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Purchasing Used Vehicles

I thought that those of you who visit the Smart Shoppers Message Board might find it interesting that used vehicle prices seem to be on the rise. According to the following new article that was published by Automotive News yesterday, Average wholesale prices increase again, the country's biggest auto auction corporations claim that the average price of used vehicles that were wholesaled in October 2003 increased 0.5% from the prior month's number. Has anyone out there notices a similar trend when shopping for a used vehicle? How about those of you who work in the industry? Have you noticed a general increase in used vehicle prices over the past several months? Inquiring minds want to know? Please feel free to use this discussion to provide your thoughts on this article or on your own observations of used vehicle pricing. Thanks.

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Comments

  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... **How about those of you who work in the industry? ..**

            The last month ..? hmm, I didn't know they had 100 day months .. I better be asking for a more accurate calender for the year of 2004 ..... :)

            Depending on the area (and the vehicle) most dealers are up about 10/15% over last year.

                         Terry.
  • I am interested in trading my 97 Ford Expedition XLT with 88450 miles. I checked the trade-in value on three sites here and have the figures it should trade for from 8400-9500 with all that is on it, but they low-balled me with an offer of $6900.00. The SUV I am interested in also used, a 2003 Buick rendezvous AWD that has been on this buick lot for over a month and they have knocked the price down $2k already.

    My question is why would they make such a ridiculous offer even though they knew I had done my homework-which I had with me?

    I know that used cars are tough right now, but does that also go for these type of vehicles?

    I priced them used, and similar Ford Exp. are going for $10.5-$13.0 asking price.

    Help! The used-manager wants to speak with me again, but I am stalling as I was so mad with his sorry first offer.

    Advice? Was thinking of making an offer outright, low, the day before thanksgiving to see what they say prior to trade talks, and have thought of trying to sell myself but is their no market out there for the Big rig?

    Thanks for any in advance for any input!
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    "My question is why would they make such a ridiculous offer even though they knew I had done my homework-which I had with me?"

    First and foremost, it's not a ridiculous offer, and books and websites don't buy cars, people do.

    Your rig has almost 90,000 miles on it - that makes it ineligible for any extended warranties or financing - no one will touch it, the dealer would have to get a cash buyer.

    Also, regardless of how well something is maintained or how good it looks, the dealer is taking a chance by retailing the vehicle.

    It has to be wholesaled, in most cases.

    $1500 under trade-in? Not bad at all for a 90,000 mile, 8 model year old rig.

    Double check with CARMAX, if you have one in your area. I say it looks good, but it's your money.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... Depends on a lot of things here .. is it a 2wd .. 4wd ...?

            Options ....... ? condition ..?

           is it a 4.6 or a 5.4 V8, leather, slider .. ? do we have any repaints, any invasions from the K-Mart crowd, can you see the air in the tires ... ?

              These are all the things that the books can't answer ...

                        Terry.
  • It has 5.4L V-8, 4WD, it has been completely maintained with no accidents, scratches, etc. Condition is outstanding inside and out, new tires, and really the bottom-line is that I can drive this easily another 70+ miles as this engine has had no problems whatsoever.

    Hey driftracer, you expect me to believe that $1500 below fair-market value is a good thing. I am in the wholesale business myself, and know a very bad deal when I see it as business overall is too tough for them to walk a customer right out of the box with a 'joke-of-an-offer' like they made. My real question to you is what is the purpose of KellyBlueBook or edmunds or the black book as a source for pricing used car trade-ins, if you tell me that $1500.00 is a good thing for an SUV in my area which happens to be SE Pennsylvania. The bottom line is that they tried an old-school trick which may work on the Geritol crowd, but not on this young one-get real please!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Why not just sell it yourself if you think it's worth more?

    I don't doubt it's in nice shape but it's a Ford with nearly 90,000 miles on it!

    People are afraid of it and for good reason.

    You think you can drive it another 70,000 miles without major expense?

    You really have no way of knowing this.

    "I priced them used and similar Exp are going for 10.5 - 13.0 asking price"

    Going for...and Asking Price may be totally different from one another.

    These are a good example of a car that runs "back of book".

    I would run an ad in the local paper. Who knows?
  • I really have three options: sell it, keep it or dicker on the deal which is what I am pursuing right now! And, with this coming up on the end of the month with a bad car holiday with christmas shopping on most people's mind-who knows what can happen-right?
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .... Ok, so we have a 97 EB 4x4 Expedition .. and you say it's it has been completely maintained with no accidents, scratches, etc. Condition is outstanding inside and out, new tires and 90k .. right .? - and you live in SE PA ...

            IF, and the word being here is "if" it's as clean as you say it is, deep rubber, service is 110%, looks, drives and feels like an 00 with 30k, no click clicks in the 4x4 and no science experiments in the interior .. then I would agree with you, it's probably not worth $6,9 ... "sounds" more like a $7,5ish vehicle come trade side .. "could", "maybe" "might" be worth $8,0 on a Huge giant push, but it better be "jam-up" glow in the dark and need -0- ...

            Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, black book gives you a "ballpark" figure, a zipcode to work in .. in your area, the Black book will be the most accurate and if you are looking at one right now, it says (on the far right) ~ RGH = $8,000 ... the 90k will flat kill ya .. anyone can ask anything they like for a vehicle, it's their vehicle .. but if your gonna sell em', ya gotta know what they "sell for", not what folks are asking ...

            Down Retail Rd, $10,9 "asking" and the first Cashola of $9,5/$10,5 sends it packing ...

                   I hope this helps ...

                          Terry.
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    I can't say for the other sources, but the wholesale figures published by the black book do not account for any reconditioning that will be needed for a dealer to resell the vehicle. On an Expedition like that I would expect a shop bill of $1500-$2000 easy.

    But as isell said, if it is such a nice unit why waste time stalling and complaining about what a dealer wants to pay when you could sell it privately for a lot more?
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    He said it was an XLT, not an EB.

    lhubber,
    Plugging in your vehicle into the Kelly Blue Book site using a condition of 'good' and an Arizona zip code I get a trade-in figure of $7295. Using a Chicago zip code it shows a figure of $6370. Plus, it clearly states "that the dealer must then absorb the cost of making the vehicle ready for sale, advertising, sales commissions, arranging financing and insurance and standing behind the vehicle for any mechanical or safety problems."

    That $6900 bid certainly doesn't sound low in light of what that site says.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .... The figures are based on a XLT, the EB print is a misnomer .. also dealers in his area don't use KBB in a "real deal" appraisal ...

                        Terry.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Do we EVER get a car around here that is NOT OUTSTANDING or EXCELLENT ....

    I walk around a LOT of used car dealers and see very few OUTSTANDING or EXCELLENTS ...

    Maybe it's grade inflation?????
  • It's part of the great pride in owning one...

    According to KBB...
    "Excellent" condition means that the vehicle looks great, is in excellent mechanical condition and needs no reconditioning. It should pass a smog inspection. The engine compartment should be clean, with no fluid leaks. The paint is glossy and the body and interior are free of any wear or visible defects. There is no rust. The tires are the proper size and match and are new or nearly new. A clean title history is assumed. This is an exceptional vehicle.

    Funny how people forget about the "salt and pepper" rock chipped hood and bumpers... the couple of doordings, the couple of coffee accidents, etc... on their "excellent condition car" when they trade, but when they "trade up" to another, they complain about the same things on the new as an excuse to offer a lower price... hehe.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ........ I hear it all the time .. I have this 99 BMW 323ic, 01 Caddy Eldo, 00 Dodge Dakota, 02 Maxima and they all tell me the same thing .. It's in EXCELLENT shape, until we deduct for those 75,000 miles, the new tires, that little bitty 5ft deep scratch down the side that was touched up by National Federation of the Blind ..

            And oh, let's not forget that little repaint on the rear quarter that has overspray in the trunk on both sides and the seats look like the Michigan Marching band have used them at band practice ... other than that, it's in EXCELLENT shape ~ it just needs a bath.

                         Terry :))
  • dbgindydbgindy Posts: 351
    I agree there' probably some exaggeration going on about the vehicles condition here ( hope I don't break that limb by going so far out on it:-). The other thing to possibly consider is that just like the theory that Edmunds posters are possibly more savvy then the average car owner ( for the most part) then they also might keep their vehicles in better shape.
    Just a thought.....

    Duncan
  • I can smell car salesman a mile away, and these last few comments wreak of car industry individuals. I am going to sell it on my own via e-bay. Thanks for the some humourous remarks as I know the actual condition of the truck, and will just get what I know its worth or just drive it into the ground.
  • dbgindydbgindy Posts: 351
    Just as an FYI. isell,landru & rroyce are all in the car biz. They are also 3 of the highly regarded folks around so I would listen to their counsel. As isell said in post # 7 if it's worth more sell it. Good luck to you....

    Duncan
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    what many folks don't realize, and rightly so, is that in order to retail a used vehicle, the standard today is to provide some sort or warranty. That has come to be expected, and consumers usually haven't the foggiest notion what it takes to get a vehicle up to snuff.

    Just because a vehicle was "running OK" and "pretty clean" doesn't mean there won't be a $1500 shop bill to catch of on all the maintenance the owner "forgot" to do, that $600 set of tires because of dry rot (but they look fine!), or an extra $100-200 to the detail department because those stains that you said would come out - didn't.

    There is a huge responsibility difference when retailing a vehicle through a business and selling it privately.

    If you don't know all the hidden costs involved, perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to judge.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,715
    None of us have seen your truck, and the last few comments regarding "EXCELLENT" shape weren't aimed at you -- other than you're one in a long line of people asking what their car is worth, and claiming that it's in excellent shape.

    I'm with Duncan here, in that the average person to come here probably takes better care of their stuff. But never mind.

    If you come here to ask questions, that's a good move. You got some really sound advice, from people who are in the business... whether as a salesperson, an owner, an appraiser, a used-car manager... these are the people who KNOW this stuff. I don't understand why you now feel compelled to write things like "I can smell a car salesman a mile away." Who the heck did you think was going to give you the help you asked for? Car people, of course.

    This is a good place to hang out, trade war stories, and get insider perspectives. But you need to play well with others.

    FWIW, I haven't liked the tone of your posts from the get-go. If you're so sure you know what your sled is worth, what do you want from us? Why don't you go and sell or trade it to someone who really wants it?

    I haven't chimed in so far because I'm not an expert, and the big-SUV market isn't something I know anything about... smaller cars, vans, I know those pretty well. Terry told you what he thinks the rig is worth, my advice to you is to say Thank You and move on... if anyone can tell you what it's worth without seeing and touching it, he's the man.

    I'm not telling you to go away. I AM asking you to please change your attitude.

    -Mathias
  • dbgindydbgindy Posts: 351
    Great post Mathias!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    " I can smell a car salesperson a mile away"

    I don't understand. Someone comes here to ask a question. We try to honestly answer the question and get a wisecrack like that as our thanks.

    Guess he didn't want to hear the reality of his situation?

    Then he says he "knows" what it's worth?

    If he knew what it was worth, why would he ask us in the first place?
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    just need to hear validation of whatever they already think. Obviously, they are unsure of themselves or they wouldn't bother asking. They just hope that someone will say what they want to hear. For these people it's not important that the source is credible or not. If it's on a computer screen that's good enough for them.
  • as I did not mean to offend anyone, but to say I am a little upset by the used car manager who evaluated my truck would be a BIG understatement.

    I am in sales, and do not take advantage of my accounts and expect nothing less from them or anyone I am looking to do business with personally.

    I had my facts from three different resources for my own truck as well as the one I was looking to buy.

    It is just very hard for me to understand that in nearly the year 2004 their are car dealerships who still try to survive in the 'old school' ways of selling cars.

    I wrote to try and see if anyone could give me any answers as to why this would be, but I already knew the answer to my own questions.

    Now it is time to keep looking and play the game although I really do not enjoy it.
  • Understand what you are saying, and I feel ya there... but the hard thing to realize in difference is that when he sells you a car, you probably won't be back for at least 2-3 years. Maybe, just maybe, you will buy from him again in 2-3 years IF he is still there, and IF he has the lowest price(of close). There is always the chance that you won't even want a Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Honda/Toyota next time you buy, and he can't sell you your next car.

    When you deal with potential clients, I doubt your customers want you to buy their old gear(at full market value) and then make $500 on a 25k vehicle(2%)
  • I just purchased an '89 Regency and am wondering if the price I paid was reasonable. On Edmund's the TMV was $1540, I paid $2000. The car only had one owner and was well maintained. The body is almost perfect, it's always been kept in a garage. After negotiating $2000 (asking price $2500) I felt satisfied until my brother-in-law said he thought I could've talked him down a little more. Then my dad told me he thought I should've only paid $1000 because it's a fifteen year old car. I've been car shopping for almost a month and the cars I've seen for around $2000 seem like cheap junk where this one doesn't. Are there circumstances when paying more than the TMV can be justified?
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Snowbie, I am 58, so I have probably been alive longer that you have. ALmost every time I do something, someone tells me how I could have done it better. It never fails. Where were they with their advice when I needed it?

    You bought a car that seemed very good for a low price. You used your best judgement. That is all you can do. Don't let the others make you feel stupid.

    You thought things through and did the best you could. I like that.

    Is the car worth $2000? Only time will tell.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Finding a decent car that runs well for $2000 or less is very difficult. If the car is nice and runs well, you did okay.

    What's the mileage BTW?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I agree with bobst.

    You were happy with the price you paid. Ignore the other "experts" who are trying to rain on your parade.

    I agree with mirth too. 2000.00 buys VERY little these days. You can miss out on some great cars of you insist on paying no more than the "TMV".

    That Olds has the 3800 engine which is one of the best engines GM has ever produced.

    Enjoy it!
  • It has just over 93,000 miles.

    Thanks for your responses, they do make me feel better. My mom and sister both said similar things about not worrying about if others say about it not being a good deal, but hearing it from people who actually know cars make it that much more assuring I wasn't a complete fool.

    I actually needed to start looking for a car because I totaled my '99 Sunfire by taking a turn a little too fast for the snow and hit a tree. I did slow down for the turn though, so my guesstimate is that I was going maybe 10 mph. Not even a knick in the tree. Once I started looking for a used car, I was sure to do my research. I paid for the carfax reports and once I found a car I was interested in, used several sites to compare. I wouldn't have even thought of a Regency until my brother-in-law called with ads he saw in the paper and recommended it because he had one in the past and considered it reliable. He also mentioned that the 3800 engine is what makes it so good. I thought he said something about it being Japanese, is that true?
  • Japanese? Not hardly. Had a 92 LSS for nine years with that engine. Nice engine. Enjoy your car.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    "Are there circumstances when paying more than the TMV can be justified?"

    Of course. A garage-kept car with low miles (93k over 15 years is quite low) in very good condition SHOULD sell for more than most other 15-year old cars. You are the one who has been in the market, and you know what else $2k will buy you. Don't let others raise doubt and suspicion in your mind.

    In any event, you own the car now. What good does second-guessing do?
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    >>Are there circumstances when paying more than the TMV can be justified? <<

    Before I purchase a vehicle for $2000, I ask myself, "will this car give me 20k miles of good driving?" If the tranny shifts good and the engine runs well, you probably have a good deal.

    Generally, I also try to find out why the owner is getting rid of the car. That gives me an indication of how the car was handles. I AVOID cars that are 15 years old with 15k miles as the car has probably been sitting in the garage unused for a while and most of the rubber and seals will need to be replaced.

    The only time that you really KNOW that you have a good deal is when you sell the car. My last $1500 car was a 1980 Malibu with 60k. I drove the car to 125k and sold the car for $850. I was happy with the purchase.
  • A man was selling his father's car because his father really wasn't capable of driving anymore. This father did not want to get rid of it. I'm not exactly sure on the details, but they sorta had to steal it from him. He couldn't keep it for himself because he already had three cars and nowhere to park it.

    On another site, I read some reviews on the '89 Regency and it sounds like I can expect it to go beyond 200,000 miles. I believe the car was well maintained and plan on keeping up on that as well, so maybe I can hope for the same. And if it does, I'm going to throw it in my dad's face that it was worth the $2000!
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,715
    Erica,
    I think you did ok, at a minimum. If I had been in your situation, I probably would have bought the car as well.

    The "probably" comes in the things that you don't control; will the AC go out? Will the transmission quit? Any $2k repair and you're probably better off junking the car.. but the most you can lose is $2k. OTOH, you've got a proven performer in the engine.. the 3.8 is the General's best car engine, at least to my mind. And their transmissions and AC systems also tend to hold up -- and worst comes to worse, you can make do without ac. Also, after 15 years, the owner is as important as the engineering, and you apparently have a winner there, too.

    My preference with "beater cars" is something dirt simple that is unlikely to break, but the choices are few and far between. Would you really be happy in a 1987 Nissan "Hardbody" picup truck? The only thing better than that '89 Olds would have been an '85 -- RWD and bulletproof. And 10 mpg in the cold, don't ask me how I know.

    Finally, any "book" that purports to put a number on a 15-year-old car, and any relative with similar ideas must be ignored. The only way you know what a car this old is worth is to drive it, touch it, smell it, and a bit of luck is also required.

    Good luck with your purchase, I think you did a very smart thing.
    -Mathias
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    At $2k, we are talking a beater. If the AC works, that's great but if it doesn't, well, I am not going to spend any money to fix it (except for adding Freon). It is not worth it. Same with small oil leaks and a lot of those nuisence repairs that ALWAYS crop up on an older car with a lot of mileage.

    If the tranny or the engine goes, the car goes to the junkyard and we go a lookin' for the next beater.

    BTW, snowbie, some of the BEST deals come from the elderly parents who no longer drive. That is why I always tell people that they should let their friends know if they are looking for vehicle. Sometimes, opportunities pop up.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I would take that Olds to a shop you trust. have them give it a quick going over. Have them check the condition of the hoses, belts, brakes etc. If the transmission fluid is burnt have it changed. You might end up spending a few more hundred dollars but you'll have relative peace of mind.
  • For $2,000 you did fine. A clean car like you described with low miles is easily worth $2,000.. I know a Buy Here Pay Here lot that can get $3K cash for that car quickly.

    Hell, I bet it'd do $1,500 at auction.. or maybe better right now (Tax time)

    You did well, enjoy it. Guidebooks are just that. a Guide.
  • Is that...BILL? or the White wale?
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,715
    Welcome Back, Bad Bill. -m
  • I had about had it with this place..but what the heck :)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,320
    Can't be Bill! I heard he became a vauxhall restorer in Alaska before being dragged off into the wilderness by his sled-dog team. So this must be an imposter!

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • I don't see the troublemakers.

    And it's too nice out to drive the Vauxhall.. I've been driving the 356 :)
  • Saturday, February 21, 2004

    First, I'm not sure if I'm posting this question in the right place. If there's a better message board for this, please let me know.

    My credit union does have lists of repo vehicles that it puts up for auction. They usually have about four or five vehicles per month for that. Mostly, motorcycles and trucks. But, occasionally, there's a regular car, and it's usually much newer than my ca. $2k budget would normally cover.

    They usually just quote the "minimum bid" though, so I don't know if these cars actually sell at that minimum, or if they go much higher. I guess it depends on how many bid.

    I'm wondering if anybody here has any knowledge of this type of auction. It's at Summit Credit Union in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Thanks,
    Huntgoddess
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,715
    there aren't good deals occasionally, but I'd stay away. Our CU here (East Lansing, MI) does the same thing, and typically, their minimum bid is a very healthy wholesale price, to say the least. Add to that an owner who could not have been surprised at the reposession; how do you think the car was treated?

    You want a nice $2k car? Grab the classifieds, ask around at work, scan the neighborhood, drive by the retirement places and look for signs... there are great and not-so-great deals out there for $2k cars, but your best bet by far is a not-so popular car with decent reliability from a private owner.

    For much more on the subject of driving cheap cars than you ever want to read, follow the link in my profile.

    -Mathias
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    From what I have seen in the past, what my credit union gets many times shows some obvious abuse. I've seen manual shifters uprooted and several will be noted as having a blown motor or transmission. In general, I think you would need to be very careful buying repo's. Have a reliable mechanic at least check one out, if possible.
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    any different? Buyer beware and all that. Any used car should be checked out.

    A friend bought a repro truck from a CU about 1 1/2 years ago. They wanted $x for it. 2 months later, they still had the truck. He called and they still wanted $x for it. He said, "I'll give $x-2000 for it." They said, "No way". The CU boss called back in 20 minutes and said, "Can you be here this afternoon?"

    This truck is an absolute creampuff. Sometimes, a good car goes repo. Sometimes, a piece of junk is sold the conventional way.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... I have bought a few $60,000 repo's and I have bought a few $6,000 repo's .. just because it's been repo'd doesn't make it a bad vehicle, but the last owner can ...

             If you get it inspected "Real close" by a pro and it passes, then you won't care if it was repo'd or it was traded-in by the little ol' lady down the street ........ :)

                          Terry.
  • Steine13:

    For what it's worth - When I tried to go to your used car thoughts link - I got web page not found.

    I think that I have seen this link before and mostly agreed with your thoughts on saving money by driving older cars. However your analysis neglects the 'pain-in'the-butt' factor of dealing with broken cars.

    _________________________________________________________________- - - - _____

    repos:

    My impression of most of the repos that I have seen is that they are mostly trashed and I wouldn't ever consider them. However as Royce10 points out every car is different and there are bound to be some gems among the grubs.

    I actually own a repo. It's a 1985 Corvette that I bought from a small one-person car loan company. The car was in great shape other than needing couple of minor repairs and I have enjoyed it for almost five years now. The loan guy made lots more money loaning money on older cars to credit-challenged people than on selling repossessed cars so he gave me a sweetheart deal.

    The only downside was that for the first year or two of owning the car I kind of expected an angry guy to chase after me in a parking lot saying - 'Hey that's my car'. So if you buy a repossessed car maybe you should consider 'packing some heat' just in case :)
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,715
    Thanks for the information... with all the Edmunds voodoo going on, they inserted some characters into the adress... it's fixed now.

    I need to get back to it and add a few things about selling used cars privately, and about stuff like carfax.

    -Mathias
  • terryhterryh Posts: 4
    I think I'll do that. He seems a bit offended now! But this is alot of money to me.
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