Category: Used Cars

By on July 11, 2017

2016 Nissan Versa Sedan - Image: NissanAmerica’s historic subcompact car segment leader, the Nissan Versa, suffered a sharp 22-percent U.S. sales decline in the first half of 2017.

In fact, total Versa sales plunged 45 percent in June 2017. The Versa remained America’s top-selling subcompact nameplate, and by a wide margin. Even in June, when Versa sales plunged by more than 6,500 units, Nissan still owned nearly a quarter of America’s subcompact market.

Nevertheless, it’s odd to see the segment leader, a car that was selling better than ever at this time last year, suddenly dropping like a stone, declining even more rapidly than the segment as a whole.

But after years of using the Nissan Versa as a tool for turning used car buyers into new car buyers, Nissan USA is scaling back factory support for the Versa in lieu of assisting Nissan dealers with their certified pre-owned efforts. Read More >

By on July 10, 2017

Image: 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix Pepsi Special Edition, image via Craigslist

Our last Rare Ride was a Pontiac 6000 with some serious B&B appeal, what with its special gold alloys and transverse all-wheel-drive witchcraft. In light of this old Pontiac lovin’, I found another one for you today.

This special edition vehicle was practicing #branding before either #, or “branding,” were things you’d put together for your latest Twitter communiqué.

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By on July 7, 2017

2014-cadillac-cts

Late-model used cars have long been the clever shopper’s new vehicle alternative. While hubris keeps some of us from dirtying our driveways with anything that isn’t fresh from the factory, bargain hunters know purchasing an off-lease vehicle is a decent way to save a trunkload of cash and obtain something that can still be considered modern. It also provides cash-strapped individuals with the ability to buy something normally above their means.

With leasing growing in popularity and off-lease vehicles pouring into the market like pigeons on a slice of bread, shoppers can find late-model, low-mileage cars for roughly half the price of a new one. Often, still under warranty. Some deals are better than others, and a recent analysis of 2014 model-year vehicles highlights several models with above-average depreciation rates buyers can easily take advantage of. Read More >

By on June 29, 2017

used cars used car lot

People aren’t buying nearly as many new cars these days, but at least one aspect of the vehicular marketplace is still thriving — auto auctions. Nearly 18 million vehicles were eligible for the auction block in 2016.

While not all of those 18 million vehicles were sold, they still pushed the business beyond the $100 billion mark and made 2016 the best year on record, continuing five years of industry growth.

Thanks largely to swollen used car inventories, 2017 looks to continue that trend. Volume for 2016 was up 2 percent over the year before and has continued to creep upward at the start of 2017.  Read More >

By on June 28, 2017

Image: 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, via Craigslist

Check out these two words: Turbo Coupe. They roll off the tongue nicely, and all car enthusiasts should know exactly they mean — or used to. In 2017, they usually mean someone with a mullet is nearby, driving a beat-to-hell Thunderbird with peeling logos and ruined paint. Likely while listening to Whitesnake.

Our example today is what the term Turbo Coupe used to mean. It is perfect, painted a gleaming black, and on the floor there’s a five-speed manual. Here I go again…

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By on June 27, 2017

Image: 1984 Aston Martin Lagonda, image via Hemmings

We’ve got a special treat for you today — this glorious Aston Martin Lagonda from that future dystopia now long past, 1984. And futuristic it was, when you consider this car was sprawled across luxuriously carpeted showrooms beginning in 1976.

So let’s go back in time. Is your leisure suit ready?

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By on June 23, 2017

Image: 1988 Alpina B7S, image via Enthusiast Auto Group

The glorious green Alpina coupe before your eyes nets three firsts for the Rare Rides series. It’s the first coupe coated in any shade of green paint, the first BMW, and indeed the first German vehicle in the series (I don’t count last week’s Rolls-Royce as German, though you might).

Time for some eye candy.

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By on June 2, 2017

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

Today’s Rare Ride is fairly old compared to the rest of the cars in this series, and it’s the first look at quirky and long-expired manufacturer American Motors Corporation (AMC).

A few years before being swallowed up by Chrysler in its desire to own Jeep, AMC produced this very unique PLC-TC, or Personal Luxury Coupe Targa Convertible.

Come and have a look.

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By on May 31, 2017

Bright colors and lowered prices try to attract customers to a California used car lot, Image: Bike Tourist/Bigstock.com

The low, low monthly payments offered by spreading the cost of a new or used vehicle across a vast gulf of time is certainly an attractive one, even though the practice is fraught with hidden danger.

For U.S. car buyers, it has also become a very popular one, with data showing just how many people have decided to embrace a 73- to 84-month payment plan. Not only are their spending habits changing, they’re also changing their lender. Read More >

By on May 30, 2017

2018 Porsche 911 GT3, Image: Porsche

The secondhand market for sporting automobiles is a bubbling cauldron of volatility with one assurance — rarer is always better. Being racy doesn’t hurt resale value, either. That’s why track-focused manual transmission Ferraris go for an exorbitant premium on the secondhand market against their more casual counterparts. It’s also why certain the versions of the 911 can be resold at over double their original MSRP. But Porsche, like many high-end performance manufacturers, is getting sick of customers purchasing their vehicles for the sole purpose of flipping them.

The German automaker says it’s extremely aware of what is going on in the secondhand market and actively wants to take steps to crack down on for-profit flipping. It has also, perhaps inadvertently, made some headway already by bringing the 2018 911 GT3 to market with a manual transmission — potentially devaluing the manual-only 911 R. This has annoyed some capitalists hoping to resell the R at triple its original value. To that Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s GT division,  says “we’re not a hedge fund.”  Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

[timbphotography/Bigstock.com]

Daring. Thinking outside the box, as it were (a three box, naturally). Putting forth a car which is a bit risky and against the grain of the accepted beige sedan CUV. Increasingly, automakers are unwilling or unable to play in this space. Regulations, fuel economy and stiff competition force each manufacturer in line with the others. A midsize vehicle that’s almost identical to the offering at the dealer across the street is not out of the question.

But there has to be an answer to my Question of the Day, which is thus: Which modern auto manufacturer is the most daring?

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By on May 23, 2017

Image: 1981 Subaru GL Wagon, image via eBay

Your Rare Ride today is a quite old 1981 Subaru GL wagon. It comes complete with a manual transmission, brownish paint, 4×4 drivetrain, brougham Desert Fox trim, and plaid seats. I figured you wouldn’t be too interested in seeing it.

Oh, who am I kidding? You all clicked through as soon as you saw the headline image, and you’ll be glad you did.

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By on May 12, 2017

Bright colors and lowered prices try to attract customers to a California used car lot

A surge in vehicles coming off lease agreements has boosted used vehicle inventory in the United States — a trend that’s proving to be good news for dealers and a headache for Ford, General Motors and FCA.

Three or four years ago, used vehicle inventories were at a low point. U.S. automakers weren’t offering bargain leases during the recession and were apprehensive to begin doing so in the years following. Such isn’t the case anymore, with an estimated 12 million low-mileage vehicles set to come off lease by 2019, according to Reuters. Customers leased those vehicles between 2014 and 2016 when automakers experienced a sales and leasing boom.
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By on May 10, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Midnight Edition

My previous Question of the Day focused on your favorite special-edition vehicles, where I so kindly jarred your memory of the excellent Mercury Villager Nautica and GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition. Both of those vehicles showcased enough delightfully distinguishing features that I had to recommend them as prime examples of doing special editions right in the ’90s and early ’00s.

But not all special editions are worthwhile. There are plenty of ill-conceived, silly special editions out there, crapping up the aesthetic of everything in their vicinity. Some look too of the moment when most of those moments certainly don’t deserve memorialization.

Which brings me to my question for you today: What’s the lamest special edition?

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By on May 3, 2017

Mercury Villager Nautica, Image via Ford

I’m back again. Shortly after today’s QOTD about special editions went live, I received an email back from a kind contact at Ford. She provided me with the press photos of the Mercury Villager Nautica I had requested. Since they’re so nice, and you probably haven’t seen them anywhere else, it’s Picture Time.

Feast your eyes on this tasty minivan.

Read More >

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