Hammer Time: The Toyonda Premium

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

Go to any auto auction. Chances are you’ll see 2001 Accords and Camrys go for higher prices than 2003 Tauruses and Grand Prixs. Is that premium justified? Well, I’ll put it to you this way.

Buy here-pay here lots are rapidly becoming the strongest segment at the auctions. A lot of you may think, “Oh, well those guys are the biggest rip-off joints in the business.” Well . . . yes and no. I do know of a few particularly nasty companies that Frankenstein cars to the poor dumb shits of the world. They also have the lawyers and lobbyists to prove it. However most BH-PH lots are more interested in selling something that lasts. To paraphrase Mr. McGuire, they want the money.

The notes will typically be anywhere from one to four years and they need to make sure the car sold will last with minimal expense during that time. They also want something that sells quick and high; and reputation sells. In spite of all the gently driven old cars, with good owners aplenty, most folks want the car that simply offered the best quality on day one. End of story. The Civics, Corollas, Camrys and Accords have been that car. In fact, there are weeks where one nationally known used car dealership will have more Accords OR Camry trade ins with over 150k than all the other European and American cars put together. Should you buy one? Well now we’re talking value . . . which really depends on the owner. Unfortunately most buyers at BH-PH lots rarely consider that side of the equation.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Sep 23, 2009

    Kevin Kluttz : Many times the Honda or Toyota (or anything else for that matter) coming through the auction was traded in at a dealership and sent to auction because a bank won't touch the mileage. To use your vehicle as an example: You trade it on a new or slightly used vehicle. They won't resell something with over 200k on the clock. It goes to auction, where the mileage is chalked on the window. Newer used car lots also won't touch it. A lower end BHPH lot picks it up, fixes any major issues, and sells it for cash outright or a one year loan. Believe it or not a reputable place is going to check and repair issues with a car before selling it. They are not getting thier money if the thing blows up 2 months after the sale.

    • TwoTone Loser TwoTone Loser on Jul 13, 2010

      This may scare you a little- My co-worker bought a 99 Honda Accord V6 from a BHPH lot with 240+k miles. The engine was solid, but the power steering was dying and the emissions control system was pretty much shot. He had it a whole month before leaving the keys in it so it would get Repo'd The price-over 7 grand. Yes. That's right. Mind you, he is not too smart, but the premium is very real.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009

    Once more, with feeling: After readign the stories of happy Accord owners in this forum (I was one of them, but did not bother to give myh example as well), you will better appreciate my earlier comment: There is probably zero premium, if you calculate your TOTAL cost, including fuel, maintenance, repairs, AND resale value. If you do the math, the higher quality Accord-Camry-Civic-Corolla may well be also the cheapest option, and as a dividend you have a better driving experience and satisfaction! No wonder the onetime big 3 are going to hell in a handbasket, and I the taxpayer pay the bills for two of the three so far, to the tune of $100s of billions!

  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Sep 24, 2009

    George B wrote: I think that avoiding TIME spent on repairs is more of a factor with the Toyota and Honda premium than saving money. This is a huge factor for me too ... and probably for anyone who's in the role of being the go-to person for his or her family and friends' fleet of vehicles. It's the same logic that drove me to start recommending Macs to family members and friends who aren't knowledgeable about computers (pre-XP SP2)--so I wouldn't have to spend so much time dealing with their issues.

  • Fli317 Fli317 on Sep 25, 2009

    Kevin Kluttz: Absolutely, that GM truck is plenty refined. The Oddysey was underpowered and the gas mileage savings was not enough to justify that. I think the Oddysey is so refined that it was boring. The Denali is really a hot rod. Its fun. We do have to haul the family, but we really bought it to enjoy it.