Brains steal money? How so?
According to recent study by The University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and published in American Economic Review, human brains have a bias to pay attention to the first digit in a number, like the mileage of a car, and if you understand it, you can use it to your advantage when buying or selling a vehicle.
The study set out to determine whether car buyers exhibit a heuristic observed in other arenas called the left-digit bias. This would mean that car buyers focus on the first digit in an odometer reading, such as the "4" in 49,100 miles, when deciding how much to pay for a car. Having studied +20 million car sales, it turns out car buyers are focusing on that first digit, and will pay an additional $150-200, on average, for a car that's just below the next mileage interval, such as 50,000, than one that's just above it.
The authors found prices fall at each 10,000-mile interval from 10,000 to 100,000 miles. "Cars with odometer values between 79,900 and 79,999 miles are sold on average for approximately $210 more than cars with odometer values between 80,000 and 80,100 miles, but for only $10 less than cars with odometer readings between 79,800 and 79,899." The study found prices also drop at 1,000-mile thresholds, though the decline is smaller.
The rest of the world might be wondering if the same held true for odometers that measure kilometers instead of miles, like we Americans use. Using a smaller sample, the Booth team analyzed Canadian data and found the same phenomenon. Regardless of the unit of measure, human brains lead us to pay more for a car with a lower left digit, though it's not a truly rational choice.
So, how can you use this information to your advantage when selling or purchasing a vehicle?
This won’t be easy because we are all susceptible to left-digit bias. Just think how many times you bought something that was $1.99 and you liked that better than a similar product at $2.10. Remember this bias the next time you're shopping for a used car, and don't let your brain steal $200 from you!
Ever wondered what it's like being on the other side of a car sale? If you've purchased a car, you probably know the consumer side pretty well. But what's it like being a car salesman? Or a dealership manager?
What pressures are they under from dealer owners, OEMS, and their own peers on the sale floor? Meeting sales goals is much more than just wishful thinking on the whim that people come walking into the door to buy a car. Dealers have strategies to generate leads, and convert these leads into sales. Yes, it often involves blowing up several balloons to draw your attention into their lot, but to close a car sale and meet the numbers takes a lot more than balloons.
Earlier this month, NPR's "This American Life" broadcasted an hour long story of how one Jeep Dealership on Long Island soldiers through the hyper-competitive business of selling cars. As fair warning, you will hear high-quality four-letter Anglo Saxon words. More importantly, you'll hear this team in the trenches, celebrating victory, and then being wrested back down by defeat.
Selling cars is like a roller coaster. You're up, you're down, and then back up. And when the month's over, no matter how well you did, you're back in line getting ready to start all over again with the new month.
So we encourage you to learn how it works on the other side. Who knows, you might actually have some sympathy for the guy selling the car, and find reasons to believe him when he says, "I'm not making one dime off of this sale." It's not beyond the realm of reason that he's telling you the truth.
Old man winter is setting in, especially on the East Coast of the United States. We’ve seen several storms blow through the area dumping snow up and down the I-95 corridor.
If this continues through the holiday season, travelers will find themselves in tough driving conditions or even worse stranded on the side of the road. So as you start preparing for your road trips to visit family and friends, we wanted to provide you with a list of items we think you should have ready at hand:
While we joke about how you might use these items, these are serious goods that can help you out of a tight spot. What are you waiting for? Get to the store now, and start packing a car survival kit!
Autoremarketing.com posted an interesting blog dissecting used car sales last month across 21 states. This blog sparked a question here at vinsnap. Which of these 21 states bought the most used cars as percentage of total state population? Using the data they posted, which came by way of Cross-Sell Reports - a division of Dominion Dealer Solutions, and 2010 U.S. Census Data we were able to determine...drum roll please...Iowa was the winner with 1.9% of the population buying a used car in November. Five states tied for second: Mississippi, Montana, Arkansas, Idaho and Indiana. Next month, we'll work to get data across all 50 states to see if Iowa will remain the champion.
We'd like to thank Tech Cocktail for the wonderful piece they recently wrote about us. They did an excellent job of explaining Vinsnap's history and introducing Vinsnap's Co-Founders. So much so, we're not sure we'd have done it better ourselves...
Marc Hoecker and Chris Coad are car guys, plain and simple. At one point, Hoecker actually went on a four-day stakeout and car chase to reclaim his stolen 1985 Pontiac Parisienne. Coad grew up in the automotive industry, and while he has too many cars to list, he remembers his 1994 Mercury Sable: it blew up in a parking garage while he was at a black tie event.
It really wasn’t surprising to learn that their startup revolved around cars and the automotive industry. They believe that cars are personal, and when they started Vinsnap, they wanted car shopping to be just as personal.
They design, develop, and deploy web and mobile consumer-focused vehicle shopping and service solutions to help car shoppers organize their experience. We let them take the wheel for a little while and give us a guided tour of Vinsnap.
Tech Cocktail: Vinsnap is pretty niche; where did the idea come from?
Chris Coad: I was hanging out with my friend, Marc, and was acting as his advisor while he was shopping for a new car. Bouncing between Craigslist, dealerships, and countless websites, he bemoaned to me about how unpleasant and seemingly disorganized the auto-shopping experience was – especially in this new smartphone era.
Therein the idea of snapping VIN numbers was born and ultimately expanded into a full business plan that we entered into the Harvard Business School Alumni New Venture contest. Ultimately, we competed and made it to the 2011 International finals in Boston. With momentum at our back, we decided to build Vinsnap, which debuted in app stores in Q4 2012.
Tech Cocktail: How are you defining your space in the automotive industry?
Coad: We believe cars are personal, and we believe the car shopping experience should be too. Vinsnap personalizes the shopping experience by providing consumers with the important data they need to organize their search to purchase a vehicle, new or used, and across any brand.
We help consumers personalize their search even more by providing them with the functionality to add their own custom vehicle photos and notes. These two features are important, especially if you think about shopping for a used car.
Let’s say you’re looking at a vehicle and worried about a scratch in the back door. Snap a photo, take a note, and upload them to Vinsnap so you can remember it. Share all of this information with your body shop or mechanic to see if the vehicle should stay on your shopping list.
We’re not beholden to any inventory listings. You can put any VIN into Vinsnap, and we’ll provide you with the information you need to make a smart purchase decision. You can truly use Vinsnap anywhere and anytime.
Tech Cocktail: What about challenges?
Coad: There were several challenges in getting Vinsnap off the ground. We first had to find out if the technology was going to work, and during our first few pitches, we didn’t know if you could take a picture of a VIN number and decode it. We finally stumbled on a partner that was able to help us turn a picture of a VIN into the format we needed to decode it.
But after that, we needed to determine how and where we were going to source the data we needed to build Vinsnap. We had a bit of luck when we met the Edmunds API team, and they’re currently one of our largest partners, and we are thrilled to be working with them.
Everything came together at the right time: momentum, technology, partners, and team. If all of that hadn’t happened, we likely would have never gotten Vinsnap off the ground. We think being based in Atlanta really helped bring this all together because the startup community is so strong.
Vinsnap was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Atlanta Mixer & Startup Showcase on October 7th.
The connected car craze is slowly building steam, and companies are working on several methods to easily connect your car to your life. You might be familiar with OnStar, but let's get you acquainted with a few up and comers which sell a device that connects to your car's data port, better know as the OBDII port. Companies like Automatic, Carvoyant, Dash, Moj.io, and several more sell OBDII devices. You probably didn't realize it, but it's the same port a mechanic uses to diagnose service needs for your vehicle. So as you might imagine, this port is full of data about your car; data which can connect your car to other services you use in your everyday life. With endless opportunities, we wondered how would you want to connect your car to your life? Take a minute and fill out our survey below. Who knows, perhaps we'll jump into the fray and create the connection(s) of your dreams!
We are thrilled to announce vinsnap 2.0 is available in the App Store and on Google Play! So update your app or download the new version today. Our team worked hard redesigning the vehicle page and integrating functionality so you can purchase vehicle history reports in the app.
That's right, you can now purchase vehicle history reports for any vehicles you put in your vinsnap garage. The best part is you get one free vehicle history report when you register for a new vinsnap account. The current market rate for a vehicle history report is approximately $30, and our offer is available until December 31, 2013. This might sound crazy to you, but we're just trying to deliver functionality for customers who love to personalize their car shopping experience.
We can't wait to hear what you think about these updates, and look forward to your recommendations on how we can continue to better your vehicle search experience!
vinsnap development evolved as one of the co-founders shopped for and ultimately purchased a car he found on Craigslist. For some, buying a car off of Craigslist may be an unconventional way to make such a large purchase and a little intimidating. On the other hand, Craigslist could very well be the best way to find exactly what you’re looking for at an unbeatable price. Thus, we wanted to help ease any fears you might have by providing you with some guidelines on how to look for and confidently buy a car through Craigslist:
As you're out vinsnapping for your new ride, you may want to keep new Nissans in mind. Nissan lowered the price on seven of its models this week which might entice you to put them in your vinsnap garage.
Excitement, enthusiasm and cheers erupted from several of us last week when Elon Musk and Tesla announced they were going to offer a lease on the Model S. When we learned it was going to cost $500 per month, we thought, in-part, this might ignite the electric car revolution. However, after we listened to the announcement a second time, we heard an important word, effective. Tesla and Elon stated you could lease a Model S for an effective $500 per month. What does that even mean? We weren't sure ourselves so we sat down to take a closer look at the numbers.
Press days at the New York Auto Show are in full swing, which means there are several new vehicle reveals across a wide range of manufacturers. If you’re considering buying a new vehicle later this fall or early next year, you'll want to make sure to keep these vehicles in mind.
Don't want to wait or can't get to the auto show this year? Below is a the list of vehicles debuting at the show, and you can see pictures of all of them on the New York International Auto Show's 2013 Debuts webpage.
With all of this excitement, what are you waiting for? Download vinsnap today and take it with you to the auto show. It's a great way to store specific vehicle information, upload your own pictures, and take notes about what you do and don't like about each vehicle you experience*.
• 2014 Acura MDX
• 2014 Bentley New Flying Spur
• 2014 BMW 328D
• 2014 BMW 335I GT
• 2014 BMW Concept Active Tourer
• 2014 Buick Lacrosse
• 2014 Buick Regal
• 2014 Chevrolet Camaro
• 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
• 2014 Chevrolet Corvette
• 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
• 2014 Chevrolet SS
• 2014 Chrysler 200S Special Edition
• 2014 Honda Odyssey
• 2014 Hyundai Concept
• 2014 Hyundai Equus
• 2014 Infiniti Q50
• 2014 Jaguar XJL
• 2014 Jaguar XJR
• 2014 Jaguar XK RS GT
• 2014 Jeep Cherokee
• 2014 Kia Forte Koup
• 2014 Kia Optima SXL
• 2014 Kia Soul
• 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG
• 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage
• 2014 Nissan Pathfinder
• 2014 Nissan Taxi
• 2014 Porsche 911
• 2014 Porsche 911 GT3
• 2014 Range Rover Sport
• 2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography
• 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith
• 2014 Scion TC
• 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV Hybrid
• 2014 Toyota Highlander
• 2014 Volkswagen Golf
• 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI
• 2014 Volvo S60
• 2014 Volvo S80
• 2014 Volvo XC60
• 2014 Volvo XC70
*As a heads up, we unfortunately cannot decode pre-production vehicle's VINs. These vehicles haven't been released to the public yet, and thus there is only limited data, if any, for these vehicles.
vinsnap will be at SXSW for the first time this year. So if you're in Austin this weekend and would like to learn more about vinsnap, please reach out to us. We're looking forward to several conversations with potential partners, investors, and most importantly customers.
We'd like to thank everyone at Edmunds for hosting Hackomotive this week. It connected us with several potential business partners and ignited fresh ideas on how to continue to reinvent the automotive shopping experience.
We'd also like to give a shout out to the Grease Monkeys on their 2nd place finish. Our co-founder, Chris, and his three team members shared their vision on what an improved car ownership experience would look like, and how it could disrupt the auto repair industry.
We had a lot of fun at the event and hope to see many more like it in the future!
More information can be found at www.hackomotive.com, on Twitter @hackomotive and Edmunds Hackomotive press release.