Why is my minivan not selling?
June 25, 2008 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Why is my van not selling?

I have a minivan listed for sale on autotrader and some of the local classified sites. The van has been on autotrader for a week and a half, on online classifieds for about three. The van in question is a 2003 Ford Windstar with only 45k miles. Real nice, clean, blah blah blah.

I've priced it at $8400, which about $300 less than what KBB estimates for this model/condition.

Outside of the spammy types, I have had not one inquiry on my van. Is this a poor time of year to be selling a vehicle? Do I have it priced to high? Are people scared of minivans because of high gas prices? Or do I just need to be patient?
posted by neilkod to Work & Money (16 answers total)
Are people scared of minivans because of high gas prices?

I think that's probably it.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:07 PM on June 25, 2008

We buy/sell motorized things every now and again and it's be a LOT harder to sell them of late than it has been in the past. (And we're not trying to sell anything that's particularly hard on the gas bill.)

Vans tend to get better mileage than, say, a Suburban so at least you've got that going for you!

Do you have craigslist available for your area? If you do, and you haven't been using it, you should.

Best of luck.
posted by Incognita at 3:15 PM on June 25, 2008

In my area, on craigslist, I've seen that model with between 60k and 100k miles going for as cheap as $4000. I would look at the prices for comparable vehicles in your area and reassess your figure.

Also, don't forget about sales gimmicks. Instead of dropping the price $1000, offer $500 worth of gas cards for free.
posted by lockle at 3:16 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: lockle, i've looked at comparable vans-mine has a few options, such as quad seating for one, that raised the van's price considerably. These options are also factored into the kbb estimate. FWIW, this van was about 26k new, and there are only 45k miles on it, which i think was pretty low.
posted by neilkod at 3:19 PM on June 25, 2008

I see that you're near Salt Lake City. Check the other craigslist listings in the Utah area and just search for Windstar. It'll give you a good idea of general prices at the moment.

Best of luck!
posted by lockle at 3:20 PM on June 25, 2008

No replies would typically signify overpriced or not advertised in the right market -- be it a minivan, laptop, or professional services.
posted by SirStan at 3:47 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

The online blue books tend to run a bit high, in my experience. If you want to sell fast, you'll have to lower your price. It's the old "It's only worth what someone wants to pay" deal. What's the price without the quad-seat option? I'd say even though your van has it, the no-option price is probably closer to market.
posted by hwyengr at 3:49 PM on June 25, 2008

I have found that KBB and other price guides can be really wrong once in a while, either because their information was bad or there is something different about local conditions. Finding comparative sales is what you need to do -- and remember that with used vehicles, special options often have less value because someone is just buying a generic Ford minivan, they aren't necessarily willing to pay more for whatever the special seating is or whatever. I'd be surprised if 2003 Windstars are selling for that much, but if you can get it then good for you.

The last time I sold a used vehicle, I priced it competitively (disregarding KBB entirely -- it was easier to just look at similar vehicles in the past month in the paper) and put ads in the local paper and in the local vehicle sales publication. You know, the ones like the "nickle trader" and similar, given out free all over town, where the ads all have photos. I got a lot of calls and it sold pretty fast, but it wouldn't have if I had priced it via KBB instead of similar local sales.

Most towns have a few places where you can park a vehicle with a "for sale" sign in the window, and especially for a modestly-priced vehicle, that can be a good way to get a sale.
posted by Forktine at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2008

Drop your price.
posted by emd3737 at 3:57 PM on June 25, 2008

$8400 will buy you a nice used Honda or Toyota which is where the used market is looking right now. Even folks with kids who would normally be attracted to a minivan are going that way.

Nice options or not, good condition be damned, it's still a mini-van that get's combined 18mpg.

Sorry. You're stuck trying to sell a vehicle of this type at the worse possible time, and frankly the outlook is pretty gloomy.

Lower yer price, or drive it until it dies. Which is what? Around 80,000 miles for a Ford? ;-)
posted by wfrgms at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try 5 - 10% off of blue book (I'd lean towards 10%) if you want to sell it and you're not getting offers.
posted by zippy at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2008

The highest priced 2003 Windstar to sell on eBay motors in the past two weeks went for $6000, and it only had 44K miles on it. The next highest went for $5100.

I think you need to either lower your price or hang on to it.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2008

I have a friend who's a used auto dealer and say's he's having trouble selling *any* gas guzzlers for even two-thirds of their book value, which means he's not even offering half that. I suspect you're running into that.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2008

In this market EVERYTHING but the very best deals are sitting.

Keep in mind that it's an election year. Most businesses report drop-offs during election years, as people tend to be a little more conservative before an election for some reason.

then there is the overall economy slowdown (recession, depression, whatever...) Talk to your local hairstylist, baker, waitress, home depot employee, etc. Pretty much everybody will tell you people simply aren't spending

Then there is the fuel prices. People simply aren't lining up to spend the better part of $10k on a used vehicle, with no warranty, that gets less than 20mpg.

there are a slew of late model SUV's selling for almost HALF the KBB value in my area, and they are sitting for months.

Cut your price and unload it, or hang on to it for a while and see what happens

Good luck
posted by Mr_Chips at 5:35 PM on June 25, 2008

Everywhere I go I see vehicles for sale, and mostly SUVs and other large vehicles (not to mention boats and RVs and what have you). It's a buyer's market out there. No matter what KBB says, they are probably running behind local conditions because they have to have reports to base their price on.

I'd say if you need to sell it, you're going to have to drop your price.
posted by dhartung at 11:28 PM on June 25, 2008

A Realtor friend told me that when a house won't sell, almost 100% of the time it's because it's overpriced. I think it's the same with vehicles.

It's worth what somebody will pay for it, and it's obvious that nobody so far thinks its worth what the KBB or other price guides indicate.
posted by imjustsaying at 12:38 AM on June 26, 2008

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