What percentage of new cars sold this year in the United States have European badges?
A rear-wheel-drive four-door hatchback with staggered wheels and a mere 2,579 pounds distributed 45/55. From the folks who gave us the Evo. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? But the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (conversationally referred to as either the “i” OR the “meev”) isn’t that sort of car. Its focus is just as narrow as the Evo’s but could hardly be more different: the cheapest, most energy-efficient electric car you can buy in the United States. How cheap? The i-MiEV’s low-20s price (after a $7,500 tax credit) isn’t much higher than that of a Toyota Prius c, the cheapest, most energy-efficient hybrid.
When over 60 dealers are looking at the same vehicle at the same time, your chances of a finding a good deal at an auction decline dramatically.
That 2009 Nissan Versa that you like? At least five large-scale buy-here pay-here dealers will be fighting for it along with two other wholesalers that have a warm relationship with a Nissan dealer.
The scuffed up low-end Impala with over 200k on it? A public auction on the south side of town will be all over that. As will many other used car dealers who finance older vehicles in the urban areas of Atlanta. Don’t even think about buying that car as a cash flipper these days; because financing is the new elixir of older, popular used cars.
But an 11 year old Buick? Midsized? Unpopular? Well cared for? That’s my niche!
A 1997 Ford Escort is not exactly a rolling testament to the dreams of auto enthusiasts.
But for $300, it beats the ever loving snot out of a Schwinn.
This LX model was a trade-in from one of my customers. Did I rip them off? No. Not at all. One of the cylinders was dead. The interior was as dirty as Hugh Hefner’s mind, and with 221k miles coupled with a 5-speed, it wasn’t about to go on the front line.
But where should I put it?
I get a lot of emails from auto enthusiasts. About 60% of what I get comes down to this question.
“Can you get me a high demand vehicle at a disgustingly low price at the auctions?”
The short answer is no. Just as an athlete can’t contradict the laws of physics, I can’t control the free market aspect of a dealer auction. In my world a car is bid on by dozens of professionals until the last man pays the most. If you want a Toyonda or the latest and greatest wheels that are based on yet another ‘”Fast & Furious” ripoff, then you have to pay the premium.
As for unpopular cars, they are a different story.