“Unsold” Cars and Fun With Stock Screens

... wouldn't mind finding this at a country auction...

Gloom-and-doom sentiment abounds on the internet. You can stumble across it with not even a diligent search.  A click here and there, and eventual perambulations resulted in a look-see at this alarming article from ZeroHedge: Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die Lots and lots of photos, mostly of staging areas at ports around the world, including Baltimore USA and Civitavecchia in Italy, some taken through Google Earth, some from regular stock photos. The basic premise of the "article"[1] is that since there are untold thousands (hundreds, even!) of parked cars in these areas, that new cars aren't selling well or fast enough.  *NO ONE* is buying new cars.  New cars are beyond the reach of the SHRINKING middle class.  … [Read more...]

Kelly Blue Book, Autotrader and Cox: They’re Not Your Friends

Don't bother searching for an AMC Eagle on KBB. The year selector only goes back to 1994.  The Eagle and the Javelin almost made up for AMC's Pacer and Gremlin... almost.

Carrying on with the auto-themed articles.  Sorry, but the recent car-buying experience left too much blog fodder swishing around in the brain.  Had we bought a house, the blog would instead be awash with all-about-mortgages and bankers-are-wankers stories. First things first when buying a vehicle. Some 50 or 70 percent of car buyers (lies statistics vary depending on who's taking the survey) turn to the internet to find out exactly what they should be paying for that old jalopy. Kelly Blue Book has a firm place in the the national car lexicon as the non-pareil gold standard of used car price information. "Under KBB" by this much, is how used cars are often listed in the classifieds, by private individuals and dealers … [Read more...]

Visit A Car Dealership? No Thanks, I’d Rather Shave My Head with a Cheese Grater

car dealerships

It's Saturday, and we're off to tour a couple of car dealerships, there perchance to dicker and bargain with the salescritters. Last weekend, Mrs. 101C left the the boys with a long list of household chores (exploitation of child labor is only illegal if the children in question are not one's own, and inequitably compensated; ours get free room and board), and headed out for a few hours' car window shopping with a song in our hearts. Would we be pounced upon by ruthless car salespeople, undergo hours of high-pressure tactics and underhanded tricks? Could we hold out for that best bargain, or eventually capitulate to the oooh, shiny! new-car siren song? Negotiate or Die Negotiation is a skill, no question about it. It's … [Read more...]

Standard Car Buying Advice: About As Useful As Rubber Lips on a Woodpecker….

Chevrolet Thriftmaster 194X pickup truck at QFC in Kirkland WA

In the course of researching a new or used vehicle, almost inevitable that your eyeballs will be coated with the usual numbered lists of tropes and cliches thinly veneered as "car buying tips", available for free from a myriad sources:  the internet, the Sunday newspaper, and drunk Uncle Lou at the family BBQ. Scratch that, the Sunday newspaper is going the way of fax machines, and with the new Mini Ice Age blowing down from the Arctic, it's way too cold to even think about grilling outside, let alone invite Uncle Lou.  He drinks too much anyway. So, if you're middle-class (read: moderately affluent), have the available mental bandwidth and are inclined to read up before making a large purchase, chances are you'll be scouring the … [Read more...]

New vehicle or used vehicle… crunching some numbers

plymouth truck used vehicle

The USA Financial Service household is in the market for a new truck.  After turning in 200,000 miles of good and faithful service,  the 2001 Ford F150 has (nearly) shuffled off this mortal coil. So, time for a new ride. Or new-ish, rather. Setting aside the strawman of fuel efficiency, our lifestyle requires the utility of at least one truck in the household. We really really wanted another Ford F150, but since the early 2000's, Ford's extended cab and crew cab models are more than 230 inches in length, which is about five or six inches too long to fit ... in our garage  (there's a penis joke in there somewhere, but we'll leave that one to Nelson Smith). Nissan was an option, and so was the Toyota Tundra.  Chevys and GMC were out, also … [Read more...]

Knowledge is Power. So are Ferraris.

fast-track career

Knowledge is power.  True.  And knowledge without practical wisdom is about as useful as a black highlighter pen. So, what better way to gain the knowledge and wisdom necessary for a fast-track advancement of your business career that to re-visit a few nuggets from the 101C archives (we'll get to Ferraris soon enough). Career Tip #13:  Bring Pen and Paper - Not necessarily in chronological or numerical order, but still crucial to come armed with an old fashioned pen or pencil and a scrap of paper.  Taking notes on an iPhone is cumbersome and silly. Understanding the small print… clauses, codicils and other buzzkills - RTFC!  If you don't already know what that means in engineering-contract-speak, you'll need to go read about … [Read more...]

Why Does Gas Cost So Much in California?

Old Gas Pump in Savannah Georgia.  Author: Lukelastic from Wikimedia Project.

More unintentionally humorous content from the mainstream media on politically charged issues.   This from one of America's newspapers of record, the LA Times: Tesoro plan to buy Arco gets more scrutiny amid gas-price surge As California gasoline prices set fresh records daily, consumer advocates are gearing up to fight the sale of the low-cost Arco brand and its Carson refinery to a Texas company not known for its cheap fuel. Some experts are calling the proposed $2.5-billion sale to Tesoro Corp. of San Antonio the biggest shift in California's petroleum business in decades. Activists say the deal, announced in August, would reduce competition and possibly raise prices for motorists, and they will ask state and federal regulators … [Read more...]

Popular Myths on Auto Insurance

Unconfirmed if Bonnie Parker had auto insurance. Presumably not.

  This article brought to you by Insurance Hunter Next to a home, a vehicle is likely the common person's most valuable asset. Like a home, vehicle insurance expense is a major monthly expense. Very much unlike a home, car ownership carries significant risks of liability and negligence. Best to be prepared with the right kind of coverage. Part of being prepared is discounting popular myths and misconceptions. Many times debunked, yet more persistent and pernicious than crabgrass is the silly myth that the vehicle's color will impact insurance costs. Wrong. Insurance companies don't really care a whit about color, but more about year, make and model, and is it popular with thieves. A zippy red Mustang convertible will … [Read more...]

Coffee Break: Government’s Business Sense and Auto Stocks

GM stock's one-year chart

Continuing with a series of short blog posts on anything that I can write about in between bouts of writer’s block and indecision, filling in the nooks between longer and better-crafted blog posts. Other examples of 101C coffee breaks can be found here and here. ************************************************************************** As if we needed one, here's a reminder from earlier this month of how inept governments are at conducting business. Dateline July 2nd: Government Motors:  As GM shares near record low, taxpayer loss on bailout rises to $35 billion To quote Lando Calrissian, this deal's getting worse all the time.  General Motors (GM) shares fell to a fresh 2012 closing low of 19.57 on Monday. The stock hit 19 … [Read more...]

Save Money On Your Car This Year

1885 Benz

  A car, it could be said, may be among a person's most prized possessions. Cars can get a person where they need to go, whether down the street or across a state. They are not cheap to own, however, and this can cause many owners grief. How can they hope to save money, aside from looking into car insurance for young drivers? 1. Compare Car Insurance Companies When the time comes for a person to get or replace the insurance that they may already have, they should consider comparing companies. Should they go with the first company that they come across to save time, they may not be saving money. Whether they are looking for car insurance for young drivers or something else, research is needed in order to save money.  2. Follow … [Read more...]