A Car for $89 / month

For years I was proud to be the owner of a 1998 Altima which ran forever, never broke, and required no upkeep. I passed on the Altima (it is still going strong in our family) and eventually ended up with a 2011 Jetta that I purchased new.

I knew I had made the right purchase decision when I saw this article in Bloomberg titled

Jetta Leases as Cheap as Mobile Phones shows VW’s US Travails

From the article:

The $89 a month it takes to lease a Jetta at some U.S. dealerships is about as low as the price of using an iPhone on some mobile-phone plans. It’s also a sign of how Volkswagen AG is grasping to turn around its fortunes in the U.S.
The bargain deal — available after a down payment of about $2,500 on the $17,325 Jetta — runs over a three-year term.

I paid about $17,000 for my Jetta and it has been a great purchase. It is a roomy 4 door car with solid handling – one time I had to lock up the breaks at 65 mph when a lunatic decided to get off the highway from the left lane and exit – the car saved my bacon and stopped on a dime, straight and clear.

When I drive people around in the car they are astonished at how nice it is for the money; in most instances a car is a terrible investment and minimizing your initial purchase not only saves you direct costs it also saves you on taxes, service costs, and insurance. Recently I had a tire issue (Chicago has terrible potholes) and I just went and bought all four tires and had them installed for $550 including taxes. I have friends where it costs almost $1000 for EACH tire… much less all four.

There are many good reasons why you may have to invest a lot in a car; if you have to cart around a lot of kids, or need to transport a lot of equipment or materials in the bed of your truck. Most of the time, however, a car is a status symbol, and people pour money into their car because it seems cool or attracts attention. That logic is fiscally irresponsible and it is interesting to see how much cheaper this Jetta is against the competition when for almost all normal, functional commuting purposes, it functions identically to cars that cost 2-4x.

Cross posted at LITGM

6 thoughts on “A Car for $89 / month”

  1. We bought a new car once. It only lasted 15 years until it need serious welding, so I sold it to a welder and returned to buying second hand.

  2. VW is making a very good car. I narrowed the field to a Jetta or Hyundai Elantra. I landed on the Elantra which was 2k cheaper. The Elantra has been solid, no complaints, but I still kinda wished I’d have gotten the Jetta- which had a little more get up and go.

  3. I spent a bit more for my 2006 Jetta TDI diesel, it had some surprisingly upscale and useful conveniences, and was built like a tank. After 215k hard miles I finally traded it, but.it was a great car, terrific on winding roads and long highway trips alike, just a great value. I miss it, stick shift and 46 mpg, cheap to run.

  4. My daughter has a 2006 Jetta and we had lots of trouble with brake pads the first year but it now has 140,000 miles and seems good for more. I wouldn’t let her drive it to South Carolina but she has it there now and it seems good for a while.

  5. I drive a crappy, beater Honda, but you aren’t kidding about Chicago streets. I swear I am having some sort or screw or nail removed from a tire about once every 5 months. The low tire pressure indicator is both a blessing and a curse.

  6. Thanks for the info on the VW. I had Rabbits in the late seventies and early eighties (both diesel) and loved them and the ridiculous mileage I got commuting 100 miles a day to work and back. After my cherished (and immaculate) ’95 GTI was stolen from Red Bill’s neighborhood (I ranted elsewhere at CB on the matter)we replaced it with a used 94 Hyundai, figuring it was something no one wanted. Made for a good city car, dealing with the repeated ramming’s involved in nut-to-butt urban parking, withstood the kids constantly sitting on the hood, and throwing crap from the upper floors of the apartment building on to it. (Parking in front of the building was considered the domain of certain tenants)It was reliable and ran until we moved out. I’d advise anyone with a vehicle they like to opt for the 400.00 garage space, or buy a beater.

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