2018 Mazda MX-5 ST GT Manual: 24 months, 10k/year, $0 drive-off, $258/mo including tax

Year, Make, Model, and Trim: 2018 Mazda MX-5 ST GT Manual
Saved Numbers on Leasehackr Calculator: https://leasehackr.com/calculator?make=Mazda&msrp=31285&sales_price=26834&months=24&mf=.00001&dp=0&doc_fee=80&acq_fee=595&taxed_inc=4750&untaxed_inc=0&rebate=0&resP=58&reg_fee=372&sales_tax=9.25&memo=&zero_driveoff=true&monthlyTax_radio=true&miles=10000&msd=0

MSRP: $31,285
Selling Price: $26,834
Monthly Payment: $258
Cash Due at Signing: $0
MSD: no
Incentives: $4,000 customer cash, $750 lease loyalty

Months: 24
Annual Mileage: 10,000
MF: .00001
Residual: 58% = $18,145.30

Region: Northern California
Leasehackr Score: 10.5 years


Wow! Congrats! What a deal!!!

Nice deal! Close to $4500 off MSRP before incentives was much better than any deal last month. Patience pays off.

I’ve received a couple of PMs asking for the dealer. They do have some additional 2018s left, but I’m not sure they want to offer this same deal on all of them, so I won’t be sharing the dealer, other than to confirm it was in Northern California.

However, I can share the approach I used, and why knowing my dealer doesn’t necessarily help anyway. I think timing is good for being able to replicate the deal. My approach isn’t for everyone, but I enjoy it and look at it as a small hobby. And certainly others may disagree with some aspect or take a different approach. There’s more than one way to solve the problem, and the lowest price isn’t always the highest priority. Consider this advice as being worth exactly what you paid for it. :smile:

  • Find the right dealer on the right day: I’ve purchased or leased 6 Mazdas in the last 3 years, from 4 different Northern California dealers. I would have been happy to use the same dealer for all of the transactions, but it’s just a fact of the car business that on any given day one dealer is going to be more motivated to move a car than the others, and who that dealer is changes constantly depending on how they’re doing against their sales plan. If you want an amazing deal you have to be patient enough to find the right dealer on the right day.

  • Put in the legwork: I visited 9 dealers in person, and had contact with an additional 7 via email/phone. The ones I only did phone/email with were more than a 2-hour drive away or I would have visited them in person too. In general the more attractive offers were from dealers I visited in person; the email/phone inquiries were more to help solidify my sense of the market and make sure I wasn’t missing out on a desperate dealer. I enjoy the process, so visiting so many dealers is just part of the fun for me. I realize not everyone feels the same way, so my process certainly isn’t for everyone. I usually found something else to do in the area of the dealer before or after anyway, so the trips weren’t a “waste”.

  • Don’t be afraid: You have to be ok with hearing “no”, being laughed at, being called unreasonable, etc. I got 15 "no"s but the 1 “yes” is all that matters. Also don’t be afraid to make a very aggressive initial counter-offer, but don’t go too crazy because you want to keep them at the table.

  • Be patient: I started my quest in July when Mazda bumped the MX-5 customer cash in California to $4,000. Two months later I made a deal. Time is on your side if you’re willing to … :point_down:

  • Be flexible on the color and trim: I ended up with my fourth choice of color/trim combo. I watched as inventory dwindled on my higher choices and didn’t let that panic me into making a deal. Again I realize some people have stronger feelings about the particular config they’ll be driving, which is totally fine, but in that case be willing to be more flexible on deal terms. However I never told a dealer that it wasn’t my first choice because I always let the dealer know that I would close on the deal today if we could agree on terms and didn’t want to say anything that would make them doubt it.

  • Negotiate on a particular car that’s on the lot: A real car, a real buyer, all that’s left is to agree on terms.

  • Know how leasing works and the applicable MF, residual, and incentives: The Edmunds Forum is great for getting the numbers, just be specific in your request. I think they have some restrictions on republishing the data and it would be a shame if they stopped doing it, so be nice, say thanks, and narrow down your request. But once you know the numbers you can go into the negotiation knowing what to expect and can quickly spot errors in the dealer’s proposal. More than one dealer got the incentives or residual wrong on their initial proposal, and almost all of them presented a marked-up MF on their initial proposal.

  • Humor their BS: Every Mazda dealer loves to talk about the summer floods in Japan affecting Mazda production. Which is true, but the 2018 MX-5 production run ended in March and 2019 soft tops are being held at port to clear 2018 inventory, so it’s a stretch to say summer floods affect the market price for a 2018 MX-5. Every dealer also loves to print out the invoice and show how much money they’re losing by selling below invoice. We all know invoice isn’t the actual price the dealer pays, or they wouldn’t be so eager to sell cars at that price. Just let them have their say and then present your case.

  • Know the market price for the car: I used all of these resources to get a sense of the market: KBB, Edmunds, NADAguides, TrueCar, Leasehackr, the MX-5 Miata Forum, and CarGurus. The most useful were the MX-5 Miata Forum and CarGurus. Not every dealer lists their new inventory on CarGurus, but even if they don’t you can usually find the same car listed by a different dealer. That gives you “Fair”, “Good”, and “Great” prices. In my experience with some work you could usually get to the “Good” price with a majority of the dealers. Getting to the “Great” price was a battle, and my deal ended up being exactly in the middle between CarGurus “Good” and “Great”. It doesn’t hurt to have the CarGurus page ready to show them on your phone, or even printed out. They will of course say CarGurus numbers are bogus, not applicable to leases, etc., but it allows you to show your numbers aren’t being pulled from thin air.

  • Don’t tell dealers what offers you’ve gotten from other dealers: I know this one might be controversial, but it’s just not my negotiating style. I prefer to come across as a motivated buyer who will close with them today, not someone who is going to take whatever offer they give me to another dealer.

  • Know how long it’s been on the lot: CarGurus also tells you how long the car has been at the dealer. This is useful information, but don’t assume the cars that have been on the lot the longest will be the best deals. It could mean that dealer treats their cars as precious and the reason it’s been on the lot so long is they’re not willing to entertain any deals. But certainly use that information during the negotiation if it’s been on the lot a while.

  • Be polite, enthusiastic, and ready to close the deal: Dealer employees are people, treat them like people. I look at it as me trying to sell them on why they should accept my deal terms. Be empathetic, have a conversation, be reasonable. Antagonizing them because you think all dealers are crooks doesn’t help. Don’t get mad when their initial offer is at MSRP with the maintenance plan and security system included. Just politely make a counter-proposal and explain why your proposal makes sense. Continually emphasize that you’re ready to close today if terms are agreeable.

  • Be comfortable walking out: If you’re not getting to where you need to be, get the sales rep’s card, thank them for their time, tell them to let you know if anything changes, and walk out. Follow-up occasionally with the sales rep via text or email asking if anything has changed and emphasizing you can come in immediately if it has.

  • Negotiate the selling price and MF, not the monthly payment: Nothing particularly earth shattering here, but my reason for doing this is a little bit different. Usually you see this advice to caution people against throwing a payment out there and the dealer getting to it by increasing the drive-off and/or lengthening the term. My reason is to keep the dealer at the table. Walking in and saying you want to lease a MX-5 for $258/mo with $0 drive-off will shut things down pretty quickly because the sales rep and manager won’t believe it’s possible because chances are they’ve never seen a MX-5 lease like that. You have to lead them to it by saying the payment is “just math” and you’re looking for a selling price in line with the market.

  • Don’t try to fight their process: You’re there to get a good deal, not reinvent the car selling process to be the way you think it should be. Don’t try to bypass the sales rep even though he’s just passing numbers to the manager. You’ll usually get to talk to the manager later anyway. If they insist on a test drive, take a quick spin around the block. If they insist on walking through the features, let them walk through the features. Let the F&I guy give his pitch. By all means tell them it’s not necessary, but if they insist, this is not what you want to be fighting over. Your goal is to get everyone you interact with on your side and fighting for your deal.

  • Offer them sweeteners, but make sure they’re believable: At some point during the negotiation I always make clear that if we can agree to terms I will give a perfect survey and perfect reviews on Yelp, Google, etc. Price grinders sometimes have a reputation of never being satisfied, so it doesn’t hurt to reassure them on this point. If you could plausibly use them for maintenance because they’re near your home or work or somewhere you frequent, let them know. Conversely if you are likely to not ever set foot in the dealership again, don’t bring it up but don’t dance around it if they bring it up. Just acknowledge it and continue the negotiation. They can tell if you’re BS’ing here. I don’t think this makes a huge difference in the actual deal you’re able to get, but if they’re wavering it can help keep them in the negotiation.

Didn’t mean to turn this into a novel, but that’s pretty much what works for me. :racing_car:


Really good feedback and guidance. Thanks for taking the time to write some stuff down…

great leasing! i can learn a lot from your process, thanks for sharing

I was also asked via PM for a copy of the deal, so here you go!


any pictures of the car?

Seriously awesome deal and fantastic advice. Great job.

Great deal and a great writeup, congrats! Did you look at the numbers for 36 month? I have a Mazda lease ending in June and I would love to pick up a MX-5.