loved, and was very loyal to it, but I knew my next car would be a Santa Fe.

I kept that car for another ten years. Several major repairs and an accident or two later, I felt it was probably time to get a new car. At the time, a high school buddy of mine was managing a Hyundai dealership, so I went to talk to him. I had some challenges, but he was able to get me a 2009 Santa Fe, which I cherished.

In 2017 I started driving for Uber. I love driving for Uber, I make my own hours, work whatever time and day I want to work, etc. I'm the boss of me! But they have this rule that your car must be less than ten years old. My passengers LOVED my Santa Fe, and I knew when I bought it, my NEXT car would also be a Santa Fe.

My car had reached the decade mark. Maintenance and repairs started to pile up. In January 2019, I declared that I would make no more unnecessary repairs or upgrades. One thing after another came up, then I got rear-ended. To add insult to injury, the cost of the repairs was about $1000 shy of what I still owed, so the option to pocket the insurance money and pay off the loan in lieu of repairs was not. It was time to move to the next Santa Fe.

Wanting to be proactive, I had been looking since January, but I had some challenges and a bit of a crisis which prevented me from buying a new vehicle or even saving money for a down payment. It was time for a leap of faith. Initially I had started my search by going to dealerships, but I felt like was just wandering around until I found CarGurus. CarGurus took a huge step out of  the search process, actually, it was more like several steps. I could just type in Santa Fe and my zip code and up would come a list of cars for sale all over town.

I found a few that I liked and went out to look at them. The one I actually bought was first on my list, but I was uncertain I would be able to afford it. Another dealership was working really hard to sell me a brand new one, but that was out of the question.

I realize this is going to sound like a Goldilocks story, but some of them had too many miles, some of them were too old; the perfect fit was the one I found at Ron Tonkin Alfa Romeo Fiat:  2018, the color I wanted, AWD, back up camera and other new features, all within my budget. I was even able to get a warranty.

I worked with two salespeople:  Keili Eiland and Ethan Arfer. Keili was the one I initially spoke to. One of the things she said was that this deal was really the best for the money based on its low mileage and price point. At first I thought this was just a come-on, something a salesperson would say, but then I validated that statement in my research. It really was the best value.

Ethan was the one who closed the deal, and it must have been the easiest sale he'd had all month. I was a very motivated buyer. I was quickly approved. The terms were a little higher than I wanted at first so I asked if they could come down on the price. They stood firm on the price, but gave me more for my trade-in thereby landing right in my zone. I've never gotten through that part of car buying so quickly. I never felt pressured. I never felt like they weren't being forthcoming or had something to hide. We were all honest men being completely honest with each other.

Couple of Extras

There was a small hole in one of the seats that their contractor fixed on-site for free (thank you Scott). And a bulb in the map lights needed to be replaced. Simple enough, but I didn't know how to do it myself..

Moving Forward

I got my new car all set up for Uber the next day and headed out that night to make money. My passengers were very impressed with my new Fe and I had a great time telling them the story.

Ultimately, this was the best car buying experience I have ever had. Everyone I worked with was outstanding. There's a song called All I Ever Wanted from the Netflix movie XOXO. It describes exactly how I feel.  I highly recommend Ron Tonkin Alfa Romeo Fiat, even if you're not buying an Alfa Romeo. They have other cars in their inventory and their focus on the customer experience is spectacular.

Ron Tonkin Alfa Romeo Fiat
9008 SW Canyon Rd
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 610-2145