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STJ/STT Car Values  

 

jgprudhomme
(@jgprudhomme)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 25
August 4, 2011 8:42 pm  

Hi!

From what I have read on this message board as well as the rest of the website, it seems that cars should be a little more expensive in the Virgin Islands compared to the mainland USA. I am trying to weigh the pros and cons of shipping a car from FLL to STT and to see if I might just be better off buying on island. It seemed like it was a pretty close decision, however in the Island Trader that came out this morning are the following listings:

2005 6 cyl Jeep Wrangler with 87k miles for around $9000

2007 6 cyl Jeep Wrangler (unlisted Miles) for $11000

2004 6 cyl Jeep Wrangler with 35k Miles for $11,800

Am I missing something? Are these cars likely to be falling apart when I go look at them? Because they are priced MUCH more competitively than similar cars here in Washington DC would be. Are these particularly good deals? Is there some sort of scam I should be looking out for?

If these are the types of deals I can expect out there than I see no reason to ship a car over at all as I would be getting a much better deal down there. Opinions?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Jeremy


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Jumbie
(@ohiojumbie-2)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 717
August 4, 2011 9:00 pm  

Your cost down here for new vehicles @ dealers includes the cost of shipping from the States. As for used -you can always find deals in the local paper. Also most of the leasing companies sell their inventory (fleet) when they are ready to get new rental vehicles.

Jeep Wranglers hold their value much better than any other car/suv/truck, so they are not that "cheap".

Jumbie-STX


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fdr
 fdr
(@fdr)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1245
August 5, 2011 11:31 am  

Well, here's one thing to check out -- 87K island miles is much harder on a Jeep than 87K stateside miles. The potholes (and on STJ, all the dirt roads) and low-speed driving add a lot of wear and tear. Transmissions need to be rebuilt much more often, ball joints and springs go bad faster, etc. If the car isn't washed regularly and garage kept (rare), the salt and humid air will all age a vehicle more quickly than in most places stateside. Good tires are also a big deal, especially on STJ, and if an ad doesn't mention new tires, you're probably going to be paying $400+ for a new set soon. Also, island love bites (dents) generally come standard with many used vehicles here, so the condition you are comparing on price (excellent, very good, etc) may be different from the car's true condition.

I can't remember when you are coming, but there is a season for getting a cheaper vehicle on STT/STJ and this is it. Prices are higher between October and March. Then people leave island and compete on price to sell quickly.

Do not buy a car unseen! I have seen some of the vehicles sold this way, and every time I shake my head at the surprises the poor person is going to find when they pick up the car. Not to mention how many thousands of dollars they overpay. It really is possible to acquire a good used vehicle within a short time here in your price range. Just check carefully and get a mobile mechanic to investigate anything you seriously intend to buy -- the guys I know charge about $45 for that service.


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jgprudhomme
(@jgprudhomme)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 25
August 5, 2011 11:44 am  

fdr, I'm due to come down Oct 25th which I guess means Ill be missing the cheap season for cars. Obviously I would want to inspect something I buy first, but right now Im just trying to get an idea of value.

My big debate is ship vs buy local. If it were going to make sense value wise to ship it then I would much rather buy a car stateside as this would give me a much bigger pool to choose from and a few months to sort out any issues that may come up. Problem is that once I drop $2000 for shipping the thing over I worry that I will be invested in the car more than its resale value.

This is especially true since I will be buying a $6000 car. Ive been looking at Jeep Wranglers and for $6K you get anything from a 1997 - 1999 with anywhere from 95k - 125k miles on it. Ive been trying to get an idea of what a car like that would be worth down there and if it would be around the $8000 I invested in it, but because of ads like the ones in my previous post, Im starting to think no.

What did you do for a car when you arrived? Would you suggest shipping or buying local?

Thanks for the help


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fdr
 fdr
(@fdr)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1245
August 5, 2011 3:06 pm  

Hi - wrote a more detailed reply, but the server apparently went down briefly and it was lost. Basically - it usually works out about even with shipping/buying, but if you are coming in October, you'll probably be happier shipping from the states. Search the archives; not much changes from year to year. Good luck to you.


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WGAF
 WGAF
(@WGAF)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 94
August 5, 2011 7:01 pm  

Stay away from Caribbean Auto Mart dealers. Toyota, Nissan, G.M. and Chrysler. All of them! A bunch of liars. Including Bill Lambert, Dave Rittman and last but not least Vanessa the service manager.


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LItoVI
(@LItoVI)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 42
August 6, 2011 3:49 am  

I moved down to STJ about 2 weeks ago and just went through the car-buying process. I stuck to STJ for my car search because it was more convenient, so I didn't look at anything on STT. I called a few ads from Connections and the paper but most of the cars I saw for like $5K were not in great shape. I also checked the car rental agencies and most of what they had to offer were around $6-7K. The Wranglers I found were NOT in good condition - windows wouldn't zip in, AC was broken, etc. If you have one at home you are much better off bringing that if you want comfort and everything to work. I had originally planned on getting a Wrangler but I gave up. Instead, I found a beautiful Explorer, which is a little big but it runs great and everything functions the way it's supposed to.

If you do decide to check local car rentals, I had a WONDERFUL experience with Troy at Paris Car Rentals (by the St. John Inn). I know they had a few cars available. Not only do they take great care of their cars, but Troy walked me through every step of the process. He even took me to the DMV and the insurance agency (and he had friends in the DMV so it was not a painful experience at all). I felt that he was very honest and really went above and beyond in helping me.

Good luck!


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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2404
August 6, 2011 5:45 am  

I doubt that the poster 'WGAF' has ever been to STT and suggest anyone take the post as incidental - I absolutely admit I could be wrong and am willing to stand corrected.
Many local residents have dealt with Caribbean Auto Mart with good results and living here on island can give anyone a different perspective.


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WGAF
 WGAF
(@WGAF)
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Posts: 94
August 6, 2011 12:47 pm  

I doubt that the poster 'WGAF' has ever been to STT and suggest anyone take the post as incidental - I absolutely admit I could be wrong and am willing to stand corrected.
Many local residents have dealt with Caribbean Auto Mart with good results and living here on island can give anyone a different perspective.

I've been there and know CAM well.


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NYCaribQ
(@NYCaribQ)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 4
August 9, 2011 6:33 pm  

Does anyone know a ballpark cost to ship a typical four door sedan to STT (American made)? Doesn't need to be exact, just trying to get an idea before I start researching.


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STXBob
(@STXBob)
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August 9, 2011 8:05 pm  

It's about $1500 to ship a car from Florida.


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NYCaribQ
(@NYCaribQ)
New Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 4
August 9, 2011 8:18 pm  

That's not bad. It would probably be worth it for me to drive the car from NY to Florida. Much cheaper to ship the car and cheaper airfare for a little extra time and gas money. Thanks!


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jgprudhomme
(@jgprudhomme)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 25
August 9, 2011 10:39 pm  

In one of the the "what to expect" stories on this website, a man who moved down to STT a number of years ago said that you should ship your own vehicle and if you were able to, and that you should also ship a second vehicle (preferably and older truck) and sell it once on island. It was his experience that you would be able to make a few thousand dollars profit on the truck to cover some of the shipping costs of both vehicles. Is this still true? Anyone done this? Is this ill advised?

Thanks for the Input


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BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1017
August 10, 2011 2:38 am  

If you live in the upper East Coast, you can ship with Crowley out of New Jersey. You have to figure out what the costs are and is it better to drive all the way down to FLA-paying for gas, renting motel rooms if you can't drive straight thru, plane tickets, etc. It might cost a little more to ship out of NJ, but like I said you have to take the above variables into consideration.


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Ronnie
(@ronnie)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2259
August 11, 2011 1:46 pm  

My recommendation would be to check Budget Car Rentals. They always have the best prices and cars. Have bought numerous cars from them over the years and never had a problem. Whomever I send to them never have problems. I have been in the car business since early 80s and still dabble in it from time to time. They sell their cars for what they owe the bank, way below Blue Book.


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