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President Obama's First New Car Was a Jeep Grand Cherokee

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2016

The very first vehicle President Barack Obama ever purchased new was a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited -- finished in black and owned by the president, then a state senator in Illinois, for the first few years of its life.

After President Obama owned the Jeep, it ended up at a used-car dealership in the Chicago area, where it was purchased by a woman named Liz Murphy in 2004. By then, President Obama was running for a seat in the U.S. senate -- so Murphy photocopied the title, hoping the vehicle might be worth something someday. Indeed, it was: Even though she daily drove it as if it were any other Grand Cherokee, she auctioned it off in 2010, after President Obama's ascent to the highest elected office in the U.S., and received just under $26,500 for it -- or roughly eight times its normal value. The buyer, John Reznikoff, was an expert on historical documents and memorabilia.

So how does President Obama remember his Grand Cherokee? In 2012, he toured the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit that built the vehicle -- a tour he followed up with a speech near the assembly line. "The first new car I ever bought was a Grand Cherokee," he said to thunderous applause, while starting his speech. "Up until that point, I had some old beat-up used cars."

President Obama went on to say that he remembers "walking into that showroom and driving out with that new car... it had that new car smell, and everything worked." President Obama also smiled as he told gathered factory workers that he has "some good memories of that car."

After the Grand Cherokee, President Obama moved on to another Chrysler product: a V8-powered 300C sedan, which failed to sell on eBay in 2012 with a $1-million starting bid. These days, President Obama has no say in his desired vehicle -- he's shuttled everywhere in the Cadillac-badged presidential limo, nicknamed the Beast.

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President Obama's First New Car Was a Jeep Grand Cherokee - Autotrader