Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Imagine buying a brand new car every couple months. It may sound like a lot of work and a lot of money, but a Minnesota man has practiced the buy-trade philosophy for more than a decade.
“I love this Avalanche, but I love this Denali. And once I’m driving the Denali, I forget about the Avalanche,” said Gary Monn.
In relationship terms, Monn has been going steady with a Chevy Avalanche for the past three months. But a new Denali is about to take its place. It’s a love affair that plays out half a dozen times a year at Luther Brookdale in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
“You remember Norm from ‘Cheers’? When Gary walks in … everyone knows his name whether it’s the service department or the show floor,” said General Manager Curt Johnson.
Monn is making his 58th purchase in 10 years. The Denali will be his fifth buy just this year. So how does this tool company manager do it? And why?
“I’ve done my homework and when the incentives are good enough I trade usually for very little money,” said Monn.
They call it Gary Monn “math.” He finds out what vehicles are hot now, and which ones will be hot in a few months for resale value. He then checks rebates and bonuses, customer loyalty incentives, and takes advantage of his GM dollars with his GM card.
“I stack all those incentives to almost be like women who do the grocery coupon clipping,” said Monn.
And it pays off — he never has an oil change, and he’s always under warranty. He does a down payment in cash and only has to pay sales tax on the trade-in difference. And the dealer comes out OK because the vehicle he’s trading in is always newer, with just a few thousand miles on it.
Monn thinks he loses about $4,000 a year, but he still thinks it’s cheaper than leasing and he always has a new vehicle to drive. And he said there are times when he actually makes money on a deal, especially when he stacks the incentives and times it just right.
“There’s been a few times when I’ve traded in an Equinox and actually gotten more than I paid for it because demand was so high,” said Monn.
The constant buying and trading isn’t for everyone, and Monn admits at times his wife thinks he’s crazy.
It’s become a bit of a hobby and it’s a car-buying strategy he won’t put the brakes on any time soon.
“I haven’t gotten one free yet, but I pay very little, surprisingly low. And if you just do your homework, anyone can do it,” said Monn.
His best piece of advice is to get to know one salesman really well.
The Luther Brookdale dealership said Monn is easily their highest volume customer of all time. They call him a one-man stimulus package.