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What do you do if you have a car that just won't sell?

I’ve sold cars before. I sold a Rabbit GTI, a Jetta GLI, and a Honda Prelude. In each of those cases, the cars sold easily – the phone rang off the hook, and I had people competing for the Rabbit.

The vehicle I’m selling is an Escape. In spite of several ads, with photos and a complete and honest description, and in spite of the fact that this car looks and drives great, there is simply No Interest.

So, what’s next?

I have it priced $1,000 below LOW book, by the way.

Has anyone else been in this predicament? What did you do?

I don’t know where you’re from but if it’s 4wd it’s out of season. I would suggest a better location in view of high volume traffic if it looks that good and college bulletin board posts. A good low price on a well cared for car attracts poor college kids who want a good deal before a fancy car.

eBay and (this website).

Northern California, home to about 20 universities (if I’m exaggerating, it ain’t by much).

What is a good time of year to sell it?

And thank you for your quick answer.

Agree with previous post; I have found that supermarket bulletin boards with a good color picture and a piece of paper with tear-off phone numbers works great. Make sure the car is clean and shiny. College kids always peruse bulletin boards, at school or at home.

If you really get desperate and are willing to take a bath I think Carmax will buy most anything you bring them. Just expect something like the trade in value.

I’d also ask what you use for “book” value. These things are messy. I see a lot of people list cars for something like NADA book value or Kelly’s “retail” value. And they often try to say its “below” book value. What they don’t know is that a private seller unloading a car at some % below NADA value has it way over priced for the private seller market. You said you’ve sold cars before so I assume that you know all of that your mention of it was vague.

Mike, you’re not exaggerating. If for the purposes of selling a car you consider each individual campus as a seperate college, I’ll bet it’s more like 50.

What YEAR Escape? How many miles? Some cars fall into a “Dead Zone” where the price might be fair but it’s just too much for cash buyers to come up with. Many (most) people “can’t be bothered” trying to get a loan to buy a used car from a private party.

Now in your ad, if you posted the words “Owner Will Carry” your phone will explode and potential buyers will be fighting over it…Off course, you are not going to do that and your phone is not going to ring…This country is TAPPED OUT!

Dealers are a one stop shop, they arrange everything, financing, insurance, registration. You will have to get WAY below “book” to compete with that…No one is lazier than the American Consumer…

Like houses, it may just take time. Docnick suggested bulletin boards. I also suggest that you put your ads on the buletin boards in the Student Unions of the univerities near you. Any large organization is likely to have them, too. You might be able to get into government buildings, if not private businesses. I think I’ve seen them at Fry’s, too. Ask friends that work at large companies to post your ads.

craigslist is useful, but the fraudsters get tiresome. Put right in your ad, “Buyer picks up car in person and pays CASH, repeat, CASH.”

Don’t sell it any other way…For your part, you must have the title in hand…

If it won’t sell, it’s priced too high - plain and simple.

If you lowered the price to $1.00, it would sell in a heartbeat. So that means the value of the car is somewhere between $1.00 and your asking price.

  1. Insure it.
  2. Torch it.

Just kidding. Put it on ebay with a $1.00 reserve and $1.00 starting bid. Local pick up, cash sale. It will sell.


Guess where they get the book price. That’s right they look at real sale prices. It is the sale prices that set the book price. It is NOT the book price that sets the sale price. In your case it would appear one of two things.

  1. You need to lower the price.
  2. You are not reaching the potential buyers, so you may need to advertise in a new way.

Good Luck

“If it won’t sell, it’s priced too high - plain and simple”

Just lowering the price when you presently think it’s fair, denies the opportunity of reaching that person willing to pay. I would not lower the price until after I expanded my sales reach if that is a problem…adding “negotiable” does wonders too. Once you’ve expanded, then and only then can you determine if the price is too high. Doing both at once when time is not critical, may be wasting money. Local pricing though has to be considered and not just “book” value. I’ve sold cars higher than book at the right time, model and place…timing like in everything is MOST important.

I agree with Dagosa that price is a function of the audience size. It’s also a function of numerous other variables (location, cleanliness, color, …).

The seller can always invest his time and money in trying to reach a larger audience, but it’s a gamble on whether that additional investment will get him the higher selling price he’s seeking.

What media are you advertising with???

I’ve sold a lot of stuff through Craigslist.

When a Dealer has a car that won’t sell the first step taken is that car is moved to a different location,

Have you check the ‘completed items’ on ebay motors to see what vehicles like yours are actually selling for? You may be (unpleasantly) surprised with the low final bids, ‘book’ price is just an estimate, after all.

what does “owner will carry” mean?