Help with a car bid.
June 15, 2006 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I need a little help thinking through an offer I am about to make on a car, rather quickly.

It's a 1991 Toyota MR2, non-turbo, with T tops and about 63K in mileage. The guy is asking $7000 for it but the Kelly Blue Book value of it is only $4,600. The problem comes from the fact that the Kelly Blue Book value seems to have little or no relation to the apparent market price of an MR2 in Michigan.

A car of the same year make, model, style and mileage is listed at $5,800 an equal distance away from where I live. But at the same time, a similar car ('93 instead of '91) with similar mileage that is even closer to me is listed at $7,900.

Just going on that information, what would be your offer to the guy asking $7,000 for it?
posted by 517 to Shopping (13 answers total)
 
I'm guessing his floor is 6k so start at 5.5k and go from there if that's comfortable.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 10:51 AM on June 15, 2006


If you can get one for $5800, then you should try to do better than that. Offer $5000.
posted by mikepop at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2006


What people are asking is irrelevant. Nobody expects to get the price they're asking. What's relevant is what the cars are actually being bought for. Look at completed EBay motors auctions within the last little while. "In Michigan" is irrelevant. For a price difference of $2400 over bluebook, you can fly to buy another car.

Start by asking him how flexible he is on the price - before you say a number. At that point, he will have already moved from his asking price for you, without you offering anything.

Offer him an amount significantly below the maximum that you're willing to pay. I'd offer him at least $1500 below blue book. Don't offer more until he's come down significantly.

Here's some great reading on the rules to buying a used car.

And run a Carfax report. It will tell you if the thing actually has that many miles, and lots of other important information. Send me an email, and I can help you in that department.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2006


63K miles isn't bad for a 15 year old car - I can see why he's asking a premium.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:04 AM on June 15, 2006


The guy is asking $7000 for it but the Kelly Blue Book value of it is only $4,600.

i think this guy's being very unrealistic, even if it has low mileage ... i'm not so sure that you can make him a reasonable offer that he'll take

perhaps you should keep looking ... i would
posted by pyramid termite at 11:12 AM on June 15, 2006


A Toyota MR2 is not just a piece of transportation, it's a "collectable" or enthusiast car, as you probably know, and that can make the price fluctuate more. As mentioned above, if there's only 63k on it, it could be minty.

If he's not getting offers at the current asking price, you may have some leverage. Just keep up with the research and try to make a case for a lower price.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:14 AM on June 15, 2006


A Toyota MR2 is not just a piece of transportation, it's a "collectable" or enthusiast car, as you probably know, and that can make the price fluctuate more. As mentioned above, if there's only 63k on it, it could be minty.

This may be true as far as the sellers expectation goes, but you don't have to buy into it. It's a 15 year old car, 63K miles doesn't guarantee in any way that you'll have any significant time of trouble free operation. I wouldn't make an offer without driving the car first and giving a serious look over. See if it needs brakes yet (probably not quite, but close) and see if the timing belt has been changed yet, if it has one, it will need one soon. These two alone will cost you close to $1000 to have done, so consider the hidden costs.

In any case, if you do make offer, lowball it. If he won't budge, walk away.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:44 AM on June 15, 2006


Also check values on cars.com and edmunds.com. Have an amount in mind that is your limit.
posted by theora55 at 11:53 AM on June 15, 2006


I know quite a bit about MR2s.

Go for the 93. The 93 model received lots of upgrades -- bigger brakes, better suspension, 15" wheels, upgraded synchronizers in the transmission (a huge flaw in the '91-92 models). The red 91-92 models also had no clear coat, and their paint will generally be in terrible condition by now.

Trouble spots to look out for:
- Transmission problems (91-92)
- Leaking T-tops (very common)
- Seals on the engine leaking
- Turbo blowing oil

In general, the motor is very strong and will do 200k miles, even pushed hard all its life. The turbo will be shot after 100-150k miles, and need replacement. This is usually a source of oil loss. I've had both a 91 and a 93, and the worst problems I've had have been transmission related. Everything else is of the quality you'd expect from Toyota.

Yes, the blue book value is ~$4000, but that doesn't reflect reality. There are very few turbo MR2s left on the roads (people crash them all the time). A clean, low miles MR2 is worth well in excess of book value. People have been known to pay $12 to $15k for a clean 94 or 95. A '93 in good shape is definitely worth $6 - $8k. A 91-92 I'd say $3 - $5k depending on condition.

FYI, there were roughly 10k MR2s imported into the US in 1991. In 1993, the number is more like 2000, with about 800 being turbo. In 94-95 put together, another 2000. The car is mid-engine, and therefore requires additional driver skill in adverse conditions or at the limits of its handling. Since the car has gotten more affordable to a younger generation, many of them have been put into telephone poles and guard rails. If you do buy it, take care when driving in wet conditions. It will surprise you, and before you know it, you'll have to look in your rearview mirror to see whatever you're about to hit.

Finally, check out MR2OC for an extremely knowledgable community about this particular car.
posted by knave at 12:33 PM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


I forgot to mention, the 93+ models also had the option of a limited slip differential. My 93 has this and it makes a huge difference if you drive in rain or snow. Plus you can kick the tail end out much easier, lots of fun. :)
posted by knave at 12:35 PM on June 15, 2006


Has anyone had any success saying "How about we look over the car together to determine the condition, plug that info into kelly blue book for an authoritive valuation, and that's what I pay you for it"?
posted by -harlequin- at 9:27 PM on June 15, 2006


Has anyone had any success saying "How about we look over the car together to determine the condition, plug that info into kelly blue book for an authoritive valuation, and that's what I pay you for it"?

That might work with some people... like your best friend or your Dad... :^).
posted by Artful Codger at 6:02 AM on June 16, 2006


let us know how it turned out!
posted by mikepop at 6:46 AM on June 16, 2006


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