Rent, Lease, Sell or Keep: 2006 Chrysler Town & Country

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

There are two extremes when it comes to minivan buyers. There are those who want all the options and knick-knack’s checked and marked for their next Mommy-mobile. Automatic dual sliding doors. DVD systems that can offer a continuous loop of ‘Barney’. Fortress like levels of safety and space combined with enough airbags and sound insulation to make even the worst of traffic a passing thought.

Then there’s the buyer for this minivan.

Rent: This is a 2006 base minivan… which means it’s loaded in a 1990’s kind of way. Power package (windows, door locks, mirrors), Cruise, Alloy Wheels, CD Player, ABS. Take it all in a short wheel base and give it an attractive red exterior… and you have an easily rentable vehicle.

Since my dealership is in a rural county, I can get a healthy premium by keeping this as a rental. $175 a week. Throw in a bit of extra mileage and this model could easily garner $800 a month. A lot of folks have families that fly into town, and since Enterprise charges everyone $40+ for a minivan, I get a lot of their traffic.

Lease: But I am also under the gun in a way. This minivan has 122k now. So even though it has the look of a spring chicken, the powertrain says otherwise. I have no problems at the moment. I even drove it from Atlanta to NYC about a month ago and it didn’t miss a lick. It had been a Carmax vehicle. So that halo of ‘quality’ would help to finance it.

How much? A down payment of $1000 to $1500 and monthly paymennts in the $300 to $350 range. You can either put it for a 24 month term, or shorten the payments to 20 months. Keep in mind this vehicle cost me $4030 altogether. So even with a hefty down payment, it’s still going to take about nine months to break even… and a lot can happen between now and then.

Sell: The sale price? When I sell a vehicle I usually don’t ask for too much. In a business where mark-up’s are anywhere between 15% to 35% I usually try to go for the lower side of the scale. I enjoy buying cars at auctions and the more time I spend buying cars, the more I can potentially make.

So I would sell this 06’ Town & Country for $5000. The mileage hurts the price a bit. But the overall condition, colors and options for this vehicle all work in it’s favor. I could make a quick nine hundred dollar profit (after paying to advertise it) and find another minivan to take it’s spot on the lot.

Keep: If I were to keep a minivan, this would be it. Except for one minor detail. This model has no side airbags for the second row. The IIHS and NHTSA gave it poor ratings for side impacts without those airbags. So my keeping this one will be a non-starter.

But if it did? I would probably do it. I would also probably start stowing away a few extra parts. A power steering pump. Master window switch. Install a transmission cooler and give it annual drain and fills with a Mityvac. Once you are aware of a vehicle’s weaknesses you can plan accordingly and enjoy a ‘keeper’.

This one is a keeper. Just not for me. But before I give it up should I keep on renting it? A potential $800 a month payday is quite lucrative. Should I lease it to someone responsible and potentially double my return in two years? Sell it for a quick and easy $900 profit? Or keep it and let my wife enjoy the virtues of a minivan that is completed loaded…. circa Clinton Era.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Mandalorian Mandalorian on Sep 28, 2011

    I would rent it for sure. It seems like the most lucrative, and rural people love Chrysler Vans.

  • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Sep 29, 2011

    Rent it. When I've wanted to rent a minivan to transport people I've found them hard to find and expensive. I think this is a niche that isn't very well covered by other rental companies, or if they do they're making a killing on it and there's plenty of room for someone like you to make some scratch. When I read your article about driving to NYC, I wondered which car you were driving. I don't recall you identifying it in that article, and for some reason I assumed it was your Insight. Now I know how you drove so fast for so far and only got stopped once: you were driving a pretty anonymous mommy-mobile (as perceived by the troopers).

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