Home » Only One New Car In America Actually Sold For Under $20,000 Last Month

Only One New Car In America Actually Sold For Under $20,000 Last Month

2023 Mirage
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I’m thinking a lot about vehicle affordability lately and when, if ever, cars will become affordable again. The numbers are improving, but for various reasons it’s becoming harder and harder to get a good new car at a reasonable price. A few years ago there were numerous cars you could buy under $20,000. Today, there’s only one.

While we’re at it, we’ll take a look at EV demand and why it’s so much more geographic. Plus, we’ll talk about how Lotus is doing way better and Lyft is doing, well, not way better.

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God Bless The Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage Ralliart 3The little Mitsubishi Mirage is not the nicest new car on the market. It may, in fact, be the least nice. But it is reliable, reasonably efficient, and reasonably safe, with more than two doors and a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Are there better used cars for the same $16,245 starting price? Absolutely. Do some people desire the lack-of-worry that comes with a new car? Yes. [Ed Note: And there can be financing-related reasons to also go new vs used. -DT]. If you’re one of those people and you have less than $20,000 to spend on a car, well, check out the Mitsubishi Mirage.

The massive marketplace site Kelly Blue Book has its monthly market insights report out and there’s a little good news there, with the average transaction price (ATP) down about 0.7% month-over-month to $48,334 and only up 0.4% year-over-year. For reference, the ATP is the price someone actually pays for a vehicle, not what it’s listed for. These numbers are not that surprising given that inventories are rising and we’re into the summer selling months. Here’s the paragraph that knocked me on my seat-warmer this morning, with all the bold my doing:

“[U]nlike five years ago, only one model transacted below $20,000 in July. The Mitsubishi Mirage’s average transaction price in July is reported as $19,205. In July 2018, there were a dozen vehicles with ATPs below the $20,000 barrier. In comparison, many of today’s smallest vehicles, including the Hyundai Venue, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa and Toyota Corolla, are all transacting well over $20,000. Notably, and in stark contrast to the under $20,000 category, there were 32 vehicles in the Kelley Blue Book database transacting on average over $100,000 in July, which excludes super exotics from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and the like. In comparison, five years ago in the summer of 2018, there were only 12 vehicles in the over $100,000 category.

Yikes. Like I said in yesterday’s trimflation article, production has quite clearly shifted towards the higher margin end of the market and this will continue to have impacts on what shows up on dealership lots (and what stays there). My sense is that there’s an opportunity for vehicles like the new Trax and Maverick to continue to pick up market share.

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There’s a small indication of this trend in more of the data:

The high-end luxury car segment had the highest incentives in July 2023 at 9.6% of ATP, followed by luxury cars at 8.4%, hybrid vehicles at 7.7%, entry-level luxury cars at 6.9% and electric vehicles at 6.7%. Full-size luxury SUVs, high-performance cars and sports cars had some of the lowest incentives in July.

Unsurprisingly, over the last year Tesla has seen the biggest drop in ATP (-19.9%) and Mercedes had the biggest increase (18.8%).

Is EV Demand Really Softening?

Polestar 2 White
Photo credit: Polestar

Here’s a fun headline from Automotive News this morning: “EV stockpile is evidence of growing pain, not demand dip, experts say”

We talk and think a lot about where electric car demand really is, but the market is super young and most of the players getting into it who are not Tesla are essentially EV newbs. Perhaps, rather than kvetching about increased inventory, we just accept it as part of the transition and not sweat the inventory?

That seems to be the point of the article and it’s an interesting counterpoint to the prevailing concern that we’ve tapped out demand for EVs or, at least, for $60k EV crossovers. Here’s Tyson Jominy from J.D. Power in that AN article:

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EVs are an expanding slice of the overall market but until recently were hindered by short supply. Now, the EV sales share is outpacing the inventory share, said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power.

“The story that demand for EVs is slowing is patently false,” Jominy said.

Helped by robust sales related to changing federal zero-emission vehicle sale incentives this year, EVs made up 8.6 percent of retail sales and 6.7 percent of available inventory in June, according to J.D. Power.

The article goes on to talk to dealers in Texas who, yeah, are not finding as many buyers for electric vehicles as dealers in California. This makes sense to me and I do think we probably overestimate the impact of a couple of months of inventory and, in fact, won’t have a real sense of what the market is until we can view it in hindsight.

Happy Days For Lotus

There is no objectivity, there’s only disclosure. Full disclosure: I like Lotus. I like the cars. I like the history. I played a lot of the “Lotus Turbo Challenge 2” game for Sega Genesis (see above) and fell in love with the taillights of the Elan.

The history of Lotus is, eh, complicated. It’s always been a questionable business, even as they’ve made sublime cars. It’s why I’m going to revel in a little bit of good news from Lotus from the first half of 2023:

  • Order book grew to approximately 17,000 vehicles worldwide for the Eletre, Lotus’ first electric lifestyle hyper-SUV, and Emira, a mid-engine sports car.
  • Produced over 2,200 Emiras in its UK sportscar manufacturing facility, which is a 381 percent increase from FY22. The order book for Emira is full for the next two years.
  • Production of Lotus’ lifestyle hyper-SUV, Eletre, ramped up this year in its first all-electric vehicle factory. Customer deliveries began in China at the end of March, and Lotus expects to deliver to UK and European customers later this summer.

I don’t want to damn Lotus with faint praise. Getting people to want your cars and then, you know, building them is sort of the essence of being a car company and yet Lotus has not has not been able to pull that off with any regularity. The fact that the company is producing Emiras is a great sign and I’m anxious to see if it can do the same with the Evija.

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As a reminder, Lotus is now owned by Chinese carmaker Geely.

Less-Happy Days For Lyft

Ioniq Motional Lyft Branded

Uber has continued to dominate the rideshare space, expanding into other forms of delivery (in London there were even Uber boats). Lyft is definitively the numero dos and, while it’s profitable, investors are worried that the company is overly focused on getting market share from Uber and not making profits.

Per Reuters:

“The major concern we hear from investors is if Lyft is able to achieve significant economic returns as the number 2 player in the U.S. mobility marketplace, and we think the guidance will only intensify those concerns,” Needham analyst Bernie McTernan said.

Where does this end? Analysts that Reuters spoke to seem to think that Lyft might get acquired by someone along the way. I could see that. Perhaps Geely should acquire Lyft and then we can all get picked up from the airport in Eletres.

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The Big Question

What is the most you have ever spent on a new car? What is the most you’d spend right now and what would you buy with that money?

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Gubbin
Gubbin
11 months ago

Never bought new and can’t recall if the most I ever spent was for a 30-year-old Kubota or a salvage-yard Zero.
Would consider paying like $25K for a compact pickup with a 6-foot bed but I don’t believe those are for sale in the US.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
11 months ago

I’ve generally gone for Lyft over Uber the past few years, but after my last few experiences I think I’m done with them. If I’m paying the premium for a luxury ride it really shouldn’t have a sagging headliner, torn seats, etc. Seems like the drivers on Lyft are starting to be those rejected by Uber.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
11 months ago

I’ve only ever bought one new car, a 2002 Mazda Protege. It was $13,200 if I remember right. Seemed like a fortune at the time.

And I’ll never finance another car again. I’d drive a 20 year old Malibu held together by duct tape and positive thinking before I’ll give a bank another dime in financing.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Only car I’ve ever had a loan on was a 2005 Protege 5. And only because I got married and put me on her existing car loan. Paid cash for every other car I’ve ever had. So even a $13K car seems pretty out of reach in my book.

That car made me love wagons, and I have often considered owning another since the first one got run over by a lifted truck while parked on the side of the road.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

You guys, the only new car I ever bought, and the only car loan I ever took out, was on a Silver 2003 Protégé5 with a stick. I paid around $13 and sold it 18 months later for $11,500 IIRC. Still low key looking for a replacement, it was a great great car.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Same, we save up and pay cash for all our cars. Which means I drove a 15yo $3000 boring-ass silver Toyota Highlander automatic FWD for a year while getting my finances sorted out to avoid having another car note.

HonkeyfromtheCIA
HonkeyfromtheCIA
11 months ago

I bought a brand new Mirage as a commuter car in 2016 for $11,000 out the door. Now, they’ve nearly doubled in price. It seems everything has doubled except my salary.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 months ago

It certainly hasn’t become twice the vehicle since then.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
11 months ago

How many miles on it now? I hope you picked out a cool color 😀

HonkeyfromtheCIA
HonkeyfromtheCIA
11 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

I had a blue one. I put about 65K miles on it and then sold it to my sister who still drives it everyday despite having a 4Runner and F-250. My Mirage was the most trouble free car I’ve ever owned and I’ve had Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Honda, etc. It’s a great car at a certain price point but it seems that the price has risen to absurd levels.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
11 months ago

I always thought making what I’m making now (and my wife making the same) that we would be able to live very comfortably at that income, but absolutely nothing gets cheaper, housing and insurance costs are out of control, my electric bill has nearly doubled even as I turn up the A/C to uncomfortable temps, manufacturers are focusing on models for the 1%, my yearly 2%(lol) raise is more like a 5% pay cut, and stepping out of your door is pretty much a $100 charge at this point. There is no question in how much I would spend on a brand new car, because it will just never happen.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago

I feel this in my soul. If you would have told mid 20s me what early 30s me would be making I’d have done a jig…but money just doesn’t go far anymore. $100,000 is the new 60k….and my wife makes a solid 20% or so more than I do to boot.

Once the mortgage and basic living costs (holy SHIT are groceries expensive for no damn reason) come out of our bank accounts there’s barely anything left to save, and as soon as something unexpected pops up like a house problem or medical emergency that chunk that’s left goes kaput. Younger me would’ve thought at our income I’d finally be in an M3 or something, but nope.

With inflation and the astronomical cost of living I’m barely any closer than I was when I was making 70k in 2018. It’s pretty disappointing and I’ve been struggling with a little bit of depression surrounding all of it. My wife and I have essentially been achieving all the goals we set out for ourselves at or even ahead of schedule and obtaining them has just kind of been underwhelming.

Obviously this is a very first world problem, and we’re eventually going to look at moving somewhere else where the cost of living isn’t so absurd (we’re in DC right now and it sucks. Don’t move here) so we can enjoy ourselves a bit more, even if that just means heading out to the burbs. But man, the cost of literally everything has been rising so sharply that all the promotions and raises are pretty much meaningless.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago

This is why I live in the hood making a lower-middle-class income in the low six figures. It’s not without its downsides, but at least I have zero debt and zero money worries for now. I grew up in this hood, so I’m not exactly surprised by anything that happens here.

I’m hoping I can soon get a plot of land out in the boonies, paid in full, get a well dug, and throw some solar panels and home-built wind generators up. I’ll live out of a home-built bicycle camper if I have to in order to stay out of debt, while I build a more permanent shelter.

But damn is it VERY difficult to find a place that will let me do this, as everywhere I look, even places 30 miles from the nearest town, demand I have a minimum 2,000 sq ft structure built to modern code, want me to pay at my own expense to hook it up to municipal sewer/water/grid electricity, and I am NOT going into mid-6-figure debt to build a goddamned McMansion just so some greedy bureaucrats can milk me for property tax revenue while forcing me to pay bills. I’ll go back to camping out in abandoned buildings before I deal with that shit. The entire idea is to eliminate my need to work a full time job, and to do that, I need to keep my bills down. Not being dependent upon a job = freedom.

My transportation reflects this ethos. Dirt cheap hooning in at least a semi-reliable vehicle that I can fuel, maintain, and repair myself with minimal expense is what I’m after. There is not a single new car on the market that I am considering.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Are we really at the point that low six figures is a lower middle class income right now? That seems a bit off to me

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
11 months ago

Geography changes that equation drastically. In Ohio, no. In DC or SF, I think very much yes.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

You’re correct. I live and work in DC and almost everyone I know around my age is in the low or occasionally mid six figure range or more at this point…and none of us are living lives of luxury. My wife and I are both under that umbrella as well and we’re more or less living a normal middle class, maaaaybe upper middle class life.

We have a decent but unremarkable house, a dog, a pair of decent cars, and we have enough left over to save a bit every month. Don’t get me wrong-it’s far from a bad life, but I think we’re pretty close to the peak of what we can manage to do in this ludicrously expensive area…thus why I don’t see us staying here long term.

As of now it’s looking like our plan is going to be to take the equity we’ll have in our house a few years from now, use it as a huge down payment on way more house/property in a less expensive area, then go live a life that’s a little more comfortable. I personally love Richmond but unfortunately the secret’s out and people have realized it’s criminally underrated.

By the time we’re moving I’m sure all the trust fund kids up and down the east coast will have made it nearly as expensive as DC, and that’d be a shame. There’s always the Triangle a couple hours further south as well, but I’m lukewarm on that area where things stand today. I either want full city living or full country living. I love both, it’s the weird in betweens that I don’t care for.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
11 months ago

Having visited a friend in Richmond who lived in the Triangle before, Durham gets a bit more of the Richmond vibe. Raleigh’s sort of trying to be like a techier Charlotte or something.

Growth in the Triangle has always been the case, but in the last few years it’s really rocketed up and homes in surrounding towns have nearly doubled in value with investment companies trying to buy things all up. It’s affordable compared to much bigger cities, but for some of us who have been here for a long time it can feel like…being left behind, while people that move here anew are in a better position. Which not saying don’t count it out – just I guess, it’s relative. And maybe a little bleak, but I felt this comment subsection in particular.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago

Your situation sounds quite a bit like mine (except NYC) – I suggest not buying more house. Stick to smaller if you can find it, or you won’t be much better off financially and more space is just more stuff that can go wrong. Keep it compact but get a three-car garage.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago

It allows one to afford a modest house in a decent neighborhood, a low-end new car, the ability to support a family, and to save for things like retirement and pay for healthcare or college, IF you go into debt for the next few decades to do so. So even considering that lower middle class might be a bit optimistic these days, as a warehouse worker, grocery store clerk, burger flipper, or janitor a bit over 50 years ago used to be able to do all of that without debt.

A lot of people confuse being middle income with being middle class these days. The middle class is really roughly the upper 25% of the population at this time, excluding the rich.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

My grandparents worked as a public school secretary and a janitor. They’ve been driving Cadillacs as long as I can remember and they have pretty nice houses in Florida and Michigan.

And if anyone wants to say it’s probably b/c they were responsible, and wise, and lived like paupers to save … They were into drag racing, partying, and leaving their kids at home for a week or 2 at a time while they took cross-country trips on the Harley. So nah. It’s b/c their COL-to-wage ratio was drastically more favorable than today and they both have pensions.

Last edited 11 months ago by Pupmeow
Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Pensions… lol

As a millennial, that seems like a completely bygone concept. My grandmother had a pension working as a secretary. When she started out in the 1940s, she made $0.48/hour. She was able to pay cash for a decent house in the 1950s, raised 3 kids on a single income as a secretary, and always owned new cars on that income, usually nicer/expensive ones. She retired at age 63. That house is worth almost $200k today, and the neighborhood has gone down hill(otherwise it would be worth more). If I were to buy it, I’d be in debt for at least the next 5 years of my life.

When my dad was a teenaged janitor making minimum wage, he was able to pay cash for a 1970 MGB brand new at the age of 19, lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood, and paid for most of his college, while getting trashed on drugs most nights. 30 years later, he was a nurse, and he recounted to me that he could not afford to live as well as he did as a teenaged janitor.

My “upper middle class” income couldn’t do all these things today unless I wanted to be in debt for decades. Having had 3 layoffs in 11 years, my confidence is not high that I could keep to a 30 year mortgage without losing everything. Have to adapt to the changing times and all, and debt would be a very mal-adaptive way to do it, IMO. The key IMO for someone young and just starting out is to keep ones’ expenses as low as possible. I’m glad this has been a habit for my adult life, or I’d have had a lot more and much larger problems.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

It is more than a bit off.

Household income deciles in 2022

https://dqydj.com/average-median-top-household-income-percentiles/

10% – $15,640
20% – $28,002
30% – $40,501
40% – $54,945
50% – $70,181
60% – $89,673
70% – $113,191
80% – $149,212
90% – $212,110
99% – $$570,003

“Lower middle class” of course is not defined precisely, but if we say 30-50 percentile, it’s more like $40-70K.

Any six figure income is upper middle class or higher.

Obviously as has been pointed out, the COL for your area affects the lifestyle you can live with a middle-class income, but the numbers don’t lie.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Try individual income.

Household income is a bit misleading when comparing the present to the past, as 50 years ago, it used to be one person in the household employed, not two. The “middle class” lifestyle used to be afforded with one of the parents staying at home.

Nowadays, a majority of the population doesn’t even have $1,000 in savings and lives paycheck to paycheck, in spite of two-income households being the norm.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

That will make the numbers even less favorable to your thesis.

The median individual income was $46,000.

A $100,000 individual income is the 82nd percentile. Pretty far from lower middle class.

https://dqydj.com/average-median-top-individual-income-percentiles/

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Consider what a cheap new car, or a new 1,200 sq ft starter home costs these days, in addition to college and healthcare. Throw two kids into the mix. A $100,000 income could easily and quickly be eaten up by those expenses with no savings left over.

The definitions I’m using are outlined here:

https://resourcegeneration.org/breakdown-of-class-characteristics-income-brackets/

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I guess where you fall on this is whether you define middle-class as a mindset and a set of shared characteristics or as a measure of income.

Either way gets messy because cost of living is so different (my house would cost 3-4 times as much if it was outside a coastal city rather than Chicago for example).

Still, I think someone making an individual $100,000 income (assuming reasonable life skills) is not going to struggle to obtain a lower middle-class lifestyle anywhere in the US besides maybe Manhattan or San Francisco.

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Start with $100,000 gross income. Immediately, one is going to have that cut to about $70,000 per year after taxes and deductions, health insurance, social security, ect.

So this person has $5,833/mo for all of their expenditures.

-Average home price in the USA is $425,000, which assuming a down payment of $85k at the average interest rate of 6.1% over 30 years is a mortgage of $2,350/mo

-Average new car price is $49,388 with an average monthly payment of $725

-Throw in $120/mo for car insurance

-Assume the car gets 35 mpg, with a fuel cost of $3.50/gallon, driven 1,500 miles/mo, so $150/mo for fuel

-Throw in a $200/mo electric bill, $50/mo sewer bill, and $100/mo gas bill

-Internet/phone is all but compulsory to exist in modern society(I’m a cheapass and have an antique $10 flip phone that I pay $20/mo to keep active, but…), and most people will pay between the two around $150/mo

-Food for a family of four, if they want to eat healthy and home-cook all the meals, maybe eating out twice a month, is going to run about $800/mo

Left over is a bit over $1,200/mo, living fairly modestly.

If the wife needs a decent running used car, there goes most of that. The kids will need clothes, school supplies, ect. We haven’t included any frivolities. We haven’t saved anything for retirement yet. That remaining $1,200/mo is not going to go very far. If you have a kid in college, they will definitely be talking out student loans.

It’s easy to see how someone even making $100k/yr could live a paycheck to paycheck existence, without doing anything extravagant.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds here but:

Remember your first post said a “cheap new car and a starter home”. You’ve now changed the definitions to average for both, which is decidedly not the same.

Does a “lower-middle class” person or family typically buy an average-priced house or new car? I would argue that they don’t, and never have. The homeownership rate in the 60s-70s was less than it is now.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RHORUSQ156N

What you’re describing is a middle to upper middle class lifestyle, which is much more in line with the idea of a single earner household making $100K.

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Have you seen what a starter home costs is large swathes of the USA? $425k is close to the reality. The average home owner owns an average home, by definition, and that is what the average home costs today. There are places where you can get one for $150k in a non-ghetto neighborhood if you are willing to put in the sweat equity, but they are few and far between. I live in just such a city. At the opposite end, there are parts of the USA where that modest starter home will cost well over $1 million.

A cheap new car would be much closer to the median or even average price, than the median or average would be to something high-end. According to NADA, in 2015 the average new car buyer made $80k a year individual(not household) income, which put them in the upper 20%. New cars used to be affordable to working class people, not today.

https://www.titlemax.com/discovery-center/planes-trains-and-automobiles/how-much-did-popular-cars-cost-every-year-since-1950-in-2020-dollars/

The current home ownership rate is enabled by increasing debt loads. Most existing mortgages were taken out before housing costs escalated to their current amount, so if someone took a mortgage out 20 years ago on a modest home and makes a working class income today, that mortgage would be cheaper than rent on the dingiest rat/roach-infested ghetto apartments in the hood. Most Americans are hanging by a thread to keep their mortgage up, and once they fall off of that debt treadmill, good luck getting back on it.

I knew people who are upper middle class when I was in school. They lived in 3,000+ sq ft McMansions in gated communities. Their parents both drove new luxury cars or SUVs, and gifted the kids decent used cars or cheap new cars when they turned 16 or graduated high school. Their parents paid for all of their college. They not only never missed any meals, but went out to eat multiple times a week, and mommy and daddy even gave them a generous allowance. They didn’t have to work during their teen or young adult years either. If they did something that got them in trouble with the police, mommy and daddy could pay for a $900/hr lawyer to make the problems go away.

My $100k income definitely couldn’t support a family to that standard, even if it is more than the overwhelming majority make. It would be barely enough to live like the Cleavers in “Leave it to Beaver” and still have savings. Barely. Sure, I’d have internet and cheap phones that didn’t exist in those days, but the basic costs of living would eat away nearly everything. I’m not at all interested in keeping up with the Joneses, either.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

You are both right, and the definition of “middle class” is obviously in flux throughout this conversation. It used to be that people in the middle quintile could afford house/car/vacation/retirement, but now that is reserved for the uppermost quintile. Disturbing to realize that we land in the top ten percent of households and I have to skip meals to stay afloat… with no debt beyond student loans and mortgage and with the combined purchase price of my cars being under $10K.
NYC is not an easy place to live, and having kids here should be restricted to the crazy wealthy.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Similar. I want to build an efficient modern alternative construction house, but if I can get permits to build it, I’ll have to self-finance the whole thing on top of the expensive land as no bank wants to loan for a “weird” house they can’t come up with comps for to asses a value. Of course, there can’t be comps when nobody else can get a building loan and the people rich enough to self-finance the whole thing don’t seem to GAF about such things, so we keep getting oversized, inefficient, high maintenance, wood-chips-and-spit houses that are highly susceptible to any manner of environmental damage, including insect and animal. Bunch of stupid nonsense keeps us from building structures that can affect real environmental benefits—WTF, just have a structural engineer approve the plans and maybe do an inspection and let it be built.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
11 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Wood-chips-and-spit” is spot on. This is why I bought a cheapo starter house built in 1925 – it has problems, but at least it is repairable.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

“Not being dependent upon a job = freedom”

Just another word for nothing left to lose.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That references a song from a bygone era. My father loved Janice Joplin. By that definition, I’m not even close to free, as I have a lot to lose. Nor would I want to lose it. But a valid point is certainly made with that lyric.

SuperNova
SuperNova
11 months ago

Just purchased a 2023 Nissan Frontier Pro4x for $62,000.00 Canadian to replace my 2014 frontier. Previous to that I purchased my 2019 Nissan Micra (the writing was on the wall and the end of affordable 1.7L gas misers was over) I’m NEVER going to pay more than 25k for a commuter to work (the pick up is for week ends and hauling) So what’s the point of going electric now. I mean right now. it’s just a second car for too much money…give me 5.8L/100km with my micra and let gas got to $3 a liter. I don’t care. Maybe I would look at 29k for electric if I can get any range in -30c

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
11 months ago

This inventory logistics take on EV demand tracks with what I’ve seen myself. Demand is still high and possibly increasing, but we’ve come a long way with supply

ToyotaTaxPayer
ToyotaTaxPayer
11 months ago

48k for a 2020 rav4 limited hybrid. My wife and I share it because I work from home, she works 4 miles from home and having a second car really isn’t cost effective. My last 4 runner spent way more time idle in the garage than being used. We decided we were going to get everything we wanted to make sharing easy. Well worth it and will probably keep it for a good while. I would be willing to go up to 60ish or even 70 in a few years on a rav4 prime or a bev for daily and rent if we decide we don’t want to road trip an electric.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
11 months ago

The most I’ve paid is $4500 for… Oh, wait, new? Nope, never.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Harrell
Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
11 months ago

New car? Never bought one. Most I have ever spent on any car was $31k for my Elise a few years back, after that it was ~$23k for my wife’s Sienna, most of my cars have been under $10k though. I am very seriously considering a new Prius Prime once they are actually on dealer lots, if that ever happens, but have so far been unable to even look at one let alone drive one. I’m of two minds right now, one that says I am done with the old, cheap cars and I want something new, the second says double down and start daily driving something like a Pacer or something similarly ridiculous.

Der Foo
Der Foo
11 months ago

Depending on my investment account I’ve tagged as the Transportation Super(not) Fund, I may be looking at around $35K, total, for one (new) or more (used) vehicles. That is in probably 3 to 5 years from now. The vehicles I have now are still running fine and are paid off, so they have a certain appeal for me right now.

If I were buying today and I didn’t have to worry too much about money, I’d still have angst about anything nearing $40K. I’m going to need more time to accept the big increase in prices from just 5 years ago.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago

The most I’ve ever spent is the $500 off MSRP I spent on my Kona N in June of 22. Before taxes and assorted fees I think it was slightly below $36,000 but I don’t remember the exact figures. The most I would spend right now if I were to suddenly need a new car would be $50,000 with a little wiggle room and that’s also the cap we have in mind when we eventually start shopping for a new car/potential family hauler for my wife.

My wife and I make pretty good money all things considered (this isn’t meant to be a brag, just to provide context) but neither of us really see the point in having a bunch of our money tied up in our cars. Obviously I love cars but I’m also a realist. Could I go out and buy a new M2 tomorrow? Sure, but it would be a very stupid purchase in the grand scheme of things…especially when we’re trying to have kids.

Her CRV is about to be paid off and has only 60,000 miles (aka 30,000 Honda miles), my car is about half paid off and I have an interest rate that doesn’t really exist right now (2.75%). Both are in great mechanical shape because we’re a preventative maintenance obsessed household…so until we need more space there’s just no reason to do anything anytime soon.

Do I sometimes daydream about a total vanity purchase/splurge on an amazing car? Sure, we all do. But it ain’t the time for that and I don’t think it will be for me until ICE is a thing of the past and at that point I seriously doubt I’ll even be interested in doing so. I was also an idiot and only kept my GTI for two years.

Granted it had serious problems, was staring down the barrel of more, and hadn’t depreciated a cent due to the mid Covid price madness…but still, it was financially dumb to get out of a new car that quickly when it wasn’t fully paid off despite the equity I had in it, and we’ve had to eat a stack of money due to the high taxes on the Kona N due to its horrible gas mileage as well as the apocalyptic Korean car depreciation.

Suffice to say, the Kona N isn’t going anywhere until it’s paid off and been given some time to regain some value when it eventually hits rock bottom. The fact that it’s currently only worth $24,000 in trade is mind blowing to me, and every month KBB knocks another $500 off. Eventually it’s going to slow down, especially considering the car has been discontinued, the supply of new ones is almost dry, and the fact that a lot of them will wind up clapped out due to how cheap they already are.

But for now? No new cars on the horizon. Next go around Im going to look at spicy luxury sedans like the IS500, Integra Type S, etc and might even consider a used X3M or V6 Macan of some sort. But those days are a long way away. When it’s my wife’s turn we are probably going directly to Mazda and not passing go or collecting $200. If we need more space it’ll be CX90 time. If we don’t that CX50 Turbo is a mighty appealing buy in the high 30s.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago

How do you like the Kona N? If they would make it in a hybrid or (even better) PHEV, I would be RACING to the dealership.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Love it. It’s ridiculously entertaining and is a useful enough package that it doesn’t really require any compromises other than sucking up a rough-ish ride…although if you keep the dampers in their softest setting it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be. I’ve had no issues with it other than a gauge cluster bug that was solved by doing a factory reset.

It’s a great car that I think history will remember more fondly than the present does….although I will add that the fuel economy isn’t great for a 4 cylinder. Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t buy it expecting Prius mileage or anything but most of the other high performance turbo 4s that are out there do a bit better. But they also don’t have as much character, for what it’s worth.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago

Thanks for the response!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Of course! I’m always down to preach the good news of the N division. I noticed you mentioned you’re eyeing an EX-30. I think that’s a mighty appealing little package, especially the in the high powered dual motor setup.

B L
B L
11 months ago

I think demand for 50k+ EV’s is certainly softening, but I wonder if that’s just demand for 50k+ cars softening. I have to imagine if there were a ton of new EV’s in the 30k range, people who need new cars, especially 2 car families, would be looking at EV’s. As it is, if you want new and under 40k, your options for new and currently available are….a 2-door mini (impractical for most people), a leaf and a bolt (if you can find one). That’s not much selection.

Outofstep
Outofstep
11 months ago
Reply to  B L

If Hyundai or Kia offered a low 30k EV with about 250 miles of range I’d heavily consider it. If it was offered with 350 miles of range I’d buy it immediately. I never take longer drives than 300 miles nonstop so for me that would be enough and I rarely drive more than 80 miles in a day so it would work out well for my household. I just can’t afford the current EV pricing. I’d love an Ioniq 5 but at 300 miles of range starting at 45k it’s not even in the ballpark. I’m hoping when my Elantra is about a decade old EV prices will have come down and range will have gone up but we’ll see what the future holds.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
11 months ago

I’ve never bought a new car.

I was tempted to scrape together every penny I could find and buy a GR86, but in the UK that means buying one without a test drive or even sitting in a demonstrator.

So I’m keeping my old GT86 for another five years instead. Then maybe a secondhand Evora, Cayman or GR86.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

Another unpopular post incoming:

First of all,

I paid $85,000 for the Viper in 2015.

I would buy a C8 Z06 at sticker price (~$125K) tomorrow if any were available.

I have to say I don’t understand the attitude of people who will say in here something like “I could write a check for a $50K car tomorrow, but I won’t because that’s way too much”. Obviously, if you really can’t afford a new car now, I understand and the rest of this post isn’t for you. If you can, but take some pride in loudly announcing how you won’t, then I have some questions about your car enthusiasm.

I spend a lot of money on cars because they’re my passion. Other people spend thousands of dollars on stuff that they love (travel, clothes, boats, home remodels, investments, collectables, electronics, art, you name it). Cars are that thing for me. If you can find joy in cars by spending very much less than you could, I guess more power to you. It’s just a little odd to me because I have to say I rarely hear people with other passions proudly proclaiming how little they spent and how eager they are never to spend anything more on their hobby.

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I can afford a new car easily right now. But A: the ones I want, I can not afford. B; I prefer older cars anyways. Last new car I really had a hard-on for was a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V.

Car’s as a passion means something different to each of us. Some of us like to buy the 500$ bomb and bring it back to life. Some of us are into racing, some of us like car shows. It doesn’t mean we need to buy a new car every other week to be considered as a “Car guy/gal”

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

Obviously, spend your money how you want to, and I am not saying my way to enthusiasm is the only way.

It’s very much the combination of “I have this money, will brag about it on the internet, but won’t use it for something I purportedly love” that makes me shake my head. Very common disease at the old site.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Trying to imagine a travel enthusiast loudly and repeatedly telling everyone on a vacation site that their travel budget for this year would allow a trip to Tahiti but they’re going to Indiana instead (I live in Indiana, it’s very nice, it’s not Tahiti) and being met with a chorus of approval rather than “Huh?”.

Driving and owning a cheap car can be fun! I’ve done so myself many times! So can a trip to Indiana! Come visit us some time! For some reason the prevailing attitude toward spending money is just different, which I find interesting and worth commenting on.

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

“I’d go so far as to say you’re a pretty damn nice guy, which in my experience is rare for folks in your sort of tax bracket”

This response to your comment says it all. A lot of people assume you are an asshole if you are successful. I’m sure there are many readers of this website that have bought expensive cars but are reluctant to admit it, since this attitude is common among vocal internet commenters. Admitting (or even implying) you are successful is a faux pas in 2023.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stig's Cousin
Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Admitting (or even implying) you are successful is a faux pas in 2023.”

Agreed. And self-righteous declarations of miserliness are all the rage.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

I see miserliness as a virtue. 🙂

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

I consider myself sort-of successful. I tasted middle classness a few times in childhood, but most of the time grew up working class or poor(long story can be explained by two words: dysfunctional family), so I know the value of money and the importance of the stability it can bring.

I made a good income most of the time I’ve been employed, but early on didn’t get to enjoy it, because I did the responsible thing and paid my student loans off. Living like I’m poor became a habit, out of necessity. Especially after the times I lost my job from a layoff, and in some cases couldn’t find anything but low wage jobs to replace it with. Now, I’m making good money, with no debt. I haven’t been doing so for long enough to build up massive wealth, but I’m doing better than most at the moment. A low bar for sure, since close to 3/4 of Americans don’t even have $1,000 in savings. But is it enough wealth to buy a modest house in full? Not at all, and I’m already middle aged. I live much cheaper than most. My current living expenses are around $20k per year, but I do live in conditions most people in the USA would not find acceptable or feasible, ESPECIALLY if they had to raise kids.

I’m what could be called “hood rich”. Not rich, but definitely not skipping any meals or wondering if I’m going to have to start slinging dope to pay the rent. Financially, life is better for me right now than it’s ever been.

I’ve known lots of successful assholes. I’ve also known lots of successful nice people. Not sure if there’s a strong correlation, but I have noticed that no one I’ve known has ever obtained significant wealth by being kind to others or by being generous.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

It’s not hard to imagine this because every article I read in the NYT Travel section has 500 comments from people saying how they never leave home because they CARE about the planet. So why are you reading the travel section?!

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Maybe its because the price of admission is higher with cars. Someone “splurging” on knitting yarn is out a few hundred to low thousands. Splurging on a trip for most people stays well below $10k for two. Splurging on a car is never under $30k and well over most of the time. It’s an order of magnitude different.

Last edited 11 months ago by Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I see that often with people calling out new cars for missing features (ie lack of manual) and saying things like “I would buy it if it only had X” only for a new car to come out that has X and they come up with something else like “this car is perfect for me except Y” the excuses never end

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
11 months ago
Reply to  Automotiveflux

I said if Acura ever came out with another manual 4 door, I’d buy it, and they did, so I did. Not all of us are full of crap.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

Same here. Small, fairly light RWD manual coupe with minimal safety nag BS came out, so I bought it.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

It’s a good point, and probably correct most of the time. But for a benefit of the doubt approach, it could also be a matter of degree to some extent/in some cases.

It could be said that one ultimate expression of enthusiast commitment is buying and using a full-on race car. Which is easily a 6-figure proposition. It could be done (instead of say buying a house), but it doesn’t seem unreasonable for a genuine racing enthusiast to NOT actually do it.

I guess it’s that perhaps passions can be both true and ultimately moderate, in the Aristotelian way.

Torque
Torque
11 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

“It could be said that one ultimate expression of enthusiast commitment is buying and using a full-on race car. Which is easily a 6-figure proposition.”

If you are talking about a brand spanking new SCCA or FIA or… spec. correct race cars, like say a Radical SR1 this IS true.

Just like with buying a house there are many, many used race car options with an incredibly wide price range starting from near zero on up cont…

And if you want to read on about some options, holy cow that got long, welcome to my TEDTalk & of course it is not a complete list either

At the bottom end:

1st “run what you’ve already got”. many local rallycross or streetcross clubs will let you use a daily driver on cones on grass or cones on empty parking lot courses, typically run 1 car at a time against the clock.

2nd build a racing simulator, sure you could buy one too, that of course will cost a bit more (to of course potentially a lot more depending how crazy you want to get)

3nd up the $ range would be Gambler 500 / Lemons / champcar all of which are supposed to be super cheap lowest rung endurance racing & likely are dollar per mile. You don’t necessarily need to buy your own car you could either buy one (already prepped or to build) with some friends or you can join an existing team that’s looking for additional members / drivers

4th up go to a driving school either for the experience & see if you like to get more serious or go & get your scca racing license. This will run in the low thousands

5th race carts, these are serious enough that there are professional drivers that will use them in the off season to keep their skills sharp

5th part deux buy a busted/old/shitbox car that may be 20 yes old & needs a new transmission or some other major part causing its list price to be cheap & prep it yourself for scca class of your choice (if you live in the US). Alternatively (and often ending up being more affordable) find someone else that has already done this and is looking to move to a more powerful / challenging race car or whom has had their fill of the experience and is looking to get out of racing all together. This is a Wide option including the gambit of scca classes.

6th (top of the heap) pay alls the money & buy a brand new spec. race car prepped & ready to start racing, just add driver.

Personally I know people that have done 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 part duex. For 5 part duex a friend has two +25 yr. old open wheel race cars that he alternates between. Both cars were bought more or less ready to go for between $10-16k each and he budgets $5-8k in related racing operational costs/expenses per year, which is a chunk of change, however in line with what I know many people spend on their boats per year

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
11 months ago

“Some of us like to buy the 500$ bomb and bring it back to life. Some of us are into racing, some of us like car shows.”

Some of us use the same car for all three:

https://flic.kr/p/2orGmq7

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I think you may be the exception that proves the rule 🙂

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Lovely Saab 96 you got there.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

See for me my expensive cars have not been the ones that brought me a lot of joy. I sold my NA Miata and replaced it with an Elise, and honestly the Miata was more joyous. I did not like all the attention the Elise got, and I could drive the Miata about 90% as fast as the Elise, for 10% of the price. And the Miata had functional AC and was far more comfortable and practical. The next most fun car I have owned was a 96 Toyota Crown Majesta I had brought over from Japan, it got a ton of attention, but it was cheap so I didn’t feel pretentious about it, and it had so many awesome features that you just cannot get on most modern cars.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I love my GR86 (nothing more expensive holds much interest for me), but as well rated a driver’s car as it is, I still think about the fun I had with a few old simple shitboxes. Unfortunately, if I could find one that still exists, it would be old enough to still need enough money that I might as well pay what’s effectively a little more to get something vintage that’s “cooler”. Besides, the DGAF factor that contributed partly to making them so fun would be gone now that they’re vintage and desirable-adjacent (because their present rarity makes them interesting mostly for their novelty).

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
11 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

I definitely agree the DGAF factor weighs very heavily with the cheap cars. I spun out in my Miata a few times screwing around in controlled environments, something I was way to scared to ever do with the Elise knowing it would be totaled instantly if I cracked either of the clams. But yes, if I were to get another Miata, it would cost minimum $8k or so, and that’s going to limit the fun compared to the old $2k one.

Gubbin
Gubbin
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

“I don’t have a TV.” (And yes, I’m a proud minimalist/cheapskate myself.)

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I think this is a lot easier to say for someone in your financial position. You have way more money than the majority of people on this or the old site. I’m not saying it to shame you or anything, and honestly you’re not at all a dick about it or anything. Hell I’d go so far as to say you’re a pretty damn nice guy, which in my experience is rare for folks in your sort of tax bracket, and I think being envious of others’ success is one of the worst traits you can have as a person.

But it’s easier to say “I’d drop huge sums of money for my passion” when, you know…you have huge sums of money to drop. $50,000 is a lot of money for probably 95% of the country, and cars are a depreciating asset. You’re fortunate enough to be able to afford buying in a realm where depreciation isn’t as much of a thing. A Z06, Viper, CT5-V BW, etc. aren’t going to depreciate a whole lot. You can enjoy them for several years and more or less get out of them for not a whole lot less than you paid.

It’s a very different when you’re someone who makes 90K and is stretching themselves to buy an M2, high spec pony car, or something like that. You’re going to lose way more money on the car over the years, which makes it an inherently riskier proposition, especially if something goes wrong and you need to get out of it in a hurry.

Anyway, I’m still with you to an extent and literally budget extra money so I can have an enjoyable car…because I agree that it’s very much worth it. I find ways to sneak in fun drives every week and the little serotonin boost they give me is worth it every single time. But I also think you’re in a very fortunate financial position where you’re not as beholden to the economic forces that folks of more modest means are.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

I appreciate the sentiment.

I think you might be surprised what my tax bracket is or isn’t. When I bought the Viper, I made less than its purchase price annually. Was that wise? Perhaps not, but neither are many of the things people spend their money on. My wife and I both felt we could cut back elsewhere and spend the monthly note without compromising our life too much. My point was and is that I simply find it interesting the attitude people take toward spending on cars *even when they are capable of it*.

$50K was a number I picked seemingly at random, because I’ve seen people make the statement. I could easily have said $30K and the point would basically be the same. The car in question need not be new to be relevant here, just something nicer than beater status.

Finally, to be clear, my advice is not for everyone to rush out and spend a ruinous amount of money on a car or cars. I won’t think more of you if you do. Be smart, but remember you can’t take the money with you. If cars are what you enjoy, don’t be afraid to actually spend some money enjoying them!

Last edited 11 months ago by V10omous
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I agree with the “you can’t take the money with you” sentiment. While I lean fiscally conservative (my family calls me cheap but they’re all pretty wealthy and have never really understood my disinterest in conspicuous consumption) I also see no reason at all to work my ass of and pinch every penny so I can be sitting on a pile of cash when I’m 75 and tired as hell.

I’d like to be able to reap some of the rewards in the present…because if I don’t I’m just working a difficult job for an idea in the far distant future, and that’s an all expense paid trip to burnout. I’ve also watched my dad and folks around his age spend their entire lives working 60+ hour weeks, having little identity left outside of work, and stacks of money piling up that ultimately mean very little to them.

I’d rather that not wind up being me, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago

Conspicuous consumption can be ruinous if one is used to living that way and gets the financial rug pulled out from under them. I’ve seen it happen to people and it is not pretty.

I’m hoping I can set myself up to retire in my 40s, and live very modestly by US standards. We’ll see. If I ever start a family, I’d like to spend time with that, rather than with a job eating up all my time.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

As someone who has been retired since age 35, can attest that it’s not all fun and games. But I see your point.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Be smart, but remember you can’t take the money with you. If cars are what you enjoy, don’t be afraid to actually spend some money enjoying them!

I very much agree with this sentiment. I just wish that of the new cars on the market, there was something that actually appealed to me. I have to build the car I want, and currently do not have the space to do so.

Once I get a work space again, I plan to finish the electric Triumph GT6. THAT was a car I wanted as a teenager, started designing the conversion thereof in high school, shortly after obtained a basket case example for $1,200, and it is 90% done today with much better batteries powering it than I originally intended for it to have. The idea behind it was a budget supercar that was inexpensive to build and operate, and from what I’ve driven of it so far, I’m confident it will deliver. I have $18k in it so far since restoration/construction began in 2005, and regret none of it. Another $15k in it, and it will indeed be that supercar, although another $2k will have it looking very nice and still faster than a new Miata with a low-trim Tesla Model 3 range per charge.

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

In my case, I could afford more, but luckily, the only new car I like that I can daily was (just) under $30k (GR86). Other than very much toy cars (“cars”), like a Morgan Super Trike, there’s almost nothing else that interests me at any price. I kind of like the CT4, but it’s bigger and heavier than I like without being a couch-on-wheels that nobody makes anymore, they don’t offer them in a coupe, and manual is only offered with a V, which is more power than I want. I can reluctantly accept the former two, but not the latter. If forced from the choice of the latter, I’m going absolute cheapest shitbox with a warranty as I have plenty of other things to spend money on (like maybe a classic car, but probably to finally build the boat), causes I would rather give it to, or save it.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

There are a lot of new cars I could buy outright today, but none of them appeal to me. The only ones to tick any of my boxes and are available stateside are the Mazda MX5 and the Tesla Model 3 Performance, but considering what I could build for a fraction of that money instead, none of those would make me happy. There are a LOT of used cars that appeal to me, especially classic Porsche 911s, or even newer cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C, but then is the issue of not having space to keep them. I had to get rid of my Mercedes 300 SDLs because of that. The only issue with project cars is that I work so damned much I don’t have much time to work on my own projects. Otherwise, I’d have finished the electric Triumph GT6 and both my microvehicles. Such is life.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

As someone who buys even more insane stuff, the difference for me and I think most people here is not buying a car you’d use as a semi-disposable good, but something you’re going to keep. People will look at that more favorably than buying an X5 to get another X5 3 years later.

I assume you still have the Viper, and that it’s not going anywhere the rest of your life. That’s the smart way to go about it! Most importantly, depreciation is zero, and over the long haul it should generally hold its value relative to inflation. Whereas if we continued with the X5 example (likely $100-105K nowadays) you’d be taking a giant $30-40K bath every time you swapped, which is what folks here would turn their noses up at — and I’d agree, as that’s not worth it.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Goof

That is a reasonable clarification, and I regret implying only new cars count in my first post.

Spending a good amount of money on something fun and used is fine too. It’s living the beater lifestyle from people who can afford better that I don’t understand.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Eh, personal finance is personal.

I mean, I’ve gone as far as eschewing beaters and WALK almost everywhere (subway otherwise). My upstairs neighbors think I’m insane… yet I think one of them is insane for driving 5 blocks to work.

I generally agree. I cannot fall in love with… an old Honda Element as a rando example. I can respect it for what it can do given the budget it had to work with, and if taken care of will be cheap to run. But LOVE? Love’s a strong word.

Though… I get it. For most of my family, inflation-indexed income has gone significantly backwards for 20 years. Even I’m well off my peak, but it remains relatively high. Moreover, most people I know to do a bit of everything (vacations, eating out, etc.) while I do nothing but a singular laser focus onto a car I’d keep until I die (and things like retirement, etc.). I know some very die hard car enthusiasts, but even amongst them, I’m still very much the oddball. As a result, people just work with what they’ve got while they try to do everything.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago
Reply to  Goof

But what’s wrong with buying an X5 to get another X5 3 years later? What if that purchaser has an enthusiasm for new cars and new features? Is that worse than someone’s enthusiasm for old cars?

If that X5 purchaser didn’t exist, y’all would be complaining (even more) about how expensive used cars are.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Nothing is wrong, it’s just extremely expensive. Again, personal finance is personal. Some people are fine with that. For me, I do things different.

Over the years my boss and one of my coworkers have understood why I do what I do. The coworker would love something like a 911 GT3. He says it’s a car he’d keep until he dies. Instead he’s had a 550i, M3, M4, something else, something else and currently a Tesla Model 3 Performance he’s bored with, like he’s been bored with everything else.

We worked out the numbers. He incurred about $160,000 in depreciation over that period. He also doesn’t have a 911 GT3 to show for it, just another car he’s, “done with.”

I have lunch with him next week. He’s aware I’m waiting on getting my Spyder RS allocation, of which I’m planning to do a 911 S/T manual transmission swap. The difference between him and me is I got to my destination, where he’s only now about to start on the path.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago
Reply to  Goof

Something I didn’t say, but want to without editing, is some of us focus on what we ultimately want… instead of what we want right now.

I assume V10omous is driving that 5th gen Viper until they die. What’s smart about that is that ends up being the cheapest route to that destination. They avoided all the costs of the hedonic treadmill.

GM straight up said back in the day is you’d come in to buy a Pontiac, and you’d just constantly buy new cars until you got to the Cadillac you actually wanted. Well, the smart move is to ignore everything before the Cadillac, save, and just buy the Cadillac. Buy something reasonable, efficient, inexpensive… save for the Caddy, buy the Caddy, and be DONE.

The thing with buying an X5 every 3 years is the problem is if you’re getting rid of it every 3 years, you’re signaling very strongly as someone who DIDN’T REALLY WANT AN X5. You “settled” for an X5.

I say this as someone who sold not only very high end metal for a while, but straight up unicorns. The smartest buyers are the ones who skip the treadmill and go straight to the end goal. They get what they want by spending the least.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Goof

To be fair, I did go 2008 G8 GT -> 2012 GT500 -> 2013 Viper (bought in 2015) all bought new, and lost some depreciation each time (but was never upside down).

I told my wife when we bought the Viper though that I didn’t think we’d ever have to trade up again, because I couldn’t imagine anything better ever being built. 8 years later I still feel that way. I could have a Z06, a GT3, or whatever tomorrow if I was willing to give up the snake, but it just isn’t worth it.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Never give up on snek.

I really liked the 1st gen Vipers when I was a kid. If I ever have the space, I might buy one. I’ve even kept a real viper as a pet, a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake that I named Nippy. If I ever get another, maybe I’ll name it Dodge.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  Goof

This is something I’m really trying to do as well…likely not to the extremes of buying a GT3 or Spyder RS or something along those lines, but something I’d still consider truly special. My first new car purchase was a MK7.5 GTI in 2020. Up until that point I’d say I was more or less a casual enthusiast, and having a fun car definitely pushed me over the edge to a full on car sicko.

Like your coworker I got tired of it very quickly. After learning how to drive it well at 7.5/10ths (which is all VW will give you in stock form) I craved more, so I went out and drove some more purpose built cars when I had the time. I quickly realized that the experience the GTI offered didn’t really hold up all that well compared to cars I drove like a Camaro, a Miata, etc., and my car had an inexcusable amount of problems for something so new that wore my patience thin.

I wanted to go full pony car at that point (I was eyeing a few Camaros and Mustangs) but the wife put her foot down and said if I was going to switch cars prematurely it needed to be for something practical, which is fair and valid. I originally became smitten with the GR Corolla…but when I got on some lists and realized how much of an expensive hassle it was going to be to get one I soured on the idea quickly, not to mention I prefer to daily an auto for numerous reasons.

I wound up checking out an Elantra N on a Sunday afternoon as became absolutely smitten by the N driving experience. They more or less fill in all the areas that the GTI left blank…aka those extra 2.5 tenths and an extra helping of driving character. They’re also comparatively cheap and they offer a ridiculously good automatic option that most journalists say is the better transmission pairing for the cars.

An Elantra N became a Kona N along the way (wife liked it better) and here we are. I love my car to death, but it was such a stupid financial decision to do what I did. I had 8 grand in equity in the GTI, but what folks don’t realize (or at least I didn’t) is that there are tons of hidden costs when you switch cars. There are additional taxes, registration fees, interest, and other costs.

I used the equity as my down payment and I’ve still wound up incinerating $10,000+ between all the above as well as depreciation because Hyundais depreciate like goddamn bricks. I got mesmerized by the equity downpayment and comparable monthly payment and lost track of the big picture.

It is what it is, I think this is a relatively common part of the enthusiast journey…and I absolutely love the car I wound up with. But I’m not doing this again and I wouldn’t do it again if given a do-over. I’d bide my time with the underwhelming and frustrating but very affordable GTI and I’d be in a position to get something like an RS3, X3M, CT4 V BW, IS500, M2, ZL1, etc. in a couple years.

Instead I’ve got many more years with the Kona N. I do love it, but I’m not going to act like I wouldn’t trade my situation for the latter one every single time. The long term rewards are always greater if you’re willing to wait it out, which is what I’m hunkering down to do, but 2 years late. Switching cars prematurely is an unforced error.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago

The thing that helped me is test driving cars was a hobby in my early 20s onwards. I literally sounded decades older than I was, and in person I sounded wise beyond my years, so test drives were very easy to get. As I moved into industry for a bit, driving the stuff was literally part of my job.

I have a spreadsheet of most stuff I’ve driven with detailed notes. I’ve driven nearly 600 cars. Posters that were on my wall. Hero cars. Unicorns. And a lot of normal stuff and strong stuff. By the time I was 30, my taste was pretty finely honed and the requirements list rather stiff.

I have a dream 2-car garage, and hopefully one is done next year, and the other sometime later this decade (I know I have time). That’s it. Done.

What really hurts about not getting what you want? That’s money you could’ve spent on other things (not even cars) you wanted or were important to you. It’s why I’m so tough on not settling, and not doing anything until I know exactly what I want.

Greg
Greg
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

What a breath of fresh air, thanks for the honesty. I don’t go out, I don’t drink, we don’t go on big flight adventures. We drive a lot though and are wanting to do it in comfort, while including cousins and aunts/grandmothers. So our Yukon denali is getting built this week and I can’t wait until it arrives. It’s more than I ever thought I would spend on a car, but at least I can deduct it.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Enjoy it in good health sir!

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

I paid $15,600 for my Saab 900 Turbo in 1986 and it lasted 30 years. Coincidentally, this was the last new car I ever purchased. $25,000 is the most I’d pay for a new car, and only reluctantly at that.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
11 months ago

$20k for my Cruze in 2011. These days it looks like $45-50k for some electric blob. My better half wants a Model Y. We’re holding out for a year or so hoping prices return to a saner level.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
11 months ago

We got a used 2021 Model Y Long Range with 40k miles for $40k a couple of weeks ago. Deals can be made, but you have to find the right circumstances to make a deal.

TLDR on the Y; It was traded in during September 2022. It drifted through two auctions, three dealerships and numerous price reductions. It was about to go to auction again so I made them an OTD offer with our trade-in that would be beak even at worst after they sold our trade. They accepted my offer three days later as they would have lost ~$5-10k on the Y at auction.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago

How is the experience with a used Tesla? I remember some years ago reading a story about something like autopilot being disabled remotely after Tesla realized the car had a new owner. Have you had any issues?

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

The experience has been great so far. Other than the normal Model Y things (cowl cover is broken but doesn’t rattle), it’s been trouble free. Getting it added to my wife’s Tesla account took less than 30 minutes.

The Model Y we bought had zero added software features. There wasn’t anything for Tesla to take away!

Whatsanautopian
Whatsanautopian
11 months ago

i bought a new hyundai accent near the turn of the century. no power anything, 2 door hatchback with a stick, 17 miles on the odometer. ten thousand dollars! got paid mileage for work and, man, i always used mileage checks for the payment and insurance. what a world.

i’ll likely never buy new again.

Bearddevil
Bearddevil
11 months ago

I bought my V60 for $27k in 2019. I’m not sure what the most I’d be willing to spend is, but it’s probably not a LOT higher than that. Which means I’m probably not buying a car anytime soon, and when I do, it won’t be new. I’d really like to go PHEV, but the options in that price range aren’t great, and I just had to drop 20K on my HVAC system, so…

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
11 months ago

I spent $14K on a new car in 2014. I would like a new car now, but I don’t want to spend $30-%40K on anything. Cars are just too dang expensive

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
11 months ago

Most I ever paid for a new car was 13,000 in 1998. Most I will pay for a car is 15,000, so new has long been out the window for me.

NewBalanceExtraWide
NewBalanceExtraWide
11 months ago

New car? I just read an article that suggested in my local market 20k for a used car is no longer a common option:

https://www.kare11.com/article/money/study-suggests-the-day-of-the-20000-used-car-may-be-over-especially-in-the-twin-cities/89-8ac92ce2-c15c-4bca-9f15-37ae30069e60

Astonishing figures: Only 9% of used cars are selling for less than 20k. Like, what the hell?

The average used vehicle price is up 47.7% from pre-pandemic pricing. I did have to buy used during the pandemic, and overpaid, but still way less than 20k.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 months ago

That 9% figure is really shocking to me.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

Not to me. I’ve done some searching for a decent used car, and the prices I’ve seen told me everything I need to know. $20k is enough to buy a really nice set of components to give a $500 salvage yard special with a missing engine a stay of execution from the crusher by turning it into a very nice EV with a real-world 150+ mile range.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
Chronometric
Chronometric
11 months ago

After selling a business in 2002, I paid over $40,000 for an Audi S4 bi-turbo. I installed a performance chip and took it to track days at Sebring, Road Atlanta, AMS, and Roebling Road. It was a fun and comfortable car but not known for reliability so I sold it promptly before the 3 year warranty expired. I have bought other new cars but all have been under $40k. One of these days I will need a new truck or my wife will want a new sedan/SUV. At that point it seems inevitable that I will spend around $50k which will be painful and I will attempt to avoid it as long as possible.

Drew
Drew
11 months ago

The most I have spent is about 30k. I am willing to spend more (about $45k, maybe) on my next vehicle, depending on what I buy. Current contenders for my money include EVs, the 2024 Tacoma, or a nicer PHEV than my Niro.

Or maybe I just keep my two current vehicles. I dunno.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
11 months ago

They days of 20k new cars are fading fast, we need to deal with that. To hit that range, gently used off leases are a good choice.

The most I spent on new car was 30k (the last time I bought one).

Depending on what I am looking at and how much money I have to throw, around 40k is my limit now. Even then the field is narrow.

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