Those were bad old days. The “Fall of 2008″ was a brutal, hopeless, and downright dire time in the American retail car market. Nobody was buying $50,000+ sports cars like this Lexus, and the few that could afford to were too busy watching their stock values sink like stones and their home values dive straight into the ass end of a 20 year time warp.
Category: Hammer Time
I usually have more fun with $5,000 cars than with $55,000 cars.
It’s not because I’m cheap. Well, let me rephrase that. I love investing in a quality vehicle, but in the world that is wholesale auctions, I rarely get to see them. You can find nearly anything at the auctions that has been traded-in, repossessed or not picked up at the end of it’s lease. What you can’t find are the keepers.
Toyota imported only a bit over 5,000 of these IS F sports sedans from 2008 thru 2014. The number brought to auction so far in 2015? 35. Annualized, that’s less than a 1.5% turnover rate in a business where anywhere from 20% to 60% of late model vehicles will revisit ‘wholesale heaven’ before getting shucked back into a retail dealership.
After a week and change behind the wheel of this 2014 Lexus IS F, I finally figured out why you see so few of these vehicles at the auctions. It’s the one missing ingredient that nearly every enthusiast publication glosses over when they review any high-end sports car.
The real world ownership experience.
Introducing a brand new column at TTAC: The Ultimate Fit, where you get to figure out the unfortunate souls who would best fit for the rolling relics of the used car world.
Let’s take this 15 year old, 3-door Chrysler minivan with only 59,000 original miles. Better yet, you take it and try to find the perfect buyer.
That moment you realize the oldest car in the parking lot is yours.
Yeah, I just had that moment.
The car in question is a 2001 Honda Accord EX. Four-door. Five-speed. A dodo bird of a used car stuck in today’s finance driven market. I walked around the parking lot you see above trying to find one vehicle, any vehicle, that’s as old as mine.
The blue ’05-ish Caravan on the bottom left came a bit close, but it didn’t happen. Instead, everything else seemed to be on the younger side of the curve, the overwhelming majority of vehicles sold new at a later time in history.
About a third of the questions I get from readers center around one issue: euthanasia in the car world, or what I like to call “automotive decrapitation”.
In other words, when is it the right time to recycle an old car and transform it into a cheap Chinese washer and dryer?
“Extras with cars! This way!”
A 20-something assistant to someone else’s assistant guides us to where the next shoot will take place.
“You! You! And You! We need you for wardrobe!”
Me? This can’t be good.
My brother-in-law’s 1997 Honda Civic took a vacation recently, and it only cost me about $700.
If there is a hell, you will probably find it on Craigslist.
There a few things I can’t wrap my mind around these days.
Take for example, Zipcar. The car sharing firm that supposedly offers the Millenial vibe, is actually run by the
old GM dumping ground for unpopular vehicles established rental company Avis.
That’s not a bad thing at all. Long story short, the opportunity for Zipcar to buy and manage vehicles at Avis procurement levels makes what was once a pipe dream, financially realistic. Avis gets to expand their fleet with minimal overhead costs (the two companies share the same vehicle fleet), and Zipcar gets to focus on expanding the idea of car sharing.
The problem for me is that the economics of car sharing under a corporate umbrella is still a bad idea for 99% of the folks out there.
I am pacing back and forth in a 200 square foot wooden building that I had exchanged for a 1996 Volvo 850 sedan back in 2008.
“What the hell am I going to write about? I know nothing about racing! Zip!”
“Well Steve, maybe we can arrange for a few interviews.”
“Would they be racers?”
“Owners? Hookers? How about the guy who fires the gun?”