Which Car Should I Sell – Results

In a post last week, I asked the readers what vehicle they thought I should sell, a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am or a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. In full disclosure, I had made a decision prior to soliciting feedback, however, a little affirmation is always healthy. Not to mention, I thought it would be a great topic of discussion, and it turned out to be. Sometimes the best way to get others involved in discussion is to leave the mentor role behind.

The arguments for selling each car were solid and along the same lines with what I was thinking. Let’s take a look at what you all said:

Sell the Grand Am:

  • the Vibe is more fuel efficient, and with gas prices increasing, this will save money.
  • you can sell off the Grand Am to pay for the Vibe, which is the better car.
  • if your lifestyle habits change, you could substantially increase your driving and fuel expenses.
  • keep the car with a warranty to be safe.

Sell the Vibe:

  • with so little gas usage your environmental impact is substantially easier to compensate for than the typical driver and the increase in fuel prices would have a marginal effect.
  • save what you would be paying in payments and put it into a high yield savings or mutual fund.
  • dump the debt and start paying yourself versus the bank.
  • it will cost you $2,784 more per year to keep the Vibe.

Sell them both:

  • Pontiac’s are crap

Which Car will I Sell?

All great points that are hard to argue against. You can really make a case for either vehicle, but in the end paying off my debt by selling the Vibe won out. Here are a few of the reasons why I’m deciding to sell the newer, nicer, and more functional Vibe.

  1. Limited depreciation at this point in time: The Vibe, with it’s features and warranty can be valued up to about $10,500. I bought the Vibe two years ago at a bargain price of $11,000 (about $2,000 below NADA). I’ve cleaned the vehicle up nicely and could probably sell it with a depreciation of a mere $500. Right now, it is without any major flaws, mechanically and aesthetically, but should anything happen between now and when I sell it, its value is going to sink (it’s locked in the garage and only comes out for test drives). The Grand Am is a very flawed vehicle in the sense that only a mother (or father) could love it in its current state. It cannot garner a premium. The warrantly also makes the Vibe a great catch for any buyer. How often can you find a 5 year old vehicle in nearly mint condition with a 2 year, 44,000 mile, zero deductible warranty left on it?
  2. Macro-economic leverage: This is a buyer’s market if you want a gas guzzler and a seller’s market if you have a functional, fuel efficient vehicle. The Vibe is going to be able to sell for a premium because it functions much like a SUV in terms of cargo room, yet gets over 30 mpg on the highway. People like the functionality of their SUV’s and when you can add in fuel efficiency, you have a vehicle that is in hot demand. Dealerships are overloaded with gas guzzlers that nobody is buying and at the same time automakers have not been able to make fuel efficient vehicles fast enough to meet the demand for them. In contrast to the Vibe, the Grand Am has lackluster functionality for most families (I don’t have kids) and is not the most fuel efficient for its size. There would be little demand for anyone to buy the Grand Am. Vehicle’s are depreciating assets and the quicker you can sell one, the better.
  3. Paying myself: I will be saving $2,784 in annual operating costs. At the same time, even though the Vibe is newer and has about half the miles driven on it, there is no guarantee as to how long it will last me (beyond the 2 year warranty). In 3 years it could completely fail on me, and I’d be left with nothing. In selling the Vibe, I am able to put away an additional $2,784 per year that could go towards my next vehicle. If I can get just four more years out of the Grand Am, I would have saved over $11,000 – enough to buy a very nice used vehicle. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.
  4. Peace of mind: I am paying $40/mo. in interest on the Vibe because I am indebted to it. Having that loan paid off is one less thing I have to worry about on a daily basis and it will feel good to pay it off. Not to mention, it may also do wonders for my credit score.
  5. I’m paying a premium for features I don’t need: Essentially I am paying a premium for a vehicle that I am not fully taking advantage of. Were fuel efficiency more of a concern in a commuting situation or cargo space needed for family or business situations, my thought process may be completely different. As it is, I’m paying good money for features that I don’t need. I just need a car to get me from point A to point B, and I have that in the Grand Am.

I’ve already begun marketing the Vibe and will report back with results on the entire process, including marketing tips, measurement of reach, negotiation tips, and things to avoid. I’m getting contacted multiple times daily, so hopefully it will sell quickly. Thanks again for all of your feedback!

Reader Questions:

  • Have you sold a car before? What lessons did you learn?
  • What kind of features do you value in a vehicle?

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