OT: Talking Cars Tuesday 2018 Recap

Submitted by JeepinBen on January 8th, 2019 at 9:15 AM

Since we've got a breath between football and basketball, I thought I'd bring back some folks favorite offseason topic for 1 week only.

So - the 2018 numbers are final and the industry is ready for a slight slowdown in 2019. The biggest thing in America is tall station wagons. Er, "Rugged Offroad SUVs". Er. Really they're tall wagons with black plastic near the wheels and faux roof racks to look taller... but I digress.


Fun and handling is dead. Practicality and the promise of driving on gravel is in. Pretending you're not driving a minivan surrogate is the new hotness. Also - pickup trucks continue to dominate. Do you have one? How often do you tow/use the bed?

Did you buy a car in 2018? What did you get? Was it on that list of the 25 best selling cars? Will you buy a car in 2019? What are you thinking of? What new 2019 vehicle are you most excited about? The new Ford Explorer debuts tomorrow, which they only sold about 260K of last year... there's going to be a new Ford Ranger to fight the Jeep Gladiator... Or perhaps you're excited about the Huracan Evo?


Booted Blue in PA

January 8th, 2019 at 9:22 AM ^

For the second time in my adult life I'm without a truck.... Last time I said I'd never do it again, then divorce #2 and a 225 mile a day commute made it inevitable.

When you have a truck, everyone you know has a need..... when you don't, none of those bastards has one you can use.

I miss my F150 and very soon i will have one again.

SoDak Blues

January 8th, 2019 at 9:30 AM ^

When we moved to South Dakota 4 years ago, I bought my first F150 (when in Rome...). Absolutely love it. I don't tow very often (occasionally boat or small trailer), but I use the bed extremely often (and yes, "friends" come out of the wood work). The super crew cab is enormous and with carseats and kids extra shit, it works perfect.

I can't really see not having a truck going forward, but when the kids are out of the house, I will probably go back to my first love and get a Wrangler.


January 8th, 2019 at 9:47 AM ^

I have always wanted a truck, but the fact that I know everyone will want to use it has always kept me from getting one. I know this is selfish on my part, but I like my stuff taken care of and I crave alone time, guilty as charged and maybe someday I’ll get over myself. 

225 mile a day commute is insane. I do about 30 miles and I think that’s too long. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:26 AM ^

Not a car guy in the slightest, but I'm miffed at Ford's decision to nix car production (except the Taurus and Mustang). I don't need a truck or a crossover or anything like that - I'm 1000% on board with standard cars, but maybe I'm just boring.

What caused such a seismic shift? I know that Ford's trucks are the #1 selling type of vehicle on the market, but seems a bit odd to move the focus away from cars entirely. I'll hang up and listen.


January 8th, 2019 at 9:33 AM ^

Taurus is dying too. OEMs just don't make any money on sedans and usually cut a loss. Government incentives/standards and high gas prices gave reason to make them in the past, but with those gone and a shift in consumers interest towards SUVs, there is not reason to build vehicles they don't make money on.   


January 8th, 2019 at 9:36 AM ^

Read the top 25 from C&D that I posted. People aren't buying cars as much as they're buying SUVs. They're chasing the market, correctly. Ford's best selling vehicles are the F150, Explorer, Escape, then Fusion. Fusion used to be #2. Why keep pouring resources into declining markets?

(it stinks, as a car guy. I have a fun car. I worry how long I'll be able to buy one)

oriental andrew

January 8th, 2019 at 12:19 PM ^

Of course, there is also the school of thought that the SUV craze is really a self-fulfilling prophecy. They can be made cheaply, sold at higher margins, have an advantageous CAFE classification, and play right into the American perception that "bigger is better." So yeah, let's market the crap out of these things, change the American mindset about what they need (marketing and advertising works, folks!), and the sedan will die out. 

The Canyonero is probably an actual SUV at this point. 

Maybe the death of the sedan could be the rebirth of the actual wagon. I'm not talking the now-CUV Outback, but cars like the Volvo V60/V90, MB E-class, Audi Avants and AllRoads, Buick TourX, VW Golf Wagon. Even Jag and Porsche have wagons these days! 

More wagons = good, imo. 


On Topic, if I were to buy a car tomorrow, it would be a Buick Regal TourX Essence trim in Blue. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:40 AM ^

I believe the shift has a lot to do with baby boomers. When you look at an older person climbing out of a car and trying to get in you feel bad for them. I like to tell my older clients that the mid size SUV's are "butt level." They can easily face the seat, turn, sit down and then get their legs in. They don't have to maneuver as much. Also the hatchback allows them to easily put things in and out as it's waste level. Not to mention other vehicles on the road are higher now so this gives them better visibility. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:57 AM ^

The Cherokee has the most comfortable seats of the entire Jeep lineup. Super cushy. Thanks for this thread, I look forward to participating in 2019. The car business is a crazy world, the Metro Detroit Market is very different than the rest of the country. So many different factors, dealers don't compete with other brands they mainly compete with other dealers selling the same cars. It's a nasty business that I could dive into and talk about for hours. 

The Maizer

January 8th, 2019 at 10:30 AM ^

I'd have chosen a 4-door given the choice (it was a 2005), but I bought it cheap from a guy that was moving to Japan the following week who just wanted to get rid of it. Couldn't say no. Only trouble I ever had with it was a leaky secondary water pump (for the turbo) that was like a $40 dollar part I could install easily myself.


January 8th, 2019 at 12:21 PM ^

You know what killed cars? CAFE.  Well, it helped.  CAFE is pretty stringent, and meeting it by killing off all the trucks and SUVs would've put the Big 3 out of business.  So they pulled out all the stops to make their profitable vehicles more fuel-efficient.  Regulators thought people would trade size for better fuel efficiency - instead, customers realized they could keep just about the same fuel efficiency - or even slightly improve - and get much better size.


January 8th, 2019 at 9:27 AM ^

I purchased a manual BMW M3 in 2018. I had been driving SUVs for the past 4/5 years and forgot how nice it is to actually drive. But I appreciate that many people just want safety, practicality, reliability, blah, blah and blah on their way from A to B. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:36 AM ^

Unless you're purchasing that Ranger I find it hard that you will not be lured into an F150. Roughly 80% of vehicles in metro detroit are leased. When a consumer comes in and wants to lease a Canyon they find that it's cheaper to lease the bigger Sierra. I'm sure it will be the same thing with the Ranger and F150. The F150 is a higher volume piece which will get the rebates, lease support, have a better rate and residual. You'll be there scratching your head why you can lease a 45-50K truck cheaper than a 35k-40k truck. 



January 8th, 2019 at 9:41 AM ^

Leases are all about residual. You've got to remember that the dealer gets to sell a lease twice.

F-150 - $50K Sticker, figure your lease is $6K/year (500/month).

Ranger - $40K Sticker, Figure your lease is $6/year (500/month).

With 3 years and 36K miles, the F-150 will be worth 35K, the Ranger worth 20K. The dealer sells the F150 - they get $18K from the lease and $35K from the sale, for $53K. If they do the Ranger they get $18K from the lease and $20K from the sale - for $38K. It's easy to see how the F150 payments could go down thanks to the "second sale" value.

(BigH0use - I assume you know this, this is more a general FYI than directed at you)



January 8th, 2019 at 9:47 AM ^

The residual is what also killed sedans. For years, if you came into the dealership, you were leaving with a Chrysler 300S. Why? it had a freaking 70-80% residual! When people would go to turn in their lease, some would want to buy their lease out. The only problem was the residual value would be 30k plus tax and the 300 would appraise around 20k. They would lease a new vehicle, we would ground the car and at some point, whether it was Ally, Chrysler Capital or US BANK one of the banks was taking a major loss. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:51 AM ^

(jeepinben) the dealer doesn't get to sell the vehicle twice. It's very rare that the dealer will buy the lease out bc of the residual and also the used car market is terrible. 95% of the time that lease vehicle is grounded, the leasing bank will sell it at auction and send someone to come pick up the vehicle to transport it.

The only time a lease is purchase by the dealership is when someone wants out of their lease, the difference between the lease buyout and appraisal is less than the remaining payments the customer has. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:30 AM ^

I'll bite. I haven't bought, but I'm in the market.

I'm a middle aged dad, so fun handling is lower on my list than it used to be. Comfort and cargo are high on my list now. 

After being an early adopter with a '91 Cherokee, I have come to hate two box designs. After years of trying to cart my kids around on trips in an SUV I hate sharing space with my luggage. And I really don't like the lie of that space. '40 cubic feet Cargo space!' Sure. If the suitcase is piled over your kids head, ready to fall at a sudden stop; and you don't mind not seeing out of the back window. 

My car has awd, a 20 Cubic Foot trunk and normal (non gooseneck) hinges. It's been the best 'utility' vehicle for my family. 

We take it camping and it gets better mileage, is more comfortable, and has more *usable* cargo space than the SUV. In the winter the lower CG makes it easier to drive in shitty weather. 

It's awesome. 


January 8th, 2019 at 9:31 AM ^

I knew someone who had the M version of the BMW X5.  That was an impressive tall station wagon!  I didn't get a car in 2018, my wife did...a new Wrangler.  We've never had one of those so the potential adventures are exciting to think about.  In 2019, I'm eying a 2016ish RCF hoping the pricing for a good one dips below $35k.  


January 8th, 2019 at 9:46 AM ^

As a former 2X Wrangler owner make sure those "Potential adventures" become real ones. An ORV sticker goes a long way.

Also - Jeep sold more Wranglers than Ford, Chevy, and Dodge sold Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers last year. They make EXCELLENT toys. Just make sure you use it as a toy! Drop the top, leave the doors at home...


January 8th, 2019 at 9:32 AM ^

I've sold vehicles for 6 years now. Sedans are officially dead. It's all about lease payments to people which is why trucks have taken off. You can lease a 50k RAM truck cheaper than 90% of remaining model lineup through CDJR. Families come in looking at a Durango, you then quickly shift them to a RAM Big Horn for half the price. Also the Jeep brand continues to rise, of the 374 units I sold last year 217 of them were Jeeps. It's getting to the point where FCA is going to reduce their brand to Jeep and RAM. Those are the heavy hitters. My owner was approached by FCA to open a Jeep only dealership, which are starting to open across the country. While the Gladiator will be very cool (the ultimate northern Michigan machine) it will be like the Wrangler which is not a high volume vehicle. If you ever consider purchasing a vehicle (terrible idea, you'll be under water) make sure it's a Wrangler, they actually hold their value. 

Save Us Mel

January 8th, 2019 at 9:35 AM ^

Did get a new car in 2018 and it's on the list - Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. 

I will say I'm curious to see what the new Chevy Blazer looks like.  I was always a Trailblazer man and only switched to Jeep when they stopped making them.


January 8th, 2019 at 9:48 AM ^

I got a 2018 Jeep wrangler JL sport. Its my first Jeep and I am loving it so far, i've been to so many malls already! I do like the new gladiator as well, would love to pick one up someday.

Cali Wolverine

January 8th, 2019 at 9:51 AM ^

I turned in an Audi Q7 and got a loaded 2018 BMW X5 xDrive40e hybrid.  While the electric battery is tiny, I drive a mile to work on the electric battery, and have only used a little less than half a tank of gas in two months (I do use a second car for longer drives right now on weekends).  I unexpectedly went with the M package since they had really nice deals on the 2018 model, so in addition to using less gas, I am enjoying the bells and whistles.


January 8th, 2019 at 9:56 AM ^

Our son needed a car for college so we "gave" him our GTI. I love it but we're going to be doing a lot of road trips in the next couple of years so I needed something with more room and that could really handle the snow. As you may remember, I'm a car enthusiast who loves to drive so there were only a couple of cars that would tick all the boxes. I ended up with an Audi SQ5. It is fantastic. It handles like a sports car. I drove it in heavy snow on the highway and I've never felt as safe driving in the snow. It cost an arm and a leg and a kidney, but what a great f-ing car/crossover. 


January 8th, 2019 at 10:16 AM ^

Wendy, I'm sorry for your loss! Make sure you borrow it back when your kid comes home so your clutch muscle doesn't atrophy.

However the SQ5 is a nice replacement. I've said before that I think the SQ5 and Macan are really the "Rich Person's GTI". They're the new Uber-Hot-Hatch. Glad you like it!


January 8th, 2019 at 9:57 AM ^

My lease on my Cadillac CTS is up in May, and I asked my mom if I could have my late father's '89 Jaguar XJ40. It's been just sitting in her carport for about 15 years, and a trusted mechanic is fixing it up. The car is in Southern California, and I live in Nashville. The mechanic says the car is in good shape and that rather than just shipping it, it will be fine to drive from San Diego to Nashville. I plan to take a long road trip with it, with plenty of time for it to rest on the road. Chance to connect with the car, my memories and a lot of places. Among other stops, going to see the Grand Canyon, Austin to visit my daughter, and N'Orleans.

I know a lot of issues with the '89 XJ40--digital console, door handles, rear suspension (he should have waited for the 1990 version I think). Any other issues I should think about? Thoughts on maintaining it? I plan to drive it downtown to work (about 1.5 miles each way) most days, and take it on the open road on occasion.

Would appreciate any advice or thoughts on the car. Thanks!


January 8th, 2019 at 10:01 AM ^

Good mention of the Huracan EVO... I'm very excited to see that one in action.  Looks terrific and I'm eager to see the performance numbers.

Buying new cars is not something I'll probably ever do again.  Why pay for the depreciation when someone else can do it for me?!  I did, however, buy a car in 2018.  A 2003 BMW Z4 3.0i with 6 speed manual.  Only got it in August so my time with it has been limited.  Can't wait for the spring.  Love it so far, but if I'm honest there are a few other cars that I would buy in a second and  sell the Z4 if my wife lets me.  :0)

Otherwise, I'm very happy with my 2007 4Runner Sport... and actual off-road capable SUV.  I love that it's old school, doesn't have a bunch of electronic shit I don't need or want.  It's just a great truck with 175k miles on it.  Planning to double that mileage before all is said and done.