Premature car purchase

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epilnk
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Premature car purchase

Post by epilnk » Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:11 pm

Hi folks,

I'm hoping to get some info/advice to help make a decision on whether to get a new Prius. I love my 7 year old Jetta but it's becoming less reliable, and I have primary responsibility for driving two small children.

We're normally "drive them into the ground" kind of people and have never bought a car before we considered it necessary. We'd prefer to buy late model used, but there's little or no advantage with the Prius. However the Prius is the uncontested winner given our driving habits, other car (minivan), and the rare find of a car that physically suits both of us (one tall, one with back problems).

So the information I need is, What is the financial tradeoff of selling a car at 7 years vs. maintaining it for another 3 to 7 years? I know keeping the old car always wins financially, but I have other considerations to weigh so the magnitude of the difference would be really helpful.

Linda
(Note: I have no "status" concerns here, no love of new car smell, no desire for "look at me I'm environmentally responsible" bragging rights, etc. I don't particularly desire a new car, but it may be a sensible choice if financially prudent.)

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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by xenial » Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:24 pm

epilnk wrote:I love my 7 year old Jetta but it's becoming less reliable, and I have primary responsibility for driving two small children.
You know you're a Boglehead if you consider replacing your Jetta under these circumstances to be premature. While keeping the old car is probably financially advantageous on average, individual results may vary greatly. I think you should buy the Prius if you can afford it.

Best wishes,
Ken

marco100
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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by marco100 » Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:30 pm

epilnk wrote:Hi folks,

I'm hoping to get some info/advice to help make a decision on whether to get a new Prius. I love my 7 year old Jetta but it's becoming less reliable, and I have primary responsibility for driving two small children.

We're normally "drive them into the ground" kind of people and have never bought a car before we considered it necessary. We'd prefer to buy late model used, but there's little or no advantage with the Prius. However the Prius is the uncontested winner given our driving habits, other car (minivan), and the rare find of a car that physically suits both of us (one tall, one with back problems).

So the information I need is, What is the financial tradeoff of selling a car at 7 years vs. maintaining it for another 3 to 7 years? I know keeping the old car always wins financially, but I have other considerations to weigh so the magnitude of the difference would be really helpful.

Linda
(Note: I have no "status" concerns here, no love of new car smell, no desire for "look at me I'm environmentally responsible" bragging rights, etc. I don't particularly desire a new car, but it may be a sensible choice if financially prudent.)

Have a mechanice do a thorough once-over of your Jetta and tell you what actually needs to be fixed on it. Unless you have some kind of major engine or drive train problems, which you would probably be aware of, I can't imagine that your car could possibly need more than perhaps a few hundred dollars worth of work. Unless you have really been abusing the vehicle.

Have you had it tuned up recently? I.e. change plugs, wires, distributor cap, fuel filter, air filter, etc.?

Even if some major components needs replacement, I can't imagine that you would need to put more than $1000 - $1,500 into it. It's only seven years old.

Compare that to buying a new Prius, what is that, $30,000.00?

If you really think the Jetta is "unreliable," what exactly does that mean? Does it have trouble starting? Maybe you just need a new battery. If you haven't been doing regular maintenance, there may be several of these items that need replacement. Tires? Belts?

You can always get AAA for $75/year if you are really concerned about the Jetta's "reliability."

If you were talking about a 12 year old car, then it's a bit different. After about the ten year mark, maintenance costs go up considerably. Still not enough to justify buying a new car.

The choice is yours: Plan on maybe spending another $1500 or so over the next three years to keep the Jetta running, or spend $30k for a Prius.

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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by Target2019 » Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:51 pm

epilnk wrote:So the information I need is, What is the financial tradeoff of selling a car at 7 years vs. maintaining it for another 3 to 7 years? I know keeping the old car always wins financially, but I have other considerations to weigh so the magnitude of the difference would be really helpful.
I would measure the costs over next three years.

Old Car
(Auto insurance + 1 yr. repairs) * 3 = X

New Car
((Auto insurance + (12 * monthly loan payments) * 3) + Down payment = Y

My opinion (we have a 2000 Jetta): Sell it!

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Post by Judsen » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:08 pm

Hi Linda, Based on the info in your Note at the end of your post I would say you would be paying a premium on a prius.
If it were me I would buy a new Honda Accord for about 10K less money if I didn't keep the jetta.
(and I would check out jetta reliability prognosis before deciding to keep it.)
BTW What do you think would be the cost of battery replacement in a Prius?
Good luck with your decision.

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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by epilnk » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:38 pm

marco100 wrote:
Have a mechanice do a thorough once-over of your Jetta and tell you what actually needs to be fixed on it.
Herein lies the problem - I've never found a mechanic who could handle this car. After being ripped off by a dealership (only found the proof later), I drove around with the "check engine" light on for two years before someone finally found a fixable problem. We recently moved and have found someone we like, well recommended. After the fuel pump failed he tinkered with the car for a week before giving up and sending it to a dealership.
If you really think the Jetta is "unreliable," what exactly does that mean?

Drives funny; small but noticeable gain or loss of power during acceleration or steady driving. Minor and infrequent now; I doubt anyone but me would notice. But each time it's happened it the past (twice) it has presaged a problem. Last time it was the fuel pump, though the pump had to fail completely before it was diagnosed. More immediately, the "check engine" light started flashing (?) the other day, then turned itself off.
If you were talking about a 12 year old car, then it's a bit different. After about the ten year mark, maintenance costs go up considerably. Still not enough to justify buying a new car.


Certainly not on a cost basis alone, but cost is not the whole story. That's why I want to know the size of the cost factor. Which is not $1200 vs $30000 if you are thinking long term.

marco100
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jetta or prius

Post by marco100 » Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:34 pm

well obviously if you think you have a "lemon" that's a different story. However there are other available options than a prius.

Also, I am not saying you should expect the jetta to be maintenance free. Again did you ever have a thorough tune-up done on the car? Just asking.

What's the reliability factor on the Prius?

I agree that a Honda Accord might be a better option.

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Some questions

Post by dm200 » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:19 pm

my wife and I ask when considering replacing a car:

1. Compare the cost of repair vs the monthly payment (even if we pay cash) on a 48 month loan to buy a new (or new to us) car. For example, if the repair cost is $1,600 and a new (or new to us) car would have a monthly payment of $400, then that means we (in rough terms) break even at 4 months. If we go 5 months, we are ahead. Almost always repairing wins this question.

2. Does the car meet our needs? At one point in the 80's, we had a small child, and our existing 2 door sedan was very inconvenient on trips. We took several trips a year, and there was a real benefit to a minivan with our family situation.

3. Is reliability a problem? If the car is out of operation for a day or two, is that a significant problem? Can someone deal with the time and effort to take the car for repair? In our case, one factor that allowed us to keep cars for longer is that my wife was willing and able to take the car in for repairs more often.

4. Is there a safety problem with the old car?

5. Other issues? What finally determined the fate of our 17 year old minivan with 170,000 miles was that it looked to me like the driver's door was at risk of falling off. There were repair and reliability issues and it looked to me that the door would fall off (and it would be a problem to get it fixed), so we decided to get a new car based on multiple factors.

dan

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Post by 68ShelbyGT500KR » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:41 pm

If you are in Texas, You may be eligible for a 3-3.5K voucher towards a down payment on a new or used car/truck under 25K.
Car Story

epilnk
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Post by epilnk » Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:01 pm

Judsen wrote:Hi Linda, Based on the info in your Note at the end of your post I would say you would be paying a premium on a prius.
If it were me I would buy a new Honda Accord for about 10K less money if I didn't keep the jetta.
I'm afraid the Honda has already been ruled out - my husband's head hits the roof. Same as my Jetta, which he no longer rides in because it was causing neck pain.
(and I would check out jetta reliability prognosis before deciding to keep it.)
Lousy, on average. For my car, who knows?
BTW What do you think would be the cost of battery replacement in a Prius?
Very high indeed.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:31 am

First, I've had good luck using cartalk.com (the car guys who have the NPR show) Mechanics files http://cartalk.com/content/mechx/ for finding a local mechanic.

Second, why a Prius (other than the size)? Hybrids are a poor value proposition relative to similar sized economy cars for anyone who does not drive 20k+ miles per year in local or stop and go traffic. Interior room and handling are compromised by the battery pack and really long term reliability (the kind that matters to someone who worries that 7 years is too early to replace a car), especially of the battery pack, is still a bit unknown.

Have you really looked at all the alternatives? For example, I'd much prefer a Mazda3 wagon to a Prius. It's a 3-5K cheaper, has excellent headroom, is just as practical and is a lot more fun to drive. I also think it looks better. Here's some owner's reports - http://www.edmunds.com/mazda/mazda3/200 ... eview.html

The only thing the Prius has going for it is fuel economy. But it will take at least 100,000 miles of driving to make up the price difference. And if you invest your savings and/or drive the Mazda gently for maximum mileage, it will never get there.

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Cars

Post by psueeret » Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:21 am

Linda,
There is much good advice in this thread, including the link to the cartalk site to find a good mechanic. I consulted the Consumer Reports 07 buying guide and you clearly have the wrong car. On page 232 are the "trouble spots" for the 2000 Jetta, and electrical and fuel systems are not good. Go the mechanic route noted, get a review from someone who really does know this car. If it is prone to electrial failures, get another car!!

Steve
PS: The Bogleheads on this site are generally not fans of wasting money on buying new cars. They seem to do it very carefully! :)

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Post by modal » Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:49 am

I say skip the Prius and buy a Camry (hybrid maybe), ES350, or Accord.

modal factoid : VWs are not very robust cars.

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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:17 am

epilnk wrote:Hi folks,

I'm hoping to get some info/advice to help make a decision on whether to get a new Prius. I love my 7 year old Jetta but it's becoming less reliable, and I have primary responsibility for driving two small children.

We're normally "drive them into the ground" kind of people and have never bought a car before we considered it necessary. We'd prefer to buy late model used, but there's little or no advantage with the Prius. However the Prius is the uncontested winner given our driving habits, other car (minivan), and the rare find of a car that physically suits both of us (one tall, one with back problems).

So the information I need is, What is the financial tradeoff of selling a car at 7 years vs. maintaining it for another 3 to 7 years? I know keeping the old car always wins financially, but I have other considerations to weigh so the magnitude of the difference would be really helpful.

Linda
Hi

The right comparison is to look at the costs for the Jetta, and the costs for the new car:

- estimate repairs and maintenance for Jetta next 3-7 years
- estimate cost of a new car then
- discount back to present (I would use your borrowing rate eg. your mortgage rate)

vs.

- estimate cost of new car now
- estimate repairs cost for next 3-7 years (close to zero, one would hope)

That will (roughly) give you the right basis for comparison.

FWIW my brother had a Jetta, and found it very high cost of ownership as it got older (high cost of parts, and of the labour to fix it).

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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by gary11 » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:43 am

epilnk wrote:

So the information I need is, What is the financial tradeoff of selling a car at 7 years vs. maintaining it for another 3 to 7 years? I know keeping the old car always wins financially, but I have other considerations to weigh so the magnitude of the difference would be really helpful.
I've been wondering that myself lately. I have a 1992 Toyota corolla, 190K+ miles, running in a reliable condition, giving me 30 mpg, both ac and heater works as if a new car. The car is mainly used for my daily commute to work that includes dropping off a preschooler. The car exterior is rusty, interior is bit falling apart and my wife refuses to drive it out of embarrassment. Since last 5 years I am tracking the expenses to maintain the car. It has turned out to be about $200 per year excluding oil/gas; new exhaust, tires, radiator, brakes, battery, tune up etc.
A 3 to 4 year old similar size car would cost me at least $10-12k.
I am prolonging my decision to get rid if this car just because I think financially its not worth it.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:34 am

As the Car Talk guys note, it's always cheaper to keep an old car running than buy a new car. Depreciation alone on the new car, even when considered over a 10 year period, is enough to cover the replacement of a major component on the old jalopy each year.

But price isn't the only factor. Even if you're a true cheapskate and don't give a whit for looks, you do have to consider the headache factor of the extra required mechanical work. More importantly, there's a safety aspect. Airbags and crash structures have been greatly improved over the last decade, and there's always going to be a question of structural sufficiency on really old cars. For example, a 15 year old rusty Corolla is probably not where you'd want to be in an accident. Gary, upgrading to a 5 year old Corolla could be considered a wise insurance policy. You can keep your '92 for Sunday drives :D

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Post by whitemiata » Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:56 am

epilnk,

Just looking at the financials, Valuethinker has you on the right track, just missing one thing: residual value.

The way I would approach this, expanding on VT's advice is as following:

1. Choose an end point in time, say 10 years out.

2. Determine the expected value in today's dollars of each approach, INCLUDING THE SALE OF WHATEVER VEHICLE YOU HAVE AT THE END TIME (even though you may not plan on selling at that point).

So for instance let's say that you have two options:

1. Keep Jetta for 5 more years with expected repairs of $1000 a year, then buy Toyota Prius, keep it 5 years then sell it (I know you wouldn't sell it, but if you don't account for the residual value of hte prius you can never make a correct comparison - the assumption here is that at the end of hte 10 years you'd sell whatever you have, add up your gains and losses and move on to another plan)

2. Sell the Jetta today, buy a Prius, keep it the 10 years and then sell it.

Calculating shouldn't be too difficult, though you WILL have to do some estimating that is, of course, just ESTIMATING.

The toughest part will be estimating the value of the Jetta in 5 years and more so of a 5 year old prius in 10 years and a 10 year old Prius in 10 years. The Prius calculations will be definitelly the most Wild-Guesses because nobody knows what kind of reliability to expect, and the prospect of replacing the battery pack will loom large.

So frankly if I were you I'd do the calculations based on on a comparably priced vehicle that doesn't have as many unknowns involved.

In case you need help with the *how do I discount back to today's dollars* ... it's pretty simple:

1. Choose your discount rate (call this the interest rate you could make on the money if you didn't spend it), call that R

Then plug it into this formula:

PV = FV / (1+R) ^ T

where:

PV is the value of the future expense (or inflow) today
FV is the future expense amount
R as I mentioned is your discount rate
T is the number of periods (for simplicity take that to be years)

For simplicity's sake you can disregard inflation by subtracting expected inflation from your discount rate.

So for example, let's say you know you can get 5.5% reliably from a CD and you believe expected inflation is 3%, then just use 2.5% for R and use TODAY'S DOLLARS for all the expenses and purchases and sales in the future.

So let's do a simple example...

let's say that the Jetta is expected to cost you $1,000 per year in maintenance for the 5 years you own it.

You want to know the value TODAY of spending $1,000 this year, then $1000 next year, then $1000 in the following 3 years.

So (assuming you don't know about discounting annuities ...) you would calculate as follows:

Year 1: PV = $1,000 / (1 + 0.025) ^ 1 = $975
Year 2: PV = $1000 / (1+ 0.025) ^ 2 = $951
Year 3: PV = $1000 / (1+0.025) ^ 3 = $928
Year 4: PV = $1000 / (1+0.025) ^ 4 = $905
Year 5: PV = $1000 / (1+0.025) ^ 5 = $884

So if you add those up you see that 5 $1,000 expenses over 5 years are worth $4643

(remember we're discounting inflation... in reality the $1,000 a year would work out to $1000 the first year, $1030 the second year, $1061 the next etc.

To continue you could next determine the *trade-in* value of your Jetta. To do this I would look up the current trade-in value of your Jetta and the current trade-in value of a Jetta that is 5 years older than yours.

Quick look on Edmunds.com says (I just picked a basic 4Dr GL Jetta from 2000)

Your Jetta Trade-in: $4,172
A 1995 Jetta Trade-in: $760

Ok, so scenario 1 (keep the Jetta 5 more years then buy Prius) is set up like this:

1. OUTFLOW (negative) REPAIRS ON JETTA: $4643
2. INFLOW (positive) SALE OF JETTA in 5 years ???

let's calculate what that would be worth:

Sale of Jetta in 5 years: PV = $760 / (1+0.025) ^ 5 = $671 POSITIVE

Next we need to evaluate the cost of buying an Accord as a replacement (I can't use the Prius due to no data on value, plus aformentioned problem with unknown future for Prius)

We assume that in both scenarios you will buy the Accord brand new.

So off to Edmunds to shop for a new basic accord an LX for $20,000 ... now since you're talking about buying a $30,000 car I'll take the approach of multiplying the Accord numbers by 1.5 to match up better to the real scenario... pretend you're buying 1.5 accords.

Ok, so cost of buyng a brand new 1.5 accord Today, vs in 5 years

Today: $30,000
in 5 years: PV = $30,000 / (1+0.025)^5 = $26,515

So let's build our two scenarios so far:

-----------------------------
Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +671
3. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord in 5 years) - $26,515
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old accord in 10 years) ??!?!

-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $4172
2. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord Today) -$30,000
3. Outflow (maintenance on Accord for 5 years starting in 5 years) ????
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old accord in 10 years) ????

-------------------------

Almost done!!! We just need to estimate the cost of repairs to the accord after 5 years of life (warranty expires, car starts to age) and the resale value of the accord.

Let's assume that the Accord is cheaper than the VW to maintain, we assume $700 a year (rather than $1000 for the VW)

So what is $700 a year for 5 years starting in year 5?

Y6: $700 / (1+0.025) ^6 = $603
y7 ... $588
y8 ... $574
y9 ... $560
y10 ... $546

For a total of $2871 outflow

Finally let's calculate the value of 1.5 5 year old accord sold in 10 years and 1.5 10 year old accord sold in 10 years...

2002 Accord LX = $7971 times our 1.5 factor = $11956
1997 Accord LX = $2564 times our 1.5 facor = $3846

Let's discount both of these out 10 years...

PV = 11956 / (1+0.025)^10 = $9340
PV = 3846 / (1+0.025)^10 = $3004

Ok we have ALL OUR DATA!!!!

------------------
Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +671
3. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord in 5 years) - $26,515
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old accord in 10 years) +9340

-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $4172
2. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord Today) -$30,000
3. Outflow (maintenance on Accord for 5 years starting in 5 years) -$2871
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old accord in 10 years) +$3004

...

Add the numbers up and the winner is....

Plan 1. Keep the Jetta 5 more years.

The totals are as follows: PLAN 1 costs you $21147 PLAN 2 costs you $25695, or a difference of $4,500 today

hope this helps :-)

Paladin

Post by Paladin » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:19 pm

Not sure why people think the Prius costs $30K.

Kelly Blue Book: $22,795.00

That seems to change the calculus somewhat.

- Paladin

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Post by gunn_show » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:25 pm

Sell the Jetta. VW's in America are widely known to be junkers, especially once they are out of warranty and start hitting 100k mileage. I have known several people that wasted top dollar trying to repair the things. It is a Porsche in VW clothing, and you pay as such to repair it.

I don't know much about the Prius, or about many cars' and their headroom. I am a 6'3 male and the Camry has plenty enough for me and my '95 has ran for 13 years without a hitch. I would look at a Camry, Avalon, Lexus, or some comparable Japanese car that will last far longer than the German Jetta. The maintenance in the long run will kill you. Factor in the time it is in the shop and time wasted taking it and picking it up ... dump it
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Post by gunn_show » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:27 pm

Paladin wrote:Not sure why people think the Prius costs $30K.

Kelly Blue Book: $22,795.00

That seems to change the calculus somewhat.

- Paladin
While true, this depends on where you live. Demand drives up the cost.

Similar thing happened with the new Honda Civic Si when it came out in So Cal. So much demand vs available product and it was selling for $5k more than invoice.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

Paladin

Post by Paladin » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:42 pm

tommy_gunn wrote:
Paladin wrote:Not sure why people think the Prius costs $30K.

Kelly Blue Book: $22,795.00

That seems to change the calculus somewhat.

- Paladin
While true, this depends on where you live. Demand drives up the cost.

Similar thing happened with the new Honda Civic Si when it came out in So Cal. So much demand vs available product and it was selling for $5k more than invoice.
The Prius is not selling over MSRP in CA. Not sure where the OP lives but hard to imagine that the Prius is over MSRP outside of CA.

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Post by marcwd » Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:24 pm

whitemiata wrote:epilnk,

...
Next we need to evaluate the cost of buying an Accord as a replacement

We assume that in both scenarios you will buy the Accord brand new.

So off to Edmunds to shop for a new basic accord an LX for $20,000 ...

Let's assume that the Accord is cheaper than the VW to maintain, we assume $700 a year (rather than $1000 for the VW)...
Brand new 2007 Accords are being discounted heavily right now. If a new car purchase is being contemplated, an excellent value can be had in the next 2-4 weeks while 2007's are still available. You should be able to purchase an Accord LX for well under $17K.

Also, allotting $700 a year for maintenance is far too much; certainly the first several years (until you need tires and brakes, etc.) of ownership of a new Honda should be essentially maintenance-free. The first scheduled maintenance beyond oil changes per Honda is at 100K miles.

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Post by whitemiata » Fri Aug 10, 2007 1:40 pm

marcwd wrote:
whitemiata wrote:epilnk,

...
Next we need to evaluate the cost of buying an Accord as a replacement

We assume that in both scenarios you will buy the Accord brand new.

So off to Edmunds to shop for a new basic accord an LX for $20,000 ...

Let's assume that the Accord is cheaper than the VW to maintain, we assume $700 a year (rather than $1000 for the VW)...
Brand new 2007 Accords are being discounted heavily right now. If a new car purchase is being contemplated, an excellent value can be had in the next 2-4 weeks while 2007's are still available. You should be able to purchase an Accord LX for well under $17K.

Also, allotting $700 a year for maintenance is far too much; certainly the first several years (until you need tires and brakes, etc.) of ownership of a new Honda should be essentially maintenance-free. The first scheduled maintenance beyond oil changes per Honda is at 100K miles.
I allotted $700 a year for the second 5 years of ownership (years 6,7,8,9,10) and that was to cover REPAIR, not regular maintenance per se. Assume that the AC goes out after 9 years (it certainly can) and something else worth a grand needs to be repaired at year 8 ... average it all out and there's that 700/yr in the final 5 years. Incidentally while it's true that this may still be too much, I would be pretty comfortable in saying that $1000 a year for the Jetta for 5 years is equally excessive, therefore the DELTA pretty much is a wash

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Post by marcwd » Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:11 pm

whitemiata wrote:
marcwd wrote:
whitemiata wrote:epilnk,

...
Next we need to evaluate the cost of buying an Accord as a replacement

We assume that in both scenarios you will buy the Accord brand new.

So off to Edmunds to shop for a new basic accord an LX for $20,000 ...

Let's assume that the Accord is cheaper than the VW to maintain, we assume $700 a year (rather than $1000 for the VW)...
Brand new 2007 Accords are being discounted heavily right now. If a new car purchase is being contemplated, an excellent value can be had in the next 2-4 weeks while 2007's are still available. You should be able to purchase an Accord LX for well under $17K.

Also, allotting $700 a year for maintenance is far too much; certainly the first several years (until you need tires and brakes, etc.) of ownership of a new Honda should be essentially maintenance-free. The first scheduled maintenance beyond oil changes per Honda is at 100K miles.
I allotted $700 a year for the second 5 years of ownership (years 6,7,8,9,10) and that was to cover REPAIR, not regular maintenance per se. Assume that the AC goes out after 9 years (it certainly can) and something else worth a grand needs to be repaired at year 8 ... average it all out and there's that 700/yr in the final 5 years. Incidentally while it's true that this may still be too much, I would be pretty comfortable in saying that $1000 a year for the Jetta for 5 years is equally excessive, therefore the DELTA pretty much is a wash
OK, point taken. I missed the fact that your allotted expense was for the second five years of ownership. BTW, nice analysis!

epilnk
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Thanks!

Post by epilnk » Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:54 pm

whitemiata wrote: Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +671
3. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord in 5 years) - $26,515
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old accord in 10 years) +9340

-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $4172
2. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord Today) -$30,000
3. Outflow (maintenance on Accord for 5 years starting in 5 years) -$2871
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old accord in 10 years) +$3004

...

Add the numbers up and the winner is....

Plan 1. Keep the Jetta 5 more years.

The totals are as follows: PLAN 1 costs you $21147 PLAN 2 costs you $25695, or a difference of $4,500 today

hope this helps :-)
Hi whitemiata,

Wow, fantastic analysis, and exactly the type of input I was hoping for! This figure can provide a basis for valuing the other intangibles that we are weighing. For some of these it's hard to assign a precise monetary value but the question simplifies to, "in aggregate, does the value of the 'other factors' outweigh the cost difference?"

In my case these include:
- Newer car with young children: I am willing to pay a premium now, less so as my children grow.
- Low emissions: to us, worth paying something extra for, though I'm not certain how much.
- Car my husband can drive without inducing neck spasms: this would be really helpful. (I can't transport my children plus a friend or two if my husband only drives the minivan.)
- No longer needing to deal with VW: priceless. :-)

Do these add up to $4500? Maybe not. But I left out the fuel savings, which could be considerable in the short term ($500-800 per year at current gas prices), though it could be negated in the long term by the wild card repair/maintenance costs.

In reality, my numbers may be more favorable to buying the Prius. As others pointed out, the prius isn't $30K, the MSRP at the local dealership of the configuration I would select is $23.6K (+8% CA sales tax). A low estimate on my car is $6-7K. Which narrows the gap a bit. On the other hand, repair costs will presumably be higher than an Accord and who knows how today's emission technology will be valued when it's time to resell a decade from now?

I'll spend some time this evening putting my own numbers through your calculations - albeit with wide error bars - but just eyeballing it I think I'm going to land in "pull the trigger now" range. Thanks so much for your help - this really puts the decision in perspective.

Linda

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Keep the 'dub!

Post by brama » Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:17 pm

Linda,

I've got a 2000 Jetta as well. I had several problems similar to what you listed in a previous post. Most of them were fixed by replacing the pre-cat Oxygen sensor, and most importantly the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor. I've got about 80k miles on mine and my check engine light had been on for quite a while (probably a year and a half!). These fixes cost a total of about $150 and the car runs like new. You can always check out the friendly folks at vwvortex or Bentley Publishers tech forum (they make very good repair manuals) for repair advice.

Best of luck,
Bramlet

Paladin

Linda

Post by Paladin » Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:48 pm

epilnk wrote:
whitemiata wrote: Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +671
3. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord in 5 years) - $26,515
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old accord in 10 years) +9340

-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $4172
2. Outflow (purchase of 1.5 Accord Today) -$30,000
3. Outflow (maintenance on Accord for 5 years starting in 5 years) -$2871
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old accord in 10 years) +$3004

...

Add the numbers up and the winner is....

Plan 1. Keep the Jetta 5 more years.

The totals are as follows: PLAN 1 costs you $21147 PLAN 2 costs you $25695, or a difference of $4,500 today

hope this helps :-)
Hi whitemiata,

Wow, fantastic analysis, and exactly the type of input I was hoping for! This figure can provide a basis for valuing the other intangibles that we are weighing. For some of these it's hard to assign a precise monetary value but the question simplifies to, "in aggregate, does the value of the 'other factors' outweigh the cost difference?"

In my case these include:
- Newer car with young children: I am willing to pay a premium now, less so as my children grow.
- Low emissions: to us, worth paying something extra for, though I'm not certain how much.
- Car my husband can drive without inducing neck spasms: this would be really helpful. (I can't transport my children plus a friend or two if my husband only drives the minivan.)
- No longer needing to deal with VW: priceless. :-)

Do these add up to $4500? Maybe not. But I left out the fuel savings, which could be considerable in the short term ($500-800 per year at current gas prices), though it could be negated in the long term by the wild card repair/maintenance costs.

In reality, my numbers may be more favorable to buying the Prius. As others pointed out, the prius isn't $30K, the MSRP at the local dealership of the configuration I would select is $23.6K (+8% CA sales tax). A low estimate on my car is $6-7K. Which narrows the gap a bit. On the other hand, repair costs will presumably be higher than an Accord and who knows how today's emission technology will be valued when it's time to resell a decade from now?

I'll spend some time this evening putting my own numbers through your calculations - albeit with wide error bars - but just eyeballing it I think I'm going to land in "pull the trigger now" range. Thanks so much for your help - this really puts the decision in perspective.

Linda
Also I believe there is a (reduced) federal tax credit on the Prius and an 8 year/100K warranty on the hybrid components including the battery. The Toyota web site states that the battery may have longer coverage in CA. Something to check.

Finally I am not sure why you think the repair costs will be higher than for an Accord. Intellichoice provides total cost of ownership for cars including repair costs. When you look at this site you need to subtract the financing costs if you are not financing.

I hope this helps.

- Paladin

epilnk
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Re: Linda

Post by epilnk » Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:03 pm

Paladin wrote: Finally I am not sure why you think the repair costs will be higher than for an Accord. Intellichoice provides total cost of ownership for cars including repair costs. When you look at this site you need to subtract the financing costs if you are not financing.
New/unusual technology - I'm assuming I may be tied to the dealership for repairs and perhaps maintenance for the life of the car. Also I've read mixed reports on the oldest models as they age. But your point is well taken - despite the short track record, Intellichoice clearly considers this a car with very low overall ownership cost. So I'm probably overestimating the longterm surprises.

A quick google confirmed the additional warranty at least for the 05 model:
Page 6 of 05 Prius warranty info shows the hybrid battery is covered for 10 yr/150k miles under CA emission control warranty. Other emission control related parts are covered for 15yrs/150k miles. CA emission warranty also applies to Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
I'll look into the tax credit, too - I thought this had expired already. It looks like the cost/benefit gap continues to narrow. Thanks for your help.

Linda

Paladin

Linda

Post by Paladin » Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:32 pm

Good point about the hybrid tech...you are probably right on maintenance. The rest of the car is conventional so you could check whether other mechanics can work on it. My guess is the hybrid part is low maintenance; not much to do on batteries and electric motors. I could be wrong.

Yup I saw the 10 year warranty advertised.

The tax credit is still there but much reduced.

I think a lot depends on the kind of driving you do.

I hope this helps.

- Paladin

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Re: Thanks!

Post by grabiner » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:46 pm

epilnk wrote:Wow, fantastic analysis, and exactly the type of input I was hoping for! This figure can provide a basis for valuing the other intangibles that we are weighing. For some of these it's hard to assign a precise monetary value but the question simplifies to, "in aggregate, does the value of the 'other factors' outweigh the cost difference?"

In my case these include:
- Newer car with young children: I am willing to pay a premium now, less so as my children grow.
- Low emissions: to us, worth paying something extra for, though I'm not certain how much.
- Car my husband can drive without inducing neck spasms: this would be really helpful. (I can't transport my children plus a friend or two if my husband only drives the minivan.)
- No longer needing to deal with VW: priceless. :-)

Do these add up to $4500? Maybe not. But I left out the fuel savings, which could be considerable in the short term ($500-800 per year at current gas prices), though it could be negated in the long term by the wild card repair/maintenance costs.
Probably the most valuable gain is your husband's health. Bogleheads consider some things to be worth spending money on, and your husband's neck is certainly one of them.

And for the repair issues, you also have to deal with the value of your time; the old Jetta will break down and you'll be late for work, or it will need repairs and you will spend two hours going to the mechanic rather than going to the movies. This is why you want to buy a reliable car in the first place, and I would expect that an old Prius will still be more reliable than your old Jetta.

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kathyet
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Re: Premature car purchase

Post by kathyet » Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:59 am

epilnk wrote:Hi folks,

I'm hoping to get some info/advice to help make a decision on whether to get a new Prius. I love my 7 year old Jetta but it's becoming less reliable, and I have primary responsibility for driving two small children.

We're normally "drive them into the ground" kind of people and have never bought a car before we considered it necessary. We'd prefer to buy late model used, but there's little or no advantage with the Prius. However the Prius is the uncontested winner given our driving habits, other car (minivan), and the rare find of a car that physically suits both of us (one tall, one with back problems).

So the information I need is, What is the financial tradeoff of selling a car at 7 years vs. maintaining it for another 3 to 7 years? I know keeping the old car always wins financially, but I have other considerations to weigh so the magnitude of the difference would be really helpful.

Linda
(Note: I have no "status" concerns here, no love of new car smell, no desire for "look at me I'm environmentally responsible" bragging rights, etc. I don't particularly desire a new car, but it may be a sensible choice if financially prudent.)
Hi Linda,
My husband just bought a 2007 prius, (1 week old)it was an option 4 it cost 25639.00...at least here in Vegas,he did his home work for almost a year deciding on what car to buy...if you go the the toyota.com site and then check on the local dealersship sites you will get a lot of info also go and test drive one a couple of times. Also check on all the options 2 I think is basic it goes to 5 and then there is a touring level as well, almost the same as level 4 and 5 only bigger tires, gps system, and bluetooth.....

Like you, we had an older car( 94 miatia) and it was going to cost more to fix it and also we couldn't fit our 2 dogs in it. It needed new top again 3rd one and other things. We keep our cars for a very long time.

He really likes it he is trying to get used to driving it to get the best gas mileage..and it is also different starting it than a regular car it has a smart key...it is a city car if you drive a lot of highway not as good in gas mileage it is the best in stop and go traffic....

Personally I am so glad we got it I am tired of paying high gas prices to people that don't like us and have us "over a barrel" so to speak.

Good luck and feel free to PM me and ask more questions if I can be of more help...

Kathyet

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Re: Thanks!

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:00 pm

grabiner wrote:
Probably the most valuable gain is your husband's health. Bogleheads consider some things to be worth spending money on, and your husband's neck is certainly one of them.
Excellent point. A bad neck pain can take you out of work and have high cost of treatment (physio etc.). It's not just an intangible cost!
And for the repair issues, you also have to deal with the value of your time; the old Jetta will break down and you'll be late for work, or it will need repairs and you will spend two hours going to the mechanic rather than going to the movies. This is why you want to buy a reliable car in the first place, and I would expect that an old Prius will still be more reliable than your old Jetta.
I think the problem is the Prius at year 7+ is unknown. It's not the case that *all* Toyotas have their exceptional reliability.

If it's just a headroom question, I am surprised there aren't alternative cars.

If it is a fuel economy question, then a Prius really only plays out in heavy traffic/ urban traffic/ stop and go, I believe. I also think running the air conditioning really does the fuel economy in?

Note many hybrid cars do not appear to deliver much better fuel economy than their petrol equivalents (Prius an exception). A function of overpowered engines: a hybrid SUV is still, fundamentally, an SUV.

epilnk
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Re: Thanks!

Post by epilnk » Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:47 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
grabiner wrote:
Probably the most valuable gain is your husband's health. Bogleheads consider some things to be worth spending money on, and your husband's neck is certainly one of them.
Excellent point. A bad neck pain can take you out of work and have high cost of treatment (physio etc.). It's not just an intangible cost!
It's my car, not his. Right now he doesn't drive it at all so it isn't harming his health. The intangible benefit is the value of switching from 'mine vs his' to a flexible 2 car family. We would also be able to choose between cargo capacity vs fuel economy for evenings and weekends instead of using the minivan for all family driving, even going out for pizza. So there is a $ benefit here.
And for the repair issues, you also have to deal with the value of your time; the old Jetta will break down and you'll be late for work, or it will need repairs and you will spend two hours going to the mechanic rather than going to the movies. This is why you want to buy a reliable car in the first place, and I would expect that an old Prius will still be more reliable than your old Jetta.
I think the problem is the Prius at year 7+ is unknown. It's not the case that *all* Toyotas have their exceptional reliability.

If it's just a headroom question, I am surprised there aren't alternative cars.

If it is a fuel economy question, then a Prius really only plays out in heavy traffic/ urban traffic/ stop and go, I believe. I also think running the air conditioning really does the fuel economy in?

Note many hybrid cars do not appear to deliver much better fuel economy than their petrol equivalents (Prius an exception). A function of overpowered engines: a hybrid SUV is still, fundamentally, an SUV.
True, and we've researched this. It's neither just headroom nor just fuel economy, the Prius is very good for both (plus my seating comfort). Also, the Prius is ideal for our large town with a stopsign or traffic light at most intersections; very little of my driving is on major roads or highways these days. I don't usually bother with the air conditioning except on longer drives, even when the thermometer passes 100.

No one can ever predict an individual car's reliability. But seriously, we're comparing an unknown Toyota with new technology to the well known track record of the VW - where would you place your chips at 7+ years?

Linda

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Re: Thanks!

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:11 pm

epilnk wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
grabiner wrote:
Probably the most valuable gain is your husband's health. Bogleheads consider some things to be worth spending money on, and your husband's neck is certainly one of them.
Excellent point. A bad neck pain can take you out of work and have high cost of treatment (physio etc.). It's not just an intangible cost!
It's my car, not his. Right now he doesn't drive it at all so it isn't harming his health. The intangible benefit is the value of switching from 'mine vs his' to a flexible 2 car family. We would also be able to choose between cargo capacity vs fuel economy for evenings and weekends instead of using the minivan for all family driving, even going out for pizza. So there is a $ benefit here.
A big benefit. My brother gets up at 6am (in -20 degrees) to shuffle cars in the driveway: my sister-in-law doesn't drive a manual.



True, and we've researched this. It's neither just headroom nor just fuel economy, the Prius is very good for both (plus my seating comfort). Also, the Prius is ideal for our large town with a stopsign or traffic light at most intersections; very little of my driving is on major roads or highways these days. I don't usually bother with the air conditioning except on longer drives, even when the thermometer passes 100.

No one can ever predict an individual car's reliability. But seriously, we're comparing an unknown Toyota with new technology to the well known track record of the VW - where would you place your chips at 7+ years?

Linda
Then you sound well-positioned for a Prius. Just understand some people will think you are trying to make 'a statement' rather than just buying an economical car. :D

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Post by goggles » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:48 pm

If you DON'T plan to drive your car into the ground--and it sounds like you don't--you should probably sell it now to ensure that you get real money for it. Otherwise you can end up with a dead junker that isn't worth anything. The $7000 you estimate as the value of your car will seriously offset the price of a new car. If your car conks out, though, you'll just have to take the donation value or spend a couple of thousand dollars to fix it up for sale.

Also, it really sounds like you want the new car but can't admit it to yourself. Just buy it and be happy.

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actual cost of new car

Post by epilnk » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:21 pm

OK, here's my numbers, calculated using Alessandro's example as a template. But first my assumptions:

1. 2001 Jetta as configured, average condition: 6500 trade-in (edmunds.com) Which is not what the local toyota dealer told me. :-)
2. 2007 Prius in desired configuration $23,600 MSRP.
3. Repairs on the Prius, years 6-10: I used 1000/yr. Probably a high estimate; in CA the battery is warrantied for 10 years.
4. Resale value of the Prius after 5 and 10 years: nobody knows; too much depends on how the technology ages. For the 5 year value I used the edmunds estimate of the 2002 Prius, which is not the same car, but since the 2002 is smaller and first generation technology I don't think I'm overestimating. I made up a lowish 10 year value - after 10 years there isn't a huge difference in absolute dollars between high and low rates of depreciation - the range is maybe 2 to 4 thousand. Unless the residual value evaporates the day the battery warranty expires.

My conservative estimate of the cost of buying the Prius and selling the Jetta today, vs the identical transaction 5 years from now:

Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +750
3. Outflow (purchase Prius in 5 years) - $20858
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old prius in 10 years) +7$520
Total = -$17231
-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $6500
2. Outflow (purchase of Prius today) -$23600
3. Outflow (maintenance on Prius for 5 years starting in 5 years) -$4104
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old Prius in 10 years) +$2500
Total = -$18704

Or a difference of $1473.

These calculations do not account for taxes (high), fees, insurance costs, and of course anti-rust underbody coating. But I also left out the projected fuel savings of $650-900 per year at last week's gas prices based on my current driving habits plus the VW's thirst for premium fuel. Given the other reasons stated earlier for selling, the Prius is beginning to look like a no-brainer.

Thanks to everyone - I love this group.
Linda

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Post by epilnk » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:24 pm

goggles wrote: Also, it really sounds like you want the new car but can't admit it to yourself. Just buy it and be happy.
Sadly, no. I love the way my zippy little Jetta drives; it's fun and comfortable (albeit rather thirsty), and as close to a sports car as I'm ever likely to allow myself. The Prius is more utilitarian, and appeals to my sensible side, but the emotional side of me is with the Jetta.

Linda

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Post by whitemiata » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:38 pm

epilnk wrote:
goggles wrote: Also, it really sounds like you want the new car but can't admit it to yourself. Just buy it and be happy.
Sadly, no. I love the way my zippy little Jetta drives; it's fun and comfortable (albeit rather thirsty), and as close to a sports car as I'm ever likely to allow myself. The Prius is more utilitarian, and appeals to my sensible side, but the emotional side of me is with the Jetta.

Linda
Ah,

ok, then I have the solution for you.

Keep the Jetta for a few more years and then buy a 6-7 year old Miata. More fun than a Jetta, excellent reliability record, nearly two decades of accolades from the press, and WAY more headroom than a Prius.

So it's a two seater. Big deal... isn't that what babysitters are for?

:twisted:

Alessandro

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:03 am

epilnk wrote:OK, here's my numbers, calculated using Alessandro's example as a template. But first my assumptions:

1. 2001 Jetta as configured, average condition: 6500 trade-in (edmunds.com) Which is not what the local toyota dealer told me. :-)
2. 2007 Prius in desired configuration $23,600 MSRP.
3. Repairs on the Prius, years 6-10: I used 1000/yr. Probably a high estimate; in CA the battery is warrantied for 10 years.
4. Resale value of the Prius after 5 and 10 years: nobody knows; too much depends on how the technology ages. For the 5 year value I used the edmunds estimate of the 2002 Prius, which is not the same car, but since the 2002 is smaller and first generation technology I don't think I'm overestimating. I made up a lowish 10 year value - after 10 years there isn't a huge difference in absolute dollars between high and low rates of depreciation - the range is maybe 2 to 4 thousand. Unless the residual value evaporates the day the battery warranty expires.

My conservative estimate of the cost of buying the Prius and selling the Jetta today, vs the identical transaction 5 years from now:

Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +750
3. Outflow (purchase Prius in 5 years) - $20858
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old prius in 10 years) +7$520
Total = -$17231
-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $6500
2. Outflow (purchase of Prius today) -$23600
3. Outflow (maintenance on Prius for 5 years starting in 5 years) -$4104
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old Prius in 10 years) +$2500
Total = -$18704

Or a difference of $1473.

These calculations do not account for taxes (high), fees, insurance costs, and of course anti-rust underbody coating. But I also left out the projected fuel savings of $650-900 per year at last week's gas prices based on my current driving habits plus the VW's thirst for premium fuel. Given the other reasons stated earlier for selling, the Prius is beginning to look like a no-brainer.

Thanks to everyone - I love this group.
Linda
Linda

You have to figure in the probability (however small) of a severe breakdown of the Jetta vs same for a Prius (I would argue, new Prius v. 7 year old Jetta, at least 10X worse for a Jetta).

It's really unfortunate VW doesn't sell more of its amazing diesels in America. A VW Polo diesel (a basic Golf, ie the hatchback version of the Jetta) gets a higher MPG than a Prius. Who knew?

I agree with you about VWs (and BMWs) as driver's cars v. what the Japanese turn out (although Honda better than Toyota, I think).

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whitemiata
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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by whitemiata » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:29 am

Valuethinker wrote:
epilnk wrote:OK, here's my numbers, calculated using Alessandro's example as a template. But first my assumptions:

1. 2001 Jetta as configured, average condition: 6500 trade-in (edmunds.com) Which is not what the local toyota dealer told me. :-)
2. 2007 Prius in desired configuration $23,600 MSRP.
3. Repairs on the Prius, years 6-10: I used 1000/yr. Probably a high estimate; in CA the battery is warrantied for 10 years.
4. Resale value of the Prius after 5 and 10 years: nobody knows; too much depends on how the technology ages. For the 5 year value I used the edmunds estimate of the 2002 Prius, which is not the same car, but since the 2002 is smaller and first generation technology I don't think I'm overestimating. I made up a lowish 10 year value - after 10 years there isn't a huge difference in absolute dollars between high and low rates of depreciation - the range is maybe 2 to 4 thousand. Unless the residual value evaporates the day the battery warranty expires.

My conservative estimate of the cost of buying the Prius and selling the Jetta today, vs the identical transaction 5 years from now:

Keep Jetta 5 years:

1. Outlfow (repairs to Jetta) - $4643
2. Inflow (sale of Jetta in 5 yrs ) +750
3. Outflow (purchase Prius in 5 years) - $20858
4. Inflow (sale of 5 year old prius in 10 years) +7$520
Total = -$17231
-----------------------------
Sell Jetta Now:

1. Inflow (Sale of Jetta proceeds) + $6500
2. Outflow (purchase of Prius today) -$23600
3. Outflow (maintenance on Prius for 5 years starting in 5 years) -$4104
4. Inflow (sale of 10 year old Prius in 10 years) +$2500
Total = -$18704

Or a difference of $1473.

These calculations do not account for taxes (high), fees, insurance costs, and of course anti-rust underbody coating. But I also left out the projected fuel savings of $650-900 per year at last week's gas prices based on my current driving habits plus the VW's thirst for premium fuel. Given the other reasons stated earlier for selling, the Prius is beginning to look like a no-brainer.

Thanks to everyone - I love this group.
Linda
Linda

You have to figure in the probability (however small) of a severe breakdown of the Jetta vs same for a Prius (I would argue, new Prius v. 7 year old Jetta, at least 10X worse for a Jetta).

It's really unfortunate VW doesn't sell more of its amazing diesels in America. A VW Polo diesel (a basic Golf, ie the hatchback version of the Jetta) gets a higher MPG than a Prius. Who knew?

I agree with you about VWs (and BMWs) as driver's cars v. what the Japanese turn out (although Honda better than Toyota, I think).
VT,

the Outflow "Repairs to Jetta" is exactly for that purpose. When I first did the analysis those figures were only applied to the OLD Jetta and to the Prius (well I did it with an Accord since there are so many unknowns with a Prius) once it reached 5 years of age. Therefore those figures were to cover expectable significant work needed on the car outside of regular maintenance. While $4643 would certainly not cover the worst case scenario, it definitelly should more than cover the average expectable repair bills.

Alessandro

P.S. I have to disagree on your broad generalization regarding japanese cars not being drivers' cars. This may be true of most of Toyota's lineup and some of Honda's, but take a look at Mazda for instance and aside from the obvious Miata, RX-7, RX-8 even the more utilitarian Mazda 6, Mazda 3 etc. are clearly designed to provide a driving experience certainly on par with if not BMW, certainly VW.

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:16 am

whitemiata wrote: the Outflow "Repairs to Jetta" is exactly for that purpose. When I first did the analysis those figures were only applied to the OLD Jetta and to the Prius (well I did it with an Accord since there are so many unknowns with a Prius) once it reached 5 years of age. Therefore those figures were to cover expectable significant work needed on the car outside of regular maintenance. While $4643 would certainly not cover the worst case scenario, it definitelly should more than cover the average expectable repair bills.

Alessandro

P.S. I have to disagree on your broad generalization regarding japanese cars not being drivers' cars. This may be true of most of Toyota's lineup and some of Honda's, but take a look at Mazda for instance and aside from the obvious Miata, RX-7, RX-8 even the more utilitarian Mazda 6, Mazda 3 etc. are clearly designed to provide a driving experience certainly on par with if not BMW, certainly VW.
Sorry I should have been more precise-- I did mean the real pain in the neck repair. Your calculations are of course correct (and my original ones wrong).

Mazdas I hardly know, so I am sure you are right there :D

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by epilnk » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:40 pm

whitemiata wrote: P.S. I have to disagree on your broad generalization regarding japanese cars not being drivers' cars. This may be true of most of Toyota's lineup and some of Honda's, but take a look at Mazda for instance and aside from the obvious Miata, RX-7, RX-8 even the more utilitarian Mazda 6, Mazda 3 etc.
Mazda's my favorite of the Japanese cars. My first two non-junkers were 323s - a pleasure to drive for an econobox. But how could you overlook our current Mazda, the MPV? "Body of a minivan, soul of a sports car". Much as we like it, I think perhaps the marketing department may have overreached a bit on that one. Zoom zoom, indeed.

I'll save the Miata for my next midlife crisis - have you seen how much babysitters charge these days?

Linda

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by Alex Frakt » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:22 pm

epilnk wrote:Mazda's my favorite of the Japanese cars. My first two non-junkers were 323s - a pleasure to drive for an econobox.
Which brings us back to my original post:
Have you really looked at all the alternatives? For example, I'd much prefer a Mazda3 wagon to a Prius. It's a 3-5K cheaper, has excellent headroom, is just as practical and is a lot more fun to drive. I also think it looks better. Here's some owner's reports - http://www.edmunds.com/mazda/m....eview.html

The only thing the Prius has going for it is fuel economy. But it will take at least 100,000 miles of driving to make up the price difference. And if you invest your savings and/or drive the Mazda gently for maximum mileage, it will never get there.
The 3 is the direct descendent of your old 323s, but it's grown in size (especially the 5-door version) and is a lot nicer inside. The 3-5k price advantage to the 3 is a minimum based on list prices, I'm sure you'll be able to get a larger discount on a 3 than a Prius.

Alex

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by epilnk » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:35 pm

lowwall wrote:Have you really looked at all the alternatives? For example, I'd much prefer a Mazda3 wagon to a Prius.
We have looked at alternatives. I personally like the mazda3 wagon but we're not considering it. Same for the hondas. Comfort is individual, and it matters. We have two very different (and difficult) adults to accomodate. The toyotas are consistently best for us.
The only thing the Prius has going for it is fuel economy. But it will take at least 100,000 miles of driving to make up the price difference. And if you invest your savings and/or drive the Mazda gently for maximum mileage, it will never get there.
No, you're forgetting that the value of the fuel economy comes from both reduced costs and reduced emissions. I haven't wanted to make a point of that in this thread; one prius won't save the world and I detest people who are smug about their perceived environmental superiority. But I'm also an asthmatic biologist - I can't help thinking about these things. I recently took a course in environmental epidemiology, and for three months I couldn't look at traffic without holding my breath. ':shock:' There is a genuine value to reducing carbon emissions, enough to persuade me to voluntarily relinquish my love of german car handling.

Linda

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by Alex Frakt » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:44 pm

epilnk wrote:No, you're forgetting that the value of the fuel economy comes from both reduced costs and reduced emissions. I haven't wanted to make a point of that in this thread; one prius won't save the world and I detest people who are smug about their perceived environmental superiority. But I'm also an asthmatic biologist - I can't help thinking about these things. I recently took a course in environmental epidemiology, and for three months I couldn't look at traffic without holding my breath. ':shock:' There is a genuine value to reducing carbon emissions, enough to persuade me to voluntarily relinquish my love of german car handling.
From an engineering perspective, hybrid cars are an inefficient way to decrease carbon emissions. In other words, they have a high dollar cost per ton of emissions avoided. Among other reasons for this inefficiency is that you have to lug a couple of hundred pounds of additional batteries and motors around which mitigates the benefits. Also cars typically run only a small fraction of the day stretching payback periods into many years.

So if lowering your carbon footprint is a major concern, there are better ways to do it. I moved to a condo within walking distance of work, allowing my wife and I to get rid of a car and decrease our usage of the remaining car to under 5k/year. A simpler method is to buy carbon offsets. $200 will offset around 120,000 miles of the difference in carbon emissions between a Prius and a 3. If you want a more hands-on approach, investing the several thousand dollar price difference in increasing the energy efficiency of your home (anything from compact fluorescent bulbs to a solar water heater) will more than offset the carbon emissions and will provide a benefit for decades.

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:37 am

lowwall wrote:
epilnk wrote:No, you're forgetting that the value of the fuel economy comes from both reduced costs and reduced emissions. I haven't wanted to make a point of that in this thread; one prius won't save the world and I detest people who are smug about their perceived environmental superiority. But I'm also an asthmatic biologist - I can't help thinking about these things. I recently took a course in environmental epidemiology, and for three months I couldn't look at traffic without holding my breath. ':shock:' There is a genuine value to reducing carbon emissions, enough to persuade me to voluntarily relinquish my love of german car handling.
From an engineering perspective, hybrid cars are an inefficient way to decrease carbon emissions. In other words, they have a high dollar cost per ton of emissions avoided. Among other reasons for this inefficiency is that you have to lug a couple of hundred pounds of additional batteries and motors around which mitigates the benefits. Also cars typically run only a small fraction of the day stretching payback periods into many years.

So if lowering your carbon footprint is a major concern, there are better ways to do it. I moved to a condo within walking distance of work, allowing my wife and I to get rid of a car and decrease our usage of the remaining car to under 5k/year. A simpler method is to buy carbon offsets. $200 will offset around 120,000 miles of the difference in carbon emissions between a Prius and a 3. If you want a more hands-on approach, investing the several thousand dollar price difference in increasing the energy efficiency of your home (anything from compact fluorescent bulbs to a solar water heater) will more than offset the carbon emissions and will provide a benefit for decades.
Agree with all of the above.

I always say to people asking me about ethical investments, Prius etc. 'find the financially right alternative, and then contribute the difference to Friends of the Earth, World Wildlife Fund or anyone who campaigns to save the rainforest'.

Far and away the cheapest thing one can do to save the planet is to save the rainforest. Probably the most damaging thing to the planet is to use biofuels (corn ethanol or biodiesel based on soy or palm oil).

Investing in household energy efficiency (in California, painting your roof silver or white! and putting an awning on the south side of the house), is a close second. Modern windows are 10 times more energy efficient than 20 year old ones. A modern fridge or air conditioner is 4 times more efficient than one from the early 1970s. And if you air condition your house, the savings are doubled (more efficient fridge => less heat to remove from the house).

There is a power down programme for PCs which is better than Microsoft 'Standby' (but I can't remember the URL). Leaving your PC on screensaver is the *worst* thing you can do, at least shut the screen off! Standby tends to cause crashes (at least with Norton). If we all used a PC power saver religiously, we could cut CO2 emissions by several per cent. Again, if your office or home is air conditioned, the savings are doubled.

In fact, these savings (like replacing an air conditioner or fridge which is more than 10 years old, with an Energy Star rated appliance) have a positive net present value (they save you money in the long run).

People don't like the advice to give money rather than drive a Prius, they want to be seen to do good things, as well as doing good things. But saving the rainforest would conserve for more CO2, far more cheaply than almost anything we can do here.

We worry about traffic smog, but one of the best things to do for global warming, and for Peak Oil, is to switch to a diesel car (when available in the USA). But that will make the local air pollution problem worse. There are no easy choices in this crisis.

I am marginally in favour of switching to a 'green electricity' tariff where offered. The issues here are 1). nuclear power is not included in such schemes, but in CO2 terms it is the least polluting form of power 2). encouraging wind and solar is a good thing and it sends a signal to the political system that people *will* pay more for clean power.

Avoiding one long haul flight a year (eg London to LA) avoids roughly as much CO2 emission as driving a Prius for a year.

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Post by gvernon » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:14 am

lowall hit the nail on the head when he remarked about the "headache factor". I'm in the phase right now where I have been shelling out cash to fix my 97 acura with 150k miles. Even though I know it is cheaper for me to hold onto it, I can't wait to be rid of it!!!!

I find myself worried / tense everytime I get in the stupid thing, and I'm always paranoid about this or that funny noise it is making. At this point, I really don't care how much I'm saving by making the necessary repairs and continuing to drive it, I am perfectly willing to pay for peace of mind. I'm holding out for 2008 accord or camry, and to see what kind of a deal I can get on the 2007's. Only a month or so left!!!

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Re: actual cost of new car

Post by bearcat98 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:37 pm

lowwall wrote:
epilnk wrote:No, you're forgetting that the value of the fuel economy comes from both reduced costs and reduced emissions. I haven't wanted to make a point of that in this thread; one prius won't save the world and I detest people who are smug about their perceived environmental superiority. But I'm also an asthmatic biologist - I can't help thinking about these things. I recently took a course in environmental epidemiology, and for three months I couldn't look at traffic without holding my breath. ':shock:' There is a genuine value to reducing carbon emissions, enough to persuade me to voluntarily relinquish my love of german car handling.
From an engineering perspective, hybrid cars are an inefficient way to decrease carbon emissions .
This is very true for carbon emissions. A smaller car or a diesel car with similar MPGs will have similar ongoing carbon emissions, and probably fewer carbon emissions in the manufacturing process. Notwithstanding that, a hybrid like a Prius is much better for other emissions...one of the reasons that few diesels are sold here is that they can't meet smog requirements. Modern automotive diesels are much cleaner than they used to be, but are still relatively dirty compared to gasoline engines. And a hybrid is much less smoggy than most gas cars.

Like she said, one Prius won't change the big picture much. Like valuethinker said, there are more cost-effective ways to help the environment. But it's reasonable for an asthmatic biologist to derive real psychic benefit from driving a partial-zero emissions vehicle (distict from the smug factor).

Personally, I'd go for the Prius. It would suit your needs (more interior space than a Mazda3 or Civic hybrid, easier to park than a Taurus, more headroom than an Accord, etc), your Jetta's acting really funny, and the technology's been reasonably reliable so far. It doesn't sound like the price is a problem. Just be ready for people to pre-judge you as a smug know-it-all.

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Prius vs Honda

Post by gkaplan » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:40 pm

Why does the Prius come in an automatic transmission and the Honda in a manual transmission?

I'd prefer the Prius, but I really like driving a manual transmission.
Gordon

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Re: Prius vs Honda

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:34 pm

gkaplan wrote:Why does the Prius come in an automatic transmission and the Honda in a manual transmission?

I'd prefer the Prius, but I really like driving a manual transmission.
AFAIK the Prius uses a 'variomatic' automatic transmission, which doesn't have distinct gear 'shifts' like the old GM hydromatic (the first automatic transmission, and they still hold some of the patents-- ahh the days when GM was an innovator, sigh) or a standard/manual transmission.

The Prius transmission therefore gives optimal engine performance at any speed.

(another factor might be that in the Japanese and North American market, I believe 80%+ of cars are sold with automatic transmissions. It's different in Europe, of course).

AFAIK, without having looked into it.

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