I bought a new car yesterday. Primarily via text. It’s a wonderful time to be alive!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was ready to take the plunge and buy a car, now that the taxman had cometh and taxeth. I assumed the local Hyundai dealer would be jumping through hoops for my business—we’re still in the midst of a pandemic and the economy’s in the toilet, right?—but surprisingly, they were very laissez-faire (French for “lazy asses,” I believe) over the whole thing. Our communication was scattershot at best; days would pass before they got back to me (if at all). I told them I was a motivated buyer, which is like tossing chum into shark-infested waters when it comes to car salesmen, but even that didn’t do the trick. Compounding matters further, their stock was extremely limited: they had a total of three Konas, none of which checked off all my boxes. Twice I asked them if they could order the exact model I wanted from the factory, and twice my question went unanswered.
So, I expanded my search. Why let a little thing like geographical distance get in the way of a major purchase, amirite? The Hyundai dealership in Sioux Falls (346 miles and five hours away) had 64 models in stock. I requested a quote on one, and they texted me back within minutes. When I told them driving clear across the state to buy a car would—to put it mildly—be a challenge, they said, If you’re not able to make it to Sioux Falls, we can deliver if you’re interested in that. Now, I’ve had pizza delivered. Chinese food, too. Maybe even a Jimmy John’s sandwich once. But the idea of having a brand new car brought to my doorstep never even crossed my mind. Yes, I told them. I’m very interested.
The Rapid City dealership could learn a thing or two about customer service!
There was just one nagging little detail: I hadn’t actually driven a Kona yet. I researched it to death, but until you actually take a car for a spin, you can’t know for sure whether it’s something you’ll be comfortable driving for the next 5-10 years (or longer: I drove my last Hyundai for 13 years). So, I wasn’t done with the local dealership quite yet. I stopped by on my lunch hour and asked if I could take a test drive. This, at least, went off without a hitch; they made a copy of my driver’s license, handed me the keys, and told me to go for it. When I bought my Mazda five years ago a salesman accompanied me on the test drive, so I was a bit surprised they let me drive it off the lot alone. But they did, so I took advantage and drove it around town, hitting the freeway for a brief stretch. Then I picked Tara up at work and had her drive it, too. This pretty much sealed the deal; it’s definitely not as peppy as my Mazda, which I knew would be the case, but it’s not like I’ll be drag-racing. It handles nimbly, has a tight turn radius, and the driver sits up a lot higher. Bumps and potholes were no problem. So I returned it to the dealer, handed them the keys, thanked them for their time, and went home to chat with the guys in Sioux Falls.
The rest of the process went smoothly. They ran my credit, had me text photos of my Mazda, and asked a few questions about accessories and overall condition. I was honest about the hail damage and crack in the windshield, but those are things their service shop can fix. Then, they called me back with numbers. The good news: they came in on the very high end of my car’s Blue Book value. The low mileage (under 50,000) definitely worked in my favor. Not-as-good: the price on the car was higher than I wanted to pay. Which, let’s face it, is always the case with the first figure they give you. But the salesman said the dealership hadn’t sold any 2021 Konas yet and he really wanted the bragging rights that come along with being the first, so if I let him know a figure I was comfortable with, he’d see what he could do. I told him I’d think about it; in the meantime, he pulled out all the stops, texting me a photo of my potential new Kona with heart-eye emojis, ha. Buying a car these days is sure a lot different than in the past. My Edsel-buying grandfather is probably rolling over in his grave.
Ultimately, he got to where I wanted to be, and the deal was done! The only thing I didn’t end up with was the orange color I coveted; Hyundai has discontinued it (those bastards!). Believe me, I searched high and low, even checking dealerships in Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota, but nada. I settled on my second choice, pulse red, which is still pretty sharp-looking. They should deliver it to me by the end of next week.
Whew! Now I’m ready to rock ‘n roll my way through winter. With AWD and heated seats, I’m prepared for whatever Mother Nature flings my way this year. LET IT SNOW!!
Err…in a couple of months, of course…