When I started doing Ask Bark columns, I feared that every week would turn into “What’s the best sporty car I can get for under $10,000?” Since I no longer work there, I’m sure it’s completely fine that I tell you that the most popular search on that big, orange auto classifieds site is “Any make, under $10,000.”
Why? Well, anybody who’s anybody knows that used car prices are skyrocketing (yes, there was a dip in February, but that was an aberration). But why? After all, if used cars are lasting longer than they ever have before (and they are—the average age of the car on American roads is 11.4 years, and that’s after Obama paid $2.8B to take nearly 700,000 working vehicles off the roads), then why do prices keep going up? Shouldn’t there be more cheap cars on the road now?
You can thank the lease bubble. There are going to be 7 million lease returns flooding the marketplace this year. All of these cars were dumped on the market to keep the SAAR climbing and climbing to numbers that were completely unsustainable. Well, those cars are alllllll coming back now, and the residuals are too damn high. So all the lease returns going through the franchise-only auctions are being sold with insane reserves, but if the dealers want to have late-model, low mileage inventory, what choice do they have but to pay? And you know that they’re passing those savings right along to you, the people.
As a result, used car prices now average 60% of new car prices, the highest in history. Thanks a lot, you douchenozzles who leased $99 Cruzes with zero down—you’ve killed us!
There’s a whole article on this to be written, but since this is my blog and not something I have to write for a deadline, I’ll do it another time. Now, to the man with the Mustang question!