Take a look at this used Mazda 929 – It doesn’t run, it’s covered in moss, it’s 33 years old and paint it flaking off it at an alarming rate.
Oh, and did I mention they want $1600 for it in it’s current state?
Welcome to the sorry state of the used car market here in Australia in 2023..
Once upon a time this used Mazda wouldn’t have even been a $500 car
No less than 10 years ago (2014 to be exact) I almost ended up buying my own used Mazda just like it. Only the one I looked at had more paint, a tonne more mileage and most importantly it still worked. Yes for $500 and supplying my own battery, I could have taken/driven it home and then begun the fun job of finding a window regulator somewhere to finish off the roadworthy. I passed on it then (too much work and too high kms for my liking) but now I’m realising that compared to this one, that used Mazda was the absolute bargain of the century.
Because if you bought this for $1600, or nay even a cool $1000 – what would you do with it? I doubt you’d want to save these panels for anything in their current condition:
Likewise, I doubt it’d be worth buying for parts alone. Unless you’re fixing up your own 929, is there really a demand for spares for this model? (Given the lack of them I see anymore on the road, I’m guessing no.)
Bring your cash for this used Mazda, bring your tow truck but am I missing something obvious here? (Again, I’m guessing a no..)
30k is the new 15k – The price is high and staying there
Why is everything priced pointing towards the sky nowadays? Well Covid certainly had a lot to answer for. Pandemic related disruptions made a real mess of things as you may recall including a massive chip shortage (computer chips for new cars, not the potato variety), new car supply started to dry up which didn’t help at all with the skyrocketing demand for them and with nothing new to buy, both the demand and price for used cars went up too. (Not to mention housing, rents, food, practically everything..)
Which really worked well in your favour when selling and the exact reverse when buying. Any profit you made at these higher prices was quickly eaten away when it came purchase time again – something I experienced myself when I sold my Nissan Stagea for more than I bought it for years ago and then bought an overpriced 2000 era used Subaru soon after (still paying for that one with the head gasket issues there..)
Which explains in some length why this rusty used Mazda relic from the turn of the 90’s suddenly has a hefty price tag on it, even if it is rusting away in a paddock somewhere and doesn’t actually do anything.
Sadly as much as I read people saying ‘Just wait, it’ll fall again’, I know I’m not the only one looking at a calendar and wondering exactly when. In fact part of this post was inspired by a recent post I spotted over at Reddit:
As well as all the cost of living shit going on, it seems near impossible to buy anything fun for under $15k anymore. I was just surfing carsales and FB Marketplace trying to find something, and it’s just a total wasteland under $15k–u/boofheadfred
He’s absolutely not wrong there – my wreck of a Mazda Rx7 turbo that I bought back in the late 2007s set me back 13k. In the same banged up condition now (and it needed quite a lot of work, having paint just like the Mazda pictured above) would probably be 2-2.5 times that much.
And still be one of the cheaper ones on the market at that price. (Not that I could afford it still at that inflated price.)
Anything RWD, turbo or even slightly sporty now commands a premium and that’s even the wrecked ones. The stocks of affordable imports have just about dried up leaving either the super expensive or complete bombs left. Which means if you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) it’s either long term project time, or an SUV.
And even a decent oldish SUV will set you back more than you probably thought too.
Still, can we go back anyway?
Obviously the days of buying a running basic car with a RWC for less than a crisp $1000 are well and truly long gone. But can we at least go back to pre-pandemic prices? Or close to them as possible? Obviously that’s not what the card yard community will want (higher prices = more profit, so they’re not coming down for a while) but if we could just stop paying through the nose for even just a month, perhaps that will be enough to send a signal that this is becoming ridiculous?
Regardless, I still don’t think this used Mazda pictured above will ever sell. Not at $1600. But then I thought the madness of covid would have tapered off by now so I could be in for a nasty shock again. (And if that’s the case, maybe I need to stock up on used Mazda wrecks and make a fortune?)