I'm going to do something a little different in what I think is going to be my last blog post for About.com. No, I'm not going away but the blogs are starting in June so I wanted to praise MojoMotors.com for its good marketing efforts.
The website just did a piece on the most reliable used car brands but more on that in a moment. I just wanted to take a moment to single out Sam Jackson, the brand's marketing manager, for his polite persistence in getting the site's message across.
Most PR and marketing types can be relentless when pitching stories but Sam has a nice low-key style about him, which is probably why I don't mind writing about the website. Actually, most PR folks are decent but occasionally slip into hyperdrive because they're getting pressure from above to pitch a story.
MojoMotors.com has a good one, which never hurts. Its list of the 10 most reliable used car brands is well worth reading - and it even has a surprise or two.
OK, I just did something with that headline I hate: write it to attract attention and possible clicks. I guess I could have been really evil and added "... Is Your Used Car on It?"
The reason I mention most stolen used cars is LoJack is out with its annual list and I love writing about it. All of those smug Honda Accord owners? Their cars get stolen the most.
Of course this is LoJack we're talking about so this list refers to only the most stolen and recovered used cars. It wouldn't look good for LoJack to refer to the most common stolen cars if it didn't play a role in their recovery.
Fortunately nothing I own is on the list because nobody is itching to steal a 2008 Mazda5 or, better yet, 2002 Dodge Neon. Maybe if I had listened to the salesman and added a spoiler it would have been stolen by now.
On the surface it seems like good news for consumers: used car sales are up but prices are down. It would seem like the market is correcting itself but the tea leaves may not be showing that.
What the heck am I talking about? As I posted in an article, according to CNW Market Research, there are some concerns in the good news that could affect consumers when it comes to supply and demand.
The first troubling bit of news is credit scores are dropping on average. More people with bad credit are getting loans. That's good for them but it also means more competition for used cars, which are dropping in supply.
Also, more and more used cars are being sold as certified pre-owned and that just means higher prices for consumers. Plus, because they are so profitable, more people are attempting to sell used cars that are called certified pre-owned but really are just expensive warranty programs that are difficult to redeem.
It's a dilemma my wife and I will probably face in the next couple years: trading in (or possibly outright selling) her 2002 Dodge Neon. It's been a good car for us with really only one major repair recently (and that was only $350).
That's why I am now starting to pay attention to used car trade-in values, especially when it comes to budget cars because that's what our little compact will be. Heck, it already is.
One thing I want to stress is the article in no way should be perceived as knocking independent used car dealers. Without the financial backing of manufacturers like new car dealers have, they find it difficult to compete when it comes to used car trade-in values.
Obviously I want you to read the entire article but you'll be surprised to find out how much of a difference it makes when trading in a used car towards a new car. That's where you get the most bang for your buck.
Talk about striking when the iron is hot. Speedemission has launched a new site that will provide recall and technical service bulletin information on any used car you are looking to buy.
My article on the new website explains that the service is not free but it is relatively low price. Also, if memory serves correctly, Carfax and AutoCheck will provide a lot of the same info.
In case you're wondering why the iron is hot, you may have missed the news that GM has been recalling lots (and I mean lots) of used cars lately. (By the way, GM public relations folks don't like jokes about recalls - just saying.)
Of course GM is not the only company recalling lots of used cars and it deserves praise for being proactive now under its new CEO Mary Barra. She seems committed to getting ahead of the problems before massive issues occur.
There's bound to be some resistance to this idea, but it might be wise to avoid buying a used GM until at least July 1. There's just no way the vehicles will be fixed before then.
The reasons why are outlined in an article I published in response to this question: Is it the right time to buy a used GM? The simple answer is no.
GM itself provides the biggest reason: it's working day and night to come up with new parts for the ignition recall that affects more than 2.5 million used GMs. On top of that, it just announced another major recall.
In fact, it seems like all GM has been doing this year is recalling its vehicles. Sure, some of the recalls are small, but some aren't. GM says the cars subject to the ignition recall are safe to drive but why subject yourself to the hassles of getting it fixed? Let that be the seller's responsibility.
By the way, certified pre-owned GMs are suitable to purchase because the recall work has to be done before a vehicle can be certified.
It's something I think I have said before but my next used car is probably going to be an electric vehicle. It's the right fit for my family's driving habits and in the next couple years I'll start investigating a possible purchase.
In the meantime, I won't be looking for a certified pre-owned Tesla. And not just because the only one currently on the market costs $88,000.
My problem is there is no such thing as a certified pre-owned Tesla because Tesla hasn't established a certified pre-owned program. Frankly, it has enough problems making money on the new cars it sells to worry about certifying the few used ones coming up for sale.
The certified pre-owned Tesla you may have read about is actually a used Tesla with a generous but short-term warranty. It's more of a marketing gimmick at this point instead of a certified pre-owned.
But if you happen to know of a certified pre-owned Nissan Leaf, I'm all ears.
When writing about used cars, information from two months ago can become dated, let alone advice from last year (such as buying used Oldsmobiles).
That's when an article from the January 1942 Reader's Digest with the appealing sub-headline, "Don't Be a Used Car Sucker" caught my attention. Well, technically it caught my brother's attention because he's a fanatic book buyer. He first saw it and suggested the article to me.
But I did all the typing, I swear.
All kidding aside, the article is interesting because when it was published the United States had just been thrown into World War II and there would be no new cars produced for the next few years. Also, the language was fun to read.
Plus some of the concerns from 1942 haven't carried over because the technology has changed. The biggest change would be the time it takes to comparison shop. Give me an hour and I could have you side-by-side comparisons of various trim levels. Back in 1942 (granted there were a lot less trim levels) it would have taken a week to accomplish that.
So, are you thinking your used Corvette is going to make you more attractive to women? The answer is probably not.
There's a new survey out on what your used car says about you. The big news from the survey is you don't need a flashy used car - and owning one can be perceived as a knock against you.
A really interesting aspect of the survey is how few women buy exotic cars. I'm not sure why this is but next to no women buy Bugattis? My best guess why would be they are too practical! After all, would you spend one million dollars on a new car? It's not a problem I'm never going to have but it's always nice to dream.
By the way, here is my favorite part from the whole article:
When it comes to how men view women driving or riding in an exotic / fast car:
- 38% see women as being show-offs or arrogant.
- 6% view women who drive or ride in exotic / fast cars as emotional.
I'm at an age when I should probably be going through a midlife crisis. I'm in my early 50s, which probably means I should be in the market for some exotic used car.
But I'm not. My first desire would be a used Checker cab (totally illogical) followed by a used Cadillac DTS. Yep, I, for some reason, want to buy a car probably popular with folks more than 75 years old. Some mid-life crisis.
The good news, though, is used luxury car prices are dropping. That means my dream car may not be as expensive as I first thought. Maybe my dream car/midlife crisis is not all that far off. Of course I just need to convince my wife that we need another car.
Any suggestions on that front? What would your midlife crisis used car be? Take a moment and comment below. And please be more creative than I am. I need to live vicariously through you.