Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why So Much

I wonder why in the world that now a days that it costs so much to buy a car. I was looking at some new cars the other day and wondering why they were so much. The price of cars has gone up dramatically over the past 10 years, but the quality has gone down. I guess that I just don't see the connection between the two. If the prices are going up then I want more features or something.

The thing that really gets me over all is the price. Not everyone can afford a new car. Many Americans strive everyday to make a living, yet cannot afford a decent car because of the price. I was looking at the Ford Focus the other day and even the plain Jane ones cost around 14 thousand dollars. Certainly they cannot cost that much to make. So I thought, What about used cars. I found that used cars cost almost as much as a new car. Even cars that are several years old. My question is why? What makes then so expensive. I went to my local Ford dealership, found the ugliest piece of junk that I could find and decided to see how much they wanted and here's what I found.

I found that on their used car lot they had a 2003 Ford F-150. You might think that being 2003 and a full size pickup it might cost a lot, but here are some specks that I figured would get this truck down to about $8000 dollars tops. This truck has 66,000+ miles on it, the paint was peeling in several locations, the bed was full of rust, it was manual transmission, no power locks, no power windows, vinyl floorboard, scratches all over the truck, damage to the bed such as dents, license plate had to be replace due to pulling a trailer and the trailer bashing the plate several times also meaning that there was stress on the engine, tires were almost bald, no tilt, V6, and a whole lot more. The ad in the local paper said that they wanted $12,900. What? $12,900. Are these people crazy? I'm not stupid and I know that this truck could not cost that much. So I did some digging.

I looked up the trucks value in the Kelly Blue Book and found that a truck like this is only worth about $11,745 in excellent shape. This truck was not in excellent shape, nor was it in great or even good shape. So I valued it at fair shape and came up with a value of about $8000. Just as I predicted. So I thought about talking to someone to see what type of deal that I could get.

When I went to the used car lot a woman named Cindy came to talk to me. I told her that I was interested in the truck and what type of deal that she would give me on it. I acted like I never saw the ad and asked her what the price of the truck was. After looking through some papers she looked up at me and said, "$13,900". What the...? That's $1000 more than the paper said. I asked her why so much and she proceeded to tell me that it was an STX. I asked her what exactly that meant and her response was, "Well, that just, it has cruise control." That's it? It just has cruise control. I said, "Cindy, that truck, according to the Kelly Blue Book, only has a value of $11,745 and that price is based on it being in excellent, top quality condition and we can both agree that it's seen better days." Once again she pushed the fact that it was an STX. I guess that I wasn't seeing the connection. Never the less, no matter what I told her, she would not budge on the price. Not one cent. She never even made the attempt to ask one person if they could lower the price. Never the less, I would say that Cindy is not a good car saleswoman.

But maybe it was just the Dealership. I went down to another my local Mitsubishi dealership, and to my amazement they had a 2002 Ford F-150 for sale. This truck was a year older but had 61,814 miles and was fully decked out. I'm talking tilt, cruise, power windows, power locks, remote key less entry, carpet, CD, and loads more. The only thing that it didn't have was automatic transmission. I called the next day and talked to Tim who said that it had a clean record, and a Carfax report would confirm that. What was the price? $10,500. Why so cheap? I looked up the value on the Kelly Blue Book for this car and it had a value of a little over $12,000. I talked to the Manager and he said that basically that they couldn't sell it because of the manual transmission. It had just about everything that you could ask for in a truck, just that the manual transmission was dent in the sale of the truck because people looking for that type of truck didn't want a manual. That's understandable and believable. I don't know too many people that want a fully loaded truck, or anything for that matter, without an automatic transmission. After bargaining with the manager, he said that he would give us me the truck for $9800. More than fair for an awesome looking truck.

In the end, I am still wondering why it costs so much for vehicles. I just happened to run into a great deal because of something that most people didn't want in a vehicle therefore making the truck sit there forever. I have no doubt that if it was an automatic transmission the cost would have been a lot higher. No matter what, I am still wondering why simple Americans cannot afford a good car for their families because of cost. We live in a day and age where only the rich can afford to have a good car and that it not right. Maybe someday we'll all live in a society where money in not that big of factor and we can all afford the nicer things in life.

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