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How the Process of Used Car Selling Has Changed Through History

How the Process of Used Car Selling Has Changed Through History

OnUsed car buying and selling has become a growing industry now, especially this year where the production of new cars have lessened and the economic health of the country is not at its best. People value practicality and affordability now more than anything else. As the sales of used cars have been increasing, the process of used car selling has also changed. In fact, it has been changing throughout history. Read on to find out how the process of used car selling has changed through history.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


The used car industry in the USA began in 1898. One of the first American used car lots was owned by the Empire State Motor Wagon Company in Catskill, New York. It was just three years after the first automobile debuted and we could only imagine how many used cars were available then. There’s not much written about the said company but it must have paved the way for the used car selling and buying industry that we sure do benefit from today. 

The Process of Used Car Selling Then and Now

More and more people are buying used cars now. It has been reported that the used-car market started to soar around May and June this year. Used car dealers sold about 2.1 million in May and June alone and the numbers just kept on increasing each month. As booming as it is now, it wasn’t always the case for the used car industry. Used car sellers have seen and experienced struggles in the past before online selling became a thing. The process of used car selling has changed dramatically over the years and you might still be familiar with some of it.  




You’ve probably seen many cars in the past that have a FOR SALE sign in their car placed in the windshield or maybe in the car’s back window. This was one of the first steps in how the process of used car selling has changed through history. While it has been very useful and very apparent before, it might not be the case now. Today, you have to make sure that it is not illegal in the state where you live. 


Putting up a For Sale sign in your car is illegal in many different states in the US. Their reason for this is because other drivers tend to slow down, read the sign and will no longer focus on driving. They also state that drivers should not have anything on their car that blocks their visibility while driving. 


Remember that if you are planning to put a For Sale sign in your car, make sure that it is legal where you live. If you live in a state where it is legal, you also have to find out the allowable sign placement, size, or even its color. There are some specific rules about it and it varies from city to city. If you are not careful, you might just get yourself a ticket from the law enforcers. 


The For Sale sign would still work if you will just park your car in your property or a place where it is visible – but not in a public place or a public parking lot. This is usually common in the rural areas. This won’t get you in trouble but it won’t help sell your car faster.


The Newspaper Ad


The Classified Ads you can see in the newspaper are text-only ads that can be availed for a cheaper price. This kind of ads is regularly chosen by people who want to list their items or properties for sale. It was quite big and effective in the past. In fact, it was reported that the overall classified ads market in 2003 was $19.5 billion. Consumers are paying for a line or for each word written in the classified ads. 


Today, classified ads are no longer as popular as it were before. Its market is slowly decreasing as more and more people are embracing online advertisements and online shopping. Although there are small communities that still make use of the newspaper’s classified ads but it won’t be able to reach a much bigger market.


The Used Car Dealers


Selling your car to a local dealership can be very practical if you don’t like posting ads yourself or have the time for a private sale. It can be bothersome to have potential buyers call and ask you all the time about the car you are selling. While used car dealers can save you a lot of trouble and hassles, the media were not so appreciative of them.


Movies in the past often depict used car salesmen as people who are untrustworthy or with  questionable morals. You probably have seen many movies that involve a very crooked salesman that got what they deserve in the end. While it is not entirely false – since some resort to dishonesty just to sell  – it is not entirely true either. Movies just love to exaggerate and it might be the reason why people tend to stereotype used car dealers. 


Used car lots in the past were small with inventories that depended from the local supply. The choices were limited but people went there anyway since that was the place where people can purchase affordable cars easily.  


The Online Selling


The rise of the internet era began in the 90s and from then on, the internet kept on evolving and growing until it became what it is today. The internet changed our everyday lives in many ways. It changed the education, businesses, government, healthcare, and even how we communicate with our loved ones. 


The internet also played a big part why the process of used car selling has changed. As more people spend most of their time using the internet, many saw this opportunity and used the platform to reach a lot of people faster and let them know about the cars they are selling. The people will no longer have to put up for sale signs on their car or pay newspapers for an ad which is not that effective anymore. 


For many years, eBay Motors dominated the scene of online used car selling and other automotive parts. Then Craigslist entered the scene and it provided a platform where you can place your ad for free. It is still commonly used today but just like any other free classified advertisements websites, it still has its pros and cons. You will have to be very careful if ever you will take that route in selling or buying. 


There are many ways and platforms you can choose to sell your car. Lots of car websites offer it too. You can even post it using your social media accounts. You will just have to find the best and convenient one for you. Some offer it for free – but if you want to boost your post, you will have to pay the fees – and some will require payment before you can place an ad.


There might be some drawbacks with online selling, but it has its fair share of advantages too. You get to do some research and compare prices to ensure that you set the highest possible price for your vehicle. You will just have to be patient in answering queries from potential buyers about the listed vehicle and from the stingy offers some buyers will try to give.  


The Car-buying Services and Websites


One of the later steps how the process of used car selling has changed through history is services. Car-buying services and websites are getting more popular today. Car-buying services make it easier for you to dispose of the car you are selling. It is convenient too since almost all of the transactions are made online. To start a transaction, you will have to type and submit some information on their site. They will then give you a quote and if the price is okay for you, they will then arrange the sale for you or ask someone to pick up your car. 


There are also some car-buying services that have actual used car lots. If they happen to have a branch nearby, they will go to where you are located, inspect the car, and will then proceed to make an offer. The only drawbacks of this type of car-buying service is that they are usually choosy about the cars they purchase. Your car might not be chosen if it doesn’t fit their standards. Sometimes they will offer you a price that is a lot less than what you deserve. 


If you think your car is too old and you’re afraid that people will no longer purchase it, don’t give up just yet. There are also some websites that buy junk cars privately like the Cash Cars Buyer. They buy junk cars without the added hassle and inconvenience. You don’t have to get your hands dirty and do the disposing of your junk car yourself. 


The Mobile Apps 


Buying and selling today can be done at our fingertips. There are a lot of mobile applications you can download, install, and use to sell almost anything, even your car. They are often free and won’t ask for commissions. All you have to do is take pictures of your car from all angles. You can then post it on the app along with a catchy description and the offered price, car’s specs, mileage, or if it has any issues or problems. 


The only problem with using free mobile apps in selling your car is that it won’t get your car sold faster unless you set a bargain price for it or pay for a post boost. You can’t also filter out the legit potential buyers from the scammers. You will have to answer their queries or their haggles yourself. 


Tips on How to Sell Your Used Car Like a Pro

Learning the process of used car selling and how it has changed through history can help you understand how it became what it is now and why it is important to maintain good relationships with your potential buyers. If you want to know and practice good used car selling here are some tips that can help you. 


  • Do Some Research and Find Out the Worth of Your Car.

You can start by checking out price guides and listings of used cars similar to  yours. If you have the time, you can ask queries about the listed cars and ask how much they will sell it for. This is done so you can have a realistic price to compare to. 


  • List Your Vehicle For Sale. 

Pick a listing site or an app that is convenient for you and list your vehicle for sale. Set a price that is high enough to allow a room for negotiation or bargaining but not low enough to scare potential buyers away. Make an effective ad and emphasize details like your vehicle’s mileage, full service records, and that it has no underlying issues – if it really has none. Make sure not to come up with a misleading ad.


  • Safely Show Your Car

If you have chosen your car to sell to a certified used car dealership or to those car-buying services, then you don’t have to worry about showing your car. But if you are going to meet potential buyers, make sure that your personal and financial security will not be compromised. There are safe exchange zones set up by some police agencies for buying and selling meetups. If it is not available in your area, you can meet in a place that is busy and with surveillance cameras. 


  • Dealing With Buyers

There will always be buyers who will try to haggle and will make ridiculous offers. Make sure that you know how to handle them. You can give a counteroffer and if they won’t budge on their offer, just smile and remind them how great your car is. If you have said what you need to say, then you can stop. The less you talk, the firmer your position becomes. If you don’t like the offer, just be polite and leave. 


Conclusion on How the Process of Used Car Selling Has Changed Through History 

The process of used car selling has really changed through the years. It started small and now it is everywhere. You can sell your car at the comfort of your own home or you can choose to have someone sell your car for you. If you have a car that you are contemplating to sell, now might be the best time for you to sell it since the demand is high and the supply is getting low as the reports say. Finally, the used car market is finally getting the attention it deserves.