Truck-Buying Journey: Complete. This Is How I Negotiated My 2017 F-150
After weeks of debating, researching, and negotiating, there’s a Ford F-150 parked on our driveway.
Needless to say, I’m pretty ecstatic about my new Ford F-150. If you’ve been following our truck-buying journey, then you already know what I’ve done to ensure a smart purchase. If you haven’t, then you should read the reasons why I decided to buy a Ford truck, which strategy I used to negotiate, and some of the crap I had to put up with at several dealerships.
My journey began online, as I utilized the power of the internet to browse online inventories and email sales consultants. After letting folks know I was comparing their prices to other local Ford dealers, I gathered the most appealing lease price estimates and visited them in person. From being toyed around, to being taken seriously, I experienced both ends of the truck-buying spectrum during my journey.
Why Write About It?
You’re probably curious about what I ended up buying, for how much, and why? I will give you most (if not all) the details, but I want to make myself clear on a few things. First, the reason why I decided to document my journey was to help folks like you, me, my wife, your mom, and every one in between.
Buying a vehicle isn’t nearly as frustrating as it once was, primarily due to consumers having so much information at their disposal. But — that being said — it can still be a daunting process for many. I wanted to shed light on how someone with strong vehicle, industry, and sales knowledge would perform in today’s buying scene, and hopefully help others who aren’t as knowledgeable or up to date.
I will kindly ask that if you’re a car-buying know-it-all, please share your positive feedback for others to read. If you simply hate EcoBoost engines, think Ford trucks are way to expensive for middle class folks (newsflash: they’re not), or want to dish out some hate on Ford, please save it for another one of the 30 other stories we will publish this week. If you can’t resist the urge, just tweet at me.
Remember, the goal is to help future truck buyers.
The Trade-In Process
My last story concluded when I finally got a lease payment estimate I was happy with, and it was time to find out how my trade would impact such estimate. In case you’re wondering, my goal was to stay around the low to mid-$400s, and I was ready to switch between differently equipped F-150s in order to achieve it.
Of course, I didn’t initially make any mention of my trade — my wife’s 2012 VW Beetle with only 30k miles. I knew that VW’s dieselgate had affected resale values even on non-diesel models, so I chose to not murky the waters and get a clear sales price first. This didn’t make my sales person or his sales manager ecstatic when they found out, but it was my strategy and I stuck to it.
I allowed things to simmer over the weekend, and I didn’t go into specifics about my “possible” trade until the following week. Eventually I drove my wife’s Beetle to the dealership for an appraisal, truly nervous that a craptastic value would destroy my plans of leasing an F-150, as tacking on a third car payment was completely out of the question. The appraisal only took about 15 minutes or so, and the first offer was decent but far away from the remaining balance. I knew what my pay-off was, and I was also realistic about the Beetle’s market value. In addition, I originally rolled over nearly $3k of negative equity from her previous car to this one, so I knew that would play a huge factor.
In the end we settled on an amount which was nearly a thousand dollars more than I even thought possible. I knew this was actual cash in my pocket, as the price of the truck had already been negotiated to the best of my knowledge and abilities.
The result: only $1k of negative equity would be transferred to the F-150’s 36-month, 10,500-mile lease.
Tip: It’s worth mentioning that trade-in values on a lease don’t have the same positive effect than on a regular purchase. Typically a buyer will only pay taxes on the balance after the trade-in allowance, but on a lease that does not apply. Regardless, rolling over negative equity on a lease is the fastest and most cost-effective way to eliminate negative equity, as it’s divided in less payments and typically has a less “dollar-per-thousand-financed” amount depending on credit and money factor.
The price had already been established, and now the trade-in value as well. The only details which remained to be figured out were the financing, and other miscellaneous items dealerships always like to throw in at the last minute.
Boy was I right! Once I returned to finalize the transaction, I encountered that my payment was about $15 more than I had calculated. I was taken aback by this, as I meticulously calculated all factors such as price, taxes, and negative equity. Ford Motor Credit had approved the lease at 2% APR, but a $600 “processing” or “handling” fee had appeared, along with wheel locks I never requested for $100.
The wheel locks I didn’t care much about, as the truck was equipped with the optional $995, 20″ chrome-like PVD wheels — so better safe than sorry. On the other hand, the $600! I was explained that such charge was a “Ford thing” and not controlled by the dealership.
In the end my monthly payment came out to be exactly what I wanted (low-$400s), plus the unexpected $15 bucks, which I offset by putting some cash down.
Tip: For those of you who are wondering, the dealer did claim to sell the truck under invoice. They showed me a document which highlighted the invoice price, the Ford employee price (X-Plan), and other details. The sales price which my lease was calculated from was less than the price listed under the “Invoice Total” field. There are several Ford Truck Enthusiasts forum threads which state that these invoices aren’t real, so I reached out to Ford for clarification. I was told that the dealer only receives one invoice and one set of pricing for different clients (employees, retirees, etc.), and that the document I was shown reflected accurate pricing.
Hello 2017 Ford F-150 XLT FX4!
I initially set off to find a fairly basic F-150 SuperCrew, and ended up with a $50,665 MSRP, sleek, two-tone XLT with more equipment than I thought I could afford. This was possible due to a good negotiating strategy, staying informed, and not rushing into decisions.
As I’ve told you before, I’m an ordinary middle class dude who works hard, doesn’t acquire unnecessary debt, and manages his income right. If you think that Ford trucks aren’t affordable, I believe you should take a look at yourself and not blame Ford for your financial situation. Whether it’s a $28k work truck, or a $78k Super Duty Platinum, there is a new or used Ford truck that’ll fit nearly everyone’s budget.
How do I know? Because I just leased one, and I’m not rich.
Thanks for joining me in my truck-buying journey!
- Steve Lewis and Ed Hamilton, sales person and sales manager at Capitol City Ford of Indianapolis, Indiana. Despite the hard negotiating and every party looking out for their own, our interactions were always respectful and fair. In the end, customers just want to feel appreciated, and they succeeded at that.
- Ford Motor Company, for kindly offering me X-Plan pricing but also encouraging me to negotiate for the best price. For the record, I did not utilize any Ford Motor Company incentive that’s not available to the general public.
- Jerry Lee, internet sales manager at Dreyer & Reinbold MINI for his advice on modern negotiating strategies.