Sun, 25 Oct 2009

And Now, To Announce That We Are New Owners of...

A 2009 Mercedes Benz R350... The deal was simply too good to pass up.

Avid readers of my blog know that we had narrowed the car search down to three makes. A Toyota Highlander, a Volvo XC90, and a Mercedes Benz R350. In an earlier post, I admitted that I was a little discouraged that the marketplace had gotten so threadbare that it was hard to come by a configuration we wanted and could drive off the lot with.

But, this weekend, I called around and found a car that was worth looking at. A 2010 MB R350 Bluetec diesel. Problem was, when I showed the dealer my numbers (what I was willing to put down) I was told the numbers simply wouldn't fly.

The problem was that one of the reasons I had been pressing hard for an R-Class was that the information on showed that there was currently (until 11/2/2009) a $10,000 marketing support incentive offered by Mercedes Benz. That meant that the dealership I was working with was essentially willing to knock $10,000 off the invoice, MSRP, whatever price you start at, off the price of the car, no hassles, no problem.

Except, this is where my naivité came in... Marketing incentives are those by the auto manufacturer to dealers to move old inventory. When I walked into negotiate $10K off a 2010, that wasn't going to fly.

Clearly, knocking $10,000 off the cost of a car is a huge incentive, so I asked if they had any cars to which the incentive did apply. And sure enough, they had one in the same dealer's other lot.

The base MSRP of the car we bought effectively dropped from $47K to $37K, making a lot of the competition not much of a... well, competition. The base MSRP of the Highlander, for example, was $35K. Would I be willing to pay $2K more to drive a Mercedes? Sure I would. Especially when, for example, after two years (at a 50% residual for easy math), I'm still $5K ahead on the $10K I just saved.

Of course, you can only take advantage of these kinds of deals when the automaker offers them, typically to move older inventory out in advance of new models coming down the line. And while they may not all be as good as $10K, they generally appear around this time of year.

Frankly, if the Mercedes lots had been devoid of 2009 R-Class vehicles, it's quite likely we'd still be looking, and probable that we could have ended up with a Highlander instead.

There are three things I regret about not being able to take advantage in this purchase, none of which rise to such a high level that it was worth walking away from the deal. First, I'd love to take advantage of European Delivery. This is the least painful as bringing Carson along on a transcontinental trip when he's 1 year old isn't that attractive right now. Second, I wish I could have found a Bluetec diesel instead of the gas one I bought. Of course, gas is the "conventional" answer, but I think I would have liked the torque of the diesel as well as the gas mileage. And third, it would have been nice to have found a car fully loaded (our car lacks the 3rd zone climate control that I liked in the Acura we test drove, and it lacks the rear entertainment system, something we can add later).

But, as I said, minor quibbles, all things considered.

Name/Blog: Khan
Title: Oh yeah...
Comment/Excerpt: I forgot to mention that the M class wasn't an option because it lacked a 3rd row, and no $10k in marketing support. We're unlikely to use the third row that frequently, but it'll be nice to have when we do.

Name/Blog: Khan
Title: And the winner of the easiest car to install a car seat is...
Comment/Excerpt: During our shopping outings, I pulled out and put back our carsear into a Highlander, Tribeca, MDX, RX450, R-Class, Q7, Venza, and CX9. No car stood out over the others until today-- when I swapped the car seat into my A3 in preparation for trade-in. The A3 LATCH anchors have nice plastic guides that literally make installation a snap. After fighting all those cars, the best and easiest one to install into was in my garage all along!!

Name/Blog: Rus
Title: congrats
Comment/Excerpt: I don't think you'll regret going with MB at all. We have had two major problems with our MB... a fuel filter glitch and the tranny failure (at 150k)... but my independent mechanic (Adam at said those two problems are peculiar to the 1998-1999 MLs, e.g. the first generation of that model (we were the early adopters). The ML is now on its 4th generation of engines/equipment/etc so all those problems have been ironed out (hopefully without introducing new ones) and the ML shares all of that design technology with the R. So, good choice... I approve! cheers. --rus.

Khan Klatt

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