It’s Chicago Auto Show week around these parts.
You might not remember this, but there actually was a 2020 Chicago Auto Show — it took place before COVID shut the world down. This means that the Chicago Auto Show was the last one before the world fell apart, and will be the first one as we tentatively reopen and march towards some sort of normalcy.
It also means that enthusiasts and car shoppers get to gather in person to check out sheetmetal once again.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests that long-term loans are encouraging ownership costs of new vehicles to climb. In some instances, the group suggests customers could be on the hook for well over $10,000 per year. While this only applies to larger and more expensive automobiles, AAA says the trend is all-encompassing — spurred largely by changing finance conditions.
According to AAA’s latest research, finance costs on new vehicle purchases have jumped 24 percent in 2019, elevating the average annual cost of car ownership to $9,282 ($773.50 per month).
“Finance costs accounted for more than 40 [percent] of the total increase in average vehicle ownership costs,” elaborated John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director for Automotive Engineering & Repair. “AAA found finance charges rose more sharply in the last 12 months than any major expense associated with owning a vehicle.”
It’s tough to gauge the state of car sales in America on a monthly basis these days. The entirety of the Detroit Three have moved to a quarterly reporting system, leaving a gap the size of a ‘70s land yacht in this month’s numbers.
Still, we press on. The remaining manufacturers are still reporting each month — for now — which gives us at least a partial picture as to the lay of the land. Many brands enjoyed a month-over-month increase in July but the year-to-date results are a bit of a mixed bag.
Will they or won’t they? That’s the question on everyone’s mind after Fiat Chrysler’s Monday morning proposition to French automaker Renault. A 50:50 pairing of equals, with Nissan and Mitsubishi shuffling awkwardly on the edge of the dance floor. To his credit, FCA Chairman John Elkann wants Renault’s alliance partners in on the deal.
According to a report out of Paris, Renault’s board will sit down within days to decide whether to pursue FCA’s offer.
There are few things sweeter in life than bragging to your friends and family about the good deal you just negotiated on a new car. They certainly won’t care, but the amount of self-satisfaction received from reminding yourself that you are a force to be reckoned with at the dealership is immeasurable.
Of course, the bargain in the driveway can turn into a money pit once you calculate all the costs associated with vehicle ownership. Fuel costs, financing, insurance, and depreciation can all add up — especially if you purchased the wrong model. So what’s a thrift-obsessed shopper to do, calculate the total cost of ownership on every model in every segment over a five-year period to determine which is the best value overall?
Don’t be ridiculous, someone has already done that.
Remember how Beanie Babies were a national phenomenon in the mid-1990s? The country couldn’t seem to get enough of the little darlings and many ended up going for astronomical prices. But, like most stupid trends, their popularity was short lived. It wasn’t long before the once-collectible toys held the same value as a used pair of underwear.
Subcompact crossovers may be suffering a similar fate. With the CUV craze in full tilt, automakers have been capitalizing by providing budget-minded shoppers with small and affordable variants. However, the group currently faces the heaviest depreciation of any automotive segment.