Home » What Are The Best Cars To Cheaply Buy From Carvana If It Implodes? : Open Thread

What Are The Best Cars To Cheaply Buy From Carvana If It Implodes? : Open Thread

Good Bad Idea Time

Carvana, the chain of used car dealerships that distribute vehicles through giant vending machines powered by questionable loans and pure economic hopium, isn’t having the best month. We’ve reported on the lawsuits and slumping stock price, but a Bloomberg piece from yesterday about the company’s creditors teaming up ahead of a potential debt restructuring deal has led the stock to crater. The company may not being going bankrupt tomorrow, but the wheels appear to be coming off the wagon. And if the wheels are off the deals are on, folks! Let’s jump into Carvana’s listings to see what cars we should stalk in the event they have to off-load inventory.

For all its many woes (there’s a good Reddit thread where someone claiming to be an ex-employee details rampant theft and waste at the company’s stores, though it’s not possible to verify those claims), Carvana has a great search feature. Taking advantage of the dearth of used and new cars due to the pandemic/supply chain, Carvana made offers for cars that seemed crazy and then turned around and sold/financed those to their customers. They still have a lot of cars for sale!

It’s quite possible Carvana doesn’t lower its prices even if it goes into bankruptcy, as used cars are still valuable. It’s also possible that Carvana goes into a tailspin and the used car market suddenly craters. It’s always good to be prepared.

Here are a couple interesting cars my colleagues and I found:

$63,990 BMW M2 Manual: Matt Hardigree

Bmw M2

Someone bought an M2 last year and then got rid of it quickly. I like to think the owner had fun with it, used it as their second car, and then dumped it when they realized that Carvana would pay them more than what they paid for the car and is just counting the days until they can buy it back for pennies on the dollar.

I’m not sure what else you need to know about the car other than it’s got a six-speed manual transmission and a hair under 12,000 miles on it. This is the last car before the 2023 BMW M2‘s redesign if you’re not a fan. A new M2 starts at $62,200 and Carvana is pricing this 2021 model at $63,990. That’s an awful price! An M2 Competition with lower miles sold on BaT for $59,000 two weeks ago.

A completely hypothetical fire sale at $50,000? That might be a good deal!

$21,590 Chevy Silverado 1500 Regular Cab: Matt Hardigree


I love an honest work truck and a late GMT900 Chevy Silverado in red with a black front bumper seems like a good way to get one. This particular 2013 truck has the 4.3-liter V6 and is RWD. There aren’t a lot of details or options, but the 8-foot fleetside bed matched with the short cab is an ideal combination for someone who needs a truck for truck things. The CarFax shows it was a personal vehicle and not a fleet truck, so that’s also nice. Did I mention it’s red?

At $21,590 with just 61,673 miles it’s not even that unreasonable of a price. In a world where Carvana tanks the used truck market I think this is a decent buy if it comes down to $15,000 because of the lower miles. A similar spec’d one in Delaware is going for $12,495, but that’s with 177k miles on the clock.

$30,990 BMW i3 REx: Thomas Hundal

Carvana I3

Carvana seems to hold a disproportionate number of i3s in inventory, perhaps as some kind of national strategic reserve. Should the retailer go tits-up and all of these i3s go for cheap, it could tank the national average asking price, making BMW’s carbon-fiber wonder a much better deal. Plus, the 2019 i3 is arguably the pick of the bunch. It got the largest battery BMW ever fitted to this model, a whopping 42.2 kWh offering 126 miles of all-electric range. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it’s plenty for urban use and there’s always the little gasoline-powered range extender to keep things moving on long trips.

As for this particular i3, it doesn’t feature the most imaginative color combination, but the model year is right and that’s good enough for me. Plus, it has a clean CarFax with one previous owner in Arizona, and should still have plenty of life remaining on the high-voltage component warranty. This 2019 model is a bit expensive at $31,590, but if it gets below the $30,000 mark, it should offer great plug-in motoring at a reasonable price. – TH

$26,590 Porsche Boxster: Patrick George

Porsche Boxster

I’ve seen far worse used Porsches than this manual, base, 2009 Boxster, which at 78,000 miles has definitely been driven but not that much. If it goes any cheaper I’d be throwing my Mazda 3 hatch on Craigslist just to test the waters. And I’d tell my wife the Boxster is equally practical, on account of the frunk. If she asks, tell her I’m totally right. I need you to help me seal the deal on this one. Are you gonna be cool, or not? – PG

Screw This: David Tracy

Screen Shot 2022 12 08 At 3.12.12 Pm

What am I even doing in this article? There’s not a single sub-$10,000 machine on this list!

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go to Carvana’s site, filter by transmission, select “manual” and keep the price sub-$10,000. Let’s see what I find.

Wow. Just look at those results above. Who the hell is going to drop 10 large on a 100,000 mile 13 year-old Cobalt? There’s no way in hell “Purchase in Progress” is actually real, right?

A 90,000 mile Caliber for 10 large? An Aveo? A Kia Spectra? When did 10 grand become worth three grand? I’m out of here. But if there’s a huge 90 percent off sale, then maybe I’ll buy that Cobalt for a friend. I like those Ecotec 2.2s bolted to Getrag five-speeds.

Your turn! Show us what you can find on Carvana’s site, and how big the firesale would have to be for you to actually buy those cars.



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49 Responses

  1. WTF! They have EIGHT 2022 Civic Si’s, and only a few are above 2,000 miles, with one at 555 miles!!! Did Carvana buy these directly from a dealer, or is some Honda employee flipping these???

  2. Re: The M2.

    I have one. I paid sticker for it in 2019. It has 25,000 miles on it.

    At one point in the recent past, the dealer I bought it from offered me $79k for it.

    The thing is though…. what can you get that’s even close for $79k right now? You can get…. in line for another M2 in 6 months. Or a maybe Shelby GT500 if you don’t actually want to put a kid in the back seat and you can find one that isn’t marked up.

    If you can snag one for $50k and don’t like fun, buy it immediately and turn a $10k profit.

    I hate to say it, but $63k isn’t a bad price. And you have to expect BaT to command less premium since you’re dealing with a low-volume auctioneer and direct contact with an internet rando, rather than a full service retailer.

  3. Nothing under $10K? I’m with DT—this is all way too expensive for something that isn’t the lovingly cared-for Mahogany Metallic second-gen Cayenne lovingly cared for by old people that I would’ve sought after if I hadn’t been laid off.

    Carvana and like places are usually where folks I know get rid of hoon cars that have been ridden hard and don’t sell to a private party, lol. Nah, dude. Write-in: ten $1K turds off of Marketplace.

    1. (…did I mention “lovingly cared-for?” I said it twice because I forgot to edit before hitting “send,” but this mythical unicorn Cayenne needs *provenance.* Maintenance records. Responsible previous owners. Also, a tow package. Definitely the tow package.)

  4. Carvana seems to own just about every Buick TourX in my area at least. Top trim “Essence” models are going for well under 30k with low mileage right now. A price crash on an AWD rebadged Opel wagon? Sign me up!

  5. Matt has the right idea with the original pan of that M2. I’d sell my Mazda3 hatch a month ago when it was worth $18,000 trade in, and then buy it back after Carvana drops the price to $11,000. I get $7,000 for a temporary inconvenience and Carvana gets to launder some money before the creditors seize all of their inventory. Win-win, baby!

  6. If Carvana goes bankrupt, the public won’t get to buy the cars. The floor plan lenders will seize the cars, lock the doors of the dealerships and they will eventually get liquidated at wholesale auctions.

    1. Just before they file for bankruptcy, they might just try a fire sale to get what they can, though. But, yeah, chances are any great deals will go to the wholesale auctions.

  7. I would say a TRX for under 70K but they are always in progress for sale for 83K and up on Carvana, still if they managed to do the fire sale I would pull the trigger at 70K.

    They also have an 09 H3T Alpha on sale for 29K right now. if they brought it down to 15K, I would definitely buy that. last of the all aluminum LS motors without DOD/AFM

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