California Auto Woes: New-Vehicle Registrations Fall for 3rd Year, -9.5% from 2016. Bay Area Hit Hardest. Q4 Was Ugly, with Tesla Plunging 46%. But Used-Vehicle Market Grows

Market share of EVs reaches 5.3%. The registrations data is out in all its glorious detail.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

It was a tough year for selling new vehicles in California. Total new vehicle registrations in California in 2019 fell 5.5% from a year earlier, to 1.89 million vehicles, the third year in a row of declines, according to registration data released today by the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA).

Registrations were down 9.5% from 2016. This was far sharper than the decline in US auto sales of 2.5% over the same period. Registrations are now back to where’d they’d been in 2007, before the collapse during the Financial Crisis:

The fourth quarter was particularly ugly: Registrations fell 7.0% from Q4 a year earlier, the 11th quarterly year-over-year decline in a row, and the worst so far.

“Registrations” are not the same as “deliveries.” The difference is timing. After a vehicle is “delivered” to a customer, it takes a little while before it’s “registered” with the DMV. But the timing difference is about the same every year, and so year-over-year comparisons neutralize it.

These are total registrations and include units bought by fleets, such as rental car companies. Retail registrations alone fell 5.9% in 2019, to just 1.66 million units, having plunged 8.2% year-over-year in the San Francisco Bay Area but “only” 5.2% in Southern California.

Battery-Electric Vehicles reach market share of 5.3%.

Even as overall registrations fell in 2019, those of battery-electric vehicles rose 5.2% to a record 99,704 vehicles, nearly triple from 2015. Of them, 76% were Teslas. The market share of EVs reached a record 5.3%-share of total registrations.

California is huge for Tesla. In the whole year, 72,625 Teslas were registered in California, accounting for roughly 20% of Tesla’s world-wide deliveries in the year. Tesla’s year-total registrations in California were up only 3.3% from the prior year, as Model 3 registrations soared, but Model S and Model X registrations collapsed.

Q4 was a big problem: Registrations of Teslas plunged 46%, to 13,999 vehicles, compared to Q4 2018 (25,961 vehicles). It seems many of the people in California who’d always wanted a Tesla have now bought a Tesla. And demand was largely sated in the state. So Tesla started shipping the vehicles to other markets, including overseas to sell them there.

While Tesla’s market share globally was a minuscule 0.4% in 2019, and in the US only 1.1%, in California it was a respectable 3.8%, sandwiched near the bottom of the list between Subaru and Mazda:

In the US overall, the big four automakers are in this order: GM, Ford, Toyota, and FCA. But in California, Toyota reigns supreme, with a share of 20.5%, followed by Honda, then further down by GM and Ford, and further down still by FCA:

But the used-vehicle market is huge and doing fine.

Used-vehicle registrations rose 2.5% to 3.82 million vehicles. This is over double the number of new vehicle registrations (1.89 million).

About a quarter of them were three years old or newer. This includes nearly all vehicles that come out of rental fleets and lease-returns. These vehicles, usually with 20,000-50,000 miles, look nearly new and can be great buys.

Registrations of vehicles six years old or newer jumped by 7.8%. In this category, in terms of automaker, Toyota ruled with a share of 13.9%, followed by Ford (10.5%) and by Honda (9.5%). In terms of models in this category, the #1 bestseller was the Honda Civic.

But old rules: Of the 3.82 million used vehicle registrations in 2019, about 2.3 million, or 60% were seven years or older.

All categories of used vehicles gained, with even “cars” ticking up 0.1% while light trucks jumped 6.0%. And they increased for all areas of origin:

  • Japanese brands rose 2.6% to 1.76 million. Includes: Honda Civic, by far the #1 best-selling used vehicle with nearly 60,000 registrations, #2 bestseller Honda Accord, #3 Toyota Corolla, #4 Toyota Camry, #5 Nissan Altima
  • Domestic brands rose 1.0% to 1.32 million. Includes the #6 bestseller, Ford F-Series trucks, #9 Ford Fusion, #10 Chevrolet Silverado, #11 Ram trucks
  • European brands rose 5.6% to 0.55 million. Includes #14 BMW 3-series
  • Korean brands rose 4.5% to 0.18 million. Includes #16 Hyundai Elantra.

The fact that the used-vehicle market is still on solid footing, while the new-vehicle market is deteriorating across the US – and in California sharply so – has been widely ascribed to the “affordability problem” automakers have produced by increasing vehicle prices and focusing on building and marketing their more expensive and high-profit trucks, SUVs, and compact SUVs, rather than lower-end cars, where profit margins are paper-thin.

GM, Ford, and FCA have thrown in the towel on most of their car lines, have already stopped selling them in the US, or will stop selling them. They have abandoned that end of the market to the Japanese, Korean, and German automakers. And buyers on a limited budget resort to the used-vehicle market – which is thriving in California.

Alternatives to vehicle-ownership, such as ride-share services, public transportation, company-run transportation systems (such as the Google buses), two-wheeled transporters of all kinds including e-bikes, and walking have become increasingly popular as driving under the congested conditions, and parking, can turn into a punitive activity and at best into an expensive hassle.

GM tries to shrink itself out of trouble. And it shrinks where it wants to grow. But when will it stop shrinking before hitting zero? Ugly charts of GM’s global vehicle sales, by region. Read…  GM Better Figure Out How to Stop Shrinking, I Mean Globally & Pronto, Before It’s Too Late

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.




  174 comments for “California Auto Woes: New-Vehicle Registrations Fall for 3rd Year, -9.5% from 2016. Bay Area Hit Hardest. Q4 Was Ugly, with Tesla Plunging 46%. But Used-Vehicle Market Grows

  1. andy says:

    Wolf, joined you on the short side, thru puts. Feels like good time.

    • Lance Manly says:

      Note the Markit PMI, showed contraction in the flash reading. Including contraction in the services sector. It will be interesting to see the ISM services for Feb backs this up.

      “With the exception of the government-shutdown of 2013, US business activity contracted for the first time since the global financial crisis in February. Weakness was primarily seen in the service sector, where the first drop in activity for four years was reported, but manufacturing production also ground almost to a halt due to a near-stalling of orders. “

  2. Petunia says:

    I don’t know how you can talk about the decline of car registrations in California without once mentioning the cost. Most of the registrations are in the 4 figures. Crazy, Crazy, Crazy…..

    • Zantetsu says:

      How is that possible if most cars are 7 years or older?

      My four year old car does not have a four figure registration fee. I am pretty sure it is around $400.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Petunia,

      “I don’t know how you can talk about the decline of car registrations in California without once mentioning the cost.”

      I don’t know either. And I discusses the issue of cost (“affordability”) in the third paragraph from the bottom:

      “The fact that the used-vehicle market is still on solid footing, while the new-vehicle market is deteriorating across the US – and in California sharply so – has been widely ascribed to the “affordability problem” automakers have produced by increasing vehicle prices and focusing on building and marketing their more expensive and high-profit trucks, SUVs, and compact SUVs, rather than lower-end cars, where profit margins are paper-thin.”

      • robt says:

        Might Petunia be referring to the actual registration cost rather than the cost of the vehicle? Could it be 4 figures?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I see. I misread this. Yes, it is “4 figures.” The rate depends on the county. A used 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE runs ca. $1,500 to register in SF (all taxes and license fees combined). That’s about 10% of the cost of the car :-]

          So apply that to a $50,000 car, and it ads up quickly.

        • Petunia says:

          Wolf,

          Yes, I was referring to the actual cost of the registration. I don’t know how you put up with all the craziness. I guess being a media mogul makes CA life tolerable.

        • Max Power says:

          Don’t feel bad… Other states also love taxing vehicles also. In Virginia for example, if you lease a car you have to pay sales tax on the ENTIRE value of the car, upfront, even though you are basically just renting the car for a limited period of time. Then you have to pay personal property taxes annually on it too (in addition to the annual state and local registration fees).

      • Zantetsu says:

        But SF != CA. I do not think registrations are that expensive outside of SF. I read that CA registration is a state rate of 0.65% value plus local fees. I am pretty sure my total rate in Sunnyvalue is less than 3%.

        That would mean that around here, that Ford Fusion, assuming it’s worth about $25,000, would be ~$750.00.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Also, Petunia said “most registrations in CA are 4 digits”, which I highly doubt. Some are, of course, and maybe it’s not uncommon in SF; but I think the vast majority of Californians do not pay vehicle registrations for which the combination of vehicle value and registration % changed combines to a 4 digit registration figure.

        • Zantetsu says:

          erm Sunnyvalue should be Sunnyvale … Freudian slip?!

        • RepubAnon says:

          California car sales are taxed based on the sales tax where the buyer lives (avoids people driving to lower taxed counties). Typical sales tax is 9%, based on county and city taxes.

          I expect Tesla sales drops are related to loss of tax rebate versus competitors. Lots more good EVs out there now

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Zantetsu,

          You better check! The differences are small. Make sure you add up all the state and local taxes and fees (there are a bunch of them).

        • Zantetsu says:

          But Petunia was talking about REGISTRATION, not SALES TAX. REGISTRATION is a recurring fee (tax?) paid every year. It is typically in the hundreds of dollars (or so I thought), but Petunia says it is typically in the thousands. I simply cannot believe that most people are paying thousands of dollars every year to register their vehicle.

          SALES TAX, yes, that’s 9%+ in CA, probably 10%+ if you count all taxes assessed at the time of sale.

          But that is NOT what Petunia was talking about, and I wasn’t talking about sales tax either.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Zantetsu,

          OK, I can see where the confusion was. Everything I said here was about what you pay to register the vehicle upon purchase, not the annual amounts, which are, as you pointed out, a lot lower.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Can you tell me what kind of fees you are talking about BTW? I am pretty sure I get a single registration fee letter once per year, that it’s the only fee I incur yearly to register or operate my car, and that it’s above $300 and below $500 each year. This is on a 2016 Subaru worth probably about $15,000.

    • Taps Coogan says:

      Used cars have also gotten so much more reliable in the last couple decades, and the market for them more transparent, the warranties better, etc… Buying a new car just makes less and less sense than buying one with limited miles and still a warranty

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Clearly you mean NEW registrations!
      Buying a new $15K car in CA in 16, the total new car fees, incl sales tax were $1500.. and the yearly reg, when it arrived was $300 per year after that. Great economy, but scary with all the yahoos on the roads…
      New $25K truck in FL in late 17 new reg and sales tax total was $1200 or so, with credit for trade in, yearly reg was $50. Similar with new truck in early 19.
      And so it goes,,, certainly one reason so many folks moving to FL, which I can’t wait to get out of ASAP due to heat, humidity, and too much humanity in a state growing way too fast, and not ready for the vast amount of people moving in. Kinda reminds me of CA in the late 70s through late 80s era.

    • California Bob says:

      re: “Most of the registrations are in the 4 figures.”

      Baloney. I just paid the registration on my ’19 Mustang GT ($50K out-the-door with trade-in and tax). It was $578. The reg for my ’67 Austin-Healey was $142 (which seems to be a baseline; my dad’s ’46 Chevy 2-ton was $140).

      • Wolf Richter says:

        California Bob,

        The entire thread here is about the amounts paid in taxes and license fees when you PURCHASE the vehicle, not your annual payments… this article was about purchasing vehicles too.

        So go back and check what you paid in taxes and fees when you purchased your 2019 Mustang GT. This amount is disclosed as a line item on your buyer’s order. My guess is it was about $3,500.

  3. Unamused says:

    You can only finance so much and for so long. It was inevitable that the cost of living would catch up to people so they couldn’t buy new vehicles and would have to buy used. Which isn’t all that bad a thing, except for the auto makers and the economy.

    The rest of the country can be expected to follow the same downward path, and for similar reasons. That’s just the way it is in a country By Corporations, Of Corporations, and For Corporations.

    • NBay says:

      Yeah, some ratings outfit should come out with a top 50 (public and private) index so the stars can be replaced with the qualifying corporate logos. They won’t need the democracy myth much longer, anyway.

  4. David Hall says:

    This and other reports have me worried about the economy.

    They are working on cheaper EV batteries that might lower the costs of EV mobiles. These vehicles do not emit toxic exhaust.

    The coronavirus is fast spreading in Korea and a new outbreak in Italy was reported. Iran has contagion. Wuhan is on lock down.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Hi David, do you really have to bring the coronavirus into every discussion, whether related or not, and use it to justify every argument, whether relevant or not? It adds quite a bit of noise to the signal.

      • Arctic Chickens says:

        If the subject his concern re coronavirus isn’t noise, it’s the main signal right now. Huge stress on a system that can’t handle stresses right now.

        • Zantetsu says:

          What does it have to do with whether or not people are buying new cars? The trend existed well before anyone knew of coronavirus.

          I find it bizarre that some people are so fixed on coronavirus that they can’t even think of another topic without seeing coronavirus.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          Yes on the corona. At what point will some of the makes and models be at a standstill waiting for component parts?

          Example (and I don’t know anything about their situation) –

          Kia assembly plant in Georgia gets engines and transmissions from their South Korea plants (correct?). Their South Korea plants get parts from China (correct?) At what point will the Georgia assembly plant be waiting for work to come in?

        • Zantetsu says:

          OK so you guys are talking about the effect of coronavirus on the future trend of car purchasing. I thought you were talking about its impact on the purchasing numbers listed in this article. Makes more sense now.

      • NBay says:

        Cotton and his ilk are having even more fun with it…..it appears it’s now an escaped Chinese bio-weapon. Anything at all to keep people talking about something other than Una’s simple and true observation above is the name of the game.

      • And what if coronavirus starts to infect cows? No leather seats! Rubber trees? No tires! What if it gets into our airbags!

  5. Michael Church says:

    And of course the share price of Tesla has gone parabolic in recent weeks. It defies all logic. Electric cars are not economically viable. The genuine economic alternative are companies like DynaCert which has developed a smart hydrogen catalyst process which can be retro-fitted to fossil fuel cars for about $1000 per car (remember the Tesla battery alone costs 1000’s of $ to replace after it’s 5-10year lifespan).
    The DynaCert unit cuts emissions by 73% and increases fuel mileage. This is now certified in the EU. The market potential is one billion units in the world.

    • I swear they just wanted to fleece Steve Eisman. Tesla should still be trading under 5 dollars as a penny stock.

    • Memento mori says:

      Shorting Tesla is a money losing idea.
      Remember Nokia, its was the biggest phone manufacturer when Apple came with the iPhone. The rest is history. Because apple had better software.
      I heard many people here pointing out how ridiculously valued Tesla is. It is not.
      Tesla has something other car makers don’t have just like the iPhone, it is software.
      No one can come even close to their self driving technology today.
      There was a segment in the evening news where someone videotaped a Tesla driver sleeping on the wheel for more than 30min while driving at 60miles per hour on the south 5 from LA to San Diego. People were outraged but smart investors marvel at such technology.
      Until someone can come up with better software, Tesla will rule. In the process they will learn how to build cars and streamline the manufacturing process but I don’t see any one challenging them on software.
      PS: I don’t own shares in Tesla but I own a Tesla car an it is an amazing piece of technology.

      • oee says:

        the reason for people to be skeptical of Tesla is that the company has never made annual profit. You need profits during an expansion to have cushion when recession hits. Tesla has no cushion. Also, tesla has not given out dividends. its is a pure speculative play which in the end the company will be acquired by a legacy car maker but not at this level.

      • Willy Winky says:

        Technology – are you referring to the autopilot that has killed how many people so far?

        Let’s say I a Porsche Taycan, and a Tesla top end model (is that the S?)

        I don’t want either of them cuz EVs are ridiculously stupid vehicles that have limited range and requires hours of charging – and the hugely expensive batteries need changing every few years.

        I will be generous – I will offer you the choice of either car for free – the other one I will sell and take the cash and buy myself one of these

        Please drink a little more kool aid before you make your decision because I REALLY want you to go for the Tesla and I can sell the Taycan for a LOT more dosh… and I want the leather trim in the BMW without having to reach into my pocket.

        • These obviously cherished, emotionally charged opinions are easily disproven, but whatever. It’s your reputation.

        • Ee says:

          Bev owners have multiple cars in the family fleet. They charge the Bev overnight and drive it to work.

          On long trips they take the Sequoia.

          Why is it so hard so understand that people don’t need one car that does everything?

      • Rcohn says:

        Have you used the self driving option in downtown SF or LA or along US1 north in Marin County?

        • Zantetsu says:

          Is your point that because it’s not useful everywhere, it’s not useful anywhere? If so, it’s a weak point.

        • Willy Winky says:

          No I haven’t because I would never buy a Tesla because :

          1. I dislike having to wait hours to add energy to a vehicle when I can get 700km in a few minutes at a petrol station

          2. I care about the environment so I prefer not to be dumping 500kg batteries made of toxic stuff into the landfill – and I know that coal is used to generate the electricity that charges a Tesla and I coal is very polluting.

          But feel free to tell me about your experience. I am sure it was awesome. Have you tried driving down the freeway while sleeping?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Willy Winky,

          No one forces you to buy an EV. So you can quit trying to persuade others of your point of view on what vehicle not to buy. You buy whatever you want, and they buy whatever they want. That’s how it’s happening right now, and that’s good.

          I understand that where you live, coal may be the primary or sole fuel for power plants. Thank god I don’t have to live there. In California – which is what this article is about – there are no more coal-fired power plants.

          Batteries are being repurposed or recycled. When your vehicle is ready to go, it too will be recycled. The auto industry has been on the forefront of recycling long before that word was a thing, such as salvage yards, remanufacturing operations (they take a defunct starter or engine, strip it down, rebuild it, and sell it as a remanufactured starter or engine), or operations that melt down the iron and steel parts. They did it for the simple reason that there are a lot of valuable materials in a car. And there are a lot of valuable materials in a battery too.

      • nick kelly says:

        ‘No one can come even close to their self driving technology today.’

        Tesla is close to being ordered to stop calling its whatever ‘self driving’ This may have happened in some jurisdictions.

      • Jos Oskam says:

        @Memento
        “…Tesla has something other car makers don’t have just like the iPhone, it is software…”

        Lots of people buy a car to get from A to B, and consider the ability of the car to cheaply and reliably do that the most important. Not the software gadgetry that all too often turns out to be a royal PITA, especially when the car becomes older.

        Modern cars may be mechanically more reliable than older ones, but glitches and gremlins in electronics and software drive many owners up the wall, not to mention the astronomical bills incurred at the dealer’s to which there is no alternative because of specific tools and equipment only dealers have. So owners are locked in and squeezed like lemons.

        There’s one point on which I agree with your comparison between cars and smartphones. Just like phones, cars more and more become throwaway articles, with software-programmed planned obsolescence, not to be repaired but scrapped after an ever-shortening lifecycle.

        Capitalism at work, I suppose.

      • NBay says:

        Curious what your Tesla and mattress sleep numbers are….or am I being too personal? In which case I apologize.

    • NBay says:

      Thanks for the stock tip, but I’m staying in cold fusion for now.

      • nhz says:

        agree,

        “The DynaCert unit cuts emissions by 73% ”

        I guess we are not talking about CO2 emissions here (the most important part), because otherwise it sure sounds like a cold fusion version of the chemistry I learned in college …

        • NBay says:

          The “smart magnets” installed on fuel lines that changed fuel chemistry for a better burn were a cheaper improvement. And bet they sold more units, too.

    • char says:

      $1k retail. So that would be $250 if factory installed. Weird that not all car makers install it.

      Question: does it work?

      • Michael Church says:

        Not sure if you are referring to DynaCert. If you are it is a very recent product and was independently certified in EU a couple of months ago – and you know how they are on this stuff. DynaCert have one big sale to a German trucking company so far. They have one of the biggest Canadian billionaire investors involved. There is plenty of independent analysis on YouTube. I was really using this an an example of how massively cheaper options than Tesla might provide the way forward. DynaCert’s device catalyses water to release a small amount of hydrogen and feeds it into the combustion process in a very controlled way to achieve these independently verified outcomes. In terms of economics it is a no brainer for me. If you want to invest you must do you own due diligence. We all have to do a leap of faith with new technology. When the QE consequential big recession comes sometime in the next few years, it will transform business space as economics sorts out the weeds from the stars to mix my metaphors.

        • NBay says:

          Here’s a free new technology. An algae tank with a CO2 scrubber releasing molecular oxygen! Then store it and you would essentially have a Nitro rig button to push!….just for uphill and passing and such….no racing.

      • robt says:

        According to their website and other sources, it’s for Diesel only; if you have a big Diesel truck or material mover like the ones used in mines, the payback for the installation is at 200,000+ miles. Supposedly it works, and supposedly it saves 6% fuel cost. They tout higher potential savings, but use 6% as the basis for savings achieved by injecting H2 and O2 gases generated from distilled water into the fuel stream. Hydrogen is the new buzzword. Freezing? A heater heats the water; 3 hours is required to get going from very cold, presumably freezing, temps. Big mining equipment is usually planned to run 24 hrs/day so frequent startup would not apply in the present contemplated implementation.

        Disc: I’m not an investor, or promoter, or broker, and won’t be. I just looked at the site, and the docs on SEDAR, having never heard of this outfit before.

        • nhz says:

          it might clean up emissions and produce a small improvement in MPG, by burning some remaining hydrocarbons from the exhaust, but for sure it isn’t going to reduce CO2 emissions from the engine.

          That something is CE certified says ABSOLUTELY NOTING. You can get CE certification for totally bogus devices (and this one sounds a lot like that) as long as the paperwork is fine and you pay the fees.

      • robt says:

        Or you could do this for 7.99:
        https://www.ebay.com/itm/CONVERT-YOUR-CAR-TO-RUN-ON-WATER-HHO-PLANS-HHO-CONVERSION-DIY-GUIDE-/150785955490

        Kind of like those ads you used to see in Popular Science if you’re old enough to remember (way long before there were DVDs).
        Then comes the ‘Big Oil bought them out to suppress it’ stories …

        • NBay says:

          Yeah, I remember that Pop Sci 200mpg carb ad that the auto companies also suppressed. Those ads ran for a long time, so someone picked up a few bucks on ignorance, not that taking money from ignorant people is anything new.
          Now, however, they take it from a mix of ignorant and also cornered/trapped people, which seems to be the source of many social problems, and of course ridiculously excessive new wealth….for ever fewer.
          Of course the trashing of a once world class public education system was part of the plan.

          Love those invisible hands, eh?

  6. Pilgrim says:

    Yeah, US auto makers are dropping autos in favor of suvs and trucks. Why mess with single digit profits when you can ask for double digits? I wonder how great a market is for $50 – $70K trucks? I think used car is the way to go, particularly the models out of favor. You can get them cheap with a dealer warranty even.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      Pilgrim,

      The problem is that if suv and truck sales decline, you got nothing left. The large majority of the world doesn’t buy suvs and trucks, so you are giving up most of the world. Right now consumers in America can take out loans they shouldn’t be able to, to buy those suvs and trucks. I would be pretty shocked if suv and trucks don’t plummet in the future. Right now by focusing on suvs and trucks, GM and Ford has let the quality of their autos decline.

      • Pilgrim says:

        Thomas Roberts,

        It’s classic US corporate strategy of not thinking long term. Chase the buck today, we’ll see about tomorrow tomorrow.
        GM & Ford have good trucks. But their car quality has been neglected, probably because of the thin profit margins (though Toyota doesn’t seem to have as much a problem). So they gave up on them. I agree about the eventual plummet as energy problems once again arise due to politics and greed.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          I agree.

          But I think for GM and Ford, the upcoming recession and economic aftereffects, will happen before higher energy prices. Because part of the reason for low energy prices is unlimited loans for fracking, there could be a double whammy.

        • ElKatz says:

          In a recent Automotive News interview, Honda execs see their continued investment in, and production of, passenger cars as a competitive advantage…. maybe not today, but over the long haul. As was said, not all people can afford a truck (nor want one) and the passenger car is a more affordable entry into the brand.

        • Endeavor says:

          GM, Ford and FCA all build sedans in other markets that they can bring back to the USA market if needed. They will then have a full line again but built not in USA, but the low wage countries. A they have always wanted to do, by the way.

  7. akiddy111 says:

    Yes. Once i get past the headline i see from the registration data that the citizens of CA are buying more expensive vehicles. The chart points that out.

    Prosperity at work. It makes sense.

  8. My friend early 60s retired, drives about 5K a year. Her late model SUV is at the dealers with some kind of computer shutdown problem and she is driving their vintage beetle. She could rent a car if she wanted but where’s the fun in that? A new car is worse than a smartphone and none of my friends know how to use theirs.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Cool story bro.

    • Shiloh1 says:

      I’d love to buy a brand new 1995 Dodge Intrepid; my old one lasted 19 years. Had everything I wanted, nothing more, great gas mileage and no computer glitches.

  9. Zantetsu says:

    Who are the invaders 2banana? Do they have the same or different skin color from you?

  10. R2D2 says:

    The same trend is happening right across the Western world.

    New car sales are falling. Used car sales are rising.

    UK shows the same trend as California.

    New-car sales are saturated by finance. Consumers and fleets cannot absorb or tolerate any more.

    Consumers are switching to (cheaper) used models.

  11. Cas127 says:

    Wolf,

    Kudos!

    This is the kind of broad based, real asset metric is less subject to financial-overlay-mgt f-pokery that I had been hoping for.

    I wonder if other large states’ auto dealers put out similar new sales stats?

    • Boomer says:

      It would be interesting to see the Oregon data. No sales tax, minuscule annual registration, plenty of counties without biannual smog testing. Buy a $200,000 luxury RV, same deal. No monstrous unfunded State pension obligations either.

      • Ron says:

        Driving around Portland is far worse then LA but they do have a great downtown book store. Many of their best small towns such as Roseville are now ghost towns due to the slowdown or ending of logging. Oregon economy is still dominated by commodities such as Greenhouse, nursery, Cattle, seed etc. The State has been getting a large in flux of retirees due to its low tax level not sure that will benefit the State treasury.

        • ElKatz says:

          Oregon doesn’t have a low tax load…. look at the property taxes and state income tax. Sure, they don’t have any sales tax, but that’s only part of the equation.

          When we lived there, it was not uncommon for people to live in Washington (Vancouver) and drive over the border into Portland to shop. Many attempted to register their cars in OR to avoid high license fees in WA, but the police activity on the bridges stifled that strategy.

          Oregon is not that tax friendly for retirees. Property taxes are higher, property values are high (especially in PDX), and the state income tax can sting if you have a 6 figure income.

          If you have an estate over $1M, the inheritance taxes are 10-16%.

      • California Bob says:

        re: “… plenty of counties without biannual smog testing …”

        Where do cars need to be smog-tested twice a year?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I don’t know why DMV data is so hard to get. In many countries, this is routinely published within a few days of the end of the month. But in the US, it depends on the states and it’s handled by the states. There are companies that sell this data by state. Maybe that’s why it is hard to get for free :-]

      • ElKatz says:

        R.L. Polk and Company was one collector of such data. They were bought out by IHS Markit several years ago and were/are considered the industry standard in the U.S..

        State DMV’s report the data to IHS. States like Hawaii were notorious for submitting data when they got around to it – in some cases 6 months later. The other state data could be spotty as a state could miss a reporting cutoff and show zero registrations for a particular month and the following month report two months registrations. Add to that the issue of the data being a minimum of 45 days old when you received it didn’t help.

        Manufacturers tried several work arounds such as having sales reporting from manufacturers compiled to benchmark monthly performance, but that data was based on manufacturer reporting that could be manipulated and didn’t allow for units “sold” internally (reported to the company itself), separation of fleet and retail and the like. One company got pretty good at it (received VIN level detail and customer name) and could sort “retail” and “non-retail” but that started to fall apart as manufacturers migrated away from monthly reporting.

  12. CoCosAB says:

    Even Subaru is in front of Tesla!

    • char says:

      Tesla is in the same market as Mercedes, BMW and Audi. so having the same size is actually quite good.

      • NBay says:

        And that’s pretty much it. It’s a “look at what I can drive” car…..plus the helping the environment part…..except in the driveway of that 3500 sq ft home, that is.

    • Marc D. says:

      Subarus are very popular in some areas of the country. I guess not so much in California, judging by their low ranking there.

    • HollywoodDog says:

      Subaru owners don’t care about how many other people own Subarus. They’re just glad they do.

    • Marc D. says:

      I guess it’s not too surprising though, that Subaru wouldn’t rank very high in California. AWD isn’t really necessary there, except maybe in the mountainous regions inland, where not many people live, compared to the coast.

  13. Brant Lee says:

    My 2010 Camry is still purring like a cat, never any problems. I think I can wait out until the next recession! For about $800 I installed new leather front seat covers, New floor mats, and a new windshield. Feels like new.

  14. WES says:

    Just curious if car buyers might prefer cars that are not so software driven?

    The amount of software in new cars has really ramped up in the last few years.

    Older cars tend to have less software features that drivers have to learn to use before driving their cars.

    My brother drove a recent Cadillac car so loaded with software features that he gave up trying to figure them all out! And he is a gm car test engineer!

    • NBay says:

      Alexa, I just ran over a homeless guy, call the dealer and my lawyer.

      • NBay says:

        And roll up the windows, his friends look pissed.

        • ElKatz says:

          I predict that there will come a time when the software laden vehicles of today will become sale proof. Technology marches on (look at a 2006 vintage navigation unit) and it’s obsolete almost before it’s introduced (5 year product development timelines are not out of the ordinary).

          We have a 2017 vehicle. It’s the most “loaded” version of that particular product. Yesterday, coming back from a shopping expedition to a section of the city we do not frequent, the center screen went blank when the navi unit got “confused” on a freeway ramp (had to process too many stimuli). That disabled everything – from the radio to the navigation to the climate control. The only way to “repair” it was to stop the car and reboot (turn it off and restart the car) the vehicle. This is one of the reasons that I – against all my normal practices – bought an extended warranty through the manufacturer to cover those features as well as the 9 speed transmission ($6K to replace and has a habit of mixing coolant and ATF when the radiator decides to crack between the ATF cooler, the oil cooler and the engine coolant). That’s not to mention the AWD, electronic climate control, electric steering, ABS module, 20 or so airbags, LED headlamps (at $1,500 a clip)……

          We still maintain a mostly “analog” car due to the above.

    • char says:

      Software is cheaper than buttons.

      • Suzie Alcatrez says:

        That’s Boeing said!

      • NBay says:

        MUCH cheaper!!!! A VERY VERY VERY important and almost universally unrealized truth in all electronics!

        • NBay says:

          And pure hell to troubleshoot, so….toss it and buy new, and get more “features”.
          Or assume the position at the dealers……BUT

          you are “free” to choose…..liberty and all that stuff.

    • BioChamp says:

      My favorite software feature of our new Honda CR-V is the Apple/Android compatibility. Navigation (Waze, maps) & audio (streaming internet radio and music libraries) are all run from a smart phone. I haven’t found much value in any of the other built-in software features provided by Honda… and don’t get me started about the lane assist tech that Honda deployed with the vehicle. I’ve played with it a bit while driving on the highway and it’s got a mind of its own and is unreliable at best.

  15. Marc D. says:

    In addition to the high price of new vehicles, another reason more people are buying used is because cars just last longer than they used to. So you can buy a used car and get many years out of it. You can buy a 10 year old car and maybe get another 10 years out of it. Thirty years ago, if you bought a 10 year old car, it would’ve likely been a rusted out bucket of bolts that wouldn’t have much life left.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      In 94 i bought an 84 chev 3/4T pick up with about 100K miles,,, put another 200K on it, but had to sell it last year or put new AC (it never had one) due to fumes of other vehicles in traffic, etc… Drove it FL to CA in spring of 16 without problems. Easy to repair when needed, plenty of room in the engine compartment, but noisy and bumpy for sure.
      I am getting much better gas mileage with the latest 1/2 Trammer, but it sure does have a lot of stuff that appears to me to be superfluous, though my sales guy says it’s mostly guv mandated, it also carries more and tows a ton more.

      • Marc D. says:

        VintageVN – I’m sure there are exceptions, especially for cars and trucks from sunny climates like FL and CA. But when I was growing up as a kid in Pennsylvania in the 70s and 80s, 10+ year old cars were usually rusted out buckets of bolts. Because automakers didn’t start using galvanized steel until the 1990s. That really improved their rustproofing.

  16. Willy Winky says:

    ‘It seems many of the people in California who’d always wanted a Tesla have now bought a Tesla.’

    They need more cult members. Time to brew up more kool-aid!

    I wonder how many EVs would be sold without the subsidies. Like almost none?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Tesla buyers no longer get Federal subsidies. They ran out. California state rebates are still available but have been reduced and are limited to vehicles under $60K.

      • Josh says:

        The CA state rebates also depends on your income so higher income households that may tend to want to buy Teslas are the ones that tend not to get the rebates.

      • c1ue says:

        Didn’t Tesla hit its subsidy limit in Q2? Given the registration lag, that would seem to imply the Q4 collapse was significantly due to the subsidy loss. We’ll find out in Q1 this year…

    • Cas127 says:

      “Time for more Kool aid”

      Isn’t past time for Musk to announce a flying car?

      Or jetpacks – Elon gotta love him some jetpacks – just imagine the cooked demo of Elon swooping in.

      • MC01 says:

        The cult leader (“Jim Jones II” as I call him) has been beaten for once by somebody with better PR: since the Dubai airshow looks like a desert between (at this point well founded) fears of Covid-19 contagion and a monster hangover, the organizers served us a ton of complete and utter junk including a jetpack demonstration which had the media enthralled like not particularly bright 5-year olds. You’d think somebody had just invented a real-world version of Star Trek teleporter by how excited journalists were.

        Funny thing is back in the 50’s the US Army generously founded a series of VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) vehicles, which were to lead to a “flying jeep”. The Hiller VZ-1 looked like a bad sci-fi prop, a platform with a man standing on it while it barely bounced around. The HZ-1 Aerocycle was designed to provide “mobility around the nuclear battlefield”, back when some genius still thought you could “win” a nuclear war, and looked like something out of a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers comic book, only propelled by a Mercury outboard engine.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody with more (investors’) cash than common sense started building this stuff nowadays and selling it because we really need more stuff flying around with no transponders and perhaps in the path of helicopters flown by emergency services.

        • NBay says:

          Don’t forget POGO! I thought it was cool as a kid, but now that I’ve done some piloting, you couldn’t pay me enough to get in that thing. I think some poor bastards did fly it, or at least lifted off. Interesting about Dubai, BTW.

          But obviously drones are the future, for good or bad, depending on who is on “God’s side”….I guess.

  17. DR DOOM says:

    My son is 32. He can be any car he wants under $70k and pay cash . His fiancé is the same. They both do not want vehicles littered with electronic crap designed to provide intel on their activities. Both are software engineers. They are closer to being in the used car camp than in the new car camp because of this. GPS on their phone is fine for them . The market has a lot to consider to entice their ilk . Good luck ,I love’m dearly but they are a pain in the kester to deal with.Automobiles generational culture is changing .

    • VeryAmused says:

      If I could be any car under $70k I would be a Polaris Slingshot.

      Sorry, it is Friday and a little levity never hurt anyone.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      DR DOOM,

      Thank you for your donation!!! Your mug is ready to ship, but FedEx won’t ship unless I give them your phone number. Please send me your phone number (and your name … I couldn’t read the signature): howlatwolfstreet@gmail.com

      • noname says:

        Wolf, just type in a fake number. I do. Wtf do they need that for?! Such BS

        • noname says:

          oops, i swore, cryptically, twice. i just hate data grabbers..

        • Wolf Richter says:

          If DR DOOM wants to give me a fake number, that’s fine with me (I won’t know the difference). But I’m not going to fake their number. Also, I’ve had a few of these mugs come back because they couldn’t be delivered, and I had to resend them, and that’s a big hassle for me since I’m not a retail operation, and it gets expensive in a hurry (shipping costs go up by a factor of 4). So I try to do all the things I need to do correctly.

        • California Bob says:

          “So I try to do all the things I need to do correctly.”

          Words to live by.

        • noname says:

          Bob,

          Except his processes aren’t working as planned.

          That’s when you “Take the Bull by the Horns” and “Go Your Own Way”. “Call Your Own Shots” and “Send it on down the Line”.

          I’ve never needed a sender to contact me via phone. They just want this info for their own purposes ($$$!).

    • NBay says:

      “He can be any car he wants….”

      Har Har Har…….that typo said it ALL….Bernays smiled from his grave.

  18. Ox says:

    California’s population is in decline and I suspect that the top 10% (who can afford new cars), are leaving in droves. Most of the plebes either lease or buy used.

    This study supports that.

    • char says:

      Why, successful regions in other countries grow. In the US they shrink.

    • Anon1970 says:

      The state’s population is not in decline but it is growing more slowly than when I moved here over four decades ago. Read here:
      http://www.statista.com/statistics/206097/resident-population-in-california/
      The racial makeup of the state has been changing for decades and it is certainly a lot less white by percentage than it was decades ago.

      The latest new homes in my neighborhood (an infill project) sold for about $1.6 million each, much more than any of the old times thought they would go for. Unless the newcomers get a gift from the Bank of Mom and Dad, my guess is that they won’t be in a big rush to buy new cars. Their annual property tax bill will start at about $18,000 and go up each year from there.

  19. GotCollateral says:

    How about that services PMI print Wolf? :P

    New 30year yield lows!

    Lube up folks, three words coming: cumulative credit losses

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes. Ugly. It showed flat services. But that was the Markit flash number. Their final services PMI comes out on March 4, along with the broader and more important ISM non-manufacturing PMI. On something like this — especially in services which are so huge — we need to see confirmation.

      • GotCollateral says:

        Yes i understand for the institutionals need to see confirmation, but the little guys like me see the writing on the wall:they either hold or sell.

        In this enviroment where duration collateral like 30 year US trash is 24 bps( or less) spread to overnight rate 75 percentile (gotta look at the folks on the margins cause they lead) from like 90 bps in dec2019, $ denom negative carry is gonna come bite these leveraged spreaders in the ass again like it did in aug-sept (coundnt survive more than 27 trading days before), this time all while FRNBY is johnny on the spot with nightly bailouts. That 10% will be retested, and if the economics dont change, it will be broken and pull up the rest of the curve.

  20. Paulo says:

    Quick Question:

    Are you folks using registration as a catchall phrase for the inclusion of sales tax as well? Or, do you not have sales tax in CA? I just looked it up and Google said it was 7.5% Is that the issue and complaint?

    We are going through a lot of insurance angst up here in BC because the last right wing Govt used to raid the funds of our public insurance corporation to balance their books. They also raided BC Hydro for funds. Thus, user rates went up to pay for the shortfalls, which is really a hidden stealth tax to pay for high earner tax cuts.

    Anyway, on new/used auto purchase in BC the tax is generally 12%…This is blended Provincial sales tax and the Federal GST (kind of like a VAT grab). But registration is this, “You may purchase a new plate and insurance decal for $18, however, a replacement may cost $50. A vehicle permit in BC may cost around $10 and the registration fee is around $18.”

    So, if you buy a 40K car in BC you will pay a total of $44,800….but registration will still be $18.

    If your big registration cost is on top of 7.5% (sales tax) I get your anger, but if it includes the tax then I don’t see the problem? I didn’t see the answer in the article.

    Thanks in advance.

    • nick kelly says:

      Hi P: there is an insurance office where the gal says to buyer and seller: ‘Now the tax is based on the purchase price so if you guys want to go and talk about it…’

      By the time the car is sold the third or forth time those taxes add up.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Paulo,

      It’s sales taxes and fees for the vehicle… so State of Cali sales tax PLUS local sales tax (where it exists) plus license fees and other fees.

      • NBay says:

        Cali? Isn’t that the state Frisco is in?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “I’m a Cali girl,” she sang.

          “Take me to the waves near the shore
          Driving down the coast let’s explore,
          Cause I am finally home and I can’t wait to roam.
          Let’s walk along the Golden Gate Bridge or ride around the driveway…”

  21. Gregory ewanizky says:

    Wolf, thank you for the work that you have done. Off-topic, I don’t know if you have come out and said whether all the repos and QEs have actually gone into purchasing stocks directly or not. I’m not trying to troll you but what is your opinion on that? I.e. that the QE money is buying stocks directly.
    Thanks again

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Gregory ewanizky,

      In terms of whether this cash was used to buy stocks or chicken farms or old bicycles or whatever, your guess is as good as mine. From mid-Sep through end of Dec, the Fed’s balance sheet gained over $400 billion and it went somewhere. And that’s the QE you’re talking about.

      But since then, since January 1, it fizzled, no more QE. Repos have plunged by about $100 billion and are now down to $163 billion. MBS have dropped by about $30 billion. T-bills have jumped by about $100 billion. And the balance of coupon Treasuries rose by a little. So you net all this out, and there was no QE since Jan 1, and it seems to be gradually sinking in … after all, I’ve been writing about it and documenting the numbers for weeks:

      https://wolfstreet.com/2020/02/07/end-of-qe-4-feds-repos-drop-to-oct-2-level-t-bills-balloon-mbs-fall-total-assets-down-to-dec-25-level/

      • Cas127 says:

        Seem to recall it is theoretically illegal for the Fed to directly buy stocks – theoretical because more and more DC looks to be pretty selective in the laws it will actually enforce.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Under the repos, the Fed buys Treasuries or MBS or Agency securities and hands out cash. So it doesn’t buy stocks (and is not allowed to buy stocks). So under the repos, Treasuries, MBS, and Agency securities are all it buys. But it hands out cash in return for these securities, and where that cash goes — and it has to go somewhere — is up to anyone’s imagination.

  22. nick kelly says:

    It seems odd that two Japanese makers have the top two spots but Mazda is third from bottom. I’m pretty sure that isn’t that way here (Vancouver Island, Canada) because the Mazdas are everywhere, especially the 3.

    Off topic, I think Mazda deserves some credit for re-inventing the small, rear- wheel drive convertible, the Miata.

    • MC01 says:

      1) Mazda has had a serious image issue due to SkyActiv-D engines. Plainly put they used way too much oil and as manufacturers always do in these cases they tried to pass the blame on to the customer to get out of warranty jobs. In the end they had to admit to the issue but still acted with the worst grace possible. Shades of what Honda did in the past when they had exactly the same problems on some engines due to cylinder plating issues. It takes years of hard work by all members of a company to build a good image and five minutes of greed and stupidity by a bunch of c-suites to destroy it.
      2) Mazda has long been in some sort of corporate limbo, after Ford pulled out of the capital structure. Sumitomo Bank, Mazda’s main bank, has brought in Toyota as some sort of “company doctor” but as it always happens in Corporate Japan the tieup’s are hazy to understand for outsiders and poorly reflected by share ownership patterns. Toyota is reorganizing most stuff and it will interesting to see how this will affect members of the Mazda keiretsu like Tokico and Hiroshima Aluminum.
      3) Let’s not beat around the bush: looking at Mazda car lists is like looking at the menu of a Scottish restaurant. Expensive, not much on it and nothing you really want to eat. That’s why people buy Toyota or Honda instead, just like in Scotland you head over to an ethnic restaurant or a fish and chips stand. ;-)

    • HollywoodDog says:

      Mazda’s strategy is price premium not volume. You pay a little more for a Mazda in the same vehicle class (but it’s worth it). Mazda also focuses more on driving experience (Zoom! Zoom!). The Miata was engineered ecstasy.

      I’m not sure why there’s so much concern for market share. As an investor, I’d be more concerned with the net profit per vehicle sold. And as I driver, I don’t want to be in the same silver sedan as everyone else.

  23. BrianC says:

    Wolf, any idea on growth of market share of the new no haggle used car services (carvana, shift, etc)?

    I imagine this is having a significant impact in car purchasing practices. You can now buy a used car on an app without the run around and they deliver it to your door. Do people hate dealers so much they would rather overpay for a used car than for a new car?

    • Unamused says:

      You can now buy a used car on an app without the run around and they deliver it to your door.

      Good way to overpay for a lemon, I should think. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

      Do people hate dealers so much they would rather overpay for a used car than for a new car?

      Why do you assume people hate dealers and overpay for used cars?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      BrianC,

      In general terms, the no-haggle used-car pricing is very successful if the price is low enough (but fair to both parties). CarMax, Enterprise, and others are making big headway with it. So that model works.

      I checked out carvana in terms of what they have. So here they have a “vending machine” in the East Bay where you can go get your car, or they deliver out of their inventory that can be quite far away. Then there is the issue with the trade… And you still have to do all the paperwork – there is a stack of papers to sign.

      The hard part is checking out the car, driving it, etc. My understanding is that in their model, you do that AFTER you legally purchase the car and take delivery of it, not before.

      If you find something wrong, if you hear an unusual engine noise, and you want to send the car back, you have to unwind the entire transaction and all the legal documents and possibly the registration. Seems like a huge hassle.

      So I want to talk to someone who actually bought a car at carvana and traded in another car – I’d like to know how it went. If the vehicle is perfect, it may be a smooth transaction. But if there is an issue, it could be a big-fat hassle.

      • Ripp says:

        My office is across the street from a Carvana vending machine. I went and talked to them to see what it was all about when I was looking for a vehicle after mine was totaled a couple of years ago.
        If you live in a city with a vending machine, you can go to them, or they will bring the car to you for free. You can then test drive the car to make sure you like it. If you don’t, they will just take it back. If you buy, you have a week to return it for any reason. I’m pretty sure you have to pay if you aren’t in a city with a vending machine, otherwise it’s free.
        From what they told me, everything is sort of on hold for that 7 day period. So, kind of like an extended test drive.

        • I wonder how dealers trust buyers who take their cars home on a trial basis. In the real old days dealers would do that for serious clients, people who traded in every couple years, paid cash, and full price. Now they write subprime auto loans, why not let them take the car for a couple days?

        • NBay says:

          Please tell me no. Are the “vending machines” as shown on TV?
          My sanity may be at stake.

  24. MCH says:

    The slowdown of car sales in CA is not a big deal. In fact, as CA leads the US out of the the tyranny of car dealerships with their annoying add ons like service contracts and $1000 ski racks with brilliant ideas like Uber, Lyft, and high speed rail. We’ll soon see a lot less smog. The bankrupt car companies in Detroit won’t be clogging our roadways with their garbage in the near future. Their pointless hedonic quality adjustments will no longer unjustifiably take Californian’s hard earned dollars. (those can instead go into real solutions like mass transit)

    Speaking of which, the high speed rail is only the first step to the mass transit future. It’s only those greedy contractors and big corporations that have temporarily derailed the dream. But soon, we’ll have high speed trains running on solar power crisscrossing the state, and solar power buses to deliver our citizens everywhere they need and want to go.

    Onwards, and down with the tyranny of the auto industry.

    Hey… I sound like a shill for the governor’s office. I wonder if Gavin is hiring.

    • Cas127 says:

      Actually, Governor BlowDry sounds like something snapped upstairs in the last day or two – seems to be at least semi-seriously using medical pretext to address homeless problem.

      I wonder if he is trying to game DC’s Medicaid contribution by redefining homelessness as a medical issue/cost.

      He seems to be putting up trial balloons.

      • MCH says:

        I would suggest he tax the likes of Zuckerberg, The Google bro’s, Dorsey, Benioff, Hollywood and so on. But realistically, more likely for him to raise more taxes on the poor and the Middle class. More gas taxes, anyone?

        Cause his donors might freak out if he tried to tax them.

        • cas127 says:

          CA high earners are far from undertaxed – the peak state rate is over 13 pct.

          And you can only expropriate billionaires once – what do you next yr? In 5 yrs?

          The problem is not too little money going in to gvt system (otherwise why do conditions continue to deteriorate even as tax rates/revenues continually increase).

          It is long past time to look very, very, very closely at *exactly* where the gvt funds are going – I think some very ugly things might be discovered that result in 20 pct to 40 pct of revenues being misspent (vast overpmts, vast overstaffing with essentially zero oversight, vast boondoggles that will never have benefits anywhere near their costs).

          If Gov BlowDry is trying to game Fed Medicaid with his Housing=Healthcare invention, that is just another symptom of the systemic pathology – CA pols may be realizing that they are at max (CA) tax – and that if they try to levy the CA population again, they are going to have a million microscopes up their ass. And they know no one is going to be happy with what is found up there.

    • c1ue says:

      I kept waiting for the /sarc
      I guess you’re serious. Ride-sharing is clearly a scam: CARB showed clearly that ride share is more polluting, increases congestion and is slower.

  25. Pedro says:

    Registration on my 18year old Honda is $85 every year. Still runs strong and drives like new. I never imagined I could run a car this long. My oil change shop says 250k miles is common with my Honda model. Said 350-400k is achievable. The only issue is the interior fabrics getting beat up.

    Insurance is $600/year. So yeah, not buying a new $50k car.

    • wkevinw says:

      This is typical nowadays. I believe the number of vehicles per capita has continued to rise for decades, but has leveled off in recent years.

      People have a lot of older used cars because they are very well engineered.

      The main parts: body structure, engine, trans, last a LONG time nowadays.

      My newest is a 2005; my oldest 1986. They all drive around all the time.

      Gotta get back out to hang a brake caliper on one now…

  26. Mark says:

    17 year old Honda CRV here ….. best car I ever owned. Everything works (everything!), 24 mpg in town, up to 30 mpg highway.

    It also won’t testify against me in court, with its digital information acting a a “prosecuting attorney” in court.

  27. Michael Engel says:

    1) Is WTI = $150 good for Tesla.
    2) Iran subsidize oil.
    3) The Saudis subsidize oil. If WTI reach 150, US gov will subsidize
    oil to consumer, but producers will make profit.
    4) With a combination of WTI = 150 for producers and WTI = 60 for consumers, US econo,my will not collapse like in 1973,
    1980 oil shocks.
    5) If farmers can get help, why not the rest of us, at the expense of :
    – xxx xxx xxx
    – yyy yyy yyy

  28. Just Some Random Guy says:

    I keep reading that the yuuuthes don’t like cars anymore and prefer to take the bus. This is probably the reason for the drop.

    • Cas127 says:

      Yep – it isn’t Poverty…it is hedonic adjustments…expect walking to become amazingly trendy soon.

  29. Just Some Random Guy says:

    $1500 to register a car? LOL. Out here in flyover country, I pay $60. And that’s a flat fee, whether it’s a $100K new car or a $2K, 20 year old car.

    At some point CA voters will have to wake up. But I’ve been saying this for 10 years and still voters, like zombies, keep voting for the same insane people/policies.

    Oh well, people get the leaders they deserve, I suppose.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Just Some Random Guy,

      My understanding from your prior comments is that you live in Utah.

      For Utah, there are two options: if you already bought a vehicle in the state, your answer is manipulative BS, as you know; or if you haven’t yet bought a vehicle in Utah, you don’t know yet what awaits you. And it may be the latter.

      So here we go since you’re trying to talk your wife into a Tesla…

      When you buy a vehicle in Utah and register it, you have to pay Registration Fees and some other fees, plus the BIGGIE:

      SALES AND USE TAX. It’s calculated using the purchase price. There are three layers: state, county, and local “sales and use tax.” For example for Beaver City the combined total is 7.35%.

      So on a $90,000 Model S, sales in use tax would be between $6,100 and $7,400, depending on location in Utah. Plus fees. That’s not a lot cheaper than in San Francisco.

      Here are the rates of sales and use tax combined by location: https://tax.utah.gov/salestax/rate/20q2combined.pdf

      And here is more info and what you have to pay in fees and taxes when you purchase a vehicle: https://dmv.utah.gov/taxes-fees#salestax

  30. unit472 says:

    As my only remaining stock investments are with a gas and electric utility and gold miners I am not against EVs for obvious reasons. I too look forward to people having to charge their EV and paying my utility to do so. As the owner of two ICE vehicles the more EVs there are the less pressure on oil prices the problem seems to be that outside of coastal california there doesn’t seem to be much demand for EVs.

    Shortage of charging stations and length of time to recharge ( along with heating and cooling demands on the battery affecting range) don’t make them practical as go anywhere at anytime vehicles. For people with a daily commute on a predictable route in a California like climate they may be perfect but if you have to have the A/C on max in Summer and the heat on max in Winter as you determine distance to nearest recharging station makes more akin to being pilot monitoring fuel remaining in bad weather and trying to find the nearest airport. A tense if not life threatening condition.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      You explained exactly why my wife doesn’t want a Tesla (even though I keep lobbying her to get one). She buys the “family” car and I buy the suv. I’d love to have a Tesla S. But the missus is afraid she’ll run out of juice on the side of the road. I’ve explained to her that even with the A/C or heater on full blast for 99% of her driving needs there’s enough charge on a daily basis. But she’s still a no go.

      • Willy Winky says:

        Yes the Tesla is excellent for short trips to the mall or to buy a loaf of bread or a cup of coffee. So why not spend 100k on a a Tesla S.

        Then buy an ICE car for all other trips?

        Tesla (and all EV makers) should do a deal with GM – you buy a Tesla and you get any GM ICE car for 30% off.

        That way everyone is happy (except Greta)

        • nhz says:

          Sounds a bit like the deal for BMW i3, which offered a larger BMW ICE rental car for the vacation (when the i3 doesn’t get far enough) with very attractive conditions; don’t remember the exact details. I guess one of the problems with this idea is that many consumers plan those long distance trips around the same time. But maybe it helps consumer think about what they really need.

  31. IslandTeal says:

    Good article and comments.. Thanks Wolf. Still nobody gets the pronunciation correct. It is Teeeeesla.

  32. Michael Engel says:

    1) Tesla have a lot of fans. There is a lot of demand for Tesla, but TSLA suffer from the Tverberg dilemma.
    2) When prices are too high, TSLA make money, but TSLA fan are in hell.
    3) When prices are too low, consumers are in heaven, but TSLA is burning
    in hell.
    4) All EV producers show the same symptoms.

  33. Mean Chicken says:

    States collect a lot of income off taxation and it’s still not enough to cover liabilities? Seems the solution is always to increase taxes.

    • Unamused says:

      Taxes have to be increased on those who pay taxes to make up for the tax evaders and the tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Besides, corporations always need more welfare.

      Federal tax evasion is a half-trillion-dollar-per-year sport among the rich. They’d rather have you, for example, pay their taxes for them and pay for bigger subsidies besides.

      A lot of people vote for that because they don’t know any better.

      • Unamused says:

        If tax evasion costs the US federal government that much, you should expect it to cost the states rather a lot as well, and they can’t print money. And they can’t run deficits the way the feds can.

      • Cas127 says:

        Show us how to know better – link to the report that breaks down the 500 billion in Fed evasion you say exists.

        Does “evasion” include legal political carve outs of standard rates? How is “evasion” sized given that it is defined as, well, evasion?

        How does the net recoupable from said evasion compare in size to habitual deficits?

  34. noname says:

    Picked up a new vehicle for relative, mid-level trim.

    Had to go around a parked car on the road and the power steering acted like it was going out—some sort of lane-assist feature.

    Started chiming on the highway; I think because drove over some dried dirt on the road. Can you say DISTRACTED DRIVING trying to figure out what’s going on while I’M the one in control.

    Have to manually clear dash pop-up that tells you it’s cold outside, auto-dim headlights are on, etc. Couldn’t figure it out, tried pressing the dash :D

    Would have been a much more pleasurable/less exhausting drive if things were LABELED rather than little drawings/depictions.

    Save the $$ and get BASE model!

  35. Tony says:

    What is happening to Tesla stock price reminds me of oil price back in 2008. Oil was up, up and up with the Wall Street type predicting the inevitable $500 oil, even though the financial world was crumbling around us.

    Now, coronavirus is running rampant in China, yet investors believe that a bunch of Chinese will somehow get out of their homes and buy an unlimited number of Teslas.

  36. Humble Pie says:

    Tesla Model 3 remains in the race for the #2 best-selling car in California in 2019, just 277 behind the Toyota Camry.

    Honda Civic – 58,967
    Toyota Camry – 48,760
    Tesla Model 3 – 48,483
    Honda Accord – 43,709
    Toyota Corolla – 40,928

  37. Michael Gaff says:

    I have two cars and a pickup, all built in 1999.

    I change the oil, replace little items like alternators, etcetera, when needed.

    The oil changes are done between 7,000 and 10,000 miles.

    I think this country is filled with whiny little clowns who couldn’t change a wiper blade without a community meeting.

    Our little Acura 3.5 RL has more than 300,000 miles on it.
    The Cadillac STS has only 180,000 miles on it as I am a retired airline pilot, an didn’t drive too much.

    The GMC pickup just turned 100,000 miles.

    I can’t believe you people agonize over new cars all the time. In 1968, I bought a brand new Chevy pickup for exactly $2,300. I drove it until the government asked me to leave the country to help kill people I never met.

Comments are closed.