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Old 28th October 2011, 19:20   #511
naj
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Say someone has to travel to the US for about 10-12 months (or for the duration of the project, whichever is earlier) , and absolutely cannot do without a car in a city that has no public transport or desi colleagues, how does one get a reliable vehicle as cheaply and reliably as possible ?
If one is willing to buy non-Japanese brands, how difficult is it to maintain, say a mid-90s Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac ? Asking because these 3 came with the reliable and refined (but not very powerful) GM "3800" V6 engine and some of them are available under 4k USD. Hows the resale ?

This is a typical example of what I was talking about, a '99 Buick Park Avenue, with a supercharged V6.

How expensive are cars like these to service (routine stuff, oil change, brake pads etc.) ? Is it better to stick to dealer cars (since they are presumed to be in better nick) or risk individual sellers ?
The reason for the low budget is that then for such a short assignment, the cost of the car can be covered with the small car advance that some companies give.
Hi!!
That was a good question you have asked @Sajo and will be very helpful to the forum.

I have one more doubt. Please pardon my ignorance .

New cars come with a small down payment and a lease plan. What are these exactly?

Just saw a plan for a Merc c-class- Down payment of about 3500 $ and 430 $ for 36 months.
I can infer that after 36 months one has to return back the car.

aa)What will happen to the down payment.Will it be refunded ?

bb)Can the person choose to extend the lease for a couple of years after 36 months for the same car ? Will he have to again put down some amount as down payment?

cc)What if he now wants to buy/own the same car?

Those are are a lot of questions but please advice me accordingly.

Cheers!

Last edited by naj : 28th October 2011 at 19:23.
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Old 29th October 2011, 01:01   #512
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Few things -
-Take whats advertised with a grain of salt. There can be hidden surprises.
-The down payment is not refunded after 3 years. Thats part of the amount you pay for leasing the car.
-At the time of leasing, the contract will generally have a buyback option and a price mentioned. At the end of lease, you can pay that and buy the car.

I am not sure about lease extension but it will definitely not incur the same down payment again. Think of the lease cost as (down payment + (per month cost * no of months) ). After 3 years, the cost of lease will be less as the car doesn't cost as much as a new one.

Last edited by Technocrat : 29th October 2011 at 01:06. Reason: Please avoid quoting a long post specially when its on same page, thanks
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Old 29th October 2011, 12:02   #513
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@naj: from what I've heard, lease down-payment won't be returned at the end of the term. They will allow you to purchase the car at the end of the lease, but you would have ended up paying much more (combining lease + purchase price) than if you had just purchased it in the beginning. Moreover, the mileage is restricted to 12k or 15k miles, so that would be frustrating, as 30 to 40miles a day is very normal in US. Also the car has to be returned in pristine condition, else you'll end up paying more. For all these reasons, lease is not a good option. Might as well buy a lower segment car and actually OWN it, and it will have a resale value as well which is not there in lease.

All: As my travel to US gets nearer, more and more facts become clear. Apparently H1 visa is initially given for 3 years (out of which six months goes in completing formalities here itself, so it is practically 2.5 years). But I can see so many H1 holders taking car loans for 5 years. How is that possible? Is it easy to convince the dealers to give a loan beyond the visa validity date?
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Old 29th October 2011, 13:04   #514
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Originally Posted by naj View Post
Just saw a plan for a Merc c-class- Down payment of about 3500 $ and 430 $ for 36 months.
I can infer that after 36 months one has to return back the car.

I am basically looking at ownership options in the above highlighted sum only. I guess a lease plan is not very economical unless its being shared with your company or you plan to be there for many years. Almost all people I have met (not tht I have met many) who had cars like the 3-series or X5 had it on a company shared lease I believe. Exact terms, I am not aware of, but experts can elaborate.
Who has seen the future man...its better to own outright!


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Is it easy to convince the dealers to give a loan beyond the visa validity date?
When are you planning to fly out ? And where in the US? Also, without a credit history, its incredibly difficult to get any sort of ..well..credit (cards, loans etc) in the US. So if you plan to start afresh, difficult to get financing.
Many companies hence give their employees a small interest free advance to buy a car. The rest ought to come out of their savings.

Once I pulled into a gas station somewhere in rural Mississippi , and there were two Fords parked in there, a Bronco and an equally old F150. Both had a price tag of $2000 scribbled on it in chalk. Negotiation would have brought it further down. Brought a warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach, because of boyish fantasies of owning one.
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Old 29th October 2011, 13:31   #515
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I am basically looking at ownership options in the above highlighted sum only. I guess a lease plan is not very economical unless its being shared with your company or you plan to be there for many years. Almost all people I have met (not tht I have met many) who had cars like the 3-series or X5 had it on a company shared lease I believe. Exact terms, I am not aware of, but experts can elaborate.
Who has seen the future man...its better to own outright!




When are you planning to fly out ? And where in the US? Also, without a credit history, its incredibly difficult to get any sort of ..well..credit (cards, loans etc) in the US. So if you plan to start afresh, difficult to get financing.
Many companies hence give their employees a small interest free advance to buy a car. The rest ought to come out of their savings.

Once I pulled into a gas station somewhere in rural Mississippi , and there were two Fords parked in there, a Bronco and an equally old F150. Both had a price tag of $2000 scribbled on it in chalk. Negotiation would have brought it further down. Brought a warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach, because of boyish fantasies of owning one.
Hi!!
Thanks @Sajo for your valuable inputs.

If AGW and if I have bright stars with me, it would be end Jan 2012 and the location will be any of the interior mid West states along the rivers, I guess.

I was asked in the interview about driving license etc so may be the LLC might have some schemes just like you have mentioned.

There are other finance schemes on various auto manufacture's websites. Are they not lease ?Are they like the normal car financing we have in India?



Cheers!!

Last edited by naj : 29th October 2011 at 13:39.
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Old 29th October 2011, 13:54   #516
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@Naj : Ditto here, but I am not keen on going.
I will probably in the mid-south (though my offer letter is for a place further up north) , riverside too! Memphis, to be precise. Or Nashville, if required.
Or worse still, it could be 3 days a week in both places.

PS: I so dont want to go. :(
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Old 29th October 2011, 18:58   #517
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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
@naj: from what I've heard, lease down-payment won't be returned at the end of the term. They will allow you to purchase the car at the end of the lease, but you would have ended up paying much more (combining lease + purchase price) than if you had just purchased it in the beginning. Moreover, the mileage is restricted to 12k or 15k miles, so that would be frustrating, as 30 to 40miles a day is very normal in US. Also the car has to be returned in pristine condition, else you'll end up paying more. For all these reasons, lease is not a good option. Might as well buy a lower segment car and actually OWN it, and it will have a resale value as well which is not there in lease.

All: As my travel to US gets nearer, more and more facts become clear. Apparently H1 visa is initially given for 3 years (out of which six months goes in completing formalities here itself, so it is practically 2.5 years). But I can see so many H1 holders taking car loans for 5 years. How is that possible? Is it easy to convince the dealers to give a loan beyond the visa validity date?
Hi!!
@rajushank84 That was very revealing regarding the miles . Then I think the first car should be some cheap car preferably from a lower segment.

From the above one thing is clear. Stay away from lease agreements and either buy a used or cheap first car.

By the way as you have said above, does H1 take six months to process in India.? Mine would be H1B and I was told a 2 months time by the employing LLC.More over H1B are not processed at Mumbai currently and the applicants will have to apply else where due to space constraints .

Thanks @Sajo for your advice.Atleast you have an offer letter . I dont even know what they are offering. I will come to know about it a couple of days later when they will visit India to discuss the same.
Cheers!

Last edited by naj : 29th October 2011 at 19:02.
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Old 29th October 2011, 21:41   #518
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@naj & @sajo: thanks! actually i've just now applied, if everything goes well i will be moving into the bay area (san jose). i guess six months was an exaggeration. well, three i guess. its not only the visa process, it includes other internal processes (project completion blah blah) and also personal stuff to wrap up.

well sajo as you say everyone i speak to say that it is extremely difficult to get any kind of loan, but everyone seems to successfully get one. that's why i am confused. well, my question is slightly different : it is more to do with duration of the loan i.e how possible is it to get a loan beyond visa validity? does that happen a lot? or, will i be restricted to 30-month loans (meaning, new cars are not even an option)?

also... what are the pros and cons of owning a diesel car in the US? not for the fuel efficiency, but for the torque. i am not a fan of high-revving engines or high speeds, i enjoy good torque and driveability in the lower RPMs.

@sajo: when did you move to the usa by the way? what did you do with your swift?

Last edited by rajushank84 : 29th October 2011 at 21:45.
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Old 29th October 2011, 22:25   #519
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@rajushank : I have not moved to the US man. Just had a few visits in the past.

There is a separate thread on H1B experiences : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shifti...xperience.html (H1B visa -Your Experience)

You got me on the loan part man...No idea how people can 36 month loans on a 36 month visa. I am not particularly fond of loans, so if and when I go, will be a strictly cash purchase (with company advance), hence I am looking at "beaters". I mean, not exactly, but still.

I am a sucker for big American cars (read my signature!) , hence I am looking at something like below :

01' Black Lincoln Continental - Airport express/Mafia car.

2000 Lincoln Continental.

'02 Lincoln Continental

I am not averse to getting something like the Mercury Grand Marquis/Ford Crown Vic if it makes for a reliable daily ride too.
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Old 30th October 2011, 07:37   #520
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@VASOO -the new elantra looks awesome, drove it for 3 months as a rental(virtually new).
okay space wise, visibility is not the greatest at the back , engine is so-so in power and gets rough high up in the rev band, anterior is nice but I am not a big fan of the blue illumination.However , it is the best car in that segment according to consumer reports.
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Old 30th October 2011, 13:46   #521
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BHPians in US: have a couple of questions for you:

1. Looks like diesel cars (like VW diesels) have good low-end torque. Is it a good idea to go for one of these? Any basic disadvantages? How is resale value for diesels in general?

2. Normally when buying an old used car from an owner (thru craigslist), what does it normally cost to register + tax + insurance? (I know "it depends", but a highly approximate figure would really help in planning how much money to save-up etc).
For eg: for a car like this which costs $7k: what would the DMV fees + sales tax + insurance + registration come to (highly approximately)?
2002 Ford Mustang ,V8, GT, run great 75K, one owner, Manual tranmissio

Last edited by rajushank84 : 30th October 2011 at 13:48.
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Old 31st October 2011, 23:15   #522
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@rajushank84
You can get a rough estimate of the insurance from geico (GEICO | Get a Quote ~ See how GEICO can take care of all your insurance needs).

Everything, including insurance is based on where you are located so check the sites of local DMVs to get registration charges etc.
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Old 31st October 2011, 23:41   #523
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Hi!!
@rajushank84 That was very revealing regarding the miles . Then I think the first car should be some cheap car preferably from a lower segment.

From the above one thing is clear. Stay away from lease agreements and either buy a used or cheap first car.
Agree with @naj - buy an older, cheaper car. It does not mean you have to go for a rust-bucket. You can buy a 7 year old Lexus sedan, base/entry level model (ES330) with a lot of miles on it quite cheaply. It will be quite reliable even with a lot of miles on the odometer. It will offer a lot of the features you might definitely want in a car and will hold its value well when you go to sell it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
BHPians in US: have a couple of questions for you:

1. Looks like diesel cars (like VW diesels) have good low-end torque. Is it a good idea to go for one of these? Any basic disadvantages? How is resale value for diesels in general?

2. Normally when buying an old used car from an owner (thru craigslist), what does it normally cost to register + tax + insurance? (I know "it depends", but a highly approximate figure would really help in planning how much money to save-up etc).
For eg: for a car like this which costs $7k: what would the DMV fees + sales tax + insurance + registration come to (highly approximately)?
2002 Ford Mustang ,V8, GT, run great 75K, one owner, Manual tranmissio

Resale Value - you can get the resale value of any car, any year / make / model in the US at New Cars, Used Cars, Car Reviews and Pricing - Edmunds.com
In general, most cars in the US run on gasoline. People might not prefer diesel. Keep in mind diesel in the US can be more expensive than gasoline (petrol) depending on where you are and time of year.

DMV fees etc - Depends on state. Keep in mind that most states charge sales tax on car sales. Including sales tax, fees etc. should be ~10% of sale price. (+/- possible for cars that are much less expensive)

Insurance Costs - depends on what kind of insurance (liability only or comprehensive & collision) and where (zip code). Insurers in the US also use credit history to determine premiums. Those without credit history (e.g. first time foreign workers on work visa) may get thrown into the highest premium rating for credit (this could be made up for if the zip code of insured is in a lower premium rating; same with age etc.)

Sample 1: Major metro area (NYC, Chicago, Bay Area etc.), liability only coverage, 30+ age group, high deductible ($1000), no glass coverage can be as high as $175 to $200 per month if paid in a lump sum for six months of coverage.

Sample 2: Secondary metro area (SE Michigan around Detroit), liability only coverage, 30+ age group, med. deductible ($500), no glass coverage can be ~$120 per month if paid in a lump sum for six months of coverage.

Sample 3: Suburban area (suburb of a smaller Mid-West city/town), liability with comprehensive & collision, 30+ age group, low deductible ($250) with glass coverage can be as low as $100 per month if paid in a lump sum for six months of coverage.
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Old 31st October 2011, 23:58   #524
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well sajo as you say everyone i speak to say that it is extremely difficult to get any kind of loan, but everyone seems to successfully get one. that's why i am confused. well, my question is slightly different : it is more to do with duration of the loan i.e how possible is it to get a loan beyond visa validity? does that happen a lot? or, will i be restricted to 30-month loans (meaning, new cars are not even an option)?
Well, the loan details (amount, duration, interest rate, etc..) has nothing to do with your status (citizen, greencard or a visa holder). In fact, all that the bank needs is your social security number. Depending on your credit history, the loan details are decided. If you do not have credit history built up, it would be best to get someone co-sign(joint) the loan with you. If the co-signee has good credit history, then your loan terms will be favorable.


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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
BHPians in US: have a couple of questions for you:

1. Looks like diesel cars (like VW diesels) have good low-end torque. Is it a good idea to go for one of these? Any basic disadvantages? How is resale value for diesels in general?

2. Normally when buying an old used car from an owner (thru craigslist), what does it normally cost to register + tax + insurance? (I know "it depends", but a highly approximate figure would really help in planning how much money to save-up etc).
For eg: for a car like this which costs $7k: what would the DMV fees + sales tax + insurance + registration come to (highly approximately)?
2002 Ford Mustang ,V8, GT, run great 75K, one owner, Manual tranmissio
Do remember that diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline(petrol) in the US. The difference will generally be 50+ cents.

To get the exact details on the registration/tax details for your state, try this website Car Registration Forms, Procedure, & Information at DMV.org: The Unofficial DMV Guide.
This links to the rate charts of respective state DMVs official site.

Again do note that the insurance premium depends on the car make/model/year to some extent and your driving history (# of years since licensed in US, # of tickets/violations, accidents, etc..) + type (comprehensive vs. liability only) to a large extent.

Last edited by andromeda : 1st November 2011 at 00:04.
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Old 1st November 2011, 00:54   #525
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
BHPians in US: have a couple of questions for you:

1. Looks like diesel cars (like VW diesels) have good low-end torque. Is it a good idea to go for one of these? Any basic disadvantages? How is resale value for diesels in general?

2. Normally when buying an old used car from an owner (thru craigslist), what does it normally cost to register + tax + insurance? (I know "it depends", but a highly approximate figure would really help in planning how much money to save-up etc).
For eg: for a car like this which costs $7k: what would the DMV fees + sales tax + insurance + registration come to (highly approximately)?
2002 Ford Mustang ,V8, GT, run great 75K, one owner, Manual tranmissio
Here are my 2 cents for 2 points.

1. Diesels are expensive to run and maintain. Also it is very hard to buy/sell a diesel. Generally, only we/Europeans are aware of diesel advantage. Most Americans are averse to term diesel. They think its very dirty. Also, price is more for diesel car and diesel itself. When you are in market to sell it, its gonna be very hard. Also, if you are planning to stay in CA, it has very tough rules about diesel so diesel cars are not easily available. That is why Mercedes came up with BlueTec and VW with their advanced diesels so they can sell in all 50 states. Its because of SMOG and other pollutants issues.

My advice, stay away from diesels.

2. As you said it yourself it depends. But let me give you an example so that it is clear for you.

I bought a 1998 camry for $3700 cash. So when transferring car to my name, i asked the owner to mention price of just $1500. So when i went to DMV to pay fees, i paid $150 or so. Tax is not included since its a personal sale. Now in case he would have wrote $3700, i would have ended up paying more something in range of $350. So i saved $200 straight away.

But when i bought G35 from dealer, i paid full DMV fees which was around $400 plus tax which was around $1100.

Now coming to insurance you can get quotes on following websites.

GEICO | GEICO Car Insurance. Get online auto insurance quotes and save today. Free motorcycle quotes as well.
Car Insurance: Auto Insurance & Online Insurance Quotes - Progressive
Auto Insurance Quotes | Home, Life & Car Insurance | Farmers Insurance
Esurance Online Car Insurance &mdash; Get Your Quote & Save on Auto Insurance
www.aaa.com redirect

these are good companies that provide reliable coverage.

Again an example to simplify your understanding of coverage.

I took 95% coverage for my camry which cost me $54/month. it includes 3rd party liability (property and bodily injury), comprehensive coverage (against vandalism and act of God), roadside assistance and uninsured motorist. The only option i didn't choose was collision coverage since my car's value was low and it is the highest priced component of any insurance.

Now when i bought G35 recently, i took 100% coverage and so it costs me $90/month for everything. But since this is second vehicle added to insurance, the total for two cars i am paying is $122/month since camry's insurance went down after adding G35.

When i went to Geico, they explained that they look at your driving history, how long you have driven in USA and outside USA and that way they have quoted me. I had 3 yrs of USA experience and some 5-10 yrs of India's experience.

When my friend went to get the quote from Geico, she was quoted $120/month because she started driving 2 months back and didn't have much experience on USA roads and the car she bought was a 2001 Elantra which is like 10 years old. So it was higher for her from Geico. So she went with Progressive that gave quote of $85/month for 100% coverage.

Now if you are getting the Mustang you posted, you have to convince the buyer to write lowest possible price on pink slip - say $2k-$3k. that way you pay less at DMV. Since its a v8, i don't know if you will have to pay gas guzzler tax which is usually there for sports cars. And meanwhile get insurance quotes online from websites i mentioned. You can expect to pay around $100/mo for full coverage.

hope this helps. Sorry for long post

Last edited by chevelle : 1st November 2011 at 00:59.
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