What percentage of new cars sold this year in the United States have European badges?
3%… 5% maybe? Not even close! Through September 2012 it stands at approximately 9.5%
The recent successes of VW, Audi and BMW/Mini are quite noteworthy. 10 years ago, European marketshare in the U.S. was only at 7.1%.
However this isn’t the entire story. Used European vehicles are often considered to be pricey to fix and expensive to own. At a recent sale in Atlanta this week the percentage of Euro vehicles was nowhere near 7%, or 9%.
It was over 23%.
VW 1.8 Liter engine with sludge issues? Present.
Audi in need of ride suspension elimination kit? Yeps!
Volvo with transmission issues. Audi with transmission issues. Saab with transmission issues. You.. bet… cha!
Out of 113 vehicles sold during the run, 27 of them were European… and metro-Atlanta tends not to be nearly as popular with European models as the folks up in the Northeast. This auction may have been little more than a statistical quirk. But it was quite amusing to see.
There were also a few other surprises.
This 2002 Ford Focus SE wagon with 28,000 miles
And this 2004 Jaguar XJ8 with 181,000 miles.
Sold for nearly the same price. the Focus sold for $4600 (plus auction fee) while the Jag with the Tony the Tiger imprint on the steering wheel sold for all of $4800 (plus fee). No announcements for either of the two.
My beloved Tauruses continue to do well. A 2002 SES model with cloth and 79,000 miles sold for $3500, which happened to be the exact same price I sold a 2001 model with leather and 95,000 miles not too long ago.
Then there was the big kahuna. In this case it was a 2006 Land Rover Range Rover HSE (try to say that ten times really fast.) Two dealers got in a dogfight at around 18 grand and the final tally was $24,200. It had 109,754 miles and I hope the groom of this beastly bride will enjoy being married to it for quite a while. Either that or the Landy had a built in distillery in the back.
I managed to come in second a lot… which is fine. For the last couple of months I have been busy buying up whatever seems to be in decent in full knowledge that when tax season comes around, prices will go up, and quality will go way, way down.
One other thing. Convertibles. Why do some folks feel the need to trade-in their convertible during the mid to late fall? Dealers have to sit on that opportunity in most areas of the country which means the price you get will border on bupkis.
2002 Jaguar XKR, no defect announcements, 106k, – $9800
2001 Saab 9-3 SE, Frame Damage, Non-visible, 128k – $2700
2001 Volvo C70 HT, (Tranny Needs Service, Prior Fleet, Frame Damage, Title Branded, Miles Exempt… but looked nice!), 109k- $1900
The last one sold to a guy know who liquidates vehicles at a public auction north of Atlanta. A couple of weeks ago he told me he sold 15 out of 20 at a nearby public sale, and I don’t doubt it. Every dealer has a niche. Although I never would have the stomach for something like that.
This auto auction was ground zero for the falling of the Euro… car. And guess who eventually pays for the bailout? On the cheap of course.