Way back in 2010, we noticed the auto world’s inconvenient truth: Manual transmissions are dying out. Any red-blooded gearhead will agree that learning to drive a manual-transmission car is a rite of passage, an art form every true CarGuru has to learn. The trouble is, how do you learn to drive a manual if you don’t own one? Many of us learned in our parents’ cars, where the sound of grinding gears didn’t incite mechanic-shop nightmares. Others had friends who cared about sharing the secrets of the stick shift more than preserving the mechanical well-being of their own transmissions.
We’re not ready to declare summer dead and buried, but football season is nevertheless upon us. This weekend, the NCAA will kick off the Division I College Football season, and with that, we’re bringing back one of our all-time favorite topics: Tailgating. In the past, we’ve shown you plenty of capacious trucks, vans, and body-on-frame SUVs, but this year we thought we’d try something a little different. Sure, a brand new F-150, 4Runner, or Odyssey will offer tons of space for your friends, beer, and grillables, but they also include a major drawback—they’re incredibly expensive.
The ‘buy a car and get insurance’ shtick has been around the block before.
General Motors experimented last year with giving away insurance as a way to entice buyers, but quietly let the program expire after it failed to bring in crowds of willing customers.
Honda has become the latest to try and lure customers with free insurance, but only on a single model that really shouldn’t need incentives or gimmicks to boost sales: The Honda Fit EV. You would think Honda’s first electric vehicle would be popular enough on its own, but the company hopes its offer of no-cost insurance will help get 1,100 people to sign the dotted line on a lease.
If this story seems suspicious to you, you’re not alone. I read about it and immediately asked myself three questions:
In case you thought it was impossible to make the Honda Fit look any weirder, check out the non-Photoshopped image above of the Honda Fit Shuttle.
The front three-quarters looks like a regular Fit, but the rear looks like the regular Fit has filled its diaper.
And what’s with the tri-color pointy C-pillar? The Fit Shuttle is certainly an odd duck, but as of now it is meant only for the Japanese market. Which is mostly OK with me, except I think it would make a perfect teen car here in the States. It’s ugly, not too fast, but reliable, and able to haul sports equipment and musical instruments. Because that’s what teens do with their cars, right?
As supply dwindles and production continues to sputter, new-car shoppers are already seeing higher prices for some of the more fuel-efficient Japanese vehicles.
The cost of the imports is going up, because earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing supply of the autos that people are increasingly snatching off dealer lots.
That’s a simple supply-and-demand equation, with cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit becoming more popular as gas prices get closer to $4 per gallon. It just so happens those are also two of the cars hard-hit by production slowdowns, and dealers are raising their prices, in some cases, to over MSRP.
Will a similar price increase trickle down to used cars? It’s entirely possible.