An Afternoon with Mercedes, BMW and Infiniti

Today, I decided to pay a little visit to Aaron, Dave and David and came way with a lot of great information to share with you prospective lessees. I don’t do this often, but I like to pay a visit to dealers and strike up a relationship with them.  I am a consumer after all, so it helps to know good people that will not try to fleece me for every dime that I have. So lets jump into this wonderful Saturday edition of “RIDE with G goes car shopping”.

logo_benz One bit of interesting news I learned today from talking with Aaron was the “Cash for Clunkers” program the government is offering right now. Check out for the details on the rebate. Here is a quick overview which summarizes the major points of this program.

Car Allowance Rebate System

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
  • The program requires the disposal of your eligible trade-in vehicle and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

Basically, you trade in an old clunker (which will get junked and they give you cash towards a new car purchase or lease. If you have an old gas guzzler sitting there waiting to be disposed, take advantage of this. The goal is to get gas guzzlers and polluting cars off the streets. You can go to any dealership and request more information about the  “Cash for Clunkers” program. I know that Benz  only has one model that qualifies for this rebate, GLK350 4matic. By the way, I did get a chance to test drive the GLK350 and I came away fairly impress by it. I think I’m going to put it on my list after I am done with my G37. Anyone want a 08 G37 coupe with 25 months left on a lease? 😀

Anyway, there are lot of discount and the CLKs this month. As I mentioned in the CLK post, there is a $13k purchase rebate on the CLK550 and $10k on the CLK350 coupes. There is a $3500 (or maybe $5500, can’t remember) lease cash on the CLK convertibles right now so it isn’t a bad time to go “topless”, as Aaron suggests. Remember, you really need to know your terms, miles, colors, options of the car you want BEFORE contacting your dealer.  You can only talk numbers with the dealer if the car is on the lot OR if they can get their hands on what you want.  Once you’ve figured out what you want, you need to have an idea the kind of sale price and payments (plus fees) you can afford. I know it’s a bit daunting if you haven’t done this before, but that is what I am here for. Just post your questions in the Forums or drop me a line in the comment’s box under each post. Either way, I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hrs (unless I am having too much fun elsewhere. LOL).

Now going back to the CLKs, you will notice that most of the rebates on the coupes are going towards purchases only. So how do you tap into that kind of cash and still walk away leasing? Simple, you have a non-captive bank finance your lease. The bank will purchase the dealership from the dealership which will qualify for the rebates, then turn around and lease the car to you using their rates.  All you gotta do is make sure the lease rates from the bank are decent enough to make the deal work. If it does, then pull the trigger, if it doesn’t, oh well, at least you tried.

Okay, one last bit of news regarding Benz and we’ll be moving on to the BMWs…If you are a current Benz lessee and have around 3 months before the end of your lease term, you should inquire about the possibility to get off your lease in advance. There is this little known program out there from MBFS that pretty much absorbs the last few payments on your lease (without applying the negative equity into a new lease/purchase), waives the disposition fee (which is pretty big by the way) and allows you to get into another Mercedes. I bet Edmunds didn’t tell you THAT ONE! See! it pays to RIDE with G after all. Haahaa. Another thing is that sometimes, MBFS will absorb up to 5 months worth of payments, so you definitely should check in with your dealer 3 to 5 months PRIOR to the end of your lease.  This way, you can get off early in order to take advantage of  whatever promotions are going on that month. Remember, when it comes to cars, deals and rates change monthly; if you miss out, you miss out.

All this information is courtesy of Aaron, so if you are a Southern California resident looking to get into a Mercedes, please give him an opportunity to sell you a car. The guy is awesome, really. I mean, he let me drive the GLK350 4matic knowing that I wasn’t in the market for a car right now.  I got the tour the facility, took a bunch of pictures and every one was super cool about it. I even took a picture of Jackie (I hope I got her name right), MB of Long Beach’s wonderful receptionist and she was totally cool about it! Really nice folks there.


After my visit with Aaron, I stopped by to visit Dave over at BMW of Long Beach. When I arrived, he was on the phone working with a customer who happens to be a reader of my site. How cool is THAT! I hung around for a bit and it seems this mystery person will be proud owner of a 3-series convertible today. Congrats to you sir! I’m glad you were able to work out a sweet deal on your ride. Hope you enjoyed working with Dave and please chime in if you get the chance, I’d like to get some feedback regarding your experiences with Dave.

Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to get too much of a scoop on BMWs unfortunately (I got so caught up chit-chatting about tax-related issues with him that I totally forgot to ask some important questions). I did however get a chance to squeeze in one thing regarding the 3-series. The sedan IS the better deal due to the bigger discounts available on that model. Another thing is that doc fee for California residents looking to lease is $45 and $55 if you are looking buy. So, the next time you are being charged $55 on a lease, you should correct them. I know it’s ten bucks, but hey, still money.  Another thing we discussed is the negative equity that gets rolled into a new lease. Do you realize that the negative equity in your existing car is already financed AND taxed? If you roll that into a new lease or purchase you are essentially charged interest and tax TWICE? Well, if you haven’t given that too much of thought, you should. Rolling negative equity into a car is generally a BAD idea, so please don’t do it.

Another thing we talked about is the rebates on the 3-series. You can put them towards cap reduction or you can just save it off the inception fee, either you like. So the BMWUSA website is wrong about using it solely as cap cost reduction. Good info there because how you apply the rebate does changed the monthly payments. Remember for every $1000 saved, that’s about $30 per month in payments.

Again, Dave is a great source of information so give him a call if you have questions. He’s a no BS kind of guy, so he won’t play the monthly payment game with you. Just remember one thing, come prepared. Know your car, know your terms and know your numbers. It makes it easier on you and it makes it easier on him. You call/email, you agree on a price, he preps the car while you sign the papers, you get the keys and you are off.  Car leasing or buying should be this easy.


Today, I made a connection with David Baker from Cerritos Infiniti and invited him to join the Dealerplace. As a former customer of the dealership, it felt right to go back to them and see if I could find a Dealerplace person for the Infiniti lineup. Someone that’s been in the business a while and knows his cars and numbers. David fit that need because he is the Internet Director over at Cerritos Infiniti and has access to all the wonderful lease rates that you all so crave.  The best part is that he is actually willing to share them with you! No more shady dealers that don’t want show you the lease rates! I also got a chance to ask him some questions, you know, talk car leasing with him and here’s what I found out…

If you want to get into a G37 convertible, you better wait. The money factor on those is up in the .00280 range and the availability is VERY limited right now. Most arrivals are going to those who preordered, so just sit tight and see what develops in the next few months. The car is so new right now that its going to be hard getting into one at a decent price. Remember early adopters are the ones that get shafted on the sale price.

Next we have loyalty cash. I believe they are giving out $1000 on the G37 sedans right now (loyalty cash in the past was only $500). As you know the G37 sedans have started leasing well lately, so if you plan to get yourself back into an Infiniti, now is not a bad time. Another thing you might not have known is that like MBFS, IFS is offering to pay off up to 3 months of payments if you are looking to get off your existing Infiniti lease. This is for a LIMITED TIME, so do take advantage of it when you can. Now, say your lease is expiring in 2-3 months, IFS will absorb those payments and waive the disposition fee as well if you get another car from them. Tack that on with loyalty cash, and you got yourself a few thousand in savings.

And now, the last bit of info. I got a chance to glance over some of Dave’s lease rates (yup he actually showed them to me, talk about being honest with his customers) and the G37 sedan looks solid, the EX and FX have fairly good money factors as well. However, the “golden goose” is the G37 couple, 0.0197 guys! not bad at all. I think I paid .00191 on mine, so that’s down to last year’s levels. Of course the residuals have come down a bit on the 09s, but still, its good to know that IFS is being aggressive. The word is that IFS is actually trying to move the G37 coupes, so if you wanna  ride in a G37 coupe like me, now is a good time to inquire about them.

Final Thoughts

I think the market for automobiles is really tough right now and  you’ve probably seen some of your local dealers closing shop or downsizing. That’s not a good thing, specially for us, the consumers. We need decent competition around our area in order to keep sales prices competitive, that’s the bottom line.  So think of my referrals as a way of “rewarding the good guys” and to encourage excellent customer service.  No offense to the dealership owners, but I care very little about the dealership itself.  However, I do care about the good people that work there and take care of my needs. Establishing relationships is key for me, because it is always nice to know that you will be treated right no matter which dealership you go into.

I will be posting a bunch of pictures I took over at Mercedes Benz of Long Beach, Long Beach BMW and Cerritos Infiniti. You will get some comments and extra info so be sure to check in again in the next 24 hours! I will also get some lease rates up for all of you as well!

Hope you are having an awesome 7/11! Oh you might want to stop by 7eleven or something, I hear they were giving away Slurpees or something. LOL.

20 thoughts on “An Afternoon with Mercedes, BMW and Infiniti

  1. Sounds like a long day G!
    Good info on the dealers absorbing the last few payments if you re-lease with them.

  2. Sounds like a really fun day G!! As I’m still drooling over the selections for my first lease and trying to understand the leasing world……its awesome that fine gents like you, B, Dave, Aaron, and David are out there to keep the world honest.

    Just wanted yall to know the thanks your readers have for all your help!!

  3. @B. Yeah long day man. I was out for about 5 hours! I was pretty happy test driving the GLK. I got to soak in the E550 coupe and c63’s interior amenities. Didn’t get to drive it, but I got to play around with the interior. VERY impressed by both rides. I enjoyed learning all these little perks you normally don’t hear about.

    @Matt. Thanks a bunch for you comments!! I hope to find more of the good people and fewer of the bad, so the good guys can win in the end. Haahaa. I hope to hear more about your 1st lease, very exciting time to be a car shopper!

  4. @jon. Congrats Jon! I can see someone’s getting ready for the summer. Haaahaa. awesome man. If you get a chance, see if you can give some feedback to Dave’s profile on the Dealerplace site. Let us know how the experience was. Anyway, can’t wait for some pics man! haaha. thewall(at)! Send me some!!! 🙂

  5. THANKS G. your site is great with all the feedback, lease #’s and car deals around the country, keep it up.

  6. In regards to the “Cash for Clunkers” program does it really only benefit someone who truly has a “clunker” valued at less than the credit given or can they actually give you a realistic scrap value in addition to the rebate that might be equivalent to a trade-in value?

    • @warren. from what i understand, you get the rebate and the value of your scrap. “The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.” I think it’s a good deal. You get a guaranteed $4500 for your junker plus whatever scrap value it has, even if its $500 bucks. That would put you at maybe $5000. You get a Honda Fit for about $15,000 and end up really only paying about $10,000 plus taxes/fees.

  7. G, any idea what the current lease factor is on the 2009 E350 (36/15K) now that the 2010 is out? I noticed the 10K MBF contribution plus a dealer contribution of 2K on the 09. Any help is greatly appreciated. Love your threads!

    • @lee. Sorry, I didn’t see the complete 09 E-Class lease rates this month. But looking around, I see the money factor being around 0.00165 which is pretty good in my opinion. You are correct on the 12k. Others have reported having around that much. Not too sure what the residual is, but it shouldn’t be too far off from last months.

  8. G,
    I guess I’m wondering if the eligible trade-in vehicle has some value, for example, that makes it worth $5,000 as a normal trade-in, would cash for clunkers recognize this realistic value or just give someone a miniscule scrap value of $500 say?

    • @warren. Very good question. I’m not sure how they would handle a car with $5000 trade-in value because I think they could turn around and sell it at $7000 (since trade in values are generally lower than market price). The point of this gov’t program is to get these cars off the road though, so there’s a bit of a conflict here. This one might be someone a dealer would have to answer.

  9. G, Thanks for the info. That’s probably right. The local dealer quoted me initially .00265 which is 100 points high of the .00165 which is typical for an opening offer. I’m going to see how close I can get them to the June money factor rate of .00018 which is a great deal. They are offering a total of $13,000 off MSRP on the lease with their initial offer. I guess they are trying to move the ’09s.

  10. G, Thanks so much for your helpful insight on “Cash for Clunkers”. If I get some feedback on how the scrap values work, I’ll post a reply here again. I’m surprised to hear that the program also applies to leasing. Are there any restrictions as to lease terms etc?

    • @warren. When I spoke with Aaron about it, he didn’t not specify this to be a “purchase” only rebate. I personally don’t think it even matters since it’s a government incentive. In all intents and purposes, when you lease a car, it IS being sold to a bank, then financed to us, so I don’t really see the difference.

  11. G, here is the offer I got today which I turned down. Thoughts??

    MSRP – 57085
    Cap Cost – $44085 ($10K MB cash + $3K dealer “contribution”)
    5% sales tax
    $795 Gap Ins Fee
    $395 Doc Prep Fee
    36 Month/15,000 mile lease
    43% Residual
    MF .00165

    Pmt. $725.55

    I still think I can get the car for under $680 with nothing down. I walked out.

  12. One last thing, I was told the “New car pack was $575” which is why their bottom dollar is $3,000 off MSRP of $57,085. Invoice shows $53,450 and includes $300 IRG Participation fee. This matches Edmunds but doesn’t include the dealer’s holdback which I think is 3% minimum or $1,712.55. The car has been on their lot about 45 days. They have 21 09’s (7 are white which is what color I want) and only 3 2010’s. I assume they can’t get anymore 2010’s until they start selling the 2009’s. So, they are basically discounting the car to $54,085 and giving me the $10,000 MB cash to apply to the lease. Money factor changed in July and is significantly higer from June but the dealer cash contribution also went up from $6,000 to $10,000. I calculated the difference between the two offers (June v. July) and they are basically the same deal (maybe $10 less a month) than last month. Are you aware of any MB dealers negotiating sales price before the $10K to at or below actual invoice price (I was given a copy of it which is why I know about the 300 IRG fee). I asked for more dealer contribution totaling $1,585 which would have reduced payment to $676 a month. One last option would be a 42 month lease with same MF and 39% residual using my numbers it is $650, their original 13K offer puts this lease at $692. I’ve done my homework and now need your expert advice!! Stand by my offer, or in your opinion have they given me their best offer. I think they can make their money on the 2010 but without one not sure how they can!!!

    • @lee. if the car has been on the lot for 45 days, my guess is that their holdback may be less than 3%, which may be the reason why they aren’t offering you an invoice plus rebate deal. I would not do the 42 month lease since it you are doing a 15k mile per year lease. At 42 months, you will be out of warranty in the last 2 months of your lease. Not a good thing. I would still see if you can push for invoice plus 10k off and see where that leads to. I don’t know of any dealer that would do this, however, but a guy over at Edmunds is reporting 19k off a 58k E350 with a Premium 2 package. Not sure how realistic THAT is, but $14k off MSRP may not be too far of a stretch if you got more than a handful of MB dealers in your area.


    This website answers most questions regarding the Clunker program. I am considering taking advantage of it since I have a “Clunker” myself.

    @warren. You can apply the credit to a lease, but the term must be at least 5 years (or 60 mos.).

    This program has me reconsidering to finance instead of leasing my 3 series. I have about 1 month to decide, since I’m still waiting on the delivery of my car. I guess the real questions is how long do I want to keep this car.

    • @KZO. It is always a good idea to buy if the finance rate is lower than the MF. Of course, if you are the type of person that gets the 36-month itch, then leasing will probably make you happier. LOL.

Leave a Reply