CarGurus is a wonderful resource for shoppers looking to find great deals from great dealers, but sometimes we wonder whether we’re serving the automotive enthusiast community as well as we could. Sure, we’ve got plenty of data connected to market values, used-car rankings, and new-car reviews, but how can we help drivers, new or seasoned, looking to bury themselves deep within the rich world of car culture? For some of you, this glimpse down the path toward gearheadedness will sound painfully obvious. For the uninitiated, we hope it acts as a roadmap as you earn your stripes (your C4 Corvette Grand Sport racing stripes, that is).
As we noted Wednesday, muscle cars sold very well in 2014 and 2015, which we took as a sign the car business was healthy. But the first 7 months of 2016 saw Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger sales drop by 5.5% year over year while the redesigned Chevrolet Camaro’s sales dropped by 15.4%. What’s the problem?
Nobody buys a Mustang because he or she needs a Mustang.
People buy Mustangs because they want a modern version of an automotive icon. Mustangs make drivers feel good, there’s not much else to it. They certainly don’t offer much in the way of transportation for large families.
Industry analysts happen to know that the automotive market is doing quite well when people buy Mustangs, along with other cars they don’t need. When sales of performance cars and other discretionary models start to dip, a slow-down in the rest of the market probably isn’t far away. It’s like the Farmer’s Almanac of the auto world.
Believe it or not, you can still buy a new car in the United States for under $14,000. The least expensive option on the market is the $11,990 Nissan Versa, a car that Car and Driver says, “has insultingly flimsy materials” along with a 109-hp 1.6-liter engine that makes for slow acceleration but gives reasonably good fuel efficiency.
Most of us opt to buy more car than what the Versa has to offer, but that ultra-low price is appealing to budget-conscious shoppers. If the Versa is too “flimsy,” buyers can step up to something like the $14,000 Ford Fiesta.
Once the car is purchased, it can be driven for many years with no further finance costs, which is one of the benefits of buying a car outright.
A 24-month finance term on a $14,000 car, at 3.11 percent interest, is about $600. For the same price you could drive one of the most desirable luxury cars on the market: An all-electric Tesla.
The Nissan Titan has been all but forgotten in the minds of full-size truck shoppers. Last month, the Titan placed dead last in truck sales, if we don’t include the extinct Chevy Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT.
Almost 234,000 trucks were sold in the U.S. in July. The Titan accounted for just 1,143 of those sales, which amounts to a fairly average month when looking at the last six years of Titan sales data.
The 2015 version of the truck was widely panned as an outdated and underpowered entry in the market. Nissan overhauled the truck for 2016 and included a Cummins turbodiesel V8 engine in its Titan XD model, making it the only “light-duty” truck capable of towing more than 11,000 pounds.
So far sales numbers haven’t improved much.
For 2017, though, Nissan will make the standard half-ton Titan available. It won’t knock the Ford F-150 off its perch, but Nissan hopes it will at least move the Titan out of last place.
We may be CarGurus, first and foremost, but that doesn’t prevent us from being proud pet owners, too. From French Bulldogs and Miniature Pinschers to Labradors and Great Danes, the dogs of CarGurus are a widely varied bunch. My own dog, Taylor, looks enough like a Labrador to keep landlords and kennels at ease, but her mix of breeds puts her solidly in the “mutt” camp. Regardless of size or breed, however, dogs are always a hit at CarGurus. Maybe that’s because dogs have such a social history with the automobile. They chase them, they hang their heads out the windows, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a dog who didn’t get a case of the wiggles every time it hears, “Want to go for a ride in the car?”
Fiat has a problem.
Sales in the United States continue to fall as American car shoppers fail to recognize Fiat’s value proposition. Either that, or the marginal reviews of Fiat’s cars to this point have turned buyers off the brand.
Sales so far for the year are down over 16 percent from last year.
To help change how Americans perceive the Fiat brand, FCA has launched a series of video ads aimed at giving U.S. shoppers a “Whole New Way to Look at Fiat.” The ads feature innovative camera techniques, but will that be enough to convince people to put Fiat on their lists?
We’ve all been there: January 1st nears, excitement builds, and you set a lofty goal for yourself. Eat healthier. Hit the gym 5 days a week. Engage friends and family in conversations that are not exclusively about cars. You know, your typical New Year’s resolution. In the following weeks, Whole Foods will record record sales and gym memberships will spike. But by mid-February or so, we’ll return to our old habits, and my loved ones will still be trying to remember which seemingly random collection of letters and numbers is made by Cadillac and which by Mercedes-Benz. Our resolutions—promises we made and agreed to stand behind—have become more akin to suggestions. They’re now goals to strive for and be congratulated on, not requirements by which to live. Don’t feel too bad: as it turns out, the auto industry isn’t too different.
In 2015 Americans bought more new cars than in any previous year, but those numbers can’t hide one of the auto business’s dirty little secrets: even when shoppers buy lots of cars, not every model sells well. We’re now winding down the 2016 model year, so we know which models won’t return for 2017. There are a few we won’t miss too much (take care, CR-Z!), but happily, a number of good models that won’t come back for 2017 have already been replaced or will move on under new names. Here are some vehicles we’re glad will return, even if they’ve had to adopt an alias to do so.
There was a time when Europe got all the cool cars.
A decade ago, Europe had the small, fast, and efficient cars that folks in the U.S. could only envy from across the Atlantic. Even the domestic Big 3 automakers seemed to send their best metal to Europe while leaving the clunky, fuel-thirsty cars stateside.
Americans became especially jealous in 2008, because the price of gas climbed well above $4 per gallon and Europe’s fuel-sipping diesels and small-displacement motors seemed to taunt our oversized V8 SUVs.
Today it’s a different story. Some of the best cars in the world are available for sale here, including some that people in Europe can only dream of someday owning.