Monday, July 13, 2009

Cars that no one wants are worth buying

OK, maybe not Hummers so much. Gas prices are still dodgy. And I don't get warm and fuzzy about anything that reminds me of riding in Army trucks.

But analysts at Consumer Reports and elsewhere are arguing that the auto brands that General Motors and Chrysler are tossing into their financial scrap yards are good deals for anyone who wants to buy a new car and keep it.

We've been through this before, as Bankrate Monitor's five years ago elegy for Oldsmobile buyers reminds us. Someone will be around to provide parts and service, though some warranty work might require driving farther.

The killer for many car buyers is resale value. It drops like stone when dealers start ripping auto names off their walls, report services such as or Kelley Blue Book.

You can make that work for you, say observers such as Sylvia Cochran at Associated Content. Buy cheap now because dealers are really motivated to move discontinued models. Realize you won't get squat for a trade-in. Drive it until the wheels come off.

The analysts don't say so, but I can see one big challenge to preplanning a future clunker. That's selling the idea of a fuel-sipping Saturn to a 16-year-old new driver in your house. Guaranteed eye-rolling, no matter how you pitch it.

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