ImageAbandoned Hostess depot, New Hope, MN on Christmas day, 2012. The trucks were reputedly auctioned off ’bout a month ago, but when I drove by on thanksgiving seemed like the same lineup was still there, ‘cept for a couple 21st century models that probably actually ran. Did notice a blue “X” on most of these laggards though, suggesting they’d been sold and the “lucky” high bidder was needing some time to “digest” them. That may explain why the liquidator’s website now requires you to sign an agreement to actually remove the truck you bought in a sorta timely manner before you can bid.

BTW, much of the leftovers of the leftovers of Hostess is for sale over on http://www.bidspotter.com , and they’re not doing the best job of moving their inventory. Unlike competent rural auctioneers that publicize their auctions through posters, print, radio, and the internet and charge just the sellers a reasonable commission, this outfit throws their leftovers up on the obscure industrial surplus corner of the internet with just a couple days notice and unreliable descriptions, then has the nerve to demand an 18% “buyers premium”. On top of that disorganization, the Hostess bankruptcy has been so bungled that title cards are missing for much of the rolling stock and even who owns what is open to question… Do the trailers in the Waterloo bakery loading dock belong to the company that bought that bakery, or the warehouse a couple miles away that they were based out of that was bought by a different buyer? And given that most of these step vans are just an aluminum box around the popular Cummins 4BT diesel and a core engine alone is worth around a thousand, is it any surprise that the buyers are literally cherry picking out the engine and leaving the rest of the carcass? But from a liquidator that is managing to turn a half dozen working bakeries into “class C” warehouse space, can we expect anything less?

On to more palatable leftovers… The november new car sales stats are out, with predictable results. On the macro scale, full size pickups and SUVs are loitering on dealership’s front lots, back lots, and anywhere else they can manage to stuff ’em. Meanwhile, the smaller pickups that the big (and dumb) three discontinued are in short supply. On the micro scale and of personal interest, diesels aren’t selling worth a damn, probably due to the near dollar differential between gas and diesel prices in much of the country. Reading between the lines of VW’s media release I find the sales of all their diesels down, and sales of the Golf and Jetta Sport Wagon are barely breaking a thousand a month, gassers included. A quick check of http://www.autotrader.com shows an inventory of around 3000 each of diesel Golf and Jetta Sport Wagon’s alone in the U.S., and a lot of dealers don’t subscribe to autotrader so their inventories aren’t included in the count. To stack the leftover diesels even higher, VW  has a new generation Golf and Jetta Sport Wagon coming in the spring and BMW, Mercedes, Jeep, and even Chevy are adding new diesel options to this slow moving market. Suffice to say, this is beginning to look like the diesel glut of the mid 80s, when my family stocked up on diesel cars and light trucks that in that saturated market sold for the same or less than their gas equivalents.

Whereas the sales stats for 4 wheelers come out in days, the stats for bikes tend to take months, unless the manufacturer has something to brag about and a PR operation to do said bragging. But looking around the local dealerships there seems to be a lot of 2013 and even earlier model year leftovers… If you can afford it, this is a good time to get a good price on a bike and help your local dealer make it through the winter!

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