New or Used: The CamCord of SUVs?
I’m currently in the market for a 2005 or 2006 Chevy Tahoe Z71 and was wondering about when would be the best time to buy. Before you question the Tahoe, I’m probably one of the only people who can justify one. I live in Colorado and spend almost every weekend in the mountains hauling people and their gear up 4wd trails and snowy roads to trail heads and sleeping in the back.
I figure that given gas prices going up, this summer would probably see the values drop off. I like to do the opposite of everyone else who will be buying fuel efficient vehicles. But then I read an article by Steve that said the used car market is going to be getting worse. I’ve see prices go down some over the last 6 months (been watching the market), but not by much. So does this summer sound good, should I buy now, or wait for the future?
The stock market and the car market have one thing in common.
You can’t time them… unless you happen to be the .001% that have reliable inside information.
However you can look at certain indicators such as ‘days in inventory’, incentives, rebates, and unusually generous financing terms. Automotive News and a number of other automotive sites track these figures like clockwork.
But even with these opportunities, you are still going to be subjected to a sophisticated and long shell game at the dealership when it comes time to buy.
There is ‘some’ truth that the last few days of the month may lend themselves to special bonuses and incentives for a given dealership ‘if’ they hit a certain quota. However this numbers game isn’t always linear because not all sales become a reality.
A new car dealership has to deal with the fact that a lot of deals that are ‘written up’ during the weekend fall through the following Monday due to consumer financing issues. You also have folks who will get buyer’s remorse or simply lie when it comes time to buy their supposed new car. They walk away and all the dealership gets is wasted time and recycled paper.
My advice is not to prognosticate your way through this process. If you’re a ‘keeper’, just buy a leftover 2011 and consider that wise decision a healthy victory.
Don’t look at me: anyone who lives in Texas better NOT hate on someone for buying a Tahoe! That’s an executable offense!
And while I am no Steve Lang, I pretend to be for parties…or any special occasion.
I believe that summertime is the best time to buy. Wintertime brings lower gas prices (sometimes), snow, slick conditions and extended families arriving for the holidays: which brings families together into something more Tahoe like. And everyone knows a Z71, its a brand cache that’s rather hard to avoid in the flyover states. SUVs in your price range are old enough that buying new will never make sense…even if the used market pretty much sucks for a potential buyer at the retail level.
My only advice? Consider avoiding the Tahoe just like any value conscious sedan buyer avoids CamCords. Tahoes are in fact the CamCord of SUVs. Look at the Ford Expedition, it chronically sells for less. I haven’t seen much on the Jeep Commander, but I suspect it will also trade less than a Z71…and be even better off-road.
More to the point: have you considered going Commando(er)?
Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
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An apparently good resource for determining the reliability of used vehicles (other than anecdotes from people who post on websites) is repairpal.com. Posters will post their particular complaint about a particular make/model/year of vehicle, and the repairpal people will chime in if this is a common problem on this particular make/model/year. So, that's a little more useful than the "frequency of repair" data presented by Consumer Reports, or Mr. Karesh's "True Delta" information. That said, I would consult all three sources before considering any used car . . . so you have an idea of what you're getting into.