New Car #4: Good Bye Subaru Impreza


This is the fourth article within a five-part series on my New Car.

  1. New Car #1: Novated Leasing
  2. New Car #2: Fuel Efficiency
  3. New Car #3: Two Months In
  4. New Car #4: Good Bye Subaru Impreza (this article)
  5. New Car #5: GPS Navigation System Comparisons

In late June, after taking delivery of my new Mazda 3 SP25, I stopped driving my previous vehicle – the Subaru Impreza RS. The only exception to this was my final driving trip made on Father’s Day (Sunday 7 September – one week prior to the time of writing up this article).

The Subaru was slowly prepared for sale, with a fantastic young guy engaged on Saturday 30 August to retouch the wheels and address some minor scratches present across all four wheels. Instead of costing $$$, the cost was a reasonable $160 for all four wheels. The pleasant sunny weather was also conducive to taking photos for the advertisement. A minimalist number of photos were taken to showcase the external and internal features of the car without missing any main area of the car.

When listing the car on CarSales, we discovered that there is a feature called Dealer Direct, whereby the car advertisement was made available to a select audience of car dealerships and enable them to bid on the vehicle. The option to sell via Dealer Direct indicated that there was no obligation for us as the seller to accept the bid prices and that we retained the right to reject all offers, allow the three-day bid duration to close and then switch over to the traditional private sales audience.

The key difference between the Dealer Direct option and the mass market private sales option is the willingness to pay price. The price of a car listed on Dealer Direct takes into account the fact that the dealer will bear the subsequent cost of a roadworthy certificate and all associated on-road costs, whereas a private sale requires the seller/current owner to bear those costs typically up-front. In this way, the price difference between a car advertisement on Dealer Direct versus a general private sale is typically a few $1000. In essence, the Dealer Direct option is a hassle free method of sale where the seller can minimise the effort and cost spent on preparing a car to be sold.

When posting the CarSales advertisement, the price guidance was used since the amounts aligned with our own judgement – $7000 for Dealer Direct and $10500 for private sale. As part of setting these amounts, we were using the previous trade-in amount offered by the Mazda dealership as a rough guide – $6000 versus at acceptable private sale desired amount of $8000+. One sunk cost was $160 spent on touching up all four wheels of the Subaru mentioned previously. As part of the preparatory work and assessment undertaken throughout July and August, we were finally able to fully diagnose one minor issue that had been manifesting as a hard-to-pin-point clicking sound, present at low speeds and where the road surface was particularly uneven. The cause of this issue turned out to be a cracked strut on the underneath of the car – replacing the part plus labour was quoted as $500. With the additional cost of obtaining a roadworthy certificate the total cost outlay could have reached $1000. Therefore, in order to realise a private sale, we would have to spend up to $1000 up front and to realise a limited gain of $1000+ difference.

The car was listed on the afternoon of Saturday 6 September and within a few hours, one dealer bid was received. Throughout Sunday and Monday a total of 8 bids were received from 6 dealerships. On further checking the limited details available both in the email and online at CarSales, it emerged that two dealers had revised their initial bids upwards. It was not clear if the dealers had visibility of the current highest bidder/amount and that in reality the Dealer Direct system was somewhat akin to an auction. The bids ranged from $5700, up to $6700 – just short of the $7000 target price. One dealership asked if the car was available straightaway and we responded that the car was indeed available for immediate sale if a satisfactory bid was made. At the close of the three-day dealer bid period, there was one day in which to deliberate and either select a winning bid, or let the car sale go through to be listed as a private sale. The Dealer Direct process further provided a simple timeframe whereby the subsequent steps for accepting a dealer’s offer would transpire over the next business day, with settlement after an inspection. The inspection itself could be performed either at the dealer’s location or the seller could request an on-site inspection.

The decision was made on Wednesday 10 September to accept the final and best offer of $6700 by a car dealership based in Bulleen. Agreeing to a 10am appointment at the dealership for the next day, the exchange was very efficient – one salesman took the car for a 20 minute test drive after looking it over whilst back at the office, another salesman handed the transfer of ownership paperwork and payment, which was all put in motion once word was given by the guy performing the test drive. Payment method was either cheque or direct transfer; the later being preferred by both parties. With the sales closed, the dealership then organised for a ride back home. The next day, payment was confirmed and evident as being deposited into the bank account.

So, within the space of less than a week, thanks to CarSales and their Dealer Direct system, we have said good-bye to our Subaru Impreza, which was ours for the last nine years. Whilst my dad was the first and original owner, since May 2005, he only drove it for four years until July 2009 and for a total of ~25,000 kilometres. In comparison, I drove the car for the remainder of the time we had the vehicle – five years from July 2009 to June 2014 – and covered some 54,000 kilometres. The final odometer reading at the time of sale was close to 79,000 kilometres, which for a nine-year old car would still be considered very appealing and low. The following were the specification/details that were the CarSales advertisement:

2005 Subaru Impreza RS
Sedan 4-door Manual 5-speed AWD 2.5i [MY05]

This Subaru Impreza 2005 is an awesome first vehicle, travelled only 78900km only!

Check out this well maintained car. It is garaged and has been washed on a regular basis. I am selling due to just receiving a company car. This car has remote central locking, driver & passenger airbags, 17″ alloy wheels, ABS brakes and rear spoiler.

This Subaru Impreza 2005 RS-X has 5 seats, enough for the whole family. This car has cruise control, power steering, remote central locking and 17″ alloy wheels. It has rear spoiler and a powerful 2.5 litre engine. It has 2 airbags fitted for your protection. This car has air conditioning.

The radio was replaced in 2012 with a Pioneer unit which includes bluetooth & USB phone connectivity with wired microphone for excellent hands-free phone calls (iPhone & Android compatible).

This 2005 Subaru Impreza RS-X MY05 All Wheel Drive is exceptional value at $10,500. Rego paid until March 2015. A roadworthy certificate will be provided.

Subaru Impreza RS