Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our New Baby!

I am so excited to announce that Dan and I have a new addition to our family.  That's right...we're new car owners!  Sorry families...no actual babies here.  But here he is...isn't he pretty? 

Dan and I left our car back in the States so we were in the market for a British one.  However--as long-time readers may recall--neither Dan nor I had previously driven a manual car.  We took driving lessons to learn how, with the idea that we'd be competent enough to buy a cheaper manual car.  Well, we were able to buy a less expensive car, but I'm not sure that I'd go as far as to call us "competent."  Ha!

On the train on the way to buy our car!
One thing I definitely learned through the car buying process is that things here are really different than back in the States.  Dan and I did a fair amount of online research before going to look at cars.  We picked out around ten cars that were within our price-range and had the features we were looking for.  Our main priorities were that it had 4-doors and wasn't too big to drive or park on these tiny, twisty roads.  We narrowed it down to a Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Astra or VW Golf.   I also saw one BMW that met all of our criteria, but I thought something had to be wrong with it for it to still be within our budget.

We went to a couple of different dealerships and found out right away that things are done differently.  On the positive side, the salesman are much less pushy than they are back home.  They let you take your time and look at the cars you want to look at, but won't try and push you into something that isn't a good fit or above your budget. However, you aren't really allowed to test drive the car until you verbally commit that you plan on buying it!  It seems so backwards to me!

Leeds--where we bought the car
Also, you don't get nearly as much information about the car as you would expect.  Case in point, when Dan and I got to the dealership with the BMW, we really liked the car and wanted to learn more about it.  It seemed like it was in really good shape so I wasn't sure why it would be priced the same as a Ford Fiesta.  We asked the salesman for the service history to see if there were any major problems.  He told us that everything was in order and we shouldn't worry about it.  In fact, he said that we should trust him because he wouldn't sell a car that wasn't in great condition.  When I told him that I don't know him and am not inclined to just trust him on the issue, he was really put out.  He was eventually able to find the car's history, but again told me that I should quit worrying because if we do buy the car, it would go to his mechanic before we picked it up.  We don't get a report of what the mechanic finds or fixes, but we should trust that they'll do it right.

I have lots more to say on this topic, but this post is getting a little long.  So, stay tuned for part two of the car buying adventure!  Trust me, that will be a good post.  It will even include two videos of Dan driving the car off the lot.  That alone is definitely worth the wait.

Leeds, England

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