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Why won’t my son’s BMW sell?


My son has his 2009 BMW 650i up for sale. It looks like new, is in well maintained condition, has always been garaged, and is fairly priced. He is getting very little interest. I say it’s because the car has a manual transmission. He tells me this type of manual transmission is a rare 6-speed for this model of car. Besides the transmission as a possible problem affecting the sale, can the time of year be a factor. It is winter and we are experiencing heavy rain and cold weather. Are less people looking for cars in this type of weather? Thank you.

I agree about the manual transmission part. Nasty weather will keep people from going out . Also I suspect he has it over priced . Not knowing your location we sold a nice Nissan Frontier truck to Carmax . They will give him a price that is good for 7 days . It is also a 10 year old BMW and many people see those as future expensive repair problems.


We don’t know even what country your son is in but… in the USA less than 3% of cars are sold with a manual transmission. And oddly enough, only 20% in the UK. About 30% or so across Europe. Many buyers don’t even know how to drive a manual even if that was their choice.

I can drive a manual, I’ve had trouble selling my old manual trans cars. I drive an automatic now.

You are correct, Mom, his primary problem is the BMW is a manual.

It could also be because of where he lives.

I have had more success selling a vehicle in a large metropolitan area than a small town area. It helps to have a large pool of potential customers, especially with a manual transmission.

Define “fairly priced.” I wouldn’t pay much at all for an old, out-of-warranty BMW. The unpleasant reality of old luxury cars is that you can buy them for a song, and then you can spend at least that much per year keeping them on the road.

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As far back as the '80s, I had a very difficult time selling my old manual trans cars, and I’m sure that even fewer people are interested in manual trans cars nowadays!
However, everything is eventually saleable if the price is low enough.
Eventually, I cut my asking prices to a ridiculously low point, and then they sold.


Is he advertising in the BMW forums? There’s a small market for expensive luxury cars with manual transmissions, he’ll have to cast a wide net.

The only reason my daughter bought a manual car was so her boyfriend couldn’t drive it, Smart girl.


The manual transmission very well might have something to do with it. But I’ll bet the major issue is that a higher end BMW is going to have eye-watering upkeep and repair costs, and that’s going to scare some people away. With that said, there are enthusiasts who would prefer the manual to an automatic, and are comfortable with the idea of throwing down $1500 every time this car has something go wrong. Your son just has to find one.

And yes, the time of year may slow inquiries.

Also waiting for their tax return.

And if that return is what they are going to buy a used vehicle with then they really don’t need a 10 year old BMW.

Whenever I hear of something not selling, I immediately think of it being overpriced.

If you lowered the price to one dollar, it would sell in a heartbeat.
That means that somewhere between one dollar and the price you’re asking is the price it will sell for more quickly.

I also agree with the previous replies that the manual transmission limits the audience who would be interested in this car. I love manuals and hate to see the decline of them, but it’s a reality.


You know that, I know that, but they don’t know that.


The BMW 6 series is a very niche market car, they were available new as either a coupe or convertible and priced at over $100,000. It is very much an enthusiast’s car, and as such, I doubt that the manual transmission is an impediment. If this is the convertible version, weather is probably the biggest factor. Also, I just found 2 of the 2009 coupes in my area, one for $9k., one for $13k. You should look online and make sure your asking price is in the range for your area.

It could be that a person who would like a BMW would buy a new BMW. In his book, “What You Should Know About Cars”, the late Tom McCahill wrote about two people he knew where one person had a 1958 Cadillac and the other person had a 1958 VW Beetle. While the purchase price of the Cadillac was more than three times that of the VW, four years later both cars were worth the same amount of money. The cars were both in excellent condition and had about the same number of miles.
A used car buyer of a ten year old car is looking for economical transportation. To these buyers, a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic would have more appeal than a BMW of the same vintage.

That sounds about right, according to the top bids for 2008-2010 cars on Ebay, most all in the $7k-$12k range.

OP, what’s your son’s asking price?

Who knows? Lots and lots of factors …

How many miles are on this vehicle?
Is he publishing that figure in the sale? When looking at used cars I ignore any that don’t state mileage.

How, where is he advertising?
Sign in window? Craig’s List, Other?

What’s the asking price?
Is it priced too high? Has he been reducing the asking price as time goes on? Is he willing to negotiate?

What color is it?
Interior color?

In what state is it located?

Clean Title in hand?

All maintenance records available?

Are folks calling/looking and not buying or just no inquiries, no lookers?

All good points, but I have to point out that a whole lot of people don’t actually seem to get past the make and model of a car when they look at ads. Every time that I sold my old cars, the ads always stated the odometer mileage, the color, the engine type, the transmission type, and the fact that it had A/C. Obviously, all of that was in addition to the make, model, and model year.
Here are some typical phone conversations:

Caller #1: What color is it?
Me: Silver
Caller #1: Oh, I wanted a red car.

Caller #2: How many miles on it?
Me: 80,000–just like it says in the ad
Caller #2: What type of engine does it have?
Me: Six cylinder
Caller #2: Oh, I was looking for a V-8

Caller #3: Does it have A/C?
Me: Yes
Caller #3: What type of transmission does it have?
Me: Manual transmission
Caller #3 (obviously very upset) I can’t drive a stick shift!!

If this type of willful ignorance had just happened once, I could have understood it, but it happened time, and time, and time again that people would ask me about the very same things that I had listed in my ad.


Dumb questions are what made us decide to sell out truck to Carmax plus people who would say they were on the way to look at it and never show .

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