Few archetypes say "untrustworthy" like the used-car seller.
We're all familiar with the fast-talking, cheap-suit-wearing devil who sells
the customer a flashy car that runs on sawdust and falls apart faster than you
can say "charlatan." Believe it or not, then, CNN Business says that rental car companies offloading their used
fleets are the "it" dealerships right now.
With the coronavirus pandemic having depressed business
trips and tourism alike, the travel industry has run into considerable trouble.
That sector includes the big three rental car companies: Hertz, Avis, and
Enterprise. Hertz recently declared bankruptcy. Their going-under means potentially
lightly used cars at clearance-sale prices.
The surprising thing is that experts say the rental car
companies were already offering good deals for purchasing vehicles, before
quarantining turned the country's airports into veritable ghost towns. The big
three companies routinely downsize their merchant fleets to make room for new
additions. Enterprise apparently offloads a million cars a year on the market.
In 2017, an analyst with the auto sales website edmunds.com
compared prices between big used car company listings and the market at large. Direct
purchases from used car companies yielded dramatic discounts of 5 to 15 percent.
For anyone who finds the idea of bartering with a salesperson stressful, the
rental car companies often have no-haggle listings as well.
Other convivences include more generous test-drive
opportunities. Customers report being able to take the cars out for hours, and
in the case of Hertz, the company will actually bring the car to where you
live, if the location doesn't exceed 75 miles' distance.
Another unique feature of the rental company car sellers is
their "rent-to-own" feature. Shoppers can rent prospective vehicles for a
period of days before either purchasing it or returning the car for a $200
For people duly scared of the old sawdust trick or what have
you, it generally behooves them to examine the car first or take it to a
trustworthy mechanic. Some customers could be wary at first because of previous
drivers. The idea is that people are less kind to a car that they rent than one
that they own. The extended tryout period comes in handy here.
Some rental car companies offer convenient financing
options. Hertz reportedly offers sellers an option that's 0 percent down plus
no payment for 45 days.