The Truth About Cars » mazda 5 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » mazda 5 New or Used : Buy Retail? Sell Wholesale? Mon, 05 May 2014 17:55:55 +0000 a1


Love your articles on TTAC. Especially those on auctions, your dealership, and used cars.

I was wondering, do you provide services to buyers looking to buy a specific car? The prices in ATL are much better than the market in New England, to the point where I would be willing to fly down, buy a car and drive it back up. (I also have some friends in ATL anyway.)

If you do please let me know. I’ve been hunting for a decent priced NB Mazda Miata – and in my neck of the woods many are quite over priced.

If not no worries. I’ll continue to enjoy your articles.


Even before I wandered aimlessly around the Internet and found this place, I tried to build a car buying service that would serve the public.

The problem back then was the same problem that exists now. The general public wants to buy “showhorse” cars for “workhorse” prices.

That’s a tough market to serve, and to be frank, I got tired of being jerked around.



Corporate customers were willing for me to buy the workhorse so long as it met certain criteria. Before AirTran merged with Southwest, I used to buy their vehicles for the Atlanta market. All I had to do with them is check three simple boxes. White, under 60k miles, and it had to be a Ford. Windstars, Rangers and Tauruses were their primary wants. They paid me cost plus $500, and I was trusted to serve their interest at the sales.

Meanwhile, I ended up dealing with three types of public buyers.

1) The Online Hamlet

This is the guy who sees a great vehicle that fills every single one of their needs and then says, “Let me think about it.” 90+% of the time these customers are just wasting your life’s energy.

2) The Illusionist

These folks always thought that the auctions were loaded with a  cornucopia of cheap and plentiful vehicles. These misguided souls wanted the quivalent of an immaculate five year old Maxima for $5000…. with leather! After showing them the realities of the auction market through the Manheim Market Report, they would write back every once in a blue moon asking me if I had anything. When I did, they became an Online Hamlet.

3) The Extremist

There were two versions of the extremist. Those who wanted me to find a very specific type of vehicle; which was almost always old or rare. They weren’t so bad to deal with because they knew their stuff, understood that old cars aren’t perfect, and could often carry a conversation that went beyond the words, “I, me, mine… gimme! gimme!”

The flip side of that coin were those who had absolutely no care about what I got, because I was buying a car to help them solve a problem. The goodhearted fellow who was purchasing a car for a parent or child who needed a car to drive. Ss for what type of car, it didn’t matter so long as it was white and the size of a Camry.

I would ask these customers what car the person had been driving before, and just buy a newer version of it. Camry drivers got Camrys. Accord drivers got Accords. Volvos begat Volvos.

Which brings me to your unique situation. To be blunt, there are two issues. The first is I wholesale the overwhelming majority of the vehicles i buy
(about 80%) to other dealerships in the metro-Atlanta area.  These customers look at cars as investments. Not a coveted possession or a depreciating asset. I find the cars that can check off all their boxes and move on to the next one.

The second hurdle (more like a brick wall)i s that you are asking me to buy a highly popular and seasonal vehicle during the very worst time of year to buy it. A well-kept Miata in the springtime will get all the money in the world at the auctions. Even an unpopular droptop, such as the Volvo C70 I bought for $1000 last November, will end up selling for about $2700 (less auction fee) during this time of year. I was unfortunate to buy it with a transmission that was going south, but fortunate to buy it at the right times. So I made money on it.

If you want me to buy a vehicle, it’s cost plus $500 and I will only buy a “lemming” these days. Late model cars that are off-lease, a rental, or a repo. A 2012 Mazda 5 Sport, silver with a black/gray interior an 62k miles I’ll try to retail for $12k. But if I bought it for someone who already gave me a 20% non-refundable deposit on the average book value before the sale, they would wind up paying around $10,500.

Late model, less popular cars are worth my buying. A car that I can flip to another dealer that specializes in that type of vehicle? Not so much.

Good luck!


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Hammer Time Remix: The Piper Principle Mon, 29 Oct 2012 13:00:17 +0000

Wrestling fans and auto enthusiasts have a lot in common.

They can be sickeningly loyal to their favorites. Even when it’s obvious their one and only favorite is well past their prime.

They also have a bit of a dopamine problem.

Adrenalin, excitement, the thrill of seeing ‘their guy’ win the battles. It’s all there. Even for the boring ones.

Whether it’s a Camry climbing up the sales chart. Or a 1988 Toyota MR2 carving up a modern day competitor over a mountain overpass. It’s a rush to see ‘your choice’ of past and present be the best choice.

But then there’s the Piper Principle.

What about the brand that can’t sell cars to save their ass from first base? What about the company that goes bankrupt or leaves a market? Heck, what about Rowdy Roddy Piper?. For those who don’t know the guy, Piper is a funny and arrogant wise-ass whose verbal slights and coconut endorsements put him at the top of the wrestling business when roids were all the rage.

He was funnier than hell, quirky, and probably drugged out of his mind. But the essence of Piper  was that the more of a heel he became, the more you rooted for the guy. Piper was the guy you loved to hate… and once you got sick of the ‘good guys’, you rooted for him.

I look at certain models the same way I looked at Piper. The Chevy Volt seems to get a lot of haters these days. Why? Well…

“It’s not as good as a real hybrid like the Toyota Prius!”

“It’s not REALLY that economical if you drive it 200+ miles every day!”

“It’s subsidized by the taxpayers.” (Note: ALL automakers throughout the world are subsidized and given resources by their respective governments.)

“It’s American, and American cars are crap! By the way, Steve? Can you help me find a car? I’m open to any suggestions you have as long as it’s a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.”

Of course certain folks have bitched and moaned about the Big 3 offering gas guzzling SUV’s and pickups for decades. While subtly ignoring Toyota’s and Honda’s desire to move into the same markets.

Hell I’ll even go out and say it.  Most car enthusiasts have prejudices against car brands that are based on media and myth.

There are a lot of vehicles enthusiasts tend to despise because of nothing more than this guilt by association. The Corvette is a fantastic sports car. But a lot of car buyers can’t get past paying $50k for a Chevrolet.

The Hyundai Genesis? Needs a prestigious brand name like Lexus. The IS-F does not have a Bavarian acronym in front of it. BMW equals Y-U-P-P-I-E… and so forth.

Best car? Doesn’t matter.

This line of thinking bothers me. I like to see the best car win… and I like to see people buy the best cars for them without blinders.

A Suzuki SX4 is a great under $18,000 all-wheel-drive vehicle that would have received 20 times the volume if it had a popular emblem on the front of it. I would argue the same for the 1st gen Ford Fusion, the current Mazda 5, and even the Pontiac G8 when it was out and about.

Am I wrong? Perhaps. But I see writing off certain brands and models as the equivalent of writing off certain forms of music, food… and wrestlers. You can never get the full enjoyment of being an ‘enthusiast’ unless you’re willing to change your mind.

To paraphrase the Piper, “If you think you always have all the right answers, you need to start changing the questions.”

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