Yesterday, we were lucky enough get an invite to the New England Motor Press Association‘s annual Ragtop Ramble. The day started out at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts, where we met up with representatives from several automakers, automotive journalists and, of course, the cars we’d be driving up to the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Happy July 11th! Today is a very special day for car-lovers: the relatively newly dubbed National Collector Car Appreciation Day is a (real and official) holiday celebrated to raise awareness of automotive restoration and collection and its role in American society. A resolution was passed (one of the few truly bipartisan efforts) by the U.S. Senate in 2010 in order to to recognize the important roles played by automobiles in music, literature, cinema and other cultural and artistic aspects of the American identity. Organized by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the event has been held on the second Friday in July since 2010. This makes today the fifth annual Collector Car Appreciation Day, and its popularity (and knowledge of its existence) is growing. And we couldn’t be happier about that.
Bear with me on this analogy for a moment, gear heads. If you have a wife or girlfriend, this won’t be too difficult to comprehend.
When your significant other wants to get rid of some of her high-end clothes, what does she do? She won’t just give them away. She won’t typically put them on Craigslist and can’t trade them in for new clothes. If your girl is anything like mine, she’ll most likely take the big-money items to a consignment shop.
So why, guys and gals, when it’s time to sell a car, do we just list them on a classified site or trade them in? Could car consignment work?
There are a growing number of such businesses across the U.S., but a word of caution is in order before you go down that path.
As the auto companies never tire of telling us, car fans have lots to look forward to in the coming year. The 2015 Mustang was already unveiled, totally dominating the auto news a few weeks back, but we’ll have to wait to see sales figures and user reviews to get a clear idea whether the ‘Stang faithful appreciate the new pony car’s increased fuel economy and independent rear suspension. (If they don’t, they might want to grab an old-school 2014, which our reviewer liked quite a bit.)
We’ll also have to wait to see what BMW fans make of the company’s decision to split its legendary 3 Series lineup into separate models for sedans and wagons (still the 3 Series) and coupes (the new 4 Series). Our reviewer found the new 4 Series “sublime to pilot,” but was less impressed with its tech. And of course we look forward to learning more about the new M3 and M4’s “Smokey Burnout” feature, which will likely end up competing with a now confirmed similar “secret feature” on the new Mustang.
What we’re most excited about for 2014, though, is something you’ve already gotten a taste of if you followed either of the links above to our 2014 Mustang and 4 Series pages: The CarGurus site will feature detailed reviews based on extended test drives of top-selling vehicles. Our new reviews will include point ratings on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of 6 categories (Look and Feel, Performance, Form and Function, Technology, Safety and Cost-Effectiveness) as well as an overall score, and we’re confident they’ll provide more useful information to shoppers as well as more enjoyable reading for enthusiasts.
“Well, let’s go get some dinner and think about it,” I said after test-driving a 2008 Audi Q7 with my girlfriend.
Our salesman and the sales manager stood with us, hoping to entice us into the next room, where we could discuss numbers. Upon hearing my desire to leave, the salesman shot a glance at his manager, who just smiled, nodded, thanked us for coming in and wished us a good night.
We went on our way and discussed the merits of the car over sushi, quite impressed with the lack of sales pressure and the overall pleasant experience at the dealer.
If all experiences were like that, there’d be no reason for change. Yet change is happening.
The days of selling used cars with a three-line classified ad are over.
No longer can we simply give a year, make, model, mileage and short feature list—we must turn our used car into an experience. We must describe our car so anyone who reads about it will become so emotionally involved they’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to own such a life-enhancing piece of machinery.
Your used car shouldn’t be just another used car in the never-ending sea of used cars. It should stand out, it should be marketed as a one-of-a-kind vehicle that will give its new owner a sense of having real superpowers.
Or at least make him feel more manly than he ever thought possible.
A recent study showed that 62% of Shoppers Use a Mobile Device in Stores to Check Prices. We’re not sure what the exact figure is for car shoppers, but we’re sure it’s comparable, and we at CarGurus want to help by putting all the information you need about a car at your fingertips while it’s right in front of you.
With our recently updated mobile site (accessible on your smartphone), we’ve given you, the potential buyer, powerful tools that can help you make better decisions when purchasing a vehicle. Loaded with a host of features that can be utilized only on a smartphone, it’s far from a watered-down version of our desktop site and seeks to put the tools you’ll need on the lot into your hands.
Have you found yourself looking back wistfully lately, wishing you still had the strength, speed and stamina of your younger days? Don’t waste a second–try CarGurus’ Midlife Crisis Car Search right away and find ways to rekindle your youthful spark. (Don’t worry–we won’t tell your wife and kids.)
With all the attention hybrid cars get, compared with diesels, I’m surprised to read that they share a fairly minuscule segment of the auto market. Hybrids have about a 2 percent share of the market, while diesels, remarkably, have less than 3.
I’ve made my case for diesels here many times. I prefer them because they are more durable, produce more torque and deliver up to 30 percent better fuel efficiency than their gasoline counterparts. If gas prices rise, and diesel doesn’t rise as much, the extra cost for diesel-powered cars will be worth it. The benefits over hybrids are their long-term durability and no worries about battery replacement.
Diesel cars are gaining in popularity, more new models are entering the market, and used models could be priced as low as they’re going to get for a while.
When CarGurus started thinking about this year’s July 4th, we decided to take a look at which major U.S. metro areas are most patriotic in terms of car shopping. We looked at the cars our DealFinder shoppers have inquired about in 50 major metro areas, and we found that shoppers in some areas have a strong preference for American brand cars, while those in other areas actually prefer foreign cars.
We were not at all surprised to find that shoppers in the Detroit metro area had the strongest preference of all the areas we studied for American brand cars. St. Louis fell very closely behind, with Cleveland, Milwaukee and Tulsa completing our top five most patriotic car buying metro areas. The Midwest generally had the strongest interest in American cars.
California, meanwhile, took the bottom four slots in our list, meaning shoppers in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose metro areas had the lowest interest in American brand cars. New York, Boston, Seattle and Miami also placed in our bottom 10, suggesting that car shoppers in metro areas on both coasts had the least interest in American brand cars.
Where did your metro area place in our ranking? You can see our complete list and read the whole study here.
Does patriotism come into play when you’re shopping for a car, or do you try to focus on practical or financial issues? Or maybe other considerations?