We got a tip yesterday that Geo Metros were being auctioned on eBay Motors for prices above what the tiny cars cost new. This auction for a 1993 Geo Metro XFI with just 22,501 miles ended yesterday with a winning bid of $7,200! Why has the resale value of the Metro and other tiny econocrap cars gone through the roof? The simple answer: gas prices. Vehicles like the Metro, the Suzuki Swift on which it's based, Ford Aspire and Festiva, and Hyundai Excel were around before federal safety regulations and public pressure demanded that every car survive an impact from any angle with five stars. That kind of safety adds weight, and modern econocars are therefore much heavier and therefore less fuel efficient than they were in the early '90s.
The aforementioned Metro XFI is powered by an anemic 1.0L three-cylinder engine producing just 49 hp, but it returns between 55 and 60 mpg. Cars like this defined the phrase 'fuel-sipping' and made passing on the highway a strategic maneuver involving lots of planning. But the XFI is now apparently the holy grail for used car shoppers willing to sacrifice modern amenities and a bit of safety to save a buck on fuel. The trick is finding an example with low miles that hasn't rusted to pieces or been abused by an angry teenager who wanted a Mustang instead. If you do find one, you'll have what automakers are now just unable to offer: a cheap small car that doesn't use expensive technology to achieve incredible fuel economy. But you better willing to pay for it. Thanks for the tip, Lynn!
[Source: eBay Motors, U.S. News]