20 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    On the downside: If you’re tall, there are fewer and fewer cars you can comfortably fit in.

    • Toads says:

      Not true. I am 6’4″, and have no problem.

      The Civic of today is as big as the Accord of the 1990s.

      • Bill says:

        Wait til you are tall AND old. My son has an Escort that I have trouble getting in or out of because it is so low. I will stick with my pickup.

  2. Citizen Buddy says:

    I remember my dad trading in for a new car before the old one got 50,000 miles, because at 50k they began to “fall apart”.

  3. rjs says:

    where’s the chart for lower gas prices?

  4. morganovich says:

    that CPI for new cars is a little tricky.

    it’s adjusted for presumed quality improvements.

    while cars today are, in general, better than the ones from 10 or 20 years ago, the amount of that adjustment is completely subjective.

    in 1995, a honda accord started at $13,200.

    today the cheapest one is $21,700.

    that’s a lot more than 4% increase in price.

    the base ford mustang coupe was also $13,200.

    that car is now $21k.

    a porsche 911 was $52.7k

    that car is not $84.3k.

    the list goes on and on.

    in nominal, unadjusted dollars, these prices are up only slightly less than wages and cars come more a la carte now. you’ll wind up paying more over base price for options.

    • rjs says:

      that chart also shows real average wages up less than one percent a year…most of that “average” went to the top quintile who can still afford new cars…

      myself, im looking at two 2001 vintage models under $3500

    • Vangel says:

      Not only that but if we look at repairs today the costs tend to be much higher. My first vehicle was a VW Jetta. While I never hit anyone I had two impacts where someone (in both cases it was kids) rear ended the vehicle. There was not a problem in either case. They apologized, I saw that there was no damage and we went our way. My most recent vehicle was hit by an empty runaway shopping cart. The rear bumper is scratched and if I want to paint it properly the cost will come out to around $150. If I were hit by another vehicle at a similar speed the replacement for the plastic bumper would come out to more than $1,000. In the old days it was easy to save a few bucks by doing your own minor repairs. That is much more difficult today because of all the electronics involved and the much more cluttered engine compartment.

    • marque2 says:

      I can give you a good example. I don’t buy cars often. I replaced a 1987 vw fox $7500 with a 2001 ford focus hatch back. The cars are of a similar class for the period. Just including inflation the two rates are the same. But ff
      Is compact not sub. Has thicker windows and sound barriers. Has 15″ wheels similar fuel economy but the engine has 50% more torque and horsepower. It also has air bags – automatically turns off the cab lights and radio after an hour without the engine running – I am sure there is more. But I basically purchased much more car for the same Price.

  5. morganovich says:

    it would be interesting to add a chart of horsepower per liter as well.

    that has absolutely exploded in recent years.

    it used to be that 100 hp/l was the absolute limit and few thought you could get much past it.

    some of the cars today are getting damn close to 200 and are still reliable as can be. there is zero question that engines are making huge leaps. there were maybe 3 or 4 production cars in the world pre 2000 (and these were serious exotics like the mclaren f1) with more horsepower than my suv.

    that said, is it just me or is the current styling of most cars pretty awful?

    the new bmw’s look like buicks.

    the porsche panamera makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

    there are a few pretty cars in the over $150k set, but even the 458 is nothing like the gorgeous 430 but i am just not seeing a whole lot i think is pretty.

  6. Toads says:

    The best is yet to come :

    1) Self-driving cars
    2) Nanomaterials that are lighter but stronger, than current body metals.
    3) Electrical Vehicles reaching near-parity price with gasoline vehicles.
    4) 3D-printing of replacement parts, slashing costs.

    • Vangel says:

      Ink for your inkjet printer costs you $100 so let us be a bit more realistic about 3D-printing of replacement parts. Do you really think that you will ever be able to print a piston, a spark plug, a bumper, or a starter motor? And the electric vehicle song and dance has been with us for a century now and we are still waiting.

      • Toads says:

        In case you were not aware, 3D Printers are now available for consumers, and filament tends to cost $10/pound. Industrial-grade printers cost more, but it is still very inexpensive to print such parts.

        It is not 2006, muchacho….

        • Vangel says:

          In case you were not aware, 3D Printers are now available for consumers, and filament tends to cost $10/pound. Industrial-grade printers cost more, but it is still very inexpensive to print such parts.

          It is not 2006, muchacho….

          $10 a pound for what? Are you telling me that you can print a camshaft or piston? How about just a simple wire? From what I see most of these printers are suitable to make plastic models that would help design teams or toys, plastic jewelry, etc.

  7. I suppose that I should complain about the loan rate being included, as it is driven by economic forces of questionable benefit to the broader economy. This doesn’t directly contradict anything that Professor Perry says, but it is still relevant to the spirit of the post.

    Actually, the issue strikes me as being akin to the current cost of housing: Buyers are certainly pleased, but buyers are often sellers simultaneously. I don’t know why we shouldn’t think of auto loans (interest rates) in a similar way. I will avoid getting into a serious discussion of Wicksell and friends, but I must say that it seems better to have the “right” interest rate, and that might not be what we have now…

    For what it’s worth, I believe in applying similar standards to a glorification of Krugman’s good ol’ days: Much of what made those days so good for white high-school educated males also made the world a worse place for just about everyone else.

  8. Benjamin Cole says:

    Er, I hate to mention it, but….a lot of regulations went into the lower vehicular death rate…seat belts, air bags….a more intrusive government effort at getting drunk drivers off the road….

    • Vangel says:

      Er, I hate to mention it, but….a lot of regulations went into the lower vehicular death rate…seat belts, air bags….a more intrusive government effort at getting drunk drivers off the road….

      Look at the chart again and try to figure out when the regulations were put into place. There was no change in the trend. That began long before the government got into the act.

    • John Dewey says:

      Er, I hate to mention it, Benjamin, but most of the improvements in car safety the past few decades were the result of free market competition, not regulation. Those innovations would include:

      - collapsible steering wheels;
      - disc brakes and power assist braking;
      - electronic stability and traction control systems;
      - anti-lock braking;
      - side impact protection beams;
      - energy-absorbing crumple zone design;
      - backup cameras and reverse backup sensors.

      A few automobile manufacturers led the way in developing safer cars, and demand for those innovations forced all manufacturers to follow the lead.

  9. Jimac2 says:

    And an analysis of cost of consumer goods would show that Walmart by itself has been the biggest boon to the standard of living for the average person in history. They have made everything more accessible. Their evolution and cost management strategies force all other retailers to improve as well!

  10. Cato says:

    I should like to point out that perhaps, just perhaps, the reason people are holding onto their vehicles longer is because they cannot afford a new one, because they are a) tapped out on credit b) unable to access credit due to job loss/mortgage default/bankruptcy c) new vehicles cost substantially more than used, and far more to insure, especially if one is young d) the uncertainty of obamacare for those who are employed full time still e) the craziness of credit scoring means that if you have previously had a mortgage/car loan and paid it off, sworn off credit cards, and only use debit cards now, your credit rating is trashed. Good luck buying a toaster on credit.

Leave a Reply

Mobile Theme | Switch To Regular Theme