Hammer Time: Mercury Milans Aplenty, Toyota Prius White Hot

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time mercury milans aplenty toyota prius white hot

If there’s a poster car for wholesale heaven, the Mercury Milan is it. No surprise in my neck of the woods. The oft-forgotten sibling of the Ford Fusion is flogged by a dealer network dwarfed by Ford’s name brand Goliaths. More to the point, around Atlanta, it seems like Lincoln/Mercury dealers are either closing shop, changing brands or giving-in to the white flag of consolidation. I saw over 50 Milans today. Only 10 sold. The number of Lincoln Mercury dealers buying? Zero. The Toyota Prius, on the other hand, is on fire. I saw a low-end 2004 model go for $15,800. When you incorporate the auction’s fee, that equates to a $2500 premium over a similar Prius on Ebay’s completed items section. Near-new Priora are following suit. Low-mileage 2008 examples were only going for around $21k a few weeks back. Many of them are now selling in the $23k to $25k range. When the Prius factory comes on-stream in ‘Ole Miss, prices should ease. But will they? A rising tide may lift all boats, but the Volt begins life seriously outgunned.

Join the conversation
4 of 25 comments
  • M1EK M1EK on Oct 01, 2008

    austinseven, you buy a used car knowing it MIGHT need major repair work. Big difference, for varying values of MIGHT.

  • CarnotCycle CarnotCycle on Oct 01, 2008

    One possibility with Prii batteries is in the future you may be able to purchase a snazzier Li-ion pack when your nickel pack goes south. That would help make such a cost more palatable to a user, knowing they can make the car better than it was new with a component they have to replace anyways at some point. Nickel packs lose capacity over time though, its not just like one day the thing goes from hero to zero. How bad does it get on a Prius by year five compared to driving it off the lot? Does anyone know if there is an impact on the fuel economy of a Prius as the battery goes south over time? It would make the notion of a 2006 46 MPG Prius not a genuine claim. Not that I would condone such behavior, but there is a possibility that could even be a class-action lawsuit if you can get John Edwards and his ilk sniffing money from flush Toyota for "false advertising" or some horseshit that "justifies" a shark attack on Toyota.

  • 50merc 50merc on Oct 01, 2008

    geeber: "now would be a good time for a full-fledged editorial detailing how various models are doing on the wholesale market" I second the motion. I love your reports from the "real world." plee: "The typical percentage of cars sold at a given auction is 60-70% so it is very common for any brand of late model cars to have a low “sold” number." And I'd love an explanation of how dealer-only auctions work. I gather the prices paid are many thousands under retail prices, but how can sellers that need to thin inventory afford to wait months for vehicles to bring a satisfactory bid? Aren't huge incentives on new cars making near-new used cars a bad alternative?

  • Tulsa_97sr5 Tulsa_97sr5 on Oct 01, 2008

    I'll third the motion, there is a lot of interesting insight in the comments on TTAC and I'm all for hearing more from Steven. Would love to read a piece or 10 from mikey as well.