By on November 1, 2021

Now that fuel prices are popping off and it’s becoming glaringly obvious that we’re falling into another recession, one would hope that automakers would be prioritizing their more economical models. Unfortunately, most manufacturers operating in North America spent the last decade culling the smallest models from their lineup. Domestic brands took the practice so far that several no longer offer traditional cars, opting instead for compact crossover vehicles yielding higher price tags and broader profit margins. Foreign brands were only marginally more reserved with the ax.

This has helped move the average vehicle transaction price beyond $42,000 in the United States, according to Edmunds, with used rates sitting somewhere around $28,000. Though the cause isn’t entirely down to there being a complete lack of econoboxes on the market. Increased regulations and the industry’s newfound obsession with connectivity/tech have also increased pricing. But it doesn’t change the fact that we’re now confronting a situation where almost nobody is selling the kind of small, affordable vehicles that cater to shoppers needing to be thrifty right when they really need them. 

Automotive News even reported this week that the existence of sub-$20,000 cars may be in jeopardy as the market for them dwindled. Realizing it could make more money by selling aspirational crossovers, the industry made a conscious shift away from small hatchbacks (e.g. Volkswagen Golf, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris) and sedans that weren’t selling in large volumes and made them less money per sale than SUVs, crossovers, or pickup trucks.

“For most shoppers, smaller, inexpensive cars aren’t dream vehicles, so the thought of spending a bit more and getting into an SUV is very appealing,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds, told the outlet. “Lower interest rates and leasing can help consumers stretch into vehicles they might not have believed they could afford previously.”

Perhaps. But we recently covered just how outrageous auto debt has become and the increasingly arbitrary nature in which lenders apply interest rates as terms stretch out longer than ever before. U.S. citizens are now on the cusp of carrying around $1.42 trillion in vehicle debt — a new record and double what would have been considered normal just 10 years prior.

“The pendulum has swung so far into the pricier vehicle categories that we may see a swing back a bit,” Caldwell continued. “But perhaps we will see different body styles in the cheaper categories, like the Ford Maverick, rather than the compact car.”

“However, with autonomous technology and electrification on the rise,” she added, “offering less expensive options seems like it will be challenging for automakers.”

Autonomous driving technology currently feels like a grift only a few brands are willing to continue running. But advanced driving aids continue being installed into increasingly more vehicles every day and electrification is something still being championed by governments that prefer crony capitalism to the free-market variety and the industry at large. And both items are making vehicles cost more as supply shortages and rolling production stoppages have become the norm.

Here’s the reality of the situation. Manufacturers have removed their most affordable models in the pursuit of profit, unnecessary hardware inclusions are making new vehicles more expensive as supply chain problems make components difficult to source, inflation is mucking up the value of the dollar, and there’s a shortage of vehicles driving up used prices to a point where it might not even make sense to buy secondhand anymore.

“While some budget-conscious shoppers may find better value and choices by going used — if they can successfully navigate this fiery market right now — there are still a lot of consumers who prefer to buy new,” said Robby DeGraff, industry analyst at AutoPacific. “Stagnant wages and the rising costs of living are only adding extra stress into this quest of trying to find a great vehicle without spending a fortune.”

If you ask them, automotive executives will tell you that the small-car segment abandoned them and not the other way around. This isn’t their fault, nor is it the fault of legislators that helped pass initiatives the drove up inflation, or the United States’ inability to manage supply chains that start thousands of miles offshore. It’s nobody’s fault, which is why you should just happily pay an extra six grand for that used car you hate but desperately need to get to work.

Maybe there’s room for the downtrodden in the realm of new vehicles, however. Surely with the market in such a sad state, the industry has something on the lower end of the scale catering to cash-strapped shoppers. Right?

From AN:

DeGraff recently asked his Twitter followers to price their favorites for vehicles under $20,000 — including shipping charges.
Including the destination charges in the price makes the under-$20,000 challenge tougher. Rising transportation costs are translating to ever-higher factory destination charges, a nonnegotiable add-on to prices.

The new Ford Maverick would have been an easy choice, given its attractive body style and standard hybrid powertrain. But with shipping, the base Maverick rises to $21,490. That’s also true for the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, which were easily less than $20,000 with shipping in years past, but no longer.

One of DeGraff’s followers chose a Kia Rio hatch with a technology package and automatic gearbox — for $19,910 including shipping. The Kia Soul would have been a valid pick a couple of years ago, but now that it has discontinued its less expensive manual-transmission option, the Soul starts above the $20,000 threshold.

That realistically leaves you with the Chevrolet Spark, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, and Nissan Versa (all in their more basic formats) if you’re absolutely positive you need a vehicle to come in under $20K. But even then, that’s not even close to the price you’ll be paying after you get stuck with a 72-month lease with a lofty annual percentage rate. While that is something you can help bring down with a fat down payment, you’re probably looking at bargain-basement rides specifically because you don’t have that kind of money.

Electric vehicles are also an option. But the savings you’re likely to incur via government incentivizing likely won’t bring you below the $20,000 threshold since they tend to cost more than gasoline-driven automobiles. Meanwhile, they’ll also need to fit into your lifestyle (range anxiety) and you’ll have to do most of your charging at home to keep operating costs below what you would have otherwise been spending at the pump.

[Image: Honda]

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118 Comments on “Average Automotive Pricing Window Continues Shifting Upwards...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m sure its only transitory.

  • avatar
    Syke

    The infinite wisdom of the American automobile manufacturers to give the car market to the import brands.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You kidding? You think a manufacturer like Toyota or Honda wouldn’t KILL to have something that sells like a F150? Import manufacturers and domestics clearly have different markets, and they go after them accordingly.

      I think getting rid of anything that’s not a CUV or truck wasn’t necessarily a great move either but they figured they could make more money going that route. Sucks, but it’s true.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        “..but they figured they could make more money going that route”

        AS LONG AS they can rely on a totalitarian government forcing others to bail them out whenever sales of 4 tonners on pimprims slow down a few percent…. And a central bank with its sole and only mission being to transfer as much wealth as possible to an ever shrinking group of dilettantes on Fed welfare. From those hence ever more cost-burdened, who are forced to pay for the rackets, and who would otherwise also be able to buy cars.

        That’s the difference. Manufacturers in less totalitarian countries, like China, can’t rely on that to quite the same extent. So they have to maintain a presence in segments less dependent on a steady stream of buyers flush with central-bank-backed credit stolen from others.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Buying a vehicle right now should be your last resort. Unless it’s a mechanical basket case, keep what you already have, making repairs as needed to keep it running for another year or two. Dealers can name their price only as long as buyers are willing to compete for scarce vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Agree 100%, but what do we do when the shortages trickle down to maintenance and replacement parts for our trusty old vehicles? Just changed the oil in my 13-y.o. Odyssey and the local Advance Auto was sold out of all brands of oil filters for the Honda J-series V6 except K&N.

      I didn’t hoard toilet paper last year, but I’m wondering if I should go ahead and order a couple of oil filters, an air filter, a serpentine belt, and some brake pads from RockAuto for every vehicle in my fleet.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Might not be a bad idea.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I tend to keep a supply of oil and filters around. You can usually buy them bulk and if you plan on keeping your vehicle a long time, you’ll use the supply up.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Back in the day I bought oil and an oil filter a couple days before I planned to do the oil change. Now I work one oil filter ahead (have at least one on-hand for each vehicle). The other week I physically visited Walmart and they were out of Mobil 1 on the shelf – so I ordered more online and have more oil on-hand now (5W-20 and 5W-30 flavors) than I’ve ever had in my life. (Businesses call this ‘safety stock’ – it’s the opposite of just-in-time.)

        K&N air filters and a cleaning kit will take care of the air filter issue for a *long* time.

        Proactively changed the serpentine belts last year and those things are fairly bulletproof these days.

        My family is pretty easy on brake pads with the exception of my daughter who lives on the side of a mountain.

        (Walmart was apparently out of frozen turkeys – go figure. Amazon came through for me. Year of Weird.)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The import car market might expand especially if Chinese companies come into the market under their own name.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Rising oil prices are the result of higher demand which means the opposite of a recession. If demand were falling that would indicate a recession.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Rising demand in China.

      Higher oil prices in Pyongyang and Flint, MI; doesn’t imply either one is booming.

      The underlying Megatrend, is the West getting poorer. Hence no longer being able to outbid a still somewhat growing Asia and other regions, for scarce commodities, the way it once was.

      Pretending to get richer by printing Washington’s face on paper pieces, sitting on the couch believing the mold in one’s house walls somehow create wealth, and wasting half one’s life doing silly Cramer reenactments while picking random numbers; has a way of making one less able to afford harder to fake stuff over time…..

  • avatar
    jmo

    Speaking of higher oil prices – TSLA is up another $65 today.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    “it’s becoming glaringly obvious that we’re falling into another recession”

    Huh? This is not obvious at all.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Matt’s shockingly ill informed about pretty much everything.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Don’t you know? Economic growth only ever happened under the Dear Orange Leader. The Fox Ministry of Truth says so.

    • 0 avatar
      Margarets Dad

      Please, MagaMatt knows all.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        Readers: please note that this thread refutes nothing in this article with data, facts, or even well-thought opinions.

        The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that we were likely in a recession starting in the summer of 2020. The only thing that has improved since then is the unemployment rate, though rolling layoffs and part-time employment are becoming normalized. Meanwhile, inflation and the cost of living also both up during a period where wages have stagnated. The wealth gap has likewise expanded dramatically over the last two years and we’re in a situation where goods are having difficulties even getting into our ports. If you don’t think the economy currently has severe problems, you are either lying or so totally disconnected from the real world that your opinion cannot be taken seriously.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The economy has obvious problems.

          Whether we’re in a recession or not is highly arguable, and the arguments tend to vary based on the media outlet you’re listening to. The MAGA media says we are, of course; the MAGA Sucks media says we aren’t.

          I think the bottom line is that we have two economies: one for the folks who are at least fairly well off, and one for the ones who aren’t. The former seems like it’s doing just fine to me – I’m in home finance, and I can tell you that if a recession was happening, or about to happen, we’d be among the first sectors of the economy to know it. The other sector isn’t doing well at all, and that’s been true for a long time; COVID just made it worse.

          If nothing else, this certainly disproves the whole “does trickle-down work” debate. It doesn’t, period.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Usually declaration of a recession is a trailing indicator, is it not?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Isn’t a recession a defined thing (2 quarters of negative GDP growth IIRC?)

            Honestly I think we are in something different…more akin to the 1970s.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          yeah, theres a few issues. when everything is sorted, things will be better for most involved.

          wages are rising, people are taking their time and avoiding the crap jobs theyve been working.

          happy workers are more productive.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “Serious problems” are not the same as a recession. The NBER ended up being wrong about its recession prediction (there was only one quarter of negative growth) and GDP has been slowly growing since despite all of the headwinds.

          I think Freed is right that the way to look at the American economy right now is as two separate economies: one in low-demand areas, where there has been a depression ongoing for more than a decade, and one in high-demand areas, which has been steadily growing for almost all of that time. I live in the latter, and right now it feels much more like a wannabe boom that’s being constrained by supply problems throughout the economy than a recession. People are awash in capital and want to spend it on all sorts of things but getting those things is a challenge.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “People are awash in capital”

            Money printing with ZIRP will do that.

            Meanwhile, what is the value of that capital?

            https://twitter.com/PrestonPysh/status/1451574685968347138

        • 0 avatar
          Jesse

          Readers: please note that Matt Posky is the worst thing to happen to TTAC since the Bertel Schmidt days.

          -Signed, a loyal TTAC reader since 2005.

        • 0 avatar
          Margarets Dad

          In other words, Matt, “It’s become glaringly obvious” to you, based on a year-old report, plus some cherrypicked economic trends and “takes.” But thanks for the analysis, man. You’re a regular Paul Volcker.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          “Readers: please note that this thread refutes nothing in this article with data, facts, or even well-thought opinions.”

          Your statement that it’s “obvious” that a recession is underway or imminent is also supported with facts then? Supply shortages and inflation are the opposite of a recession, not the harbingers of one.

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          “Readers: please note that this thread refutes nothing in this article with data, facts, or even well-thought opinions. The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that we were likely in a recession starting in the summer of 2020. The only thing that has improved since then is the unemployment rate, though rolling layoffs and part-time employment are becoming normalized.”

          Here’s a fact for you – the NBER business cycle dating committee declared the recession lasted 2 months – the shortest on record. (See July 19 announcement.). If you’re going to arrogantly declare your customers (readers) are idiots, you should at least be aware of what the facts are.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @deanst – “declare your customers (readers) are idiots”

            Well, he said “cowards and fools” or did I miss something?

            Opinion: Automakers Are Overstepping Their Boundaries

            Matt Posky
            August 27th, 2021 at 4:43 pm
            I was aware that a large portion of the population are cowards and fools.

            Matt Posky
            August 27th, 2021 at 5:07 pm
            People that log on specifically to dump insults into the comments at every opportunity aren’t what I would call my readers. And anyone that takes direct offense to my thinking that blind compliance to corporate authoritarianism is indicative of cowards and fools likely is one.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          So, you are not okay with the increasing wealth gap/polarization??

          I will add this, all of the many recessions I have experienced, there was a downturn in demand. People lost jobs. These are weirder times, people are quitting their jobs and there are many job vacancies. All sorts of prices are going up, cars and real estate included. In recessions there are downward pressure on prices.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      past couple years ive been making more money doing less work than ever. most of my friends and family are fully vaxxed and healthyish

    • 0 avatar

      Growth is 5%.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, what’s the point here – chiding buyers for not buying stuff that’s cheap? Chiding buyers for signing up for longer car loans than the author finds reasonable?

    The fact is that you CAN buy any number of sub-$20,000 cars, even today. There are the ones mentioned in the story, plus a few others (Hyundai Venue, Nissan Kicks). There are plenty of others that come in right around $20,000. The common thread between all of them? They’re all outsold in a big way by the larger, more expensive stuff on the lot. In other words, consumers don’t want them.

    Could that be because of cheap, long-term financing that makes the more expensive stuff more affordable? Yes. But unless I’m way off, there’s nothing stopping the guy who takes out a 84-month loan on $50,000 Titan pickup from taking the same loan out on a $16,000 Versa, is there? No one’s putting a 12-gauge shotgun to the head of consumers and saying, “sign for that King Ranch F150 for $900 a month for eight years or I pull the trigger.”

    As far as why manufacturers aren’t building as many small cars as before…well, that’s not difficult to figure out. If your production is constrained, then what do you build – the stuff that makes you more money per unit, or less?

    And why are ATPs so high? Because the market has gone full One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for trucks. Related this before, and I’ll relate it again: I saw a four-door F150 with practically zero options – and rubber floormats – for $43,000. And that’s the best selling vehicle in the country. Same pricing holds true of any of the F150’s competition. Contemporary trucks are LAUGHABLY overpriced…and people can’t get enough of the f**king things. Well, yeah, ATPs are going up because of this. Duh.

    None of this is some kind of Rollerball-style government/corporate new world order conspiracy – it’s basic Capitalism 101. Buy low, sell high. Make money. Supply and demand.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Exactly!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        And this (emphasis mine):

        “But even then, that’s not even close to the price you’ll be paying after you get stuck with a *****72-month LEASE***** with a lofty annual percentage rate.”

        I didn’t know anyone was doing a 72-month lease, and leases don’t have APRs – they have money factors. Regardless, APR is all based on credit score, so if the APR is high, then the problem isn’t just lender greed – it’s a) the borrower’s credit, or b) the borrower’s inability or unwillingness to shop for financing.

        And the fact is left out that there are all kinds of small, cheap cars on the market, but none of them are selling anymore. I’d argue the best of them is probably the Accent, and Hyundai went from selling over 60,000 of them in 2016 to 26,000 in 2019. I haven’t looked up the Accent’s competitors, but I suspect it’s a similar story across the board.

        Some people want to blame everyone *but* consumers for this, and I suppose easy money is part of the reason why an Accent buyer ends up with a Tucson instead. No one’s forcing buyers to go that route. But where’s the alarmism in that?

        • 0 avatar

          I mean some part of it’s consumers but another part is the economy in general. Auto makers are seeing less and less of the bottom 80% (by income) of the population buy new cars so they are giving up on that market and just focusing on the top 20%. The Maverick may be one of the few new vehicles Ive seen lately not doing this. If you look at the income data for new vehicles the middle income is not the average buyer any more.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Why would car companies shill cheap vehicles? I tried ordering a Chevy ZR2 this weekend and was told that Chevy isn’t taking orders for anything and even if I did, I’d be waiting a year. I asked about Jeep Gladiator’s. They offered me a 6k discount but with lift kit and tires, it was back up to 77,000. Financing was offered at 499.00 biweekly for 96 months. Rough math, 104,000 dollars and 8 years later before it’s mine. A lot of people are going for it. Why would they bother with a 20k car?

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      This…..no one wants small inexpensive vehicles. And certainly manufacturers would rather sell larger more profitable ones as well.

  • avatar
    Jtslater89

    This is piggy backing off of the article about predatory lending reported by Consumer Reports. When I was 20 years old still in college my 1996 Chevrolet Lumina needed an engine and it was not worth repairing. I was still in college full-time and I had a part-time job. The dealer financed me through GMAC / GM Financial because they did not ask for proof of income. That was good for me because otherwise I would not have been able to purchase a car that I need to continue going to school and keeping my part-time job. I did not meet the income requirements, so according to the bank I could not afford any car and I would have been stuck with no transportation, so by the dealership falsifying my income they actually helped me. So I do not understand why people are complaining about dealerships/banks putting them in cars they know they cannot afford when the alternative would have been walking home. I only feel that where the dealership screwed me was that I purchased a brand new 2010 Chevrolet Aveo. (I only purchased the Chevrolet Aveo because it was already the lowest priced Chevrolet and it had a $2500.00 incentive)

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Great story. And unless you completely were embarrassed by the Aveo (a friend also owned one due to life circumstance, and that car easily took 6 years of abuse before he traded up), you don’t need to apologize for anything. You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.

      • 0 avatar
        Jtslater89

        That is exactly what I did they tried to get me into a Cruze but I said no because I wanted the lowest price. So I just do not understand why people are complaining about dealership/bank lending practices. If the banks held people to higher standards then most people would not be able to have any kind of car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “I did not meet the income requirements, so according to the bank I could not afford any car and I would have been stuck with no transportation, so by the dealership falsifying my income they actually helped me.”

      Fraud works! /s

      Seriously though I’m happy it worked out for you and I imagine hundreds if not thousands of others, but the deceit is troubling.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      There are shades of grey. In the case of “helping” someone out, I’m hard pressed to complain but when it occurs on a massive scale, it isn’t altruistic.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    What is not mentioned is that some of the cars listed-such as the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta were just terrible vehicles-even for penalty boxes.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d disagree. Either was a good choice for around-town commuting. They sucked on the highway, but so do most other subcompacts.

    • 0 avatar
      Margarets Dad

      What sucked about them? They may not have met your needs, but for someone who just needed a simple machine for running around in, they provided reliable, efficient, inexpensive transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        @Margarets Dad,

        FreedMike said “They sucked –on the highway–.”

        “Running around in” a vehicle and actually taking it on a (cross-country or other meaningfully long) road trip are two very different things. Some people might not realize it (if all you ever drive is an insert-name-here) – but once you do a long trip in a vehicle actually set up for long trips, you know always and forever that there’s a vas deferens.

        Unranked example metrics:
        • Wheelbase
        • Sound insulation
        • Road isolation
        • Seat comfort
        • General ‘roadability’

        The Fit driver doing 78 mph on the interstate might think he’s having the same experience as the 7 Series driver doing 78 mph at the same time in the same lane on the same interstate. It ain’t the same.

        • 0 avatar
          Margarets Dad

          Being someone who went on roadtrips in a 1979 Dasher, the Fit seems just fine to me for long trips. I doubt I’d find it uncomfortable, but being of fairly average size, I don’t really find any cars uncomfortable despite my advancing age. If you’re that uncomfortable riding in a car like this, you probably need to lose weight.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “I don’t really find any cars uncomfortable despite my advancing age.”

            Perhaps your hearing isn’t what it used to be.

          • 0 avatar
            syncro87

            We had a 2009 Fit.

            Before I continue, I should mention I am a small car fan. I once drove my 1983 VW pickup (Rabbit) to Connecticut and back to Kansas City. Also drove it from Portland to KC when I bought it. So I am familiar with small cramped cars on long trips. Let me also mention our family are Honda fans.

            With that out of the way, the Fit sucked in many ways, and I traded ours on a Civic after less than a year.

            My beefs with the Fit:

            Terrible ride quality. You could tell whether a coin was heads or tails by driving over one. I felt like one of those low rider drivers, head bouncing up and down over every pavement crack, blade of grass on the road, or errant dry leaf I ran over. On broken or poorly maintained roads, brutal. Highway jaunts were pride swallowing sieges. Granted, the car was meant as a city car, so Midwest USA trips were not the design target, but still.

            Worst air conditioning of any new car I’ve ever owned, and it isn’t even close. I swear a 1960s VW Beetle with a swamp cooler hanging in the window had a better climate control system. Cabin air must have been run over the exhaust manifold before coming into the car. Car was new, system was operating as designed. Garbage system. Maybe the A/C would have been adequate in Fargo, but not remotely suited for summers in Missouri. Can’t even imagine owning one in Phoenix or Atlanta.

            Power. I drove the Fit to my in laws farm in along the KS/NE border one time. Fairly flat terrain with very gentle hills if you want to call them that. With the cruise control on, the car would slowly bog on the inclines, then downshift with the engine screaming until upshifting. Repeat this cycle 5 times for every tiny grade. Totally torqueless. Bog, rev, bog, rev. Raaaaaaaa REEEEEEEEEEEE! raaaaaa REEEEEEEE! —again and again. Very tiresome. I tried a manual alternative that was even worse because Honda had to gear the car way too short for US highway speeds due probably to the car having the torque of a rubber band powered balsa wood airplane toy.

            Wind. A real handful on a windy day. Fun when you add a semi truck passing you the opposite direction on said day. Almost had involuntary lane changes.

            Poor drivers seat comfort with limited adjustment.

            MPG was in fact slightly worse than the Civic which replaced the Fit.

            I have never owned a car, and I have owned a lot of cars, that I liked so much on paper but despised in practice.

            Pros: Brilliant space utilization/interior packaging.

            My overall opinion of the Fit is that they are great cars assuming you need max interior space, minimum exterior dimensions, you live in a pancake flat urban area above 60 deg latitude, your local roads are coated in 6 inches of memory foam, and the air is dead calm 24/7/365. If you meet those criteria, a Fit would be a wonderful choice.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @syncro87

            Slow clap.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          “vas deferens” ? ? ? LOL I hope that was an autocorrect mistake.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      How on earth is the Fit terrible? It may be the single best-packaged car since the original Mini. It’s also stone reliable. Not everything has to be a full-size truck.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        dal20402
        The Fit is/was noisy and unstable at highway speeds. It was a very uncomfortable highway cruiser. For those who buy these type of cars-they are not “city cars” they are their main type of transportation-no matter what the driving conditions are. Yes-it’s a Honda-but they struck out here. Witness sales numbers and it’s gone for North America.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          About a third of the US population lives in cities, and about half in suburbs. Why on earth does every car need to be a mile-eating highway cruiser?

          I have a neighbor with a Fit. She could afford to replace it with a Suburban if she wanted to. But she loves it because of the combination of small size outside and big capacity inside.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          About a third of the US population lives in cities, and about half in suburbs. Why on earth does every car need to be a mile-eating highway cruiser?

          I have a neighbor with a Fit. She could afford to replace it with a Suburban if she wanted to. But she loves it because of the combination of small size outside and big capacity inside.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @dal:

        The Fit I tried was AWFUL on the highway – way too loud. And I wasn’t comparing it to a full size car or truck – I was in the market for a compact or subcompact. The Civic I drove afterwards felt like a S-class Benz on the highway by comparison.

        I liked it quite a bit otherwise, but as I do a fair amount of highway driving, it wasn’t the right…fit for me. (budda boom)

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        I owned a Fit for years and it was a solid, reliable vehicle that checked a lot of boxes. It was even fun to toss around. But it was wildly uncomfortable on long rides and built to meet its low price point. I bought it because my college girlfriend needed a car and we were broke. She wanted it because it was affordable and came in a color she liked.

        Vehicles like the Fit/Yaris/Versa typically go to two types of buyers:

        1. Someone doesn’t care about what they drive (or has another vehicle) and just wants basic transportation.

        2. Someone that can only afford basic transportation and wishes they could have bought something nicer.

        • 0 avatar
          haze3

          Agree Matt, Fit category (1) over here. Use case is everything.

          Bought an ’09 for $11.5K in cash for clunkers. That was the wife’s city runabout for 6 years, was then the daughter’s college car for 4 years and has now been the son’s HS car for 2 years. It will take him to college next year. Picture perfect city car and taught the kids to drive stick (their friends think they are magicians). Lousy on the highway, absolutely, but kept the city miles off of the travel cars.

          Daughter is now driving a 2018 that the wife ran in town for a couple of years. Car was $19K with all the cruise and safety dodads and was the last of the stick shifts. 5x the highway car of the ’09 but still pretty lame at that task… but remains dead-on perfect for a 21yr old college grad.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          or someone who realizes a 5spd drivetrain with a chain drive cam makes for a troublefree car

        • 0 avatar
          CKNSLS Sierra SLT

          Matt-
          The market has spoken-

          Honda Fit sales were anemic and they are gone in the U.S.

          What more needs to be said?

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        My new in 2015 FIT was junk. From day one it had hesitation issues the dealers could not diagnose. At 57000 miles I had to have all four injectors replaced. It took a few weeks fighting with Honda of America before they agreed to cover most of the $4000 repair. Then a month later the check engine light was back on. That time they pulled the head and cleaned the carbon deposits. DI junk. After the repair they told me I would need to repeat the process every 30000 miles. Otherwise it would still be my daily. Super space efficient. I took a few long highway trips, not pleasant but it got the job done. Much more at home in town.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I had two friends with the Fit, an 08 and 09 (one a manual), both loved them. I do know Honda was having issues around MY15 with their 1.5T, would not surprise me to learn there were further problems along other model lines.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I actually have another neighbor (well, one of the medical residents constantly rotating through the house next door, which is a sort of crash pad for residents) who has a sh!tbox 2007-08 Fit. I suspect he can’t afford anything nicer, but his car actually looks kind of cool in a punk way. It’s orange with tinted windows and is either sitting on lowering springs or just sags to the right height, and it made me wonder how much it would cost to get a first-gen Fit with a stick in better condition and lightly modify it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal

            In this market, probably more than you should be spending. Maybe look for a stick?

            This 07/manual wants 8 which just floors me despite low mileage (I’m feeling 6-6,5, maybe a grand less in normal times).

            https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=611369767

            But that’s a bargain to this 09/auto just under 100K. Crazy that a $3,500 tops example could ask $8,5.

            https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=585818821

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep, not remotely a time to buy a car.

            In any event when I do buy Civic Si is more likely. I just thought this particular Fit looked cool in spite of itself.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think that may be the wiser choice between the two.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      One of the most overrated cars of the last two decades in my opinion. For details based on ownership of one, see my other post in this thread. (Fit)

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      One of the most overrated cars of the last two decades in my opinion. For details based on ownership of one, see my other post in this thread. (Fit)

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I wish I had purchased and kept the Fiesta ST I leased. It is easily one of my favorite cars I have had…maybe the top of the list.

  • avatar
    B-BodyBuick84

    Its a catch-22. If people are plunking money down on a car, they’re going to want something they like. Compact hatches and sedans just aren’t sexy or desirable to most folks. Having said that,you forgot to mention the Mitsubishi Mirage. The top trim level with heated seats, apple carplay, and backup camera come in at under 20,000 inc’ shipping, regardless if it’s a sedan or hatchback model (at least in the U.S., Canada is a bit different). Is it the best option out there? Probably not, but for your average joe-schmoe who doesn’t really care about cars, the features/ mileage/ 100,000 miles, 10 year warranty is enough to get people to look. A neighbor in my building just bought one, and I’ve been seeing more and more of these on the roads where I am. Not exactly flying off the lots, but you can at least look at them and test drive one, as opposed to the stark empty lots other dealership brands have. That’s pretty much the reason they bought theirs, and so far they’ve been happy with it. Far better than the 05′ Rio it replaced.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “most manufacturers operating in North America spent the last decade culling the smallest models from their lineup”

    This was done to improve fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      In some respects you are correct. USA’s CAFE rules are footprint based. A 22 foot long pickup does not need to meet the MPG figures of an econobox. Cull the econoboxes that are tough to eke out an extra mpg and keep the monsters that have room to move.

  • avatar
    peterbulgar

    My 2011 Honda Fit Sport with a 5-speed was purchased used in 2013. I live in San Francisco, and the Fit fits in all the small parking spaces on my street without blocking anyone’s driveway. That is a big deal, since the car lives outdoors and is parked on the street. My wife and I just returned from a 2400 mile road trip to Santa Fe and back, and I was quite comfortable. There is road and wind noise, but the stereo was pleasant to listen to without having to turn the volume way up, and the car had no problem with the 75-80 mph traffic on I-40. Yeah, it’s a bit twitchy at high speed, but I ride a motorcycle most of the time, so I’m used to paying attention to the road. The only other long trip was shortly after I purchased the car when my wife and I drove to Boulder, CO for our daughter’s graduation.

    I was pleasantly surprised during the recent excursion, since most of my driving is on short distances in the Bay Area, and I was anticipating a less than pleasant several days, but the car and its occupants did just fine.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Now be honest, am I the only one anxiously awaiting a little pickup truck owner comeuppance when gas prices go over $4.00 gallon?

    The line at Costco gas last week was complete Bedlam to save 30 cents a gallon.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      thegamper-

      If you are going in to CostCo with a near empty tank in a full size pickup or SUV-the savings is significant. enough to wait in line.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      Costco gas is 40-50 cents cheaper than any other station in town. I have a 34 gallon tank. I haven’t seen any “bedlam” there, but I have sometimes waited as much as 20 minutes to get gas.

      20 minutes to save $15+ on a tank of gas is like making $45/hr. To me, that’s worth it.

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

  • avatar

    We forget there are really two car markets…the one where manufacturers compete on content and performance, and the other, larger…
    “what is the least crappy car for my money”…
    One of them gets liberal warranty and after sale care, and the other gets stonewalled with known defects.

    The market wants a decent new car for $30k, and a decent used for $8000. We get new for $45k with “easy financing” and used is what the car cost new for a lot of two year old cars.

  • avatar

    Growth is 5%.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Within new cars, the evaporation of discounts and incentives is probably the biggest story behind inventory shortages. A $50K Ram 1500 wasn’t *cheap* after $13K off but that was once an easy discount to get. Everything has basically shifted up a price class (or more) now.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    We might again see the popularity of less expensive more base vehicles with higher gas prices and an eventual downturn and recession in the Economy. The Economy always goes through boom and bust cycles and there have been shortages and higher prices in the past. Eventually the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates and the Economy will slow down. The Maverick gives hope that not all inexpensive vehicles are dead and maybe an affordable compact pickup will get other manufacturers to eventually make their own affordable compact pickup.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    After thirty years with one dealership, I resigned in October. Gas prices in California are now near $4.70 per gallon. My commute was 82 miles one way and very unpleasant with the rude and unsafe drivers out there. My fuel expense in September was $974 and I was driving 800 or more miles a week. With no raises and several pay cuts (the General Manager took me off salary in 2015 to stop any automatic pay increases that salaried employees receive when the minimum wage goes up), a serious decision had to be made. Now, every day that I do not drive that distance, I save around $47. It does not matter if I drove our Cadillac CT5, Ram 1500 Bighorn, GMC Sierra Elevation, SAAB 9 3 convertible, Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile Alero, Oldsmobile Aurora (3) or any others, that was th
    e average amount per day. Taking slightly early retirement made more sense and a part time job that pays less earns me more because I save on fuel and I avoid the commuting hazards. I spent almost “one day a week” in driving hours for five work days. Before I left I purchased a trade-in 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT coupe with 41,000 miles for $925. Nothing quite like an older GM vehicle with the 3800 V6! And now I have the time to restore my 1976 GMC Motorhome. . .

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Before I left I purchased a trade-in 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT coupe with 41,000 miles for $925.”

      Oh that’s some black magic right there in this market.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @CKNSLS Sierra SLT–Not everyone needs a crew cab F-150 XL and those that do are going to pay a lot. Realistically most of us can get by with a smaller less expensive vehicle like a Fit or a Maverick. Needs and wants are not the same. Right now everything is going up in price with no end in sight but eventually the price will go up so much that demand will fall. A landscaper or contractor might need an F-150, F-250, or F-350 for their business but most of us who drive back and forth to work and occasionally go to Home Depot can get by with a less expensive truck whether it be an older pickup or a smaller newer truck. This has happened before in that vehicles that were popular were in short supply and manufacturers and dealers have marked up new vehicles with demand eventually falling off when prices reached a point where consumers could not afford to buy or could not afford the loan or lease. Sure this is a little different in that we had a Pandemic that has lasted almost 2 years interrupting the supply chain but shortages have happened during WW II, the Korean Conflict, the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, and the Iranian Crisis of 1979. Never exactly the same but enough similarities when it comes to the ups and downs of the supply chain and the effect of inflation.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      Jeff-

      No not everyone needs an F-150 or any other half-ton truck. But that’s exactly what people want to buy. Yes-realistically people could get buy with a mini van or a Maverick-but full size trucks are what people want.

      NOBODY ASPIRES TO DRIVE A FIT-that’s why they are GONE.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @JEFFSHADOW–You made a wise choice and with your former commute it was not only expensive fuel wise and the wear and tear on your vehicle but all the time spent commuting with additional hazards was not worth it. Wise choice buying that low mileage 2001 Grand Prix with the legendary 3.8 with a long long life. Reducing your expenses and not buying things you do not need you will come out a head despite making less money. Smart move and congratulations.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @CKNSLS Sierra SLT–Then you pay the price and don’t complain. Again its wants versus needs. The price will continue to go up until people stop buying as many trucks and eventually it will reach a point where many will decide not to buy a full size truck. People who need full size trucks will either pay the price for a new truck, get an older truck, or keep their older truck longer.

  • avatar
    probert

    What recession? What glare? Please explain.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not necessarily a recession now but it is a period of high inflation with less goods available than demand for them which causes higher prices. Recessions usually follow a period of high inflation and usually you don’t know there is a recession until after it has happened.

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