Back from the USA - midlifecrisis
I've just spent two fantastic weeks in Georgia and Florida. Our hire car was a pretty ponderous Chrysler Concorde. However what amazed me is that most of their new cars have 7-10 year warrantys, with 5-7 years interest free credit. If they can manage it over there, why not over here. Rip-off Britain strikes again.
Back from the USA - T Lucas
It is amazing some of the deals that they can can get,my mate lives in Florida and got a brand new Plymouth Caravan,basicaly a low rent Voyager,has 7 seats,1 airconditioner,privacy glass 3.3 V6,auto,music,and that was just about it,but all that for $99 a month for 36 months and just 1 month down.Limit of 36,000 miles,now that is value in anyones book.He is a Brit and was recently telling me about this great new car that he had got for his work commute,really excited about it,low price,long warranty,cold a/c etc......a Daewoo Nubira manual,i told him that they are crip in the UK,how bad is it going to be in Florida.
Back from the USA - James_Jameson
Yes, I've been to Florida a number of times and each time am reminded of rip-off Britain.

For example, Plymouth Caravan for around £11,000 (new!), (all cars seem to be MUCH cheaper and come with a lot of options for little or no extra cost), long warranties and the "Lemon Law" which means that, according to certain criteria, if your new car proves troublesome, you can hand it back for a refund or exchange.
Back from the USA - Marcus
Can you explain the economics of this a little more please.

36 months @ $99 + $99 comes to approx £2,360.

On a car costing £11,000, £2,360 represents 21.5% and that is assuming 0% interest on these payments.

With an interest rate of only 5% he would have paid less than £1000 of the capital owed.

Surely the car cannot be worth more than 50% of its new value after 3 years.

As you have talked of a 36K mile limit I assume that it is some kind of leasing deal.

Are you saying that he can hand in the car and walk away?

What have I got wrong?


Back from the USA - T Lucas
Yes it was a leasing deal,its the only way people in the US with top grade credit score get into cars.I would doubt that the invoice price was even near £11000 the manufacturers/dealers have all kinds of bonus/incentives to shift metal so that means to the correct scoring customers the price can come be very low indeed.In Florida the residual values do seem to be very high in comparison to the UK,and i think this is where the people without the high credit score come in,if they want a car they have to pay a much higher intrest rate and dealers are chasing cars to fill this market.Also a lot of cars in Florida are shipped to other states and exported around the world,all helping local residuals.Forgot to mention my mates Caravan MPV also had included free servicing with 'Mr Jiffy Lube' and no thats not rude!
Back from the USA - Marcus
I know the USA well. I visit Florida quite a bit and am in the process of buying a Condo near Melbourne.

One of the options I was considering was the merits of buying an older car to leave there, rather than hire each time myself and family visit. I also looked at some lease deals and nothing approaching the deal your pal has; and that was with cars at the cheapest end of the market.

To run any sort of new car for $99 dollars down and $1,200 per year to cover interest, depreciation and servicing(how about insurance and other running costs?) cannot make any form of economic sense. Are you sure his firm are not subsidising the deal?

Back from the USA - jeds
Seems funny that residual values are high. Why would anybody pay 7 or 8 grand second hand when they could drive the same car from new, for 3 years, at about a third or less?
Back from the USA - Marcus
T Lucas,
Did you find out how your pal got the $99 deal?

Back from the USA - Henryoh
$99 per month! I don't think so, I live in the US and the actual monthly is around $299 per month. You must have been in a bar drinking when you heard that figure. However motoring is much cheaper here, I run a 94 Lexsus LS400 with a super smooth V8 and fill it up for around $25.
Back from the USA - Cardew
As Marcus said it made no sense at $99 a month.It is one of those 'urban myths' that get repeated and repeated.

At the bottom end of the market, new cars in the USA are now not much cheaper than UK. That changes as you go up market.

The biggest difference in running costs is fuel.

Back from the USA - SFreesia
Henryoh: Do you live in San Francisco? SFreesia
Back from the USA - smokie
Today I booked a "Focus sized" car for a week's hire in March in Florida (attending Sebring 12h race, but not racing it!!)

Total charges incl CDW etc for the week + unlimited mileage - £138.

I hope I haven't missed something.
Back from the USA - Obsolete
I hope I haven't missed something

I doubt it. A year or two ago I hired a sub-compact car (Ford Escort size) for a day to drive from Orlando to Cape Canaveral and paid about £20. They did not seem to mind that I had only passed my test 3 months previous. Like most American cars it drove like a bath tub in a sea of treacle.

Incidentally do make sure that you have full insurance cover 'cos you could get sued big time if you have an accident.
Back from the USA - Richard Hall
I never rent small cars in the US. Big ones are so cheap that there's no point, just to save five dollars a day. I wonder whether American car makers actually put more effort into designing their big cars than small ones - certainly the 'full-size' cars I have driven have all been far better than I expected, while a subcompact that I was once forced to drive (there was nothing else available) reminded me of my father's Datsun Sunny 120Y. It was a Geo of some description, which I believe is a GM brand.

Richard Hall
Back from the USA - crazed
life is so different in the states

most gm cars only have 999 combinations of key, and given the 3 digit number any old dealer can cut one up for you

and stereos are normally easily nickable, none of the removeable facia etc uk gets

however as one of my good friends said "we dont have a car stereo theft problem here because any potential theif knows that if he was caught in the act he would be shot"

versus a few hours community service here

and people shooting people nicking their cars, dont get locked up, they get congratulated, none of this "you went too far" nonsense - the rules play to the person being violated

drink driving is common, because basically there big cities with NO footpaths to the best resteraunts and bars, and often police will let offender off if driving within limits

large percentages of people have handguns in gloveboxes, so argueing or agressive horns at lights/junctions doesnt happen

and you at at dennys not little chef

and hey the cops dont mess around stopping people for being 5 mph over the limit - they recognise they have more important things to do!

fuel is too cheap in the states, in my view, which is why they waste too much on big engined cars that underperform a european equivalent with half the CC

etc etc
Back from the USA - CM
Does the US government help out the Detroit companies as they seem to be the cornerstone of the US (manufacturing) economy? Rather do they not disuade new car sales by sensibly taxing them?
Back from the USA - T Lucas
D'ont know about that especially as the big Japanese brands and MB&BMW have factories over there.One thing though,Americans do like value for their money.
Back from the USA - daryld
I lived in New York state and bought a new VW Golf GTi GLX (aka a VW Golf 2.0 GTi with every, and I mean every VW gizmo. That is how the americans like their cars). The sticker price back in 1999 was $14,400, plus there was an interest free 48 month loan.

But the oddest thing was that the dealer also sold Subaru and Nissan from the same VW premises: in the US it is illegal for a manufacturer to prevent dealers from multi-franchising, unlike the UK.
Back from the USA - madf
Hmm none of this nonsense of Cat Tax on new cars or VAT on top of fuel tax on petrol or diesel.

NHS or social services? Forget it.

Illegal immigrants given 5 years to appeal about deportation orders? Or a Grant from the lottery to oppose government policy?
Or concerns about global warming?

Forget it.

You get what you pay for is a rule in life. We pay for a bunch of bureaucrats and we certainly get them! Remember these people get paid to MAKE rules. The fact that they are not enforcing the current ones is irrelevant..

In the US the car industry (after housing ) is the key industry and being driven by low interest rates and remortgaging houses at lower rates.

Back from the USA - Steve S
Is this the same USA that: -

Gets excited if you go over 50mph but doesn't mind if you have a gun in the glove box.

Makes most of their cars to suit their roads - long and boring.

Doesn't want to medically treat you - unless they know you can pay.

Who's housing situation is in no way comparable to UK on grounds of sheer space.

Who's idea of culture is the stuff that grows on (yet more) food you leave out of the fridge?

Pah! Give me tax & bureacrats any day.

Back from the USA - crazed
actually poor people generally get pretty good medical care in the US

much better than large cities in the Uk where for instance

i) large numbers of elderly men with prostrate cancer held in lists, or artificially going for "tests" for months to keep them off the operation queue

ii) no enough surgeons, and surgeons generally moving in disgust at the poor facilities and way they have to treat the patients

leading to prostate cancer being a big problem, and leaving many unable to walk (it spreads to the spine and cripples the legs), and the average old male being a) reserved about talking about that part of their anatomy b) from the gerneration that "trusts" the doctors - despite obvios evidence they ar ebeing let down big time

if this disease affected a minority group it would be big news, as it is it causes endless suffering, and what does the nhs do ? paperwork and waffle, and crap service

the equivalent old bloke in chicago would have been treated!

we dont even give the correct radiotherapy to prevent it spreading to the bones!

uk health service is killing people, for want of simple stuff!

sad but true
Back from the USA - madf
Ah crazed but we have LOTS of bureaucrats . And that's what the UK system gives us.

Any country which has a political system :

which spends proportionately more per head on the criminal , the immigrant or the poor of society and ends up with the worst crime rates /immigration systems/more single parent families/teenage pregnancies/highest rate of drug abuse/failing education systems/greatest disparities of wealth/worst road system in Europe and a rail system which is having £ Billions spent on it and is achieving .. nothing ..

is in NO position to critise any other country on the above issues .

Cetainly not the US which has road and rail systems which actually work.
Back from the USA - crazed
and this SHOULD be the front page of every newspaper tomorrow!

the nhs is a shambles

give the money direct to the patients to spend on the best treatment they can find... i feel very very angry about one very large hospital trust that is letting my father die, this is serious stuff, they are not under-resourced they are just plain crap at management, and suffer endless political interference
Back from the USA - James_Jameson
Sadly, for many years now we have had management chosen based on face fit, kissing the right *rses, etc etc - anything but leaders chosen using criteria based upon real ability to get the job done with no BS.

Quite simply, "Great" Britain is suffering for this.
Back from the USA - THe Growler
Better to light a candle than curse the darkness - old Chinese proverb:

Motoring connection: there's one in there I think.

Have a nice weekend.
Back from the USA - Steve S
"Cetainly not the US which has road and rail systems which actually work."

There speaks someone who has never tried the US rail system. Yes it works - so it should, it hardly covers any of the population. As for roads, the sheer size of the place permits the kind of road building that you could never sqeeze into the UK.

As for the USA being free of beauracracy The Federal authorities and regulators like the Food Standards Authority are full of bone heads making stupid rules.

The civil servants everywhere are like scorpions - they survive anything.

At the end of it all if the USA is so good - why stay here?

Back from the USA - Soupytwist
"Or a Grant from the lottery to oppose government policy?"

Well, considering how many people didn't vote for the party in power a lottery grant to oppose government policy is hardly unfair is it ?

Matthew Kelly
No, not that one.
Back from the USA - HiroProtagonist
As an American, it's interesting to me to see these comments. Here's a few facts about driving in the US:
1. Everyone drives everywhere. I mean literally everywhere. Most newer towns are designed in such a way (endless parking lots, stripmalls etc) that you don't have a choice.
2. Gas prices are dirt cheap. A gallon is currently going for about $1.50. Even that is historically very high.
3. Americans in general don't know much about driving. The driving test is a ridiculously simple formality taken at age 16. Driving is seen as a God-given right.
4. The road system is designed to be idiot-proof. The roads are all extremely wide (with generous shoulders), generally well maintained, straight-as-an-arrow and well marked with signage. This leads to a general sort of boredom with driving. Most driving in the US is endless highway cruising at 75MPH. You start to see why a Lincoln TownCar makes sense here.
5. Having said the above, driving here is extremely diverse. Driving in NYC or Chicago (where I live) is fairly insane with tons of traffic, aggressive tactics and high speeds. Driving in Colorado (where I used to live) is so cordial and relaxed that you literally wave to each passing car in the more rural areas. Driving in the urban areas California or Florida is an exercise in patience-testing with massive traffic volumes and sloooow speeds. It's difficult to catagorize the entire US as being one way.
6. American cars generally suck. Many Americans know this, but more still buy GM/DiamlerChrysler/Ford crap. In looking at prices in the UK, cars are about 40% cheaper here. Cars are seen as somewhat disposable. For about the last ten years, giant SUVs and pick-ups have been very popular. Ever seen a Ford Excursion? Look that one up and you'll see what I'm talking about. Interestingly, the most popular vehicles in the US are pick-ups, the bigger the better.
Back from the USA - Blue {P}
If and when I move to the US, it'll have to be either European such as BMW or Merc, or a Ford Focus if I'm poor to start off with! I like the looks of the Ford Taurus but have heard that they are pretty unreliable?

Although having said that, I wouldn't mind betting that the Focus that I know and love in the UK, with efficient engines that also give out a fair kick, and very sharp, precise handling will be slightly different in the US? Or have they kept it like it's European counterparts?
Back from the USA - THe Growler
Yep, I love my F-150 Lariat 4WD pickup, it's the Harley Davidson of trucks. week pure joy, I shall be Crystal River, FL borrowing my mate's F-350 7 litre diesel truck to go the 1.5 miles to the shopping mall. Hehe.

You can keep your Euro buzz-boxes......
Back from the USA - Toad, of Toad Hall.
Yep, I love my F-150 Lariat 4WD pickup, it's the Harley
Davidson of trucks.

Slow, bad handling, over-showy, ridden by fat middle age weirdos, noisy and dangerously unreliable.

Hmmmm. Suprised they're not more popular!

These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
Back from the USA - THe Growler
Ah, forgot to mention what I also enjoy is their capacity to wind up other people. Works every time...
Back from the USA - GJD
I hope there's a gas station between your mate's place and the shop. It doesn't sound like you'll get there on one tank.
Back from the USA - crazed
hi HP

yea Ive worked long periods in different places in the states

funny things for a Brit include

turn right on red, and boy do you have to be careful when you come back not to turn left on red because it becomes second nature

4 way give way, or "ive got more balls that you so Im comign through", why dont you have some more roundabouts and use them properly

the odd roundabout is seen as a tourist attraction and cars come from miles just to drive around it

big fat tyres, but so little grip, the tarmac on the roads over there is very poor (was told that was because it has to cope with wider temperature variations ? never found out of that was true)

put car in gear and doors lock ? er why ?

gotta put car in park before the key will come out ? why ? altough thats crept in here now

etc etc

think youre right about the width, it is definitly safter to have wider roads with more margin of error, than ever thinner roads which is the fashion here

and no scam tax cameras! didnt they try some and people were just shooting at them as they drove past - now thats what we should do

and you can walk into any old accident and emergency dept and be seen within 5 min, treated like a human, and the place isnt falling to bits, and the staff actually have the resources to help you

etc etc
Back from the USA - Kevin

Getting back to MLC's original post.

Last year, many manufacturers and dealers in the US introduced 'incentives' to try and stimulate the market for new vehicles. This included the interest free loans for 5 (or more) years that MLC refers to.

However, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Back from the USA - Flat in Fifth
But what do you believe?

last week on the front page of USA Today (OK OK I know!) there was an article which waffled about the upturn in the USA economy, principally led by auto sales.

Page 2 another article bemoaning the state of the economy, principle cuplrit being low volume of auto sales.

Errrmm run that past the editors again purrlease.

Back from the USA - Flat in Fifth
plus MLC, presuming you flew from Brum, isn't it nice to get back to the cold and wet and see a saferty camera within 20 seconds of leaving the airport! Welcome to Britain!
Back from the USA - midlifecrisis
Depressing wasn't the word. I'm actively looking at moving out there. The country is fantastic.
Back from the USA - THe Growler
Do what a pal of mine did. Sold his house (which was paid for)Bought a gas station in Florida, that got him his E-2 visa, took a five figure USD sum out of the business each month for 2 years, sold it at 150% of what he paid, took the proceeds, bought a very well known brand of auto dealership in another state, acquired his US passport after 5 years, and has recently retired with eight figures in the bank. Never borrowed a cent the whole time but did pay an awful lot of tax to Uncle Sam. Elapsed time 11 years. What's more starting next month the Govt pays him $660 social security pension (62 years old). What's that in UK these days (assuming you live long enough)?

Caveats: getting good staff, especially in a service business: too many illegals, minorities and wasters. Gov't bureaucracy (at federal more than state level). Got to have good health - there are no parachutes in the US.

For the life of me I have never understood why anyone with any get up and go stays in UK. Doesn't have to be US, there are plenty of other places. August 14th 1967 when they closed down Radio London, that was the day I knew it was time to pull the plug. Never looked back :-)

Back from the USA - crazed

Gunshots have damaged two speed cameras in the county.
A sniper has put two speed cameras on one of Norfolk's main roads out of action.

The first camera on the A146 Norwich Road at Framingham Earl, just south of Norwich, has been so badly damaged by a number of gunshots that it will be out of commission for several days before being replaced and switched back on.

The second camera towards Loddon was also shot at several times and, though still operational, it will have to be replaced.

It has been estimated that the cost of replacing both cameras will be in excess of £60,000 – which should be covered by insurance.

Police spokeswoman Nina Goad said it was “most likely” that the two incidents were linked.

She said: “The camera at Framingham Earl has been shot at several times. Scenes of crime officers have been looking at it but as yet they do not know what kind of weapon was used.

“There's been a similar incident at Loddon at a second speed camera and it's most likely that they're linked.

“Our main concerns are that the speed camera at Framingham Earl is really close to the high school and that there has been more than one camera targeted.

“This is not just a normal case of criminal damage. A firearm was discharged in a public place and it is a serious offence.”

Police said they were also worried that the Framingham Earl incident took place in a residential area and are relieved that the consequences were not more serious.

“The police take all reported unauthorised use of firearms extremely seriously. We're following a few lines of enquiry and appeal to anyone who may have information relating to these crimes to contact us,” said Ms Goad.

Reports of the two cameras targeted coincides with news that five newly installed speed cameras will go live this Saturday at other known accident blackspots. Four are located within Norwich - two on Dereham Road, one on Sweet Briar Road and another on Mile Cross Lane. The fifth has been set up on the A143 at Bradwell.

Bryan Edwards, spokesman for Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership which manages the camera system, said: “Both the cameras have been looked at by scenes of crime officers and are now the subject of a fairly extensive police investigation.

“The camera at Framingham Earl has been out of action since Wednesday and will be replaced some time next week. The one at Loddon is still operational but will be replaced at a later date.”

Mr Edwards said the consequences of the Framingham Earl incident means the partnership's on-going aim to reduce the number of serious accidents has been put in jeopardy.

“You often worry about the mentality of the people who do this sort of thing because the cameras are there to reduce serious casualties,” said Mr Edwards.

The most recent attacks come after vandals previously targeted a speed camera on the A149 at Heacham in March by setting it alight. The arsonists failed to damage the equipment contained inside but the exterior paintwork was scorched.

Anyone with information should call PC Keith White on 01953 424242.

Back from the USA - Mark (RLBS)

Did you mean this to be in this thread ?

Back from the USA - crazed
well it kind of relates to my earlier post "and people were just shooting at them as they drove past - now thats what we should do
" cos i hadnt realised that actually there are people in this country shooting at them, thats all

move it if you want
Back from the USA - Blue {P}
I've gotta admit that your little snippet there gave me a smile, no matter where in the forum it is. :)

I disagree though with shooting them, I think it's inefficent, it would be far easier to spray paint the lens. :)
Back from the USA - Dave_TD
Have you ever tried cleaning bullet holes off with a rag and a drop of thinners then? :op
Back from the USA - BrianW
It's not easy to reach the lens, unless you are seven feet tall.
However, going past our local one the other day, it looked as if someone had stuck chewing gum into the lock. Must have made it difficult to get the film out!
Less conspicuous than climbing up a step ladder to get to the box on top, too.
Back from the USA - HisHonour {P}
You might look a litle obvious spary-painting it from up a ladder. Shooting at it from 200 yards you have a better chance of escape. Interesting to see how a thread can veer off at a tangent!

Value my car