July 11, 2012

Bad Timing

I have been shopping for a vehicle for Boom for months.  In fact, I have been casually looking to replace my car and/or Mr Harper's car for nearly two years.  A couple of different car salesmen have my number and vehicle preferences to let me know if one becomes available.  I am not asking for the moon, basically the same vehicle I have, just newer.

The savvy consumer and concerned mother in me wants to buy Boom a 'certified pre-owned' car.  Someone else can take the initial depreciation hit while she gets a slightly used car with new car perks like a warranty and roadside assistance as she leaves home for the first time. 

Four years ago, giving your phone number to a car salesman was a guarantee of endless phone calls and annoying sales pitches.  Oh, they still call occasionally, only to say that they haven't found what I am looking for and encourage me to come see the other choices they have on their lot.

During the recession, 19 million fewer new cars were sold between 2008 and 2011 than in the previous four years.  And let's not forget the nearly 700,000 used cars permanently decommissioned during Cash for Clunkers.  That makes supplies scarce.  When the supply contracts, the price goes up - and used car prices are at all-time highs. 

In fact, certain models of used cars are very near the price of a new model.  It is hard to justify buying a two year old car with 30,000-40,000 miles on it when the new version is less than 20% more.  I think the whole certified pre-owned slant has turned into quite a racket that allows dealerships to inflate prices.  The local Ford house salesman told me that they can certify any car within a certain year and mileage range.  It is essentially the same thing as buying the old fashioned extended warranty - they are just adding it upfront and claiming they did some 200-point inspection. 

This car search for the kid is driving me to distraction.  I blame Obama.

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