Cheapskate and the Autobroker

I am often asked how I got in this business. Being a huge Cheapskate was a primary factor.  I have always liked cars, and owned multiple per year for most of my life….often to my wifes chagrin.  I have always hated seeing folks pay way more then what I felt was reasonable.

Unfortunately lately what I feel are reasonable used car prices, has been harder to find.

The crazy pricing I think has been driven in part by:

  • Market conditions
  • Gas prices
  • Inventory Supply

Currant increased gas prices are driving the small cars prices up.  Up to levels that I have a hard time justifying to my customers.  But they are selling….other dealers are buying them, I am not sure who they are selling them too, but they are.   While I personally feel many of these vehicles are selling for too much, there are still some good buys out there.   It just seems to be taking more time.   Here is a classic example, I purchased a 2002 van about 2 years ago, leather, low miles for a 2002, power sliding side doors, keyless entry, I had the van sold to a young lady for $4,000, but she decided to go another direction.  I ended up keeping the van (I love vans) because of the low miles, leather and all the other features I could probably sell it today for $5,000 to more.  When have you watched used car prices for normal everyday cars go up…

When gas hit over $4.00 a gallon a few years ago, the gas mileage panic was so bad, buyers were taking $10,000 losses on large SUV’s and buying anything little, nothing really mattered, they just wanted gas mileage… At the moment that panic has not shown it ugly head.  Buyers are showing more interest in gas mileage cars, and driving prices up, but they have not gone crazy yet….and hopefully will not.

How does inventory affect our current pricing, 12 to 14 months ago, I would go to the local dealer sales and the number of cars running every week would be from 1,00o to at times 1,500 to 1,800 cars, 2,000 for a special sale.   Currently those same sales will have 600 to 800 tops.  About half, with about the same number of dealers trying to buy…fewer cars, more bidders, higher prices.

So while reliability, gas mileage and the market is temporarily driving small car pricing up, there is no reason to panic.   My suggestion has been, if your not in a hurry and currently are driving something that gets respectable gas mileage, why not take a breath, drop back and wait a bit.    Lets see what this current market is going to do.  Even if it turns into a full fledged panic , the panic always subsides, and when it subsides prices always seem to level off or back down.

So from a cheapskate point of view, if you want a good buy now, don’t be in a hurry, take your time, and wait for the bargains.

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