Tag: Used Cars

By on March 10, 2016

1994 Chevrolet Impala SS Front  at United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka Lemon Lot, Japan, Image: © 2016 Thomas Kreutzer/The Truth About Cars

When I started kicking tires and taking photos at the Fleet Activities Yokosuka Lemon Lot, I was hoping to document the dark underbelly of the Japanese Domestic scene. I figured I would find all sorts of bottom dwellers — you know, cars that should have been consigned to the junk pile years ago. That hasn’t been the case.

There are tons of large, respectable people movers on display and next to them are dozens of cheerful, little economy cars. Once in awhile we get a performance car, or at least something that could have been sporty if it had the right options, but I have yet to see any bestickered, black hooded, wanna-be drift cars. Finding interesting cars has been really difficult, so today I will show you something I have hitherto been ignoring – the imports. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2016

Kreutzer Lemon lot 1

I had the opportunity this week to visit United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka, a U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan originally established in 1866 by the Japanese Imperial Navy. The facilities are currently used to support and repair U.S. naval vessels assigned to the Western Pacific. On the day of my visit, there was a lot of activity and several warships along the waterfront, but I wasn’t there to enlist.

Instead, my motivation for visiting was much more mundane. I was there to eat tacos and check out the hoopties on the base lemon lot. (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2016


General Motors will sell highly coveted lease returns and company cars online starting next month through a program called the Factory Pre-owned Collection.

The program, which we’ve covered briefly, will sell lease returns and company cars through an online portal that makes those cars available nationwide. GM said its inventory would be roughly 30,000 cars, which all have fewer than 37,000 miles and be covered by extended warranties from the factory. Potential owners can apply for credit through the online portal and pick up their cars at a nearby dealer.

So … if GM is selling the cars owned by GM and GM Financial (or related bank) from a nationwide database, which can be financed online, and merely picked up at a nearby dealership, isn’t that just a direct sale?

(Read More…)

By on January 8, 2016


I buy a lot of cars, which means I often find myself thinking about car sellers and buyers. These are two interesting groups of human beings. In many cases, they’re openly trying to screw you. In other cases, they have no idea they’re screwing you, and you don’t discover they have until four days later when you go to put your briefcase in the trunk and it’s full of rain water.

This got me thinking: What is the least trustworthy group of automotive sellers in existence?

I’ve bought cars from all of them. New car dealers. Used car dealers. Family members, friends, auctions, and strangers on the Internet, from Craigslist to Cars.com to Autotrader to web forums. Every transaction is a little different. And every time, I’m wonder to myself: Is this person going to screw me?

That’s why I’m soliciting your opinion on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart (and wallet). Which car seller can you count on to be the very worst?

(Read More…)

By on January 7, 2016


Would you visit a hotel that rents its rooms by the hour to see a 36-year-old Cadillac with a wrench sticking straight out of the carb?

That old-school Caddy — a 1979 Cadillac Deville D’Elegance — had pretty much popped straight out of Craigslist while I was eating some hashbrowns at a nearby Waffle House. About an hour after I first saw it, I bought it for $500. TTAC compatriot W. Christian “Mental” Ward even helped me drive it off to my dealership.

It was pretty beat up, but the Caddy could still maybe, kinda, sorta play the part of a “Goodfellas” Cadillac if you were far enough away from it. Maybe 50 feet. Maybe 150 feet with a really old pair of eyeglasses.

Between seeing a nice thick solid line of fuel sputtering out of the Cadillac’s tailpipe off Highway 278 and watching its body bounce like a pinata at a kid’s birthday party, I decided to do something.

I decided to write for TTAC again.

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015


Earlier this week I wrote about how CarMax is heavily constrained by a market that has flip-flopped between six years worth of heavy car sales and about 18 months of resurgent truck and SUV demand. Long story short, CarMax’s acquisition costs for trucks, SUVs and crossovers has gone up considerably, and the supply of this inventory has cratered due to new car dealers keeping the bulk of this inventory for themselves.

Not everybody liked what I wrote. Case in point.

(Read More…)

By on December 10, 2015


There comes a point in our lives when we all fly off the handle. It can happen when we’re still young and ready to believe anything or when we’re old and the voice of those young’uns make us instinctively say nasty, insensitive thoughts.

Temporary insanity comes and goes with the seasons. With that I am about to recommend a car truckster minivan lame duck vehicle that has a surprisingly good fit for one type of buyer in particular: Those with large families who want a new car but don’t really give a shit about cars.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2015


Billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 12-percent ownership stake in Pep Boys and said that Auto Plus, a competitor which he owns, should consider buying the retail parts giant, Bloomberg reported.

In October, Bridgestone offered to purchase Pep Boys’ 800 company-owned stores for $835 million to add to its portfolio of 2,200 stores including Tires Plus, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works. The acquisition would create the largest chain of automotive service centers, yet many analysts say Bridgestone may be preparing Pep Boys for a potential sale already.

That tender offer from Bridgestone will expire Jan. 4, according to the report.

(Read More…)

By on November 12, 2015


Babies are tough. Bosses can be tougher. But the indisputable boot camp of bare knuckled stress inducers has to be a young dog that hasn’t been given the care, love, and discipline it needs and deserves.

Not even the Volkswagen Passat W8 I bought last year can compare to the ball busting doled out by an 8-month-old female boxer named Luna, a hyper-cute animal that ruthlessly channeled all of my inner Cesar Millan this past weekend, and defecated it right on the carpet.

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2015


There was a time when the word ‘cockroach’ was the best way to describe any old Chevy compact.

(Read More…)

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