Friday, April 11, 2014

Lease Drop Off... and New Leased 2014 Volt!

The beautiful red Voltie is moving on to its next owner and I'm enjoying a new 2014 Ashen Gray one. Thanks for being a fantastic ride!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lease End Inspection

AutoVIN inspection...

The inspection happened today... it was scheduled for between 1 and 5 pm but I got a call from the inspector around 11 am saying if I wanted, we could do it right away. She got here in about 15 minutes or so. As soon as she called, I turned on the car remotely to precondition the cabin as the sun is hot today.

Last night I washed the car and put all the accessories (120 charge cord, cargo net, sun screen, cargo barrier) in place... when she arrived today the cabin was cool and I got her a bottle of chilled water, which she appreciated because it's plenty warm out. The result?

She was impressed. Said she wished all the cars she inspected were this good. She gave it a rating of "4" which she said is rare, and she was interested in the car too, asking several questions as she wasn't very familiar with Volts. So there is zero due per her inspection and everything is now clear for me to get the next car whenever I can find what I want and make the deal.

On the one hand, I can breathe a sigh of relief... the part I thought might be troubling is now past. On the other hand, the other troubling part, actually buying the next car is about to begin in earnest. I have already gotten quotes from a couple of dealers. I went through the site to get some "guaranteed savings" quotes, which put me in the $36K ballpark. I'm pretty much ready to pull the trigger any time now.

I think the first dealer I want to approach is the one we got the SparkE from in February, Community Chevrolet in Burbank...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lease End Conversation with US Bank

I got a call from US Bank last week regarding the end of my lease. Even though I had already spoken to them about my intentions previously, they wanted to speak with me about them again. So I told them that I had actually changed my mind... I had previously planned to do another lease for a 2014 Volt. But, since I drive so little and use less than half of the miles I'm paying for in a lease, I decided I should probably buy the next Volt.

Looking at the numbers last month, it seemed I could buy a nicely loaded 2014 for about what I am paying now for my lease. Something like $470/mo. I could lease for considerably less but if I buy, I also get the $10,000 incentive to put in the bank and I own the car for as long as I want it. It just makes more sense now that prices have dropped.

But the banker wanted to tell me I could buy my current car and pitched it like it was a really great deal. hey would offer me a 3.15% loan and monthly payments of $574/mo. This doesn't sound like a bargain to me and honestly, I have no idea how leasing works out for the leasing company. Of course, buying new I have a down payment which I won't be making if I bought the current car. And there's nothing wrong with the current car at all; it's in fantastic condition as I have taken good care of it, it's got just over 15K miles on it, still has the same range as the day I got it. However, the 2014's have new features I want and slightly more range, so even putting a few thousand down, I get $10K back and $100/mo less in payments.

Of course, everything is subject to change as the end gets closer. I have just over two months left and when I have 45 days left, they will schedule an inspection. I think I will want to see what the deals are at that time before I decide to buy or lease, but I can't see the numbers working to keep this one. Much as I like it, the intention all along was, lease the first generation and then see... I don't know if it was the right thing and until all the smoke clears, I won't. There is a final disposition fee which will be waived if I buy or lease through US Bank again. There may be other fees assessed based on the inspection. I won't be too surprised if they assess some small amount but I can't imagine they will find any expensive issues. <fingers crossed>

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report

Not much exciting here:

Electric Consumption: 31 kW-hr/100 miles

Electric Miles: 180

Gas Miles: 0

Total Miles: 180

Percentage on Electric: 100 %

Mileage:  15416

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Next Volt - Purchase?? Not Lease??

Have been considering many options for the end of this lease... which is coming in only three months.

My first thought was to just lease a 2014 Volt. But Bob is turning in his ActiveE and we test drove an i3 to see how that might fit. Our feeling was that maybe we could do with just one car now and spend a bit more to go for a nicer one. The i3 is certainly nice, but I think we've pretty cleanly ruled it out.

We also considered a Cadillac ELR. Very nice, and also very expensive... a $650/mo lease is available and it certainly is an attractive option. But, I'm not convinced.

Then the SparkEV lease deal came to our attention and at $199/mo it seems like we could have it as a second car and still be money ahead. So back to a Volt.

But now, buy or lease? I can lease for around $290/mo or buy for around $470/mo. The lease is nice but since I drive so little, I am back to where I am now with a ton of miles I'm paying for and handing back unused at the end of the lease. I really don't like that. On the other hand, buying costs more per month but is still less than my current lease and we get to keep those unused miles. We'll have the car longer and won't get to upgrade to the latest and most awesome technology in three years, but in four we could start to think about trading or converting it to second car status.

So here's current thinking... subject to change every five minutes...

Buy the 2014 Volt.

  • Ashen Grey Metallic Exterior - not premium but still smokey and mysterious.
  • Jet Black seats/Dark accents, Leather-appointed seat trim - you can't beat black leather
  • 17" 5-spoke polished aluminum wheels     $595 list - Gotta have chrome. 
  • Premium Trim Package     $1,395 list - gets the leather, Bose and heated seats
  • Enhanced Safety Package 1     $575 list - rear park assist and camera
  • Enhanced Safety Package 2     $595 list - front park assist and lane departure
  • Low Emissions Package (enhanced AT-PZEV) - for carpool lane access
  • Chevrolet® MyLink®1 radio with navigation     $895 list - gotta have nav!
  • Premium Bose® Energy Efficient Series sound system     $495 list
  • Heated driver and front passenger seats
  • Indoor/outdoor vehicle cover (Dealer-installed)     $355 list - I vowed I would get a car cover with my next car, as I wash the car and it sits. By the time I drive it my one or two times a week, it's got major dust and bird poo. 

All that makes it retail at $39,900 and that's about $6k less than my current Volt. It includes some new features my current Volt didn't have available in 2011. Monthly payment will be about the same as my current lease so almost no change and I get a newer model with added features.

I'll be able to file for up to $10K in tax savings, which I have enough tax liability to claim.

Then, lease the SparkEV as a second car for Bob, which is about $350 less per month than he's been paying for his ActiveE. In 3 years when the lease is up, we can either drop it and go to one car then, or have the options to buy it, or lease or buy whatever the hot ticket is at the time.

February OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report

Only drove 133 miles last month...