Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zip Zap Zoom…

I am taking yet another attempt to break the 2011 jinx; I have not published a single blog yet in 2011 and it is already two and half months past 1/1/11. If I have to give a few lame excuses, I can attribute the lack of commitment to write at least one blog each month to tight schedules and also maybe I am passing too many short comments on facebook. Those comments might have taken the shape of an article or a blog had the idea waited a little longer. Finally, I decided to bowl a loose delivery just for the sake of it.

After watching cricket for the entire night, I was woken up by the screaming ring tone of my mobile. It was my friend who wanted to check-out a used car. Half asleep I enquired the details. He had narrowed down a Volkswagen from Craig’s list. A familiar thought came to my mind. The German car maker must have really marketed the car as “Folks Wagon” in the US and other English speaking countries. The letter “V” takes the sound “F” in German and therefore what must have been pronounced as “Folks Wagon” is more popularly known as “Volks-Wagon” in English speaking countries. Volkswagen [1] means people’s car (Folk = People). If you had really thought that the makers of Tata Nano [2] were the first to have had the revolutionary idea of providing common citizens the ability to buy a car at the price of a motor cycle, well think again. Volkswagen was Hitler’s idea. Hitler required a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/h (62 mph) [1]. He wanted the car available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme at 990 Reich mark, about the price of a small motorcycle during those times. Today Volkswagen is the third largest manufacturer in the world (and is not cheap either).

I got up from my bed still dazed from the loud ring on my ears and freshened up hurriedly to help my friend with his car purchase. After collecting some key information about the car, we started our research using online tools such as Kelly’s Blue Book (KBB) [3] and Car Fax [4]. By providing the car’s make, model, year, mileage, zip code and accessories, one can get a guidance value of a car being traded in the USA. Usually, the trade price is fixed around the KBB value. Car Fax is used to check the history of a vehicle in US. The report from the website provides key details such as number of owners the car had so far and whether the car was involved in any accident or not. A car involved in an accident usually fetches a much lesser price unless the buyer has not checked the car fax and is unaware of the status. For those of you who yearn for tools such as KBB in India, checkout the Indian version at CarWale [5].

After we were convinced that we got all the facts right, we called the seller to finalize the deal and guess what?

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