Perhaps the most important part of a high-mileage vehicle isn't anything within the car itself. It's the vehicle history report, which details the car's past with chronological data on mileage, repairs, recalls, accidents, number of owners, where the car has been registered, title issues and more. Dealers say the reports, which are offered by such vendors as Carfax and AutoCheck, are crucial in shaping their decisions regarding which high-mileage vehicles to offer for retail and which to send to auction. Scott Fredericks, 54, vice president of marketing for Carfax, spoke to Staff Reporter Richard Truett on the growing number of high-mileage vehicles being retailed by new-car dealers. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: Do you think dealers and consumers are getting more comfortable with vehicles that have traveled far more than 100,000 miles?
A: I do. 100,000 miles is a nonevent. Cars today should last 200,000 to 300,000 miles. Growing up, my dad had a Chevy Citation. Somehow, he got that car up to 100,000 miles, and it fell apart after that. But now, my last car I got rid of after 14 years, and it went 240,000 miles before I sold it. Dealers are finding that used cars are more profitable on a per-unit basis for many of them, so why not keep a good car, even if it has 142,000 miles on it, if you can make a good profit on it? If you go on the Carfax website, where we have about 1.5 million used vehicles listed, you can sort by mileage. Very few people sort for high mileage. [Those who do,] include it because they know there is a price benefit. They know they can get a great deal on a used car that has 124,000 miles on it. And that the car can still go for another 150,000 miles.