This week has been nothing less than the usual.
The top 5 vehicles were either Toyotas or Ford trucks, with a 2005 Toyota RAV4 that had galloped 425,904 miles skating right past a 2003 Ford E250 with 413,579. Eight of the top ten were either the usual Ford/Chevy/Toyota truck, or a Honda/Toyota car. Only a solitary Vulcan V6 Ford car and a Nissan Maxima interrupted the usual domination. Both of those models I’m thinking about adding to the list just because they are frequent enough to merit that distinction along with Sajeev’s beloved Panthers.
But then again, I did have one big surprise. Anyone remember the Mercury Capri?
A 1992 model with 294,766 miles in rust free Albuquerque, New Mexico made it to the top 25. This one came with the sundial slow 1.6 Liter non-turbo and a handshaker. Two important qualities that likely kept this old convertible from an early grave.
Chrysler fielded a minivan with 302k that apparently did time in Leavenworth… and that was about it. Everything else was composed of vehicles that were perhaps 40% of the usual car population back in the day, and yet they once again yielded 80+% of the high mileage vehicles.
This brings me to an open question for the Best & Brightest. The database I use will field over 200,000 trade-ins during the course of the year and the brand population for all those vehicles will be exceptionally neutral. Chevy dealerships attract more Chevys. Ford dealers get more Fords. This firm offers none of that static or orientation.
I am planning on building what can loosely be considered a long-term CSI index. Back in 2009 when I wrote an article called Kiametrics (one of my personal favorites) I noticed some unusually strong tendencies from certain manufacturers. The outperformers back then routinely fielded vehicles with well over 200k as trade-ins while those with lesser reputations routinely displayed trade-in mileage at less than 100k and rather scary announcements on the block (engine needs service, transmission needs service, lemon law buyback, etc.)
Read Kiametrics first here and consider the following questions…
1) At what mileage point and/or age has a typical vehicle earned a good repuation for quality?
NOTE: I am mentioning age on this question because certain enthusiast vehicles (Miata, Wrangler, Corvette) and those with an older clientele (Buick, Lincoln, 90’s Cadillacs) routinely get traded in with less than 100k.
2) Would you be interested in knowing about whether certain models have a high tendency for failure?
VW and Volvo transmissions. Chrysler 2.7 Liter engines. Mercedes electrical issues. The mainstream media may love covering the mileage issues of Ford and Honda hybrids for example. But the population of older hybrids with battery issues may also be worth a far more serious issue for the buying public. What about the longevity of the CVT? Are those models less relaible and more expensive to own than ye olde conventional transmissions? That’s an important question to me as a dealer since it’s virtually impossible to rebuild a CVT or find an affordable replacement at the junkyards.
3) Finally. If you are interested… can you help me a bit with the data?
It’s not that hard to do and should take no more than 15 minutes a week for any three major brands. The company has provided an automatic sorter so all you need to do is add them up, and write the numbers down. 26 Ford trucks had over 200k, 2 had less than 100k, etc.
My hunch is that certain mainstream publications don’t have the means or the interest to divine these questions. But the answers could be especially useful for millions of folks who will buy an older used car. Maximas may have far fewer mechanical problems than Accords and Tauruses. The F150 may be a far better choice at a higher mileage than a Ram or full-sized Chevy. The Buick Regal can be a hidden gem in an endless mineshaft of GM mediocrity.
There is a lot of solid statistical ground that can be covered with well over 200,000 vehicles.
What are your thoughts? And please take a quick look at the Kiametrics article first. Thanks!