Safety enhancements are, undoubtedly, a good thing. People are walking away from wrecks that would have been fatal a few decades earlier and crash avoidance systems can keep inattentive drivers out of trouble altogether. The downside is that these features have made vehicles more expensive to purchase and repair.Bob Tschippert, the senior vice president of underwriter Risk Theory, says that advancements in technologies have made vehicle repairs so costly that insurance companies have begun declaring substantially more injured cars a total loss. “In the past, if you had a front-end collision, you had damage to the engine or the front end,” Tschippert explained. “But now, with the number of airbags that can run from $1,000 up to $4,000 and all the sensors up front, you’re seeing more totals.” Speaking with Automotive News, Tschippert said the issue was being exacerbated by the increased number of drivers on American roads. Federal … [Read more...] about Advancements in Tech Makes More Wrecked Vehicles too Expensive to Repair
Thanks to rhetoric beaten into us by the automotive industry, we know autonomous vehicles are “right around the corner.” Some manufacturers predict self-driving vehicles will be on the commercial market by an ambitiously early target date of 2021. However, those trick new rides are going to come at a premium that’ll keep them out of the hands of most normal people for a while.LIDAR, the imaging system that allows an autonomous vehicle’s software to make sense of the road, is prohibitively expensive. High-end systems can approach the six-figure threshold while lower quality units rarely fall below 10 grand. Burgeoning technology is never affordable and automakers have traditionally found a way to produce advancements in cost-effective ways. But the timeline for autonomous cars is too short, meaning any manufacturer wanting to sell one is going to have to have to accept the costs or defer production. While automakers could option for budget … [Read more...] about LIDAR Will Make First-Generation Autonomous Vehicles Insanely Expensive or Pathetically Slow
The numbers are big — 278 investors seeking $3.61 billion — but the latest lawsuit leveled at Volkswagen is merely another drop in the penalty bucket for the embattled automaker.As has been expected for some time, a group of institutional investors from numerous countries is seeking compensation for financial damage caused by Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, Reuters is reporting.The lawsuit was filed Monday in a Lower Saxony court — the same jurisdiction as Volkswagen’s headquarters — and alleges the automaker breached its duty under capital markets law between the time the “defeat device” was first installed in diesel models and when the scandal went public last September.Sparked by the E.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Notice of Violation, the scandal saw Volkswagen shares plunge in value, wiping billions out of the portfolios of investors who had been unaware of what was occurring behind … [Read more...] about Volkswagen Investors Want an Expensive Pound of Flesh
I want you to sit down for this.The 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature we’re driving this week costs $45,215.Mazda USA’s $45,215 sticker includes the destination fee and $300 for Machine Grey Metallic.Yes, that’s 34-percent more than the next-most-expensive Mazda.No, there’s not a panoramic sunroof at this price point; no ventilated seats, either. On paper, the new CX-9 produces only 227 horsepower from its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four when filled with regular fuel. Cargo space behind the third row? Negligible. Third row seating? Technically, yes, there is a third row for the headless and legless among us, like many of its rivals. The eight-inch Mazda Connect infotainment unit is intuitive but not the swiftest operator.And other than that, the all-new second-generation Mazda CX-9 is pretty much, well … is perfect too strong a word?Yes, perfect is too strong a word.There are other niggling issues.Accessing anchors for a child seat’s LATCH system is a … [Read more...] about We’re Driving A 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature, Which Is Very Expensive, And Very Good
While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales.In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen percent, meanwhile, traded like for like.Either way, both groups have their reasons for choosing models from this segment: Compact SUV popularity is truly a product story. They are a desirable size, but concede very little in efficiency and are comparably priced with models in other popular segments. They combine aspects of the market’s best-selling and pragmatic segments — establishing a new middle. The report says that transaction prices for compact SUVs are on par with midsize sedans, averaging $26,420 compared to the latter’s $25,887 average. It adds that the popular segment is having an effect on dealer inventories as well, as midsize and compact cars take … [Read more...] about Compact SUVs Gain Popularity At Expense Of Midsize, Compact Cars
TTAC Commentator sastexan writes:Sajeev,I’ve been driving cars requiring premium fuel (91+ octane). When I bought my Contour SVT in 1998, high test was $0.20 more a gallon (just under a 20% premium over regular). But it was regularly always only $0.20 more. In the past decade or so, I noticed the delta going to $0.30 and even more. The correlation did not seem to be to the price (eg, premium did not seem to track a consistent 15% increase). Rather, the difference appears to be a flat rate.Question for the best and brightest – what in higher octane fuel makes it more expensive?What inputs are there and how much more does it cost to manufacture?This is not intended to be a debate about the “requirement” for premium – my SVT had an extreme dislike of 87 octane and I won’t try it in my FRS with the high compression engine. However my mother runs 87 in her with no issue for the past 5 years despite the assertion from the salesman that the … [Read more...] about Piston Slap: What makes Premium Fuel More Expensive?
There’s not a doubt in my mind that if Grosse Pointe, Michigan, which abuts the city limits of Detroit, put up toll booths on Jefferson Ave. charging drivers money to enter the city, there’d be accusations of discriminating against the less affluent, mostly black residents of the city of Detroit. New York City, though, gets away with charging exorbitant tolls to enter Manhattan and some of the boroughs. If you are driving a privately owned automobile or truck, or if you’re a passenger on a privately owned bus or taxicab, you will be paying or subsidizing a toll if you want to enter the ‘center of the universe’.Of course, government owned transportation services are exempt from such tolls, but if you’re going travel into the city on your own schedule, you will have to pay for what, I guess, is a privilege.Now I don’t have a problem with the concept of paying a toll to traverse a bridge or tunnel. Bridges and tunnels need continuous … [Read more...] about Highway Robbery – Why Are NYC Tolls So Expensive?
So many upper-crust products sit at the top of their respective automaker’s lineup and do little more than look pretty. They are flagships, technological showcases, standard bearers.On the other hand, there’s the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with its base price of more than $95,000 in the United States. Flagship? Yes. Technological showcase? That, too. Standard-bearer? Of course. But the S-Class is also popular.6.4% of the non-Sprinter sales produced by Mercedes-Benz USA come from the S-Class.Granted, that’s down from 7.4 percent a year ago, but even that figure is skewed by the expansion of Mercedes-Benz’s already massive lineup. S-Class sales are also down 5.8 percent through the first half of 2015 after sales reached a seven-year high in 2014.Regardless, no vehicle with a base price beyond $70,000 sells more often in America than the S-Class, which now features both a sedan and a coupe, formerly the CL-Class.Incidentally, the next three best-selling vehicles on the … [Read more...] about Chart of the Day: America’s Favorite Expensive Vehicles in 2015’s First Six Months
Derek’s editorial yesterday on the idea that you need to look upmarket for truly awful cars nowadays ruffled quite a few feathers among the B&B. Some of you thought Derek was simply repeating the usual TTAC tropes. Others wanted to hear more about why expensive cars often fail to meet the same expectations that a Camry or CR-V easily exceed. To the first group of readers, I can only say: You’re going to hear about ethics in journalism on this site almost half as often as you heard about the Chevy Sonic when they were co-branding with Jalopnik. To the second group of readers: click the jump, okay?We can break this down into three questions:0. Why is it tougher to build a great upmarket car than it is to build a great mass-market car, if indeed that is the case?Derek went some way to answer the third question with his column; I’ll only say in addition that the prestige manufacturers are much more sensitive about the behavior of their media, ahem, partners than the … [Read more...] about So What Makes Expensive Cars So Terrible, Anyway?
Finding an E30 M3 isn’t particularly hard.Unlike contemporaries such as the Audi Quattro, locating a good example on any given day of the week is easy. eBay has no less than seven for sale at the time of writing, all in generally good shape. Specialists such as Enthusiast Auto Group (EAG) have the same number, none of which would be unwelcome at a high-brow show. Since BMW brought over 5,000 of these homologation specials to the U.S. market, you don’t need to search long and hard to find exactly the E30 M3 you want.Paying for it is another matter entirely.The E30 M3 has enjoyed a wave of popularity over the past few years as 1980s cars have finally become collectible. Outside of some supercars that have greatly outpaced the Bavarian, few others have gotten anywhere near the same amount of press.The result: the M3 market is unreachable for most enthusiasts.That’s problematic as nearly every article about the M3 paints a picture of angels singing the moment its motor … [Read more...] about No Box, Plenty of Flare: Six Alternatives to the Increasingly Expensive E30 M3