The Truth About Cars » car ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » car ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Study: Nine Out Of 10 Millennials Consider Car Ownership Important http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/study-nine-out-of-10-millennials-consider-car-ownership-important/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/study-nine-out-of-10-millennials-consider-car-ownership-important/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102257 Allegedly, Millennials care only about the latest iPhone, and not the i8. Nine out of 10 Millennials would disagree, and consider car ownership important. The statistic comes from a study by rental car company Enterprise Holdings, The Detroit Bureau says, with the indication Millennials are renting cars they might want to buy later, per fleet […]

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Fashion Bloggers Look Over Mercedes AMG GT S At NYFW AW15

Allegedly, Millennials care only about the latest iPhone, and not the i8. Nine out of 10 Millennials would disagree, and consider car ownership important.

The statistic comes from a study by rental car company Enterprise Holdings, The Detroit Bureau says, with the indication Millennials are renting cars they might want to buy later, per fleet operations boss Kurt Kohler:

When we provide our customers with a great rental experience, it doesn’t just keep them coming back to us – it clearly sends many of them into their local dealer showrooms, as well.

Though studies like Enterprise’s are seen more as marketing tools benefiting the company than the consumer, other studies and reports point to the same conclusion: young adults want to drive, and want to own what they drive. One analysis by J.D. Power found Millennials account for 27 percent of all U.S. new car sales at present, with the cohort overtaking Baby Boomers on the sales floor by the 2020s.

Returning to Enterprise’s study, the company found 92 percent of Boomers and Millennials believe owning a car is important, compared to 73 percent in 2013. The spike is likely the result of improving fortunes among the younger cohort alongside the economy following the end of the Great Recession.

Regarding rental-to-showroom sales, 32 percent of Millennials said a positive renting experience led them down the road to their new vehicle, while 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 23 percent of Boomers though the same. Additionally, 45 percent of those surveyed said renting a car prepared them for the technologies they would find in their own vehicle.

The study is more good news for automakers as they seek to bring in more potential customers. Rather than build fleet-ready models for the sake of keeping the lights on, automakers could use the opportunity to claim those sales as marketing for the real thing, especially if they decide to add more technology to a base model to show off what they can do when it comes time to turn the renter into a buyer.

(Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz USA/Facebook)

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Where Have All The Clinton Era Cars Gone? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/clinton-era-cars-gone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/clinton-era-cars-gone/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086449 That moment you realize the oldest car in the parking lot is yours. Yeah, I just had that moment. The car in question is a 2001 Honda Accord EX. Four-door. Five-speed. A dodo bird of a used car stuck in today’s finance driven market. I walked around the parking lot you see above trying to find […]

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MyrtleBeach

That moment you realize the oldest car in the parking lot is yours.

Yeah, I just had that moment.

The car in question is a 2001 Honda Accord EX. Four-door. Five-speed. A dodo bird of a used car stuck in today’s finance driven market. I walked around the parking lot you see above trying to find one vehicle, any vehicle, that’s as old as mine.

The blue ’05-ish Caravan on the bottom left came a bit close, but it didn’t happen. Instead, everything else seemed to be on the younger side of the curve, the overwhelming majority of vehicles sold new at a later time in history.

When the hell did my car – the class of 2001 – become the old fart of the village? In this case, the village happened to be Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – a touristy place that regularly displays thousands of trinkets, tchotchkes, and recreational drunks often as old as a Michael Dukakis bumper sticker.

You think I kid? I do! But really, trust me on the trinkets. The same exact souvenirs around during the ’80s and ’90s on the main tourist strip have now relocated to the flea markets and thrift stores. That nice flowery ceramic cup mass produced in Hong Kong back when ‘China’ couldn’t be rubber stamped on cheap Chinese goods is still out there for $1.99 trying to find that one last customer whose name is Alfred or Milly before the flea market finally donates it to Goodwill along with the MC Hammer posters and VHS tapes.

Apparently, older used cars are rapidly approaching the same life cycle when it comes to consumer demand. Everyone is buying new these days – or, at least, new enough. Seven year loans? Nobody did them only a few years ago, but now they’re to our economy what buying stocks on margin were in the ’20s or real estate just a few short years ago. If you can make the note work on paper, you can quickly be given the keys to America’s most fashionable new assets.

It’s a bubble and not the first in our business by a long shot. From Chrysler trying to finance their creaky old K-cars to people they lovingly called PODS (Poor Old Dumb Shits) to Mitsubishi supplementing their ‘zero down, zero interest’ offers to anyone with a pulse and a paycheck, this industry has always been about securitizing and moving the cheap metal. Even if the amortized metal isn’t so old, the wheels of conspicuous consumption have to be greased just right in order to keep that assembly line of wealth flowing – at least until the next bust cycle.

accord3

It’s an interesting juxtaposition for a guy who still buys a lot more newer cars these days than older ones. Fourteen years old just isn’t old to me anymore.

Granted, there is no tinworm here in Georgia and the roads are exceptionally smooth, which probably ages the bodies and suspensions of most cars at a rate no more than half the overall northern average. However, the interesting part in most areas of our country is you can drive a 17-year-old Camry or Accord brand new from the late Clinton Era to the present day and not really feel like you missed all that much.

Safety? A bit, though most folks don’t really make it a continuing priority after they’ve bought new unless 1) they have a young family, or 2) they’re shopping for someone else. I find what makes most commuters kick their older cars to the curb is either an expensive repair, maintenance issue or a seemingly incurable emissions problem.

Power? The four-cylinder Accord comfortably did 80 mph for the entire trip and passing power was always there. It doesn’t have as much horsepower as an old Acura NSX, like a 13-year-old Nissan Altima offers at a similar selling price to that 14-year-old Accord. Yet, the lack of power never hurt when it came time to utilize the two- to three-tenths of the performance limits of this vehicle, which is what 90+% of the car driving public already does for the most part.

Fuel economy? Hell no! Over the next five years, for every new car dollar you spend if you’re paying cash, you’re looking at a dime and a nickel in return in lower fuel costs.

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In my Accord scenario, I wouldn’t save a single cent in fuel costs if I bought the average new vehicle of today versus keeping that 14-year-old Accord for the next five years. The brakes and timing belt were also recently done, so chances are the next owner will have a good shot at driving it right up to year 20 so long as they take care of the little things before they become big.

And that’s where the problem lies for most folks: the little unpredictable things versus the big long-term expense. Unpredictability, for a common machine that has tens of thousands of parts in varying states of wear, is a greater psychological problem for most car owners than having a $500 payment for years on end.

Most folks simply don’t know much about their cars and manufacturers are increasingly finding ways to capitalize and expand on that lack of knowledge. From adding plastic covers to the top of car engines to removing dipsticks and ease of maintenance opportunities for the aspiring DIY owner, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors done by automakers under the guise of technology.

Additionally, government edicts improving a given vehicle’s performance in some ways add great cost to everyone involved in the design, manufacture, and upkeep of a new car. Long-term goals in improving fuel economy and emissions have always begat new problems for the auto industry and those producing the fuels and oils we use to power our machines.Dupont CAFE impact

Just as old CAFE and environmental regulations resulted in billions of repair related expenses back in the ’70s and ’80s, the new regulations of the modern motoring era are pushing technologies with a similar trajectory. Continuously variable transmissions with ‘lifetime fluids’ that increasingly don’t hold up and ever more expensive catalytic converters (and their associated sensors) will likely shorten the time of planned obsolescence.

Sometimes older models really are the better ones, at least when it comes to the real world of car ownership. Am I wrong? Perhaps. But every time I hear an average non-enthusiast bequeathing over $30,000 of their financial earnings to something as financially pointless as a commuter car, I realize that the new car marketplace is just becoming increasingly dependent on the idea of long-term financial dependency for the average car owner.

Will that be a good thing? For anyone? I doubt it if you want to be a car owner. Whatever breakthroughs we achieve through innovation will more than likely be negated by corporate sponsored legislation designed to make the consumer the ultimate bearer of those costs. Whether it’s the brave new world of car sharing helping to eliminate the cyclicality of the auto industry’s boom/bust cycles or the ever declining market segment of DIY owners and long-term keepers who won’t have the money needed to keep their cars on the road, we’re now in an era where long-term financing and perpetual payments have become the new short-term solutions.

And that’s a big problem.

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Kalanick: UberX Could Become Cheaper Than Owning A Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kalanick-uberx-could-become-cheaper-than-owning-a-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kalanick-uberx-could-become-cheaper-than-owning-a-car/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866850 Uber wants to do more than disrupt the traditional taxi service, seeking to bring its pricing low enough to replace your own vehicle, period. Jalopnik reports CEO Travis Kalanick spoke with The New York Times about a 20 percent cut in pricing on UberX rides in New York, and explained what he’d like to see […]

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Uber iPhone

Uber wants to do more than disrupt the traditional taxi service, seeking to bring its pricing low enough to replace your own vehicle, period.

Jalopnik reports CEO Travis Kalanick spoke with The New York Times about a 20 percent cut in pricing on UberX rides in New York, and explained what he’d like to see happen as far as his service is concerned:

The whole point of price cuts is to get UberX pricing below the cost of owning a car. Let’s say you take three or four trips a day on average. If we can get the price of UberX low enough, we can get to where it’s cheaper to take Uber than to own a car.

He adds that while that’s currently easier said than done — there are only so many drivers to go around — and that the cuts are temporary, if Uber can expand its reach through lower pricing, the service would turn a profit even if it makes the cuts permanent. Kalanick also claims his vision would benefit all involved, from providing more jobs in New York to riders getting more for their dollar.

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Ford: Automotive Industry Must Prepare To Rethink Transportation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-automotive-industry-must-prepare-to-rethink-transportation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-automotive-industry-must-prepare-to-rethink-transportation/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862177 Sharing the pages of The Wall Street Journal’s 125th Anniversary issue with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Summers and Taylor Swift, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. sees a future for the automotive industry so bright, he’ll need to wear shades. The chairman wrote in his op-ed for the paper that the automobile will […]

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Bill Ford in Turkey

Sharing the pages of The Wall Street Journal’s 125th Anniversary issue with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Summers and Taylor Swift, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. sees a future for the automotive industry so bright, he’ll need to wear shades.

The chairman wrote in his op-ed for the paper that the automobile will become “part of a larger ecosystem,” and the industry must act accordingly. He explains that this challenge “represents a $130 billion business opportunity” to develop solutions to growing transportation concerns, such as a vehicle’s interactions with a city’s multi-modal infrastructure as a result of more people moving back into cities.

Ford also believes ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are signalling a shift from individual ownership, going as far as to proclaim the practice “may not be the primary model of vehicle ownership in the future.” He adds that future vehicles will be heavily connected with each other for high optimization of his future transportation ecosystem, noting the early phases of the connected car are already in existence.

Finally, the chairman states driving itself will need to be redefined thanks to autonomous vehicles taking the wheel — or lack thereof, in Google’s case — from the driver in more and more situations. In turn, drivers who would have handed over their keys in their twilight years would now have more time and greater mobility through autonomous technologies, as well as those with physical disabilities.

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Analysts: Peak Car To Arrive By 2020s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/analysts-peak-car-to-arrive-by-2020s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/analysts-peak-car-to-arrive-by-2020s/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:54:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=756369 After a century of motoring, and with several factors rapidly changing the landscape, analysts are forecasting the peak of global automotive growth to come sometime in the 2020s. The Detroit News reports that as more people join the exodus out of suburbia into major cities, along with other factors such as pollution, gridlock, build quality […]

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Ferrari 550 Pininfarina Barchetta

After a century of motoring, and with several factors rapidly changing the landscape, analysts are forecasting the peak of global automotive growth to come sometime in the 2020s.

The Detroit News reports that as more people join the exodus out of suburbia into major cities, along with other factors such as pollution, gridlock, build quality and the adoption of alternative modes of transportation — particularly among younger generations who cannot afford a car of their own — auto sales around the globe will peak somewhere around 100 million in the next decade, according to several analysts such as IHS Automotive.

Further, 44 percent of Americans surveyed by Intel said they would prefer to live in big cities with driverless cars able to keep traffic flowing smoothly, while one out of 10 households have no car at all.

The coming upheaval is prompting automakers to consider their place in the new scene, where red barchetta owners outrun silver bubble cars, and where car ownership gives way to car sharing. Tim Ryan, vice chairman of markets and strategy for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, puts the future of motoring into perspective:

The key question is: Do you sell cars or do you sell mobility? If you ignore these megatrends, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

With an expected 25 percent to 50 percent increase urban dwelling over the next decade, and 9 billion expected to live in urban areas 25 years from now, the groundwork is being prepared to meet this coming challenge. Gartner Inc. auto analyst Thilo Koslowski predicts urbanites to use ride- and car-sharing services such as Lyft and Car2Go to commute to their destination, with autonomous cars picking up their passengers, and using GPS and other communication technologies to deliver them safely.

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Hammer Time Remix: The Keeper Culture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/hammer-time-remix-the-keeper-culture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/hammer-time-remix-the-keeper-culture/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 15:55:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469527 My pants still fit me from college. Well, they are sweatpants after all. They were given to me by a friend of mine who is known as a “Datsunaholic”. He keeps a few old cars. A few of those models have been written up by Paul Niedermeyer who now keeps a lot of houses along […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

My pants still fit me from college.

Well, they are sweatpants after all.

They were given to me by a friend of mine who is known as a “Datsunaholic”. He keeps a few old cars. A few of those models have been written up by Paul Niedermeyer who now keeps a lot of houses along with his new web site. He invariably finds ‘keeper folk’ from all walks of life. But most of the people he finds are not car enthusiasts at all.

Why do they keep these cars then?  Are they perhaps hoarders? Do they suffer the afflictions of the wantless?

Or is this just another write-up inspired by Kevin Bacon?

No, they are just keepers. They find what they need. A car about yay big. In blue. There. Done. They then go on about their lives avoiding the debt and the down payment in a way that gives guys like Dave Ramsey so much sanctimony. In rich times they’re sometimes looked up as hermits and miserable misers. In poor times they lead by example. But most of the time they are just ignored and blend right in. But that nagging question remains. Why do these people not buy cars?

Well… the keeper of old cars comes in many forms.

The Junkyard Dog – He can tell you the exact locations of every vehicle he uses at the junkyard to keep his ride going.

“The Volvo 740 right next to the 940 SE at Jason’s Junk Emporium  is a white wagon with the removed engine and no seats. What a beaut! I removed all the bulbs off of that one and even the wiring harness which looks to be nearly brand new . The flex disc came straight from Groton and…”

This guy is into his ride like Elliot Spitzer is into hookers.

The Quality Guru: The shocks are from Bilstein. The wheels are AMGs. The brakes are Brembos. The oil is Amsoil and the oil filter can also be used as a breathing apparatus in the event of a major disaster.

Yes, the car we’re describing may be nothing more than an under-engineered Mercedes from the seventh circle of hell. But hey! It is dealer maintained. The sheetmetal is given a full regimen of Mother’s every month. The seats and carpet are steam cleaned at the local auto spa.

Usually these folks are either hopelessly divorced or terminally single.

The Tinker-er-er-er: The inside of his garage is an endless maze of gondola board and special tools that were designed only for one car and one purpose. That is to enable this owner to install anything he wants whenever he wants.

This guy has a custom lift, four jacks, a pair of aces, three welders, and several bookshelves loaded with manuals. When you want something done cheap and right, he’ll be able to help you…. once he completes his projects. In a few months or so… if you’re lucky…

The Tightwad Husband: This is the guy who spends an evening or two a month performing spreadsheets and budgets. He inevitably breaks down the cost of nearly every automotive expenditure to it’s finest elements.

“Motor oil you say? Why, take the $10 Quaker State online rebate and find the nearest Autozone that’s doing $1.99 / quart closeout for synthetic. Then…”

Oh damnit! My wife wrote this while I was replacing a compact florescent upstairs. I’ll keep it Susan. Thanks!

The Broke: The tires may be more bald than Mr. Clean and all the leaking oils make the car smell like Seacaucus. But hey, it runs.

Often times these cars will have half empty bottles of fluid wedged under the bonnet for easy access. There is almost always a paper cone next to the coolant resevoir, and what’s that wire hanger there? Oh, that’s to help keep the duct tape in place so that the front of the car… still attaches to the rest of the car.

The Bum: He hasn’t done a damn thing since 1987. When the parents, brothers, and relatives are nearly done with their car but don’t quite want to sell it outright, they give it to him.

Within a year or two the creme puff turns into a pile of refuse destined for China.

The Content Folk: They don’t know much about cars. Oil for them should be changed every 3k at most and if the mechanic advises them about a defective Johnson valve, they go “Uh huh!” and write a check.

Thankfully these folks enjoy two unique qualities. They find good independent mechanics and they tend to be easy going with the machinery. Since the car fits them like a good pair of, sweatpants, they go about their lives without thinking about cars. Pity the fools.

The Conserver: His slogan is, “Better dead, than revved.” This is the owner who pulses, glides and coasts to nearly every stop sign and red light. Regardless of the manical driving habits that surround his frugal ride.

The engine for their car will never see the north side of 3000 rpm’s, and the exterior is always given cover from the elements. Even if the car is now old enough to order its own tall one. The conserver wants to get just enough out of it so that their kids can have a cheap ride, and maybe his future grandkids too.

The Conserver also knows how to time his daily commute. Right down to the changing of the traffic signals, and the unyieldable momentum needed to put the car in the same parking space with minimal pressure on the gas and brake pedals.

Grands: As they say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “ I’m not dead yet! “ Of course the double yellow line is a mere suggestion and the nearby shopping cart haulers at the supermarket keep a wide perimeter when ‘they’ come around.

The car is driven about 35 miles a week and it’s all dinged out.

Dings from curbs. Dings from doors, walls, and at least a dozen people. Constant ding sounds from keys left in the ignition. Ding sounds from the door left open. In fact, the car has encountered so much dinging over the years that the ding buzzer doesn’t even work anymore.

For those honored elderly who still drive classic Cadillacs and Lincolns, please replace the ‘ding’ with the ‘dong’.

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The Japanese Abandon Their Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/the-japanese-abandon-their-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/the-japanese-abandon-their-cars/#comments Sat, 07 Aug 2010 19:34:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=362374 Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry has bad news for Japan’s automakers: Japanese citizens are dumping their cars and take the train. Domestic car ownership has declined for the first time since 1964, with declines particularly pronounced in big cities, report The Nikkei [sub]: “Less-status-conscious city residents are abandoning cars for public transit.” The ministry surveys the […]

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Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry has bad news for Japan’s automakers: Japanese citizens are dumping their cars and take the train. Domestic car ownership has declined for the first time since 1964, with declines particularly pronounced in big cities, report The Nikkei [sub]: “Less-status-conscious city residents are abandoning cars for public transit.”

The ministry surveys the number of cars owned per household every five years. The latest study counted 1,414 cars per 1,000 households, declining 2.2 percent from the previous 2004 poll. This marked the first fall since 1964, when the first study was conducted.

2.2 percent less is not mass abandonment. But it’s a turn. The Nikkei has a darker view: “The latest trend bodes ill for the domestic auto market and hints at a shifting sociocultural landscape, where once-common practices, such as buying a larger vehicle after starting a family or upgrading to a higher-end model after a job promotion, are no longer considered important.”

Here are the more interesting numbers: Car ownership tumbled 6.4 percent among the under-30 population and slid 6.6 percent among individuals in their 40s. Younger generations nervous about their economic futures are shying away from auto purchases, while the middle-aged are parting with their vehicles amid a deteriorating income environment.

And they are indeed switching the cars for the train: The drop in vehicles owned per household was the sharpest in Kanagawa Prefecture at 7.7 percent, followed by Chiba Prefecture’s 7.5 percent, Saitama Prefecture’s 7.2 percent and then Tokyo’s 6.9 percent. These prefectures are all part of the greater Tokyo area, bedroom cities connected by a vast and efficient public transportation system with the city core. Tokyo has one of the, if not the, most comprehensive subway systems in the world. You don’t need a car there. Most of the times, it’s a burden.  We have an apartment in Tokyo, no car. My wife owns a building lot. She makes a lot of money by renting it out as parking space.

For the few times you want a car, ther are alternatives. Domestic car-sharing sites more than doubled from a year earlier to 861 locations. Membership surged 150 percent.

Carmakers are getting desperate to attract the few young buyers that some are even holding events at elementary schools in Tokyo to drum up interest in cars among blase children. Toyota sends mechanics to schools to explain and show how cars work.

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