Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mark asks: Hi Eric: Love your site. I have a question about (what I suppose are) regional areas for used cars. I have been looking around at used trucks in the Northern Virginia area and find an overwhelming preponderance of used trucks sourced from the Rust Belt. By which I mean New England, and the Great Lakes area. Even ones sourced from the Mid-Atlantic are rare!
So, where do all the trucks from NC, SC, GA, AL, MI, LA, TX, FL, AZ, NM, NV and CA go? (Those are a lot of states) I’ve even searched Autotrader for Florida zip codes, and find New England trucks there! It is quite frustrating. Where do all those cars go? How could I find one? I am to the point of giving up on searching for a used truck, however, the new ones are just too new-fangled for my liking.
My reply: I have a good friend who regularly attends car auctions, to buy vehicles for resale. He is an independent, but dealers also send their buyers to these auctions. You’ll find all types – and conditions. Of vehicles, I mean! Some are repos; others are just trade-ins that either the dealer didn’t want or couldn’t sell.
The reason Rust Belt cars pop up in your area (which used to be my area, too) is because rusty trade-ins don’t re-sell well in the Rust Belt. The people who live there are very hip to the effect of – and cost of – road salt on structural parts, such as the vehicle’s frame. Ergo, the thing to do is truck those puppies to places where people are not as hip – and willing to pay top dollar for a not-so-trusty rusty.
I suspect the not-rusty stuff doesn’t generally get trucked to other parts of the country because they aren’t rusty – and so re-sell well in the area where they were traded in.
You should, however, be able to find a not-rusty specimen in your area; it may entail private party (local) sales but well worth it, if only because you’ll almost always pay less when buying from a private party than a dealer. In addition to the lower price of the vehicle, you can usually get the seller to list a much lower price than you actually paid on the bill of sale – which will reduce the amount if tax you have to pay to the filthy thieves at the DMV!
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