Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Snowflake in Beit Shemesh

(Note: Blogger has been down, so this did not go up on Thursday)

From time to time over the last couple of years we have considered buying a car. Most Olim consider buying a car towards the end of their 3rd year, before their rights expire. We had been working with a razor thin budget. We kept getting told that if only we doubled our budget we could get a decent car.

With everything we have dealt with in the passed year, some family members decided to help remove the financial obstacles that were hampering our car search. So this time we were fully committed to the search with quadruple the budget. Again we ran into the response if only we could kick in another 60% we could get a decent car.

This time we had some other things going in our favour. Driving is really impractical for my commute to work. The way our street is designed, it would take longer if we decided to drive some places then to walk. No matter how much we rely on the car, we think it is safe to say it will be a low milage car.

The week started optimistically, as we thought we had found a really great deal on a yellow 2004 Getz. It was sold before we had an opportunity to look at it. Over the course of the week, we ran head first into the frustration, that buying a car in Israel can be.

- A mechanic who we have relied on during previous searches, didn't seem too interested.

- One agent would only look for the best value on one particular make and model of our choice. For 200 NIS he could help us decide what particular car that should be. While we were looking for this century, he was thinking a little older. Plus he never returned phone calls.

- The company that found the first Getz had seemed promising. Then we found out that any car that was not on their lot would require a 500 NIS deposit just for the opportunity to see it.

Out of frustration, I opened up Shemeshphone and called the local dealers. The first one offered 'Haimeshe' service but didn't speak English. Then things started to fall into place.

The place I called was a local dealer in the industrial part of town. I told him what we were looking for. He suggested that we could use financing to and get a slightly more expensive car with more bang for the buck. I gave him our floor price and waited to see what he could do with it first. He said he would contact his Jerusalem lot to see what they had. He would call me back in the afternoon.

He did exactly what he promised. He found 5 cars and only one was slightly above the budget I gave him. He would get a driver to bring one of the cars to Beit Shemesh for us to take a look free of charge. He said he would call us when it arrived and he did.

The car was in excellent condition. A few scratches (this is Israel) and the 'z' had fallen off. We took it for a test drive including going up "the hill". It performed very nicely. There is ample room for what we need.

In the end we bought a 2006 White Getz GLF. Milage is a little high, which will balance out with our low mileage driving. It has a 1.4L engine which solves some of the fuel efficiency concerns. We got it for 8,300 NIS below list price. The engine and transmission are under warranty for 6 months. On Wednesday their mechanic will come in and perform any required maintenance that is coming up. The tires are brand new. Pick up will be on Sunday, once I am able to take care of the insurance.

Tonight the Rabbi made sure to point out which bracha to say when we pick up the car. We think we got a great deal with excellent customer service, while staying local. I don't think things could have gone any smoother.

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