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Journal tompaulco's Journal: Why are used cars so expensive? 1

I am in the unenviable position of having to find a suitable car for my 16 year old stepson. Naturally, new cars are out of the question, because there aren't any in the price range that a new driver ought to be driving (approximately $1500 to $2000 in my opinion). So I started looking at used cars. However, there also aren't any used cars in that price range that actually run and aren't falling apart. My first car, 20 years ago, cost about $1200 and it ran and it was only falling apart a little. Also, that car was really only worth about $700. I figure if inflation has doubled in the last 20 years, and it hasn't, then I should be able to get a comparable car for about twice what that one was worth, or about $1400. However, it seems that an eight year old car with 100,000 miles on it these days still costs about 5,000. A lady at work was thinking of selling her 2002 Honda Civic with 72000 miles on it. I figured she might get $5,000 retail for it and I might be able to get it for $3,000. But no, according to Kelly Blue book, this car retails for almost $10,000, and trade-in is almost $6,000. This is a car that was probably released in 2001 and is therefore 8 years old, and has close to 100,000 miles on it. another 28,000 miles and you wouldn't be able to get a loan on it, but the dealers want $10,000 for it. It was only $13,000 brand new. How is it that a car can loose half it's value when it drives off the showroom floor, and then 8 years later still cost 80% of it's original value?
Where does one go to find reliable transportation at prices befitting the fact that the person driving it is almost certainly going to wreck it within the next two years?
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Why are used cars so expensive?

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  • Look in your local papers' classified ads. Pick up an AutoTrader booklet (their web site basically doesn't work) at a grocery store or a gas station's quickie mart. Stay away from dealers, and their markup.

    Stay away from Hondas, esp. Civics. Young Asian boys are always looking to buy those up, even the junkiest ones, as they end up redoing most of the car anyways, on their way to ricing it out. So demand is high for them, so therefore so are prices. (And so therefore they're stolen a lot.) Stay away from To

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban