Shift is going public this year

Shift to go public later this year by agreeing to combine with INSU today

We are very excited to announce that Shift has entered into an agreement to combine with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Insurance Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: INSU).

As part of the business combination, INSU has raised $185MM in commitments from investors to purchase INSU equity capital, which cash would be available to the combined company following the completion of the business combination, in addition to potential proceeds from the SPAC trust, which currently stands at >$150MM.

We last wrote on our blog in late March when we had to announce some very painful decisions that affected our team and business stemming from the COVID pandemic and economic uncertainty. Facing some of the most challenging headwinds we could have ever imagined, our team nonetheless persevered, continuing to service our customers as they searched for alternative means of transportation. To be here now, announcing this milestone, is a testament to our incredible team that has worked so tirelessly to bring Shift to this stage.

Shift started selling cars in 2014 with a mission to simplify buying and selling of used cars. Offering consumers a complete car buying and selling relationship, it has combined a powerful technology platform with an omnichannel sales approach to redesign the car buying experience, especially through our patented test-drive-delivered-to-customer service. By combining its ability to quickly and accurately evaluate, price, recondition and sell cars across the entire value spectrum with its unique white glove service, Shift has seen meaningful market penetration in its core markets as customers appreciate the breadth of selections and convenience.

This transaction represents a tremendous opportunity for our company. Once completed, we expect it to significantly enhance our ability to scale our technology and operations, accelerate our growth, and continue on our mission to make car buying simple, fair and accessible to all. We are targeting to finalize the combination toward the end of Q3’2020, following the SEC review process and the completion of various conditions to closing, including among other things certain regulatory and stockholder approvals.

We want to close out with a huge shout-out to the many people who’ve helped us along the way. We’ve known each other for nearly 25 years, and each of our journeys in life and business reflect the incredible promise and opportunity of our wonderful country, in which entrepreneurship is able to flourish unlike anywhere else. None of this would be possible without the support of so many who have been with us along the way, both at Shift and in life. From our teachers and mentors, to our investors, to the hundreds of team members who have worked at Shift over the years, to our families and friends who have put up with us working non-stop hours, we owe a huge thank you.

Of course, today’s announcement is a big deal for Shift, but the hard work does not stop now. We are excited about what lies ahead. Onward!

George & Toby

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Buy a Car Online: How Shift’s Online Purchasing Works

Looking to buy a car online? With Shift’s online purchase process, you can purchase any car through our website and have it shipped to your door. So if you’re ready to take the leap and streamline your car buying process, we’ll work with you to make the process super easy. 

What is online purchasing?

Glad you asked! All Shift cars are eligible to be purchased without a test drive, sight-unseen, just like you’d order anything else online. Each car comes with our risk-free 7-day/200 mile return policy.

How do I actually buy a car online?

First, pick out the car you’d like to buy and click through the steps to buy the car. Once you place a deposit on it, we’ll give you a call to confirm the purchase and arrange delivery to have the car dropped off at your house. Then all you’ll have to do is wait for your new wheels to arrive! 

Can I still do a return if a buy a car online? 

Yes – all cars, including our cars sold directly online, are eligible for our seven day/200 mile return for any reason. Simply call us at 855.744.3801 or email us at sales@shift.com and we’ll help to arrange a return for you.

 

Shift Help Center

Can I still get financing if I buy a car online?

You sure can! You’ll have the option to get prequalified for a loan during your shopping process to be able to view cars based on your likely monthly payments. Or, you can apply for and choose an auto loan during the checkout process. You can also add vehicle protection plans and gap insurance at that time.

Please keep in mind that if you live outside of California, Oregon or Washington, there may be additional steps or complications – but our Purchase Advisors will help you through the process.

Do I have to pay anything upfront?

Yes – you’ll be asked to put a $250 deposit on the vehicle. Our sales team will then follow up with you to confirm the details of the purchase. 

Is there any cost to ship it? 

Yes. The shipping fee is applicable for cars purchased directly online, just as you’d pay a similar fee for other online purchases sent to your home. Please note that the shipping fee is different from other costs associated with Shift’s standard service fee, and only applies to the actual shipping cost of the vehicle itself. 

7 Handy Car Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

We all love our cars, but oftentimes we come across unavoidable problems and issues on the road that need a quick fix.  Below, we collected a slew of handy car hacks to make driving a breeze and tide you over until your next maintenance appointment. Read on, and share these tried-and-tested tips from Shift with your friends!

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Romantic Getaways in California

From national parks to wineries to beaches, the Golden State is home to endless options for outdoor adventures that are easily accessible by car. We collected some of our favorite picks for the most swoon-worthy romantic getaways in California to add to your West Coast long weekend agenda. Cue the wanderlust!

BIG SUR

While this one is perfect for a romantic getaway with your significant other, we also love this spot for a fun solo expedition and camping with the crew. “Get back to nature and escape to the wild and rugged coastline of Big Sur, which offers stunning views of the Pacific along miles and miles of dramatic cliffs. Visit a few ‘jewels’ of California’s state park system and walk among the redwoods to discover secret beaches and waterfalls. Soak in natural hot springs, pamper yourselves with a massage or spa treatment and enjoy a romantic dinner for two perched above the endless blue ocean.” (CBS Los Angeles)

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NAPA VALLEY

Perhaps the quintessential romantic getaway in California, Napa is a no-brainer. “It’s an interesting experience; peaceful and quiet floating through the sky intermittently interrupted by the roar and flames, only to have the propane turned off abruptly and be wrapped by the cool air and silent drifting once again. […]Hot air balloon rides are on many travelers’ bucket lists of vacation activities. I can’t think of a better way to check that item off your list than to enjoy the sun rising over Napa Valley. ” (The Vacation Gals)

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Check out our favorite road trip-friendly cars

JOSHUA TREE

“There’s no sunset quite as spectacular as a desert sunset. From the red-hued rocks to the yucca trees and tumbleweeds, Joshua Tree is a serene escape with sparse beauty all around. Rent a design-forward home in the middle of it all, and soak in the sights and sounds of the high desert. Explore the wilderness during the day and cozy up and star gaze with your S.O. at night.” (Refinery29)

LA JOLLA

“The village area of downtown La Jolla oozes luxury and has many romantic restaurants, bars, and cafes ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway, but La Jolla’s main romance factor can be found at the La Jolla Cove. Curving around the Pacific Ocean, the La Jolla Cove is one of the most spectacularly stunning stretches of coastline in California. With a wide grassy area ideal for a picnic and a meandering walking trail along the perimeter of the cove, its an ideal place to spend a leisurely romantic afternoon.” (One Day In A City)

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SANTA BARBARA

If you’re making the trek between Northern and Southern California, this is a can’t-miss spot. “The air feels fresher and the ocean more serene in Santa Barbara, which offers great hiking and mountain views amid historic 1930s architecture and terra-cotta paved streets.” (LA Weekly)

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

One of our all-time favorites, “Yosemite National Park is sort of like a theme park plunked into the great outdoors: visitors can choose any number of activities during their trip, including hiking, climbing, trail rides, photography tours, live theater, and fine food.” (CN Traveler)

BONUS: Last but not least, one of the easiest romantic getaways in California requires almost no planning: a simple cruise along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, spanning San Diego to San Francisco. The sweeping views are unforgettable.

#IHeartShift: 5 Things People Love About Shift

When it comes to finding your perfect car, we at Shift love playing Cupid! During Valentine’s Day, we featured some of our very own happy customers who met their dream cars on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In case you missed it, we rounded them all up for you here in one post.

Curious about what it’s like to buy or sell a car with us? Just read on and get the scoop straight from the folks who went through the easy-peasy experience!

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We Expanded our Coverage Area

We know that selling a car is a big decision, which is why we emphasize a great seller experience. At Shift, there are no shady deals and no negotiation hassle. We take care of the legwork and get you a better price, which frees you up to live your best life. We’re excited to announce that we are bringing our delightful seller experience to even more areas in Northern and Southern California.

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How to Pay for a Car — Everything You Need to Know

A car is the second most expensive real asset that most people have, and one of the biggest purchases most people ever make. It’s a big decision and can have a meaningful impact on your monthly budget and financial position. So, how do you pay for a car? We’ve compiled out best tips and tricks.

To finance, or not to finance?

Many of our customers choose to pay for their car with financing even if they have cash on hand — there are a few benefits to doing so.

  • Build your credit: Financing an auto loan can build credit in a few ways. Expanding your available credit and maintaining a history of on-time payments can improve your FICO score. Auto loans are a type of “installment credit,” which means they are paid in fixed installments over a fixed time period. Many lenders view installment credit more favorably than “revolving credit,” like credit cards. You can learn more about credit score basics at Transunion.
  • Build an emergency fund: Personal financial managers generally recommend keeping enough money to cover 3-6 months of living expenses in the bank or a liquid investment account to help deal with unexpected major life disruptions, such as illness or job loss. If you don’t have an emergency fund, it may make sense to prioritize your money to start one and avoid going into debt when unplanned expenses occur.
  • Get a better return on your money: Many Shift customers get low interest rates on their auto loans, starting at 2-4% for well qualified buyers. Instead of paying for the car in cash, some choose to invest that cash to try to earn a higher return. The average term of an auto loan is 5 years. Morningstar Index Performance Return shows that the annualized returns of major stock indices over the past 5 years range from almost 9% to over 18%.Morningstar Index Performance Return
    For example, Jane Smith is deciding between paying cash or financing her $20,000 car purchase at a 3% interest rate. If she chooses to invest, such as in a low-cost index fund, she could grow that $20,000 to more than $32,000 after five years (assume 10% rate of return, where 10% is the average long term return in the stock market). She would pay less than $1,600 in total interest for the loan. That leaves her with more than $10,000 because she decided to invest instead of paying in cash. Consult your investment advisor to see what makes sense for you.
  • Protect your investment without paying everything upfront: Almost half of our financing customers choose to include a vehicle protection plan or gap coverage in their loan. These plans can be a good way to protect against the unexpected costs of owning a car, from breakdowns to accidents. They can typically be included in your financing package, so you don’t have to pay the full cost up front.

Although there are many benefits to financing your vehicle, there are also things to keep in mind.

Cars and taxes: your guide to maximize your money. 

What to consider in deciding how to pay for a car

  • Budget for interest cost: Unlike the 0% APR loans you may have seen advertised for new cars, interest rates for used cars won’t be lower than 2-4%. This means you will pay some amount of money every year in interest. Check out our car loan calculator to understand the cost of interest for your loan.
  • Be aware of hidden fees: Prepayment fees, balloon payments, or other hidden fees can catch borrowers off guard. Prepayment fees, for example, are charged by some lenders if you decide to fully pay off your loan prior to a certain date. If you finance with Shift, you don’t have to worry – Shift financing does not include hidden fees.
  • Shop around: Different lenders may offer different interest rates and terms to the same borrower, so there is a benefit to shopping around. When you apply for financing with Shift, we instantly provide you with the best offer from multiple lenders, so you get the benefit of shopping around without the hassle.

If you’re still deciding how much you can afford, we’ve built a handy car loan calculator to help you find a car that works for your budget. Even if you can afford to pay in cash, financing may make sense if you have better uses for your money, as long as you pay your monthly installments in full and on time. If you decide to finance, you can easily apply today from your Buyer Dashboard or from shift.com.

Please be sure to read your loan contract for the full terms of your specific loan.

Image via Alexa Mazzarello

Best cars for Uber or Lyft

If you’re considering throwing some spare time into the ridesharing space, then you’re likely asking yourself: What are the best cars for Uber or Lyft?

Most drivers primarily consider mileage. While that’s definitely an important factor, you also need a reliable, affordable car that can hold passengers and meet Lyft/Uber’s vehicle requirement guidelines.

That still leaves you with enough options to make you dizzy and give up on the whole initiative. Fear not. Our list takes all of your needs into consideration. We’ve rounded up some of the best cars for Uber and Lyft driving.

1. Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius 2012 uber lyft

So you’re probably thinking, “Duh.” Fair enough. The Prius is definitely not a shocker on this list, but there are some important things to consider when buying one. Because the Prius has been around longer than any other hybrid, older models can now be had for less, which isn’t true of most hybrids.

However, the Prius still commands a price premium over its non-hybrid rivals, which increases your up-front cost. Also, if the hybrid battery needs to be replaced, you can expect to pay around $4,000, so you’ll want to look for a car with fewer miles, or a new hybrid battery. The Prius offers little in terms of joie de drive, but it delivers fuel economy that can’t be touched by the competition, particularly in city driving. This is what makes it the hands-down best car for Uber or Lyft.

In short, the Prius is an ideal option for those putting many hours in behind the wheel. If Lyft/Uber is more of a part-time gig, another car might be a better option.

How to Pay for Your Car

2. Ford Focus

2015 Ford Focus uber lyft

The Focus is holding down the fort as the little American car that could. It combines good interior space, solid fuel efficiency (24/35mpg on 2011 models, for example), and a competent chassis that is sporty, while still soaking up the bumps. The steering is sharper than most economy cars, making the Focus very maneuverable in city traffic. It offers a spacious 36.1 inches of rear legroom, and many newer models are available with Bluetooth for audio — some of the key reasons the Ford Focus is one of the best cars for Uber or Lyft driving.

3. Toyota Corolla

Toyota corolla 2014 uber lyft

The ninth-generation Toyota Corolla is as ubiquitous as Beyonce. Look out your window right now, you see a Corolla, don’t you? Toyota sold about a billion and a half of these cars, and there’s a reason why: they are reliable, cheap, and fuel efficient. 35.4 inches of rear legroom means your passengers will be comfortable, and the 26/35mpg fuel efficiency means you’ll save at the pump.

While the Corolla isn’t exactly known for pizzazz, if you’re looking for more enthusiasm, pick up an XRS model, which offers 170 horsepower. Just be aware that the XRS doesn’t offer the same stellar fuel economy. The Corolla has best in class cost of ownership according to KBB, which is another reason we regard it as a great car for Uber and Lyft.

Car-Buying Mistakes To Avoid

4. Honda Fit

2015 Honda Fit uber lyft

The Honda Fit is a fantastic choice for your ride-share workhorse. This little Honda combines great mileage with surprising interior capacity and a splash of fun. The Fit delivers better fuel economy than the larger Honda Civic, and actually has more rear legroom than its big brother (34.5” in 2011 models). The Fit is touted for superior cost of ownership in its class, so you can be sure your earnings are going into your bank account, not your mechanic’s. Toss the Fit into a turn, and it feels nimble and willing to have a little fun. If you don’t mind rowing your own gears, Honda also makes one of the best manual transmissions in the game.

5. Mazda3

2014 mazda3 uber lyft

If you are looking for a little enthusiasm, perhaps even a little zoom-zoom, check out the Mazda 3. You and your passengers will be greeted by a wonderfully designed interior with high quality materials. The Mazda 3 also offers fantastic chassis dynamics, sublime steering, and spirited acceleration that will make you believe you’re driving a sports car, not a ho-hum econobox. It’s as if Mazda managed to splice some Miata DNA into their compact car’s double-helix. The Mazda 3 just begs to be driven, and that matters when you’ll be driving so much.

It’s worth noting that the 2012 and newer models with SKYACTIV engines achieve a fantastic 40 mpg on the highway. Combine this amazing fuel efficiency with a low cost of ownership, and you have what might be the perfect car, ride-sharing or otherwise.

Happy ride-sharing!

What Does Carfax Tell You?

The last time we wrote about Carfax, we covered what it includes and why it’s a crucial part of making an informed purchase. Although Carfax reports are a great insight into vehicle history, they don’t tell us everything. So what does Carfax tell you, and what is it leaving out?

Does Carfax tell you about every accident?

Not necessarily. Let’s say two drivers get in a crash and there’s damage to the cars. Call the insurance company, right? Not always. For various reasons, some crashes are settled between the drivers themselves with DIY fixes or at smaller garages that may have fewer scruples about officially reporting the repair. When this happens, there’s a chance that Carfax is none the wiser about the incident at all.

Sometimes, people will try to sell a car right after an accident has occurred. That way, they get rid of it before it’s appeared on Carfax and the buyer might never know. This is more common when the damage isn’t obvious, such as undercarriage damage. At Shift, we perform a thorough 200-point inspection so that you’ll always be informed about hard-to-spot damage.

On that note, Carfax is only as accurate as its data sources, and not all DMVs and insurance companies contribute their data. Carfax has 92,000 or so sources of vehicle information, but it’s not omniscient.

For example, a history report may list a car as accident-free, but if a collision was fixed by an insurance company that doesn’t contribute data to Carfax, it won’t show up in the report. The same is true if the owner of the car never reported it to the insurance company. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. The good news is, the vast majority of what’s out there is indeed captured, so the chances of missing something aren’t very high.

nice old car for sale

Does Carfax tell you about “lemons” and buybacks?

Well… not always. Cars are complex pieces of machinery. Sometimes, something in the car’s mechanics just ain’t right and it’s constantly plagued with problems as a result. That’s a lemon. To protect car buyers from purchasing lemons, states have a set of laws called Lemon laws.

These laws make it possible for a buyer to return a non-performing car to the manufacturer. When this happens, that car is considered to be a “lemon law buyback”. In most states, this is required to be put on the title. In some states, however, there is a loophole to this rule. Instead of labeling a car a lemon law buyback, cars in those states are labeled “manufacturer vehicle, sold at auction.”

It’s a trade secret that’s well understood among sophisticated car buyers and dealerships know that you now also know: when a Carfax report labels a car “manufacturer vehicle, sold at auction,” it very well may be a lemon. The good news is, we’ll never list these cars, so you can browse Shift with confidence.

Be a diligent buyer

As Carfax themselves put it: Carfax should be seen as one tool in the buyer’s fact-finding toolkit, not the only one. Make sure you take a comprehensive test-drive and have the car checked out by a mechanic. If you’re looking for high-quality cars where the degree of mystery is minimized, browse our selection of Shift Certified cars near you.