Used vehicle prices have been on a tear for over a year now, as slow new vehicle sales during the financial meltdown of 2009 have created a dearth of available used models today. Yet the sluggish economy means demand for used vehicles is high, so dealers are going to ever-increasing lengths to acquire inventory.

According to Ward's Auto, the latest tactic is buying vehicles from service customers. Dealers are appraising customer cars and trucks before they pay their repair bills, then offering to buy the vehicles rather than charge the owners for the service visit. Dealers are even giving service personnel incentives to bring in trades.

One dealer said his service areas have signs reading, "Before you pay your service bill, you might want to find out the value of your car."



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  • 32 Comments
      Kent Kangley
      • 3 Years Ago
      That image is a VW fan's dream come true. It must be from the mid-'70s. I see Dashers and 411s or 412s, a Thing, some buses and plenty of Beetles. I would love a 411/412 wagon in orange.
        BG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kent Kangley
        Yes, it's a great photograph. The 411/412 did not sell too well in USA, as I recall. Also, weren't they only equipped with auto transmission? If so, VW was ahead of the times in gauging the mood (or ability) of the US driving population.
      djrroar1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Been in the car business for 30 years, we have been buying cars out of service for about 30 years. Used car values are no longer insane, most have moderated in the last 120 days. The nicest cars bring the most money, that has always been the case.
      PatrickH
      • 3 Years Ago
      The local Honda dealership offers to buy my S2000 about twice a year. It's really annoying and the amount they offer me is insulting. Sure, lemme sell my sports car to you! Then I can buy a CRZ or Civic Si...lol, don't make me laugh.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      imoore
      • 3 Years Ago
      Come on, Autoblog, why are you toruring us with this image? Can you be any meaner or cruel? Was it something we said? If we did, we take it back and promise to be more nicer.
      Danaon
      • 3 Years Ago
      Used cars have almost doubled in price since 2008 where I live. Cash for clunkers really screwed poor people by raising the price of used cars. If you think about it.... we spent that money to destroy many perfectly serviceable vehicles (they had to be running to clunker them) just to pull forward some new vehicle sales. So we spent billions of tax dollars to screw over poor people who can't afford new cars. Only the government could come up with something that stupid :|
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Danaon
        News Flash for those that can't see the forest for the trees: The automotive industry is one of the few bright spots in the entire economy. There have been literally tens of thousands of jobs created in the car business directly because the demand in new cars. And those tens of thousands of jobs directly linked to building cars, hundreds of thousands more have been created indirectly in secondary industries because of that. EVERY car - new or old - is expensive if you don't have a job, however if someone is directly or indirectly employed because car production is up, then a elevated used car market is more than made up for by the fact that you actually have an income.
        axiomatik
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Danaon
        Cash for Clunkers took 690k cars off the road. Before the recession, the auto industry was selling about 16 million cars a year. 2008 - 13.5 million 2009 - 10.6 million 2010 - 11.8 million 2011 - 12.9 million (expected) So, due to the recession, 11.2 million fewer new cars were sold than normal. 11.2 million new cars that would later end up in the used market. Tell me, which had a great effect? Recession: 11.2 million cars Cash for clunkers: 690k cars Hmmm, pretty hard to figure out.
          Frank
          • 3 Years Ago
          @axiomatik
          11.2 million cars over 4 years 690k cars in just 6 months or so You do the math.
          SheldonRoss
          • 3 Years Ago
          @axiomatik
          to follow up most industry people say 13-13.5 million is were the market should be. By that estimate the recession causes the used market to miss out on 5.2-3.7 million available cars. Making that 690k 13.5-18.5% missing used cars. That's a significant chunk.
      bman78
      • 3 Years Ago
      3 years ago when we destroyed 750,000 clunkers we lost a lot of good used vehicles. i know many people are not in the market for an older larger car but when you couldn't find that you went to plan B and that was some else's plan A car. toss in a hard economy where people decide to keep there car longer and the used car market starts to dry up. not many people are leasing anymore and lease returns used to be a steady stream of used cars. supply and demand determines the price. if the demand of used cars is up but the supply is low...
        Pete K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bman78
        The used car market is insane right now because people perceive a better value in used cars, despite their best intentions, I believe a great number of people are fooling themselves into used cars that will end up being more expensive than buying new...at least with the way the used market is right now...this hasn't always been the case.
          Eric Leippe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Pete K
          The used car is only as smart as the buyer. We're in big trouble!
      Eric Leippe
      • 3 Years Ago
      "there's no car cheaper than the one you own" is still true unless of course you have something stupid for your daily driver
        Mdriftda
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Eric Leippe
        is an M3 stupid? because i love tearing up slow commuters.
          Pete K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mdriftda
          I used to be this guy...it makes NO difference in the time you get into work. I'd blast past my co-workers, and maybe beat them in the door by 2-3 minutes. I was much younger then, but yeah...it is stupid and a waste of your money. I leave my fun car for the weekends.
          Eric Leippe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mdriftda
          The M3 is only as stupid as the driver. Choose your own adventure!
      Randy
      • 3 Years Ago
      This was on TV about 9 months to a year ago.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 3 Years Ago
        Kind of like how only stupid idiots think an internet manager or fleet sales rep will give them a better deal.just because of their title. What an ignorant notion. It's obvious you haven't an iota of a clue as to what you are talking about. Any good salesman knows all the tricks to gross, regardless of what the tag over their office door says. I hate when people talk out their asses about sh1t they know nothing about.
      MAJikMARCer
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just bought out my lease for $12K for a car that the bank says is worth $19K. Even if I only got $14K for it, it was worth the deal. I'm almost tempted to see what the deal WOULD give me for it now.
      Nick Allain
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey guys, I've got a car I want to get rid of. Offer me a sweet price and I'll take it.
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