In the age of ride sharing and peer-to-peer car rentals, car buying seems to be stuck in the stone ages. New services are looking to change that. The big question is, would you buy a car from a vending machine?
For car buyers, there is often a sense of dread when it comes to dealerships. Some people find the negotiating process painful. Some people find salespeople sleazy. And other people find that the whole process seems drawn out and archaic. From the dealer’s side, few things are as painful as difficult customers, time wasters and tire kickers.
Like buying a candy bar
— Carvana (@Carvana) March 29, 2018
Over the last few years, a few companies have fought to change the way people buy their cars. Their aim has been eliminating the haggling, the frustration and the uneasy feeling that someone, in some way, is getting cheated out of something. One of the most novel ventures has been buying your car from car vending machines. Carvana has been the most noted American company offering the service. Buyers can literally put a coin in a larger than life vending machine stocked with used cars or they can get cars delivered to them. A new vending machine recently opened in Tampa Bay.
Exotic vending machines
Not to be outdone, a company in Singapore has taken this idea to another level. Instead of offering customers a chance to buy a used Ford or a used Chevy, customers can now buy Lamborghinis and Ferraris. In an expensive country like Singapore, with its confusing and exorbitant taxes on vehicles, you’d better hope your AMEX has a high limit.
In China, Ford has teamed up with Alibaba to unveil a Ford vending machine. It is an early example of a manufacturer-backed venture, signalling that big car companies are on board with new ways to sell cars.
It’s not just the system
After a house, a car is probably the second biggest investment you’ll make. While the idea is good – fixed prices, no dealer tactics, no dodgy customers – there is so much of the “old way” that seems intrinsically tied to cars themselves. Such examples include checking out the cars in person, getting them inspected, and test driving them.
Are we okay replacing these age-old methods with guarantees and returns? On a used car where your chances of landing a lemon are far greater, I suspect most people may opt for a more traditional, safer approach.
Personally, I like the idea when it comes to new cars. Branded vending machines are a good idea too. I wouldn’t mind buying a new Raptor using pre-paid oversized coins, watching it as it is transported by a lift down to my waiting hands. But I would be more hesitant in buying a Raptor that’s five years old. It’s not because I’m against a car vending machine, I’d just like to know my money had solid guarantees before it disappears. I’m pretty sure I can’t just kick the machine until the goods fall out like a stuck candy bar.
Until those guarantees are set in stone and a certain level of trusted quality can be assured, I think I’ll stick to more grounded methods of car buying for now.
Rare Ferrari GTO sells for record $70 million
How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams?
How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams? What about a one-of-a-kind beauty that you see driving past your prestige dealer? How about a rare 1963 Ferrari GTO?
If you are Dave MacNeil, the answer to the latter, is USD $70 million. MacNeil, who is the CEO of automotive weather guard company WeatherTech, shelled out the record amount for a rare Ferrari.
It is no ordinary rare Ferrari of course. While already limited to 39 builds, this particular one, chassis number 4153 GT, is special. The car won the 1964 Tour de France motor race and finished fourth at Le Mans in 1963.
The $70 million paid by MacNeil eclipses the previous record for the Ferrari GTO. In 2013, a GTO was sold for a then record $53 million.
The Ferrari GTO is powered by a 3.0-litre V12 engine and is one of only 39 built between 1962-1964.
A Ferrari 250 GTO has yet again broken the record as the world's most expensive car, this stunning, and rare, silver example recently selling for a cool £52 million – https://t.co/kfhJroCFsZ pic.twitter.com/PqoUUYU6sH
— evo magazine (@evomagazine) June 4, 2018
MacNeil joins an exclusive group of GTO owners that include Ralph Lauren and Walmart heir Rob Walton.
How much is too much?
When you are in the same tax bracket as the Ralph Laurens and Walmarts of the world, perhaps there really isn’t a price that is too much for a prized automobile. It is truly rarefied air when the cars in your collection exceed seven digits a piece. For the rest of us, it seems utterly ridiculous of course. Collectors however, do see the worth of these incredibly rare vehicles.
How would you rather spend $70 million? I would definitely buy an expensive sports car, but one for considerably less.
Camaro coming to Australia as an automatic only
The Chevrolet Camaro is officially coming to Australia this year as an import from Holden Special Vehicles. Excitement may have been tempered slightly with its expected high price, and its auto-only option.
With the demise of local manufacturing, Australian buyers looking for grunt outside of expensive European options have flocked to the Ford Mustang. Almost 10,000 ‘Stangs were sold last year, which is enough proof that, while Australians don’t make affordable muscle cars anymore, they still want to buy them.
Holden, without a flagship V8 for the first time in decades, is turning to its parent company GM for a much needed boost. Holden’s performance arm, Holden Special Vehicles, announced earlier that the Chevy Camaro, in its 2SS trim, will be made available this year.
Good News and Bad News
That’s definitely the good news portion of it. While the thrill of locally made, hotted-up Commodores have been put to bed, the Camaro is more than a worthy successor. HSV have announced the specs for the 2SS for Australia, proving that it’ll pack quite the punch to satisfy the cravings of auto enthusiasts and muscle car fans.
— HSV (@OfficialHSV) December 14, 2017
The Australian 2SS Camaros will come with a 6.2-litre Gen 5 LT1 V8, packing 454hp (339kW) and 455 ft-lb of torque (617Nm). It will have Brembo brakes, a bi-modal exhaust, tons of technology and a variety of colour options.
So what is bad news here? Well, the Camaros have started arriving in Australia in your factory standard left-hand drive version. They are being converted to right-hand drive by HSV, which will add a hefty bump to the price tag. While no official numbers have been released just yet, speculation is that the price will come in around USD$60,400 (AUD$80,000). That’s almost $20k more than made-for-Australia Mustangs. HSV says they will be looking to keep numbers at 1,000 units a year, well below that of Ford’s current Mustang sales.
Another sticking point for performance enthusiasts is that the Australian Camaros will be available with an automatic transmission only. I know that probably stings, so I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Equipped with paddle shifters, it’ll be mated to an 8-speed auto transmission, which means the Camaro will be based on the outgoing 2018 model, and not the new 2019.
Still a Winner
Time will tell how the factory-backed Camaro will do. European performance cars have done pretty well with automatic transmissions, so it shouldn’t really hurt that much. While on the pricey side, the Camaro will still be far more affordable than an Audi RS or BMW M-series. It is a just a shame that this particular car, one that is aimed at filling in some lofty Commodore shoes, comes a little shackled from the get-go.