We’re just at the tipping point of what could be the worst recession in American history. In the last six months we’ve seen the collapse of industry in the U.S. with millions unemployed, housing and car payments missed in record numbers, and more Americans than ever facing financial crisis. By far the poorest Americans have been hit the hardest, and the slowly collapsing middle-class has continued to shrink.
Those who still do have jobs are occasionally in need of good reliable transportation at a reasonable price, but automakers are continually kicking that style of car out of their lineups. Compacts? Dying. Sedans? Flatlining. Hatchbacks? Doubt it. Average transaction prices are rising steadily because only people with a lot of money can afford most cars these days.
During the last recession, Nissan was the last holdout with a car under the $10,000 mark as it sold a de-contented Versa for $9,990 in 2008. In today’s market, you’re lucky to find anything under the $20,000 mark. Not a single Honda, Mazda, Fiat, Mini, or Dodge can be had for less than that mark. Hell, the least expensive Dodge right now is a $28,000 V6 Challenger.
If you want something cheap with a warranty, the automakers are pretty much kicking you over to the certified pre-owned lot and wishing you good luck. They no longer want your business.
As Erik pointed out earlier today, the average vehicle transaction price has exploded to nearly $39,000 in recent months. Similarly, the percentage of overall new car sales under $20,000 has imploded in recent years, down to just 1.3 percent. Are automakers killing their cheap cars because nobody is buying them, or is nobody buying them for other reasons? To find out, let’s take a look at the last seventeen cars remaining on U.S. dealer lots with a bargain price.
There have been a lot of cars killed from this market in recent years. Honda Fit, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Sonic, Toyota Yaris,…