Hammer Time: Gaining New Insight

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time gaining new insight

We now have two hybrids on our lot. It won’t last and, trust me, I know that. But I’ve always tried to buy low and sell high when it comes to cars, and non-Prius hybrids are actually reasonable these days. The car in question was a 2001 Honda Insight that was offered by a domestic dealership that had little experience with the product. The check engine light was on (recall related), the A/C was blaring ($35 of tint solved it), and the retail price was a bit prodigious ($6988 with 145k miles). They had a sealed bid sale and I got it for $4001.

I’ve always believed in the words of Wee Willie Keeler who was fond of saying, “Hit em’ where they ain’t.” There are LOTS of aint’s out there these days. VW dealers trying to sell Ford minivans. Toyota dealers selling Lincoln LS’s. Even impound lots that find themselves with three-car haulers and scooters aplenty. On average, there’s always a greater opportunity to secure a good deal on a product when you know more about it than the fellow across the table and the competitors are few (and friendly). Especially if your choice just happens to be the unpopular choice.

Last year I started changing my own inventory to reflect this. I loaded up on minivans and unpopular Detroit sedans and did very well. They’re easy to finance and simple to repair. Before I started financing vehicles, I bought a lot of “wanna-bes”: Volvos, Subarus, Saabs, Infinitis (pre-2003), and large domestic sedans with conservative leanings made up my inventory.

Over time, though, they got expensive at the dealer auctions. Folks these days are now looking for that social cachet that these second-tier luxury models bring. Rather than fighting that raging river of higher prices and lower margins, I found calmer waters in lower-end financed vehicles. So far, so good. However, if the torrent of consumer demand changes, I may have to explore brand new niches. Like that car hauler.

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2 of 27 comments
  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on May 11, 2009

    "Window tinting can fix an A/C issue? I kind of doubt that applying

  • Bomber991 Bomber991 on May 16, 2009

    Well I didn't read all the comments, but I've heard the battery failures for the insight happen with the manual transmission and not the cvt. The reason why? I guess some people with the manuals shift too early and lug the engine, so the insight compensates by using the battery power to assist the engine. Normally it's not a problem but some people just did it too much.

  • Duane Baldinger Ya my cupcake Mailman will love it!
  • Duane Baldinger Where can I send the cash? It's a surprise BDAY present for my cupcake Mailman. D Duane
  • Art Vandelay Pour one out for the Motors Liquidation Corporation
  • Bill Wade Norm, while true I'll leave you with this. My 2023 RAM is running Android 8 released in 2017.My wife's navigation on her GM truck is a 2021 release, I believe the latest. Android Auto seems to update very week or two. Now, which would you rather have? Anybody with a car a couple of years old NEVER sees any updates. Heck, if your TV is a few years old it's dead on updates. At least cell phones are rapidly updated. If your old phone won't update, buy another $200 phone. If your GM vehicle doesn't update do what, buy another $50,000 GM vehicle?
  • Lou_BC Once again, Mustang is the last pony car standing. Camaro RIP, Challenger RIP.