Saturday, August 22, 2009

New car

I've worked out of my home for the last several years. For this reason, we've only had one good car and an old clunker (a full sized conversion van leftover from when the kids were all living at home). This met our needs as it was completely paid for; and, we seldom needed to be in two different places at the same time.

After being laid off - we've known all along that we'll have to get a second car once I find a job. The van was OK for occasional short distance trips - but, frankly, I just didn't trust it for any distance and/or long term use.

The Cash for Clunkers deal was enticing (yes, even for this diehard republican). I don't really have a problem supporting stimulus packages like Cash for Clunkers and the tax credit for first time home buyers. Those sort of programs actually stimulate the economy IMOHO. Giving bucket loads of money to banks and car companies -that I have a problem with!

When I read in the newspaper Friday morning that the Cash for Clunkers deal was ending on Monday - I thought "oh crap, if we're going to do this then we need to do it NOW." On one hand, buying a new car when I'm unemployed seems decadent. On the other hand, a $4,500 credit cannot be ignored - especially when I have a clunker that might fetch, at best, a few hundred as a trade-in allowance.

So yesterday (Friday), I went into overdrive and started looking at cars. We wanted something cheap and fuel efficient. We've had good experience working with the local Chevy dealer; and, I had already looked at the Chevy Cobalt and Aveo. So, Friday I went to a couple of other local car dealerships to see what they had.

I had a bad experience at the Ford dealership. Even though I had explained that I wanted something cheap, the salesman insisted on showing me cars in the $25K-$30K range. When I specifically asked to see the Ford Focus - he pulled up with a fully loaded model for $20K. When I asked if I could just drive it around the lot a bit, I was told that I couldn't - that he'd have to drive it to the entrance and then we could take it for a test drive around town. At that point I was done.

Anyway, I went to the Nissan dealer as I wanted to look at the Versa. While there I decided to test drive the Cube - and I fell in love. I am a man who is large in stature - and sitting in these subcompact cars that I was looking at feels a bit claustrophobic. The Cube, while being butt ugly, feels very roomy in comparison.

So, I came back home to think about the cars I looked at - and to collect the stuff needed to qualify for the Cash for Clunkers deal. Unfortunately, we're not the most organized when it comes to paper work. So, we spent the afternoon
  • Searching through our filing cabinet to find the title.
  • Going to the county tax assessors office to get proof that it's been legally registered for the last 12 months.
  • Going to our insurance office for proof that we've had it insured for the last 12 months.
We talked about the cars I looked at - and at 5:30pm we decided to "do it". I cleaned out the van to keep anything I wanted and to throw away everything else and then drove it to the Nissan Dealership. I walked into the dealership, paperwork in hand. And, at around 8:00pm I drove home in a brand spanking new Nissan Cube.

Being unemployed I assumed that I wouldn't qualify for a loan - so we had already decided up front to pay cash. Although, I was surprised to find them still pushing me to finance even knowing I had no income. No wonder we have a credit problem in this country. I'm also surprised that since I was paying cash - it still took over 2 hours to complete the purchase.

It's kinda girlie - even a bit gay; and, I'm twice the age of the target demographic for this party car - but I'm curmudgeonly enough that I don't care. In my world - comfort trumps everything else.