My journey to purchasing a 2011 WRX
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    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    My journey to purchasing a 2011 WRX

    Hi guys and gals,

    I've been shopping for a new car casually for the better part of a year and more intently the last few months. I am the owner of a 2002 Sedona Red WRX with 180,000 miles on it. It has been an awesome car and treated me very well for the last 8 or so years.

    Last year it started to feel it's age a bit and the problems started to rear their heads. Some of these were just normal wear and tear accumulating themselves and some were bigger. Had to replace my intake/exhaust valves, fix the radiator, oxygen sensor, etc etc. I got it all fixed last year but I knew that it was just going to be the beginning of the end unless I wanted to keep dropping serious money into repairs.

    So I began to shop, I joined these forums and others and studied and studied at places like Edmunds.com and the like to learn about the car buying process, how to get a good deal and what to look for.

    In May my car finally started to exhibit the issues I knew were coming. After bringing it to my friendly neighborhood shop I got a laundry list of fixes to do that included: replacing clutch and flywheel, fixing a coolant leak, replacing brakes, fixing a misfire issue, fixing/replacing piece of my catback which had developed a hole, fixing my A/C and smaller stuff like replacing tires and fixing alignment. All in all it would have been north of $5k to do all these repairs and with that being well above the KBB value I knew what it meant.

    So, this summer has been all about finding the right car. I had been waiting to find out what they were going to do with the 2011 WRX but nothing had been announced yet and I decided to comparison shop. I test drove a few different cars including an 08 STi, 07 BMW 335i, 04 Cadillac CTS-V and a 2010 Mazdaspeed 3.

    Being a New England'er the RWD of the BMW and Cadillac turned me off even though I found some good deals on them. The Cadillac was more of a spur of the moment thing after testing driving the BMW. The BMW was a really nice car but the future repair costs and general maintenance had me worried about the true cost to own it. The Cadillac was just too much like a Cadillac. That monster V8 sure sounded nice and I'm sure it is a great car but it didn't feel right.

    I shopped a while for STi's an Evo's but kept running into the same problem with both of them. The only way I could afford either would be used and both are notorious for being cars that have been beaten on mercilessly. The insurance costs also made me a bit nervous and I just felt like I would be gambling getting one of them as a daily driver without being 100% confident in it's history. The closest I came was that 08 STi which was priced at about $26k with only 30k miles on it. I came really close to biting the bullet on that one but ran into a roadblock. It was being sold by an Audi dealer that did not want to let me bring the car to a Subaru dealer to get it checked out. I told them, this would be like me buying an S5 at a Subaru dealer used and trusting their mechanics to know it's 100% good inside and out. Not gonna happen. The crappy attitude of the salesman and the dealership just turned me off and I decided that I didn't feel like gambling with my hard earned money.

    Couple weeks later they release the information about the 2011 WRX's and I was glad I waited. There were upgrades to address some of the things that were nagging me about the 2010. More aggressive styling, wider track and tires, slightly less body roll, and some stereo options standard. Very cool indeed Subaru but I worried that it would also come at the cost of a price increase.

    I shopped Mazda for a while and I did really like the Speed3 but couldn't get away from one thing: torque steer. The styling also bothered me a little bit because I didn't particular love the smiling face. Oh, and one other thing, I read from multiple Mazda owners that the engine was already sitting close to it's limits with the power it was putting out and that blown engines from even moderate tunes were not uncommon.

    So, I wanted a 2011 WRX. I always kind of knew I'd end up where I started but now I know why rather than just going on a hunch. The next step though was to see if it would fit my budget. I was willing to go up to 26k before taxes and all that but really wanted to try to do 25k or under if possible. So, when I heard pre-orders were starting to be taken I started to investigate pricing.

    I found that the 4 door and the 5 door model now cost the same. At least for the stock model which is what I was interested in plus a few options. 5 door cost the same as last year and the 4 door price was increased to match it. I want a 5 door, so that is what I concentrated on. Here is what I found:

    MSRP: $26,220
    Invoice: $25,077

    These prices reflect a $725 destination delivery fee.

    This got me excited because I realized that it was within my price range and with some carefully planned emails and discussions, I could get close to $25 before options. By the way, I don't know how much prices vary from state to state but these are accurate for Connecticut at least.

    So now it was time to hunt. I crafted an email template up that included information about myself, that I was looking for a 2011 WRX, what I wanted to put down, what my credit score was and what my trade in was. Most importantly however, I made it clear that I was shopping aggressively and was contacting dealerships through the state to get the most competitive quote I could. I wasn't interested in wheeling and dealing, I just wanted a good honest quote and then would run with it. Compare it against what other dealers gave me and find the lowest I could.

    New Englander's love their Subies so it was no surprise that I found several very high volume dealerships in my state. High volume typically means that they have more leeway to cut deals so that they can keep their numbers high and looking good. Several of these sites had attractive deals on their website, not necessarily for the WRX but for other models.

    So, I modified the template based on who I was sending it to and shot it out to about 5 dealerships to start with. Honestly, it didn't take me very long to find a couple that were willing to play ball. There is one important element at play and let me make it clear:

    If you are thinking of getting a 2011, pre-order now instead of waiting for them to hit the lots.

    I firmly believe and it was confirmed to me that the prices I was quoted were so low due to it being a pre-order. Anyway, to cut to the chase, here is the best of what I was offered so you can get an idea of what ballpark you might be playing in while pre-ordering.

    I asked for a quote on a dark gray 2011 WRX with the short shifter option installed. The short shifter is a $355 MSRP option. So MSRP would be $26,575 for what I was asking for. Invoice would be $25,308.

    I was offered it for $24,725. I could have done cartwheels if I was athletic enough to do them gracefully. That is almost $600 below invoice! So, I tacked a couple extra options on there including the SPT boost gauge and an aluminum/leather wrapped shift knob. This offer came to be $25093 ($27,090 list). I wanted 25k before options and I got 25k after options. NOT BAD!

    Next week I go to the dealership to solidify my deal. I think it's a smoking' deal and I'm very happy with it. While shopping for a car I always wished I could find a thread that detailed someone's experiences first hand with the whole process so I figured I would write up mine for the next person shopping for a new vehicle.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    I learned a few important things in my journey:

    1. Use tools like cars.com, autotrader.com, craigslist.org, edmunds.com and forums like clubwrx.net to their fullest advantage. Shop, comparison shop, look at trends in your area, find out what other people are paying, see what is available to you and act.

    2. Know your financial situation to a penny before going in. There are many free tools for finding your credit score, so use them before you start to look so you know what you can afford.

    3. When shopping used, never except the dealer's first price. They will ALWAYS tell you that it's the lowest they can possibly sell the car for and that their manager will not possibly go any lower. Get their information and walk away. Throw them an email a week later and tell them that you love the car but the price is too high and see what they will do. Or just wait and track the car on cars.com or wherever you found it and see what happens. That BMW 335i I was looking at? I was originally offered it for 24k. I wrote the dealer a week and a half later and was offered it again from 23.2k. I didn't bite at that point after consideration due to the cost to own and RWD. I saw it offered a couple weeks later on cars.com for 22.5k. Nearly the same can be said for the STi I was looking at. Was 27.1k on cars.com when I first looked at it and I was offered it for 26.3k when I went to the dealer. The last time I checked on cars.com it was for 26k even which probably meant an even lower price at the dealer. Awesome price, too bad the dealer was a jackass.

    4. When shopping new you need to spread your options out and approach many dealers. Create an email template with everything you want and make sure you make it known to them that you intend to comparison shop aggressively for the best deal. Try to deal with a direct sales coordinator or a fleet manager if you can since they typically avoid the normal 'car dealer' gimmicks and will deal with you fairly.

    5. Most importantly, have fun with it. Don't take every car you look at too seriously or you will fall in love and make a bad move. There are literally thousands of cars to choose from if you are willing to take a bit of a drive. Don't fall in love and don't overspend. However, if you do find the right car for you, then do be smart and make the purchase before someone else does.

    Well, that's it. I know it's a long post but hopefully someone finds it useful and informative. I will keep you guys updated with how it goes at the dealership. Thanks for reading!

  4. #3
    Registered User mm05897's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncharmony View Post
    I crafted an email template up that included information about myself, that I was looking for a 2011 WRX, what I wanted to put down, what my credit score was and what my trade in was. Most importantly however, I made it clear that I was shopping aggressively and was contacting dealerships through the state to get the most competitive quote I could. I wasn't interested in wheeling and dealing, I just wanted a good honest quote and then would run with it. Compare it against what other dealers gave me and find the lowest I could.

    New Englander's love their Subies so it was no surprise that I found several very high volume dealerships in my state. High volume typically means that they have more leeway to cut deals so that they can keep their numbers high and looking good. Several of these sites had attractive deals on their website, not necessarily for the WRX but for other models.

    So, I modified the template based on who I was sending it to and shot it out to about 5 dealerships to start with. Honestly, it didn't take me very long to find a couple that were willing to play ball. There is one important element at play and let me make it clear:

    If you are thinking of getting a 2011, pre-order now instead of waiting for them to hit the lots.

    I firmly believe and it was confirmed to me that the prices I was quoted were so low due to it being a pre-order. Anyway, to cut to the chase, here is the best of what I was offered so you can get an idea of what ballpark you might be playing in while pre-ordering.

    I asked for a quote on a dark gray 2011 WRX with the short shifter option installed. The short shifter is a $355 MSRP option. So MSRP would be $26,575 for what I was asking for. Invoice would be $25,308.

    I was offered it for $24,725. I could have done cartwheels if I was athletic enough to do them gracefully. That is almost $600 below invoice! So, I tacked a couple extra options on there including the SPT boost gauge and an aluminum/leather wrapped shift knob. This offer came to be $25093 ($27,090 list). I wanted 25k before options and I got 25k after options. NOT BAD!

    Next week I go to the dealership to solidify my deal. I think it's a smoking' deal and I'm very happy with it. While shopping for a car I always wished I could find a thread that detailed someone's experiences first hand with the whole process so I figured I would write up mine for the next person shopping for a new vehicle.

    Thanks for the informative write up. I have pre-ordered a 2011 WRX, but have not had any real price discussions with the sales guy. So they gave you this good price simply based on your email? You did not have to haggle with them? I would be interested in any tips you have in trying to get such a good deal. I'm in San Antonio, TX, and there are only two very low volume Subaru dealers here.

  5. #4
    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm05897 View Post
    Thanks for the informative write up. I have pre-ordered a 2011 WRX, but have not had any real price discussions with the sales guy. So they gave you this good price simply based on your email? You did not have to haggle with them? I would be interested in any tips you have in trying to get such a good deal. I'm in San Antonio, TX, and there are only two very low volume Subaru dealers here.
    I had some dealerships tell me that they will not discuss price with me unless I come down. Typically these places don't have internet specialists / direct sales coordinators. So they will want to get you to the salesroom, put the schmooze on and try to 4 square you. 4 squaring is where they put the emphasis on monthly payments and car trade-in rather than what the car is worth. Smoke and mirror tactics basically.

    You could call the dealerships directly and ask them if they have a direct sales representative and you wish to discuss details via email rather than in person. However, if you feel comfortable doing so, there is nothing really wrong with going there in person. It's just more of a hassle than anything. You can still talk business, get a quote from them and walk out if you feel you are being played. Just beware of typical tactics like "I can sell it to you for this cost, but it's only valid for a few more days." Or "We had a couple down here looking at the car earlier today but they didn't bite, so the clock might be ticking on this one." If it smells like B.S. then it probably is.

    Try to expand your range outside of San Antonio if you are able to do so. I see Houston is about 3 hours away so contact dealerships there as well. They may offer you a good deal that you can leverage with a San Antonio dealer and if you can't, well, a 3 hour trip to save yourself a couple grand isn't a bad idea!

    Good luck!

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    Registered User GrtScott's Avatar
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    What a great post!

    Just curious as to what it was you wrote in that email. Post sample?

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    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrtScott View Post
    What a great post!

    Just curious as to what it was you wrote in that email. Post sample?
    Sure, I started with a couple emails lobbed back and forth asking if they had pricing yet and if they were taking pre-orders. The dealership came back to me and quoted me the MSRP and the Invoice price for the car. At this point I knew I had a good lead since they didn't try to find the invoice price.

    So, here is what I wrote back to them with some edited bits.


    I am interested in the stock trim level of the WRX. If this is a factory order, I would also be interested in the short throw shifter option as well.

    I appreciate the transparency of our conversations as I have found over the last few months while looking at cars and talking to dealerships that many are a bit more difficult and try to hard sell me on a car. What is worse is when they pretend to know specifics of the car I'm looking at which I know are not true. I am not interested in those kind of tactics and I am certainly not interested in a hard sell from an uninformed sales representative.

    So, to lay it out plainly, I am trying to find the optimum deal I can get for this pre-order. The fact that you would tell me the invoice price of this car and not try and hide it encourages me that your establishment might be the place where I find that deal. I am pursuing leads at other dealerships just to test the waters and for my own peace of mind but you are the first I have had a real conversation with about this order.

    Some details:

    I have about $XX,XXX that I would use as a down payment and look to finance the rest of it. Whether that financing is done through the dealership or a bank is entirely dependent on the rates I am offered. I have a solid credit score that is about XXX so I hope that it will be a fairly painless process. I have a 2002 Sedona Red WRX sedan with 180,000 miles on it that I would consider trading in at the time of sale. It is currently garaged while I shop for a new car so that I don't put anymore miles or wear and tear on it. I would like to settle on a price for the purchase of the car before getting into trade-in values however.

    So, get back to me when you can with a preliminary quote and I'm sure we can talk business from there.

    Thank you!
    From that point he returned a quote to me and I started to play around with some extra options to get a final price. I then went to a few other dealers and had them quote me and compared it to this dealership and still found them to be the best.

    I will be visiting them on Wednesday this week to start to finalize things.

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    Registered User etshulda's Avatar
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    Great write up! I got a smokin' deal on my old 04 wrx and got ripped off on my 04 STi.

    I'll certainly be shopping slowly and carefully instead of being compulsive in the future (think $$thousands in interest).

    Thank you for the helpful post.
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    Moderator WilliamG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncharmony View Post

    Next week I go to the dealership to solidify my deal.
    If you can get the deal, great!

    However, I suggest you not celebrate too soon until you've been to the dealer and actually DO have it in writing. I've been in similar situations, and when you get to the dealership the price magically changes. Stick to your guns.
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    Registered User GrtScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncharmony View Post
    I will be visiting them on Wednesday this week to start to finalize things.
    Good luck.

    I hate the car buying game so much. Even though it is standard practice it always seems to me like a scam.

    "Destination charge", pshhhh. Is there an option to buy the car at the factory and drive it off the assembly line? Does Subaru have a "Will-Call" door in the back of their warehouse?

    I realize that our cars are not produced in the states but it is the concept that upsets me. Just add the cost to the price tag but don't itemize it. I know it costs money to ship a freighter full of cars... I don't need you to tell me its an additional $600 charge. (Side note, I live less than 30 miles from the Port of Long Beach. I should have to pay less than $600 because it costs less to get it to me than it does to get the car to Idaho.)

    My milk goes up in price as gas prices go up. Where is that itemized?

    [/rant]

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    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post
    If you can get the deal, great!

    However, I suggest you not celebrate too soon until you've been to the dealer and actually DO have it in writing. I've been in similar situations, and when you get to the dealership the price magically changes. Stick to your guns.
    Yeah, I'm not celebrating but I am optimistic. I need to get cleared for financing first and get everything in writing. Based on all the emails that have been exchanged I have every quote given to me documented so I don't think there will be any funny business. If there is then I have a different dealership 30 minutes away from them that offered me a very competitive quote albeit maybe $50 more.

    We'll see how it works out but I'm getting a good vibe off of them and have heard good things in general about the dealership.

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    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    So, I went to the dealership tonight and it all went smooth as silk. No games, no price changing, it was all just as we discussed. Plus! I found out that when you pre-order, you can actually get heated seats separate from the premium package. I don't much care about a sunroof or fog lamps but heated seats are sure nice in the winter. They were a $250 option.

    So all told, I put down $500 and signed the dotted line for:

    $25397 which includes:

    Short throw shifter
    SPT turbo boost gauge
    Leather/Aluminum SPT shift knob
    Heated front seats
    All-weather floor mats

    I don't have the exact numbers but that is about $600-650 under invoice. Arrival time expected in October and you bet pics will follow!

    Now the wait will be agonizing.

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    Mace Windu devilfluff's Avatar
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    Registered User liquidoxygen22's Avatar
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    What dealer did you go with, if you dont mind me asking. I live is Mass, but I'm good friends with the people at Premier in Branford. Got a good deal on mine. Congrats.

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    Registered User Syncharmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liquidoxygen22 View Post
    What dealer did you go with, if you dont mind me asking. I live is Mass, but I'm good friends with the people at Premier in Branford. Got a good deal on mine. Congrats.
    I used Mitchell Subaru in Canton, CT and my sales rep was Jeremy.

    It actually came down to Premier vs Mitchell for me as they both quoted me pretty low. Mitchell's quote was $50 cheaper though, they are closer and they let me put $500 down while Premier told me I'd have to put a minimum of $3000 down for the pre-order.

    I plan to put much more down when I get the car but an extra $2500 in the bank collecting interest is nice for a couple months.

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    Moderator rage-wrx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncharmony View Post
    I used Mitchell Subaru in Canton, CT and my sales rep was Jeremy.

    It actually came down to Premier vs Mitchell for me as they both quoted me pretty low. Mitchell's quote was $50 cheaper though, they are closer and they let me put $500 down while Premier told me I'd have to put a minimum of $3000 down for the pre-order.

    I plan to put much more down when I get the car but an extra $2500 in the bank collecting interest is nice for a couple months.
    thank you syncharmony.I live in NY and Jeremy at Mitchell gave me a quote for the exact same amount $24725.He was kind enough to tell me that there is a $299 conveyance fee(what?)for out of state purchases.,which brought the price to what I was being offered here.too bad,but good dealer ,prompt replies,no BS.

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