What’s it like buying from Carvana as the company crumbles?

Tom
Update by Tom Suddard to the Volkswagen Golf GTI project car
Nov 23, 2022 | Volkswagen, VW, GTI, Golf, Carvana, Mk7 GTI

Buying a car used to be easy: You’d hand over cash, then someone would give you keys and title.

But buying our newest project car–a 2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI destined for some track fun–wasn’t so simple.

You see, we got it from Carvana.

 

Why a Mk7 Volkswagen GTI?

We knew we wanted to play with a Mk7 Golf GTI, …

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APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/23/22 10:32 a.m.

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/22 10:45 a.m.

My one encounter with Carvana was when they bought my six year old Sienna minivan for almost $30k cash during the pandemic.  They showed up with a rollback, I signed one form, they handed me a check and drove off with my van.  It felt a little too good to be true.  Apparently it was.

spedracer
spedracer New Reader
11/23/22 10:45 a.m.

I could forgive everything else, but I'd be pissed about not getting the car out of the vending machine.

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
11/23/22 10:53 a.m.

A recent headline was how, in roughly a year, their stock price has dropped 97% from peak. Something like $350 to around $6-7. Their flaw is having a business plan of paying more for used cars than everyone else, while using investor money to keep the doors open. With used car prices dropping, they've found themselves in a Business Garbage Compactor.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/23/22 10:57 a.m.

In reply to spedracer :

I know, right? I'm not saying it'd be a deal breaker for me, but it feels pretty close.

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
11/23/22 11:09 a.m.

An acquaintance is on his 3rd temp tag from 3rd different state waiting on his title. That would scare me away pretty quick.

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/23/22 11:09 a.m.

Well now.  So much for progress.

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/23/22 11:16 a.m.

Well, that was exactly the opposite of my experience with them. I found them to be pretty flawless when I bought the Touareg a month ago. 

 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/23/22 11:23 a.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

I wonder how much of that comes down to training and experience. When I worked at a large used car dealership chain, the training process was very much "here's how to do everything" and then you kind of got thrown to the wolves.

I know that sort of learning process can work for some people, but it was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/23/22 11:24 a.m.
spedracer said:

I could forgive everything else, but I'd be pissed about not getting the car out of the vending machine.

I'm glad I'm not alone: I literally turned to my wife when we were in the parking lot and said "I'd be okay with the past week of being jerked around if they'd at least showed me the vending machine."

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/23/22 11:46 a.m.

GTIs can handle being dropped out of a tree, so a vending machine shouldn't be a problem (fun fact, VW actually dropped the car from a tree for that advertisement as it was less cost prohibitive than doing the CGI would've been at the time) 

 

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
11/23/22 11:49 a.m.
buzzboy said:

An acquaintance is on his 3rd temp tag from 3rd different state waiting on his title. That would scare me away pretty quick.

Sounds like my experience with Vroom, when you need to call multiple times because they don't understand why I didn't want to drive on expired temp tags. 

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/23/22 12:26 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

I would bet that that enters into it. The other part is I was doing their standard purchase without any curves thrown at them. Straight-up purchase, no hurricane problems, I let them finance a small balance, and had no issues with my bank account being verified. They dropped it off within 30 minutes of the expected arrival. Communication with the delivery driver was perfect. I even had the tags within 2 weeks of purchase. It was literally the easiest car purchase I have ever had. 

I'm pretty disappointed to hear that Tom's experience was so much worse. The wife is looking for a new minivan and Carvana is my first choice for dealers. 

 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/23/22 12:33 p.m.

Are they going to put all those rollbacks up for sale soon?

Ramp truck!

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
11/23/22 12:37 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Are they going to put all those rollbacks up for sale soon?

Ramp truck!

Yeah I would love one of those , if anyone sees them up for sale please post the info,

:)

triumph7
triumph7 HalfDork
11/23/22 12:49 p.m.
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

GTIs can handle being dropped out of a tree, so a vending machine shouldn't be a problem (fun fact, VW actually dropped the car from a tree for that advertisement as it was less cost prohibitive than doing the CGI would've been at the time) 

 

Well, a VW maybe, not a Citroen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t78uhwu8k9M

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
11/23/22 1:08 p.m.

There goes that bubble, popping more quickly than most.  When market cornering and price gouging (great financing available!) are your primary modes of business, it is just a matter of time . . .

Take it as a sign when a company is banned from doing business in multiple states.

ThumperUSMC
ThumperUSMC GRM+ Memberand New Reader
11/23/22 1:36 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

That kinda sucks... It has convinced me that I won't try to buy any cars from Carvana, that's for sure.

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/23/22 1:45 p.m.

I'm taking 67 as the number of days before you get title and or permanent tags. 

dps214
dps214 Dork
11/23/22 1:51 p.m.

So dealers are impossible to interact with and think the market is still sitting enough that they can get away with $5k of markups and other bs charges, carvana will take six months to send you a title....who CAN you buy a car from these days?

GM > MG
GM > MG New Reader
11/23/22 2:08 p.m.

My son just got a 2012-2014? mustang on CarVana maybe 6-8 weeks ago.

He said it worked great, got his title in 3 weeks.

I wonder if its an older model and there is not loan payoff if it works better ? Dont have to deal w/ banks ?

erikvandermey
erikvandermey
11/23/22 2:22 p.m.

Sold my Fiesta ST to Carvana last spring, was super easy and they handed me a check on the spot (also paid me about $4k over blue book price). Figured I'd never get that kind of money out of an 8 year old car with 80k miles (only tracked twice).

KSB
KSB New Reader
11/23/22 2:27 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Amazingly bad  ustomer service. Just bought a new Silverado 1500 diesel off the lot and the dealer had no problems accepting a personal check for the difference after our trade and a copy of the insurance card from our old truck, since State Farm automatically covers any new vehicle. And this is for a truck that stickered at $63k and was sold at $57k. Plus they gave us 80% of what we had originally paid for our 2016 Silverado. We were in and out in less than 2 hours. By the way, do you have your title yet?

jglee920
jglee920 New Reader
11/23/22 2:47 p.m.

I had almost the same experience.  Trying to buy a Mustang GT on a Saturday.  Finally got through all the website glitching to linking account for payment (I wasn't financing the purchase, either).  It wouldn't link or couldn't confirm sufficient funds, I can't remember.  I then tried their option for a third person to talk to my bank.  By this time, I had spent so much time going through the process that my bank was closed.  They wouldn't accept screenshots of my account balance, etc.  Basically told me to move along if I couldn't electronically link the account, which I still couldn't for some reason.

Long story shorter, I spent 2-3 hours trying to give them $30k+ and finally just gave up.  After recent reports of title problems, I'm glad I couldn't finalize the purchase.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
11/23/22 4:19 p.m.
erikvandermey said:

Sold my Fiesta ST to Carvana last spring, was super easy and they handed me a check on the spot (also paid me about $4k over blue book price). Figured I'd never get that kind of money out of an 8 year old car with 80k miles (only tracked twice).

Yeah I had great success with three transactions with them, the last one being in August of 2021 when I could kind of see the lug nuts coming loose from the business model but the wheels not quite coming off yet. I figured that was my last shot at getting obscenely overpaid for a used car, and it look slike I was right.

Sarah Young
Sarah Young Copy & Design Editor
11/23/22 4:38 p.m.

I didn't have any of Tom's issues when I bought my Honda Fit through Carvana in 2020. Well, except for one: Carvana seems to have sold my information and now I get calls every day from marketers wanting to extend my warranty. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
11/23/22 4:47 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Out of curiosity, I just ran our minivan through Carvana site for an offer.

Offer of $11,499

Same vehicle (at same age and miles) retailing for $20,990

The crazy trade-in-days might be over at Carvana

 

 

 

 

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones SuperDork
11/23/22 5:06 p.m.

I posted here years ago when Carvana first hit that Carvana is not in the car business, they are in the finance business, cars just happens to be the medium.  It's like Zales Jewelers, they are selling credit, not selling jewelry. The price of the car was 100% irrelevant for them, they figured someone would always buy the payment. That's a tough spot to be in when rates triple and the payment starts to matter.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/23/22 5:27 p.m.

Am I the only one who got derailed by suddenly calling a 5-door hatch a sedan and a 3-door hatch a coupe?

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/23/22 5:28 p.m.

We had a less than stellar experience with Vroom. Carvana didn't have the vehicle we wanted close enough to make it work. The redeeming part of the transaction was the major overpayment on our Promaster (nobody had vans anywhere) which paid off the remaining loan amount and got us into a nice 2017 BMW i3 to replace the smart fortwo. Odd pickup and dropoff. They wouldn't bring the car to the house, and we had to wait more than a week for a different transport to pick up the van. Which happened late on a Friday night with a Russian dude with heavy accent, a Tundra, and a barely large enough open trailer to carry the Promaster. Bye bye Sergie!

TimAllums
TimAllums New Reader
11/23/22 5:49 p.m.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/23/22 8:15 p.m.
Jesse Ransom said:

Am I the only one who got derailed by suddenly calling a 5-door hatch a sedan and a 3-door hatch a coupe?

Right? I used the terminology I found in the VW community, and it's weird. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
11/23/22 8:20 p.m.

I knew it would be tough to scale this business nationwide since each state's automotive laws are so different from each other but they had no choice since their business model required them to be moving vehicles between as many states as possible as soon as possible. Other national chains got to slowly scale and learn each state's laws one or two at a time and didn't have to think about how each state's laws interacted with every other state's. And if say, AutoNation found it too hard to move cars from say Minnesota to Texas they just didn't do it and no one was the wiser. The cars just stayed there or went to easy states. Like I said, I knew it would be tough but not as insanely difficult as it has proven to be.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/23/22 8:54 p.m.
Sarah Young said:

I didn't have any of Tom's issues when I bought my Honda Fit through Carvana in 2020. Well, except for one: Carvana seems to have sold my information and now I get calls every day from marketers wanting to extend my warranty. 

Don't feel special. I think we all get those, although they tapered off after I started letting every call that wasn't in my contacts go to voicemail. 

calteg
calteg SuperDork
11/24/22 10:57 a.m.
Sarah Young said:

I didn't have any of Tom's issues when I bought my Honda Fit through Carvana in 2020. Well, except for one: Carvana seems to have sold my information and now I get calls every day from marketers wanting to extend my warranty. 

Less likely it was Carvana, more likely it's how easy it is to mine your state's vehicle registration database. 90% of my purchases are private  party and I still get the warranty spam.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
11/24/22 11:37 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

I traded my Caravan in for 23k in April, first time I've ever made money when the transaction was a trade in. 

Opti
Opti Dork
11/24/22 2:41 p.m.

Do we think carvana will file bankruptcy and come out of this or disappear? If they go away I will be watching closely for the liquidation and its affects on used car prices.

Me and my buddies have been putting together lists of cars and assets a little out of our reach and keep talking about if this economic downturn gets bad it could be our last chance to get into certain markets, before they take back off again. I was a little to young and poor in 2008 to capitalize but some friends got into real estate or certain cars that they probably would have never been able if it wasnt for the 50-80% discounts. I know my pops has been watching the C2 market after getting rid of a nassau blue 327 convertible when he had kids and when he looked back at them later in life they had exploded in value, says it might be his last chance to get into one.

te72
te72 HalfDork
11/24/22 3:44 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Are they going to put all those rollbacks up for sale soon?

Ramp truck!

That is literally the only thing I ever really wanted to buy from them. Sadly couldn't find one for sale, so I built my own:

 

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/24/22 4:07 p.m.
te72 said:
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Are they going to put all those rollbacks up for sale soon?

Ramp truck!

That is literally the only thing I ever really wanted to buy from them. Sadly couldn't find one for sale, so I built my own:

 

That is both a cool set up and a REALLY deep garage!!

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/24/22 4:21 p.m.
Jesse Ransom said:

Am I the only one who got derailed by suddenly calling a 5-door hatch a sedan and a 3-door hatch a coupe?

Nope .

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
11/24/22 5:41 p.m.

In reply to Opti :

I doubt it'll move the used car market.  Hertz and the other rental car places liquidated way more cars than Carvana has and it didn't impact values at all

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/24/22 10:21 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:
 

Buying a car used to be easy: You’d hand over cash, then someone would give you keys and title.

...after spending a few hours of misery dealing with idiot salespeople and their ilk. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/24/22 10:33 p.m.

Good lord....the used car market is insane. What you paid for your 5-year-old GTI is what I paid for my 2018 GTI (SE, 6MT, LST, other goodies) BRAND NEW (minus taxes). 

te72
te72 HalfDork
11/25/22 2:27 a.m.

In reply to dyintorace :

Thank you! We are blessed in a lot of ways. I'm not terrible with welding thicker metal like this, and having an engineer friend to point out the shortcoming in my design for the ramps, as well as the garage we get to work in. It's 30 feet wide on the front end, but only something like 17 feet wide on the back half, because apparently someone thought a kitchen needed to be included on the house. =P

 

Roughly 50 feet deep, and the only thing I'd change in that regard is I wish we had put a roll up door on that back wall...

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/25/22 7:50 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Good lord....the used car market is insane. What you paid for your 5-year-old GTI is what I paid for my 2018 GTI (SE, 6MT, LST, other goodies) BRAND NEW (minus taxes). 

Yep. And that's why it's been so long since you've seen a modern car added to the project fleet. We finally realized that there are still lots of modern cars at every track day and autocross and gave up on waiting for "normal" prices.

Granted, we paid extra for a nice example--at 19,000 miles this thing is basically new. I was more surprised to see cars with 80,000 miles and real issues selling for $22,000. Insanity. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
11/25/22 10:26 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Last February I sold my 19 Golf R for what I paid for it.  Although that was probably the height of the madness.

car39
car39 Dork
11/25/22 10:26 a.m.
Sarah Young said:

I didn't have any of Tom's issues when I bought my Honda Fit through Carvana in 2020. Well, except for one: Carvana seems to have sold my information and now I get calls every day from marketers wanting to extend my warranty. 

Nah, they probably got it from the DMV, State Registry, whatever you have.  When I was in the business, I got accused of this on a fairly regular basis, never did it once.  

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/25/22 10:42 a.m.

Hmmm, this feels promising.

te72
te72 HalfDork
11/25/22 11:09 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

You know what would make that more promising? Tracking information. Assuming they didn't provide this, which would seem to fit the situation in general presented here, I can see why they're floundering. Telling you "within 5-7 business days" is somehow actually worse than the utility company telling you "between noon and five" isn't it?

Zindo
Zindo New Reader
11/25/22 11:46 a.m.

Carvana is getting completed destroyed in the stock market this year. I hope they survive I think their vending machines are great.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/28/22 2:41 p.m.

Just heard from the office that a license plate and registration has arrived! 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/30/22 3:18 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

My one encounter with Carvana was when they bought my six year old Sienna minivan for almost $30k cash during the pandemic.  They showed up with a rollback, I signed one form, they handed me a check and drove off with my van.  It felt a little too good to be true.  Apparently it was.

Nearly the same, my Bolt purchase was flawless.

CrashDummy
CrashDummy Reader
12/1/22 7:30 a.m.

The selling process with Carvana is super easy. Any concern that the cars for sale there are disproportionately problem cars that the owners just wanted gone? 

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
12/1/22 11:39 a.m.

My sister and BIL just tried buying a truck at a used car lot. In short, they came home pissed off at the slimy sales/finance people, and they'll be heading to Carmax next.

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