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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-13-2004, 08:43 PM   #21
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Since the topic is "used cars," I couldn't resist adding my 2 cents. My wife and I live in used-car paradise so we wouldn't even think of owning a new car. When we moved to Japan 4 years ago we bought a '93 Nissan Bluebird (aka Altima). It had 23,000 kilometers on it (13,800 miles) and was in excellent condition. Typical of Japanese used cars, we picked it up for $1,300. We've driven it for 3 1/2 years and have put $150 into it for one minor repair. Its going to be painful when we have to move back to the States and have to pay 5 times as much for 1/2 the car.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-13-2004, 10:43 PM   #22
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

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Typical of Japanese used cars, we picked it up for $1,300. *We've driven it for 3 1/2 years and have put $150 into it for one minor repair.
How much are you paying for the sha-ken (road usage tax)?
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-14-2004, 02:54 AM   #23
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Hyperborea . . . road tax depends on the engine displacement. My car was 7500 yen (about $75/year at today's exchange rate). Gas is expensive, but as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, I get my gas on-base for about the same price it cost (on average) in the States. Insurance is roughly $350 per year. The only "killer" in Japan is the toll roads. We try to avoid them, and generally have been successful. But, if you have to use them, the fees add up very fast.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-14-2004, 07:44 AM   #24
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

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Hyperborea . . . road tax depends on the engine displacement. *My car was 7500 yen (about $75/year at today's exchange rate).
If you are only paying that small an amount then I think that you must be getting some kind of special "US military" deal or are being subsidized. The shaken is normally ¥120,000 (~$1200) and up almost every 2 years (years 3, 5, 7, etc).

Perhaps you are confusing the annual tax in May (I think it's May but I can't remember for sure) with the shaken. The annual tax for a Bluebird would probably be about $75. The shaken is a lot more and is one of the reasons that people get rid of an older car. Perhaps you get some sort of special deal and don't have to pay the shaken?
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-14-2004, 07:53 AM   #25
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

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Are Mustangs known for being that reliable? *Or were you just on one side of the bell curve?
I have no idea. The engine is pretty simple, and since it used push-rods instead of overhead cams, you could replace your own belts quite easily.... in the case of the mustang, it had a single serpentine belt that I did replace ($20 at shucks). Other than that, who knows, maybe I was 2+ sd above the mean

I just checked carpoint for the 95 and it does have a 5/5 rating for reliability... who would have thought.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-14-2004, 02:27 PM   #26
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Hyperborea . . . we pay road tax each year in the Spring and it is about $75 for cars with engines of less than 2000cc displacement. I believe the "sha-ken" you refer to are the fees collected when Japanese citizens have their cars inspected every two years. These fees are high, i.e., in excess of $1,000. All those serving in Japan under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) have their vehicles inspected on-base for about $35 every two years. The only other fees we incur is the yearly road tax ($75 for my Bluebird) and insurance. Japan has compulsory insurance (JCI) which is about $250 every two years. We are also required to carry "supplemental insurance" which boosts the cost of insurance up to about $350/year per vehicle. We are only permitted to have one vehicle per licensed driver (plus a motorcycle).

This is why my wife and I consider this to be used-car paradise. The cost of acquiring and operating a high quality used car here is extremely cheap as compared to the costs we have incurred in the past in the States.

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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-14-2004, 02:54 PM   #27
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

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This is why my wife and I consider this to be used-car paradise. *The cost of acquiring and operating a high quality used car here is extremely cheap as compared to the costs we have incurred in the past in the States.
That's for sure! Two years ago when my husband was stationed in Okinawa he paid $200 for his van and another $300 in repairs during 6 months of use. After the 6 months he renewed the JCI at around $300, used it another 6 months and sold it to an incoming officer for his original $200. Total cost only about $600 for the year. I've heard that Okinawa is a major dumping ground for used cars from the mainland, so I'm sure that helps.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-14-2004, 04:07 PM   #28
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

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I believe the "sha-ken" you refer to are the fees collected when Japanese citizens have their cars inspected every two years. *These fees are high, i.e., in excess of $1,000. *All those serving in Japan under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) have their vehicles inspected on-base for about $35 every two years.
Ok that explains it. Everybody else (non US military) has to pay the shaken (road worthiness - essentially a road use tax) not just Japanese citizens. That makes the normal cost of owning and operating a vehicle a lot more than the special deal that you are getting.

One of my plans for retirement is to buy a little "keiyon" car (660cc or smaller engine) and drive around Japan for 6 months or so and see all of the out of the way places. If I get it at maybe 6 years old with 6 months to 1 year of shaken left on it then it should go for very little.

I've also been wondering about buying a motorcycle and sidecar for a year or so tour of Europe after I retire. Not enough information on this one yet though.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 12-15-2004, 10:06 AM   #29
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

I had a 80 ford PU that I drove 12 yr average cost less than $1000 per yr including engine overhall, it only needed valves, but what the hey, figured I was in it anyway and I did it myself. Last car was a 96 subaru outback, cost average over 7 yr was over $2000 per yr. Good car but was burning oil when I traded it in. And it was a major pain to do mantainence as the subaru dealer was about 80 mi away from here. Only local dealers are US brand cars and trucks. Now I'm in a 03 ford escape that I bought new, due to low used price I may have to keep it forever for it to be a good deal. I like it and the 4WD is important around here in the winter. But I miss my pickups and may get one again at some point..........Shredder
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-01-2005, 04:40 AM   #30
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation



1986 Honda Civic Wagon, purchased in 1995 for $3500, had 90K miles; bought it from dealer, who had just replaced the timing belt and front axle before I bought it.

Excluding tires, tune ups and oil changes, average annual repairs < $100/ year.

Total cost of owning = $3500 + $1000 repairs = $4500

Average annual cost $4500/ 9 years = $500/ year

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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-01-2005, 05:09 AM   #31
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Hi Shanna. Very impressive car expense numbers (proves a point
I've made many times). Bet you've got
Cut-Throat beat

JG
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-01-2005, 11:05 AM   #32
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

In 1992 I bought a new Civic for $9,600. In 1998 the car was destroyed in an accident (no driver/passengers inside). Car had around 70,000 miles. The only repairs ever done were oil changes, and possibly a tune-up (can't recall). The insurance company gave me 'blue book' -- $6500. That's less than $500/year -- and I was driving a new car. I did however invest almost $10K for the priviledge.

My current car will not fare as well. It's about the same age but has lost around $8-$9K in value, and has required sightly more in repairs. It is a nicer car though.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-01-2005, 03:10 PM   #33
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

I made a vow long ago never to pay over 10K for a
vehicle again. I follow the pricing of used vehicles very
closely. It appears that I can go a long time
(forever?) without being in danger of cracking the
magic 10K limit.

JG
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-01-2005, 03:40 PM   #34
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Cut-Throat, you bring back memories. It's been a very
long time since I had any "back seat" experiences worth mentioning. There was a time though...............

JG
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-01-2005, 04:16 PM   #35
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

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It's been a very
long time since I had any "back seat" experiences worth mentioning. *There was a time though............... * * *
JG
Were you alone?
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-02-2005, 03:52 AM   #36
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Hello retire@40. That reminded me of a girl I used to date. "Betty" had a rep. Went on dates with the seat out of an old Buick strapped to her back.

Re. "Were you alone?" Once I thought I would write about
my adventures as a gentleman and a lover. Now, however it seems like too much work. Too bad really.
It's a hell of a story

JG
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-02-2005, 07:13 AM   #37
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Cut-throat, I'm on your wavelength as well. Judiciously managed finances to be able to retire FI when I want to. Bought my first Japanese luxury vehicle, a 2000 I30 Infiniti, in early 2003 with 16,000 miles on it and have fallen in love with that class of performance, reliability and luxury. The vehicle has not cost me a cent in maintenance so far other than oil changes.

I plan on having an Infiniti, Lexus or equivalent through the rest of my 50's, 60's and hopefully 70's while I can enjoy them. Better to recall the memories of enjoyment than not have them at all. Some frugality remains though as I will probably settle for 300 series rather than 400 series.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-02-2005, 06:15 PM   #38
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Spent most of my career in the retail auto business, and people in the industry know the best deal is to buy slightly used cars, and drive them into the ground. We love the folks that need a new car every couple of years.

We violated that rule recently by buying a base Toyota Camry ... bulletproof car, but the incentives were such that used were not a better deal. Expect to drive that car for 10 years+.

Classic cars can work great, if you don't drive much ... can appreciate instead of depreciate. Doesn't work for most, because most folks need to put more miles on.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-02-2005, 06:56 PM   #39
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

Craig, I find that there is so little annual depreciation on most Japanese cars that it pays to buy brand new and not buy the potential risk of someone else's abuse. So I recommend buying new in those cases.

However, I would certainly agree that buying slightly used works best for virtually all other makes after depreciation has taken its biggest bite.
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation
Old 01-02-2005, 08:01 PM   #40
 
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Re: Cars - A Basic Calculation

I followed the reverse of Cut-Throat's system. I drove
luxury and/or new cars until I ERed and then cut way back. Also, I had my fun in my youth with various sports cars
(Covette, Fiat Spyder, Triumph TR-4). My all time fun favorite though was the Maxda Miata. Cheap to buy and cheap to own. I'm pretty sure I will get another one at some point (but I'll stay well under my 10K limit).

JG
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