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Katie's new car.

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So, Katie would say that's a lot of pictures, but I think it's a beautiful car.  We're really going to be blessed by it, as having a seven seater is going to give us much time and room to expand.  I think one of my favorite things about this car, however, was how we got it.

When Katie and I got her last car, it was your typical nightmare experience at the Waco Honda dealership.  You spend forever negotiating on the price, and when you finally think it is over, the finance guy sweats you out in his office.  That guy was brutal.  He seriously kept us in there as he drew on a whiteboard, lecturing us why we should finance the car and buy every type of extended warranty they sell.  It was a horrible experience that I know most can relate to.

Getting my Acura, though, was completely different and thoroughly refreshing.  A friend of mine was at that time with D&M, and I simply told him what I wanted - car, color, trim, accessories, etc.  He went out and bought it from the dealership for me, even getting the windows tinted for me before delivering it.  Those guys are great - as are AutoFlex.  You never have to step on a dealer lot, and if you're not sure what you want, they'll come to your office with a slew of cars for you to test drive.  At that time, leasing made the most sense for work, and a third party like those guys are definitely the way to go.

With Katie's new car (or the "Family Car" as I give her a hard time about), I really wanted to find a low milage, barely used car - just enough love to knock of the heavy immediate depreciation. From my last two experiences, I had already decided that I didn't want to go the traditional dealer route. A friend of mine is an auto wholesaler and private buyer (or broker), and I first tried getting something through him. For those who aren't as familiar, the broker shops and purchases the car at the wholesaler price and then sales it to you slightly marked up, but much below dealer price. This is a very good way to buy a car. My friend Patrick, actually, just picked up an unbelievable deal on an Infiniti G35 coupe from his own broker this way, and I wholeheartedly recommend this method (my friend is excellent if anyone is ever interested). Still, for the car we were looking for, the only ones to specification we found were in Pennsylvania and going to auction.  Neither of us wanted to bid on a car we couldn't see and feel.  There were, however, a few at a local dealer, so my broker tried negotiating with them, which often produces great results; however, as the demand is greater than supply for what I was specifically looking for, they weren't looking to deal.

At the same time, I had been poking around larger private wholesale dealers online that are in the Dallas area.  There are a few really, really good ones.  Another friend of mine, Chris, just picked up (I know, there have been a lot of new cars among my friends the last couple of weeks) a Mercedes E55 from Texas Cars Direct.  He and I started talking about these guys and places like them, and I was really impressed.  Not long into my search, I found exactly what I was looking for at Imagine Automotive Group ( is their internet presence).  These guys are awesome.

It's one of those places that it's assumed you've done your research, found them yourself, and know what you want. It's not one of those places where you see them off the street, walk in, ask them what they've got and then start haggling all day.  Not at all.  They're housed inside Addison Airport, with their inventory in a bunch of hangars.  If you drive up Addison Road, a couple of blocks north of Keller Springs, there is a private drive into the airport with a little sign with their name on it that is the size of a real-estate sign.  That's it.  Very understated. When we walked in, we discovered that they have all of their cars split up between their "sales guys"...but, they're really not like any auto sales guys I've ever encountered.  The guy who technically had responsibility over our car wasn't there (nor much of the time we went back to buy), but that didn't really matter - another guy helped us a treated us just as well.  We told him we were interested in the MDX, and he took us to the back of the back hangar to show us. Along the way, I was rubbernecking at beautiful porsches, ferraris, and my favorite: the Ford GT (the price is good, so click the link if you're interested.  Also, as an extended aside, yesterday I got in it and started it up - glorious. 600 brake horsepower of thunderous heaven).

Back to the Acura.  We looked it over and then were asked if we wanted to drive it.  We did, and so they dug it out (they had to move an M3 out of the way) and pulled it around for us.  During this time, he copied my license and insurance card and took down my phone number.  Then he gave me the keys and said to call him if we wanted to buy the car.  And then he walked inside. It was just Katie, I, and the MDX.  Katie and I got in, and I immediately asked her when the last time she test drove a car without the sales guy.  "Never."  Nor had I.  So, we drove it for a while. When we were done, we took it back and left the keys in it.  Nobody came out to ask us if we wanted to come inside and talk about it or if we wanted to take it home that day for keeps or anything like that.  We didn't see anyone since the gave us the keys and simply told us to call them if we wanted it.

Well, the next day, I called and said I did.  I picked it up in the morning to take it for a pre-purchase inspection, and upon completion, we were told that the car was beautiful and in amazing shape and quality.  Not surprising from what I've seen and researched about this place.  We took it back to complete the purchase, and I would estimate the total time of paperwork to be about 10 minutes.  No haggling.  None.  They simply priced it about $900 over wholesale (or dealer invoice - basically, what a dealership itself would buy the car for before jacking up the price thousands of dollars to resell to the public).  I'm sure I could have negotiated them down a couple hundred, but I appreciate how they treated us, and they priced that car fairly.  Very fairly.  How they conduct their business should be honored by me as well.  It was like car-buying for adults.  What a novel idea . . . and very refreshing.

So, I highly recommend them.  When was the last time you saw someone buy a car and then post about how great the experience was?  Probably, it doesn't happen much.  When you're next buying, I encourage you to switch to the broker or wholesale dealer method.  There are a few really good ones in town, and I'd be happy to share my experience and research, because these are not your independent used car dealers that you drive by and shudder at their blinking lights and 1970 suits.  These are professionals that treat you as a professional.  It was a truly wonderful experience.

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