Something weird happened to me last week that really made me believe I was in the Twilight Zone.
If you recall, I mentioned that I ditched out my gas-guzzling Lincoln Navigator for a more environmental friendly vehicle and I settled on a mid-size Lexus.
Except...long story short: Lexus is gone and the Lincoln is parked outside of my office as I write this.
What the hell happened?
You know, quite honestly, I still don't know; I will tell you that dealing with Lexus this last time was the worst car buying transaction I've ever had to date and I will never, under any circumstances, purchase a Toyota or Lexus product for the remainder of my lifetime. Great cars; extremely poor customer service across the board. (And this has happened on a number of occasions within their organization.)
From what I gather transpired in this moment of my life that I wish never happened, they wrote the Lexus lease wrong giving me an incredibly ridiculously low lease payment, realized their mishap after I drove off with the vehicle, and did what they could to reverse the damage they'd done over the course of 4 days to get their vehicle back.
And they did.
They refused to finance the Lexus even though my mid FICO is 757 and I'm considered a Tier 1 to any dealership across America. Their reason? They claimed I had a repo with Toyota in the late 90s and that, 15 years later, they refuse to finance me...even with my current impeccable credit history.
Strangely enough, I've had 2 Lexus' since this "repo" they claim I had 15 years ago that I financed under my own name in 1999 and in 2005.
But...since they made an error and didn't want to admit to it, their only recourse would be to refuse to finance the lease, which is their choice, of course. (Bad business but their choice nonetheless.)
One thing about credit that I wanted to mention to all of you who are rebuilding your personal credit score, finance a vehicle. (Not a Toyota or Lexus, of course.) Financing a vehicle will bolster your credit score quickly provided that you make all your payments on time. You'll be surprised at how fast you can add 75 to 100 FICO points to your personal credit score after paying for a new (or used) vehicle for a solid 6 months.
I've found that Ford Credit will finance most anyone, even if you've included them in a bankruptcy or had a repo with them in the past.
This is why I realize that Ford will continue to hoard the 2nd place majority market share when it comes to U.S. auto sales in the country. (First place is GM and 3rd place is Crysler. Go Detroit!) Between the 3 auto giants with cutting-edge auto designs, progressive financing incentives and programs, and their ability to forgive the past (for those with credit problems and even if you screwed them over on a repo), how could they possibly lose?
In the meantime, you have Toyota who is struggling to keep their market share between a major hit to their reputation due to braking problems, killing innocent people in the process to save a few cents in manufacturing costs while refusing to finance people with perfect credit due to mistakes in sales contracts, credit problems from decades ago, and other such nonsense.
I don't care what market analysts say about what the hopes and dreams are for any company or what they "believe" the numbers will show in, say, 2015 or some other futuristic time frame. When you, the consumer, can see how things are "at the bottom," then you will ultimately see how any company will perform in the New Economy.
And Toyota/Lexus/Scion isn't going to fare well. (I'd like to see Honda/Acura and Nissan/Infiniti bump them out of the game altogether.)
I see Detroit growing and growing in the years to come. Again, this comes down to what I see on a consumer level and nothing else. And no, I am not an economist or do any type of economic analysis. However, I'm usually right 9 times out of 10 just because I pay attention to reality and not news stories or what I'd "like" to see happening in the world.
Many of you know I have a connection with Detroit because Ronnie lives there. During my last visit, I did an inspection on a building that I'm putting an offer in on just because Michigan is the #12 state in the U.S. that has a business user-friendly environment as well as kick-ass tax incentives. (This beats out California which is one of the worst states to do business!)
But I see other things going on there too.
I do see major progress with the auto manufacturers.
And there are the little things...
How cool is it to be looking at a building that has train tracks behind it and to see a pile of brand new chassis' slowly going down the tracks, on the verge of arriving at some auto manufacturing plant to make into cars? It's cool as hell.
Maybe it was going to the Toyota plant to build a Lexus. (In which case, I should have derailed the train.) Yes, Toyota/Lexus also has a manufacturing plant in the outskirts of Detroit. So do other "foreign" manufacturers. Surprising? (It's the "foreign" manufacturers best kept secret: they manufacture in Detroit and in other U.S. states, mostly in the Midwest.)
It's the "little things" that are showing me what's going on with our New Economy. When you have the most dismal war-zone third-world-country-ish area of the United States starting to boom, buckle your seat belts. We're on the verge of seeing a replay of the Roaring 20s...except better.
I see it. I can feel it. And I'm preparing for it.
See you at the top!