By on February 11, 2013

What makes an owner trade in their car?

This may not be a question for the ages. But the impact this question has on every automaker will very well determine their long-term successes and failures.

After all, manufacturers want you to become an evangelist for their chosen brand. Billions of advertising dollars can be hurled at the general public in an endless cacophony of overt and nuance ridden ways. But in the end, it’s the good graces and big mouths of us current owners that carries the most sway. No clever hamster, truck loving dog, or clueless celebrity can approach the collective influence of the word of mouth.

Your opinion matters most, bar none… and now with the potential of over 300,000 surveys and data sets to tabulate, I may need a bit of help with it all.

What I’m asking for is not help with the raw collection of all that data. One of our frequent commenters is pulling it all into a database as we speak and has reserved a web site tentatively titled to display it all.

The help we need is with figuring out three questions. Specifically, if you were to trade-in your own vehicle, what three questions would you want the automaker to ask you?

Now asking a question such as, “Why didn’t you put a damn ashtray in the Neon?”, may seem rather pointless. But it’s not. Far from it. Automakers are always trying to figure out where they can attract a niche and maybe, perhaps, the theme of that question is something worth everyone’s time.

So don’t worry about offering a generic, “Did you like the car?”. Have fun. Be creative. It’s Monday after all. Let us know the three questions you would like to have an automaker ask you when parting company with your long loved creme puff or virulently reviled shitbox.


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61 Comments on “Monday Mileage Champion: Crossing The Bridge Of Vehicular Death...”

  • avatar

    If it were a German manufacturer: “Where can we better place the cup holders?”

    • 0 avatar

      Question from a BMW dealer: “So, you will not buy another BMW until we have a normally aspirated straight six engine?”

      Answer: “Yes”

      Question from a Mercedes Benz dealer: “So, you will not buy another Mercedes until we have a normally aspirated V8 engine?”

      Answer: “Yes”

  • avatar

    Oh, and also: “Were the window regulators satisfactory?” Hell no! They’re most always weak and need replacing soon after the warranty expires!

    • 0 avatar

      I parted wih my 87 535iS over the dashboard crack down the middle. Great car-light, fast, torquey, handled nice and hard. Tried to save it by replacing it(no easy task) but the new one did the same thing. Fortunately, the plastics got better on the e34 I drive now-fresh as they day it was born.

  • avatar

    From the Honda dealer:
    1. Aren’t you glad Honda finally stopped trying to boost you up to an Acura to get common features like memory seats? Because we sure are.
    2. Did you consider any other cars, like the new Chevy Malibu before coming back? No? Completely redesigned, like twice in the past 90 days or something? Yeah, we haven’t seen one on the road, either.
    3. How’d you like that blue coolant?

    From the Mitsubishi dealer:
    1. Do you have any idea how upside-down you are on this thing?
    2. Really?
    3. Why didn’t they put a damn ashtray in the Neon?

    From the Toyota dealer:
    1. So did you buy a different shade of silver for your Camry this time around, or just get the same one?
    2. Is there anything we can do to make our F&I experience a little more excruciating? Because those guys can only take so many smoke breaks.
    3. Is Downton Abbey on tonight? Love that show. No kidding, my husband calls it Downtown Abbey too! What an idiot. Almost as idiotic as trying to sell full-size trucks while running ads showing the “man of the house” spazzing out in cars on the showroom floor or being ferried around like a dog on the way home from the vet. Anyway, let’s get you in that Camry, girlfriend!

  • avatar

    So this is the manufacturer asking me? I hope to god they read TTAC and our comments to get a good idea what we as consumers and enthusiasts want. For me, I tend to drive my vehicles a long time so my questions would revolve around things that really one only thinks about well into vehicle ownership.

    1. Did anything fail/break prematurely?

    That wheel bearing went out at 50,000 miles. WTF?

    2. Was anything difficult to service and/or replace?

    Hmm, that door lock broke and I couldn’t open my divers side door. It was a PITA to get the door panel off withouth being able to open the damn door….then you weren’t clear about where I had to drill thru to release the lock. It’s like swiss cheese to just replace a $40 part.

    3. What one option do you wish this vehicle had that it does not?

    I don’t expect a lot but damn it would’ve been nice to have…

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with you on the first two.

      #3 for me: “What would make you most likely to purchase a future version of this model vehicle?”

      The answers for our two vehicles:

      1st gen Scion xB –
      1. No
      2. The water pump at 113k miles. That’s a tight engine compartment.
      3. A quieter interior and a sixth forward gear in the manual transmission (3500 RPM at 70 mph is too damn high for an economy car)

      2nd gen Honda Odyssey –
      1. The transmission – three times before 200k (everything else has been rock solid)
      2. Nothing much worse than other cars.
      3. A transmission made of something stronger than glass.

      • 0 avatar

        “…a sixth forward gear in the manual transmission (3500 RPM at 70 mph is too damn high for an economy car)”

        This. Yes, the car will lug when it hits a hill in top gear. We get that. And we’ll downshift. If we were afraid of shifting, we would have bought a slushbox.

      • 0 avatar
        old fart

        Maybe the imports taught everyone a new way of thinking about reliability, but for me 1 transmission rebuild/replacement per 200,000 would be the limit.

  • avatar

    A: Whenever that shiny new thing (whatever that may be) just seem to hard to resist, seem to potentially able to fulfill whatever things (features, design, comfort, etc.) that your current car lacks. Oh, and when you finally can afford that shiny new thing, of course.

  • avatar

    Trying mightily to leave sarcasm aside (for the moment — no long term promises):

    1. In any vehicle with a folding rear seat: Why can’t the rear seatbacks fold COMPLETELY flat? Many accomplish this. Perversely, BMWE and Porsche seem to struggle more the larger the vehicle becomes.

    2. For drivers: Why can’t I buy a non-fancied up version of this sweet car? I’d like to save some money now, and more importantly, I’d like to know I can keep the vehicle v=beyond the warranty without worrying about very expensive repairs to things I didn’t really want to begin with (climate control, sunroof, iDrive etc.).

    3. To all manufacturers: Please join me and every other enthusiast in calling for a world wide ban on run-flat tires. They cost more and work poorly (though improving a bit).

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree with Kosmo about the base version of vehicles.

      I, for one, am in favor of stripped down cars like the BMW 320i. I admit that I did not follow due diligence on this car, but I hope that you can get it with regular HVAC control (no climate control), cloth seats, no sunroof, etc. This way, you get all of the BMW driving goodness without the added complex parts.

      Of course it does still have a turbo engine though…

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty sure that Porsche releases “stripper” models now and again. They cost more, but it does cost more to make multiple options down the line than could be ever made up by reduced parts costs. Don’t expect this to happen on cars meant as daily drivers.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah this answer is pretty obvious, the “base” version of the car doesn’t save nearly the amount of money the consumer expects it would. I guarantee BMW makes more money on a 335 than they do a 328, and even less on the new 320, just to get the price down to where the buyers will buy it.

        You want cheap you need to buy an old design, head on over to the Chevy dealer for your ancient Impala.

  • avatar

    For Ford about the 2013 Focus:

    After I accelerate hard, engine rpm balloons instead of dropping when I take my foot off the accelerator pedal to shift to the next higher gear. I have noticed this in other cars, but it is much worse in the Focus.

    Our other two cars (Subaru and Infiniti) have large, easily read tachometers and speedometers. In the Focus, they are two thirds the size of the others and are partially covered if you don’t view them at just the right angle.

    I don’t understand why the parking lights need to come on when you open any of the doors.

    • 0 avatar

      Sell the Ford. You’ll thank me in the long run. If you’re already having issues now, imagine how bad they’ll be in 50K, 100K miles.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe that rev hang is caused by emissions equipment to prevent NOx spikes. Although I’ve also seen it sold as a safety gimmick to prevent snow wheel spin…which is obvious BS as is encourages upshift lurches if u aren’t watching the tach. As far I know the fix is an engine flash, giving power also, and I haven’t found any solutions that are standalone. it makes a huge difference to remove it btw…almost as pronounced as a lighter flywheel.

    • 0 avatar

      86SN2001: They aren’t failures, just nuisances due to poor design decisions. Overall, the car is very good. Second choice was a Mazda3.

      tedward: I suspected that was the reason. However, it’s worse on the Focus than on any other modern car I have driven. This includes Subarus, Porsches, BMWs, Infinitis and Audis. Once the warranty has expired, we will look into a reflash.

    • 0 avatar

      …I don’t understand why the parking lights need to come on when you open any of the doors…

      In the glove box is an owner’s manual. I would look up in the Index something on the lines of perimeter lighting or entry lighting or exit lighting.

      Could also be buried in the user setup for the car.

      You can probably set it so that the parking lights come on for X seconds, or the parking lights and headlights for X seconds, or the parking lights, headlights and backup lights for X seconds, or no lights. Pretty common in a lot of cars now.

  • avatar

    Rewrite the stupid manual!
    Mazda tends to show an isolated button, rather than an area of the dash, And they insist on using that button for 2 or even three functions, so that the label has little resemblance to the desired purpose. All I want is to set the presets on the radio, dammit.

    And if your manual is 400 pages long, you have made the car too complex for anyone to operate it. Never mind this is the base model, they have to tell you about every option on every trim level of every damned car they make because YOU are PANTING to know this crap.

    Why can’t they do a separate manual for Canada anyway?

    And never mind if this is just a CX7, not a top of the line BMW with iDrive and fairy dust.

    Oh, and the wipers don’t NEED 3 different lengths, and they STILL have a deliberate non-covered area of the front windscreen that means the victim in the right hand seat can’t see out the front in a rainshower.

    Yes, I live in Central Texas, and we only get 25″ of rain per year, but when you look up the wipers in the manual, and its 25 pages and references to A, B, and C illustrations, and includes Canadian options that are not offered here, and are not on the SV Trim in the first place, just admit that you are IDIOTS. My wife just wanted to drive in a light rain. WHY should it be so difficult?

  • avatar

    To Nissan: Why must I buy the CVT rubber band transmission if I want an automatic. You are going to sell a toyota when I wear out this (six speed manual) car and go to an automatic because of my wife’s knee.

    To Nissan: Why did you take some perfectly nice looking cars and make them so ugly that other enthusiasts want to hit them with a shovel and badmouth me all the time. I own one and love it but it’s in spite of the style not because of it.

    To TTAC: Why, if I leave the room it seems I have to log in again when I return. It’s still me and I’m the only one that uses my computer.

  • avatar

    To Mazda:
    Sad to say goodbye to my Protege after 12 years of service. Sadder that you had to close all the dealerships in our area.
    My question: why can’t you deputize a few repairs shops to make warranty repairs in the areas that you closed dealerships, it would make it easier to go out of town to buy another Mazda.

  • avatar

    From MB and Acura.

    Do our rain sensing wipers seem an added feature.
    No. This si the opne function that would cause me not to buy your product ever again. Any wiper that chages tempo and runs way to fast for no explicable reason is a pos. Either allow me to disable this funtion and go to regular delay, or in stall a system luke BMW where you can at least alter the sensitivity and max wiper speed. This is tech run amok, and you saved money on acheap system that works like crap.


    What do you leats like about our cars.
    Why build a transmission that has such a tall final drive ratio, and strong lockup, that the car is a slug unless downshifting. It affects the way the whole car drives. Yes its to get you through soem arcane fuel economy reg, but others do it so much better and all this does is make good GM products still feel bad.

    To all manufacturers.
    Design good cars, lane asisst and various other systems, blind spot warning, are electronic gimicks. I would specificaly not buy any car which came with these systems as manadatory. I dont want top be radiataed by mirror radar, and I dont want a car nudging me into a lane. Also turbo motors dont drive great comoared to a bigger NA one. Make transmissions that shift intutively and have grears appropriate to engine power. No one like auto stop or eps, ands they save relatively little. Maybe auto stop works for europe, but don’t have that as the default setting here.

  • avatar

    Here are a few I’d like to hear from manufacturers:

    1. What do you think a fair price would be for built-in navigation? We’re charging $2500 for that, even though there’s already a color touchscreen in the dash, and map updates are $350.

    (Answer: if you’ve already put the screen in the dash for every level, then Nav ought to be a $200 dealer-installed plug-in module. Nav is free with my phone and includes always-updated maps and real-time traffic, so that’s what you’re competing with.)

    2. If we gave you the option of choosing from a larger selection of interior/exterior colors, would you be willing to wait for your car to be built?

    (Answer: absolutely. I might even consider buying new instead of used if the car I wanted was offered this way.)

    3. What aspects of the car were appealing in the test drive but drove you nuts after you owned the car for a while? In other words, how can we better balance showroom/test drive appeal with long-term satisfaction?

    (Answers: seats that are comfortable on longer drives, soft-touch materials that don’t rub/flake off after a couple of months of soft touching, the ability to opt out of Sirius/XM when I buy the car so they don’t hound me forever to subscribe, and how about making all of those storage cubbies and cup holders easily cleanable? A cup holder should contain liquid when it spills, but I shouldn’t have to wait for it to evaporate instead of removing it and pouring it out.)

  • avatar

    I don’t plan to trade it in any time soon but if I was:

    1. did you enjoy those summer performance tires that lasted about 20K on an awd WRX sold in New England in December?

    2. did you like the squeaky interior?

    3. how about the awful shifter that your car had in stock form and you had to put in your own time and effort to make it bearable?

  • avatar

    Was at the Chicago Auto Show this weekend so my questions are a reflection of that experience:

    Question from Jaguar: Would you prefer that we upgrade the leather in our XJ-L?

    Response: No, I prefer that it look shiny and cheap when I’m spending $100,000 on a premium sedan

    Question from Lexus/Toyota/Chevy Truck: How do you like those big slabs of hard plastic where we used to put nicely styled door panels?

    Response: Ugh!

    Question from Buick: We’re not sure if we’ve got the grill (aka “Cowcatcher”) proportions correct. What do you think?

    Response: when the grill size exceeds the size of the hood, I think you’ve made it big enough

  • avatar

    Honda dealer: From your maintenance records, it looks like you took care of your Ridgeline with the long haul in mind. Why are you getting rid of it?

    Me: If it was 6 inches shorter and got 19 real-world MPG rather than 16.5, I would drive this truck 400,000 miles.

  • avatar

    On Saturday, we traded my wife’s 2007 Subaru Forester for a new Honda CR-V. The Subie gave us 6 years of good service, and did everything we asked it to do. If it were up to me we probably would have bought another, but it’s her car and she settled on the Honda. Subaru didn’t ask, but here are a couple of our reasons
    -4 speed automatic in 2013? Come on. Yes I know the 2014 will have a CVT. I hate every CVT I’ve driven. (OK, that was mine)
    -Fuel mileage. Related to the topic above, and there are differences in how the AWD works between the 2, but she doesn’t care. Gas here is about $1.20 per litre, lots more in the summer. A couple of mpg makes a big difference.
    -Features for the price. You have to buy the top model of Forester to get some of the things she wanted that are included in all CR-Vs.
    -Interior layout. Honda had better and more storage up front, and the park brake is a pedal not a lever between the seats allowing a much more useful storage area. Not a big deal for me, but huge for her. It is a utility vehicle, after all.
    -Dealership. Both dealers are honest as dealers go, but the Honda sales person recognized that my wife was buying the car and I was there in an advisory role. The Subaru dealer didn’t quite get this, a fatal error. The Honda dealer is also a lot larger and had the exact model and colour she wanted, which made it a lot harder for me to say “let’s hold off awhile..”. Not a manufacturer thing per se, but it did factor in.
    Most of these things are small items or personal preference, but deals turn on the small things. Subaru makes a good product, but my general impression is that they are are a little behind the times.

  • avatar

    From the Ford Dealer:

    1) I see you’re driving a 25 year old Chevy truck. What can I do to put you in a new Ford?

    A) Shrink the F-150 to a normal size, or else just build me a new Ranger.

    2) We offer a wide range of engines for towing, mileage, and power. Which one would you like?

    A) Whichever one will get 30 mpg in my new Ranger and still tow 5000 lbs.

    3) We offer a wide range of body styles and color options for trucks on our website, but unfortunately our dealers only order double-cabs, short beds, and two color options for their inventory. Which color would you like?

    A) Anything other than grey, silver, white, or black on a NON-double-cab truck with a full sized bed. For my RANGER.

    • 0 avatar

      Re: #1
      I parked head-to-head with a brand new Toyota Tundra at Costco the other day. I was in shock by the enormity of the front end; it filled my front windshield completely!

      I agree on the Ranger sentiment. I still miss my 2.3L ’93; it was totaled in an accident at the 150k mark. I liked it so much I got a 3.0L ’00 brand new, at the time, but nothing matched the gas mileage and utility of a single cab 4-pot mini-truck. Unfortunately the ’00 Ranger succumbed to injuries sustained in a low-speed T-bone incident in the summer of ’07.

    • 0 avatar

      This. Does anyone actually sell a real compact pickup anymore? Even the Tacoma is 30% larger than the old Hilux.

      I loved my 2.3l 4 banger Ranger. I loved my 4.0l V6 Ranger, even though the engine was literally designed in the 1950s. I would buy a new Ranger. I will never buy an F150. They may make more money on those trucks, except they’ll never make a penny off me…

  • avatar

    To all car makers, why do you seem to but the worst tires or cheapest tires on your cars?

    For VW
    Why can I not get fog lights on my Jett’s TDI wagon and it could use some more interior space, you include under seat draws on the ones for the Mexico market why not hear, and please let me lock me own doors thanks.

    Not a nitpick but just a question , why does the little snowflake come on at 39 degrees when 32 images more sense.

    For Honda, any idea why your cards have so much wind noise? Me neither but I am not in the car business you are.

    • 0 avatar

      You can enable/disable the automatic locking of doors on recent VW/Audi products either at the dealer or by using the VAG-COM software.

      The “snowflake” warning comes on when temperatures are near freezing — even when the air temperature is above freezing, roads (and especially bridges) may be at freezing temperatures or below. I don’t know why that specific temperature was selected, though.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Is this trade-in as “I got a new car” or “I didn’t want to bother unloading the old car myself”?

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    A question I would like to hear from all manufacturers:

    Q. Would you like us to sell you a car without a CD player and reduce the cost $5.00?

    A. Hell YES.

  • avatar

    To all manufacturers

    Why can you not make a comfortable seat for a larger person in your compact sedans? One who weighs over 225lbs can develop a real hate for your car due to back ache on trips over 100 miles.

    Why must all interiors be mouse grey, beige or black.

    Similarly the natural color of leather to my way of thinking is British Tan but alas one would have to go north of $100,000 to find a car so optioned. Beige, grey and black once again insults my decorator inner child.

  • avatar

    Trade-in: 2011 Mustang GT/CS
    1. What feature would you be willing to pay an extra $2,000 for?
    – Another manual transmission option. Seriously, let me answer your question with a question; why must I avoid a 7 roll every time I go to shift into second gear? If I avoid a 7 on the roll I get the unique experience of moving a stick through a bucket of gravel. If I crap out I get locked out of 2nd gear; I shouldn’t be fearful of getting rear-ended by distracted California drivers as I retreat into 3rd gear. You’ll sell me a back seat X-brace for $1,300 but you didn’t have the foresight to sell me a better transmission option!?!? Sorry, I blacked out. Why am I holding a kitchen knife?

    2. What feature would you be willing to pay an extra $1,000 for?
    – A sport suspension package. I’d like the Montezuma’s Revenge-style ride to stop. Even if you just swapped shocks, slapped on a sport sticker, and called me Shirley, I’d still pay $1,000 for the option to avoid this carnival ride. Yes, I can do this in the aftermarket, but then I don’t get warranty protection when my improper drive lash specs remove my differential gears after their first term in office.

    3. What feature would you be willing to pay an extra $500 for?
    – Navigation, but even $500 is a stretch; if you add in the ability to use it as a secondary display screen for track apps or auxiliary device outputs, you’ll probably sell out before I get there.

  • avatar

    Dear GM/Toyota NUMMI,

    After reading the owners manual for the 2005 Pontiac Vibe from cover to cover I can find no suggested maintenance schedule for the base model 5-speed manual transmission. You suggest changing the fluid in the automatic every 30,000 miles in severe service but for the manual transmission you are silent. WTF? Am I expected to think that a transmission with a reputation as being a bit fragile has no maintenance requirement? Or perhaps you regard the 3rd n 4th gear sets replaced at the 40,000 mile mark to be “normal wear items”?

    Sincerely Anticipating Your Response,


    • 0 avatar

      “Or perhaps you regard the 3rd n 4th gear sets replaced at the 40,000 mile mark to be “normal wear items”?”

      Ha! That’s like the ignition coils being “normal wear items” on a MV Jetta. I have a friend that went through three of them before rolling through the 40k mile marker.

      • 0 avatar

        It is my wife’s car, and she’s still driving it at 70,000+ miles. At the approximately 40,000 mile mark 3rd gear bit the dust and the way they’re connected in the transmission the local GM dealer chose to replace 3rd and 4th as a set. Now that we’re creeping up on 80,000 miles I’m getting nervous about another catastrophe.

        BTW she learned to drive stick on an old Honda Civic which had passed through the abusive hands of her sisters before she got it. 300,000 miles with the only trans issue being clutch replacements.

  • avatar

    I don’t really get this. What questions do I want the dealership to ask me about my trade in? Why would I care what questions they ask (unless it nets me more cash for it)? And even if they did ask, what’s the point when the trade-in is likely a generation (or two) out of date?

    If the point of this is actually about quality (or rather, how well it met its expectations of performance), then ask questions about that:
    “Are you trading this car in because you don’t like it? And if so, what do you not like? Why trade it in now and not earlier? If you do like the car, why are you trading it in?”
    “Is there anything that is currently not working or not working well?”
    “What have you had to repair? And was there anything you had to repair more than once? Has this car met your expectations?”
    “Have you customized the car in any way? What did you do and why?”
    “Would you recommend this car to your family/friends? Knowing what you know now, would you still have bought this car?”
    “Are there any features you never or rarely used? Were there any features you found difficult to use?”
    “How would you compare your trade-in to the new car you are buying? What do you like more about the new/old one?”

    • 0 avatar

      Seems like you were one of the only people who actually responded correctly to the question. I think your questions make sense.

      The key is to find out what the *customer* thought was important (like the ashtray), not to assume the answer by asking a highly specific question. The questions you included would likely prompt people to respond with the little things that they came to value (or hate) over time.

  • avatar

    2011 Subaru Outback:

    “Why can’t I have more quantitative gauges like oil temp, engine temp, etc?”

    “Why can’t I get the 5-speed auto with the 4Cyl?”

    “Why no automatic door locks?”

  • avatar

    Honda dealer’s questions.

    Why are you selling the Odyssey?
    Because you did not put a real transmission in. I got a flaming heap that had to be rebuilt three times in 120k miles. Changed the d#%n Honda transmission fluid 10times over its life. The rest of the van has other issues.

    What do you want improved in maintenance and service?
    How about a competent service dept, not just a bunch of upsellers who botched several jobs. Comebacks waste money for you and me.
    Would like maintenance fluids licensed out to major makers so I can buy when and where I want, not rush to the dealer. Online is not enough. Many dealers do not mail fluids. I do have a job. Weeks can pass before I can go out of my way to a dealership. I wasted time and $$$ buying Honda ATF for bad results. Won’t make that mistake again. I guarantee nobody but a total fool or fanboy will buy Honda air:)

    Why do you not want to pay our price on the “beautiful” new car?
    Why do your dealers think their cars are valued like gold? They are not. There are other cars.

    Why did you not like the CRV?
    CRV has a rock hard rear seat and almost no rear visibility. Drivers can not see and find it easy to cut off other drivers even more than usual.

    Why do you not like the Civic?
    I often see 2 dr civics driving well above normal speed, screeching around turns not using turn signals and cutting off others. I guess it is a difficult car to drive responsibly. I would like a car that has turn signals and a throttle that can be modulated:)

  • avatar

    ’08 Honda Civic (and many other cars with similar greenhouse):

    Why is the windshield raked so that when I’m turning left I have to move my head to the right to see around the A pillar? Why isn’t there more vertical distance between the bottom and the top of the windows?

    Paul MacCready, one of the all-time experts on aerodynamics, the brains behind the GM impact, and the pedal-powered plane that crossed the English Channel in ’79, told me that it’s windshield didn’t have to be nearly as raked as it was, and I assume, similarly, that the rake of the windshields on so many modern cars is an unnecessary marketing device.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    1. Did you like how we used one dual intensity bulb to serve as a taillight, brake light and turn signal? (No, this has hideously unsafe and confusing to those behind me. Separate bulbs for each function and the turn signal should be amber.)

    2. Did you appreciate how we took care of that sunroof you broke trying to open it up under ice and the CD player you kept jamming home-recorded stuff into under warranty despite your obvious fault? (Yes, thank you.)

    3. Would you have preferred plastic that would survive a disassembly or two? (Yes, I know the car was built to a price, but come on!)

    4. Would you have preferred body colored mirrors and other exterior trim? (NO! I love the bare black plastic that doesn’t show scuffs and is easily replaced)

    5. Want wider tires? (No, narrower. This car has no power or weight and the big feet are a detriment.)

  • avatar

    To just about all of them:

    1. Why can’t you make a speedometer that goes all the way around and only goes to 100 MPH instead of going to 140 or more MPH for your sedan? Do you really think we’re going to be driving *this car* that fast? some of us like to be able to read 35 mph…

    2. 15-16 inch wheels are just fine, some of us actually have to buy tires. (although decent 15 inch tires are being phased out now…)

    3. No, I don’t want your fancy Magnetic Ride Control/Self Leveling/Air, expensive as crap suspension that costs 5x as much to replace and goes out 2x as often, why can’t you spec your option packages better so I don’t have to have it come standard on higher trim levels?

  • avatar

    Would you like something with a bigger back seat?

  • avatar

    Perhaps I am reading this wrongly, but I read the question as what should the OEM/Dealer ask to get you to trade it in, not after you’ve decided to trade it in (which would be “why now?”).

    To get me to trade it in:

    1. How much do you spend in maintenance and repair per year that you wouldn’t have to with a new car?

    2. How close to the retail or pp trade value does our trade value offer have to be to entice you to trade your’s in and buy a new car?

    3. What new feature available on a new car but not on your car is the tipping point for you to buy a new car?

  • avatar

    Dealers questions about your trade seem to do 2 things. 1. Narrow down what you want/need in your next vehicle and 2. try to identify issues with your current ride so they can pound you on the trade value. Even if there is nothing mechanically wrong, they will use your displeasure to justify a lower value bid.

    I’ve been looking at the new Focus lately and I’d like to know from them why center consoles got wider and more useless at the same time? Is some regulation driving that? The width of the Focus console is crazy wide for that size of car – and there seems to be 2-3 different styles depending on the trim level, each with a different cup holder layout. There is also some sort of small storage bin built in near your knee, but it’s shallow and at an angle that makes it one of the most useless console storage features I’ve ever seen.

    I’d love a Focus sized car with column shift automatic, useful console that isn’t the size of a middle seat with more useful storage, common sense power outlet locations, foot pedal parking brake, basic radio/CD player with mp3/usb jacks like a Sony they sell at Best Buy….and build a clever mount into the dash for my Tom-Tom.

  • avatar

    2011 Mazda 6

    1. What was your least favorite thing about the car?
    Drive by wire throttle. When I step on the gas, I want the car to start moving right away, not think about it for a minute.

    2. What features would encourage you to buy another Mazda?
    Sort out the danged plastic fasteners on the spill tray under the engine so that they don’t break when you try to change your oil. What’s that? You want me to bring it here to change my oil? Fine. Charge me $25 and guarantee I’ll be out the door in half an hour.

    3. What was a neat an unexpected feature you liked?
    The blue light you used to illuminate center console area at night is neat, but red would have been better. (note: hmmm… I should just change that LED out myself)

    4. Anything else?
    Yes. Offer the 18″ rims as an option and stick with 17″ rims on all models. Tires are cheaper and easier to find in that size.
    Also, get rid of the chrome accents and just black them out of make them body colored. I don’t like them.

  • avatar

    The questions I’d like to hear:

    1 . Why are you going to another brand?
    2. How was the dealership experience?
    3. How eaSy was it to maintain the car after warranty?
    4. Did you feel interior bits were up to standards?
    5. Did you have recurring problems?
    6. Are newer cars making you move on?

    I move on basically when I can

    • 0 avatar

      To finish off cause somehow the answer got cut off:

      I move on when the car develops a niggling problem (even if minor) that cannot be fixed after 1, 2 or even 3 visits to the mechanic. Sometimes, if I like the car, I even go to the extra expense of going to another mechanic but having a recurrent problem kills the car for me.

      For Brazilian manufacturers, cars without AC, power steering, power windows and locks are not acceptable anymore. Also, a fuel temp gauge is very important as is an rpm gauge. A nice interior, with some color, goes a long way. I think the Nissan Versa is a nice car, but after being inside that plastic-fantastic, black on black thing they call an interior design, I most definetely pass.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Dear VW:

    Sharp looking cars you have there. Of course I believe you when you tell me quality is much improved. So sell me an extended FACTORY warranty like Ford or Honda. For the same price. I’m sure you’ll make money on the warranties, because we know that now your quality is second to none.

  • avatar

    What new features on the Tacoma would have made you trade your old one in three years earlier?

    A: Heated leather seats and heated / auto defrost external mirrors. Seriously, both of these things are available on the 4-Runner and would bolt right in.

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