I first published this post back in January of 2009. As I look over B’s car, I realize that it’s time for a new one and this re-read this post just to remind me of where I should be looking for a car.
Bad times for car dealers means good deals for the buyer. I grew up in the automobile business. My father was one of the larger wholesale automobile dealers on the East Coast and his father was in the retail used car business. My first job was washing cars on the lot (although I suspect that someone re-washed them after I left…LOL). Later, after my husband sold our restaurants – he went into the wholesale automobile business as well (and I took care of all of the bookkeeping, titles, office work, etc. from home in my “spare” time).
So, needless to say, I’ve never paid retail for a car. Whoops, I take that back – ONE time – when I bought the HYBRID that I now own, I bought it at a retail dealership. Of course, I paid NO WHERE near the list price. And…
I believe that a good used car is just a MUCH better value than a new car. It goes without saying that the minute a car is driven off of the lot, it loses value. LOTS of value. A car is NOT AN INVESTMENT. That’s something you NEED TO REMEMBER! A car gets you from one place to another. For some, it is an accessory as well (like jewelry), but a used Honda Accord will get your to the same place as a New Maserati Granturismo will.
So, I just wanted to take a minute to tell you my SECRET. Even though we are NO LONGER in the wholesale used car business, I STILL BUY MY CARS AT WHOLESALE.
Not all wholesale dealer sell to the public, but I’m here to tell you that a LOT OF THEM WILL. ESPECIALLY right now. They have LOTS of great cars with cobwebs on them, and it’s VERY important for them to turn those cars over. If a car on a wholesale lot is not sold QUICKLY, it needs to be sold AT A LOSS (YES, a WHOLESALE LOSS) just to free the $$$$ up to buy more cars that a dealer might want. So, what’s the catch? NO FINANCING is available. That’s IT! Oh & you need to do your homework. If you see a car that you like on a wholesale lot – be prepared to pay CASH (or get financing from your BANK). I don’t know of a SINGLE wholesaler (at least not a TRUE wholesaler) that will finance a purchase. They’re in the business of buying & selling to other dealers & those dealers simply hand over a check (usually a BIG check for 3, 4 or 5 cars at a time).
Make sure that the coach you buy doesn’t turn into a pumpkin.
You should check KBB or the NADA Book (which is the book that the dealers use to determine price) before you buy. Doing your homework is ESSENTIAL! You should also still test drive your car and have your mechanic look it over (just as you would when buying ANY used car). You don’t want any surprises showing up later, because if you’re buying wholesale there will be no warranties or guaranties involved (you can purchase one aftermarket – more about that at a later date).
Once you drive off of the lot with a BRAND new car it devalues by approximately 11%. If warranties are what you want, look for a certified used car at a good used car dealer – you’ll still save money over buying new.