Not all used cars are created equal.
Used cars have become somewhat commoditized in the last five years, thanks to the rise of pricing tools and third-party advertisers, but there’s still some truth behind the old school notion that every used car is a unicorn.
While most car dealers mean that each car is unique in its mileage, color, trim level, and condition, there’s one hugely important factor that most dealers would prefer you ignore: how they obtained the car.
Each car on the lot has its own story, and knowing those stories might help you figure out if you want a particular car to become part of your life story.
One supermarket’s loss was Ehren Thompson’s gain.
The Sydney, Australia man was able to use a 77-pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese he found at a local grocery store to get himself into a used Peugeot hatchback, according to BuzzFeed News. (Read More…)
TTAC commenter Piston Slap Yo Mamma has given us a great gift.
While perusing used cars on his local Craigslist site, he noticed a trend occurring in the vehicle images. Fingers. Lots of them. Obscuring license plates. Possibly, revealing more about the driver than the plate itself.
So numerous were these crooked appendages, often topped with purple or naturally yellow nails, that he felt the need to share them. So, this Tumblr page was born. (Read More…)
Craigslist can be a great place to waste a few hours browsing oddities or finding your next money pit of a project car. I have a few projects but one of my more nostalgic goals is to find a Yugo to add to my collection.
Most examples of the Yugo that pop up online are usually in a non-running state or resemble Swiss cheese, but the crew over at BangShift found the oddest one of them all.
Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this email, it’s greatly appreciated.
I have a budget of $6k and would like to buy a used car (automatic transmission). I really like the Scion tC models from ’06-’08 (I’m a fan of its smooth curves). Is it worth spending $6k on a car that has ~100k miles? I live in Silicon Valley and most the Scions I’ve seen for sale are in Sacramento or LA; I wouldn’t mind traveling a bit for the right car. By that measure, I love to drive and need a car that can take me all along the West coast as well as the weekly commute and won’t break the bank when it comes to repairs. Am I asking too much of a used vehicle? My 2001 civic made it through 235k miles, and while I prefer to stick to the Honda or Toyota family, am I missing out on a reliable American vehicle?
Again, thank you for the advice.
Back when I used to judge high school solo and ensemble music competitions for money in college, I seriously considered buying a rubber stamp that said “More dynamics.” I mean, every single kid needed to use more dynamic contrast (loud and soft playing), so I literally wrote “More dynamics” on every single judge’s sheet. The stamp would have been a YUUUUGE time saver. After about three months of doing the Ask Bark column, I’ve decided to buy two rubber stamps—one that says “Pontiac Vibe” and another that says “Scion tC.”
A wave of older vehicles is poised to flood Toyota dealer lots, but the automaker is confident it has just the plan to deal with it — pre-owned leasing.
Toyota is certain that adding a leasing option to its certified pre-owned inventory would boost CPO sales and clear lots in the face of a growing compliment of three-year-old product, Automotive News reports.
The plan has already been quietly rolled out in the U.S. Northeast, but a national strategy should be in place by the end of April, dependent on training in each dealer region. The option would allow a reduced commitment for buyers who don’t want to finance the full cost of a pre-owned vehicle. (Read More…)
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…)
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…)
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?
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?
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.
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.