Thoughts on the Car Marketplace

Okay folks, time to get philosophical over here and talk about some of the changes happening to the collector/classic/junk car market right now.  Two big things — the first is that craiglist is introducing a nominal $5 fee to post cars for sale and the second thing is that Hemmings is finally responding to and is introducing their own auction system. 

Topic 1: Craigslist $5 listing fee

Let’s take the craigslist change first — and I’m going to pontificate with my own thoughts on this subject, but I fully expect that the thinkers in the crowd will respond with something more meaningful.

The good: I don’t think many scammers will invest in the $5 fee for listing a car, so I expect the amount of pure spammy/scammy posts on craigslist to drop to zero or almost zero.  I also expect that sellers will be more reasonable with their posts — they’ve invested the cost of a Starbucks Venti latte and I expect they will be more serious with initial pricing and avoid much of the ridiculousness that plagues the free bulletin boards of the world…virtual or not. 

The bad: Unfortunately, many of the ornery old coots who post well preserved Pontiac Meras for sale will probably stick to home-made for sale signs and will skip the $5 fee and we will lose many well priced classics offered for cheap.  However, a quick scan of my local craigslist shows that the good stuff is still available.

Topic 2: Hemmings introduces auctions

Seriously?  BaT has been stealing the lunch from the conventional collector car sales/auction market for the past 10 years — and Hemmings decides that now is the time to finally launch a bare bones competitor?  Okay…better late than never, I guess.

The good: More marketplaces means more opportunities for good deals and there is a chance that you could get some cars for decent prices if the number of sellers is greater than buyers.  BaT did a good job by building their buyer/reader/commenter audience before introducing auctions, it’ll be interesting to see if enough buyers are on Hemmings to drive price that the sellers will want.

The bad: Does the internet really need another place to bid on over-restored and over-hyped classics that can be found for 1/2 the price on craigslist?

What do you think? Comments below.