I bought a Miata on the Net!

Rick Clark - rikclark@us.ibm.com

Since my business is helping people create internet, intranet and extranet web sites, I am a firm believer in the value of e-commerce. I have previously leased two vehicles via the internet, so when my wife and I decided to replace a 1994 626 with a new Miata I headed for the net.

I entered a request for a quote at approximately a dozen URL's identified through several search engines like Excite, Lycos and Yahoo. I found that most did not respond. Those that did were via a dealer but few would provide quotes over the phone. Three did.

For a 1999 Miata with leather package, one wanted MSRP and would not budge. The other offered a discount of $500 from the MSRP. The others either would not quote or contacts provided for the dealer did not return my call even when I suggested I wanted to purchase within 30 days.

AutoVantage, responded to my request for a quote within a few hours. The provided the name of a dealer within 50 miles and the name and phone number of a contact there who turned out to be the owner. He called the same day to determine my level of interest and had his general manager call me 15 minutes later. AutoVantage claims most cars available at $50 over dealer invoice which is verified by AutoVantage including any dealer or buyer incentives (including special finance rates) currently available from the manufacturer.

The Mazda dealer was no exception and quoted a price ultimately verified through another dealer at $50 over dealer invoice. The car I wanted (green with leather) was on board a transport ship scheduled for arrival within three weeks. This dealer faxed me his quote and when I called to accept, told me they would tag the car sold as soon as it arrived. He didn't even ask me for a deposit. When I asked about that he said he would hold the car with a credit card number, but he never asked me for the number.

One week later, the dealer called to tell me the car was in and ready. The following day, I took delivery and met the dealer for the first time. There were no surprises. The car was delivered at the price quoted and I was treated as courteously as if I had paid full MSRP.

This is my second experience with AutoVantage. In 1995, I leased a Ford Explorer through the same organization, again with a capitalized cost of $50 over invoice and a free extended warranty for the duration of the 48 month lease.

AutoVantage charges no fees

I don't get along well with auto dealers. Perhaps it is because I always approach them well armed with information regarding the vehicle in which I am interested and with current information on dealer prices. AutoVantage lets me do the shopping from my computer without the usual hassles that come with negotiating with auto sales people.

I have no vested interest in AutoVantage, but thought this information might be valuable for others interested in purchasing or leasing a new Miata. You can find AutoVantage at http://www.cuc.com/ctg/cgi-bin/AutoSavings. There are also areas here where you can determine the value of a trade-in, calculate lease Vs purchase options and even secure financing.

If you're interested in delivery through a Massachusetts dealer, contact Bill Knight at South Shore Imported Cars in Hanover, Massachusetts at 781-829-3407 and use my name as a reference. I have made Bill aware that I was going to share this story on Miata.net, but again, I have no vested interest in AutoVantage or South Shore Imported Cars.

This is my first Miata and can't figure out why I waited so long. I've had other sports roadsters, but this is the finest yet. What a great driving experience! The only problem is getting this car away from my wife long enough to take it for a drive. Both our sons are now away and in school and we are feeling young again with this vehicle. However, being an aftermarket accessory nut, it has been a bit frustrating that no one has much available for the 99 yet. Moss Motors says another month for a tonneau cover or rear deck rack, and I haven't been able to find a bra or splash guards available from anyone yet.

I have found Miata.net an invaluable source of information already. Am still trying to figure out Pow Wow so I can chat more efficiently with others, but have already received some help from those using it. Have ordered hats from Keith in Canada and hope to be able to participate with the Mass Miata club.