Ask Jack: Get The Truck Outta Here?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
ask jack get the truck outta here

“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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2 of 36 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Dec 28, 2017

    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.

  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Jan 02, 2018

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

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.