By Jimmy Jones, USDR Contributor
Once again I find myself in the market for a vehicle. Last year we purchased my wife a shiny new 2012 Jetta for new mom duties. Somewhere in there we passed our trusty Explorer on to a different family member, which leaves me with the problem of not having an SUV around the house for ski trips, off road adventures and occasional home improvement store runs. In searching for the exact vehicle I want, I have run into an interesting used car dealer dilemma. More specifically, run far, far away from some dealers! Used car hunting is easy if say you are in the market for a ford Taurus.
Everyone has either owned one or rented one so the market is flooded with them. You simply find the color you like and if it makes all of the right noises you buy it. But what if you are searching for a very special vehicle with just the right amount of whistles, just the right amount of ‘swag’ and nose-up-in-the-air-ness? That’s just the dilemma I find myself facing, and here’s where my thoughts are leaning.
Let’s say we’re in the market for a Ferrari 430. We want a white one, with black interior, no more than 70k miles on the odometer, and of course, a manual transmission. Our first point of action would be to type out our wants in our favorite auto search engine, and voila – there’s a dealer only 50 miles away, at a dealer named A&A Auto and Salvage. Seems legit, right? Wait. A. Minute. Salvage? Ferrari? No!
We are in the market for a special vehicle and while the car might have the right miles, we have left out one key question – what was the original owner like? The first person to purchase this vehicle was well to-do, looking for an image that the vehicle could help uphold. That is the image an original owner of a Ferrari should fit. But that original owner wouldn’t trade his Ferrari in at a Salvage shop. He would trade it in on a vehicle that would fall into the same class, a vehicle that would fit his/her well-off image. To find a good Ferrari, one that won’t have unknown problems down the road (pun intended), we want to travel to our nearest Ferrari dealer or another high-end reputable used car dealer and look for our steed there. Because that is where the guy with the image to uphold would be trading for another image.
Buying used keeps you ahead of the game most times. Someone else has paid the sticker price, whereas the used car buyer swoops in and buys the car without paying more than what the car is worth in payments However, don’t fall for the “too good to be true” prices that some used lots have on cars that were originally way, way out of your price range. Chances are if you purchase it without a lot of research on that particular car’s history, the cost of ownership will be frightening! It is okay to ask questions of your dealer and if he gives the “I got it at an auction and that’s about it” answer, walk away.
Salvage? Ferrari? Always a No!