Home » The One Graph That Shows How America Opened The Door To Chinese Automakers

The One Graph That Shows How America Opened The Door To Chinese Automakers

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Are you ready for a wake-up call? It’s time for a wake-up call. Chinese automakers are in Mexico waiting for the moment they can enter the American market, and the latest data on vehicle affordability shows just how easy the rest of the auto industry has made it for them.

The sky isn’t falling, yet, but Hardibird is here this morning to drop a warning for everyone willing to accept the status quo. I’m talking to you C-Suiters. Either double your lobbying budgets to make it basically impossible to sell Chinese cars here or start making cars more affordable.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It’s easier to see ages and epochs in reverse as opposed to knowing, concretely, that you’re in the liminal space between them. We’re in one now. You’re going to have to trust me. And we’re going to talk about that as well.

Finally, the UAW is making official its push to double its membership just as Ford reckons with the cost of all of this.

Happy Thursday.

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Vehicle Affordability In The US Makes Us The Target

Sales Graphic

The horse has left the barn. The egg has been scrambled. The piñata is in tattered pieces at our feet while a ripped 10-year-old rolling on a Dr. Pepper high stands there with a bat stands there eying all our Jolly Ranchers. That 10-year-old? China.

Take a close look at that graphic above, courtesy of S&P Global Mobility. That is depressing. About half of the market share in 2017 belonged to vehicles that cost under $30k while nearly 80% belonged to vehicles that cost less than $40k.

This year? Sub-$30k is barely over 10% of the market and only about a third are sub-$40k.

Automakers have managed to return record profits and used  supply constraints as an excuse to justify mostly selling high-end versions of their cars.

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Here’s how S&P Global Mobility further explains it:

For this analysis, S&P Global Mobility classified an “affordable” vehicle in the US as one with an MSRP below $30,000, compared to a $25,000 threshold in 2017. Even when adjusting for inflation, comparing 2017 to 2023, the US market has a net 16 fewer affordable models.

Notably, some vehicles that did not meet the $25,000 threshold in 2017 are now considered affordable with the $30,000 limit – including some trims of the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Equinox, and Honda Accord. But that’s based on raising the pricing bar, while consumer take-home pay has not necessarily followed suit – which is reflected in showroom traffic. (A word about methodology: S&P Global Mobility’s data is based on lowest available model trim MSRP, which in this case further substantiates the idea that vehicles have become less affordable.)

It’s more than last year’s inflationary spike driving price hikes in the US market. Over the course of the last decade, many OEMs who played in the lower end of the market have simply eliminated their entry-level nameplates – examples include the Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Mazda2, Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200, and Chevrolet Sonic and Spark.

If you consider it dangerous to have Chinese automakers suddenly taking big swaths of the market in the United States then you should hear the alarms so clearly they start making your ears bleed. It’s not a wild dream. They’re in Mexico right now, as our pal Kristen Lee’s mini-doc for MotorTrend makes clear:

Yes, there are tariffs and trade barriers and all sorts of reasons why we can’t assume Chinese cars will be successful here. There will be people who will say they’ll never buy a Chinese car, just like people said they’d never buy a Japanese car.

It may not happen now but, at this rate, it could happen soon.

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Sure, it’s possible that American consumers will continue to pay more and more and more for cars. It’s also possible they won’t want to and that’s where China can do what Japanese automakers did in 25 years and what Korean car companies did in about ten. I think Chinese automakers could do it in five.

It’s also potentially a good thing from an environmental standpoint — getting more inexpensive EVs into folks’ garages. If you cared about people having affordable transportation you’d be begging for Ora Funky Cats and Cherys and BYD Seagulls.

Also, they’re good cars! Better, in some ways, than the early Korean cars we got here.

While you’re chewing on that, answer this question: Why is it acceptable for the United States, Japan, and Europe to partner with Chinese car companies and reap huge profits for years and years in that country but it’s not ok for them to do the same to us? (The short answer, of course, is that their labor policies and government subsidies put them on a way different playing field, but how much does your average consumer care? And if your answer is “they care a lot” then explain all the Chinese-built riding lawnmowers, power tools, TVs, and everything else in your home right now)

It’s easy to point to greed as the cause of all of this, there are other factors as well, as S&P rightly points out:

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Manufacturers began to phase out sedans as CAFE regulations in the US became more stringent. The sleeker silhouette of a sedan is subject to higher, more challenging targets, while SUV-shaped crossovers – even if mounted on the same platform with the same front-drive running gear as their sedan cousins – are typically categorized as light trucks and thus given easier targets to hit in fuel economy regulations.

That is a key reason sedan models such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Fusion were dropped from portfolios, while their platform-sharing siblings Chevrolet Equinox and Ford Edge crossovers remained.

This! This 100 times. We did it to ourselves.

Of course, there’s no guarantee this happens. As this same report points out, it’s probably easier for Chinese brands to acquire domestic companies (a la SAIC/MG, Geely and Volvo/Lotus) or, simply, to focus on places like Mexico, Thailand, and Eastern Europe.

Still, the risk is there. If you’re a car company executive and there’s a voice inside your head going “Oh, man, what if the Chinese come here?” then now is your chance to do something about it before it’s too late. You’ve been warned.

Here’s More Stuff To Worry About

Jac Ev Yi

The fine folks at Cox Automotive have a nice summary of all the things to worry about in 2024 if you’re a C-Suiter:

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  1. Electric vehicle (EV) adoption is happening much slower than expected, and the profit margins are abysmal.

  2. The new UAW labor agreement will squeeze future profit margins for the Detroit 3 and has placed pressure on non-unionized plants in the South to increase wages.

  3. The rising cost of borrowing money due to high interest rates is impacting consumers, dealers, and automakers alike.

I think all of those things are valid. In the piece there’s a great quote from someone at Toyota that points out we’re now a quarter-century into hybrids and the take rate is 10% (though it’s going up rapidly). So the EV adoption issue, if EVs remain expensive, is an issue.

The UAW bit is true (more on that in a minute), though I think it’ll be easily passed on to consumers.

Of all these, the rising costs of borrowing money is the real pain for everyone. It immediately makes cars more expensive. It makes building plants, investing in research, selling cars, basically everything harder to do.

Interest rates need to come down.

Ford Revises Down Profit Forecast

Jim Farley Ford

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When GM dropped news of more dividends yesterday it also said it expected profits to come back roughly in line with its initial forecasts, albeit towards the lower end. Ford’s out with its estimates and they’re definitively lower.

Per Reuters:

The automaker now expects adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $10 billion to $10.5 billion for 2023, down from its prior forecast of $11 billion to $12 billion offered in July.

“At first glance, the reinstated guide looks encouraging,” Citi analyst Itay Michaeli wrote in a note. Shares of Ford were up 1.4% before the bell.

The forecast includes $1.7 billion in lost profits from the strike, which Ford also estimated led to about 100,000 units fewer wholesale vehicle sales.

Not great, but not terrible.

UAW: Toyota, Tesla, BMW Are Next

Uaw Striking Workers
Photo: UAW

Relatively high wages, good bonuses, and general geographical resistance to unions have meant that companies like Toyota, Nissan, and BMW historically have been able to resist union drives at their plants.

Polling shows that positive views about unions were already on the rise before the United Auto Worker strikes, and the success of the UAW has already forced many other companies in the U.S. that are not unionized to raise wages.

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That may not be enough as the UAW is telling reporters that employees at 13 non-union automakers are starting to sign union cars online (the first step in the unionization process).

From ABC News:

The drive encompasses nearly 150,000 autoworkers across BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Rivian, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo, according to the union.

Union Summer is becoming Endless Union Summer.

The Big Question

What do you think about Chinese cars being sold stateside? What would it take for you to consider one?

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Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
4 months ago

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Astrass
Astrass
4 months ago

Something that needs to be remembered when talking about how crap Chinese cars are: so were Japanese and Korean cars when they first started being imported. The Hyundai Excel was a punchline in the 1980s, but by the 2000s Hyundai and Kia were competitive with other brands. And the Japanese? By the time the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla were introduced, the Japanese had been in the States for 15 years, with limited success. The first Toyotas and Datsuns that were imported were nothing like the Camry; they were tinny little underpowered shitboxes like the Toyota Crown and Tiara. Japanese cars sold like crap until they figured out how to sell to Americans: provide just enough power to cruise down the highway, screw the cars together well, and sell them cheap and well-equipped enough to undercut the domestics.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
4 months ago

Thanks for the report, Matt. I suspected things were dicey for domestic manufacturers and consumers, but the market share by price graphic is pretty scary, especially how fast the distribution changed. And Fancy Kristen’s report should make some dealers in the US pretty worried.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
4 months ago

A huge factor in funds available to buy a car is student debt. More than a single generation of “kids” have huge student debts which affect not only their ability to buy a house but also buying cars. They need affordable cars along with debt relief.

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
4 months ago

Ya don’t say?! Giving handout after handout to american OEMs and them never building cars for the majority of people might backfire by someone else providing affordable vehicles?! I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
4 months ago

And the US and European automakers can only blame themselves. They chased the quick dollars in China, taught the Chinese companies how to make better cars, and now they’re being run out of the Chinese market and soon will be squeezed in their home markets.

But I guess the execs that made those decisions already collected their bonuses and are probably retired in their beach house at this point. What do they care?

Michael Han
Michael Han
4 months ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

Absolutely, nobody ever looks at those hidden costs when they decide to offshore. But hey number go up so that’s all that matters right?

Ottomadiq
Ottomadiq
4 months ago

Yeah, let’s just ignore the reason why they’re so inexpensive.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
4 months ago

I didn’t enjoy writing this prediction.

It’s going to be a bloodbath for US auto manufacturers. People need transportation at a reasonable price and they’re not offering it. The Chinese will come in, offer cheap transportation and it will sell like Krispy Kreme donuts to everyone who is tired of going down to a Ford dealer and trying to buy a base Maverick. They will sell to everyone who is forced by high new car prices to look at used cars — why not buy a new Chinese car with a warranty instead? They will sell to the people who would’ve bought an Escort or a Cruze. They will sell to young people starting out. They will sell to old people who need an occasional car or a last car. They will sell to parents buying their child a car. The Chinese will sell a million units in this country in the blink of an eye.

The US manufacturers took their ball and went home from this particular game. The whole thing makes me feel sad, but if they’re not going to play, why bellyache for them?

changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
changedmynameasIworkinadealershipandsomeofourbrandsarentgreat
4 months ago

Chinese cars are killing it here in Aus. Why? Because for all the forum fear mongering and communist dog whistling actual car buyers respond when you sell something cheaper that is just as safe with acceptable quality and dynamics and often these days better styling. (or to be fair a lot of the MG people still thinking MG are British). The interiors and quality are near or on par with the established brands, the dynamics and drivetrains are catching up up there esp EVs and they are offering long warranties. Yes there have been some unreliable ones but nothing worse than any of the euro brands.

Attila the Hatchback
Attila the Hatchback
4 months ago

What does The Autopian think about Chinese cars in the US? Read it right here:

https://www.theautopian.com/volvo_ex30_review/

🙂

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
4 months ago

I would consider one. People tried to shame me the first times I bought cars from Germany, Japan, and South Korea. I was single handedly destroying democracy with my car greed. The best looking Buick is the Chinese made Envision. Show me what you’ve got.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
4 months ago

Give me a Chinese car. They seem to be the only ones trying interesting things and selling them for cheap. Even if they’re not great quality, at least they’d be more interesting than most of what’s available from existing OEMs right now

Mr E
Mr E
4 months ago

The one thing I’m curious about is why wouldn’t the US reciprocate China’s policies and require Chinese car companies to partner with American car companies in order to do business here?*

I’m not entirely sure that the domestic brands would want to be bothered (due to our divergent cultures, etc), but tit for tat and all that.

(*I’m not aware of all the ins and outs of this approach, but I’m assuming it includes profit sharing.)

Vee
Vee
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr E

The U.S. doesn’t have direct unilateral control of corporations that exist within itself, unlike in China. In China all land is owned by the the Party and is used as the currency tether. When a corporation builds a factory they essentially rent the land from the government and so the Party has a say in what goes on there. Don’t comply or meet their expectations, you get the land pulled out from under you, just like what’s happening to Evergrande and is causing their massive collapse.

Over in the U.S. the government could ask a corporation nicely before they tell the government to fuck off under threat of used mining hardware in the sigmoid colon, and the only leverage the government would have would be to start an SEC council on looking into why the corproations said no. The equivalent of pointing at a cat and telling it not to do something.

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
4 months ago
Reply to  Vee

There’s always the Defense Production Act. It wouldn’t be the biggest stretch we’ve asked the concept of “national security” to cover. If we could force them all to make Ur-Jeeps and tanks for years to beat the Nazis we can make them build and sell cheaper cars to beat the Chinese. Of course economically we’ll either have to subsidize all of this or put in place such punitive tariffs that they have a free domestic market to make a profit with their higher priced offerings.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr E

Amusingly, the free market already pushed us this direction. The 1.4T in the Chevy Sonic was a Chinese design. Before the latest tax incentives changed the game, most domestic EV’s relied heavily on Chinese parts. While not an American car company, Toyota’s 2zr-fe engines in J-vin imports are made in China (albeit designed in Japan). Volvo is owned by a Chinese company and the EX30 uses a Chinese-designed drivetrain.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
4 months ago

Literally yesterday, I said Chinese cars would be dominating in five years. Who cares what we think about it? It’s happening. Deal with it

Ryan L
Ryan L
4 months ago

The last car loan I took out was in 2006. It’s not because I wouldn’t like a newer car, it’s because the cost of newer cars has gotten absolutely insane.

I think it’s more likely that if my hand was forced and my car was not repairable I’d shift to mass transit/rideshare rather than buy at current prices.

As far as buying a chinese car – sure why not if they can pass the safety regs. Might was well use my chinese harbor freight wrenches on a chinese car.

John Metcalf
John Metcalf
4 months ago
Reply to  Ryan L

Yeah, our last new car purchase was an end of year closeout Toyota Prius C in December of 2014. 0% financing on the loan. We were going to put down a sizeable down payment and the accounts person said, “Why, we’re giving you free money.”

I don’t think we’l be seeing that again soon.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  John Metcalf

I worry my low-miles 2013 car will get wrecked and I’ll have to find a newer car that will be bigger, more expensive, and filled with electronics and tracking devices I don’t want.

If that happens I think I’ll just daily my vintage MBs instead.

Last edited 4 months ago by The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
Strangek
Strangek
4 months ago

I mean, people buy Buicks right?

Dan1101
Dan1101
4 months ago

I think there is a huge hole in the vehicle market that any cheap and decent vehicles can fill. Chinese design and manufacturing has shown that even though they tend to cut corners in the early days and in the long run, that mid period can produce good products for great prices.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan1101

Yep, back in the 1980s, the Voluntary Import Restraint Agreement caused the Japanese automakers to shift upscale, abandoning the entry level, while the Detroit automakers took advantage of the breathing room it gave them to also push MSRPs up and reverse some of the financial damage they had suffered in the 1970s, suggesting that consumers who felt priced out should simply buy used cars. Then Yugo came in with a new car priced at $3,990 and sold over 36,000 in their first full year on the market, rising to over 48,000 the second year. The legacy automakers got scared enough that they started mining some of their lower cost overseas ventures and quickly rushed out new, lower cost offerings of their own, from the Justy to the Festiva, within a few years, the entry level end of the market had been reinvigorated and was again quite competitive.

We’re in a very similar situation right now, everyone has given up on the low end and decided to make CPO their entry offerings. All it needs is one new entrant to come in with a low cost offering to shock some life back into that sector, then watch the floodgates open back up to a new rush of models, once they feel their share being threatened.

And I don’t believe any of the major Chinese automakers are still building anything as dismal as the Yugo,even the lowest priced Chery, Geely, or BYD, or whatever, is going to be much closer to American tastes than Zastava’s finest was.

Myk El
Myk El
4 months ago

For years we’ve been seeing automakers focus on higher profit margin vehicles. They’ve admitted it. Making cars is hard. Making profitable inexpensive cars is even harder. So while I may never buy a Chinese vehicle, if Chinese automakers want to come in and fill that void in the low-end of the market, I could see it being successful, like Hyundai. Or a failure, like Yugo.

Cerberus
Cerberus
4 months ago

I try to limit the buying of typical low quality Chinese stuff (it’s not all junk, but that’s the focus here), though I often have to give in when it comes to tools because their low prices have undercut the good quality mid-range players so hard and for so long that they’ve either gone away (really, the name bought by a huge conglomerate to sell the same product with a different name and color from all the other once-decent brands they’ve bought and gutted), moved to China on their own and cheaped out on quality, or had to go to a more upscale price point with minimal to any increase in quality. At the higher end, they see less competition from once decent midrange brands that would have been cross-shopped in the past, so they can reduce their costs (quality) while maintaining their higher prices. Now you end up with a wide gulf in price between the (reduced quality) high end and the low end that varies in quality from complete garbage to acceptable (with generally poor ergonomics). I make a lot of stuff, but I make a lot of different stuff, so I use a lot of tools, but a good number of them get little use. When buying a new tool, I try to figure how much I’ll use something, how important accuracy is (when applicable), and ROI (eg, I had a cheap table saw for about 20 years that I hardly used and mostly for simple stuff that didn’t need great accuracy. When it came to home renovations and I realized I could save around $12k building my own cabinets, the capability and less user-friendliness of that table saw was no longer acceptable, so I justified buying a nicer one because of the great ROI.) A similar scenario has taken place with furniture (a big reason I build/rebuild my own even if DIY is not all that cheap anymore, but I’ll gladly put in the effort and IKEA money to get higher end quality and custom design) and I fear the same will happen with cars: disposable trash that sucks to own of highly questionable value even at low prices, mediocre acceptable quality at much higher prices, and high end with (presumably) commensurate quality. What is the environmental cost of large volumes of junk made poorly enough to profit at rock-bottom prices that quickly becomes uneconomical to repair and ends up in a landfill in short order?

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
4 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

This is why I hope driving older cars will stay legal, because it seems almost easier to get what I want by building it out of existing parts than buying it. Not even just for “built not bought” bragging rights or project car things, but just… building daily drivers/work vehicles with platforms with packaging/styling I like and carefully chosen components for reliability and ease of repair.

Cerberus
Cerberus
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

My dream was to build my own car. Gave up on it as it was too much time and money (there is nothing extant to use as a close base), but it may end up happening, even if it has to end up not exactly being what I intended.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

I’ve had the same dream since I was 16. If time/resources are a constraint, start small. I still have that dream. I made an electric microcar with the legal status of a bicycle in the kitchen of an apartment as a sort of appetizer. Moved up to assisting a friend with the design of another microcar, based on the design of that “bicycle” which he put together. Both are incomplete, but I have placed over 70,000 miles on the “bicycle” since building it and have been continuously upgrading it.

Pics of 2nd microcar:

imgur.com/qAJ4S92
imgur.com/82gCI0U
imgur.com/Clqm3Qn
imgur.com/vVuZKWt
imgur.com/Rx92V7Y

Pics of “Bicycle”:

imgur.com/1KvhZN8
imgur.com/j75uGn7
imgur.com/1aaEtdp
imgur.com/tzO209r
imgur.com/sPN7T9X
imgur.com/Jrz8rYc

Cerberus
Cerberus
4 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

There is no starting small as it’s a complete from scratch design. I moved to the idea of building a boat instead with a similar concept—sliding canopy, narrow beam, minimal BS for easy and very infrequent maintenance, and decent speed on a smaller motor. With the boat, though, I also get to have a control stick like a WW2 fighter plane and that’s something I wouldn’t do in a car even if I could. The boat should be under $20k to build, the car would be closer to $70k and take about 5 times longer if I was able to stay motivated enough (unlikely) and there is far more room for the cost to inflate on the car than the boat, plus the bulk of the boat can be done rather quickly and more DIY, which will keep me from losing interest while the car is the opposite.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

2nd microcar, called The Minion, was completely from scratch as well. About 1,000 manhours of work including design thus far, but less than $4,000 actually spent, including on components that haven’t been installed(such as the Hubmonster 6PH motor I purchased 2 months ago). The Minion is going to have at least 80 kW peak at the rear wheel, and maybe less-powerful motors up front as well.

Cerberus
Cerberus
4 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

That’s cool, but not what I want to build.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

What kind of car do you want to build? I love hearing about custom projects of this sort!

Cerberus
Cerberus
4 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Larger. Originally a tadpole trike for aerodynamics, weight, chassis simplicity, and general tendency to go against the grain, the legal classification got too difficult (3-wheels=motorcycle, motorcycle requires helmet, wearing a helmet is illegal in an enclosed vehicle in some states), so it became a quad (though with the Aptera’s lobbying, some of this might have changed, it varies by state, so it might still be a PITA). The variant I’d most like to build because it would be the most sensible (as opposed to a radial engined one with a NACA cowling) is something like a slightly flattened Curtis P-40 fuselage that tapers nearly to a vertical point behind the cockpit (the canopy for which is closer in style to a FW190) on an open wheel chassis. Front engine, RWD, 1+1 central seating. The canopy allows for a stronger, lighter chassis using full length, uninterrupted chassis rails up to hip height (sliding canopy rails mount to the tops of the rails). If I wanted to go EV, I could make the vehicle a little smaller as the driveshaft under the seat is no longer there to dictate size and proportion, but I wouldn’t want it to be too small, either. The Aptera is probably about same size. If that damn thing ever comes to market, I’ll buy one of those.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Thanks!

Hard to beat a tadpole’s aerodynamics if all of the wheels are enclosed. Unfortunately, the Minion’s are outboard, because we want it to have a wide front track to be able to corner well without tipping over.

Enclosed, my Milan SL velomobile purchased in 2021 and designed by Eggert Bulk, has a Cd value of 0.08 and a frontal area of 0.41 m^2. I can pedal it to 50 mph on flat ground in a mile and a half of full effort sprinting, and have gotten 89 mph careening down a long and steep hill. Greg Cantori got his to 60 mph at Battle Mountain, NV, where HPV record runs are made, entirely pedal powered with no motor. 3kW of electric motor has gotten one owned by Bill Thornton to 90 mph on an interstate highway. As an EV, Bill’s Milan needs about 10 Wh/mile to hold 60 mph on the highway, but has bicycle tires and mechanicals, so it is NOT safe at that speed.

Even with outboard wheels, the Aptera still managed to score a Cd value of 0.13, thanks to the fairings over the front wheels. It only needs about 100 Wh/mile on the highway, and can seat two adults with a generous amount of headroom and legroom.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago

Interest rates are a huge problem and the Fed’s LOL RATES GO UP approach to curbing inflation is really hurting regular people. Honestly it’s the first time in a while that poor economic conditions have had a significant effect on me since I became an adult. My retirement account essentially dropped 20% and hasn’t recovered.

Our house has actually depreciated slightly (most in our area have) due to the market dying almost overnight because of how expensive a fucking mortgage is, and now our 5 year ownership plan may have to become 10 year since we’re never getting a mortgage rate as low as the one we have again. The value of my wife and my cars took a huge hit too.

Don’t get me wrong, these are first world problems and we’re lucky to have what we do, but if you actually sit down and do the math we’ve probably had $30-40,000 disappear into the ether solely because of the current shitty economic conditions and interest rates. Some of it will come back, some will not…but it’s pretty frustrating when so much of it has been due to little more than bad economic policy.

I’m not buying a Chinese car and never will. Between slave labor, their authoritarian nightmare of a government, security concerns (every single data point you provide is going directly to Winnie the Pooh and his cronies) and other things it ain’t happening. We need to continue to implement policy that keeps them from our shores and kick other manufacturers in the balls repeatedly until they start making decent affordable cars again.

Last edited 4 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Austin Vail
Austin Vail
4 months ago

“The value of my wife and my cars took a huge hit too.” Excuse me, the value of your wife!?

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Lol my wife’s car+my car. PHRASING!

Ben
Ben
4 months ago

My retirement account essentially dropped 20% and hasn’t recovered.

Then something fishy is going on. The S&P is back near all-time highs. I suppose if you were heavily invested in bonds (which, IIRC from your previous posts, you shouldn’t be at your age) you might have taken a hit, but even those have recovered somewhat lately.

I feel you on the mortgage thing though. I’ve been dipping my toe into the housing market, and it was rather deflating to find out that even financing exactly the same amount I have on my current mortgage would cost around $450 more per month just in interest. Houses in my neighborhood, which used to sell in a day or two, have now been sitting with For Sale signs in the front yard for weeks. Houses I’ve looked at have knocked 10’s of thousands of dollars off their asking and still aren’t selling.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Yeah. We bought in a kind of up and coming neighborhood…the house was freshly renovated, so we didn’t expect to make a ton of money on it or anything, but places were selling near by for similar prices and more. A lot of developers were keyed in on the area too.

A year and a half later and nothing near us has sold in months. Pretty much all activity just stopped. We were in a good position to build a big chunk of equity for our next move but now we’re just kind of hoping the bleeding stops eventually.

It really sucks. We had to work our asses off to be able to afford our place and it’s become stagnant value wise at best and a depreciating asset at worst…and we live in DC where property values only sink so far. I can’t even imagine how bad it is for everyone else out there right now.

As I lamented in my original comment…I’m not really sure who the crushing interests rates are supposed to help other than the 1%. We’re upper middle class and they’ve kicked our ass. I find all of the “the economy is improving, wow!” headlines to ring pretty hollow these days.

Last edited 4 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
4 months ago

The problem is interest rates have been artificially too low for too long. Basically since the global financial crisis.

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
4 months ago

The wider that gap gets (even with a high tariff on them) a Chinese EV imported from Mexico is still going to be the cheapest car you can buy stateside. Of course people will purchase them.

Space
Space
4 months ago
Reply to  Ncbrit

Tariffs can always go higher! And arguably should in some cases like how the EU’s tarrifs on US cars is 4x higher than the US tarrifs on EU vehicles.

Last edited 4 months ago by Space
Younork
Younork
4 months ago

I currently drive a Korean econobox, I have no qualms with buying from less than reputable countries if they are reliable and cheap. However, my econobox does not have a touch screen, and therefore (I assume) is not connected to the internet; I am sure that Chinese vehicles would have some sort of internet connectivity which leads to some rather serious security questions. To freely allow yourself to be surveilled by a country that seems to be rather opposed to the US is at least concerning.

Bite Me
Bite Me
4 months ago
Reply to  Younork

It just feels delusional to act like your data is somehow safe and sacrosanct until you buy a Chinese car. The act that US corporations put on about securing your data is a smokescreen and there’s little recourse if they slip up, and you’ve likely got Chinese made/owned internet doodads in your home or car already if you want to act like they’re the only threat. I’m more concerned about what could happen to data held by US corporations if more effective fascists are voted into government than if China knows when I go to work.

Younork
Younork
4 months ago
Reply to  Bite Me

I’m perfectly happy to say I don’t want to be tracked by any American entity, but to see Microsoft as on the same level as the Chinese government is ignoring lots of what both entities have been doing in the past 10 years. I also still have some faith in the judicial branch of US government to protect my privacy, while I have no faith in my data having any protection in China.

Bite Me
Bite Me
4 months ago
Reply to  Younork

Whatever you believe China is guilty of, any major US corporation is guilty by association. And having faith in the judicial branch of the US government is laughable.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago

The expected trajectory of a developing country is to become a developed country. China’s car makers, by pursuing those markets, are going to be the incumbents when those countries have wealthier citizens and will reap the rewards. Long term thinking. US manufacturers can’t think past the next dividend payment.

10001010
10001010
4 months ago

Any company that makes an affordable, reliable, fun to drive, sporty 2 door hatchback as either EV or ICE will get my attention, Chinese or not.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
4 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Exactly this. I shop price and quality. Origin of manufacture is lower on the priority list.

David Davison
David Davison
4 months ago
Reply to  10001010

It is my belief that we should pay attention to the attitudes of our trading partners.
China, currently, is claiming large portions of the pacific ( 9 dash line ), threatening to take Taiwan by force and acting very hostile towards the US and nations around it.
The leadership of China seems to be becoming more and more authoritarian under Xi.
I am not in favor of my money being used to finance belligerence.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
4 months ago

I’d love to see the USCANAM and Europe fall in line together safety wise. This would make importation/exportation of vehicles a lot easier. European manufacturers could leverage their factories to produce vehicles for the lower part of the segment. Eliminate the chicken tax and reduce the absurd 25 year importation law to 15 years (like in Canada).

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

If US laws were made to maximize buyer choice and efficiency that would be an excellent decision.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

It would also reduce profits for those major manufacturers who purchase legislation.

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
4 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Corporations can buy unfair favors from the government because the government has unfair favors to sell.

Most conversation around fixing this focuses on the demand side. We need to fix the supply side.

Toecutter
Toecutter
4 months ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

Most conversation around fixing this focuses on the demand side. We need to fix the supply side.

Very much agreed.

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