Tough Time for Automakers, Great Time to Buy a Car?

Wolf Richter Talks Shop: “Carmageddon” and tips on buying a car.

Here I am with radio host Jim Goddard on “This Week in Money,” discussing the worsening conditions that the US auto industry is facing. Jim is also asking whether it’s better to buy or lease, go directly to a sales manager or start with a salesperson first, whether to buy new or used, what to watch out for when buying used, what to research, and many more things I don’t normally write about since WOLF STREET isn’t a how-to site. So here’s an in-depth conversation on the nuts and bolts of the industry I used to work in:

And here’s more: Subprime Auto-Loan Backed Securities from 2015 on track to be Worst Ever. Read… This Toxic Trifecta for Auto Loans is Fueling #Carmageddon

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  77 comments for “Tough Time for Automakers, Great Time to Buy a Car?

  1. Jim C says:

    It is great information. I am looking for a truck or a car to buy, but I worried that I am buying too early before the car industry will have its market correction. You mentioned that it is correlated with residential real estate, I wonder how much price of a car will go down if the housing market crashes as well. I love to know more about the Japanese and European cars since the American cars are only mentioned in the podcast. I enjoy listening to podcast and thank you for tips on buying cars.

    • J. Gerty says:

      You strike me as engaging in a form of market timing.

      Figure out what you want to get and decide on how you want to pay for the vehicle ahead of time. Research it online and use CarMax for reference pricing. Be ready to walk out if some sales manager adds a bunch of stuff to your agreement. Look at dealers in other cities near you. I would shop up to 120 miles away, it could save you thousands.

      Consumer Reports provides a good general reference to the auto world in their April car issue. They also produce a used car compendium issue. They seem to harbor some bias against American automakers.

      Car & Driver and Road & Track have specific reviews and road tests on some models. Though they tend to concentrate on exotic and very expensive vehicles.

      I just bought a used 2014 mini-van which came off lease.

      My other car was purchased on sale and I received a 10% discount for paying cash. Cash gives you leverage, but interest rates can also be useful.

      • Jim C says:

        Thank you. I appreciated. Is KBB and Car FAX a good start to research for a used car?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Yes, if you’re shopping for a used car.

        • HudsonJr says:

          I just spent a few months looking for a used vehicle. I think nadaguides was the most useful for pricing as they give trade-in values as well as specify how much additional options add to the price. Sometimes certain trim levels an options are hard to find in your area, which may mean you pay more of a premium for them.

          If you are not in a hurry, once you decide what you want you can go to someplace like Autolist and Cargurus and mark which cars you want to follow. You will then get the chance to see how much a dealer has dropped prices on a vehicle, and also some idea of what sells more quickly than others.

          Additionally, there are usually fan forums for different kinds of cars. Take some time to browse there as you will get an idea of what the one or two biggest issues are. I know when I was shopping for a 3 row SUV, there was a lot of forum hate toward continuously variable transmissions (CVT) and certain eco features of engines. While they help the fuel economy numbers, certain implementations seems to cause major drivability problems.

        • Jim C says:

          Thank you.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Prices of new cars aren’t going to plunge like stocks can plunge. So the incentives you’re seeing may go a little higher on AVERAGE but not much higher. Automakers are already trimming production in order to get the oversupply under control. Incentives are suicidal for automakers. They were one of the factors that toppled them during the Financial Crisis.

      Also, look at the prices that dealers in your area are advertising for specific vehicles and compare those prices to MSRP. This will give you a feel. “Ad units” can be loss leaders for dealers. So that would be a good deal for you if you want that specific car.

      • Jim C says:

        Thank you. I appreciated. I just got the impression from Harry Dent, Jr. that everything one can buy will be dirt cheap once the market correction take place. Point taken and I am looking into buying a car. Does this also has similar effect on complimentary industry such as motorcycle?

        • Mark says:

          If the market ever corrects like Dent keeps saying, why would you use your dry powder on a new car when you could buy the S&P500 at a PE of less than 10 or a house at 50% off today’s prices?

          Cars and motorcycles depreciate bigly no matter what.

        • Jim C. says:

          That is true. You are correct. I lost my car last year and I am in the market to buy one. Buying stocks maybe, but car is a necessity in the U.S. Unlike in Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong their trains are very good i.e. JR Trains, MTR, etc. One can live without having a car living in these countries.

        • Mike G says:

          The price for toys like used Harleys, jet skis and RVs dropped sharply in the last recession. This is the kind of discretionary spending people splash out on when they are doing well, and the first to be sold when cash gets tight.

        • Jim C. says:

          Wow. I concur. Riding a Harley or Suzuki is one of top my wishlist to do. I cannot wait to get some bargain prices. Going minimalist i.e., riding motorcycle is one of my ideal things to do. Thank you.

  2. matt says:

    My wife and I plan on holding onto our Honda Pilot for several more years. We have taken extreme care of it since we have had it. . Mechanic says we can hopefully get up to another 150,000 on it and it is at almost 220,000 now. By then autos should be dirt cheap again

  3. Frederick says:

    You buy a car when you need a car You don’t sit around waiting for the car market to crash How absurd is this world getting Do you hear yourselves people?

  4. Kasadour says:

    The only reason why there isn’t a collapse in total sales is because of the auto-fianance industry.

    Ask anybody if they bought their new (ish) car for cash or if they financed it, and you’ll find very few that wrote a check ornpaid cash.

    Also, leasing (contractual renting), which is another form of auto finance, is counted as a “sale”.

    But for auto-finance, there definitely would be a collapse in sales, literally over night.

    Good podcast.

    • andy says:

      I was about to write check for my car, but they offered me extra $400 discount if i finance. I think they also get kickback from a bank. Took 3% financing, paid it off in next 3 months.

      • Mickey says:

        The dealer loses its incentive to finance if customer pays back quickly. Back in the day when rates were several percent, if you financed the dealer would reduce the price. Everything is so scrambled up not i am not sure the dealer is completely in control and the dealers are sharks.

        • Lee says:

          A couple of true stories:

          1. New arrival in Oz. Bought a car on finance at, get this, 14.9% loan rate. Signed the papers. Came back to pick up the car and the rate had ‘magically’ changed to 19.9%. Takes delivery of car.

          2. Same dealership. A person needs to sell a car – leaving Oz. Dealer offers XX dollars and the customer accepts. Cheap price offered.

          Salesman thinks: “That was fast………..maybe I can do a better deal so he tells the customer: “I have to check with my boss”.

          Comes back and offers A$2000 less – customer again accepts.

          By the way both customers were Asians……………

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I’m sure I overpaid when I bought a car when we moved to Belgium (years ago). And I did so despite the fact that I speak two (French, German) of the three official languages of that country, and there was no language barrier. But I didn’t know the system, was in a hurry, had lots of other pressures… the normal stuff when you try to set up a household in a new country. And they knew they had me.

      • Kasadour says:

        I frequent the Mannheim auto auction in Portland and Las Vegas, and am familiar with the auto-finance mechanism.

        You’re right, they want you to finance. There is money to be made. I know a guy that doesn’t have much income, he has a lot of debt, that purchased three BMWs (one of them is a 2016 750ixdrive) ALL THREE FINANCED. He told me that he can’t possibly keep up with these car payments. I asked him why he did such a stupid thing and he told me he was under the influence of narcotics when he signed the finance agreement(s). These vehicles will no doubt be repossessed at some point and could end up at one of auctions that I frequent.

        I was in L. A. recently, had the pleasure of driving through Maxine Waters’s Congressional district, “the Bottoms”. As I looked around and I knew the vast majority of cars had to have been financed. This is what is holding up the auto-industry. For now.

      • Jim Graham says:


        Good for you – as long as there is no “early payoff penalty” clause.

        You arre correct on the kickbacks from “banks” to the dealers.

    • Mike G says:

      I was going to pay cash, but they offered me 0% for 3 years so I’d have been silly not to take it. In many cases you will get a better price if you finance, since dealers get incentives to push it.

  5. John says:

    I’m betting there’s a lot more downside to this market than is currently shown. Nothing economically speaking is great in the countryside, and its sure not looking to improve.

  6. TJ Martin says:

    Look … the simplest advice I give to anyone asking when it comes to buying a new car in this market is …

    Be willing to walk away .. Cause the reality is … business is terrible despite subprime financing – leasing etc so …. if Dealer A isn’t willing to make the deal you need there’s ten others in the wings within reasonable distance just waiting to earn you business . And more often than not the act of walking away will convince Dealer A to come around to your terms .

    And what ever you do … DO NOT SUCCUMB to car lust . Cause once you do .. you’re screwed .

    • Mickey says:

      In 1973 the dealer followed me out the door and dropped the price to my “ridiculous” offer curbside.

      Seems the GM had a change in his mind.

    • HudsonJr says:

      I’d also say once you find what you want, just shop via e-mail and maybe expand your range. I know locally prices on what I wanted were not great, and there wasn’t much budging on price (probably since I wasn’t trading in or financing through them).

      Eventually a dealer farther away than I normally would have considered gave me a good price and offered to deliver the car.

  7. Tim says:

    New to the site. This was a great podcast. Wolf is as sharp as a tack. I learned quite a bit.

    As to the website. I love the topics and the comments. I especially like the exclusion of politics.

    • Mary says:

      Politics isn’t totally excluded. Note how a commenter manages to insert a nasty crack about Maxine Waters congressional district into a discussion of auto sales financing.

  8. meme Imfurst says:

    The auto industry is a well oiled game, and it knows how to game you and the stockholders and the government.

    They will crush the cars, write off the loss at stockholders expense and ask the government for loans or guarantees if the going really gets bad. Rinse and repeat. Just like the military suppliers, all cut from the same cloth.

    They will stick together rather than see the price and margins sacrificed to any meaningful discounts.

    Any breaks will be baked into the cars cash flow or the financing.

    • beadblonde says:

      Words of wisdom. The used market is the wild west, the place to be for a while. There must be an enormous number of lease returns. Not so simple for the big shots to control that market.

    • NoEasyDay says:

      The automobile manufacturers, their parts suppliers, the tire industry, the oil companies, the freeways and highways, etc., and the financial system that provides the economic lubrication form a synergy so enormous that there is no way that it will be allowed to fail.

  9. Bookdoc says:

    I am just waiting until Monday to find out if my 2016 leased LaCrosse will be totaled. The other driver was cited. In between all of the calls and mail from chiropractors and lawyers, I have already been contacted by 2 dealers to see if I need a new car. Looks like people are really digging for deals! The accident was Wednesday evening so I expect even more on Monday.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Amazing that chiropractors would find out that you had an accident within days of the accident. Who’s selling this info?

      • Bee says:

        I believe it’s all public information. The police must post it on a govt website to be accessed by these people that quickly?

      • TJ Martin says:

        ” Who’s selling this info ? ”

        Good question . At least here in CO the list includes ;

        CO DMV thru which ever PD was involved ( along with selling the make model & year of your car to every ‘ Extended Warranty ‘ company on the planet … FYI Voter Registration thru renewing your license in CO sells you off to any party willing to pony up as well )

        Once you’ve filled the claim ..Your insurance company etc – et al – ad nauseam . Not ‘ conspiracy theory ‘ .. verified fact . And yes … you can opt out of all those lists individually .. for a fee .

        Hell Wolf … in this day and age who doesn’t sell you off like some cheap commodity to be bought sold and traded ?

  10. cdr says:

    You’re killing me. I would love a new car and this is the kind of market I like to buy in.

    But our main car is practically new and the 2nd car sits most of the time. It’s a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with 120000 miles and is in nearly perfect condition. I just spend $14 on a key fob from Amazon and it seems even newer now. The radio was upgraded to bluetooth and connects perfectly. Seems frivolous to trade the Vibe in on another car that will mostly sit in the garage.

    • Mike says:

      I’m sort of in the same situation, but I think buying a new electric or hybrid might actually be worth it. The tax incentives plus manufacturer incentives makes it really attractive to get in. And if you look farther out, in another 20 years, the entire industry might have moved on from combustion engines.

      If your 2nd car is just going to sit in the garage, you could just plug it in and avoid the hassle with gasoline and maintenance costs associated with it. It might last decades.

      • cdr says:

        I’ll think about an electric car when I can recharge it as quickly as I can fill up the tank at a gas station. Until then they’re just over improved golf carts to me.

        • Mike says:

          That’s a pretty tall bar to hit, though the L3 chargers are getting close.

          If you go to a plugin-hybrid, you can keep the car plugged in at night and refill the tank as needed. I hear stories of people driving over 1000 miles per tank of gas… and this supposedly doesn’t involve any changes to how they drive, it just requires you to remember to plug in the car at night.

          It definitely depends on your driving patterns, and where you live. Most of my driving is short-distance so a glorified golf car works for me for that.

      • TJ Martin says:

        1) Tax incentives are going away

        2) Regardless it will take a minimum of ten years to recoup the extra cost of an EV over an ICE in fuel savings … not including the extra cost of maintenance etc over an ICE

        3) And … with the current average life expectancy of an EV being less than seven years

        To paraphrase the line from ” Seinfeld ”

        ‘ No savings for you ! ‘

        The lesson being… look into the facts before buying into the hype .

        • Mike says:

          So this is anecdotal, and there is going to be a bias among the people who had already purchased electric’s or hybrid cars, but everyone I’ve talked to loves their electric or hybrid cars. I know people who have Priuses that over 10 years old and they continue to go, with no significant problems. The only complaints I have heard have been that the quality of earlier EV’s were lousy compared to what they could have gotten if they had waited (which makes sense, the technology is constantly improving), and that taxes are being levied on EV owners to compensate for the lack of gasoline taxes that they no longer contribute to.

          So in this case, I consider the facts to be pretty biased towards owning an electric or hybrid car, *if* you can make the tax incentives in your favor. My state has generous incentives on top of the Federal incentives, and this probably helps explain why there are so many Leafs and Teslas in my neighborhood. Your situation may be completely different.

        • DH says:

          Mike, anecdotally, we bought a Prius new in 2008, and only sold it last year, because we moved to a place where we wanted AWD. The only thing we spent money on was tires and oil changes. Remarkable.

    • Dennis says:

      You could save $5,000 or more a year by going to one car, if the second just sits. Cars are more expensive than people think. Cheaper to occasionally rent a second vehicle.

      Check Edmunds True Cost To Own for an estimate of what cars really cost.

      For fun, run a BMW or Escalade.

  11. andy says:

    Had bet with brother that we will see 6-cyl 3 series bmw lease for under $300, used to be $550+ few years ago. Already seeing 4-cyl for 279. Jetta 36m lease now $120 2k down.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Keep an eye on the up-front money to be paid. This is in the small print of the lease ad. Read it carefully. I can lease you a Boeing 777 for $299 a month, if I get enough up-front money….

  12. Nicko2 says:

    Low income households spend up to 25% of their take home income on cars! OWNING a car in the 21st century is an anachronism. I myself am quite comfortable, but can never foresee the need, requirement, or desire of actually ‘owning’. In an urban context, with the proliferation of ride share programs, low cost taxis, and (very soon) fully automated transport, (not forgetting public mass transit), costs of transport are plummeting. I’d rather use the 10-20% of that traditional ‘transport’ income to put to more productive uses, such as investing, buying property, fine wine, or travel ect… ;)

    • andy says:

      We do not care nor realize that a car costs $500-1000 a month, new or used. Paycheck to paycheck to afford that 2nd or 3rd car (SUV preferably).

    • doe says:

      How can a low-income earner do that when 75% of take-home pay goes to pay the rent (leaving little for food, less for clothes and footwear, none for medical/dental/optical and none for even a bus pass)???

  13. nick kelly says:

    Just saw a TV i.e. for Nissan Rogue from manufacturer where for the first time that I’ve seen they quoted the cost weekly (59$)
    Don’t know if it was lease just noted the word ‘weekly’

  14. William says:

    Still driving an old Mercedes sedan with about 170k miles on it. Own it free and clear. It’s given me little trouble over the years. I’d like to get another Benz, preferably an older sportier car like a convertible, and keep this one as a daily driver. All cash purchase, I could probably get a good deal.

  15. Dave Kunkel says:

    The last new car we bought, we bypassed the salesmen and bought directly from the fleet sales manager. We found the same exact car at 3 different dealerships and the fleet price difference among them was less than $300.

  16. Paulo says:

    An up above comment on be willing to ‘walk away’ could also include ‘calling their bluff’. I had a dealer back in 2009 (Purchasing for cash a Toyota Yaris sub compact) try and unload a lot queen by playing games. I told him what we wanted, what the price expected to pay (we had done lots and lots of research), and we had ‘the deal’ worked out…..just come back in 2 hours for paperwork, etc, and to confirm we could get the specified colour. On the return the story changed to replace what was negotiated for one of a different colour, conveniently on the lot. What we actually desired would be an additional $300 to ‘bring in’.

    I said thank you very much, we’ll discuss it and come back, tomorrow. We promptly drove 35 miles to the next town and faced the same music. We then told the salesman what we had just gone through at home and he responded by ordering in exactly what we specified with a firm delivery date and price. (no deposit, required). Plus, when we arrived to pick up our wee little car 3 weeks later he took the trouble to place it in the display room for us, front and centre. Thinking back on it, I’m pretty sure I paid for it with a personal cheque….in fact I know I did. I suggested using my credit card for the air miles and he laughed and asked for a cheque, instead. We left feeling very good about the experience and drove home, right past our nearest hometown dealer. That was 8 years ago.

    This was just an economy purchase, but for us it was a big deal. The salesman treated us with respect and my wife and I both felt we received the same service as if we were buying something more expensive. This particular salesman has been selling cars at the same dealership for at least 25+ years. His brother also works there. They are wll known in the community and have solid reputations. (We checked). Our home dealer, not so much

    Our next car will also be cash and our first visit and step in the process will be avoiding the dealership that tried to shaft us 8 years ago. Needless to say, we have shared our story with many friends when the topic of car buying came up.

    Funny how good business and sales practices unfold, regardless of the industry. When we were negotiating he simply stopped after a few minutes and said, “I can see you already know what you wish to buy and what you are prepared to spend”, and that was it. Could we have haggled him down a bit more? Maybe. Maybe not. Both sides were satisfied, that I do remember.

    Research should definitely include references/reviews for both the dealer and the sales department staff.

    • Smingles says:

      “On the return the story changed to replace what was negotiated for one of a different colour, conveniently on the lot. What we actually desired would be an additional $300 to ‘bring in’.”

      I bought a new car in 2010, and upon coming back a few days after I purchased it to pick it up, it was not in the color we had discussed. I wasn’t paying attention when filling out the paperwork, so I don’t know at what point they changed the color on me– they didn’t have the color I wanted, and would have had to order it which was going to take some time. I didn’t bother and just accepted what they had.

      The thing that stunk was the process went very smoothly up until that point, and I was in a very good mood going into it– only to feel completely tricked.

  17. Matt says:

    Great time to blow 100K on a Tesla so I can worship my god Elon Musk and his company as well as impress all my friends, family and colleagues how successful I am in buying an overpriced battery powered car that has a range of only 200 miles.

    • TJ Martin says:

      … and will be worth $30k or less in less than three years what with the plethora of used TESLA S’s available . Many less than a year old . Gee I wonder why

  18. Bee says:

    Where are these great “off-lease deals” people speak of? I don’t find them anywhere near me. They’re usually about $2000 less than new, with 40k miles = no deal.
    I’m finding new prices to be only slightly lower than the past 12 month lows (i.e. Sonatas selling for $1k less). Fewer lease deals. As someone mentioned above (Wolf?), perhaps this is as low as we’ll see?!!!? If so, NO DICE. Will go used.

    • Bee says:

      I should have clarified: “Will go used” meaning very used, not 2-year old example as noted.

    • beadblonde says:

      Just quoted prices. You must visit the lot and look yourself. Internet won’t help.

    • Dennis says:

      You have to go in and make an offer.
      Research cars on Edmunds to see how they depreciate. Make you offer based on that.

      Search Autotrader in a 100 mile radius, to see plenty of cars like you are interested in. There are usually a few that are pretty attractively priced.
      Take a comparable price to your dealer.
      Look at the Carfax report on any used car you wish to buy.
      My preferred vehicle is: 1 yr old, very low miles, clean Carfax.
      Saved $10,000 over a new one on the last purchase.
      As someone else said: Don’t be afraid to walk away.
      I nearly always do. They have your phone number by then; they will call.

  19. Brent says:

    Picked up a 2008 Cadillac DTS Luxury 2 with 37k miles in pristine condition. $9,500 cash

    • Bee says:

      What region? New York?
      There’s one near me for $10k but 80k miles. I’d be crazy to buy one because of my fear of replacing all the gadgets and gizmos, but they are one of my favorite cars to look at…I bought its cousin the Buick Lucerne instead some years ago.

  20. Maximus Minimus says:

    I am also looking for a new car. From the comments, it seems that dealers would prefer if you financed because of kickbacks from lenders: i.e. would offer you a better deal upfront (and screw you on payments). Buying for cash would put you at the disadvantage for a good deal?

    PS: Just returned from a longer trip. 80-90% of the drivers are driving way over the speed limit. How much value is still left when you buy used from an average driver?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Driving 10 mph or 20 mph over the US speed limits generally isn’t going to significantly shorten the lifespan of modern cars, though it might damage your driving record among other things. Stop-and-go traffic, especially with cold engines, is a lot worse for cars.

  21. Rates says:

    It’s ironic that this year we have 2 car based franchises showing up in the Cinema i.e. Cars 3 and Transformers. Even the filmmakers know that the car gig is up. Heck the first Transformers was released in 2007 and you folks know what happened that year.

  22. Old Farmer says:

    I generally buy equipment used, but two years ago I bought a tractor new. I sent a ‘request for bid’ to the sales manager at four dealerships, and took the lowest bid (which was $4,000 below the second lowest). I had to pick it up three hundred miles away and trailer it back to the farm, but to me $4000 is still good pay for a day’s work. A similar approach might work for cars.

    • doe says:

      A shrewd businessman I once knew did this routinely with every purchase, small to large. Asked them to show him what they had – give him their best offer – do their best work – tell him their idea. Saved himself a lot of energy, time and stress. Always managed to find just what he was looking for.

  23. Bobber says:

    If a person wanted to find a good car coming off lease, where would you find them? Do people turn the in to the dealer when done, where they get put back on the lot? Or, do use car resellers Carmax and neighborhood joints buy them at auction and put them on the lot?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The leasing company owns the car. At the end of the lease, the customers returns the car to the dealer, and the dealer makes arrangements with the leasing company, which will generally run it through an auction somewhere, where some dealer will buy it to sell to you. These cars may be indistinguishable for the customers from rental cars that also go through the auction (cars 2-3 years old).

      Most franchised new-car dealers have these cars on their lots. So go to a dealer near you and check them out.

      Carmax has a ton of those cars.

      “Neighborhood joints” might not have them.

    • HudsonJr says:

      In my recent shopping I didn’t see many locally leased cars being resold. Typically they were bought at auction from somewhere where the market is cooler for that make/model and delivered to a Dealer where they can be turned more quickly for a better price.

      Some examples I saw in the SUV realm:

      2017’s with 10K to 14K, decent mid-range trims, rental/fleet vehicles, typically these would be 4.5K to 8K cheaper than new with incentives. These have some bumper to bumper warranty left on them.

      2014/2015 coming off a 3 year lease, high end trims, 30K-36K miles. 15 to 20K cheaper than new. No bumper to bumper left usually, but still a decent amount of powertrain. If you were so inclined you could extend the bumper to bumper warranty (non-wear items excluded) from the manufacturer in some cases. Cost depends on what you want for a deductible and how long you want it to last. I priced a Dodge Durango warranty and it was ~$2500 for lifetime with $100/deductible as long as you were under 40K.

      There’s probably more room to haggle on new, depending on how good a deal the dealer got at auction.



    i had a need to rent one the other day because of some medical issues.

    got a 2017 ford edge.

    what a lousy car.

    dashboard is so wiped out by the sun that it cannot be used. and it has a touch screed display. know how fingers further obscure the dash data?

    flying blind. cannot even use the gps. nor set radio stations. nor tailor a/c settings.

    who designs this stuff?

    do they ever drive it?

    i recommend going out and looking for total analog control dashboards.

    my 2 cents

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I’m with you on this.

      I got an alarm clock that took me 2 hours to set up. Many reviews complained about this. Some people wrote that they never figured out how to get through with the setup and sent it back.

      Then when it didn’t work right, I spend another 30 min. debugging it. Now it’s great, and it does everything except mow your lawn. But good lord almighty, an alarm clock! I felt like I was installing Windows on a computer. It used to take 10 second to set up an alarm clock.

    • Jim Graham says:

      Many many many years ago I learned a VERY valuable lesson about buying a NEW car.

      It is not about price or reliability. It is about comfort on a day to day basis AND “long” runs of 8 or more hours one way several times a month.

      I had NEVER had a car that was totally – or mostly – uncomfortable. That changed…

      I needed a new car and did the usual shopping around. Quick test drives of several makes and models. Finally settled on one that fit all my needs – or so I thought……..

      Bought the damned thing and took off on a 12 hour run from Akron oHIo to Smithville Tennessee. About 2 hours in I discovered a MAJOR problem. The MANUAL (I said it was a long long time ago) WINDOW CRANK constantly rubbed my leg – no matter where I put the crank. We stopped and found a store where my wife got some material and made me a pad to cushion my leg.

      A while later I found out that the steering wheel position made my back hurt. NO tilt and telescope steering wheel back then.

      With more than one window open air buffeted my head when my window was down – NO AC in that car (had one installed later) – but that took up all the leg room from the front seat center passenger spot ….&^&*%^

      Bad ride at speed (40 /50 MPH back then) and handled for crap..

      What did I learn? GO RENT A CAR FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS before you hand over any money for a new car. Money well spent………

    • HudsonJr says:

      The worst thing automakers have done is soil the touch screens with any automotive functionality. That and they include navigation but either don’t update it or charge a few hundred to “upgrade” it to something still out of date.

      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the right idea. Unfortunately neither existed 5 or 6 years ago, when they were designing the units that are still in use in many cars today.

  25. raxadian says:

    Why do people still buy SUVs, even if it is the smaller ones? Do they plan to live inside them if they lose their houses or what?

    • Jim C says:

      I could not imagine why they cannot live in their cars. Many people are having the difficult time and became homeless across the country.

      • doe says:

        Ah yes – that reminds me of the government clerk who, when she passed the man sleeping under the spruce tree in the park (as a nightly habit in all seasons, including 30C below zero, i.e. this was his bed as he was obviously without a home and its comforts and had been for a considerably long time), happily remarked to her friends (all government clerks in the same department) that there was no need for concern: some people like to sleep out of doors.

        She was serious.

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