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Senior has a bone to pick with auto dealership

2010 Ford Transit Connect .


Hi Michael and Jeremy:

I kind of know what I will be doing, but here is a little story of my van experience. My hobby is dogs, and I go to a lot of dog shows - obedience and agility trials with up to seven dogs (whippets). The safest way to transport my dogs is in crates.

In 2006, I leased a new Grand Caravan (my first new vehicle) as it was the lowest-priced van I could locate. I immediately had to take out all the seats except the driver and one passenger. Boy, oh boy, were those seats heavy. My husband and I (both senior citizens) had to lug them down to the basement, where they stayed for two years.

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In 2008, my lease was up and when I visited the dealer I was told: "Oh, don't bother buying out the lease for $16,000; it is only worth $14,000." So I signed up for a new 2008.

Well, to make a long story short, my lease will be expiring in about two months, and I will have to ante up about $16,000 if I want to keep the current van.

So, what is the true current value of my 2008? Should I dicker long and hard to get it for a reduced price, or should I go for a new one?

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for me?

Thank you, Heather the dog-loving librarian

Cato: I hate, absolutely, hate to hear this sort of story. It tells the tale of an honest person - Heather - who was steered badly by an incompetent or dishonest salesperson. You need a cargo van, Heather, not a passenger van!

Vaughan: Wait a minute. I think Heather needs a Whippet. What a grand entrance to a dog show arriving with whippets by Whippet. Unfortunately Willys stopped building them in the early 1930s so it might be difficult finding one in good shape.

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Cato: Now that's a pearl of wisdom.

Vaughan: Alright then, suggestion number two: Ford Transit Connect. Cato has a good point about cargo vans and this is a good one. It's fuel-efficient and you can load umpteen dog crates through big doors both on the side and in the rear. Perfect dog hauler.

Cato: The Transit Connect is not quite the cheapo bargain you get in the Grand Caravan, but it's not expensive, either. The list price for the Transit XLT with a glass window at the rear - so you can see to avoid backing over the dogs at those shows - is $26,799.

But you'll be able to afford dog chow because that number is only the start. I'm talking discounting here. Ford Canada has a $1,500 factory-to-dealer rebate on this cargo van, so you should go in and negotiate a $1,500 price cut right off the sticker.

But that's not all. You should fight for an additional $500 or $600 dealer discount. That is, you want some of the difference between the sticker price and the actual dealer invoice. I think $500 is fair, but push for $600.

On top of that, I am hoping you buy your doggy beds, bones, crates and all the rest in bulk - at Costco. Because if you were a Costco member as of April 30, Ford Canada will lop another $1,000 off the price in the form of a factory-to-customer rebate.

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Vaughan: We're up to $3,000 in discounts, so if you negotiate with the tenacity of a Rottweiler, Heather, you'll see the price of that Transit Connect chewed down to $23,799.

Cato: Hold on; I'm not done barking out information.

Heather, if you have an old clunker kicking about, a 2003 model or older, Ford will give you $1,000 for it under the latest Recycle Your Ride Program. If that old wreck is a 1995-or-older model, you'll get the $1,000 plus the federal government will throw in another $300. So two cheques for your wreck, adding up to $1,300.

Vaughan: Heather, the running tab on discounts is up to $4,300.

Cato: There's more. On certain models, Ford Canada is promoting something called its "Five-O" event. I am not certain sure whether the Transit Connect qualifies, but if it does, you'll have the choice of 0.0 per cent financing over five years, or no first payment, or $0 due on delivery or $0 security deposit on a lease.

Vaughan: Heather, don't expect your dealer to lie down and rollover as you negotiate. You'll need to work this deal.

Cato: But to help, you can purchase dealer invoice pricing information from an outfit called

Vaughan: So you'll be armed with information that you can show the dealer. This simplifies things.

Cato: Okay, a couple of other things.

First, the value of your current van. I checked with Canadian Black Book and your Grand Caravan SE with 60,000 km is worth between $9,570 and $12,180. If the lease buyout is $16,000, walk away.

Vaughan: But if you do, consider a Grand Caravan Cargo Van - the same van without the seats. The list price is $28,045, but Chrysler Canada has big rebates available here, so your final price will be much lower.

Cato: And a third choice for the dogs: have a look at the Chevrolet Express cargo van. Again, the sticker says $31,460, but you'll pay thousands less.

Heather your first dealer should have quickly steered you to some sort of cargo van. So whomever you were working with steered you wrong.

Vaughan: Leaving Cato howling mad. It's going to take a whole box of chew biscuits to calm him down.

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 2 p.m. on CTV.


2010 Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van

2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT Cargo Van

2010 Chevrolet Express 1500 Cargo Van

Wheelbase (mm)




Length (mm)




Width (mm)




Height (mm)





3.3-litre V-6

2.0-litre four-cylinder

4.3-litre V-6

Output (hp)


175 hp

205 lb-ft

136 hp

128 lb-ft

195 hp

260 lb-ft

Drive system



Rear-wheel drive


Four-speed automatic

Four-speed automatic

Four-speed automatic

Curb weight (kg)




Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

12.3 city

8.3 highway

9.5 city

7.9 highway

14.1 city

10.0 city

Base price (MSRP)





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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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