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Be wary of ‘curbers’ and get help when buying a used car

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By Mira GalperinIf you’re shopping for a used car, be aware that there are both good and bad scenarios that could occur.

Scenario #1: Unhappy ending

I needed to buy a used car for my own use, so I went online to check the ads. One of them caught my eye.The picture was exactly what I wanted. And the price was really good. No address or location was given, but I called the listed number anyway.

I told the man who answered that I was interested in the car he had on Craigslist. He asked, “Which one?” I was surprised. Wouldn’t he have just one for sale? But I liked the price. He told me he had a lot of interested buyers, so I should meet him at the local mall in an hour.

I hesitated. I thought I’d be going to his home or office. But I went anyway. It seemed OK. He looked just like my neighbour.

The car wasn’t quite like the picture, so I started asking questions. He cut me off. He was in a hurry. He was moving and needed to get rid of the car.

He agreed to a quick test drive. He played loud music and talked the entire time. I got around the block and was asked to stop. I had to make a decision right away. I was unsure, but the car seemed fine and the price was good.

I told him I will get a bank cheque for him. He said, “No, cash only.”

I went to my bank and saw an AutoPlan agent to make the transfer and get insurance. It was only then that I saw the car was registered in a woman’s name, not his. Was this even his car? He even suggested we could report a lower price on the transfer form to save taxes. I still didn’t walk away.

Two days later, I got a vehicle history report through my insurance provider and CarProof. Too late! I found out the car was in a big accident and was imported from the salty roads of Montreal. These were important things he never told me and I didn’t ask. I wasn’t even sure the car was safe to drive.

I called him to take the car back. But his phone number was disconnected! I realized I had no documents with his name. I had just met a “curber” — an unlicensed dealer pretending to be a private seller. I was on my own with a bad car.

Scenario #2: Happy ending

I needed to buy a used car for my own use, so I went online to check the ads. One of them caught my eye.The picture was exactly what I wanted, but it was priced a little higher than my budget. The ad listed the dealer name and licence number. I called and got the address.

A salesperson met me when I got to the dealer’s lot. The car matched the picture and the price advertised online. All of my questions were answered.

We went for a long test drive. No music was played. The salesperson only talked when I asked him questions. He even presented me his salesperson licence.

After the drive, he showed me a CarProof vehicle history report. It included accident information and much more. The car had two small accidents, but the details were there for me to see.

He also had a recent mechanical inspection report done by the dealership mechanic. The report indicated the car was in good shape.

Since the car was more expensive than I wanted, I decided to finance it. The sales manager went over the purchase agreement and financing documents in detail. I was able to transfer the registration and buy my insurance from the AutoPlan agent at the dealership.

I felt confident and excited about my new vehicle as I drove away.

Two days later, I learned about the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) in B.C. I don’t think I’ll ever need their help, but, because I bought from a licensed dealer, they’re there if I need them.

Under B.C. law, a licensed dealer must stand behind the statements they made during the sale. The vehicle they sold me had to be lien-free and safe to drive. If something turns out to be untrue, even if it was an honest mistake, I can turn to the VSA to investigate. I told my friend in Ontario about this, and learned there are similar organizations in other provinces too, such as the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC).

This article was first published in Boulevard magazine.

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MKC Crossover Working Wonders For Lincoln’s US Sales

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Ford has embarked on a comprehensive turnaround of its luxury brand Lincoln, which was once Cadillac’s main rival.

Sure, Lincoln has a very long way to go before it can boast with that rivalry again, but it appears that it is finally on the right track. The luxury automaker said it had the best July sales since 2008, with 7,863 vehicles being delivered to customers last month – 14 percent more than in July 2013.

A significant part of this growth is due to the brand’s latest product, the MKC crossover. Lincoln sold over 1,500 units in July, the model’s third month on the market. The company says the MKC has an average turn of just 11 days on dealer lots, a testimony to strong customer demand.

“The rest of the year should bring really good results for Lincoln. As dealer lots continue to get more MKC’s I expect sales to continue to grow, said Erich Merkle, Ford Motor Company U.S. Sales analyst. “Lincoln will see benefits from the MKC because the small premium utility segment is the fastest growing in the luxury space,” the executive added.

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Lamborghini Mulls Rear-wheel Drive Huracan

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Lamborghinis have been almost exclusively all-wheel driven for over two decades now, and it’s only been certain special variants that ended up being sold with just the one powered axle.

The last one you could buy was the Gallardo Valentino Balboni edition, named in honor of Lamborghini’s most notorious test driver.

Apparently now, they’re set to do it again, this time basing it on the new Huracan. The tip was dropped at Pebble beach last week, when CEO Stephan Winkelmann was quoted as saying: “We did it with the Gallardo so it might be an option. We are a four-wheel-drive super-sports car [manufacturer] but why should we not do a rear-drive option?”

He added that “lots of derivatives” would be desirable for them, because “customers expect it and we always need something new to talk about.”

Processing this for a second, he’s actually quite right, since the people who buy these cars want to feel like they stand out, that their choice shows individuality. Having a plethora of differing variants could give future owners a sense of driving something really unique.

Additionally, a rear-wheel drive Huracan would be a good idea as it would also bring down the price (and weight), resulting in what will probably be the most different proposition to what the standard car offers. Before it, though, Lamborghini will be launching the Huracan drop-top.

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How Successful Is GM’s Chevrolet Corvette Commercially?

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General Motors announced that it built 37,288 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray models during the 2014 model year, yet another a testimony of the latest Vette’s commercial success.

Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles revealed at the Corvettes at Carlisle show that the figure includes exports and captured fleet cars that were sellable units. While 37,288 Corvettes built during one model year is not an all-time record, it’s still an impressive result.

 It’s the third best production number in the new millennium, exceeded only by the 37,372 Corvettes build during the 2005 model year and the 40,561 units build during the 2007 model year, right before the onset of the financial crisis.

 GM’s bankruptcy even led some voices to talk about the Corvette’s demise after the C6’s end of production, but fortunately for car enthusiasts that wasn’t the case. The Corvette is now as strong as it has ever been, and that’s a good thing.

 GM also released some data about 2014 Corvettes, which include customers’ preferences such as colors and options. For example, the most popular model was the Z51, accounting for 56 percent of Corvettes ordered. Of all Z51s sold, 36 percent had the Magnetic Selective Ride Control system.

 Another interesting statistic is that 65 percent of all Stingrays were fitted with the 6-speed automatic, with the rest of 35 percent featuring the 7-speed manual. The most popular color was Torch Red (19 percent), followed by Arctic White (17 percent) and Black (16 percent).

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