Saturday, October 17, 2009

How I sold my Toyota Corolla

As readers of this blog already know, I crashed our Corolla into a truck a couple of months back. The car was in pretty bad shape after the accident, and was barely drivable. We were trying to figure out what to do with it. If we donated it, the organization which received the car would try to sell it via an auction. If the car managed to sell in the auction, the organization would get 65% of the proceeds; if it didn't, they'd get $60 or some measly sum like that.

Our mechanic advised us to advertise it on Craigslist "as is" and so we did. We put all the pictures and the gory details online. Buyer beware and all that.

The Craigslist ad went out on a Saturday evening. The response was immediate. A dozen emails popped up in my inbox within about 30 minutes, and more followed by nighttime.

Some of the emails had their offers spelled out -- $400 from one, $900 from another. They didn't need to see the car -- the pictures were sufficient for them.

Quite a few of the names of emailers were Muslim-sounding too. I was intrigued.

I spoke to a couple of the correspondents. The first guy explained the story -- Corollas, he said, were very popular in Afghanistan. He was going to ship it there. He mentioned something about $2,500 being his upper limit. He didn't need to see the car. He would come by with $1,200 in cash right away and buy it off of me. I suggested he come by the next day with all the others. He feared that he'd be getting into a bidding war "with the same people" whom he competes with for other Corollas.

The second guy also wanted us to sell him the car the same day. He said he'd seen a few fistfights break out over other Corollas. "When they're done beating each other up, those guys would come after you and beat you up too." This was getting more exciting.

We asked the interested parties to come on Sunday and make their best offer then. The first guy came and made an offer for $1,500. Another guy came and made an offer for $600 and raised it to $900 (he was planning to use the car for himself; not ship to Afghanistan).

Then two more guys showed up -- one from over 80 miles away and the other from over 40 miles. One bid $1,500 and the other bid $1,550. But they both wanted to outbid the other by $100. We should have really had an auction. A $2,000 bid seemed within reach, but we sold it for $1,550. I assume the buyer made some fixes for $100 or so and pocketed $850 (difference between $2,500 and $1,550+100) or more. Not bad for a car with 150K+ miles on it.

Corollas rule.

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