QOTD: Would You Ever Pay For A Stripper?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

No nav.

No leather.

No premium or power nuttin’.

All yours for $12,800 before fees, tax, tag, title.

You don’t want it? Don’t think you’re alone. Strippers have represented America’s premiere unsellable car for quite a while now.

Everyone says that they just need a car to get from A to B. But easy credit and low monthly payments have made basic low-end models as popular as a 2014 Toyota Camry L and as hard to find as, well. I’ll put it to you this way: there are now three L models available in Atlanta for a population of six million.

Don’t think that Toyota is alone on this. There is only one Nissan Versa S with a five-speed that you can buy here for less than $13,000. Not one trim level. One car. When Honda was busy liquidating the last of their 2012 Accords for the new generation, my nearby Honda dealer still had two base five-speed Accords on their lot. One had been there for 10 months and the other had remained unloved, and unsold, for nearly a year and a half. They were each bought for only $17,300 which sounds like a fantastic buy, except that a few months later I would see an identically equipped 2012 Accord go through the auction, with fewer than 8,000 miles, sell for all of $10,000.

It didn’t have dents, dings, damage or even dowdiness. It was just a base car, and these days, base cars don’t sell.

There are a lot of reasons for this lack of attention to what I now call, the disappearing stripper. An article I recently wrote for Yahoo! pretty much highlights the financial mindset of today’s customer versus those of just a decade ago. It’s a different car market out there. The economy may still be in the slow growth to recession mode here in the USA. But we still like our creature comforts, and the good price really comes second these days to the “affordable” monthly payment. So long as loan terms remain long, and interest rates remain low, that better equipped car will usually only cost an extra $20 to $50. Even cash strapped buyers can afford that wiggle room.

I always get emails from folks who want a deal, and I always try to tell these folks to hit em’ where they ain’t. But few folks are ever willing to take that plunge. So far in 2014, I have known only one guy who was willing to buy a stripper car, brand new, for cheap money. $14,000 out the door for a Mazda 2. If he had been in one of the five states with no tax, he could have sliced another $1000 off that price.

He bought it right. So let me ask you. Would you have taken that deal? How about a base MX-5 or a Mazda 3 with nothing but a stickshift and that olfactory new car smell? Before you instinctively say yes, take the time to go online and look at the vehicle as it is so equipped.

Would you ever pay for a stripper? If not, then just feel free to share your story of a stripper you once owned and rode on a daily basis. It’s a Friday and we can all use the laughs.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Car Ramrod Car Ramrod on Jun 23, 2014

    Options content was where a lot of the Acura value proposition used to be. When I bought a TL back in 2004, there were 2 extra cost options: Navigation and summer tires (a manual was a no-cost option that got you brembo front brakes). IIRC, most Acuras were sold that way at that time. Every car was loaded. At least it was a way to distinguish the cars from the equivalent Hondas. Not that their cars are poverty spec now, but the "pay for this option to get that one" crap that Honda buyers are so familiar with is starting to creep in.

  • Mechaman Mechaman on Jul 02, 2014

    I remebered that a workmate of mine told me that his brother never cared much about cars; he'd buy a beater for as little as he could get it, get the basics going, and drive it until it stopped or was too costly to fix. He'd junk it and repeat the process ..

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jul 03, 2014

      Unfortunately, not all of us can get away with that. We either don't have the time, the skills, the tools or the location to do such work--or some combination of the above.

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