Whoaw, that's the third article in a row about car topic, and since this blog birth at all actually. What an image I will give to my first readers... Anyway, as long as it is about lifestyle optimization saving some useless costs, and also the planet, I hope it is of some interest to you!
If you have read the previous posts, you have seen that I like cars, and particularly the ones with nice noisy engines... But in September last year, I took a gap and switched from a nice 200 HP V6 car to a smaller 1.5L hybrid Toyota Prius. Well, it didn't happen in one day. I had to get punched into the face several times by MMM in order to get my decisions driven by rational facts and not by emotional feelings.
I have the chance to live in an lovely town named Yverdon-les-Bains where we can do everything by walk or public transportation. Same thing for my current job, I can get there by train, thanks to the excellent and efficient Swiss railway network. Hence, before the switch, we were using our car only for visiting friends or family, here and there in Switzerland or France. So, while it was a pure pleasure to enjoy the V6 engine on french motorways, it was still less than a couple of hours per month. On the other end, the money I had to pay for that fun tiny moments was getting out of my wallet every single minute: car depreciation, car insurance, car taxes, gas, car repairs, car parking, etc.
I checked what would change from a financial point of view if I would switch to a hybrid car:
- car insurance decrease from CHF 1685.- to CHF 489.70.-
- car tax decrease from CHF 730.- to CHF 103.10.- . This gap is huge because of two reasons: the first one being due to lower engine power, and the second one is due to the car polluting less than 120 grams of CO2 per km, reducing the tax by 75% here in the canton of Vaud .
- car consumption would decrease from CHF 200.- to CHF 140.- in our monthly budget. That can seem like a huge amount for mustachian people but family is 300 kms far away, and until recently we were used to visit them 1.5 times a month. Nowadays, we learnt that we could also invite them in our nice country, having fun while "commuting" less on weekends ;) But we anyway still use too much our car I admit!
All in all, even without taking into account the car depreciation factor, that led us with a possible savings amount of CHF 210.- per month, in exchange of 10 min of fun "lost". Mathematical fact was here: we decided to switch to the awesome Toyota Prius!
At the time, I had no idea about the hybrid car market prices as I was more in the opposite side previously. I knew that my budget was roughly CHF 10k max because my own car was worth about CHF 8-10k. Comparative search on autoscout24.ch shown me that I could get a Prius of year between 2006 and 2008, with mileage from 80'000 to 100'000 kms . I found a lot of them which were meeting my requirements .
Next step was to sell my actual car.
It was no way that I go for a leasing neither any credit (as I did this mistake once in the past - that's another story) for a car of this price.
Unfortunately, even if the Eurotax online calculator was telling me my C5 was worth about CHF 7'000.-, I got to know the Swiss market realities: french car brands are seen as cheap and prices are undervalued. Also, nowadays a V6 engine in Europe isn't what the people are actually looking for, quite the opposite actually.
But I had one big ally in my quest to sell my car: time!!! I wasn't stressed at all because it was not a question of running out of money soon. So I patiently sent emails and made phone calls to Prius resellers and even other garages during about 3 months. I got to refuse funny offers as low as CHF 2'500.- to which I said "No thanks! Bye!". You must be patient and not give up!
And finally, I found one Citroën garage close to home (Monthey, 84 kms from Yverdon), giving me an honest quote for my car, and having a Prius to sell at a correct price, including the GPS option and 4 winter tires - important here in Switzerland! The guy was simply quoting his selling and buying prices based on the Eurotax, without trying to scam anyone. After a small negociation, we got the deal closed and I went back home with an awesome car! And the funny thing is that with this kind of car, you tend to try to always make new records of gas comsumption, hence I happen to have even more fun than with my previous car. Not to mention the double win when I checked my YNAB (link containing a discount on the software) car category getting down!!!
So what about you? Did you recently made a car switch that happened to make you richer and your life funnier?
 You can calculate your car tax amount for the canton of Vaud here: http://www.vd.ch/themes/mobilite/automobile/taxe-tarifs/taxe/voitures-ou-vehicules-de-lt-3500-kg/. By googling you can easily find the car tax calculators for other cantons.
 My father owning a garage, I was more used thanks to his advices to always buy cars between 40'000 and 60'000 kms as that's where the depreciation is the biggest while the sanity of the car remains very good as these vehicles are usually first-hand or second-hand cars. But the Prius in this range were more around CHF 12-14k which was out of my budget. Thanks to the Internet massive knowledge database, I found out that Prius model is one of the most reliable car in the world even if it contains super-complex-electric-and-electronic stuff. I read somewhere that taxi cabs love it because it can easily go up to 500'000 kms mileage while only needing to change brake pads and tires from time to time.
 My main requirements were: not too flashy nor ugly color, GPS, reseller not too far from home to not loose time and money while going to check the car (and also in case of warranty repair claims), and finally a professional reseller to not have any surprises and to have some legal entity behind the sale in case of any future problem.