Archive for the 'sale' Category

$1000 holiday cash winner

Congratulations to Wendy Shaw of Jackson – she was our $1,000 holiday cash winner from our Winter Vehicle Sale.

Wendy financed a Ford Freestyle at the sale. “We like the van even better now,” her husband Fred said.

And indeed, Wendy couldn’t believe she was the winner when we called. But now that she has that extra $1,000, she’s using it all to go Christmas shopping for her five grandkids.

Congratulations Wendy!

Busy weekend in Jackson

Rose Parade - Follow me

Summer is, typically, a busy season for American 1. We host a bunch of summer community events – and 2010 is no different.

But this weekend is especially busy: we have both our Summer Sales Event on Friday and Saturday and the Rose Parade on Sunday.

Now that’s a crazy weekend.

At the sale, we invited dependable local dealerships to bring 200 of their best used vehicles on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 at the Sears parking lot in Jackson. Just in time to kick off your summer fun season.

The Rose Festival activities start on Saturday, but we’re proud of the Rose Parade on Sunday, June 6 starting at 1 p.m. in downtown Jackson. The parade winds its way down Greenwood Ave. and Fourth St. to Ella Sharp Park, where we kick off summer with the Party in the Park. The whole weekend is a celebration of Jackson, and a neat way to see local businesses and organizations show their creative side with all the floats.

If you’re in town this weekend, join us at both events!

May 2010 vehicle sale

May 2010 Sale - Rainy weekend

It was a weird weekend for our spring vehicle sale. Wind, rain, and cold – and then sunshine on Monday, when we extended the sale.

Check out pictures from the event at our Flickr photo gallery!

$1,000 holiday cash winner

Congratulations to Barbara Miks of Jackson. Barb is our $1,000 holiday cash winner from December’s Winter Weather Vehicle Sale.

Barb financed a Chevy Impala at the sale, becoming a new member when she closed on her loan.

The $1,000 cash prize comes just in time, too. Barb’s son, Travis, is graduating from the Marines boot camp at the end of January. Faced with a large travel bill to San Diego, California to see him graduate, Barb was afraid she wouldn’t be able to make the trip.

“Now I get to go,” she says. “It was meant to be.”

Barb was worried she would have to tell her son she couldn’t make it out to see him graduate. The idea of missing out on her son becoming a Marine terrified her. With her $1,000 prize, however, Barb can’t wait to see the son she hasn’t seen since October.

“I’m so excited,” she says.

Congratulations, Barb – and have a great trip!

Payment-free auto loan winners

Payment-free auto loan - Carl and Pamela

A hearty congratulations to Carl and Pamela Barkema of Onondaga. American 1 is paying off their $8,800 Ford F250 loan thanks to our big payment-free auto loan promotion in September.

The Barkemas have been members since 1989, and remember getting their first loan with American 1 – a four-wheeler to take up north.

In September, the Barkemas used their truck to finance an outdoor wood stove to heat their home. They were deciding between a signature loan or a secured loan using their vehicle. Carl and Pamela made the right decision, because American 1 is paying off their loan completely.

When we called and talked to Carl, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He only remembered vaguely what the promotion involved.

“I thought maybe it was to pay off all the interest,” Carl said. “It surprised me to hear that the whole thing was being paid off.”

“It’s like having an extra $180 a month for the next five years,” Pamela said.

The Barkemas are using their new-found money to purchase a hi-def TV.

We held a little celebration for them at the Home Office Tuesday morning. Check out pictures on our Flickr photo gallery, and congratulate the Barkemas if you see them around.

Super Sale $1000 gas card winner

Super Sale - $1,000 gas card winner

Congratulations to Amy Pollard, our Fall Vehicle Super Sale $1,000 gas card winner.

Amy financed a Hyundai Accent at the sale. She was looking for something with good gas mileage to get her back and forth to work near Lansing.

Now she has plenty of gas money for her commute. Congratulations, Amy!

Super Sale survival guide


If you haven’t heard about our Fall Vehicle Super Sale, I’d be surprised. We’ve been talking about it for weeks now, and it’s going to be huge.


But how do you get ready for such a massive event? What prep work do you need to cover? What would a Super Sale to-do list look like?

That’s why we’re the auto loan experts, right? Leave it to us.

GET PRE-APPROVED: This one’s easy. Even if you’re only, slightly, maybe consider yourself in the market for a new or used vehicle, get pre-approved to give yourself an idea of what you can spend. Having a number in mind will help make your shopping decisions easier. Plus you get an extra entry into our $1,000 gas card drawing when you get pre-approved.

BRING COMFY SHOES: Since the Super Sale is so gargantuan, you might end up doing a bit of walking. In that case, bring your comfortable shoes. We’ll have golf carts on hand to help you navigate the colossal sale, but not at all times. Be prepared. Lace up and head out to the Jackson County Fairgrounds to walk the lot.

BRING QUESTIONS: Our new Auto Expert Expo will feature a bunch of vehicle smarties in one location, ready and willing to answer your questions. Need an oil change coupon? We’ve got it. Want to learn more about protecting your vehicle? We know it. Want to learn more about handicap-accessible vehicles? We’re ready.

BRING THE KIDS: No, really. Our family fun area will have facepainting, pony rides, a petting zoo, and different games and activities to keep the kiddies occupied. Just don’t leave them with us permanently, okay?

COME HUNGRY (OR THIRSTY): If you’ve been to an American 1 sale before, you know how we like to advertise: with yummy food smells like hot dogs and popcorn. We’ll have the usual refreshments there that you can grab for a donation to help the Jackson Legacy Program. It’s not 100% healthy, but it’s 150% yummy.

BRING YOUR AD, STICKER, OR POSTCARD: See our ad in the paper, or receive a postcard about the sale in the mail? Bring it with you. They’ll all earn you extra entries into our $1,000 gas card drawing. Unless you don’t like free fuel.

COME EARLY, SHOP OFTEN: Sure, we have 500 vehicles on hand at the sale to shop from. But do you think that shiny new Dodge Avenger will be there through the whole sale? Better get there early to stake your claim on your dream car, truck, or SUV. Shop early, do your research, and come prepared to make a deal.

See you at the sale!

$1,000 rebate gas card winner


A big congratulations to Dennis B. of Parma, our Rebate $1,000 gas card winner.

Dennis financed a van from Huff Auto at our spring used vehicle sale after hearing about the Rebate at an American 1 branch. Closing at the sale gave him multiple entries into the drawing.

Since his wife works in Ann Arbor, he said, the $1,000 worth of gas cards will come in handy.

“It’ll help us out,” Dennis says. “It should last a while.”

Now he has relatives asking him to drive on trips!

It was a dark and stormy car sale

Spring Car Sale - Dave secures the tent

Last weekend’s spring vehicle sale, held April 24 and 25 at Sears in Jackson, was super-successful. We kept $1 million in the community, and almost 100 members were able to finance quality vehicles from six local dealerships.

But then Saturday, the storms hit.

Dave Lewis (above), our ATM specialist, worked with several other employees to secure our tents before the flash thunderstorms hit.

Spring Car Sale - after the storm

We evacuated the tents twice, with employees and shoppers heading into Sears to stay dry (above).

All the action was captured in photos, and you can see them at our Flickr photo gallery.

Thanks to the entire community for supporting the sale. Everyone who financed a vehicle that weekend took advantage of our big loan rebate – plus a trip to our famous cash machine.

See you at our next sale in September!

Learn the secrets of car dealerships

Learn the way of the car salesperson

The world of auto sales is like another planet: so many secrets and plans and methods. Purchasing a vehicle involves patience, stamina, and a bit of self-education.

Thankfully, we can help with the last one.

Over at the Consumerist, you can learn about the “four squares” method of making deals at a car lot, which involves directing your attention away from things like the actual price of the vehicle you’re buying or financing. As with most Consumerist posts, a lot can be learned from the comments section, so be sure to check out the readers’ stories at the end of the article.

One of the posters pointed to Car Buying Tips, an encyclopedia of car dealer trade secrets and tactics. For some good fun, check out the mail the site gets from angry dealers.

The most important lessons I caught were (a) get pre-approved at a credit union to know how much you can/should spend, (b) haggle over the purchase price before anything else (trade-in, monthly payment, options) is talked about, and (c) do your research. A well-informed buyer is the most powerful person on a car lot.

Dave, a reader over at the Get Rich Slowly blog, offers some advice from working at a dealership, too. Here’s a realistic one:

Do not try to bluff or BS anyone in the dealership — they are a lot better at it than you are, and they do it far more often.

Our Member Relations department is happy to answer any questions you have about this stuff. Working with dealers as much as we do, we’ve learned a thing or two. We even have a guy, Dale, in the department that used to sell cars. He has some fun stories to tell.

American 1 Federal Credit Union