The 4 Strangest Places To Sell a Vehicle

People buy cars from car dealerships, right? Usually. But not always. Here are four — let’s say off-beat — ways cars have been sold over the years.

What you’re looking at is the Sears Model L. It actually was a very old-fashioned car, even for the time it was sold, between 1908 and 1912. The design looked more like cars from 1905, which contributed to its low sales. But, before you ask: yes. It was sold in the Sears catalogue. It wasn’t exactly a powerhouse, especially by the standard of the time; the highest it got was 14 horsepower.

And if you didn’t like it? Sears was generous with the return policy. You could return it a full 10 days after you got it if you weren’t happy with the ride.

But this wasn’t the only time Sears tried to get into the car sales business…

For years, Sears successfully sold a line of motorized scooters made by various companies badged under the Allstate brand. But in 1952, Sears decided it was going to make another attempt to sell not just car parts and tiny scooters, but also a full-fledged car. It was the brainchild of Henry J. Kaiser of the manufacturer Kaiser-Frasier, and, perhaps not a surprise, it was pretty similar to the “Henry J,” a slow-selling two-door car.

Allstate was also Sears’ brand of car parts, and in some ways the Allstate was nothing more than a Henry J with Allstate parts and a new badge. The cars were custom-built by the company and delivered to the store. Unfortunately, the car didn’t sell very well. Between the cost and the fact that Sears, unlike a car dealership, wouldn’t accept a trade-in, the Allstate went to the scrapheap after 1953.

And then department stores largely stayed out of the car sales business. At least until recently…

Yes, proving that there is nothing really new under the sun, yet again a major retailer is selling cars. That retailer would be Costco, and the car is the BYD F0. But don’t go running to the local big box store just yet: They’re only on sale in Mexico right now.

Why? Simple, actually: The cars are assembled in Mexico, and BYD is essentially a pilot program to see how well they can sell. It may not appear in the US for a while, though, as it’s an unlicensed imitator of the Toyota Aygo. That may generate, as you might expect, a few legal issues.

Speaking of Toyota, they’re not shy about experimenting with new methods themselves. Witness a recent, and somewhat bizarre, stint on the Home Shopping Network.

Toyota decided to show off its most recent line of vehicles on HSN because of their highly-dedicated viewership … and apparently because Toyota just felt like they hadn’t tried something strange enough.

To be fair, the entire stunt was partially to raise awareness for a contest in which someone will win the new Avalon hybrid sedan. In fact, the entire event was hybrid themed, with Priuses, the Camry hybrid, and even a hybrid Highlander.

Even so, we can’t help but wonder what the shipping cost would be.

Ready to buy your next car? Don’t forget to contact Safe Auto to get the cheapest car insurance quote around.

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