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2010 Ford Transit Connect . (Ford Ford)
2010 Ford Transit Connect . (Ford Ford)

What Car?

Senior has a bone to pick with auto dealership Add to ...

Hi Michael and Jeremy:

I kind of know what I will be doing, but here is a little story of my van experience. My hobby is dogs, and I go to a lot of dog shows - obedience and agility trials with up to seven dogs (whippets). The safest way to transport my dogs is in crates.

In 2006, I leased a new Grand Caravan (my first new vehicle) as it was the lowest-priced van I could locate. I immediately had to take out all the seats except the driver and one passenger. Boy, oh boy, were those seats heavy. My husband and I (both senior citizens) had to lug them down to the basement, where they stayed for two years.

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In 2008, my lease was up and when I visited the dealer I was told: "Oh, don't bother buying out the lease for $16,000; it is only worth $14,000." So I signed up for a new 2008.

Well, to make a long story short, my lease will be expiring in about two months, and I will have to ante up about $16,000 if I want to keep the current van.

So, what is the true current value of my 2008? Should I dicker long and hard to get it for a reduced price, or should I go for a new one?

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for me?

Thank you, Heather the dog-loving librarian

Cato: I hate, absolutely, hate to hear this sort of story. It tells the tale of an honest person - Heather - who was steered badly by an incompetent or dishonest salesperson. You need a cargo van, Heather, not a passenger van!

Vaughan: Wait a minute. I think Heather needs a Whippet. What a grand entrance to a dog show arriving with whippets by Whippet. Unfortunately Willys stopped building them in the early 1930s so it might be difficult finding one in good shape.

Cato: Now that's a pearl of wisdom.

Vaughan: Alright then, suggestion number two: Ford Transit Connect. Cato has a good point about cargo vans and this is a good one. It's fuel-efficient and you can load umpteen dog crates through big doors both on the side and in the rear. Perfect dog hauler.

Cato: The Transit Connect is not quite the cheapo bargain you get in the Grand Caravan, but it's not expensive, either. The list price for the Transit XLT with a glass window at the rear - so you can see to avoid backing over the dogs at those shows - is $26,799.

But you'll be able to afford dog chow because that number is only the start. I'm talking discounting here. Ford Canada has a $1,500 factory-to-dealer rebate on this cargo van, so you should go in and negotiate a $1,500 price cut right off the sticker.

But that's not all. You should fight for an additional $500 or $600 dealer discount. That is, you want some of the difference between the sticker price and the actual dealer invoice. I think $500 is fair, but push for $600.

On top of that, I am hoping you buy your doggy beds, bones, crates and all the rest in bulk - at Costco. Because if you were a Costco member as of April 30, Ford Canada will lop another $1,000 off the price in the form of a factory-to-customer rebate.

Vaughan: We're up to $3,000 in discounts, so if you negotiate with the tenacity of a Rottweiler, Heather, you'll see the price of that Transit Connect chewed down to $23,799.

Cato: Hold on; I'm not done barking out information.

Heather, if you have an old clunker kicking about, a 2003 model or older, Ford will give you $1,000 for it under the latest Recycle Your Ride Program. If that old wreck is a 1995-or-older model, you'll get the $1,000 plus the federal government will throw in another $300. So two cheques for your wreck, adding up to $1,300.

Vaughan: Heather, the running tab on discounts is up to $4,300.

Cato: There's more. On certain models, Ford Canada is promoting something called its "Five-O" event. I am not certain sure whether the Transit Connect qualifies, but if it does, you'll have the choice of 0.0 per cent financing over five years, or no first payment, or $0 due on delivery or $0 security deposit on a lease.

Vaughan: Heather, don't expect your dealer to lie down and rollover as you negotiate. You'll need to work this deal.

Cato: But to help, you can purchase dealer invoice pricing information from an outfit called www.carcostcanada.com.

Vaughan: So you'll be armed with information that you can show the dealer. This simplifies things.

Cato: Okay, a couple of other things.

First, the value of your current van. I checked with Canadian Black Book and your Grand Caravan SE with 60,000 km is worth between $9,570 and $12,180. If the lease buyout is $16,000, walk away.

Vaughan: But if you do, consider a Grand Caravan Cargo Van - the same van without the seats. The list price is $28,045, but Chrysler Canada has big rebates available here, so your final price will be much lower.

Cato: And a third choice for the dogs: have a look at the Chevrolet Express cargo van. Again, the sticker says $31,460, but you'll pay thousands less.

Heather your first dealer should have quickly steered you to some sort of cargo van. So whomever you were working with steered you wrong.

Vaughan: Leaving Cato howling mad. It's going to take a whole box of chew biscuits to calm him down.

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 2 p.m. on CTV.

HOW THEY COMPARE



2010 Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van

2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT Cargo Van

2010 Chevrolet Express 1500 Cargo Van

Wheelbase (mm)

3,030

2,911

3,429

Length (mm)

5,144

4,590

5,692

Width (mm)

2,000

1,796

2,017

Height (mm)

1,750

2,014

2,073

Engine

3.3-litre V-6

2.0-litre four-cylinder

4.3-litre V-6

Output (hp)

(torque)

175 hp

205 lb-ft

136 hp

128 lb-ft

195 hp

260 lb-ft

Drive system

Front-wheel-drive

Front-wheel-drive

Rear-wheel drive

Transmission

Four-speed automatic

Four-speed automatic

Four-speed automatic

Curb weight (kg)

1,860

1,524

2,198

Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

12.3 city

8.3 highway

9.5 city

7.9 highway

14.1 city

10.0 city

Base price (MSRP)

$28,045

$26,799

$31,460

SOURCE: CAR MANUFACTURERS

 

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