The car business can be a pain for three distinct reasons.
The first comes from the cars that you sell. Botched repairs. Unhappy customers. Surprises that just seem to spring up and bite you in the ass. I can deal with that.
The second comes from people in the industry. Employees and contractors with productivity issues. The unending myriad of regulations and paperwork. Continuing ed classes with little relevance to reality. I can deal with that too.
I am always hesitant to write a “how to” article. I learned a long time ago that no matter how good I am at something, there is always someone better right around the corner. For every bad-ass black belt you meet, there is a Chuck Norris looking to teach him some humility. Still, when I know something it’s hard to keep it under my hat so I am going to risk drawing your ire in order to start a conversation. Let’s keep it congenial, mkay?
Yesterday, Clemens Gleich brought you Part 1 of his authoritative guide to the Autobahn, due to overwhelming success, today Part 2. If you ask how Clemens became Minister of High-Speed Transport Propaganda – stranger things happened in Deutschland. A formerly leather-clad radical was made Secretary of State, and the province of Daimler and Porsche has a green governor. Expect to be surprised! – BS
2. The Location
Many foreigners think that every Autobahn is basically the same, which can lead to a very unsatisfactory motor vacation, because it is easily possible to spend the whole length of it in absurdly limited sections and road works which means you might as well have stayed at home. There are some passages that not only are unlimited, but also have curvature radii that feel like a straight at 70 mph but tear your face off your skull (or your tires off the asphalt) at 170 mph. The A95 from Munich to Garmisch is a nice example (don’t go there on the weekends, when everybody and their mother will).
You could race down BMWs very own prototype test track: Enter the A92 leaving Munich, turn on the A3 towards Regensburg, at Regensburg go down the A93 towards Ingolstadt and Munich (A9). Rinse, repeat. You will see all those disguised next-gen BMWs and perhaps a few such Audis, too. Read More >
Let me welcome you to Germany, English-speaking traveler. I know the two reasons you come here for, because I often meet you at the usual places for going fast: There is a) the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring which to you is the only thing interesting about the Ring, and there is b) the Autobahn. Read More >
When it comes to buying a used car there are two basic negotiating mindsets. You can either be fair and decent or unfair and obnoxious. If you seek to chisel and deceive then chances are you will get a bad car. Only the desperate and deceitful are willing to put up with that type of BS.
Want a ‘great’ car? Then realize that many sellers respond extremely well to honesty and decency. Win – win is no sin. So, karma lovers, here’s some tips for negotiating the purchase of a used car by observing the Golden Rule.
You have just bought yourself a vehicle that may be worth more dead than alive.
Did you follow my car buying advice? Of course not! You wanted cheap to the extreme and now you got it. Bald tires. Doors that may be lovably ‘scrunched’ just a little bit thanks to those pesky inanimate objects. But hey, at least the ashtray still works.
Now you just have to figure out what to do with it?
You can rigorously apply the tests described by previous installments of this series without encountering a single setback. However when it comes to buying a used car, it pays to assume one simple salient fact: you don’t know the complete truth.
This previously published article appears courtesy of my local regular print publication, the North Shore News.
Some dear friends of ours have a pair of twin boys that are just entering their latter teens. I have seen them grow from precocious eleven-year-old scamps to lofty, sullen, intimidating goons. Actually, just joking, they’re both about as sullen and intimidating as a basket-full of labrador retriever puppies.
However, they’re allowed to drive now. Eeep! Read More >
“Is that yours?” Millions of car buyers spend billions of dollars hoping that this statement will be born of admiration rather than pity. When these words come out of a car dealer’s mouth at trade-in time, they can be especially hurtful– even if the salesman is as honest as their spiel is long. That’s the moment when most car buyers finally discover whether or not their automotive “investment” has walked off a cliff and fallen into the financial abyss known as depreciation.
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.
How user-serviceable should a car be? Should special tools be required to perform basic tasks? If the car in question is a sporty car, should there be less effort on the manufacturer’s part to ensure serviceability (because it’s a “toy” and more likely to be owned by people with multiple cars) or more (because sporty cars tend to have longer in-service lifetimes and have a more self-service-oriented owner base)?
After performing most of the 30,000-miles service on my 2004 Boxster S “Anniversary Edition”, I believe I’ve become a little more passionate about my answers to the above questions.