Not so fast…

January 27, 2009

I received an email from a reader.  Below is his note…


I just read your article “you can’t go back and you can’t stand still”. I don’t know if you are aware that line is in a Grateful Dead song “The Wheel”. But on to the article. You wrote about how Impalas we bought in November for $14,000 will be selling for $9,000. Well you were 180 degrees wrong. The Impalas I bought in November were bought for $9-9,500 are now selling for $13-14,000. You really missed that one. The price of year old Tahoes and Suburbans have gone through the ceiling. In some cases bringing $2-4,000 out of the book. It’s happened every year and will happen again next year. Program vehicles drop like a rock in Oct-Dec and rebound every January.


And my response…


Not so fast!  While it’s true that there has been a surge in the wholesale marketplace that I wasn’t expecting, I continue to believe that it is false.  In other words, while some wholesale buyers may be paying $13,000 for ’08 Impala’s, I won’t accept the fact that ’08 Impala’s are worth it until I see evidence that they’re selling in the retail marketplace for around $15,000, and I don’t expect this to happen any time soon.  There is absolutely nothing in today’s economy that suggests that the post holiday frothy wholesale buying spree is justified. 

Every shrewd used car operator that I meet assures me that ’08 Impala’s are not worth $13,000, nor are 4 wheel drive Explorers worth more than $2,000 over book.  If you subscribe to the old school, you may believe that a car is worth what it brings in the wholesale marketplace, but I will embrace the notion that a car’s correct wholesale value is based on what it will bring in the retail marketplace.

Keep on truckin’