With my typical contrariness, I went with Red, flying in the face of public sentiment. Red, in end, had one overwhelming advantage over Blue.
It was in stock.
I wanna give a monster shout out to Maudie for her recent posts and links to internet car-buying resources. This was a huge help to me in the manner in which to comport myself when inking this lease deal, and while yesterday was still a monstrous pain in the arse to get the deal done, her tips and chronicling of her experience was still invaluable.
Yeah, I know, a lease is a terrible long-term deal. It's worse than renting an apartment, because not only do you have nothing to show for it at the end, if you use the car too much, you pay extra. But this is a company car, and it's no good for a corporation to own a vehicle when they can lease.
When a company owns the car, they're taxed on the property, just like an individual. But since they own nothing in the lease, they pay nothing other than the sales tax, and actually can write off most of the payments. That's at least how it was explained to me, and I'm about the furthest thing from a tax attorney, plus I just work here, so I do as I'm told.
So we typically set up a corporate lease, with the driver as a co-signer. Now I knew that was going to be less-than-brilliant as far as the interest rate goes, because my credit still hasn't recovered from a rough patch Suzy and I had 4 years or so ago, so my credit score is fucked. I was right, once they put me on the lease, the interest rate jumped and the payment did as well.
Then it all went pear-shaped. To do a corporate lease, the dealership wanted two years worth of audited financials from our company. Now we're not a publicly held company, but we had 12 locations in the US and London, and our financials would take days to set up, plus we're not likely to give those out just for a piddly little $20K car load. So the dealership decided they could get me approved on my own for the money we talked about.
Ok, no biggie, the bill comes to me, and the office pays it. Fine. Now what about insurance? Does the vehicle then need to go on my insurance, since the company's name won't be on the lease anywhere? That question took a couple hours to get answered because our comptroller was having a busy-as-fuck day. It's nice to just be able to call the comptroller with any questions, which I couldn't do in a larger company, but it's a bitch that he's in NYC, which he wouldn't be in a smaller company. Being a big "small company" (12 locations, close to 200 employees) has its perks and its drawbacks.
The ultimate answe was yes, it had to go on my insurance. Fortunately I had thought about this and already had called my agent and gotten my policy info to send to the dealership. This was about 3:45. I had rehearsal at 7. An hour away from the dealership. Since my co-lead had already been subject to a fair amount of ridicule last week for being late to rehearsal due to car-buying, I had no intention of suffering the same fate.
So I get a ride up to the dealership, see my sales guy (BTW, if buying a car in the Charlotte area, I do recommend Chip at Honda of Concord. He took care of me and out of five area Honda dealers was the only one to respond with an actual email and not a form letter, i.e. he actually read my request!), and close the deal. It took about an hour and I read and signed more papers than I've seen since i bought my house, but now I'm retiring the Purple PT Cruiser (with the blue flames) for the Red Element.
Cool features - the seats fold into all sorts of cool configurations, including up against the side walls for a fuckton of cargo room, 3 months of free XM radio (just a sample, to get you hooked, like a deposit bonus!), a built-in subwoofer in the stereo, and it's fast! I made it to rehearsal on time, too.
I really think I need to find a shop to put flames on the front, though.