BUYING A CAR IN 2015

BUYING A CAR IN 2017

(WITHOUT HAVING HEADACHES IN 2018)


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WHY SHOP?

The automobile (including truck and Sport Utility Vehicle) is a part of our culture, and as such, becomes as emotional a subject as it is a practical one.  This website is purposely directed towards the practical since the emotional differs from person to person.

 

It is widely stated that there are no bad new cars for sale in the US.  Since the technology of automobiles has improved over the years, the definition of a bad car needs to be brought up to the times, also.  While it is true that in the early 1900s, there was serious question as to whether an automobile could complete a short trip to town without repair or tire change, that type of question should not set the standard for a good automobile today.  A half century ago, automobiles were expected to need repairs at around 30,000 miles.  Tune ups usually happened at 12,000 mile intervals, and tires that lasted over 25,000 miles were considered excellent.  By these standards, there are probably no bad new cars for sale today.  However, 50 years ago, new cars cost around $2000 - $3000, and there are not any $2000 - $3000 new cars for sale today either.

 

Today, a car is considered to be inexpensive if it costs less than $20,000, and while everything has gone up in price, today’s income figures have not kept the same pace as the price of vehicles.  A car, which might have represented 15% of a person’s yearly income forty years ago, might represent more like 40% of his yearly income today.  When we get ready to plunk down that kind of money for a vehicle, we would like more assurances than whether or not it is a “good” car.  We need to ensure that we are getting the best car possible for our money.

 

The standard truism is that transportation is the second most expensive item that we spend money on, the first being housing.  The truth of that statement can vary from family to family, but with the average family owning two cars (and many owning more), and the high costs of fuel, depreciation, and insurance, the long term cost of family transportation may have surpassed that of housing.  For this reason, it has become very important to take the time to decide on what to drive, and then to take more time to shop in this ever growing market.

 

In the 1960s, there were approximately fifty cars and eight trucks (not including low volume vehicles) that sold in the US in significant numbers.  Today, that number has grown to well over 200 vehicles.  In the 1960s, with rare exceptions, if you drove a Ford, it was made by Ford.  Today, your VW van may be made by Chrysler.  Your Chevy may be made by Daewoo.  Your Mini is a BMW.  A spider web was never as complex as today’s vehicle market.  Then, to make it even more complex, the dealers throw “creative financing” at us to make us think that we can afford that which we cannot.  So how do we navigate through this maze to figure out how to best spend our hard earned money?

 

 

 

   VW Routan by Chrysler                 Chrysler Town and Country

 
 

 

 

 


This website is written for people who are looking for a vehicle, but are not that well versed on vehicles.  It assumes that you, the reader, do not have excess money to throw around, and it assumes that you need to make the right decision the first time – a “wise purchase”, if you will.  A “wise purchase” is defined as a vehicle that has the following qualities:

 

  1. It works, that is, it spends the least amount of time in repair.

 

  1. It fulfills your vehicle needs.

 

  1. It requires the least money during its useful life, which includes depreciating at a lower rate than other options, and costing less to buy and operate.

 

  1. You like (or do not mind) being seen in it.

 

This website tends to recommend particular brands of vehicles.  That recommendation is not from prejudice, ethnic charm, or bribery.  It is simply that these vehicles work better and have less problems than competitive vehicles.  When the auto industry makes a better vehicle that works better, lasts longer, and has a better resale value, it will be recommended.  It is sad that this website has to recommend more foreign brand names than domestic brand names, but it is written as a service, not an advertisement, and cannot recommend vehicles that require more maintenance and have lower resale values, no matter how many JD Power appeal surveys they may win or how popular they might be.

 

Although this website contains recommendations, it does not attempt to give you a bottom line on which vehicle to buy.  Each of us has too many personal preferences for this website to attempt to recommend a specific vehicle for each set of general requirements.  That is why there are so many different vehicles to choose from.  Instead, this website will provide questions and suggestions intended to help guide you towards the vehicles that are better suited for your purposes.  Once there, your requirements for price, style, and size will narrow the field of possibilities so that you may get down two or three vehicles from which to make your selection.  Remember that the recommendations here are biased towards the practical because style and features are a)  personal choice, and b)  worthless if the vehicle does not work.  It has to be a “wise purchase”, remember?