Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back to Work...

On this my first day back to work, I was not productive but had an interesting time. I awakened at 5:30 AM, just 4 hours after I went to sleep, but in time to roll over and try again for 2 hours. I was successful. I went right to the shower, instead of drinking coffee for 3 hours and and even shaved. With my hair slicked back and wet, I poured my first cup of coffee. Dried my hair, drank some more coffee and was on the road by 9. Not too early, after all I didn't want to shock my system.

I lucked out and found a parking place the first time through the lot at the auction. My dealer card worked the first time through the ID machine and I was buyer number 507. In other words, 506 car dealers arrived somehow before me......... humph!

The first 2 guys I saw were old friends that I hadn't seen in years and we laughed that none of us had anything better to do than to come to the very place we dreaded going to each week for the past 35 years. I wandered around trying to absorb as much as possible.

People take what car dealers do for granted. But how do they know how much to pay for each car? How do they know when it's bringing too much? How do they know if they've got a bargain? The Blue Book used to help, but if you just paid the price listed, you'd be the biggest loser.

Strangely, Hyundais and Kias are bringing strong money. Who would have dreamed that they would be as strong as Hondas and Toyotas? American gas guzzlers were strong again too. It seems that the used car market is almost catching up with the new car prices, something that has never happened before.

When I first moved here about 36 years ago, one of my best friends was a guy named Bob. I owned a small used car lot on Scottsdale Road named Small Motors and Bob was the used car manager at Holiday Olds. When he got fired and all managers did, he came over and used my license to do business. His wife and my wife were friends and we literally did everything together. Bob was about 9 years older than me, making him 73 now.

Who do you suppose is standing next to me at the auction, but Bob? He keeps looking at me and then looking away. Me, I just keep staring art him, waiting for my identity to sink in. After bob looked at me for about 10 seconds without saying anything, I finally said, "Don't you say hello"? Slowly he started to recognize me and I realized how that 9 years plays hard on you at his age. After a couple of minutes he just walked away. I knew he didn't know my name.

Suddenly, I saw it. In line, over in lane number 1 was a 2001 Volvo convertible, silver with a navy top and only 61,000 miles. I owned the twin sister to this car a couple of years ago and really enjoyed owning it and selling it. I remember paying $7400 and selling it for over $10,500 after using it for a few months. This was a car that I knew something about. Sometimes it's difficult to understand the auctioneer, but it sounded like he was trying to get around $4000 for this vehicle, of course the numbers were going up in a hurry. I got on around $5000 and bid it all the way up to $6000 and decided that without knowing what the Blue Book was, I'd better back off. It sold for $6200. Immediately afterwards, I went into the office and bought a Blue Book, something I haven't owned in years. I looked it up and saw it only booked at about $5300 base book and was pretty glad I'd stopped where I had. This is one of the casualties of not knowing the market.

The weather was awesome and I got a little color today. I left the auction and called a friend to have lunch. After lunch, my car took it's head and I followed it home for a nap. That was a lot of excitement for this old coot.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I love auto auctions. I was once, and still am --- a pretty good buyer. I just have a good feel for what they are worth and what they will bring later. I miss doing all of that, but now...I am stuck in the office, the controller for a medium size GM dealership. It's okay, it pays the bills. But I miss the excitement of the "kill".

Congrats on getting back in business. :)