Californians buy about three times as many used cars and trucks as new, and what we buy says a lot about us.
That's the premise of a new index prepared by IMotors.com, an Internet retailer of late-model used vehicles.
Granted, the company doesn't sell cars or trucks that are more than 5 years old, and mainly sells to computer-savvy people who aren't afraid to trust their luck to an online marketer. (The San Francisco-based company, at http://www.imotors .com, combats that fear with a money-back guarantee.)
But because it only tracks down and sells the makes and models that its customers request, its sales data reveal some interesting differences that reflect the culture, driving conditions and economies of each region.
Los Angeles, for example, conjures up images of hip, cool, expensive cars, but IMotors.com finds that mid-priced, fuel-efficient vehicles are the most requested by L.A. shoppers. And Japanese nameplates outsell American by about 4 to 1.
A lot of that Los Angeles flash and dash went south. Collectively, Ford Motor Co.'s various cars and trucks are the vehicles most frequently ordered by the Internet used-vehicle broker's Orange County customers, but Corvettes and Range Rovers are the most popular individual models.
By contrast, San Francisco customers are classic bohemians. BMW is the brand most requested there, followed by Volkswagen, Subaru and Audi.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi's sporty Eclipse and the tiny and economical Chevrolet Geo are popular with Inland Empire customers.
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Used But Still Wanted
Here is the inaugural IMotors.com index of the most popular makes of used vehicles being sold in Southern California: