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slefain
slefain SuperDork
5/22/12 4:51 p.m.

My brother-in-law needs a cheap car. I said I'd look around. First stop is Craigslist. WTF are people smoking? It wasn't too long ago that a grand would get you a running but ugly econobox in Atlanta. Not anymore. Seems that the only thing around the $1,000 mark all either don't run, need an engine, need a transmission, or are wrecked to a point of being totaled. What the hell? Is it like this anywhere else? I can see where a running car would be worth money, but since when are dead rollers with a zillion miles worth more than double scrap value? Are people just desperate to get top dollar and pricing in the "I need money so bad I can't not ask this much" levels? And are people actually paying that much? And who is buying them? I just don't get it.

I'll go ahead and blame C4C, but there has got to be other forces are work here.

PHeller
PHeller SuperDork
5/22/12 4:55 p.m.

Market drives Market. IE Competition.

If I see that my neighbor sold his hunk of junk (which was actually a AE86 Corolla) for $1000, I then think that I can get $1000 for my Camry.

Toyman01
Toyman01 PowerDork
5/22/12 4:59 p.m.

They're smoking crack around there too. The days of the $500 beater seem to be gone.

PHeller
PHeller SuperDork
5/22/12 5:03 p.m.

The market has also changed. More people out of jobs means less money floating around meaning that people are selling their $15,000 car and buying a $1,000 car.

Look out in the country.

I've also found that the classified in your local newspaper may have some good deals as well, but more of a car thats worth $3,000 on Craigslist selling for $2000 in the classifieds.

Grizz
Grizz Dork
5/22/12 5:07 p.m.

In reply to PHeller:

A grand for a hunk of junk corolla, 86 or no, is ridiculous.

http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3031879268.html http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3031830235.html http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3028509114.html http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3010544409.html

former520
former520 Reader
5/22/12 5:24 p.m.
Grizz wrote: In reply to PHeller: A grand for a hunk of junk corolla, 86 or no, is ridiculous. http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3031879268.html http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3031830235.html http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3028509114.html http://lancaster.craigslist.org/cto/3010544409.html

Anyone else catch the front plate on the Dodge? (second link)

Travis_K
Travis_K SuperDork
5/22/12 5:36 p.m.

In california the government will pay $1200 for any (I forget the newest year, but it's after 2000 I think) running and registered car that won't pass emissions testing( or any diesel at all) to scrap it. I think it's fairly easy to find a smog shop that will fail the car too, so as a consequence, the lower end price for a car is $1200 unless it's not registered or drivable.

madmallard
madmallard HalfDork
5/22/12 5:51 p.m.

Yet another example of government intervention & the obvious path of least resistance it results in.

anyways, people are trying to stay out of debt. New car sales may be short term up, but are still WAY down longterm. Used cars in middle and upper middle markets are holding value alot more and that eventually ripples down to the cheapest levels too.

Combine that with cash buyers who want to be out of their new-car debt....

DoctorBlade
DoctorBlade Dork
5/22/12 6:17 p.m.

Preach it. I tried looking two months ago, and couldn't find anything worth it. It was either rusted, in need of an engine, or the owner was on serious hallucinogens.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy Dork
5/22/12 6:52 p.m.

Theres always this one

It will be on Philly C/L in a few days for $850 , I would take something inbetween that and the GRM price.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UberDork
5/22/12 7:03 p.m.

Same out here in no smog country - anything worth considering is going to hit your wallet for 2-3k minimum. Anything else might be good for parts if it hasn't got a dent in each and every panel.

Occasionally you do find bargains, but you have to look for them long and hard.

dimeadozen
dimeadozen Reader
5/22/12 7:15 p.m.

Been casually looking for a cheapish Subaru here in the Denver market, where they are hugely popular. The asking prices are absurd, but the number of un-wrecked, un-rusted, fairly clean cars I've seen in the junkyards tell me that it's more a case of clueless sellers than high market value...

One seller had a 1998 Legacy wagon with 182,000 miles on it that needed brakes, tires, and had "Some minor electrical problems that come and go, but add to the character of the car !" Oh, and IT DIDN'T RUN, supposedly because it needed a fuel pump... asking price was $1900 firm.

Another had a 97 Legacy sedan for $3800, with the body in "great shape", which was odd claim to make, because the photos showed holes in the trunk where the factory spoiler had been ripped off, and body damage on the passenger side that included both doors and the rear quarter. Oh, and it came with a NEW clutch... that was installed 48,000 miles earlier!

And if it's a GC chassis 2.5 RS, forget it! No matter how many of the RS specific parts are missing or damaged, the seller makes sure to mention how rare their car is. The only "deal" I've seen was a clean two owner '99 5 speed coupe with front end damage and a salvage title that the seller promised potential buyers could still drive around the block, and a $2300 asking price.

alfadriver
alfadriver UberDork
5/22/12 8:18 p.m.
madmallard wrote: Yet another example of government intervention & the obvious path of least resistance it results in. anyways, people are trying to stay out of debt. New car sales may be short term up, but are still WAY down longterm. Used cars in middle and upper middle markets are holding value alot more and that eventually ripples down to the cheapest levels too. Combine that with cash buyers who want to be out of their new-car debt....

C4C or California's?

C4C brought in all of 300k cars for the program, out of 12M cars that typically permanently leave the road annually. That's 2.5% of all the cars that are removed from the road (and .1% of the entire fleet). Seems rather insignificant.

OTOH, California's goal is to clean the air. If that's the goal, it does seem that getting older cars off the road will improve the air quality, if the car is deemed not to pass anymore. Seems to work.

The big thing you all seem to be missing is the stat I pointed out in the first part- 12M cars leave the road permanently, annually. So when sales are less than that, the net number of cars in the US is reduced, thus increasing the cost of running used cars. The last few years, sales dropped below that, and then has slowly gotten higher- this year is now projected to sell 15M cars in the US- and it appears that there IS a shortage of used cars, due to the cost that people are asking and apparently getting.

Last I saw, there are somewhere between 250-300M cars registered in the US. Again, ~12M are taken off the road permenently for one reason or another, about 4-5% of the entire fleet. Which for 2012, the extra 3M new cars is ONLY 1%. We think that there are a lot of car sales, which there are, but in comparison with the entire fleet- yea, not so much.

novaderrik
novaderrik SuperDork
5/22/12 8:38 p.m.

i blame Chumpcar and LeMons...

jrw1621
jrw1621 PowerDork
5/22/12 8:41 p.m.
slefain wrote: My brother-in-law needs a cheap car. I said I'd look around. First stop is Craigslist. WTF are people smoking? It wasn't too long ago that a grand would get you a running but ugly econobox in Atlanta. Not anymore.

Anything that is 4cyl and perceived as getting good mpg has shot up in price.
Try taking a look at "gas guzzlers". I put gas guzzler in quotes because there are some cars that get better mpg than they are perceived to by the public.
The large GM 3800 cars can return 30 mpg hyw.
In reality, they get better mpg than a PT Cruiser 4cyl
Crown Vic/Grand Marque; same story of better mpg than they look.

Here are some interesting choices:
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/3025951598.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3028331923.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/eat/cto/3021748474.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/2998389718.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cto/3002882082.html
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/wat/cto/2973541010.html

madmallard
madmallard HalfDork
5/22/12 9:08 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: C4C or California's?

I wasn't speaking of either specifically, just a general lack of foresight on behalf of eager-beaver regulators.

C4C brought in all of 300k cars for the program, out of 12M cars that typically permanently leave the road annually. That's 2.5% of all the cars that are removed from the road (and .1% of the entire fleet). Seems rather insignificant. OTOH, California's goal is to clean the air. If that's the goal, it does seem that getting older cars off the road will improve the air quality, if the car is deemed not to pass anymore. Seems to work.

that assumption can only work if the car redeemed actually is polluting in some metric. I think there's a case to make that perfectly ok running cheap cars that have other issues making them cheap (destroyed interiors, no a/c, etc) AND non-running vehicles that can't pollute have had their values artificially inflated by this law by less than forthright parties taking advantage.

After all, who is responsible for oversight of this program to be checking for such fraud?

The big thing you all seem to be missing is the stat I pointed out in the first part- 12M cars leave the road permanently, annually. So when sales are less than that, the net number of cars in the US is reduced, thus increasing the cost of running used cars. The last few years, sales dropped below that, and then has slowly gotten higher- this year is now projected to sell 15M cars in the US- and it appears that there IS a shortage of used cars, due to the cost that people are asking and apparently getting.

Right. i did point this out in a more specific way when I pointed out how politcal news is saying detroit's sales are up..... but only a short term, or term-by-term sequence. overall still way down over the years.

petegossett
petegossett UltraDork
5/22/12 9:40 p.m.

Just went through that here. After searching for weeks to find my step-son's car, driving a few, calling/emailing others, and missing out on a few deals, I finally ended up with a 250,000 mile Corolla for $1850.

In all fairnes, it's very clean, has no rust, the interior is pretty clean, the A/C works, it runs/drives fine, and seems like its generally been maintained. But sheesh, this would have been a $1000 car a year ago.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
5/22/12 9:55 p.m.

I stopped reading after a couple posts so sorry if someone else said this, but in Ohio prices always go up on beaters this time of year (how much was your tax refund?!?)

You want a deal? Wait until the holidays (T-giving/X-Mas/Chanukah). Hell, January is pretty good too.

This pattern does not hold true for more expensive used cars and 4x4's/Subarus, just regular old beaters.

Incidentally, this exact thread has come up every spring since I started visiting the the board.

EvanR
EvanR Reader
5/22/12 11:42 p.m.

Las Vegas checking in here. Don't expect anything that runs to be under a grand. If you want something you can DD without much work, $1500-$2k.

alfadriver
alfadriver UberDork
5/23/12 6:42 a.m.
madmallard wrote: that assumption can only work if the car redeemed actually is polluting in some metric. I think there's a case to make that perfectly ok running cheap cars that have other issues making them cheap (destroyed interiors, no a/c, etc) AND non-running vehicles that can't pollute have had their values artificially inflated by this law by less than forthright parties taking advantage. After all, who is responsible for oversight of this program to be checking for such fraud?

well, since the system uses the emissions information that it's not passing it's requirements, and apparently that the cut off date is 2000, when more stringent requirements started, then there is a pollution metric.

Wondering what kind of fraud you envision- most people who sell their cars for $1200 won't be buing a new car anway. that's way up the car buying food chain. Unless there's some other nefarious thing you see with this emissions based buy back program.

Right. i did point this out in a more specific way when I pointed out how politcal news is saying detroit's sales are up..... but only a short term, or term-by-term sequence. overall still way down over the years.

Not really, you didn't. You still seem to assume that sales won't maintain to be high, which is influenced by 2 things right now, the number of cars taken off the road and population growth. Put the two together, and you do get a need of about 14-15M new cars, which is exactly where sales are at the moment. The 15.6 projected for the rest of the year is higher than excected, but I'm not exacly sure how one can twist a conspiricy around car sales. ( I'm sure a person like you can, though....)

Either that, or the strenght in people buying, which started a long time ago, and was not really infuenced by C4C, actually shows that the economy isn't as bad as popular negative media leads us to believe. At least for the segment of the population that buys new cars.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltraDork
5/23/12 7:23 a.m.

I found out while looking for a car for my daughter that $4,000 won't buy a whole lot of car.

Funny thing is a year or so ago, I told a guy who asked what I would take for my 86 Nissan truck, "$2500". It's a one owner with a rebuilt engine. You woulda thought I had said $10k from his reaction.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
5/23/12 7:50 a.m.

I searched Craigslist last night and found at least 5 DD able cars that run well or need very minor work for < $1000 almost immediately. Yes, the days of a running car for $500 are gone.

I like buying cars right around $1-2K, because with the prices slowly creeping up on used cars that run, it means depreciation on these cars will be almost zero.

sobe_death
sobe_death Reader
5/23/12 8:03 a.m.

To find the really good deals, you have to learn to SPELL like a craigslist seller. One of my best friends has the worst spelling and grammar I've ever seen in a college-educated adult, but he finds the most insane and cheap things on craigslist all the time.

Me on the other hand, I'm having the same problem you guys are

pinchvalve
pinchvalve PowerDork
5/23/12 8:28 a.m.

Move up the spectrum a little, and it gets more ridiculous.

My brand-new Kia Soul+ was $15,000. That's zero miles, Zero rust, zero problems and a 10 year warranty.

If I want something of similar size, but with AWD (a CUV or SUV or Wagon) the used market around here wants at least $10,000 for something with 80,000+ miles on the clock! And I can't finance it.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav HalfDork
5/23/12 9:21 a.m.

The thing with C4C, is it took cars out of the low end of the market, so it probably had a disproportionate effect on the $1K car category. But yes, the economy in general is the major factor.

Deals are still out there, just have to be ready to jump on them quickly when they come up. I just recently bought a 98 Neon Sport for $1K. 209K miles, from the original owners. Runs great, almost no rust (really rare here in Ohio). I'm chasing a CEL related to the EGR system, and it needs either a new front wheel bearing or CV Joint, and could probably use a little suspension refreshing, but otherwise, its just fine. Interior is clean, no tears in the drivers seat, even.

It did take a few months of searching before it came up. Also, I did notice that craiglist sellers who don't leave a phone number tend to get fewer people checking out their ads. Everyone wants to text someone nowadays, I guess email is obsolete.

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