If you’ve needed a car in the last three years your options have largely been to either hope you can pay more for what you want or settle for something that wasn’t exactly perfect. There are exceptions, but a lack of inventory and a strong demand has made the market difficult for buyers lacking unlimited funds. The good news is that transaction prices are down, incentives are up, and even the automakers most impacted by supply chain shortages are seeing inventories starting to increase to more normal levels.
But how normal? That’s sort of the question today as we look at where automakers are, what kind of pricing is out there in the market, and what might put all of this at risk. Plus, some off-road racing news, because I like off-road racing.
Also, I’ve been off in the U.K. for a week and appreciate Patrick, Jason, and Thomas stepping up to keep TMD running smoothly.
It’s Now Time To Consider That New Car
As Thomas noted recently, it’s been a weird time to buy a car this year. Some automakers are floating in vehicles while others are still trying to get back to normal production. This means that there’s been no real consistency in the carbuying experience. Sure, if you want a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y you can probably make that happen fairly quickly (though the price might suddenly change on you).
The good news is that, finally, things are starting to improve, and I’m willing to update market conditions from maybe getting the car you want to maybe getting the car you want at a reasonable price. This assumes, of course, that you don’t want a Ford Maverick Hybrid XL (just bump up to the XLT, it’ll be fine).
You want proof? Honda and Acura, two brands absolutely wrecked by supply chain issues, dramatically improved in July, with a 53% increase in sales over last year’s dismal July for the former. Acura, too, was up 45.4%. You want a fun number? Honda cars are up a whopping 96% year-over-year, led by the newly redesigned and super fresh Honda Accord. It’s Happy Honda Days all over again! Toyota’s improvement wasn’t quite as dramatic, but with an 8% year-over-year increase, they’re also headed in the right direction. Even Subaru, which has had the tightest inventory for a mainstream brand, is starting to get more Foresters and Outbacks in stock.
Here are some more good numbers, via this Automotive News report mostly, that show the market is improving:
- JD Power/GlobalData show that incentives are up about 107% year-over-year, or about $1,888 on average. You want a Jeep Gladiator? Stellantis is offering $6,453 off and employee pricing for qualified buyers.
- Inventory is up about 64% from where it was last year, about inline with what we had last month.
- Cox Automotive said supplies are lowest in Florida and highest in places like Denver, Detroit and Seattle. So, clearly, try to buy a Jeep Gladiator in Seattle if you want a deal.
If there’s one number that isn’t great it’s the average interest rate for a new loan, which is expected to be 7.1% last month, up 1.8 percentage points from a year ago. If you can pay cash or put a big deposit down it’ll help a lot.
Ferrari Thinks It’s Gonna Make Even More Money
It’s great to be Ferrari right now. Every car is sold. Sure, the F1 team isn’t quite there yet, but the rest of the motorsports program is pretty strong and the tifosi are still pumped. Plus, unlike Toyota Corolla buyers, Ferrari customers are completely flush with cash.
Oh, and the money keeps pouring in. From Reuters:
The company said it saw its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) growing this year to between 2.19-2.22 billion euros, versus a previous forecast of between 2.13-2.18 billion euros.
The forecast for full-year EBITDA margin, however, remained unchanged at around 38%. The expected cash generation was also broadly unchanged, seen at around 900 million euros versus a previous guidance of up to 900 million euros.
A 38% margin! These are, in the carmaker universe, not huge amounts of money, but the margin is undeniably insane. People get excited when Tesla’s margins are above 20%.
The Nissan Titan Costs Just $47,665 And Is A Truck You Can Buy
Am I going to borrow a Nissan Titan? Yes. At some point I want to borrow a Nissan Titan. It’s a vehicle I keep forgetting exists and then I see one and I’m like “Huh, yeah, that. That’s a truck.” Maybe it’s good! They only sold, like, 15,000 of them last year so they are quite rare as far as new pickups go (that’s about a week’s worth of F-Series sales). Eventually, Nissan might drop the Titan for a smaller EV pickup, but who knows.
Pricing has just been released for the 2024 Nissan Titan and you can now get a base Titan SV Crew Cab 4×2 for just $45,770 before a destination charge of $1,895. That makes it just a hair cheaper than a similarly equipped Ford F-150 XLT with the 5.0 V8.
What do you get for all of that? Here’s what Nissan says in its press release:
Every 2024 Nissan TITAN delivers the power, technology, safety features and reliability prized by truck buyers, wrapped in bold Nissan styling. The standard 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 gasoline engine delivers best-in-class standard 400 horsepower (excluding EVs)3, along with 413 lb-ft of torque. Nissan Safety Shield® 3604, a suite of six advanced driver-assist systems, is also standard on every TITAN.
The standard V8 is a big class differentiator here and probably appeals to someone. Is that you? Defend the Nissan Titan in the comments. I want to hear it.
The Unlimited Off-Road Race Series Is Back In 2024
Earlier this year, the Martelli Brothers of off road racing fame, said they were going to combine the Parker 400, Mint 400, and California 300 into something called the Unlimited Off-Road Racing Series. The fun thing about this series is there’s basically every kind of off-road ATV, truck, et cetera imaginable competing. Also, they keep asking us to bring beaters out to pre-run the course and it’s something we have to have to do.
Well, now we’ve got dates:
Unlimited Off-Road Racing will host all desert car, truck and UTV classes, including youth, and host motorcycles at two of their marquee events, The Mint 400 and The California 300. The new series will also feature the next evolution of the UTV World Championship, which will be determined by points accumulated at all three events. The Parker 400 will take place Wednesday, January 10th through Sunday, January 14th, followed by The Mint 400, Wednesday, March 6th to Sunday, March 10th, and The California 300 from Wednesday, October 2nd to Sunday, October 6th, 2024.
Hmm… this gives me some ideas.
It’s Your Turn
Ok, folks. What’s your best idea for the worst beater we can bring to pre-run one of these events? It could be something we own (i3?), or something we should buy.
Photos: Off-Road Racing Series, Stellantis, Honda, Ferrari, Nissan
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