Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Buying a New Car - Not One Flooded By Super Storm Sandy You're Not

There was a dirty little secret in the used car auto auction business that when there was a flood in one area, those cars flooded-out would be shipped to another region after they had been completely detailed and cleaned up. Then they'd be sold at auto auctions and end up on used car lots. That's unfortunate because they'd have mold inside, rust starting, and were just a nightmare of problems for the new owners. Then eventually this practice got exposed.

Thus, when Hurricane Katrina came along authorities were already well aware of this and were out looking for those who might take advantage of unsuspecting car buyers. Those cars were thus, crushed, and marked by VIN number as salvage, or to be demolished, over a half million cars in fact.

Today, at the end of 2012 our nation was hit by a late year Hurricane broken apart, but with energy remaining, it combined with a very large cold front and became what was later rebranded by the media as a Super Storm. Hurricane Super Storm Sandy hit the Atlantic coast in New Jersey near Atlantic City on October 29, 2012 - a freakish storm, just days before Halloween. Caught off guard 100s of thousands of cars drowned.

There was an interesting article in MSN Online News on November 7, 2012 titled; "Sandy Spurs Toyota, Honda, Chrysler to Scrap Vehicles," by Alan Ohnsman and Craig Trudell. The article stated that 15,000 new cars were flooded out 6,000 of them were Nissans. Some 200,000 used cars from individuals got flooded, but that's still far short of the 600,000 in New Orleans the article also noted.

Interestingly enough, the Detroit Free Press predicted; "Used-car prices expected to rise after Sandy's destruction of 250,000 autos," in a reprinted article from the LA Times on November 8, 2012 by Jerry Hirsch. Indeed, having been in the auto industry all my life, I'd say that's about right. But, let's not forget all the Rent-a-Car run-outs which went up to their trade-in miles hitting the auto auctions which were rented to allow people to escape the cities and evacuate, many took them to states fairly far away, as the storm was 800-1000 miles wide remember?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tips for Saving Money on Used Cars

When buying used cars, you automatically get a significant savings over the purchase of a new vehicle. These cars are often priced significantly lower than a new vehicle never owned by anyone else. However, there are a few more ways you can save a significant amount of money on your next purchase. For those who want the features and specs but not the high price, it is all about going to the right dealer and doing some homework beforehand. Consider these tips for significant savings.

Buy Confidently

How can you buy used cars with confidence? You can do a few things to make sure that the next investment you make is a good one. First, make sure you do your homework long before you arrive on the lot. Know the make and model well enough from some basic research. Then, check out the used vehicle of these cars. Chances are good you will be able to negotiate a good deal on the lot with this information.

Secondly, you should never buy a vehicle that has been used without first discussing the purchase with your personal mechanic. This person should not work with the dealership. You will want a full inspection, if possible, of the car to ensure that it is working from top to bottom. You also want to be sure that it does not have any damage that could be expensive to repair.

Find the Right Offer

As mentioned, negotiating a deal is something you can do. Work with the dealership to get the price down. Use a significant down payment. Have a trade in. Buy when there is a dealer incentive taking place. You can also save money just by asking for a lower purchase price. Negotiating the details may be easier than you think if you take the time to ask for a discount.

Then, find the right loan for this purchase. You will benefit from a loan with a low interest rate and the shortest terms possible. Get the monthly payment you need but pay a bit more, if you can, each month to pay off the loan sooner. This will save you a substantial amount of money on the purchase. Even though you are buying used cars, you can still get an affordable loan rate.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tips On Buying a Used Car - Protect Yourself From Fraud

Buying a used car can save you a great deal of money. However, unlike new cars, used cars sometimes have operational problems that may not be immediately apparent. Sellers of used cars sometimes try to hide these problems in order to make a sale or convince you to pay a higher price. For this reason, it is important to take caution when you shop for a used car. Below are some tips you can use to protect yourself from scams and other potential problems and be aware should any issues arise, you have consumer protection rights under applicable laws.

1. Watch out for Warranties

Many used car dealers will encourage you to purchase an extended warranty on the vehicle you buy. However, purchasing a warranty from a dealer often costs more than it is worth. Before you agree to an extended warranty, shop around and make sure that the dealer's price is fair.

2. Always Put it in Writing

If you plan to buy a used car, don't make any agreements unless you and the dealer have both signed applicable paperwork. Without an ironclad document backing up the arrangement, the dealer can change the terms at any time.

3. Ask for Identification

Some scammers may be attempting to sell cars that do not belong to them. To protect yourself, you should always ask to see identification when you purchase a used car from a private seller. Before you pay, make sure that the name on the seller's ID matches the name on the title.

4. Learn about the Vehicle

Before you buy a car, research its history. Websites like Auto Check or Carfax can provide you with information about a vehicle given its identification number. Valuable information may include the car's actual mileage, major accidents, the number of owners and whether or not the vehicle has a salvage title. Consumer protection law does not allow any changes to the vehicle's odometer as well.

5. Take it for a Test Drive

When determining how well a car runs, don't take the dealer's word for it. Ask to drive the car a reasonable distance before you agree to purchase it. While driving the vehicle, look for signs of potential issues like brake failure or poor maneuverability.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Want to Buy a New Car - Would You Buy A Car Made In China?

In 2002, I went to the SEMA AAPEX Show in Las Vegas. The aftermarket auto accessory industry was there along with all of the auto service industry folks. It was a combined show, and it was absolutely huge. Someone stated that there were 26 miles of exhibits, and that makes sense because at the end of four days I had blisters, and I was completely burned out. You must understand that I am a former athlete, a runner, so I'm not sure how some of those older folks made it.

Nevertheless, I do remember at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas where the AAPEX show was, the exhibit hall was easily five or six football fields worth of area and on the bottom floor, well, it was filled with companies that made auto parts, equipment for the industry, or other industry related trinkets. Most of the place was filled with Chinese manufacturers, and they were selling knockoff parts. That is to say they were selling copies of genuine GM, Ford, and Chrysler parts including body parts for cars.

This was my second rude awakening to all of the intellectual property and patent pirated theft going on. Previously, having been around the personal electronics industry and computer industry I was amazed at the number of parts inside of computers and laptops, and personal tech devices which were made in China, all copies of US technology. But when I saw all those vendors selling copies of US parts for cars, I was appalled. Why wasn't anybody doing anything about it? That's crazy. I had half a notion to contact our commerce secretary that weekend. Although I'm sure he realized what was going on.

Has anything changed? No, even General Motors and other companies in the United States want their vendors to give them the "China Price" in other words they want all of their vendors and suppliers who manufacture parts to give them the price that they would receive if they manufactured those parts in China. In essence they are telling their vendors they need to move their factories to China so that they can lower the price otherwise they're not interested in buying. Isn't this the real problem with jobs in Ohio?

On November 6, 2012 there was an interesting article titled; "US Unlikely to See Cars Manufactured in China Soon," by Alisa Priddle. Interestingly enough, that was election day and I imagine the article was written to counteract what Mitt Romney had said regarding the future of the former Chrysler "Jeep" Brand being manufactured in China. Consider if you will how many parts are in a modern American made car, parts which are already made in China. Even if the cars are put together here, those parts didn't come from here. You see that point?