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No. of Recommendations: 2
I see nothing wrong with buying a brand new car vs used, as long as it fits into your budget and you plan to keep it for many years. You need to make sure you can afford a substantial down payment to avoid being "upside-down" in the car (ie owe more than it's worth).

If you're shopping for brand new, check with your employer, insurance company, and other organizations you're a member of (AAA, AARP, USAA, etc)--they might have a discount program you can use.

I bought a new Chevy truck in Dec; my employer is a GM Supplier so I qualified for the supplier discount program. It's a set price--I paid 4% over what a GM employee would pay. For my truck, that knocked over $5K off the sticker price. Then I also qualified for any rebates and incentives being offered--that cut another $3200. I also got to deal with the fleet sales people--much more efficient. On top of all that, this was the easiest car shopping experience I've ever had.

Now, I love to haggle, so car shopping isn't a daunting task for me, but this was a better way to go. I went down and got the book on 2003 Chevy trucks listing all the options. Took it home and broke down all the features into "must have" and "nice to have". Faxed that list to the 2 Chevy dealers in town. Each called me back and said they had one truck that met all my must haves--dealer A's was grey (2d choice color) and dealer B's was blue (1st choice color). Drove them both and went with dealer B to get the blue one. Entire car shopping experience was maybe 5 hours worth of work, of which probably 2 hrs was paperwork. I had also pre-qualified for financing with my credit union, so it was like a cash deal as far as the dealer was concerned.

I ended up with a new truck that's worth about $10K more than I owe against it, and will be paid off early because I can make extra payments (essentially I'd budgeted payments assuming almost sticker price, discounts allowed for that extra pmt $$ going towards principle instead). I realize this was a super-sweet deal that not many folks can get, but there's other programs out there. My insurance company (USAA) has a buyer's program where you tell them make & model, they negotiate with the dealer to get you their best price. I've seen mixed reviews on it, but depending on your car shopping savvy (or lack thereof), something like that might be for you.

• Jeff
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