Contrary to popular belief, SUVs haven’t stopped selling. Although SUV market demand is but a fraction of what it was in its heyday, many of today’s SUV buyers are finding remarkable bargains. Dealers are slashing prices to stay afloat in these difficult times. When you take the evaporation of sticker price into account along with the recent plunge in prices at the pump, conventional wisdom can get turned on its head. The SUV can be a wise choice, in situations with certain needs. The trick is to find the best SUV for the circumstances.
There’s no question that some eschew the perceived excess and creature comforts. But once accustomed to the space and flexibility of a SUV, it can be difficult to downsize. When the lease on Amy’s older Acura MDX came due, she and her husband initially wanted to replace it with an ’08 MDX. They shopped the new MDX along with the Nissan Murano, but ended up leasing a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, based on a significantly lower price.
While it took a bit of negotiation, Amy (the founder of LIParentSource.com) landed a great deal. “Although our pricing — both ours and the dealers — was very far apart at first, the dealer truly wanted to unload these trucks and eventually came down to our price,” Amy explained. “Chrysler itself was offering about $12,000 in rebates at the time so it really enabled us to get a great price on a car that normally would have been out of our price range.” The deal flowed with the factory incentives. “Once we decided on the Jeep, the purchase process was relatively smooth. No trying to sell us things we didn’t need, no trying to upgrade us with other features. It was just what it was and that was it.”
“Because we are a family of 4 with two small kids and a large dog, there was never any question that we were getting an SUV. We wound up leasing a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with not only a V8 engine but a HEMI,” remarked Amy, “It wasn’t what we initially wanted, but the price difference between this SUV and every other one we looked at was so great — the Jeep price was SO far below anything else we looked at — that it really made up for the difference in gas price, still letting us come out on top in the end.”
While factory promotions haven’t been as successful as hoped, they have moved SUVs off the lots.
Alison bought her GMC Envoy during the GM Employee Pricing incentive program. “The dealer spent quite a bit of effort locating a vehicle that was the color and had the features/accessories I wanted,” said Alison. Gasoline prices were not influential in the decision process. “We ski, kayak, and have kids and dogs, so room was more of an issue than gas prices.”
Other SUV buyers have been able to play the fluctuations in gasoline prices like a fiddle.
Pamela purchased a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee in June, when Chrysler was offering their $2.99 a gallon price promotion.
“One of the things that attracted me to Jeep/Chrysler was the incentive of not having to pay more than $2.99/gallon for the next 3 years. I’ve saved a considerable amount of money with that incentive. I have a Jeep card that gets billed anything over $2.99 per gallon.” Pamela explained. “Anything $2.99 or less gets billed to my Visa card. I get a monthly statement showing my savings … a real feel good moment.”
Never more so then today, the dealers have a tough time saying no to a fist full of dollars.
“I told them right up front that I was going to pay cash, and that I expected to get an exceptional deal.” Pamela revealed. “That made them salivate, as I didn’t have to go through the hassle of financing.”
Stacie took a more aloof approach in negotiations when she purchased a SUV last week.
“The dealer practically tripped all over himself to get me out the door with it. So of course my acting slightly disinterested helping in knocking over $5000 off of the book value of the car,” Stacie explained. “This is exactly the SUV that I sought out to buy and while gas is still a slight consideration, so is comfort and quality. We do pretty well (economically) so while we may have been slightly affected by the economy, it has not been that bad for us.”
It might be a while longer before Stacie buys her next vehicle, however.
“The one difference between our car buying now versus a few years ago is that we will most likely keep this car at least one year longer than we normally would. We usually keep a car at the most for two years but we may stretch this out for three.”
For many, the purchase of a SUV isn’t just a lifestyle decision, but a business decision. Linda needed something large enough to haul client stuff around and zeroed in on the Chevy Suburban LTZ.
“The dealers were amazed when we came in actually asking for the top of the line LTZ,” Linda explained. “we both ski, golf, kayak and have dogs so we needed something big that could carry all that, and possibly some friends. ”
“My fiancé and I are both self-employed, his kids are grown and we have two golden retrievers. After shopping for a burb for the last 18 mos, and looking at prices in excess of $50k, we thought now was perfect, they are giving them away,” Linda said happily. “Our price, under $42K – since we knew we’d keep it a long time, we went for 60 mos financing, put a big down payment to get the best rate and glad we did as the market crashed, so at least our money was ‘invested’ well in a new vehicle.”
“We are thrilled with our purchase. When we bought it though gas was at over $4.00 a gallon, we joked, that we’d buy it and put it in the garage until gas prices came down.”
“For us it was a great business decision and we’re glad we did it. Though I wonder if we’d get an even better deal now!”