Could we? Should we? Would we?
Today's post would be really easy if someone had emailed me this question. Complete no-brainer. Of course, because it's actually my own situation, things are not as black and white as they might seem ;)
We currently have three cars between three adults in my family.
- A fairly new Toyota Aqua (compact hybrid). My daughter drives this.
- An on its last legs Toyota Avensis (stealth nice-ish sedan). My wife and I share this.
- A rusty Mitsubishi Toppo (kei car). This doesn't get driven much and we mainly use it for emergencies when we need three cars at once.
My other daughter and her husband used to drive the Aqua, which is why we have three cars now (they moved to Sweden last year).
We probably don't need three cars, but we might need two. The crisis point is the fact that the Avensis is on its last legs (engine noise is weird, various bits are breaking). Shaken is next year and we're not sure it will pass or be worth the money it takes to get it in shape to pass.
We originally got the Avensis through a friend of my wife's who is the manager at a Toyota dealership. We asked him to find us a second-hand car and he suggested the Avensis. We'd never heard of it but it turned out to be a slightly nice sedan that looks a lot cheaper than it is. Perfect for self-employed people. As a bonus, it was actually made in Derbyshire near my UK home and imported into Japan. It cost us about 1.5m yen which we paid in cash about ten years ago. We've been very happy with it since.
The Aqua is great so my daughter will keep using that. The Toppo is pretty close to failure too so we can probably take it out of the equation. The question then becomes: what do we do about the Avensis?
I think we have four options:
- Don't replace the car. If it dies at some point or won't pass shaken, we'll get rid of it. My wife and I will cycle/walk/take the train more.
- Replace the car with a cheaper second-hand car (under 1m yen). Keep using it in the same way as we do now.
- Replace the car with a similar second-hand model (1.5-2m yen). This would probably be some kind of hybrid with similar quality to the Avensis.
- Replace the car with a nicer second-hand model (2-3m yen). This would probably be a hybrid of better quality.
If someone asked me the same question I would recommend they do 1) above. However, my wife and I were considering 3) or 4). Having written this, I am inclined towards 1) again.
Ideally I was hoping to dodge this question by having the car last until we start to see the first automatic very low cost taxis. I believe these will start to be available in the next five to ten years or so. Failing that, I was hoping to get an electric car. Unfortunately, our manshon does not have any charging ports and trying to charge outside all the time seems more trouble than it is worth.
So really the question is: do we need a car? And if so, how much do we want to spend on it?
My wife and I have only just started talking about this, so there is still time to contribute to this fascinating discussion ;)
What do you think? Any advice or stories that might help us?