Have new cars become unreasonably expensive?
Is there a hint of exploitation of the situation from the manufacturers?
As of 2021, you can still buy a brand new Peugeot 405. Yes, 405 - the same one we loved in the late 80's because of its Mi16 version and because Peugeots of the 80's were just ubercool.
There are few drawbacks - you'd have to live in Azerbaijan, otherwise this would not meet any of the Western regulations and the safety standard is probably at Ford-T-hitting-a-pole-as-a-Mustang level - deadly. But its retail price is only EUR 7,800 - or a nudge over USD 9,000. You get basic commodities of today - AC, airbag, electric stuff and a 1.6 - 1.8 petrol options. Great value for money or a great waste of it? You tell me.
EUR 7,800 for a nicely engines AC car - although a death trap probably
Up to a decade ago - you could still buy a Zastava 101, ancient FIAT 128 derivative for around EUR 3,500 in Serbia. In Russia, old Riva was also sold up to late 2000's. Demand for such cars was still alive.
Of course, in no way I'm going to argue that these old bangers from Serbia and Russia are anywhere near minimum of standards of a modern and safe car - or this Iran-Azerbaijani Peugeot for that matter, but got me thinking that in the last few years, modern new cars have become ridiculously expensive.
Yes, cars have become safer, more advanced. Yes, we have pandemic rocking the market like a baby rocking a rattle - iron has gone through the roof, electronic chips are in shortage, tires briefly halted as India was on its knees in Covid, etc - all this skyrocketed prices.
But, in the end, I still feel that some cars are just unreasonable expensive. Or at least, marketed in the wrong, more expensive niches. Let's take that T-Cross from the header image - that's the basic version that comes with a 3-cylinder petrol, developing 95 PS, paired with 5 speed manual. F.I.V.E. speed manual in 2021 for 20,000 EUR? I don't know what does this car do, but I'm pretty sure that it isn't worth 20 big ones. For that kind of money, 5 years ago, you could buy a perfectly nice Opel Insignia, Skoda Octavia and, not to eliminate SUV factor, a nice Qashqai would come your way for that. With proper engines and pretty much same level of safety.
I know winds of change and Covid disturbance is blowing our way, but I still feel some manufacturers exploit these winds a bit too much.