There was a time when the word ‘cockroach’ was the best way to describe any old Chevy compact.
Posts By: Steven Lang
A quarter of a century can yield an amazing level of improvements to a modern day car — but this isn’t always the case.
Take for example a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air and compare it with the 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. Even back in 1983, a 1958 Bel Air could offer the keepers among us the enduring joy of a long-term relationship. That big block Chevy V8, even in the early Reagan era, could give you a fiendish ear-to-ear grin behind the wheel. The Cutlass Ciera on the other hand was a rental car from birth with the vapid empty soul of a parts bin beater. It would take a special masochist of an owner to make that a long-term keeper.
Modern day cars have similar parallels.
Twenty-two vehicles on the front line and not a single one of them a Volkswagen.
This wouldn’t be surprising if this were a used car lot or a new car store that sold a different brand, but this is Jim Ellis VW — the most successful Volkswagen dealership in the entire metro-Atlanta area.
How successful? They have two locations and sold Volkswagens every day for well over 44 years. This dealership was founded on day one with Volkswagens exclusively in their blood. No competitor in the southeast can come close to that level of enduring success.
So what does it mean when one of your most loyal dealers in the entire nation won’t even put your vehicles on their front line?
One of my good friends and long-time TTAC commenters asked me this question.
If you have a moment, what are the high and low values right now at auction for the following:
2000 Chevy Monte Carlo SS 40K miles gold/tan
2006 Mustang GT premium 27K maroon/tan
2006 G6 GTP folding hardtop 53k black/black
I could only give him one response and it wasn’t, “Go play darts and put some numbers together!”
The answer came in three simple words.
Condition, condition, condition.
Monday morning. Auction time. I have 116 vehicles in front of me and a 21-year-old supercar that’s making me think back to the days when truck engines in car bodies were still all the rage.
I guarantee that every brand loyalist will have a reason to hate me after reading this article.
Every manufacturer sells a shitty car or two and then hides those defects behind a not-so-small army of lawyers, dealers, and corporate employees.
It’s the corporate American way. In our legal world, the power of denial can save you billions of dollars if you have the right army to fight your battles.
Every manufacturer plays this game. Every… single… one…
“Honey? I just got into an accident!” she said.
My body experienced an instant adrenaline rush as my mind wandered through the worst “what if?” possibility of that moment, something like the image above.
My wife… Hospital… Pain… Medical bills… The other driver…
“Is everyone okay?” I asked in reply.
The alarms clocks ring. Both of them. Just in case I get any funny ideas.
I go through the semi-conscious motions. Clothes… suitcase… glasses… coffee… breakfast. By 4:15 a.m, I’m out the door and driving to the airport in a 21-year-old Geo Prizm. I figured that a 5-speed and a stark lack of noise insulation will keep me alert. Thanks to Atlanta’s penchant for using steel plates to cover up every possible pothole on the road, I am not disappointed.
You may have noticed that car dealers get bashed by the mainstream media on a regular basis.
There are a few good reasons for that.
Imagine if you will.
The world’s largest and most consistently successful automaker is in deep trouble. Not because of profits, but because of products.
Automakers have collectively spent tens of billions of dollars trying to concoct
schemes sales campaigns that make consumers perpetual debtors instead of long-terms owners.
$129 a month. 0-percent financing. Move the decimal point here and the first payment there. Sprinkle a healthy amount of small print, toss in some advertising that pushes the right buttons, and keep driving down credit standards to the point where you maximize your long-term profits.
It takes the right financial recipe — and an awful lot of money — to keep any automaker in the black. The mathematical truth of the auto industry is that automakers can’t do anyone any favors, anywhere, if they don’t successfully cater to a healthy audience that embraces debt as a long-term financial proposition.
So with that said, how should automakers cater to the keepers among us? Those new car shoppers who buy once, and then try to keep their cars until they are often times worth more dead than alive?
Hi folks. My name is Daryl Horton and I run an auto recovery company out of Tallapoosa, Georgia. It’s a nice little place on the very tip of southern Appalachia that I always like to call a “big small town.”
We happen to have about 3,000 people in the city limits and about 30,000 more in Haralson County. The county pretty much stretches like an angry copperhead from the border of Alabama to the outskirts of Atlanta, thanks to the South’s unique killer combo of old liquor laws and modern day politicians. I always tell folks that we may someday run out of jobs in Tallapoosa, but we most definitely will keep on having snakes whether they’re in the bottle or out walking around!
Anyhow, life has always been a bit interesting out here. I grew up in Tallapoosa and my mom, who worked as a secretary at the nearby elementary school, made sure that my two sisters and I would become straight arrows. She loved us, but cars brought on an entirely different range of emotions in my mom.
Hate at best, and extreme rage at worse.