By on December 27, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71, Image: General Motors

“You are too much the artiste, Herr Case.” Ratz grunted; the sound served him as laughter. He scratched his overhang of white-shirted belly with the pink claw. “You are the artiste of the slightly funny deal.”

— William Gibson, Neuromancer

If you hang around the Detroit auto market long enough, you will hear about the slightly funny deals out there. Some GM store is trying to clear out some inventory so they’ll stack a bunch of incentives, play a little fast n’ loose with some eligibility, and shuck out a bunch of vehicles to friends and family at… how does $129 a month strike you? $79? What about $49 a month?

The deals are out there. I used to roll with a group of Pakistanis who would stuff their driveways with oddballs like $132/month Durangos, all leased to quick-bake LLCs for one-off passports generated by friends in the government back home. When I expressed a desire to borrow a vehicle for a weekend’s worth of towing, I was sent home with a new Jeep Commander Limited and strict instructions to bring it back in six months or so.

If you’re able to move fast and you’re not too picky, you can get some amazing stuff. The question is: should you bother?

Antoine writes,

I have a chance this week to get a new Colorado Double Cab 4×4 for $129/month, 24 months, about $800 out of pocket. I won’t know the color or exact specifics until I agree. I could use a truck for home improvement and keeping miles off my daily-driven ’05 Avalon, which is getting up there in miles. I’d feel stupid if I ever got a truck later and paid more. Like they say, Wat do?

I couldn’t find this exact deal on GM’s website — instead, I came across a substantially more expensive deal that, all things considered, requires about $8,200 more outlay over the course of two years than what Antoine’s being offered. So this is a classic “Detroit Stacker” where he’ll be required to sign off on everything from being a recent college graduate to a GM loyalty owner. If the dealership can slip all the grungy paperwork past the captive finance then he’ll be good to go. If not, he might be subject to a “workout” procedure where his lease payment goes up after the fact.

Most of the time, however, these deals do work as advertised, so I have to look at it from a different perspective. Namely: Antoine is going to spend about four thousand dollars, plus insurance, to have this truck for two years. That’s a hell of a deal, if he really needs and wants a truck.

The question we need to answer is whether or not he really needs a truck. Here’s my advice, Antoine: Go back in your planner/email/Facebook or whatever else you use to track your activity. Every time you see a time where you could have used a truck, write down how much you’d have paid to have a truck on that day. Then add all those times up. If you come up with the total cost of your truck lease plus insurance, then you’re a good candidate for el cheapo Colorado. It’s just that simple!

[Image: General Motors]

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36 Comments on “Ask Jack: Get The Truck Outta Here?...”

  • avatar

    I only wish there were deals on power stroke F250s

    • 0 avatar

      It’s hard to find deals on things people actually want. ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      Look at the dealership where you’d buy the car as the manufacturer doesn’t sell cars to the public where Jack was looking. I could never find thr best lease deal onpine, always had to get one on the phone or go into the deakership.

      Not sure why you’d buy this time of the year with 20-30% off and have your depreciation covered.

  • avatar

    FYI Double Cab V6 4×4 comes with the rear locker standard (just sayin… nice option to have.)

    I assume it’s the standard 12,000 mile allowance? Might want to check that.

    Back when they started producing the S10 “step sides” our neighbor was working for GM. They offered leases so cheap to employees on them he snatched one up just to commute in and keep the miles off his extended cab short bed full size Z71.

  • avatar

    Per Jack’s comments about a workout, do not sign anything that you haven’t read and isn’t 100% factually true.

    Last thing you want is an unpleasant surprise payment increase, or to have committed fraud.

  • avatar

    Put the miles on the Avalon. It doesn’t mind the miles, and you will save thousands. Save the money so you have the money to buy something when you really need it, or invest the money. A great deal on something you don’t need that is going to cost you thousands of dollars and is going to be gone in two years is not a great deal.

    • 0 avatar

      This. How many Home Depot runs are you going to make that require a truck? Four grand will pay for a lot of truck rentals, and for serious orders you can’t beat having a load of lumber or pavers delivered to your driveway.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. I have been working on a massive renovation for the past decade that included building a detached two car garage by myself. For the biggies, either rent the truck or have it delivered. For everything else a pair of carry bars on the roof will easily handle 8 sheets of drywall or a bunch of studs. Be safe – forget the tie down cord. I made a “T” beam out of wood that is 5 feet long. I drilled a hole through the wood “T” stem and made threaded rods with a u hook on the end. Simply hook the rod under the carry bar and clamp down the “T” with big wingnuts. This sandwiches the material between the carry bar and the “T”…I’ve carried about 80K worth of material this way…

        But if you want the truck because you want it, go for it.

  • avatar

    “I won’t know the color or exact specifics until I agree.”

    That doesn’t give me a warm feeling about the veracity of this “deal”.

  • avatar

    The phrase “If it’s too good to be true…” comes to mind.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    “I used to roll with a group of Pakistanis who would stuff their driveways with oddballs like $132/month Durangos, all leased to quick-bake LLCs for one-off passports generated by friends in the government back home.”

    If their last name was Awan, some serious looking people with badges might want to have a chat especially if you did some quid pro quo IT work for them.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      When you walked into the grandfather’s house in Bloomfield Hills there were three framed photos of the grandfather with various combinations of the Clinton family.

      These people were, and are, untouchable. Hanging out with them for a few years was a real eye-opener for me into how America works for the truly connected.

  • avatar

    Sometimes it’s better to forget the deal and just take what’s behind the door…where Carol Merrill is now standing.

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    That’s an awfully cheap way to rest your Avalon 4 days a week for a couple of years putting miles on a probably pretty comfortable commuter truck. I’d spec out the cheapest version of that truck that you can on the build website and see if you could be stuck missing any features that might make it an unpleasant commuter. You might not want to go without cruise control, or the seats on the base model might suck suck suck.

    Unless you are building an entire house yourself, you probably don’t need a home depot run per week, every week, for 2 years, and even if you did, it would be cheaper to rent their truck for $29 an hour every Saturday than to pay the insurance, gas, oil changes, etc, adding to your fleet. Plus, the kind of damage you expose the truck to loading it up every weekend with building supplies will likely cost you when you hand the keys back after 2 years as a construction mule.

    Go for it if you want to commute in a truck. Pass if you don’t.

  • avatar

    Hopefully it is not one of those GM special “ultra low mileage” leases that only give you 6k-8k miles/year.

  • avatar

    A quick-bake LLC would require, aside from a one-off passport generated by friends in the government back home would require a US document with a matching name too. What friends in US government would make a one-off official document? Not in a million years. Jack is pretending

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Oh, okay, you caught me, there’s actually a special process by which the United States Government evaluates passports produced in Pakistan by people who are literally part of the Pakistani government.

      Every Pakistani who comes here is absolutely verified to be who he says he is by an extensive CIA investigation that goes to his home town and takes fingerprints off his childhood toys.

      If you meet someone from Pakistan on the street and look at their driver’s license you can be absolutely 100% sure that the name on that driver’s license is the name they were born with.

      It must be nice having that kind of faith in the world.

      • 0 avatar

        So you’re saying that there area scores of Pakistanis in US with one official Pakistani passport/US driver’s license and then a dud Pakistani passport with different name for which they obtained a matching US driver’s license?

        Ok, so the above combination can work for, getting a not-in-your-name mailbox. Maybe somehow you can lease a vehicle cheaper. Those are low return vs risk taken endeavors. What other benefits may there be, in 2-3 sentences, Jack?

    • 0 avatar

      An LLC is usually a “quick bake” to create and requires little – no photo, any SSN you can supply that matches the name, and a few bucks. I did it and received a ton of stuff for my new LLC for using Havard Business Services fully registered in the State of Delaware with documents, taxation paperwork for my state, and all for very little outlay. As for aliens, illegal (excuse me, “undocumented immigrants”) or legal – experiences with my legally immigrated ex-spouse and the several “undocumented immigrant” in-laws of her family reveal that the government has not truly made things difficult for whatever they choose to do as long as all fees and taxes are paid. With a couple hours of work anyone can get a working SSN for a few bucks up front to get the ball rolling. That being said, these days it seems that at long last the times of “undocumented immigrants” living under the radar are becoming a bit more difficult so new-comers to these schemes may be out of luck.

      • 0 avatar

        Bullnuke, while probably not impossible, obtaining an SSN from American government with just “here’s my (dud) foreign passport” sounds like a science fiction. Sure the individual government worker is clueless, but the system is designed to withstand idiocy/ignorance of any particular cog – the system issues SSN, not a particular person.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I think you’re missing the point.

          You don’t need an SSN to get a loan in this country. You don’t need an SSN to start a business.

          Getting any number of passports in Pakistan is no problem. They’re all equally “legitimate”. And they can all be used to hoodwink a bank that doesn’t recognize the game.

          With that said, it’s not that tough to get an SSN that will make it through a bank verification process. Banks don’t notify the CIA every time they do a $129/month lease on a Jeep.

          If this kind of stuff upsets you, my advice is that you don’t look too closely at the college degrees, background checks, and identity documents of the million-plus “high-skills” workers in this country.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Yeah, Jack is pretending. Next he’ll be telling us when a Somali refugee sponsors 8 brothers in a chain migration scheme those 8 might not actually be real brothers!

      Preposterous, I tell you. If you can’t count on official government documents what can you count on?

  • avatar

    William Gibson would send Cayce Pollard to find him a $132/month Durango, a cool one. If they have those deals in Canada.

  • avatar

    I’m not in the truck-buying demographic… but have to admit I read the entire article on the flimsy premise that any automotive journalist who quotes Neuromancer must be worth reading. :D

  • avatar

    I just turned in my 2016 Cruze Limited that I leased for 113/month. I was not sad to see it go, but I will miss the low payment cost. It served its purpose as a cheap third vehicle I wasn’t sure how much I would need, but was glad to have. All told with money down, payments gas and insurance was about $6000 to drive a new car for two years. On a 10,000 mi/year lease, I only used 9400 miles total. For the naysayers in the “too good to be true” department, I qualified for $5250 in rebates in all the fine print and the terms worked for me.

    Could I have found a “good enough” used car for the same cost? Absolutely and maybe. Did this give me a chance at sampling newer GM without spending too much money? Yep and after having my VW Golf with a similar MSRP for 3 months, I will never set foot in a GM showroom again. But I did not find another cheap lease, keeping only two cars for now,for the reasons stated. The times I used it never really equaled the cost. The times I need a car can be served by the big E or similar. Even at their most exorbitant, $6000 could do a lot of rental cars.

  • avatar

    OP never mentions what “getting up there in miles” means, so it’s hard to say if there’s plenty of life left in the Avalon and they’d be better off just banking the hypothetical $4k towards maintaining its longevity, and the occasional truck rental or picking up a utility trailer.

    Also, it looks like there’s relatively low mileage trucks out there (certainly ones easily capable of lasting two years) for $4k, so that might actually be the better option, unless OP is just excited at the prospect of getting into something newer on the cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      Any Avalon worth it’s salt should be good for 400,000 km with routine maintenance.
      It’s not built but FCA, GM or Ford.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe, maybe not. My father’s 2003 Avalon is from the cost-cutting period of Toyota. Only 75K miles, we’ve changed front wheel bearings, the radio (bad CD player), the rain sensor for the wipers, O2 sensor, and a few other items. No big deal for the age, but other things are going that would never happen in a 1995 Toyota – bezel for the center A/C vents is warped, passenger(!) seat leather failing, drooping headliner at the rear window, a weird moan in the steering wheel when turned, a windshield leak….

  • avatar

    I went a few rounds with a Boston area dealer on a similar Colorado deal but it was just a bait and switch. Wasn’t too surprised but I had to try, especially since I thought those things sold well enough without deals.

    Then I thought about the last 2 times I needed a pickup, which I borrowed. Dodge crew cab long bed, and filled it up. A Colorado would have needed 3 trips.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know how much is bait and switch. I do know it happens, such as listing stock numbers in the ads( one at this price). But the Chevy dealer I bought from was the only one offering a 99/mo lease in the area, the other dealers wouldn’t touch it on the same listed terms. Certain dealers get better deals? Too much stock? All I know is I’ve leased two cars from two different dealers and manufacturers outside the national program officially listed on the websites. All by checking the local paper!

  • avatar

    Most pickup truck drivers do not NEED one, that’s not the point.

    I could shop for clothes at Walmart and that would keep me warm.

    I could satisfy my need for shelter and live in an ugly box in a corn field with 100’s of identical ugly boxes.

    I could fill my time by listening to silly Pop songs and watching trash TV.

    I could have a dumb, ugly, fat woman, but I don’t.

    All my required food calories could come from McDonald’s or TV dinners.

    And Yes, I could get from point A to point B in a shite box of a car.

    My Li’l RAM Express with a Hemi and Borla exhaust almost never “works” but it gives me a smile when I drive it and people aged 10 to 70 tell me it is bad a$$.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the leasing co gonna go nuts charging for minor to medium scratches and dents? Plus you know you gotta load concrete landscaping blocks with a skip-loader (use of pallets are for wimps!) from 5 feet up. I’d tell them they leased me a “truck” for fux sake, not a damn 3-series!

    But forget about occasional The Home Depot runs for a sec. A pickup truck forces you to get out there, get mud on the tires, hit the yard sales, camping, help motorist stuck in the ditch and of course help friends move. I hope you don’t mind chopping wood too.

    Yes becoming a pickup truck owner doesn’t have to mean changing a darn thing about your life, and yes you can do most things a pickup can do from a Subaru Legacy, just not nearly as efficiently. But you probably don’t realize how often a pickup would improve your life or that of those around you.

    But having to rent a pickup involves a bit of staging, planning ahead and kills the spirit of pickup truck usership. The go anywhere, do anything, at any given time, no permission necessary, we leave at 3am tomorrow, just be ready and have your sh!t together.

  • avatar

    The insurance might cost you more. That deal is smoking so I’d say if you’re at all considering it, do it.

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