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View Poll Results: Would you buy a basic $5000 car?
In a heartbeat 3 6.67%
Yes, but only if it was dependable 9 20.00%
Yes, but only if it had a tiny engine and manual trans 8 17.78%
Depends, not sure, maybe 12 26.67%
No, it would probably be a rolling piece of junk 3 6.67%
No (other) 10 22.22%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-07-2015, 12:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So why do you think there are no cheap basic cars being sold new?

So I was reading another thread and it got me to thinking: Why are there no cheap and basic new cars for sale (in the USA at least)?

The cheapest is over $10,000. That's considered cheap but far from it. I bet an automaker could potentially release a very basic grocery getter for around $5,000 if they wanted to. If they did, they would fly off the lots.

When I say basic, I do mean basic:
* manual everything (including transmissions)
* no fancy electronics (if possible, no electronics at all except an AM/FM radio)
* basic dash display (speedometer, odometer, tachometer, fuel gauge)
* heater/defroster but no AC (AC could be an addon)
* front disk, rear drum brakes with an addon for disk brakes all around
* small engine (1 liter or a tad over?)
* steel unibody
* basic tires (whatever tire size is most common and cheapest)
* no fancy stuff, literally. no floor mats, no chrome, nothing but basic.
* EDIT: and of course mandatory safety/emissions features

I for one don't care about fancy stuff in cars. It seems many people do and that is why I suspect cars in the USA are so dang expensive, demand. Another contributing factor is air pollution laws.

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Old 07-07-2015, 12:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Safety stuff and other mandatory stuff has to be included.
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Old 07-07-2015, 12:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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1) Because cost of production means you can't build a $5K car and sell it at a profit.

2) Because depreciation means that your new $20K car can be bought for $5K in a few years. Why would any cost-conscious person ever buy a new car?
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Old 07-07-2015, 12:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The cheapest here is a Dacia Sandero.

The 10 cheapest new cars on sale - Telegraph

That's 9300 here. https://www.google.com/search?q=5995...UQ_AUoAA&dpr=3

That's the only one I can find so cheap. Everything else is over our 10k mark. Great new cars for less than 10k | Cars

12,815 USD for the Versa. That's 8218 in pounds. That's six of those. I couldn't speak to the cost for options, but since there is less money there, and little interest in these classes in the US, I see why. Like Kei cars in Japan.
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
1) Because cost of production means you can't build a $5K car and sell it at a profit.

2) Because depreciation means that your new $20K car can be bought for $5K in a few years. Why would any cost-conscious person ever buy a new car?
Never seen a $20K vehicle sell for $5K within a few years. Usually seems to take a decade unless something is SERIOUSLY wrong with it. I've seen some people asking $5K for a ten year old vehicle with serious transmission or engine troubles. The shocking part, some people are willing to pay such. The same vehicle usually ends up for sale again at a slightly higher price with same issues a few months down the road. The cycle seems to repeat till nobody is willing to pay for it then someone loses a lot of money.

As for selling a new car for $5K and making a profit, I bet it can be done, but only by a major auto maker.
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Never buy new cars! Buy a one year old car and save thousands. IMHO
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Old 07-07-2015, 03:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePrudentNinja View Post
As for selling a new car for $5K and making a profit, I bet it can be done, but only by a major auto maker.
Is being done. But won't pass US safety or emissiosn requirements. And buyers certainly won't be flocking to them.

-

The one (non-Nano*) car I know of that goes for under $5k in its home market is the Maruti Alto. Which is this:


(yeah, that was about as uncomfortable as it looks!)

Great little thing. 70 mpg on the highway. Around 30 mpg in crawling Asian traffic, with the AC on.

Add required safety equipment for the US market, however, and it'll probably be at least $2-$3k more expensive. At which point, a Mirage or a Versa is a much better deal... as they have much more legroom, elbow room and storage space.

And these things are tiny. I can reach both side mirrors at the same time, and I'm all of five-and-a-half feet tall. Highway stability is basically nil, and there's no crash safety to speak of.

If you want the cheapest normal sized cars you can buy, you've already got $10k Versas... which is, really, a pretty sweet deal... frankly, I wish they were that cheap over here, as well.

-

*The Nano is an excellent case in why cheap doesn't necessarily make sense. That was a car that cost under $3k when it was launched, and it sold horribly... simply because even Indian buyers have standards below which they will refuse to go. American standards, on the other hand, are quite a bit higher... and selling them anything below the Fiesta size range is still an iffy proposition.

**I once met a distributor who brought in a no-BS $4k car (after taxes)... which only cost around $2-$3k in its home country. Here, where an Alto costs about $8k, that's an amazing price. BUT: it doesn't sell. He's still pitching it around, but has few buyers. Could be something to do with the fact that it's just got three wheels and a motorcycle engine... but the sad reality is... you're never going to convince people to buy cheap crap that's too small when they have the choice of buying cheap crap that's simply old.

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Old 07-07-2015, 04:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have owned a Suzuki Alto, but I would not buy it again.
I don't mind it being spartan, but I don't feel safe in it either.
And it was built really cheap - also it never got really good economy, hardly better than my Nissan Almera and much worse than my Insight.

Same for my old '85 Civic and '86 Golf Diesel; I had a minor accident in the latter and the front folded in like paper. It did not even slow it down, or so it seemed.

Those were not 5000 dollar cars... which can only be worse.

The I10 in my garage is a much better car than the Golf and the Alto, and much more 'luxurious' at least than my Civic.
It is much heavier too, to name one thing, yet it could be more economical - but that would require me driving it Current tank log reflects really short trips in town only at high RPM.
It is about the cheapest car you can buy here, still it would surpass 10.000 dollars on the US market.

Modern cars have all kinds of little tweeks designed in to make them use less fuel, but have cost money in the design phase and probably in construction.
A $5000 car cannot have those. It will be light but use more fuel than a car that light should.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I suppose it comes down to several key things:

1. Acceptability of "no frills" motoring in the target market. If there is not the appetite for the product why develop and sell it?

2. Purchasing ability of the manufacturer- can they buy sufficient quantities of materials or parts to get the volume discount that will allow them to sell low and still profit?

3. Safety/ Regulatory requirements in differing markets- Is it worth the hassle of trying to get models to fit many markets?VAG tdi are a case in point for tou chaps in America.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Nissan could sell a brand new Micra under $10,000 in the states if they wanted to. The Micra is $10,000 Canada, that would be under $8,000 in US dollars, add AC and still keep it under $9k, but they already have the cheapest car in the States in the Versa sedan starting at $11,990 so why compete with themselves. I'd take a Micra or 2 but not a Versa Sedan and the Note is too expensive.


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