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Start Your Engines

Start Your Engines
The Winnebago Sightseer, a surprising CPO optio

Once upon a time, CPO plans were the exclusive realm of luxury cars, a convenient means for dealers and manufacturers to recycle their inventory and introduce their vehicles to new customers.

Gradually the concept trickled down to mid-sized and compact cars and SUVs. Today, CPO has proven so popular that you can purchase a CPO sports car, pickup truck, recreational vehicle — even a motorcycle.

All of these programs offer advantages similar to those once reserved for premium cars, including comprehensive vehicle inspections, extended warranties, financial incentives and the satisfaction of knowing that you're buying a used vehicle that in many cases is as good as new.

Sports cars

If you've always dreamed of owning your own speed machine, CPO can put you in the driver's seat of some of the world's most exotic sports cars for a lot less than you might expect.

Shopping around the Southland dealers that specialize in imported Italian and German speedsters, you'll find that you can pick up a CPO Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe for $170,000, a Ferrari California for $189,000, or a Porsche Boxster for $45,000 — all of them low in mileage, just a few years old and with great CPO benefits.

Take Ferrari's worldwide factory CPO program for example. It includes a detailed technical inspection, provenance and maintenance history verification, 12-month manufacturer's warranty and 12 months of free roadside assistance.

Pickup trucks

Given the fact that they're among the best-selling new vehicles in America, it should come as no surprise that pickup trucks are also big in the CPO market. Ford, Chevy, Dodge and Toyota all offer factory CPO programs as well as easy-to-use websites to help identify pre-owned trucks at dealerships near you.

Pickups are often used for work, which means they can rack up many miles in just a few years. Still, you'll find plenty of CPO trucks with surprisingly low odometer readings.

Among the certified pre-owned pickups available in Southern California recently were a 2012 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT ($29,000) and a 2012 Toyota Tundra Crewmax ($31,000), both of them driven less than 12,000 miles apiece.

Recreational vehicles

RVs are a relatively new player in the CPO game. None of the major manufacturers has launched its own CPO program, but individual dealerships have recognized that CPO is a practical way to introduce a whole new generation to the joys of RVing.

Route 66 is a nationwide network of independent RV dealers offering CPO programs. Among its Southland dealerships are the All Valley RV Center in Acton and Norm's RV in Poway. To qualify as a Route 66 network CPO, an RV must pass a 60-point pre-delivery inspection. The program includes a 66-day limited warranty and special rates at 150-plus Route 66 dealers across the country.

From fifth-wheels to full-blown Class C motor homes, the local Route 66 dealerships showcase a wide variety of mobile sleeping choices. CPO prices range from less than $20,000 for a spiffy little travel trailer to more than $70,000 for a 34-foot Winnebago Sightseer or Fleetwood Terra.

Motorcycles

Some major motorcycle makers have flirted with CPO programs over the years but have never gone whole-hog (no pun intended). They've pretty much left it up to dealers to create their own programs, like CPO at Fresno Harley-Davidson.

To qualify for the Fresno program, bikes must be less than 10 years old and have fewer than 75,000 miles. Like four-wheeled vehicles, CPO Harleys run a broad gamut, from a 2010 Trike Tri Glide three-wheeler ($29,000) to a studly 2012 Sporster Iron with under 2,000 miles on the odometer ($7,500).

Joe Yogerst, Brand Publishing Writer