Saturday, February 25, 2006

Car buying lesson from a car TV show host

If you reside in Central Illinois you've probably seen me at some point co-hosting "The Friendly Auto Show." It's been on WICS, WCIA, WCFN & cable for 7 years.

I love cars. I've owned many. I know cars are expensive. I am a pre-owned advocate. I usually shoot for cars about two years old with 30,000 miles on 'em. The type of cars I like to buy, (large American luxury cars) don't hold their value - and consequently I get a pretty good price. The cars I usually drive retail for over $40,000 - but I pay a fraction of that. In my mind - that makes me smart. Car dealers see more customers like me all the time, and pack their lots with cars like these.

What I don't understand, are people that spend huge amounts of money on cars. Granted, some of you have money to burn and simply want a brand new car. OK. Some of you equate status to your vehicle, and spend accordingly. That's OK too. You are within your right to drive what you want. But....................

Some people go way overboard. Case in point. A Kansas City man ordered a new Ford-GT from his local dealership. This is a race car plain and simple. It was a prototype rolled out at the Detroit Auto Show last year. Ford has had the GT design for years. Ford raced it all around the world for decades. Ford wanted to compete with the attention Dodge was getting with it's Viper. Ford floated the GT balloon at the auto show to see if they'd get any takers. Kansas City man - and a handfull of others - took the bait - and spent $200,000 on average - for the car.
The wait time from the factory is long. Kansas City man waited two years for his car. Finally, the dealership calls. They have his car. He writes the huge check. Man, this car is beautiful. Why shouldn't it be? It cost $200,000! He drove it straight home and garaged it. He was worried of anything bad happening to his new car. The next day he decided to get out the new car. He wanted to experience the horsepower so he gunned it a little. He was on the grounds of his Country Club, (likely showing off) , when he lost traction in the rear wheels going over a little bridge near the 17th fairway. After a two year wait, $200,000, and with just 8 miles on the GT - he plowed into a steel and concrete pole.

He's OK. The pole doesn't even have a scratch. Today he wishes he purchased something a little more conventional. Something with 500 less horses under the hood, pre-owned - about 2 years old, with 30,000 miles on it.