By on January 3, 2018

 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T - Image: Honda

Automakers released 2017 year-end numbers today and, despite lower or near flat year-over-year volume for most, the performance beat the expectations of most analysts.

Still, American new vehicle sales slipped a hair under 5 percent in December, dropping by 1.75 percent to a total of 17.245 million for all of 2017. This brings the parade of annual growth to a screeching halt, as the industry has posted year-over-year gains ever since the dark days of 2009.

The top selling individual nameplate in the industry for 2017 was the Blue Oval, selling 2,464,041 machines in a performance that largely mirrored last year’s results. Toyota and Chevrolet also cracked the two million mark and, in a surprising revelation, Subaru sold more cars than Kia in 2017.

2018 Car Sales

2018 Car Sales

2018 Car Sales

As a corporation spanning four brands, GM topped three million units, moving a total of 3,002,237 vehicles off showroom floors in 2017. That’s off 1.3 percent, year-over-year. Cadillac was off by a remarkable 28.6 percent in the final month of last year, dragging the entire nameplate down by a total of 8 percent compared to the entirety of 2016. Buick was largely flat, while GMC saw a gain of 2.5 percent.

FCA sales free-fell by over 8 percent, year-over-year, thanks to a mass exodus of customers from the Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Jeep brands, which all saw double-digit declines. Ram ended the year up 2 percent, and Alfa added 12,031 cars to the bottom line.

The two largest Japanese brands were also largely flat in 2017 compared to the previous year, with Honda showing a 0.2 percent increase over all (+0.7 percent Honda, -4.2 percent Acura) and Toyota edging down a mere 0.6 percent, largely thanks to a near 8 percent dip at Lexus. Gains at the Toyota brand itself were offset by the axing of the Scion brand.

Month-over-month comparisons are always tricky as a single good month in a calendar year can skew percentages quite wildly. December 2016 was notably strong, for example. Year-to-date comparisons provide a much more realistic picture of the state of the industry.

Challenges lie ahead for the auto industry, with rising interest rates and other tests on the horizon. There is a decent chance that incentives will rise next year on some high-margin vehicles as manufacturers stretch themselves to closely match 2017’s performance.

Hedging its bets, GM said in a release it expects the industry to sell fewer than 17 million vehicles in 2018, lower than what will likely be the final total for 2017 and more than half a million units off the heady days of 2016.

No surprise to anyone reading this website, American car buyers have shown a clear preference for crossovers, pickups, and SUVs. Some in the industry, such as FCA boss Sergio Marchionne, have said the shift may be permanent.

We’ll update the charts listed above as the remaining manufacturers release numbers.

[Source: Automotive News] [Image: Honda]

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79 Comments on “U.S. Auto Sales in 2017 – Year’s End Delivers Letdowns As Market Shrinks...”


  • avatar
    No Nickname Required

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

    On a serious note, I am not surprised. Higher ATPs, 84 month loans, and a flooded used car market seem to me to be a recipe for fewer new car sales. And not to be pessimistic or anything but it appears like this is what we’ll be seeing for the next few years. I could be wrong though.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I don’t see much good ahead for the automakers. You’ve got increasing incentives, longer loans, massive spending on EV and autonomous tech (with no certainty of a payoff), and plenty of nice off lease cars around.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Not to mention cars just keep getting better. The better they’re built, the longer they last, the lower the volume of new car sales.

      This may be a good thing.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Are Chrysler, Ford and GM profitable? That is the bottom line.

    Otherwise, Jeep selling much more than Hyundai? Koreans are struggling big time.

    Caddy’s sales compared to Mercedes and BMW and Lexus brands is disappointing. Fire that Caddy CEO already.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Big not so surprise is Toyota. Down over 7% from last December even with the new Camry. I know my local rental agencies are filled with Toyota products. But this is alarming.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        As that chart showed the other day, Nissan and Toyota are gorging themselves on rental fleet sales. Funny how it was sooo terribly bad when Ford or GM does it, but then its just good buisness when Nissan and Toyota take their places at the rental buffet.

        • 0 avatar
          KalapanaBlack7G

          There is a massive difference between the strategies. I have many contacts from my years in rental cars, and can tell you that right now is hard times for rental car companies, nothing at all like the boon times of a decade ago. Then, Ford and GM dumped mass amounts of cars with ultra cheap, fixed monthly costs and guaranteed buy back values, meaning rental companies had no trouble making money on tlrenting the cars that cost, say, $200/month to own.

          Now, yes, Ford and GM have basically removed themselves from the daily rental markets, barring some specific models (Fusion, Focus). There aren’t hundreds of thousands of Impalas, G6s, Auras, Five Hundreds, or Captiva Sports manufactured with no buyers lined up and dumped anymore. Nissan is the only company doing that. Everyone else has raised prices. So now they pick from Toyota, Hyundai and Chrysler, which still sell but at drastically higher prices. The car manufacturers are a much larger threat to the big 3 rental companies than ride sharing or Uber/Lyft.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Been a tough year for the Koreans due to 3 things.

      1. Lineup/supply too car-heavy.
      2. Most models at/near end of their life-cycles.
      3. Reduction in fleet sales (one reason why the previous President of Hyundai USA was let go.)

      Things should start looking up this year with the addition of the Kona and the new Veloster (sales were down around 60% for the year), followed by a new Santa Fe Sport, 3-row CUV (to replace the Santa Fe), Sonata and new PHEV/EV CUV.

      Not surprisingly, Cadillac sales saw a similar downturn due to the same issue with being too car-heavy (with those models getting towards the end of their life-cycles, not to mention having been packaged improperly from the start).

      Things should change with the addition of 2-3 new crossovers to the lineup as well as a re-aligned sedan lineup.

      Even with the Verano being discontinued, LaCrosse sales seeing a downturn and Regal sales interrupted by the switch-over to the new model, Buick managed to eek out a sales gain for the year due to the Envision CUV.

      Also have to keep in mind that many Buick models compete with the FWD models from Lexus, as well as Infiniti and Acura.

      Huge disparity btwn Accord and Camry sales for the month; indicates significant fleet sales for the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Audi finally eclipse Buick this year with Buick redesigning the Enclave, first full year with the Envision, Encore selling at similar discounted prices as the Trax, and new Regal Sportback and TourX.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Um, how many models does Audi have in its lineup compared to Buick?

          Audi has 12.

          Buick has HALF of that with 6.

          One can make an argument that Audi competes with both Buick and Cadillac and in that case B/C handily outsells Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        And nobody ever says that at one point some people started to believe that Sonata is Camry [reliable appliance]. They bought it and realized that it is not near Camry, especially when volume increased and quality went down. And they didn’t return. And where would Koreans be today if not for massive discounts?

        • 0 avatar
          VW4motion

          You could also ask where would toyoda be with out massive fleet sales. Here in Utah it looks like every other new Toyota is a rental.
          With the new Camry out in the last quarter of 2017, Toyota sales should not be down by 7% in December. Maybe people are starting to realize marketing cannot carry the Camry against the competition.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Doubt that reliability has anything to do with it (esp. as the Sonata is pretty reliable); the least reliable Hyundai model is the Tucson with the DCT, but sales of the Tucson grew a good bit last year and would have grown more if Hyundai had greater supply).

          Speaking of “massive discounts” – the new Camry can be had at or below invoice.

          Which is the same thing that happened when Edmunds purchased their long-term (previous gen Camry) a few weeks after it was launched.

          And not only did the Sonata have a higher ATP than the previous Camry, so did the Optima – which was also higher than the Sonata’s (the Optima in certain months had a higher ATP than even the venerable Accord).

          The Camry’s ATP was lower than every other midsizer aside from the (discontinued) Avenger.

          Reason for that was not only discounting, but heavy sales to rental fleet.

          There’s a reason why the Accord’s ATP has remained near or at the top of the segment, whereas the Camry has plunged towards the bottom (actually reaching the bottom with the previous generation after the Avenger was discontinued).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Ford is projected to make a pre-tax profit of 9 billion in 2017, which is down from last year’s record of 10b. But, still nothing to sneeze at.

      Not sure about GM and FCA, but with higher-margin trucks and crossover sales on the rise, I’m betting they are profitable as well.

      Car (as in sedan, coupe, etc) sales are down at all 3, but they don’t generate profit like light truck sales do, so its a win. I don’t think GM is shedding many tears about the Malibu’s performance when looking at all the Equinoxes, Silverados and Tahoes rolling out of showrooms.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      One bone I have to pick (coming from a position of complete and total bias) is that FCA gets dragged through the mud for its issues, some of them legitimate, some mountains manufactured from molehills. Admittedly the 5-year vehicle plan laid out in 2012 has been hit & miss, but to wit the financial 5-year plan is achieving and surpassing targets. When Sergio relinquishes the executive sweater to the next person to sit in the big chair, he will be handing over the reins to a company that’s in a comfortable financial position.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        It’s because of Sergio. He went to school in southern Ontario and saw how the Federal, state and provincial governments were handing out financial incentives to automakers. He went back to Italy and made a deal that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep would be handed over to him by the U.S. and Canadian governments with a financial bailout on the condition he was appointed CEO of Fiat. To get the top Fiat job he had to promise to revive Alfa, make use of existing Fiat platforms in multiple products and divert Jeep/Ram profits to float Fiats prior debt.

        He gets a massive payout if he can float this company till his contract expires or achieves the ultimate goal for the owners, selling FCA and its debt in a merger. Sergio’s first idea was to demand Ontario give him like $280 million for the privilege of retaining manufacturing jobs. They quickly reminded him of the massive bailout they granted Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep and gave him control of the company for the sole reason that he said he had a plan. So when his plan for demanding more money Detroit/Ontario didn’t go as planned, he moved forward by draining money from r&d in the mean time.

        Regroup, now he says companies designing individual engines/motors is pointless and wasteful. The future is platform and driveline sharing between automakers because development is too expensive on your own. He backed it up by waiting for someone to merge with and use their existing platforms, engines and hybrid technology.

        He made good on his promise to Fiat and used their platforms launching models like the Dodge Dart(Tom Brady couldn’t even sell it) and the Chrysler 200 which were quickly discontinued. Flops like the Fiat 500, Alfa 4c, etc… here in Ottawa, Ontario I have yet to see a new Pacifica in the wild. FCA rode the full-size LX platform, grand Cherokee, Ram truck and Wrangler platforms as long as possible.

        They have no new major electrified propulsion technology planned that they could transition to if the oil markets drastically changed. Sergio told us not to worry, gas will stay cheap. People pile on because this guy is aggravatingly arrogant, was creepy in a sexual way to the CEO of General Motors because she is female and he is a businessman opportunist.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Jeep has the worst performance of any domestic brand. Ain’t reality a b*tch ?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I think the void created by the GFC in US is nearly full.

    Sub prime vehicle loans will not make the difference or attractive lease arrangements. Sales will drop. By how much? Not much whilst the economy allows.

    An economic up swing across the globe will put pressure on fuel prices, so a slight change towards more FE friendly vehicle will be the outcome.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Over the past 4 or 5 years, Americans have bought nearly 100-million NEW vehicles, so I would agree that maybe 2018 sales could possibly slow for joe sixpack and sally homemaker.

      But fuel efficiency and fuel prices have never influenced purchases of most Americans, to wit: the record and sustained sales of pickup trucks and SUVs. People buy what they want and what they can afford.

      What could alter the SAAR equation is all the forced-payouts that so many retirees are forced to take based on the rising stock market value of their annuities, and it would not surprise me to see these codgers stepping up to new luxo-barges every two to three years.

      Trump’s tax bill actually will put real money in MY pocket. Thank you President Trump! And unexpected bonuses for the working class may just be enough for a down payment on a new ride.

      You can’t take it with you, and some of these old hotrods have one foot in the grave but are still loose, driving on Ameroca’s highways and byways. Make the most of it while you’re alive.

      I hope to be one of them. I also hope to live long enough to see social security go broke.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        “But fuel efficiency and fuel prices have never influenced purchases of most Americans, to wit: the record and sustained sales of pickup trucks and SUVs. People buy what they want and what they can afford.”

        I beg to differ. I was selling cars in 2007/8/9/10 and the fuel prices greatly affected which vehicles were bought and which ones were passed up and which ones were traded in. When fuel pries go up, smaller cars are bought and larger ones are traded in.

        It got so bad that we were telling customers that we were not taking full sized SUV’s in on trade, or we were not giving a lot of money for the trade in value. We had a ton of full sized SUV’s and trucks and large cars behind the building that no one wanted to buy. I was able to drive a different one every couple of days until the fuel was really low. And since I lived really close, it didn’t matter. I didn’t have to buy fuel for my own car for months.

        But once the fuel prices went down, guess who was knocking at the door. The soccer moms wanted their SUV’s and mini-vans back and fathers wanted double cab pick up trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Maybe all those people trading those thirsty vehicles could not afford to run them.

          I never noticed a reduction in traffic anywhere when gas cost $5/gal, nor a reduction in pickup trucks, or SUVs on the roads.

          In fact, in 2008 I bought a 2008 Japan-built Highlander V6 AWD – not exactly the most FE in the Toyota lineup.

          Buying decision was driven by need. But I’m glad I bought Toyota. It was our very first new Toyota.

          Still not FE, but still doing daily driver duties for my granddaughter in El Paso, TX.

          Been with Toyota ever since.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            And I got around same time 2009 2.7L FWD 5-seater. Did your water pump failed? Other than that [13 months in] it just keeps on going. Also burning some oil now. But that seem normal for 4cyl Toyotas of that period. Yours should not. More cylinders-less rpms- less wear.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            I don’t remember paying $5/gal for gasoline in North Texas. When gasoline was $4/gal, a coworker started driving her Miata to work instead of her Ram 1500. The spike in gasoline prices did cause more new car buyers to consider buying the 4 cylinder version instead of the V6 version of midsize sedans. As 4 cylinder engines moved up in power and transmissions gained gear ratios, more buyers found the 4 cylinder option to be acceptable.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            slavuta, my Highlander was Japan-built. Nothing has failed so far except the AC.

            The AC has been rebuilt by Pep Boys in El Paso, TX for ~$1600 (new compressor, new hi&lo pressure valves, new dryer can, and lots of labor).

            As far as burning some oil, try using Castrol Hi-Mileage 10W-30 Blend, and a Fram Hi-Mileage Teflon oil filter. That’s what I use and it has more than 185K on it by now.

            I never expected to get so much use out of that Highlander but it continues to serve my grand daughter and her friends very well as a DD.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            George B, we got close to $5/gal in SouthCentral New Mexico, which didn’t make sense since we got our oil and gasoline from the Artesia, NM, refinery and from PEMEX in Old Mexico by way of the El Paso, TX, refineries.

            I hope we never go back to those insane economic strategies of denying ourselves the use of our own natural resources.

            But I fear these good times will only last for as long as Trump is in office.

            Better enjoy it while we can.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            My is also Japan-built. This is why I got Highlander and not Venza. Well, 10w30 seem outside range for it recommends 5w20 or 0w20. Especially now that temp outside 15F. I don’t mind adding a quart for 5K miles. But on another token, same mileage Mazda3 burns nothing. My co-worker complaints that his ’08 Camry burns 4 quarts for 5K. Something with Toyota. And the water pump was systematic that year as I read Consumer Reports on water pump failures in different Toyota models of that period. Seem bad batch of supplies.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            slavuta, I found that the thicker 10W base oil offsets the slop created by the high-mileage wear&tear.

            Then again, our Highlander is in daily use by my grand daughter in El Paso, TX, where the temps are much higher.

            If our Highlander lasts for many more miles, I may have to go to 20W-50 oil to keep ours from burning oil when the rings and valve stems start to wear even more.

            At ~100K miles I did drop the trans-pan, cleaned the filter and refilled with new fluid, and the PS reservoir as well, but I’m not going to do that again. It wasn’t necessary the first time.

            If this Highlander dies, I’ll buy my grand daughter whatever she wants (within reason). She’s worth it.

            She worked hard in college and is now going for her Master’s in Mining, doing her Practical at Kennecott. She’ll need a 4X4 to go to those excavation sites.

            I have caught her eyeballing a 4Runner. Could have been the car, but it also could have been the young stud driving it.

            Never can tell with girls.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        #MAGA!

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Ah, with 10 million immigrants per year we might never slow down in car sales. They also want to drive something

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Oh it’ll be so slight that nobody but you will see it, without a doubt.

      I mean, that aluminum turbocharged mutton-dressed-as-lamb F-Series sure is selling horribly, just as you predicted.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      How does an economic up swing make fuel efficient cars more popular and in demand? Especially since oil is cheap right now and for a long time to come?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    In before ToddAtlas tries to put a positive spin on Toyota’s performance and a negative one on Ford’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      It wont help…the bias is strong in that one.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      What spin is needed? Toyota is up 1% year end while Ford is down 1%.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Toyota’s projected annual profit is $17.5 billion to Ford’s 9 billion.

      I’m truly baffled as to what point you were trying to make.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        He’s a FoMoCo advocate is his point.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          Hey now, don’t let the facts get in the way of an online persona. If you’re familiar with this site, it doesn’t appear to be easy or healthy to be the most active profile providing personal insight/opinion on every topic for months on end. Such characters crave constant interaction and inevitably become more insane (RIP [email protected], or burnouts like vulpine(the compact truck crusader), dw, etc…
          Johnny T seems to have surprising staying power and focus not to get off track with the personal/political values which is impressive. He has come a long way but I can’t ignore the where it all started for him. None-stop, unprovoked accounts of the pride and enjoyment that was acquired as a multiple time Ford tempo/ Mercury topaz owner.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    I kind of expect these numbers to drop off! It been go, go for past 7-8 years! I still waiting to buy my two row crossover/SUV! Looking at the Honda Pilot Sport to come out in the Fall 2018! If it looks half decent; I going buy it! Otherwise, the Bronco or TrailBlazer. I don’t know if I can afford the Defender?

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    Highdesertcat

    You should take your argument to a political web sight.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Why?

      Seems to me if Americans are doing better financially, they’d be buying new cars, homes, boats, jet skis, motorcycles, etc.

      Been that way ever since I was born in 1946.

      BTW, I didn’t vote for Trump. The media told me Trump didn’t have a snow ball’s chance in Hell to get elected.

      But I am immensely grateful to be doing so well financially, and for America to be doing so well, since Trump got elected.

      After reading the Tundra article, I have new-truck buying pangs.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        The uptick in income is relatively new, so it will take a while for the uptick in large ticket item purchases, and a little longer for fun toy purchases to follow. But it will happen, it will happen.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Jeremiah Mckenna, from what I’ve seen so far, people are spending future uptick in income way before that raise actually materializes.

          And in all fairness, many bonus checks had to be issued, and cashed, before the end of last year, as a tax benefit to the issuer.

          Hell, I already received an increase in my military retirement pay, my VA disability pay AND my socsec retirement check.

          Not too shabby!

  • avatar
    jh26036

    The Subaru train continues to chug along at full steam. 10 years in a row of growth. Unbelievable.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      People tend to like cars that are portrayed as safe and long lasting.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Sort of like Redbull, a marketing company that sells a sport drink.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Perception is reality. Love

    • 0 avatar
      ra_pro

      While producing worse cars (in terms of driving dynamics) with each redesign. Another car company that decided that they didn’t need their enthusiast clients and could do better with with enough Joe Blow’s snatching those hippo-mobiles called Foresters. I used to quite like Subaru and even considered it a few times but now they just repulse me.

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        I wouldn’t go so far as “repulse”, but after a long string of Subarus (Outback XT and two Outback 3.6rs for my ex-wife, and an Impreza, STI, and BRZ for myself), Subaru is now off my list until they can once again produce an exciting vehicle. Specifically a BRZ with more power yo, though I’d take a hot hatch, which means making the STI or WRX both “hot” and a “hatch”.

  • avatar
    NJRide

    VW is seeing a tectonic shift. The Atlas is partially offsetting the Passat dropping almost 60 percent to 3000 in December and the Jetta dropping nearly half to a shade over 7000. Jettas have been a 100,000 unit car for most of the last 20 years. The old Tiguan actually kept the Tiguan meaningfully ahead, the new one is only up about 200 on the 2016. The new Jetta should help but its clear there is demand for a VW mini SUV and the Passat still has 18 months before a new design.

    The SUV trend seems to be going larger. The Pilot boomed last month while the CRV looks maxed out.

    The German luxury 3 did well while Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac all saw December drops. Infiniti needs the new QX50 but Cadillac and Lexus both seem off track.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Remember 2 years ago. When Mercedes, Lexus & BMW were all fighting for the luxury sales crown.
      BMW eventually won with 344,000 vehicles sold. Sales have pulled back quite a bit since then.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    I know this is common sense, but I’m going to say it any way. Simple economics says that price is a main determining factor, and the new cars are way too expensive for a lot of people to buy. Also, add in the fact that Uber/Lyft etc. make it easier to get around without owning a car. Also, low employment for long periods of time tend to hit everyone.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    “FCA sales free-fell by over 8 percent, year-over-year, thanks to a mass exodus of customers from the Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Jeep brands, which all saw double-digit declines. ”

    From what I’ve read on other sites & news reports, the reason for the drop was due to:

    1) Discontinued models (Dart, 200, Patriot, etc)
    2) Production changes (a.k.a. Grand Caravan) & plant reassignments
    3) A sharp reduction in Fleet Sales (around 40% drop).

    But this being TTAC, “FCA IS LOOSING CUSTOMERS !!!”

    • 0 avatar
      FOG

      @Polishdon, Other than misspelling “Losing” you captured my sentiments quite well. In January they made the last 200 and shut down that plant to convert it over to a truck plant. At the same time they moved the Cherokee from Toledo to Belvidere. That meant that FCA operated most of 2017 with 3 of 16 assembly plants either completely down or in launch mode. I expected much more than an 8 percent decline.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      No, the reason is the 9 speed Cherokee was a frigging death trap.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @highdesertcat–I do agree that people are feeling more confident about the economy and many are spending even before they get that pay raise. I also believe that in the last few years people were replacing their older vehicles that they held on to a little longer because of the economic crisis of 2008. Vehicle sales will slow down eventually because many have already replaced their older vehicles with new vehicles. Low and no interest loans and favorable leases will keep the sales momentum going for a little longer but eventually sales will drop off.

    I myself will look for a more fuel efficient and safer vehicle when buying a new vehicle but I will not replace a vehicle because of fuel efficiency. As little driving as I currently do it would not pay to buy a newer vehicle just to save some gas. I tend to keep my vehicles for 10 plus years and find that keeping up the maintenance is less expensive than getting a new vehicle every few years. I have 4 years to go till retirement and I would rather invest my money than have a new vehicle. I do agree with you in that you should buy what you like because you are more likely to keep something that you like and in the long run it is less expensive. I am 6 months away from fully paying off my wife’s 2013 CRV which at 0.9% interest at 5 years was much better taking Honda’s loan than to write a check than to sell investments. I paid my house off 7 years ago and owe nothing except the car loan.

    My wife and I have been cleaning out the house over the holidays and have been donating clothes and housewares to the Vietnam Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans. We have donated a lot of clothes that still had their store tags on and have never been worn. We learned that it is less expensive to get what you want and will use. I am glad we donated to the Vets but at the same time it opened my wife and my eyes to what we spent on things that cluttered up our space and thus cluttered our lives. Life is too short to get something you do not really want or will not use.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Jeff S, I am a proponent of “The More, The Merrier” and believe in the more choices we each have, the better. But I don’t like subsidies for EVs et al.

      So I completely understand about you looking for FE and safer vehicles. At some point in my life I may have to/want to do the same, like when I get so old I can no longer safely enter/exit a pickup truck or SUV.

      A couple of months ago, while I was overseas, my sister did a face-plant exiting her M-class when she misjudged the distance from her seat to the ground. No one was hurt, just scuffed. Her pride was ruffled because so many people on the street watched her fall out of her car.

      That’s a nice thing you and your wife are doing by donating serviceable unwanted items to Veteran causes. I thank you, and so do my retired military colleagues.

      As for my own vehicles, my wife and I are now down to two: her 2016 Sequoia and my 1989 Camry V6.

      My grandson in Fallbrook, CA fell in love with my 2016 Tundra while my wife and I were overseas and he begged me to sell it to him right after Thanksgiving for $500 a month. He’s my grandson, I can always buy another truck if I need one.

      Getting back on ttac after all these weeks away I came to realize just how much I missed while away.

      And it’s nice to see you’re still among the B&B. Lot’s of screen names I don’t know.

  • avatar
    redapple

    VW strength due to diesel gate replacements?

    Subaru ! Steady growth. Congrats !
    Love the brand. Pretty much a stand alone small guy standing tall in the most competitve industry in the world. And I just BOUGHT ONE !

    In December I leased a Forester. I didnt need a new car. I wanted a new car. I got spoiled driving the 8 days a month rentals in MKE DTW and ORD. REally grew to love Lane departure warning and bAck up camera. These are features I really wanted.

    My 2012 Equinox was a nice car. So, I looked at the new one. Hencho en Mexico was a deal killer. Start/Stop that cannot be turned off. Shoulder room is very tight (how d that get by engineering/design???? (( BTW – same problem in my sisters new Cadillac XT5) –deal killers all.

    I am shocked by the Forester’s:
    – smooth ride.
    – quiet.
    – very tight steering off center. (like)
    – HVAC run with real switches ( 1 rotary knob for fan speed. 1 for temp. 1 for mode (defog, floor, vents etc…)). Not the TV screen that always seems to be on the wrong page and 2-4 swipes are needed to get to the right screen and in the mean time your eyes have been off the road for 65 minutes and you ve crashed.
    – Visibility OMG — I can see out of it –hooray !!!!!!! Better that my 06 LR3.
    – Smooth, vibration free engine. Being an oddball H – 4 worried me. Smoother overall than the 12 equinox.
    – Puddle lights on the Premium model. 1 step up from ace of bace.
    – No hassle buying process. No games. no cram downs, no surprises. (Kennesaw Subaru in GA.)
    – Great brand image: Well educated, Outdoorsy, Youthful folks buy Subaru. This image is so well honed most other car companies would KILL FOR this strong an image.
    – Very good off road capability. Not Land Rover or Jeep level but good. 9 inches of ground clearance. X Mode for off road. Yokohama GeoLandar Tires. (offroad leaning ). 1/3 of north GA is Forest service land right where the Appalachian MTNS start. Lots of trails for driving and mountain biking.
    – GM put me thru College. But then again, I work for a Japanese Auto supplier and Subaru LaFayette IND is a customer. So, I didnt overthink the GM vs Japan car thing.

    I spent some time in my brother’s new CRV over the holidays. Nice car. Probably has more power and better MPG than the forester but.
    – tight shoulder room again.
    – No CD player. (i know, i m a caveman, but I built a rather large CD collection over the last 30 years.)
    – No puddle light in the CRV EX model (not a huge deal but noticeable by its absense.)
    – poor out ward visibility.
    – Sky high lease rates. The car is selling so well they are raping the customer. Not this guy – thank you very much.

    Love the Subie. Could be first of many.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “Love the brand. Pretty much a stand alone small guy standing tall in the most competitive industry in the world. And I just BOUGHT ONE !”

      1. Stand alone small guy? With a big bro Toyota trigger-happy.
      2. Just because you bought one doesn’t make a great brand.
      3. Most competitive industry? – what about software?

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > In December I leased a Forester.

      Having grown up with a lot of people now in the 35-45 range, it’s utterly gobsmacking how many ended up with good families and good jobs who now drive Subaru’s, and they all got there independently of one another. Fistful’s of my friends and acquaintances all ended up with Forester’s.

      • 0 avatar
        pheanix

        + 1

        Two of my best friends have new Subarus and another bought a used one. My personal preferences aside, these are cars that tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    We still have 3000 idiots who bought Smart

  • avatar
    pheanix

    I shopped for a new car for the first time ever in 2017. It had to be a fuel efficient hatchback between 20-25k out the door. Monthly payments mattered to a degree (I did not want to go over 400 a month). Credit score over 700 and a job over 50k.

    Having owned (and wrenched on) exclusively fun classic cars up until now, I have obviously been renting for out of state/business trips, etc. Being a Hertz gold member and frequent customer I knew what was out there pretty well, especially in my price range, my rentals just weren’t hatchbacks. I had also driven a fair share of sedans and rented some fun cars. Here’s a sample of what I knew from 2015-17 (all long road trips):

    – Corolla/Elantra/Mazda3/Focus (the Focus was actually a hatch)
    – Camry LE and SE / Sonata / Altima
    – Toyota Avalon / Chrysler 300
    – 2010 Town Car (lol, I had to)
    – Mercedes Benz SLC convertible (treated myself on a road trip to the Keys last summer, flew in and out of Ft Myers and drove that thing to Key West and back)
    – Camaro SS convertible (another road trip treat a year earlier, this was actually a ’15 SS but with barely any miles on the clock)
    – Mustang 3.7 V6 convertible (loved loved loved that car in every way more than the SS, even though less power)

    So, I sort of know what a quality car feels like. Or, conversely, what a crappy one feels like. And where the middle lies.

    Which brings us back to me finally putting my money where my mouth is. I couldn’t live with the cheapness of an Elantra hatch. After driving a Corolla I wasn’t interested in anything that Toyota might offer me at that price range (ditto Camry LE. The SE and the Avalon are much better but I wasn’t getting that at my price range). I am one of those people who find the new Civic absolutely offensive so that got ruled out purely on aesthetics. Mazda3 handled well (though based on what I’ve driven, it obviously didn’t blow me away) but the interior mostly felt cheap, the sloping angle of the door armrest was weird, the upright infotainment screen looks lame in my opinion, and it didn’t have a CD even as an option (yes, I have a large collection, I listen to albums on road trips, and I refuse to compress my music files – I can hear the difference). Simply sitting in a Forte and Cruz told me everything I needed to know. So that left just three cars:

    – the Focus (which as noted above I spent some time behind the wheel of, on a road trip with my huni (who likes to bring a huge, and I mean, enormous suitcase), it was a hatch and we enjoyed it – and its utility – immensely)

    – the Impreza (cos, you know, love, reliability and stuff)

    – the Golf (cos it looked good inside and out)

    After some thinking and consulting CR (which I do for most of my purchases) I decided against the Focus because:

    (a) the recent trans issues
    (b) it had less space than the other two hatches
    (c) the interior even in the higher trims still felt soooo cheap
    (d)too many of them on the road (yes, this is a consideration)

    So that left the Impreza (Sport trim, which is 3rd out of 4 in their hierarchy) and the Golf. I had to make do with test drives since Hertz doesn’t offer them as rentals. I test drove each one and here’s where the Subie lost:

    The 2017 Impreza Sport

    (a) felt significantly cheaper than ANY trim of the ’17 Golf on the inside

    (b) handled, in spite of its claim, decidedly un-Sporty (again though, you’d need to consider what I know about new cars plus the fact that I used to mod old Mustangs for handling) – the Golf handles much better and in my view as well as the Mazda3 which is to say good enough but neither car is a Camaro or a Mustang, and I wasn’t looking for that in this purchase anyway

    (c) lacked some of the gadgets of the ’17 Golf Wolfsburg edition (the WB had, in addition to matching virtually everything on the Impreza Sport except the AWD: power seat recliner for both front seats (how I love that feature I can’t tell you – I simply despise the lever), all four automatic windows and heated front seats, plus it had that really cool hidden backup camera

    (d) simply felt SLOW (I mean, I test drove a GTC too, but the Impreza was already destroyed by the normal Golf’s acceleration)

    (e) would not drop under 23k before the taxes. I checked 3 out of 4 or whatever the number of Chicagoland dealers and the pattern became fairly obvious. Now, I did say in the very beginning that I was perfectly fine with spending up to 25 out the door. But now here’s the caveat, I was willing to spend the max in my price range for the absolute best car I could buy. Based on the above considerations, Subaru was simply asking more for a lesser car. After some mild haggling, the VW parted with a 0 mile Wolfsburg for 21 out the door. That’s 4 THOUSAND saved versus a lesser vehicle in the similarly equipped Impreza (with very similar warranties). It was just a no-brainer. Less money for a better vehicle. And don’t get me started on AWD: if you’re a halfway decent driver you just don’t need it in the city of Chicago, because of the lake effect our winter storms are largely a joke and we probably have the most salt trucks in the nation (well, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I’m saying).

    So, that’s how I added my dollars to VW’s 2017 bottom line. The warranty runs for 6 years but I’ll probably pay it off in 4 (since I’m likely to exceed the warrantied mileage by then anyway, plus there’s no penalty in the state of IL) and trade it in for something new. Now where’s my Led Zeppelin 1 CD?

    PS: I didn’t get a GTC because it offered very little of what I need over the normal high trim Golf (which already checked almost all of the boxes). Yes, the GTC is faster. Yes, it handles maybe a hair better. Yes, I love the plaid seats. But I wanted to keep it practical this time around and frankly I felt almost giddy that I got a car as nice as the Wolfsburg for this little money. 5 years from now, maybe jump up to a GT.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Ha, I love it. I went through a similar process back in 2010, similar price range, similar type of desired vehicle. One by one they all fell to the VW Jetta Sportwagen, a gem of a car for $20K. Kept it 7 yrs and 85K miles without issue and liked every mile of it. I regret trading it in rather than that dud of Nissan, I apparently made the wrong prediction as to which would last to 150K without expensive problems. Dammit.

      Enjoy your Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      vwgolf420

      Congrats on the Golf. I drive a 2010 base model that I bought for a song as a leftover in January 2011. I’ve never had a moment’s trouble out of it other than a dead battery at five years. I’ve considered getting a new car, but every time I drive in my car I realize I don’t want to part with it.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    There is still room to run so to speak for new car sales. I still see a lot of vehicles on the road that need to be retired sooner rather than later, especially in the midwest where salt is still prevalent. In some respects the auto manufacturers etal should send a hand written thank you note to these states thanking them for the copious amounts of salt used on their roads. If it were not for this practice cars sales would drop dramatically, as from what I have seen in my state of CO with no salt most cars made in the last 15 years are more than capable of 200k or more. They are everywhere, and with a little elbow grease you can even keep them looking half decent in and out.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    VW is throwing cash at their customers. My sister-in-law bought a Forester this summer but kept her old Tiguan for her college age daughter to drive.

    About a month ago the old (186,000 miles) Tiguan snaps its timing chain – pistons hit valves… University VW in Albuquerque quotes her 7,000 for an engine replacement. She inquires about replacing the Tiguan with another Tiguan, and they give her $1000 for her old Tiguan and throw $4000 on the hood of the new Tiguan.

    High rebates will keep some customers. Just ask “Old GM.”

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Typical VW. There must! be a major break. Broken crankshaft anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      pheanix

      lol, yep, I’d imagine north of 150,000 is a danger zone with anything German engineered! I’m gonna get rid of this one before it gets there (I’d like to get 120-130.000 out of it though)

      Also, to my point, I had no issue spending the max in my price range, zero, none whatsoever, as long as the car I spent it on checked the most boxes on my list. In a sea of cheapness and blandness (or, in Civic’s case, childishness) that is the compact bracket the current Impreza (don’t like the previous one) actually delivers unoffensive, mature styling that I could live with and a good array of features, along with a decent albeit unremarkable interior. The Golf in this case just destroyed it on the driving experience, interior finish, some features, AND the price. So for me it wasn’t just the rebates, it was the complete car plus the rebates.

      I mean, Subaru was asking GTC money (GTC rebates included) for the Impreza. Once you consider that, it’s insane.

      I mean, if the rebates were all that mattered we’d all be driving Nissans, Kias and Huyndais (and Fords, to be fair – I saw a Titanium Fusion selling this fall with 10,000 off the MSRP – 0 miles fully loaded). For myself and I think at least a few others, I wanted to get the best car in my price range. Along the way, yep, it was sure nice to save money, too.

      The Tiguan looks nice, haven’t shopped SUVs but from what I saw in the showrooms this fall it’s probably a similar situation – VW offers a nicer car for less than its competition (although, not having experienced it firsthand, I’m prepared to stand corrected). One just has to be ready to pay it off and dump it at a certain point. A friend had a BMW 3 series that turned into a total money pit north of 120,000 (she beat it though, some people just aren’t easy on their cars, but that aside her story still seems to echo those of many others)

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        With all these cars, where is the Mazda3? Perfect car as far as I understand.

        • 0 avatar
          pheanix

          I talked about it in my long-*** post above!

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Dude, with post that long…
            Guess what, I own 2 Mazda3 now and love them, and I don’t like the new one. So I bought Mazda6. It has CD and really is a good car, especially if you consider Impreza. I paid funny money for it and I often don’t understand, how people purchase cars? For example, one of my ‘3 I bought used. Someone paid $2K more for it in 2010 than I paid for my ‘6. They also paid $4 more than I paid same year for exactly same trim. And I am not talking about loaded cars here.

  • avatar
    mzr

    Kia absolutely deserves to keep falling in sales until they’re an afterthought. I’m counting the days until I can watch my Sedona get crushed at a junkyard, there is no way I’m inflicting this rolling pile on another human being.

    • 0 avatar
      pheanix

      I have similar feelings about the Huyndais that I’ve rented, they are probably the main reason why I gave the Forte hatch only the slightest of considerations. Every Sonata I drove felt like garbage compared to the Camry (LE, forget the SE), all of this in under 10,000 mile Hertz cars. The competition for the Sonata is the Altima. The Elantra is a penalty box too, although I’d only choose the Corolla over it if there was no other alternative and then probably at gun point.

      When I was choosing a car for a 3-day leasure road trip last summer at the Indy airport Hertz, I sat in a Kia Optima which was what they’d assigned to me – for 30 seconds – and then I went and exercised my gold member rights, which is to say I picked something else from the aisle, and at that point, after merely sitting in the thing, I was ready to pick just about anything else that wasn’t an Altima. There was something truly depressing about the Optima’s interior. I call it “that Uber feeling”. Does anyone know what I mean?

      • 0 avatar
        mzr

        Yes, I know that feeling. The interior really is poor, hard plastics that are already showing more wear than my 1996 Mazda MPV, it also handles worse than the two MPVs I’ve had. Squeaks and rattles abound. Really poor paint.

        Unfortunately minivan choices are slim, and at the time the Sedona (I have a 2016) was the best choice. the Odyssey was out due to having a timing belt, I do all the work on my vehicles and given the choice I’d rather not mess with one. I’ve been in two Siennas, and they rode very poorly and one only had 20,000 miles. In fact, they were a lot like the Caravan in that respect. The Caravan was like a 3/4 ton truck, bucking like it had leaf springs.. It was the first year of the Pacifica, no thank you.

        The crowning jewel is Kia itself, my Sedona failed to start four times all before hitting 1000 miles. It also had a front-end shimmy at 65MPH. The selling dealer just ran an charging system diagnostic and called it good. I took it to another dealer and they verified the shimmy, but did nothing about it. The times I’ve complained to Kia went nowhere, I did get a $50 gift card from them. That wouldn’t even pay for the gas I’ve used going back and forth trying to get this heap fixed.


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