Used Car Prices

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I'm wondering how to price used cars these days. It's clear to me that most of the on-line pricing guides haven't kept up with the reality of the economy. I've found Edmund's to be the most reliable, but they, too, seem high now. How would you price an average car today, Edmund's minus 15%, 20%?
 
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Once you get down in the $1-3000 "beater" range prices, and the % bias you have to apply to the books, may level off.
 
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Used car prices if anything are much higher... especially for the top rated and reliable cars or in demand ones. The credit crunch/disaster has made used cars a much in demand commodity. Look on most new car lots and you will either see very few used cars when there were plenty before or you will see mostly used and a few new cars... Dealers have switched because they can get them for cheap as people are dumping their payments and the dealers can actually make way more money on a used vehicle. A good rule of thumb is to go and look up trade in value in your car in "good condition" Then knock 2-3 grand off that price and thats what most likely the dealer got it for. BUT be VERY careful.. many dealers get them from auctions which many times are out of state cars that have lots of corrosion and rust. I never used to do this but in this day and age with money being seriously tight, I would demand a full inspection by a mechanic of your choice. Pull that valve cover off and really look around. I am looking for a Mazda RX-8 and will not accept one that does not have written proof of proper maintenance done.
 
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I'm not sure of the "much higher" comment. Maybe in your area, but that can and will vary from area to area.
 
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Used car prices are in the dumps. Sure you will always have some people trying to sell a used car for thousands above their real value.
 

pbm

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Edmunds list used car prices as RETAIL, PRIVATE PARTY and TRADE IN. I always aim for Trade in (or less if possible). It seems easier to get cars cheap now than before the economic melt-down.
 
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My fiancee just got a "used" 09 Honda Fit with 400 miles on the odometer for a decent price. Well below KBB or Edmunds prices, and for an in-demand model.
 

ET16

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The other thing I'm finding now, too, is the tacit price-floor of the road-worthy car and how that tracks up the price ladder. The floor seems to be around $2,500 for a road-worthy car where I live. Up from there it gets tricky, because it often seems that it's a much better move to vault over the $4-$6k range and get a newer car with fewer miles at closer to $10k. Where do you all think the value sweet-spot is? I know that all this depends heavily on the car and brand, but do you think that we can generalize?
 
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 Originally Posted By: sciphi
My fiancee just got a "used" 09 Honda Fit with 400 miles on the odometer for a decent price. Well below KBB or Edmunds prices, and for an in-demand model.
Hardly in demand with a 147 day supply LOL They cant give them away. there are over 22000 rotting on dealer lots.
 

PT1

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Honda is way overstocked....there are 10,000 of them parked at the old Ford Lorain Ohio Econoline plant. But the dealers are not negotiating much.
 
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A former auto auction lot down here is filled to the brim with Honda Odysseys. They're built not too far away in Lincoln, AL. Don't know how many but looks like 1000+ units, getting beat on by this lousy weather we're having. I can find Odys all day long at invoice but so far there doesn't seem to be much factory incentive money to move the iron. With inventories piling up across the country, I'm betting Honda will kick down some cash soon. Last summer they ponied up $4500 in dealer incentives to move '08 Odysseys and I'll bet they do the same thing this year, maybe sooner.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ET16
The other thing I'm finding now, too, is the tacit price-floor of the road-worthy car and how that tracks up the price ladder. The floor seems to be around $2,500 for a road-worthy car where I live. Up from there it gets tricky, because it often seems that it's a much better move to vault over the $4-$6k range and get a newer car with fewer miles at closer to $10k. Where do you all think the value sweet-spot is? I know that all this depends heavily on the car and brand, but do you think that we can generalize?
My generalizations follow bank financing rules: if they have a cutoff at 6 years then: 1) dealers won't take 5.5 year old trades, in case they can't sell them soon enough or 2) private parties won't sell for more than anyone has laying around in cash... typically $2500-3000 around here, over a wide range of years... 1998-2004 or so. Banks really do not like private party sales! 3) dealers will offer a pittance in trade, knowing rule #2. HOWEVER, foreign car owners typically have incredible self esteem about their vehicles, refusing to rate them less than "excellent" in blue book prices, believing jiffy lube kept them "well maintained" even though the ball joints and struts are shot, and are much less likely to let go at a bargain price. This widens a value/price gap between marques. Also dealers will game the system: if a lower interest rate is available for a <5 yr old car, they can round one up with 150,000 miles, or something like a Kia that depreciates like a rock, or a Ford Explorer last summer when gas was $4 and they couldn't be given away. These heaps typically winds up in the "special credit" section... Tell them you want to pay cash and you get shown the door: everyone gets their kickbacks on the financing!
 
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