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Purchasing Rental & Program Vehicles



  • slamkimslamkim Member Posts: 5
    I'd never buy a car from a private party. Once you buy the car..."so long..." At least here in California, you can't return a car!!! (No cooling off period) I know that the dealers buy many of their cars from rental places (i.e. Hertz, Budget, Enterprise. etc) I know this because my relative is a wholesaler for a prominent dealer down here in So.Cal and his group buys thousands of rentals a year. I mean, where do you think the dealers get their 2002/2003's?

    I guess as long as you are buying a used, you are taking a chance regardless. It's just a matter of which place poses the least risk. Just need to venture out there.

    PS. I'd never buy from a private party (no warranty, no return, never how the owner drove...)
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    That buying a rental is higher risk than buying a new car.

    If the rental isn't reduced in price to be a real bargain then why should you assume the risk ??

    My observation is that they are priced WAY too high. Keep in mind that when you sell the car that those extra miles on a rental car will come right off of the trade-in/private sales price. Therefore in my opinion a rental car is NO bargain.

    I'm sure, on the other hand, that you could purchase a rental and have a good experience. But be prepared to keep the car a LONG time for the actual discount to be realized.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but about 90% (it seems) of the used cars on new car dealer's lots have between 25-35K miles, because they're cheaper, and for good reason, than the 5-10K rides you or I would look at.

    jasmith - you don't actually PAY what they're ASKING, do you???
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    It's just a car.

    By the way I have bought cars from private parties on many occasions. There is indeed some risk, however the lower (non-retail) price can discount somewhat the risk of repairs. My experiance is that every private party used car need SOME work. However the work required is less than the retail mark-up.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Member Posts: 9,332
    ..... Not too spend 12 paragraphs on it, it's called -- payment buyers - which consumes 80%+ of the buying public, they come in for the hot new Zippy 145, they go home in the 1 year old Zippy 140 with 25k, that is $50/75/$100 less a month - it happens everyday.

  • slamkimslamkim Member Posts: 5
    If you got the money to spend, buy a new car!!!
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Zueslewis - No I don't, However even after grinding a used car rental deal it is my impression that used rental cars are no bargain. And you must admit that you can usually find a private party deal substantially below a retail used car lot.
  • slamkimslamkim Member Posts: 5
    If I find a great deal on a rental, I guess I'd buy it. I found out that Enterprise does have a 7day return policy or something like that.

    Too bad they don't negotiate, though...takes all the fun out of buying a car!!!! :)
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    party doesn't work for 80% of the buyers out there - they're payment buyers who are buried in their trade and have a few credit blemishes - that's more than a private seller and their local bank can handle. In comes the rental cars and the special finance department to get $18,000 hung (bought, financed) on a $10,000 used Taurus.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    I believe you about payment buyers. I have bought many 5 year old cars in very good shape from payment buyers.

    They pay off their loan and then say "Oh No - What am I going to do with all of this loose money".

    They buy a new car and after trying to sell their old but still quite fine car for an unreasonable price are then ready after a couple of months to cut me a real deal. I've done it too many times.
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,818
    That's how I like to buy used cars. Old, well-maintained, cheap.

    You get a feel for the person, you can look at the history, you can ask questions: "Does she tow okay?" -- "Sure, I towed a 5,000 lb. travel trailer through the Rockies with it, no problem!"
    So ya go buy something else or figure the new transmission into the price...

    I've had really good luck buying old cars from people I felt comfortable I could take at their word.
    And there isn't a bargaining technique superior to pulling green money out of your pocket, either...

    Of course, you get to deal with all the kooks "I know it's worth $5k, the Credit Union said so!"... and then there was the older gentleman with the 150k miles Caravan 4banger... nice clean car, well taken care of, he was justly proud of it.. until I discovered there was oil dripping from the tail pipe -- I mean, drip drip drip, just at idle!!! I point it out to him, politely, and he gets mad at me like it's my fault...!?

    Buying a rental: I'd shy away from the cheapo cars, but your minvans? Ford Crown Vics? With low miles, why not... What are the odds someone would abuse a Grand Marquis?

  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    It all depends on the car.

    I have bought (And just sold 2) ex-rantal Jags. Now I sorta doubt the $129.99/day XJ8s are getting beaten on like the 129.99/Week Kias (Although the Jag can prolly take more abuse).

    You see some that are clean, no paint, etc and are nice. You see some that were driven to Disney, parked on top of the Castle, and pushed off of it.

    It's like anything else..

  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Member Posts: 1,757
    I have had some very good experiences buying rentals. The ones that I have bought have been from the majors - i.e. Avis and Hertz - and I have treated them like any other used car purchase. They go to my mechanic for a thorough examination.

    Is buying a rental the CHEAPEST way to go? Usally not. However, I have found the lot managers tend to 1) allow you to test drive the vehicles alone, 2) take the car to your mechanic, 3) Have some leeway in price and 4) tend to be fairly competitive with the local market.

    To me, I prefer buying in this manner over a private party. First, with the majors, they take care of the vehicles - proper maintenance, etc. Second, the private parties generally have delusions of grandeur as to what their special car is worth. To the lot managers, it is just a unit to move.
  • tunefultuneful Member Posts: 35
    I've thought about ex-rentals lately as one option. Example: 02 Corolla LE, 25K, $9500. Few thots: (1) Potential buyer thinks that at least the car has had only one owner (easier than to think about the hundreds of "renters for a day") (2) Co. assures you it has been regularly maintained (though I hear this is often not the case) (3) You are dealing with a national company, which can lead you to feel more confident (rightly or wrongly) than if you were dealing with an eccentric/delusional Joe Schmoe or Happy Gilmore's Toolin' Trades or Ben Dover International, "have we got a CPO for you"; (4) Many ex-rental services are no-haggle; that seems simpler to many folks like me who are not that car-savvy. However, I loudly chime on the chorus, that used rentals seem to be overpriced! For the extra wear, tear, and risk, you should at least get the satisfaction of a lower price. P.S. If you are thinking Enterprise, get their office's "return" policy in writing before buying. Our local outlet deducts $200 (I had to press them for this info), and how much you want to bet you get pressured toward an exchange, not a return? Caveat emptor, but like folks have said, sounds possible to get something decent--but the price should be appropriate, and, of course, have it thoroughly checked out before purchase.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    I think you need to know your market, though.

    For example, Hertz Car Sales prices used cars competitively but will not negotiate. However they do drop prices weekly or bimonthly if a car doesn't sell. Typically its $500 a drop. So if you play your cards right you can get a car for true wholesale, even lower if you're lucky. If a car doesn't sell in 6-8 weeks, off it goes to the auction.

    If you're a AAA member you can get a discount.
    If you're a Hertz #1 Club Gold member you can get a discount.

    Pay attention, shop carefully, and you can get a smokin' deal from places like Hertz.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    Corolla LE's with miles in the 20s are doing $9500-10,000 at auction. That's a car that would retail for $11,000-12,000. If you can get it for $9500 you're paying net wholesale for the car, a price that very very very few retail consumers get.

    That's what I mean by paying attention.
  • maq4463maq4463 Member Posts: 45
    O.k. here is another twist to this argument. What if (I know a huge percentage can't) you can get a rental from auction. Would there be a significant price difference in similar cars (lets say 2002 Maxima with equal mile, condition) due to the fact that one is rental and the other a lease return, dealer used surplus etc? Terry anyone.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    I don't have my paper in front of me but if I recall right you can buy a new Corolla LE for between 12-14 K from the volume dealers here in Socal.

    Now adjust the price of the rental for 15 cents a mile (or so) and 1K down or so if it's last years model.

    So where's the BIG bargain in the used rental??

    I stick with my point about rentals being no great deal. Keep in mind that if you sell the car in the near term that those extra miles will come off the price that you can sell it for.

    Also, if you finance the car, used cars pay a higher interest rate than for new cars.

    In short here is my opinion of rentals
    1) No bargain on price
    2) Can be beat up considering they are not that old
    3) Shorter warrantee
    4) no new car smell
    5) Higher interest payments
  • sonjaabsonjaab Member Posts: 1,057
    A late model Corolla costs almost as much as a
    new one ! Todays paper 00 Corolla $12,500...
    00 Chevy/Geo prism $7995. Both a dealers.
    Same car, made in the same plant............
    Looking at a 00 Sebring ragtop 18k miles $12k.
    Those used Toys bring ALL THE MONEY !
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    I can buy a new 2003 Corolla LE equipped like a rental car with auto and air and power windows/locks for around 15K after the rebate.

    I assume that the 2002 (old models) equipped similarly went for 12-13 K (with the incentives etc).

    Hertz is selling 2002 rental Coroll Le units for $9595 and 2003 units for $12995. All of the rental units have about 25k miles on them.

    I stand by my statement that if you adjust for the miles then rental cars are indeed no bargain.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Member Posts: 1,057
    Where are you at? Man thats a great price !
    The dealers around here get ALL the $$$$ for
    a used Toyota ! Other cars go begging at any
    price! Heck how much did a 00 Sebring ragtop go
    for new ? 25k? or so......Buy it now for 12k.

    SORRY...I see California....Prob. the rental guys
    buy more Toys in your neck of the woods than NY.
    Around here its all Detroit iron or Kias...But
    no toys to rent....Maybe why the price is lower.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    I was just responding to your post.

    And I do know values fairly well - thank you.
  • tunefultuneful Member Posts: 35
    The national rental company quoted me 9995 not 9500 on the 02 corolla LE (this is metro DC area). Sorry! Too much multitasking...
    Anyway, yoda dealers in my area are asking 15,3 on a new 03 corolla LE (auto).
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    The Hertz rental car prices for my local lot are available on line and are as posted.

    The new Corolla prices are also as stated.

    So Sonjaab - who isn't up on their values ??
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    sorry, but I gotta'....it's convertible, not convertable, when you're referring to a car instead of a sleeper sofa.

    Geo, use this sentence instead:

    Where are you at, buckethead?

    See, that way you end the sentence with a noun. LOL! (Reference from an old episode of "Designing Women", the show my wife used to make me watch as a trade-off for watching ESPN Speedvision.)
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Sonjaab - I can now see how you may have been insulted.

    Please accept an apology

    As for convertible/convertable well all I can say is - Touche'
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Member Posts: 1,207
    ... at least get it right. It's touché.

    Sorry, I'm feeling in a mood to pick nits.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Member Posts: 1,057
    Sorry just a bit EXAUSTED here....Major ice
    storm in central NY....NO power for anybody
    around here since Friday AM. I have a generator
    at my Bar, rest., hotel...So we have power , heat ,TV and the phones work ! Lots of folks and kids staying here....Feeding all for free and
    selling LOTS of beer ! Its been a MADHOUSE !!
     Friends and strangers
    sleeping in the rooms and hallways for free too.
    I survived the ice storm in Alexandria Bay NY
    in 96-97.....I want to run downstairs and KISS
    that generator !......Peace out...........geo
  • sonjaabsonjaab Member Posts: 1,057
    ME !.....Scanning the classified ads for a used
    convertible for my fleet of cars for the summer while we have major snow and ice and no power !
    Think I will get a good deal on one this week?

    Thats where I got the prices on used Toyotas
    today in my neck of the woods!
  • tunefultuneful Member Posts: 35
    native here... I grew up in Buffalo and Rochester til age 11. Good folks, good memories. And that climate Builds Character :-)
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    account for a large part of the 2-3 yr old cars and you can't always tell if you're getting one anyway so why worry

    IMO a better value is a new, factory order with minimal options, doesn't cost much more than a 2 yr old car with 30K miles
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    support the rental car purchases. I have to agree with that. Someone comes in to buy the new Corolla (or whatever) and decides to or (due to credit) is forced to save $50 a month on the payments and therefore accepts last years model with 25K on the odometer. Their payments are less but (in my opinion) the longer term value is not.

    I don't know if the low-option car route is the best way to minimize your long term car value. Just look at how the rental car companies order their cars to get a good idea as to which options and trim lines hold their value best. These guys have been doing it for a long time and (hopefully) have the game down by now.

    Weather - It's a beautiful sunny spring day here in Socal. 70-s to 80's. I had lunch at the outdoor bar-be-cue and got out a bit. Too bad I have to be at work though.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Member Posts: 1,057
    You lucky guy !...Me sitting here freezing in Central NY......And I'm thinking about buying
    a ragtop ! My folks are at the condo in Daytona !
    CRAZY DAY !.................
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Member Posts: 1,757
    The rentals come loaded with all the goodies included for a lot less cash out of pocket.

    Personally, I will take the car with 25k miles for 30-35% less than new. i am going to run the vehicle 'til 200k miles anyway. Why pay so much for the first 25k miles?

    Meanwhile, the 5k stays in the investment account.
  • geoffdgtigeoffdgti Member Posts: 83
    Before you buy a rental car, you need to read this:

    Abused Thrify Rent-a-Car Neon
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    And IIRC it was exposed as a scam. Don't believe everything you read on teh intarweb.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    Loved the Neon story !

    Even if it isn't true (supposedly).

    There are all kinds of idiots out there. I can see someone doing it.

    It's not MY car !
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    I drove a Taurus around So. California with the parking brake on before I noticed the smoke--Ford makes their dash warning so tiny..........
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    I drove a Lincoln Towncar from LA to Chicago.

    When I turned the car in I told them that the car wouldn't go faster than about 60 miles per hour and it was making the most horrible loud screaming noise. I had to keep it floored just to do 60 MPH.

    Then they tell me you are supposed to put it in drive (D) not in 1st (1).

    Oh - now they tell me. Those rental cars are really junk
  • prodigalsunprodigalsun Member Posts: 213
    Not rental related, but funny none the less.

    Me and two buddies, chuck and buck, were heading into St. Louis in Chuck's K Car to do a little research at Wash U. On the way in, I notice that the Oil light was on.

    "Er Chuck, should we pull over at the next exit and check the oil?" I say.

    "Dagnabit, I'm sick and tired of people telling me to pull over and check the oil, first my girl friend and now you guys! I've checked the frickin' oil and it's fine! The guage is busted." (chuck was well caffeinated and a little highly strung).

    Buck chimes in now "You sure you don't want to check it?"

    "NO, DANGIT!" little veins start poping out on chuck's balding head.

    Well, we get to the library, do our thing, and on the way out, chuck stops for gas. While he's paying, Buck and I pop the hood and check the oil. Bone dry. Chuck returns just as we are examining the parched dip stick, and putting it in for a double check. His comment: "That's where the oil is?"

    Turns out Chucky'd been checking the transmission fluid.

    Best part was, right after he had his Eureka moment, an old guy walked by just at that exact moment, had to be in his 70's, stops, looks at Chuck and says "Dumb M******R, who don't know that?" Buck and I lost it and didn't regain our composure until we were back in Illinois.
  • bsummbsumm Member Posts: 25
    I worked at Enterprise for 6 years and was a branch manager. I can answer any questions here with fact instead of alot of the opinions that I'm seeing.
    First off, the rentals were well-maintained because the computer tells you when they need oil changes, etc. If a customer complained that a rental was making a sound or pulling to the right or whatever, we ground them and get them fixed before re-renting them. Believe me, the last thing I wanted was the next customer to call me at 559 pm and having to go switch them out because the rental broke down!
    As far as kids "ragging out" rentals, I believe only Enterprise rents to 18-21 year olds, (and that is only on a verifiable insurance replacement rental). Hey, the way I looked at it, if you feel the need to "rag out" a chevy malibu, your life must be pretty sad, more power to you!
    Anyway, does anyone have any specific questions for a former rental manager?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I'm also an Enterprise customer, having rented on many, many occasions from the folks next to me at the service desk.

    While I fully believe you're the type of guy to get maintenance done, there's still a human element with folks that would put service off, promising themselves they'd get it in after this renter was done. Of course, it goes out on a 30 day for a huge body shop repair....and gets another 5,000 miles on the clock.

    I'll be renting from Enterprise in two weeks when I run down to South Carolina to pick up my CBR 900 RR - fits nicely in the back of an S-10 or cargo van.

    Can you swing me a discount for telling everyone on Edmunds what a nice guy you are??
  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    I try to rent from ERAC since they are:

    A) A local firm

    B) The head cheese is a pretty good guy with donating his money to worthy charities.

    C) They are a pretty good customer of my employer.

    D) My boss' wife works for them.

    We have an engineer who bought a former ERAC LeSabre and has about 160K on it now. He'll probably go back to an ERAC sale or to ELCO Chevrolet in St. Louis to look for another car.

  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Member Posts: 1,757
    I am renting a car from Enterprise this weekend - $14.95 a day. It's cheaper than driving my own and its unlimited miles.

    I would use them more BUT you never know when the agency will be open at the airport.
  • geoffdgtigeoffdgti Member Posts: 83
    And IIRC it was exposed as a scam. Don't believe everything you read on teh intarweb.

    It really doesn't matter whether it was true or not... it's an enjoyable read. I thought others who hadn't seen it might enjoy it.
  • bsummbsumm Member Posts: 25
    Enterprise is a very enteprenurial company and branch managers are given a lot of autonomy, so you are right that some managers will maintain their fleet better than others. But we were held accountable for our fleet by upper management.

    Here's a secret for your upcoming S. Carolina rental. It sounds like you are a service advisor, so you need to call 1-800-VIP-ERAC and tell them you are a service writer at xy dealership that has an Enterprise in it. They should give you a better rate that way, maybe 15% off. Hope this helps!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I'm no longer directly in the car business - I'm a consultant for a lawfirm that handles lemon law and dealer fraud cases.

    Cool connection, though...
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Member Posts: 9,332
    **** "Dagnabit, I'm sick and tired of people telling me to pull over and check the oil, first my girl friend and now you guys! I've checked the frickin' oil and it's fine! The guage is busted." (chuck was well caffeinated and a little highly strung). ***
  • JPhamJPham Member Posts: 148
    This is straight from our Sunday paper's car section :

    Hertz Rental Car Sales: '02 Toy Corolla LE 30kmi and no other options, $14995

    ---- Toyota dealer: '03 Toy Corolla LE with no other options, $14395 (8 available)

    Makes you think, huh?

  • jasmith52jasmith52 Member Posts: 462
    I've rented a few cars from Enterprise and was in general not impressed.

    I think I can sum it up in two words - "Dirty Cars"

    So you save 5 dollars at Enterprise - It isn't worth it to me. Who wants to spend time in somebody else's trash heap.

    Maybe Enterprise cars are better where the rest of you are from - but where I live you get what you pay for.

    I sure hope they take better care of the maintainance of their cars than they spend on cleaning.
This discussion has been closed.