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?
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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