But two new reports indicate that things may be starting to cool off.
Wholesale used car prices — what car dealers pay for the cars they sell to customers — fell in the first two weeks of July, while used vehicle inventories at dealerships increased,according to Cox Automotive.
In addition, the retail price of used cars — the amount consumers pay — has continued to increase, but at a slower pace over the past month, according to aseparateCox Automotive report. While it’s not certain yet, Cox Automotive analysts think retail prices will start coming downover the coming weeks.
Getting all the way back to normal will still take a long time, however, said Charlie Chesbrough, a senior economist at Cox Automotive.
Used car prices have been driven to extremes, thanks to a combination of demand from consumers wary of taking public transportation and a major shortage in the computer chips needed to make new cars.
The average price of a used car in the United States passed $25,000 for the first time ever at the end of June, a 26% increase from the year before and up 29% from two years ago.
Wholesale used car prices are also beginning to taper off. According to a recent Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index report, wholesale used car prices, overall, are still up almost 25% compared to a year ago. But, in the first weeks of July, prices dropped 1.7% compared to the month before.
These price comparisons are statistically adjusted for the differing mix of vehicles sold and for normal seasonal fluctuations, according to Cox.
“The latest trends in the key indicators suggest wholesale used vehicle values will continue to see a similar amount of depreciation in the days ahead,” the report said.
Manheim, a subsidiary of Cox Automotive, is America’s largest seller of wholesale used vehicles to auto dealers.
While the used car market is no longer at a full rolling boil, it will take some time for ordinary car shoppers to notice a difference, Chesbrough said.
“This frenzy to acquire inventory is backing off a little bit so the price is starting to come down a little bit,” Chesbrough said. “That generally means that, four to eight weeks from now, on the retail side, we should see the froth come down a little bit, a little bit less upward pressure.”
Used car prices still aren’t expected to return to anywhere near what theywerebefore the coronavirus pandemic anytime soon, he said.
“My sense is that given the supply shortage on the new[car] side, we’re looking at a used market that’s going to be constrained for supply for the foreseeable future,” he said, “and those prices are going to remain elevated as a result.”
A few years ago I was suckered in by the prospect of a driverless tomorrow. My children would ping around from city to city on future-y trains that could pick them up without ever stopping. Or on moving sidewalks. Or in self-driving cars, with banquette seating and open bars! I believed in that last one hardcore. I figured we were mere years away from never having to set foot to pedal to get wherever we wanted to go.
I should’ve known better. I was already old enough to know that the world I live in is always ready to let me down, and yet I thought the auto industry, out of everyone, was somehow exempt from that rule. Reader, you’re not gonna believe this, but it is not. I wanted flying cars. Instead I got a pandemic, hoax miracle buses, bug-infested driverless cars retrofitted to deliver shitty pizza, a deteriorating American infrastructure that will never be repaired, and more goddamn cars. Our real future, one unfolding before us right now, is one where cars not only remain legion, but where the expensive ones dominate.
I know because I live in the Washington, D.C. area, where you can’t get out of bed without stumbling into some asshole lobbyist’s X3. Last year, during the pandemic, wealthy Americans bought even more cars than they usually do, which artificially inflated the average price of new cars sold across the board. Given that the K-shaped economic recovery has already begun in earnest, that artificial inflation may soon become permanent with cars, just as it has with homes and private schools.
Now, you can still buy “affordable” cars, like a base-model Honda Civic that retails for just under $22,000. Or the lowest trim-level of the new Toyota Sienna, which clocks in at $35,000, give or take. But in terms of style, comfort, and amenities, many of those base-model cars treat you like absolute shit, and everyone on the road knows it.
I know it because I test drove a base-model Honda Odyssey, which I despised. I felt like I was driving the Spirit Airlines of cars. Then I test drove an Elite model of that same minivan and suddenly—whether it was the blue ambient LED lighting on the dashboard or the air-conditioned seat that made me feel like Irish forest nymphs were fanning my otherwise gruesome ass—it was like I was driving a whole different vehicle. I was upsold. Spiritually, a Honda Odyssey should never cost more than $100. But after my encounter with the base model, I gladly paid $40,000-plus for the Touring edition. (The top-spec Elite was just a hair too elite for my taste). It became the most expensive new car I’ve ever bought, and it was a goddamn Honda Odyssey. But at least it was a nice one. And now I understand that $40,000 represents the entry barrier to any new car I’d actually want to drive.
The Aston Martin Valhalla started out quite different from the car we see here today, in part because of company changes including the arrival of former AMG head Tobias Moers as Aston’s new CEO.
Instead of the expected V-6, the mid-engine Valhalla will get a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 sourced from AMG.
The first customers should get the Valhalla in late 2023, and they’ll pay around $800,000 for it, which is much less than the seven-figure prices that were expected when the car was first discussed.
Aston Martin first confirmed it was planning to produce two other mid-engine supercars to follow the Adrian Newey–designed Valkyrie back in 2019, releasing rendered images of what would become known as the Valhalla at the same point. But the change in the company’s senior management last year, when a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll took control of the English company and former AMG boss Tobias Moers arrived as CEO, has led to a bold new direction for the car.
The Valhalla name remains, and some of the original design concept lives on, but almost everything else has changed. Red Bull Racing’s connection with the car has been unsurprisingly broken now that Aston has its own Formula 1 team, and the Valhalla will now use an AMG-sourced V-8 in place of the hybridized V-6 engine that Aston had previously committed to building itself. It will also be a plug-in hybrid with an electrically powered front axle, production won’t be limited to 500 cars, and the outline pricing has fallen considerably from the $1.3 million we were originally told to expect.
Back in May, Moers told Car and Driver that work on the new V-6 had barely started when he arrived at Aston, making the swap to AMG power an obvious decision. We are told that the mid-mounted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 will be based on the flat-plane-crank engine produced for the AMG GT Black Series and will be capable of revving to 7200 rpm and of making 740 horsepower. Company insiders have also indicated that engines will be hand-built from AMG-supplied components in the U.K.
The V-8 will send drive to the rear axle through a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox from Italian supplier Graziano. It will be supplemented by two electric motors, one powering the front axle and the other blending assistance with the combustion engine at the rear through the transmission. Together Aston says these can add up to 200 horsepower, making for a peak combined output of 937 horsepower. The company is promising a 2.5-second zero-to-62-mph time and a 217-mph top speed and says the car is on track to deliver a 6:30 lap time of the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife. (The current production-car record there is the 6:43.3 recently set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS.)
The new gearbox will also use an electric reverse and incorporate an electronically controlled limited-slip differential at the rear axle. While the full battery specs haven’t been released yet, it appears to be same actively cooled 400-volt,
Apparently that new car smell just isn’t the same for some electric car customers.
Ford has developed a gasoline-scented fragrance for EV owners to help them make the transition to battery-power.
The Mach-Eau GT was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, where Ford is showing off its electric Mustang Mach-E. Company CEO Jim Farley even took a racing version of the car for a run up the venue’s hill climb course.
Ford conducted a survey asking people what they’d miss about internal combustion engine vehicles and 70% said gasoline, Autoevolution reported.
“Judging by our survey findings, the sensory appeal of petrol cars is still something drivers are reluctant to give up. The Mach Eau fragrance is designed to give them a hint of that fuel-fragrance they still crave. It should linger long enough for the GT’s performance to make any other doubts vaporize too,” Ford spokesman Jay Ward said.
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The concoction doesn’t actually contain any petroleum, but “is designed to please the nose of any wearer; a high-end fragrance that fuses smoky accords, aspects of rubber and even an ‘animal’ element to give a nod to the Mustang heritage,” according to Ward.
Unfortunately for gas guzzlers, it’s also not for sale, but was created purely as a promotion. (Well, that … stinks.)
The Mach-E does have a feature that tries to help with the transition from muscle cars to silent electric power, however. The car is equipped with a system that plays a digitally-created audio track inspired by the rumble and exhaust of an internal combustion engine powertrain that has a loud setting labeled “Unbridled,” but can also be turned off.
Let’s all acknowledge an ugly truth for a second: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May haven’t exactly been on their best form in recent years. The Grand Tour has had its moments, but all too often, episodes like A Massive Hunt leave us wondering if now’s the time to pull the plug on the operation at long last. Our hopes remain high though, especially following the trailer for the trio’s newest special, Lochdown, a proto-pandemic romp across Scotland.
As revealed in a trailer released Thursday, the Brits embark on a tour of the northernmost land of Great Britain in Malaise Era American cars, ill-suited to the British Isles’ tight roads or gas prices. Clarkson commands a ’70s Lincoln Continental Mark V, Hammond a 1971-1973 Buick Riviera, and May, a 1975 or 1976 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.
These decadent disgraces to the American automotive industry are taken many places they don’t belong, European city roads, through rivers, and for at least one hairy, roly-poly lap of a racetrack. As COVID-19 restrictions come into effect, they’re then forced to sequester themselves away in trailers, which they tow behind (and possibly destroy with) their Malaise machinery.
They also appear to spend some time modifying their cars, as evidenced by a Plymouth Superbird-style wing on Hammond’s Buick—Lord knows why he did that.
Some customers have balked at paying top dollar for new cars and have opted to make do with older vehicles. That has increased demand for parts and service, one of the most profitable businesses for car dealers. Many dealers have extended repair-shop hours. Mr. Ricart said he had some repair technicians putting in 10- or 12-hour days three or four days in a row before taking a few days off.
Of course, the shortage of cars will end, but it isn’t clear when.
As Covid-19 cases and deaths rose last spring, automakers shut down plants across North America from late March until mid-May. Since their plants were down and they expected sales to come back slowly, they ordered fewer semiconductors, the tiny brains that control engines, transmissions, touch screens and many other components of modern cars and trucks.
At the same time, consumers confined to their homes began buying laptops, smartphones and game consoles, which increased demand for chips from companies that make those devices. When automakers restarted their plants, there were fewer chips available.
Many automakers have had to idle plants for a week or two at a time in the first half of 2021. G.M., Ford Motor and others have also resorted to producing vehicles without certain components and holding them at plants until the required parts arrive. At one point, G.M. had about 20,000 nearly complete vehicles awaiting electronic components. It began shipping them in June.
Ford has been hit harder than many other automakers because of a fire at one of its suppliers’ factories in Japan. At the end of June, Ford had about 162,000 vehicles at dealer lots, fewer than half the number it had just three months ago and roughly a quarter of the stocks its dealers typically hold.
This month, Ford is slowing production at several North American plants because of the chip shortage. The company said it planned to focus on completing vehicles.
Mr. Ricart recently took a trip on his Harley-Davidson to Louisville, Ky., and got a look at the trucks and S.U.V.s at a Ford plant that are waiting to be finished. He said he saw “thousands of trucks in fields with temporary fencing around them.”
Dramatic video footage shows a Michigan cop running toward the flaming wreckage of a car – then pulling the dazed driver to safety.
Harper Woods Officer Luke Pauly’s bodycam footage shows him speeding to the near a massive crash on Interstate 94 outside Detroit last Sunday.
Flames blaze and smoke pours from a car in the distance while traffic is at a standstill.
Pauly, 30, then sprints towards the engulfed car as skid marks, twisted metal and debris from the crash are seen scattered across the highway and its shoulder. People along the highway tell Pauly someone’s in a car that apparently flipped in the crash.
“He’s in the car?” Pauly is heard asking bystanders as scorching fire is seen in the distance.
When he gets to the car, a man is seen on the passenger side, reaching over the window to clutch the door handle on the outside. The man was the driver, who Pauly told WDIV may have ended up in the passenger seat by force of the impact.
He was apparently fighting off passing out to try to get away from the blaze as it grew in intensity.
In footage from the camera of another officer, Pauly is seen pulling the man from the wreck by his arms, dragging him across the pavement until he’s a safe distance from the flames. The man was coming in and out of consciousness, reports said.
“I was worried it was gonna blow up,” he told FOX 2. “I never knew that cars don’t explode so it was popping … I think it was from the tires.”
The man is recovering and no one was injured despite the severity of the accident, the station reported.
The officer told WDIV things may have turned out more grim if police arrived even a few minutes later.
“All I could think was perfect timing,” Pauly said. “Glad we got here.”
SACRAMENTO — California is slated soon to reinstate funding for subsidies that encourage drivers to buy electric cars, a program advocates say will help the state prepare for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.
But who exactly will get rebate checks has created a divide between some state legislators and environmental activists, who say more money should be directed to help low-income drivers go electric.
The Mustang has held the top spot since it took it from the Camaro in 2015, but the Challenger has momentum going into the second half of the year as its sales are up 37% in 2021 while the Mustang’s are down 5.4%.
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That is if you don’t count the electric Mustang Mach-E (note: you shouldn’t), which racked up 12,975 deliveries through June. In fact, it outsold the Mustang for the first time last month 2,465 to 2,240.
I lived in a van for five years, which is quite a long time. In fact, I lived in that thing for longer than I’ve lived in any other place since leaving my childhood home. Strangely, I found moving out of a van to be more stressful than moving into one. I was afraid I was going to miss the freedom that comes with having everything travel-ready in my own little turtle shell. The moment I got a normal-person car, I got to work figuring out how to be able to use it as a mini camper-van.
Now, we’re not talking about doing a full, permanent conversion here. I was moving to LA, and my car’s primary duty would be getting me around the city. But I wanted to develop a system that would make it killer for road trips and backcountry camping—a vehicle that, like my van, I could just park, pull up my shades, and go to sleep. In fact, I was hoping that it would be able to take me places my van couldn’t get to. It turns out there are many products out there for that exact purpose. There’s a ton to choose from, so I went deep down the research rabbit hole and have been testing gear.
If you want to hit the road this summer, I have some rock-solid recommendations for you, and a few tips and tricks along the way, too.
The Gear You Need for Your Car
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You do not need to run out and get a new car for this. It’s entirely possible that the car you already own will work pretty well for this purpose. The one big thing you’re going to want is back seats that fold down as flat as possible, because that’s going to be your bed. Aside from that, more space generally means more comfort, but really the most important question is: What kind of camping to you want to do? Breaking that down a little, you need to think about the places you want to be able to go, and the type of climate and roads you’re likely to encounter.
For me, I knew that I wanted to be able to do some winter camping, ideally near ski resorts, so I had to have something with all-wheel drive. I wanted to be able to get out on dirt trails, but because it’s my day-in-day out car I didn’t want something that’s difficult to park in cities, or that was super lifted or with gigantic tires that would kill my MPG. I went with a Honda CR-V. It checked all of my boxes. I wouldn’t be able to go rock-crawling on the Rubicon Trail or anything, but it has all-wheel drive so it should pretty well cover me for most of the dirt roads I want to take on. Critically, the back seat folds down extremely flat. For most people looking for