Short vs. Long-Term Thinking

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One of the reasons why the car industry is in trouble hasn’t got to do with politics – the mortifying effect of slow, regulatory strangulation of the car industry – although that’s a big one.

The other one is one the car industry has done to itself. It has alienated its future, which is the rising generation of drivers – a great many of whom cannot afford a car and so have never developed interest in driving one. That, in turn, means little-to-no-interest in buying one – because what’s the point in wanting something you know you can’t have?

A related example will make the point.

Harley-Davidson motorcycles were once the motorcycles for young guys who esteemed the idea of an iron horse and the freedom it represented. Today, Harleys are mostly bought by guys in their 50s and 60s, who are pretty much the only guys who can afford a Harley. The bikes – which are big and fancy and expensive – cater to this crowd.

Young guys mostly can’t afford them – and (worse, for Harley) mostly don’t want them. It is a kind of two-wheeled iteration of what a wise GM executive once said about how you can sell an old man a young man’s car but you can’t sell a young man an old man’s car.

You probably see the problem.

Within 20 years, most of Harley’s customer base won’t be in the market for a motorcycle anymore. They’ll be in the market for an assisted living facility.

It’s not quite the same as regards the car industry – but it’s also similar, in that most of the cars the young crowd might be interested in are much too expensive for the young crowd. As a case in point, the ’24 Mustang I just reviewed (here) is a very desirable car; very much the kind of car I would have desired when I was 22 or so. The problem is there aren’t many 22-year-olds today who can afford a car that starts just shy of $31k – not counting all the cost-padding “fees” and taxes one must pay on top of all that. Plus the insurance, which has become exorbitant for people in their 40s and 50s with “clean” driving records.

Forget about it if you’re 22 with a few tickets on your record.

I mentioned in my review that it’s a shame Ford doesn’t offer a version of the Mustang like the versions of the Mustang that were available from the first year the Mustang was available – 1964 – all the way through the early 2000s. When I was in college back in the ’80s, Ford offered a base, four cylinder (no turbo) version of the Mustang that was an economy car that had the virtue of being a Mustang. The good looks of the GT with much better gas mileage and a much lower price. It wasn’t quick, but it was fun to drive, because it was available with – it came standard with – a manual transmission.

The point is that Ford used to make Mustangs for everyone – and for every budget. The performance versions got the limelight but Ford sold more Mustangs when it sold less expensive ones.

And that brings us back to The Situation.

The current Mustang is becoming like Harleys have become in that both are vehicles for older people because only older people have the money to buy them. Ford – like Harley – thus sells fewer each year to a demographic that will fewer, soon. The cohort that will be aging out of buying “fun” vehicles within the not-too-distant future. The same problem besets Chevy, which has announced the end for Camaro after the 2025 model year. It, like the Mustang, is no longer a car for young buyers. And so there are too few  of them to sustain the selling of Camaro, which at one time sold in the hundreds of thousands annually. It’s even more dire for Corvette, which has become an exotic car – and so Chevy only sells a few thousand annually and those to mostly older people (again).

What the industry needs – if it wants buyers in the future – is to reconnect with younger buyers, especially first-time buyers. And the way you do that is by selling what young people want and can afford. Not $30,000 crossovers but $15,000 cars that are fun. That have personality. Such cars used to abound; ask anyone who is 40 or 50 today who had one when the were half that age. They didn’t get to 60 in 7 seconds. Some took 60.

Really.

But they did get us to wherever we were headed, on our own. In our own ride. We no longer had to get mom or dad to give us one. We were free, for the first time in our young lives and it was due to the fact that we owned our first car. And that is why those of us now middle-aged and older have stories to tell about our first cars and what we were able to do with them and because of them. Lifelong affection was created.

That is what the industry is now risking losing, with the rising generations. It has already lost what ought to be an alarming percentage of them. USA Today reports that “Since 2000, the number of 16-year-olds with driver’s licenses decreased nearly 27 percent.” This is more than just a canary in the coal mine. It is a flock of vultures circling overhead.

If the car industry wants to continue to be an industry in the future, it must connect with the future. There may be less profit per car to be made selling $15,000 (or less) cars but that could be made up in volume – something Henry Ford understood. And just as important, it made for lifelong relationships with customers who would be buying nicer and more expensive cars over the course of their lives.

As opposed to gray hairs looking at what will probably be their last car.

. . .

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83 COMMENTS

  1. About the lack of younger people driving and getting a driver’s license, many of you are right in saying it’s the expense of cars, use of child seats for youth, and hassle of getting a license that explain a lot of this. But there’s something else.

    Younger people now have been thoroughly indoctrinated in leftism. They believe someone else will provide. So why should they drive themselves when Mom and Dad can chauffeur them everywhere or they can simply get an Uber or Lyft? It’s the same principle as assuming the government will provide free housing, free food, and a universal basic income so they won’t have to work. Don’t discount how many youth have bought this.

  2. First new car I ever bought was a 86 Mustang GT for $10500 OTD using my brother’s “A” plan. I was 22. Not sure what that amount equates to in 2024 dollars? As far as HD’s are concerned I agree as a 60 YO dude I don’t anything to do with a garbage queen tank couch on wheels. I have a 00 Sportster that I like a lot. If I were to buy a different HD I’d get a used Dyna. Not too big and not too small and super cheap as they made them for 10-15 years I think.

  3. Eric,

    I’ll probably make two separate comments here: one about motorcycles and one about cars. First the motorcycles.

    Harley is being very myopic here. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but they recently ended production of the air cooled Sportster. That’s right; for the first time in decades, there is NO NEW Harley Sportster that one can buy! It’s been replaced by the “Nightster”, which has a water cooled engine. The smaller engined Nightster starts at like $14K-$15K? WTF can afford THAT as a new motorcycle? Even if one can afford that, how does that represent a good value for the money spent? AFAIAC, H-D bikes are overweight and overpriced machines that are the antithesis of what motorcycling is about: back to basics minimalism, freedom, and coolness.

    Oh, and don’t tell me that H-D dropped their air cooled engines due to emissions regs. India based Royal Enfield is building clean, air cooled, and affordable bikes by the TENS OF THOUSANDS! And they’re doing so while meeting stricter emissions regs than what we have here. India’s emission regs are BS-6, which is roughly comparable to the Euro 6 regs; Euro 6 is beyond any emissions regs here, including those in CA. So, don’t tell me that air cooled bikes can’t be built due to regs! Royal Enfield is doing it every day, all while meeting stricter regs than what the US have.

    Speaking of Royal Enfield, they’re doing what most motorcycle makers, including Japan’s Big Four, are no longer doing: building good looking, fun, reliable, and easy to service bikes at a price both they and their buyers can live with. WOW, what a concept! The Big Four are trodding the same path that H-D, BMW, et al are; the only difference is that they’re not quite as far down that path. The most expensive Royal Enfield, one of their 650 cruisers, is less than $7,500, whereas a comparable Big Four bike starts at that price point. And, the Jap cruisers in that class, e.g. the Kawasaki Vulcan S, have NO PERSONALITY WHATSOEVER! They’re fine bikes, but that don’t have that “wow factor” a bike should have. OTD, a RE motorcycle can be had for less than $10K.

    What’s more, with the introduction of their 650 cruisers (the Super Meteor 650 and the Shotgun 650), RE have bikes that not only competed for the same buyers with the now departed air cooled Evo Sportster; they’ve done so with a bike that costs less than the Sportster ever did. Furthermore, one can BUY one of RE’s stylish and fun cruisers for less than half of what H-D’s Nightster costs. NO WONDER RE IS CLEANING UP! Building good looking, basic, easy to service, affordable bikes is a good business model; it’s also a long term one.

    If you’re not into cruisers, RE has you covered; they have their Interceptor and Continental GT bikes that hark back to the 1960s and 70s. Do you want go anywhere dual sport? RE has you covered with their Himalayan, base price less than $5.5K; OTD, you’re looking at perhaps $7K or so. Are you just getting into motorcycling? Are you looking for your first bike? RE has you covered with their 350s, the Classic 350, the Meteor 350, and the Hunter 350; they’re all priced well under $5K, and can be rolled out the door for less than $6K. RE makes a bike you can start on, and they make bikes you can move up to; they make bikes to get you in the family and keep you in the family. If only they punched out that sweet, J series 349cc engine to 500cc or so…

    Oh, and RE bikes are as basic as a new bike can be today and still meet gov’t regs. Their bikes have EFI and ABS, and that’s about it; they have everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. None of their bikes have a cockpit that would be more at home on the Starship Enterprise than on a motorcycle. They have screw & locknut valve adjustments, so anyone with any competence with hand tools can service the bike themselves. Indeed, that’s a big reason why I bought an RE: because I could save a ton of money servicing it myself vs. taking it to a shop. Besides, servicing your own bike is part of the RE ownership experience… 🙂

    There’s one more major problem with H-D’s business model and product line: at some point, as riders get older, many of us DOWNSIZE; we no longer want a big, heavy, and ungainly bike! Many of us, as we get older, don’t want to push around a big, heavy bike in the garage or on the driveway. We don’t want to worry about navigating a parking lot or traffic jam at slow speeds and possibly dropping a big, heavy, and expensive bike. We want something that we can easily manage ourselves, even as our bodies age.

    I remember how, back in the early 2000s, looking at a Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 cruiser. For grins and giggles, I sat on one. I could BARELY get it up off the kickstand! I was like WTF, can you imagine having to MANEUVER this monster in your garage or a parking lot? NFW! As an older guy now, I couldn’t really manage a big, heavy bike like that, and I don’t want to. Yet, big, heavy, and unwieldy bikes are H-D’s bread and butter. Even if we wanted a H-D and could afford one, many of us don’t want to push around a two wheeled tank as we get older.

    I’ll give you a personal example. About three years ago, I was looking to get back into motorcycling. I saw Royal Enfield’s then new Meteor 350, a stylish, small cruiser harking back to the 1970s and 80s. Fully fueled, it weighs 420#; it’s heavy enough to be stable on the road, yet it’s light enough to move around and maneuver at low speeds. It has a simple, 2 valve thumper. Thumpers are easy to work on, plus they’re cool anyway. My bike SIPS fuel! An all day ride will set me back $10-$12, even at today’s unnecessarily high gas prices. I mainly ride the local back roads, cruise along the river, or cruise the streets of my city; I don’t need anything much bigger. I thought it was cool, so I bought one. A few weeks later, my retired neighbor got his own Meteor 350. We’d both had bigger bikes when we were younger, but as retired guys, we don’t need or want a bigger bike now. We’d been there, done that, and we don’t want to go back there now.

    In closing, H-D is not only going to lose their present buyers; with their cheapest bike selling for nearly $15K, they aren’t going to get any new ones. Given the price/value ratio of H-D motorcycles, no discerning buyer will give them a look, even if they can afford a H-D. Also, as many riders get older, they’ll often look to downsize, as they don’t want to move a big, heavy bike around; in many cases, it’s too difficult to move a big heavy bike around. With my arthritic knees, that’s an issue. As I thought about it, RE is using the same playbook that Japan’s Big Four used back in the 1960s and 70s when they took motorcycling by storm; they’re building good looking, fun, basic, and reliable bikes at a price both they and their customers can live with. One can make money by selling reasonably priced, good looking, and fun motorcycles, and they can make money doing it. Just look at Royal Enfield; they’re doing it every day. The other motorcycle makers can and should take note! Car makers need to do the same. If they don’t, their bottom line will be impacted.

    • I agree with you, Mark –

      Last year, I test-rode a new BMW cruiser bike; it was an impressive bike, with a huge twin cylinder engine. But the thing weighed close to 1,000 pounds and was a lot to deal with, even for a pretty big/pretty strong man. Just “waking” it around the garage/driveway was difficult and I have long legs and plenty of upper body strength. I think bikes this size/weight are dangerous for people who aren’t big enough to deal with them.

      • I pulled up behind this little old man on a Harley at a stoplight. He went to put his foot down and the bike fell over. He couldn’t pick it back upright. I had to get out and go help him pick it up. Man’s got to know his limitations.

      • At one time the Brazilian Amazonas was the production bike with the largest powerplant, because it used a 1.6–liter VW Beetle engine. Back then, 40 years ago, testers considered it a pig because it weighed over 900 pounds, considered very heavy for its time. Now BMW bikes are just as heavy? Bikes have become bloated like most cars!

    • You’re absolutely right Mark, but shouldn’t we want HD to succeed in creating at least competitive machines in those categories? I guess the kicker is, made in USA, which is the issue. How does one compete with made in India or China?
      I know how to do it, but I’m not on the HD Board.

      • We’ll I was thinking about how to do it, but it’s likely impossible. Their manuf. plants are unionized.
        Could they create a non-union USA plant to build sub $10K bikes? IDK.
        I’m guessing they already know the answer and why they chose to partner with a chinese manuf. for their X350/HD350? Wouldn’t have been my choice though.

      • I would LOVE H-D to succeed! Back in the late 1990s to early 2000s, they made machines I wanted to buy; I liked the Sportster 1200 Sport and the Dyna Super Glide T-Sport. I especially liked the T-Sport because it had removable windshield and fairing with bags; it could either be a sporty cruiser or a weekend tourer.

        They had a sub $10K bike; it was the recently discontinued Evo Sportster. They should’ve kept the Sportster in the lineup. Like the Triumph Bonneville, the Sportster was more than just a bike; it was an flagship of sorts. The modern (i.e. Hinkley) Triumph still has the Bonneville. Why doesn’t H-D still have the Sportster? It would be like Ford discontinuing the Mustang…

    • tl;dr, but I read it all, twice. Good information.

      The only big bike I ever rode was a Norton back in 1969 Christian Era. Stopped dead on the road and had to have it hauled. Was the last time. One of those come to Jesus moments with the master in the upper room.

      You don’t hunt deer until the white-tailed deer does have weaned the fawns, not until November.

      Was taught to respect all life, even if it is those no good filthy good for nothing kikes.

      How I learned to stop hating Jews and love the incessant bombing of Gaza.

    • Not a plug but my son in law just bought a RE. What a hoot to ride. Brought me back to my old Norton Commando days! Impressive.

      • Aren’t they though? The company leadership, from the CEO on down, all ride. They do this not only because they’re passionate about riding and their bikes; they do it to make sure the bike is right before releasing it to the market. Did they get the bike right? Is it doing what they wanted the new model to do? Did it hit the mark? The results speak for themselves.

  4. Hi Eric,

    quote : if the car industry wants to continue to be an industry in the future, it must connect with the future. There may be less profit per car to be made selling $15,000 (or less) cars but that could be made up in volume – something Henry Ford understood.

    The depressing thing is if Henry ford was born any later he would never make it. He had long term thinking and tried to do everything on his car himself he evn tried mining iron himslef. Today the point isnt to make cars or anything but buy shit from china assemble it and get government to force others to buy it.

    • Quote (Eric):
      “And the way you do that is by selling what young people want and can afford. Not $30,000 crossovers but $15,000 cars that are fun.”, unquote.

      I agree completely, but are there ANY NEW $15,000 cars for sale, anywhere in the US??? None I’m aware of…but please enlighten me if such is available.

      Certainly used “desirable” cars are out there at that price, but even those are hard to find, and used vehicles are another whole can of worms, compared to new vehicles, for values, problems and issues.

      Soon, the only vehicles in the bottom rungs of the US market affordability ladder will all be Chinese, Vietnamese, or other Asian competitors, whether it’s ICE, hybrid, or electric.

      The only way to fix the bigger problem is to push the FEDGOV out of the market as the choke-point to market and price availability.

      And that will take a lot more than just voting them out…

      • While not $15k, cars like civics are popular with younger kids. They can buy them used cheap and there are lots of aftermarket mods for them.

        US makers would be well served to make an affordable, good looking car to grab customers while they still can.

          • I had one of those ’73 Civics in the late ’70s, in the same orange color as the one in the photo. It was tiny and had 12 inch wheels. It was a rusted out POS after 5 years in the snowy northland. All in all, it was an absolutely terrible car, about what you would expect from a manufacturer just starting to learn how to make cars, but it got me around for a couple of years until he front passenger side shock tower became detached from the car due to rust.

            • The Japanese forced American auto manufacturers to up their build quality.
              Japanese cars in those days were far superior in build quality but when it came to longevity, American cars still reigned supreme. You could hear Japanese cars rusting away in those days. A friend of mine had a Datsun pickup which was a shell of itself after only two years, rusting out to the point of needing frame work.
              It was the same with Japanese auto engines. Having tighter tolerances made it necessary to change engine oil on a regular basis, something that owners of American cars often neglected. The American cars would run, even it the engine oil was thick as sludge. Not so for Japanese vehicles.

  5. I’m proud of my kid. Learned to drive on a manual Jetta, got his license the minute he could. Drove the Jetta through HS and college, got an engineering degree, a good job and a manual Tacoma. Not all is lost.

  6. My ’75 Rabbit, all of 70hp but at 1600 pounds who cared? It was light, quick, had a perfect ratios for the gears, roomy and fun as hell. Never cared about the mileage because you only filled up with 79 cent gas once a month.

  7. As others have noted, a lot of the pricing issue is inflation rather than demographic targeting, though that’s an apparent reality. Alex Jones had a newspaper from 9/11/01 on his show and was going through the grocery circular. Pretty amazing to see what was vs. prices for comparable items today. $31k (yeah, I know it would be impossible to leave the lot at that price but that’s what’s quoted) for an entry level Mustang seems reasonable in comparison.

  8. …..regulatory strangulation of the car industry …more laws….

    Consent…….

    You are sovereign or a slave….

    When did you consent to be governed?….but…the slave owners don’t care…they say they own you…

    An X on a ballot is not a consent to be governed….there has to be a legal contract, with signatures from all involved and full disclosure…where is it?….

    Going to court is a waste of time…it is the lowest part of the control group…like a janitor…go to the top….. the CEO…everything is a corporation now…including the government…

    everything is a corporation….politicians hiding behind the corporate skirt…

    they say…you have an obligation under this law…but…law has no standing in facts….courts don’t deal in facts…it is all emotion…

    The slave owners scare the slaves to keep them obedient…

    The matrix is built on fear and obedience…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqjORbyBKqg

  9. My mom’s first car was a 67 Camaro SS, yellow with black racing stripes. She bought it herself and she was poor!

    Imagine your first car being a Hellcat today at 16 years old. Ain’t gonna happen.

    I think Govco is trying to instill a disdain for cars in the younger generations. And succeeding. Because cars are freedom.

  10. As a Boomer I lived in one of the freeest times in America. The generation of “Smokey and the Bandit” that made fun of and disobeyed “law enforcement” as much as possible.

    Then we traded Freedom for Safety. Today’s AMERIKA reaps what it sowed and will never be freedom centric again because freedom inherently has risks.

    • As soon as women left home, and started getting into office and other positions of power, safety became priority number one. Generally speaking, women are risk averse, while men tend to be risk takers. Makes sense from an individual evolutionary standpoint, but not so good for a society.

      My Tradwife and I approve this message.

    • I agree Ken,
      Looking back it was a great time (I was born in 1947), you could talk back to a cop without getting shot, sometimes they would escort you home if you were slightly “impaired”, maybe talk to your parents rather than beat the crap out of you. Now with cameras and surveillance everywhere plus the militarized police force there’s nothing that escapes Big Brother’s attention. Kind of like what H.L.Mencken said about the Puritans – drove them nuts that someone, somewhere, might be having fun.

  11. Your right Eric Re: Harley.
    Harley’s bikes today $12K to 40’s. They need a sub 10K bike now.
    Triumph was in the same boat with units $9K to 25K, but they did something about it.
    Triumph created the new 400 Speed and 400S (built in India), for $5-5.5K. I bought one.
    Got me into the Triumph dealership, which I doubt I would have. Now I’m interested in their nicer stuff.
    Although I heard Harley is now ‘making’, more like putting their name on a bike from China called the X350 or HD350, which they tried to make look like their flat track racer. So far only sold in China and Australia, US $5600.

    • ‘Triumph created the new 400 Speed’ — ChrisIN

      Tell us more.

      Saw a 900 Speed last week and loved the look of it. Just wish Triumph offered a classic 650 twin, in between the 400 and 900.

      I’ll probably end up buying a Royal Enfield INT650 instead, for that reason.

      • Hi Jim, your right, a Triumph 650 twin classic would be great.
        The 400 speed is pretty cool and only $5K.
        https://www.triumphmotorcycles.com/motorcycles/classic/speed-400
        There’s a ytube video of a guy in the UK ripping on the thing on a long, county road ride, that sold me on the engine characteristics/performance.

        I bought the 400X or scrambler version (bigger front wheel, 50/50 rubber, etc..) and am pleasantly surprised how well the 400 single performs. Pulls with good torque all the way up to 70mph. It’s most happy 40-60mph though with no wind protection. My prior experience was ktm’s 390 adventure’s engine that did not perform as well (based on perspective).

      • I was going to suggest the Interceptor 650. I’ve thought about buying one myself. The problem is that ALL of Royal Enfield’s bikes are cool and affordable, so I want one of every model they make!

        • I second your motion. On the interwebs you can find articles by motorcycle reviewers who totally lost their objectivity and confessed to buying the test bike, or one just like it, to have and to hold.

    • Replaced the tires last month on the 2018 Harley Road King, at 69 yo you realize maybe one hopefully two more tire changes before the kids take the keys away! My daughter and I joke about “that time” already.

      Yep the Harley demographic is aging out. I won’t sell it instead hand the keys over to the son in law when I’m washed up for riding. 52 years on two wheels sure zipped on by.

      • Thanks Sparkey for the perspective, and why at late 50’s I’m doubling down on riding as much as possible, cause I know my time is coming.
        However, almost just got in an accident with a first-event for me. Was going 40mph, and I am terrified of left turners, except this time a car was leaving a driveway on my left, sprinted out of the driveway from a stop right in front of me. heavy emergency braking had me miss her by 2-3 feet. It’s getting way worse out there with people mindless.

  12. 1972: bought a 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 for $1,600, headers, solid lifters, high rise intake manifold, monster Holley carb, 4-speed (of course), 8 MPG, had to refuel on 140-mile drive from Bozeman, Montana to Billings, Montana.

    Bought a brand new Yamaha Virago in the late 80s for very cheap, trailered it to SMU Dallas for law school, then rode it to U of Arizona Tucson for last year of law school.

    Also in 1972 bought a 1967 GTO with a 454 Chevy LS5, headers, glass packs (fiberglass burnt out, so I was running straight pipes), many fun memories, we organized 1/4 mile street races on remote county roads, even had a Christmas tree.

    Fast forward to 2007, old GTOs dreadfully expensive. Wife bought a bright red 2007 Civic Si, she did not like it, let me have it. Not a GTO, but tons of fun nonetheless. 17 years later, the Si has 77,000 miles on it, looks brand new, still a lot of fun. Owners manual: decrease tire pressure by 10 lbs. for sustained cruising at 130 mph.

    The Si has a millennial anti-theft device (manual transmission).

    • Antoine Bastien, look at used 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO’s.
      Stock, 400 HP and 400 ft.lb’s torque, manual or auto. Aftermarket twin turbos or superchargers available for insane acceleration and performance you never had, no matter what you owned in the 60’s or 70’s.
      LS2 reliable power and modern amenities with AC and power seats/windows, leather seats.
      Most importantly???
      Still affordable, but shrinking as they age and the available pool dwindles down….

      • Hi Saxons,

        Those late model GTOs are real sleepers. They don’t look like much – and only car people know what they are. In silver, they just fade into the crowd. I dig that!

  13. Some great comments here, but it’s what I would expect on this great site.

    Don’t forget the whole concept of the climate boondoggle is to redistribute wealth. AND, the ones appropriating it want to prevent others from obtaining it. They’re power-hungry, evil, globalist basturds.

    One note: I went to a pro Superbike race a little while ago. I was heartened by seeing a TON of young people in the crowd. This ain’t over yet.

    We just need to get them to understand that they’re being fed BS, and that BS is actually reverse psychology from what the uniparty is DOING to them.

    I have hope, even if I despise the neo-communofascist left (and globalist right) on a daily basis.

    • Thanks, Jimbo!

      And, I see the same. My buddy’s son (17) is a huge gearhead; the kid can weld, too. He operates heavy equipment. Knows how to fly a light aircraft. Indeed, it’s not over yet.

  14. Something else automobile manufacturers did that may have turned younger people off of buying a new vehicle is all the Nanny State/ Saaaaaaaaaaaaaafety devices that cars made within the past 10-15 years or so have been forced to have thanks to government diktats. That’s just one reason out of many I’ve become leery of newer automobiles.

  15. There’s another big issue of where does one park their car? Garages are smaller (although I wonder about that, having been back east recently and seeing my parent’s house), and HOAs won’t allow on-street or even in-driveway parking. So you pick up the old beater to get you to your Instagram influencer location shoots and pretty soon the HOA nazi comes around to fine you for the oil spill at the curb.

    https://youtu.be/b8wnnFUazOY?si=biN_wrFWoK5HKYB-

    • Video producer Nils does a good job presenting the dismal dimensional and economic math of home developers.

      Housing has turned into a horror show. Here’s the skinny on a new park model (399 sq ft) trailer subdivision in the Verde Valley:

      ‘The tenant [sic] will own the park model and pay a space rental of $700-$900 per month for the space which will include water, waste disposal and Internet. The space will allow for a 10×10 storage unit and two cars. Housing will generally be limited to two occupants. There will be onsite management and enforced rules.’

      Sounds like a Worker’s Paradise, don’t it? With pairs of disillusioned inmates crammed into 400 sf cages, I’d want bulletproof walls to protect against the inevitable armed domestic cage matches. 🙁

  16. A hidden-in-plain-sight and highly unnecessary cost of new cars is dealer add-ons. There’s the glitz –wheel liners, mud flaps, bedliners, steps, etc. And there’s the pure profit bs –VIN etching, extended warranty, paint protection, etc.

    That lower trim level MSRP can easily be increased a good bit & make the car/truck unreachable for younger buyers.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there’s old farts like me. Technically I could afford a ’25 GMC 2500. Am I gonna make that payment including the bs add-ons listed before? Fuck no.

  17. There are many economists who discount the need for a monetary standard based on precious metals (silver or gold) but a standard is the only way to keep the banksters and country treasuries honest. In the old days, the only way to “short” a coinage was to “shave” the edge from silver or gold coins; hence the process of “reeded edges” on coins (grooving the edge of coinage) which was instituted to keep the banksters and everyone else honest.
    Now, back to a gold standard…
    The same amount of gold that would purchase a car in 1920 will purchase a car today. This is due to gold having intrinsic value which is free from manipulation or the printing of “more dollars” (which reduces the true value of every existing dollar).
    The last thing the banksters or world leaders want is a monetary standard that (((they))) cannot manipulate.
    We know who (((they))) are…it is long overdue for a country 110 to institute the process…

    • Increasing the amount of currency in circulation….inflating the money supply….printing more dollars……….promissory notes not convertible to gold and silver…this is a powerful tool for the masters….the control group….

      The control group pays the slaves in rapidly devaluing dollars, then taxes them into poverty….then they give them credit so they can still eat…soon they are drowning in debt….next…. they own nothing and are happy….

      Soon the slaves owe nothing…the control group…the masters… own everything….

      Gold and silver is the only real money….paper money…..promissory notes convertible to gold and silver….are just more convenient to carry around…

      These three stages are repeated throughout history….

      Stage one….promissory notes convertible to gold and silver…1945 to 1971….

      Stage two….. promissory notes NOT convertible to gold and silver…Nixon…..suspended promises to pay…1971 to today….

      Aug. 15th 1971 went to stage two…..printing like crazy….printing presses go brrrrrrrrrrr….
      then inflation exploded…..owning assets better then holding cash….

      Stage three….gold and silver revalued to account for all the promissory notes issued….revaluation…then back to stage one again….

      revaluation….forced conversion….a million old dollars for 10,000 new dollars….gold revalued at $10,000…. new dollars per ounce…..promissory notes convertible to gold and silver…again….

      there will be a rush to convert to gold and silver…around the end of the 2020’s…that date 2030 keeps showing up….

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=230E18_suTU

    • A torpedo has 11,000 ounces of silver in its metal contents.

      A torpedo has over 300,000 USD of silver in the thing.

      Pennies had 95 percent copper content, now they are all zinc, which still has value, and less than 0.1 grams of copper content. A clean cut shave there, you know, hey.

      Buy gold at 2300 USD per Troy ounce. Sell gold at 2300 USD?

      You don’t sell gold, you buy it. Every coin shop will want to sell you gold at 2300 per ounce, selling is a different game. They have plenty to sell, buying yours is a chore for them, discounts and fees will subtract from the buy price.

      I am not a gold bug, it looks like a racket to me.

      I wonder who has all of the gold.

      Buy an old torpedo at navy surplus store for 200 dollars.

      • I knew a guy in high school whose father used to troll the federal auctions and buy all manner of old shit, he would always say “Oh this is an old NORAD radar console loaded with gold and silver or some other obscure crap.
        When he passed they found in the back of shipping container, a near mint 1958 Alfa, one of the consoles from the flight control room for the Apollo missions, a panel from a Gemini capsule and some damn thing so full of radioactive material they had to get the HAZMAT team to dispose of it.
        I think Robert ended up selling it all for $500k or something

  18. ‘a great many cannot afford a car’ — eric

    Much less an EeeVee — they’re too expensive. So what does Clowngov do?

    ‘The European Union said on Wednesday that Chinese manufacturers would face tariffs of up to 38 percent on electric vehicles imported into the bloc.’ — NYT

    https://archive.ph/xwqmr#selection-627.0-627.148

    Here’s some long-term thinking, bitchez: the US steel industry started getting protective tariffs in the 1950s. Today it’s a shadow of its former self: US Steel was sold to Nippon Steel. No level of tariffs ever arrested its decline.

    Same is true of US and European auto makers with woke management, uncompetitive labor, and hostile Big Gov regulation: they are wheezing dinosaurs, thrashing helplessly on the black beach of a tar pit in the sickly glow cast by the giant meteor.

    One word suffices to describe contemporary auto makers: LOSERS.

    Kick them while they’re down! 🙂

    • Better Nippon Steel than Cleveland Cliffs.

      Nippon Steel might actually want to make some … steel. Imagine!

      A merger with Cleveland Cliffs would have just moved some numbers on the Blackrock balance sheet.

      Biden has made some noise recently about blocking the Nippon merger, however.

    • With utmost respect Jim, with regards to “uncompetitive labor”, what, in your mind, can labor do to be more competitive? If we paid labor 0, and just reenacted overt slavery, that would be a pretty competitive labor force. That way those utilizing the labor force can make more money.

      We’re already approaching overt slavery as far as I can see. Wages don’t rise with everything else. Millions of labor competitors enter the country annually. Etc.

      • “If we paid labor 0, and just reenacted overt slavery, that would be a pretty competitive labor force.”

        Slaves now are paid in promissory notes NOT convertible to gold and silver…Nixon…..suspended promises to pay…no promise to pay anything now….these are known as U.S. dollars….

        The slave owners are almost paying their slaves nothing now….dollar’s value down 98% since 1900….

    • USS was hovering around 5.50 USD per share not so long ago, was on the ropes. It was during the Covid madness, IIRC.

      Bought in at 10 dollars and some more pennies back then.

      Nippon bids 50 USD, time to sell.

      Not all of it, just enough.

      Not my fault Nippon wants to buy X, Nippon sees the industrial potential in Pennsylvania industries.

      Not too difficult to see what Nippon can see as a win win win win win.

      Doesn’t matter how much taconite is shipped from Minnesota to Chicago, Cleveland, wherever, the steel industry won’t be affected all that much.

      The Nips are the potential new buyers.

      If you have been to Pennsylvania, there is a whole lot of wealth there. Might have problems with human behavior, everywhere you go these days. Pennsylvania is nonetheless an economic powerhouse.

      Dog workers to the rescue.

      Screw the Jews! har

  19. I think another factor that’s yet another straw piled upon the camel’s back is that today’s young people no longer physically go to the corner drugstore/drive-in/mall to socialize—they do that on their devices. Add to that the fear mongering around “climate change,” and no wonder so many young people can’t be bothered with driving.

  20. Some great points, Eric. But I think the problem is even deeper than that.

    First off, as much as I state to say it, a $31,000 base Mustang is (relatively) CHEAP in today’s market where the average vehicle transaction is $50k and an F-250 sells for $80k.

    Kids not only cannot afford the “cheap” Mustang, they can’t afford anything else, like an “average” $400,000 house.

    Younger people who do have money tend to be urban bugmen, living in feminized societies where their earning power comes from interacting with females, attending feminized universities, marrying high-earning females, taking public transport, riding pedal bicycles, etc. They were raised in the nanny state/Karen state and many of them are more obsessed about “climate change” than getting a hot Mustang.

    The idea that a 22-year old kid wants an affordable car with character is a vestige of the old Midwestern industrial economy where that kid got a union job at the factory and spent his Saturdays wrenching. There are still working-class young males out there who do like cars and would take an interest in them, but the entire society has made car culture passé.

    I see the same thing with guns — young guys are still fascinated with guns, but the gun laws, the cultural disapproval, and the lack of affordable surplus guns and ammo has become so extreme since the 1980s that kids are priced out of it and socially disincentivized. Consequently what is left of the gun culture, like the car culture, 60+ year old white guys with disposable income.

    • The price of silver is 29.45 USD today.

      1000 ounces of silver will equal 29,450 dollars. Another 100 ounces of silver will buy a 2024 Mustang.

      The price of a Mercury with all of the gizmos in 1958 was 1300 dollars, an old car car salesman said to me back in the early 1990’s.

      At a dollar an hour in US minted silver coin will be 29.45 USD in 2024 dollars.

      You’ll be at the 1956 minimum wage. 2000 hours of work, 2000 dollars. In 2024, you will need an income of earned dollars that will have to amount to 58,900 dollars.

      Just to keep up with 1956 minimum wages.

      Workers were earning more than a dollar an hour in 1956.

      When times were good, farm workers were earning 20 dollars per day, a news story back then.

      You can see it is not the same.

      “We will bury you!” – Nikita Khrushchev

    • What purpose do things like guns and cars serve, other than a temporary distraction from the misery of life? Is there anything that brings lasting satisfaction? I used to be able to distract myself with things like guns and cars. But none of it brings enjoyment anymore.

      • Hi Brandon,

        Both of those things – guns and cars – are useful tools. A useful tool is never a distraction; quite the opposite, in fact!

      • Hobbies can bring joy to your life, but a multiplier of that joy is sharing your passions with a like-minded spouse or friends.

  21. Has anyone seen the video of a cat riding a mini-skate board?

    The cat obviously knows how to have fun and wants to do it.

    What you call a ‘cool cat’.

    You can do the same, have fun. Every cool cat does.

    Four wheels can change your world.

  22. Ford seems to have decided that they only want to sell garage queens to 50+ year olds interested in collector value like my neighbor, whose new Bronco only emerges from its throne room on nice days which aren’t too hot.

    That reminds me — I have yet to see a new Bronco in need of a car wash.

    • My nephew bought a Jeep Wrangler a few years ago. Every time I see him I ask him why there’s no mud on it. I know that he does get off road from time to time so it’s become a running gag -and also a little dig at my sister, who’s Wrangler never seems to move from its spot in the driveway…

    • Driving home from work yesterday, I saw a Toyota Matrix with a used car lot price tag in the window of $9500.

      The last time the cars sold new was 2015, but, while in decent shape, this Matrix looked older than that.

      • 2015 matrix base msrp $20,000…
        if it was a 2015…9 year old car….about 25% residual value…wholesale…before subtracting deferred maintenance and repairs…

        wholesale value about $5000…Toyota’s and Honda’s used to get maybe a $1000 premium…so maybe $6000 wholesale…plus $3500 dealer profit = $9500…about right…

  23. But WAIT, There’s MORE!!

    On the other side of the GovCo coin of regulation is that of the potential drivers. It’s easier to call Uber or Lyft than to put up with this BS from North Carolina:

    GRADUATED DRIVER LICENSE INFORMATIONAL HANDOUT
    RESTRICTIONS AND CONDITIONS FOR A LIMITED LEARNER PERMIT (LEVEL I)
    • A person who is at least 15 years old but less than 18 years old may obtain a limited learner’s permit.
    • The permit holder must be in possession of the permit.
    • A supervising driver must be seated beside the permit holder in the front seat of the vehicle when it is in motion. No person
    other than the supervising driver is allowed in the front seat.
    • For the first six months after issuance, the permit holder may drive only between the hours of 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a
    supervising driver. After the first six months, the permit holder may drive at any time with a supervising driver.
    • A Level I must be at least 16 years old and held the limited learner’s permit 9 months from the issuance date before being
    eligible for a Level II provided there have been no convictions of a motor vehicle moving violation or seat belt/mobile
    telephone infraction in the preceding nine months.
    RESTRICTIONS AND CONDITIONS FOR A LIMITED PROVISIONAL LICENSE (LEVEL II)
    • A person who is at least 16 years old but less than 18 years old may obtain a limited provisional license.
    • The license holder must be in possession of the license.
    • The license holder may drive without supervision in any of the following circumstances:
    a. From 5 a.m. until 9 p.m.
    b. When driving to or from work
    c. When driving to or from an activity of a volunteer fire department, volunteer rescue squad or volunteer emergency
    medical service if the driver is a member of the organization. School/Church activities are not included in this
    exception

    The license holder may drive with supervision at any time. When the license holder is driving with supervision, the
    supervising driver must be seated beside the license holder in the front seat of the vehicle when it is in motion. The
    supervising driver need not be the only other occupant of the front seat, but must be the person seated next to the license
    holder.
    A Level II must be held 6 months from issuance date before being eligible for a Full Provisional License, provided there
    have been no convictions of a vehicle moving violation. Seat belt/mobile telephone infraction in the preceding six months.
    • When not accompanied by the supervising driver, the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle under the age 21 is
    restricted to ONE. If all passengers under the age of 21 are members of the driver’s immediate family or members of
    same household as the driver, there is no “under 21 limit”. However, if a family member or member of the same
    household as the license holder who is younger than 21 years of age is a passenger in the vehicle, no other passengers
    under 21 years of age who are not members of the license holders immediate family or members of the license holders
    household, may be in the vehicle.
    • Beginning August 1, 2023, one other passenger under 21 years of age who is not a member of
    the license holder’s immediate family or member of the license holder’s household may be in the vehicle when that
    passenger is a student being driven directly to or from school.
    FULL PROVISIONAL LICENSE (LEVEL III)
    • A Level II must be held 6 months from the issuance date before being eligible for a Full Provisional License, provided there have
    been no convictions of a vehicle moving violation or seat belt/mobile telephone infraction in the preceding six months.
    • In order to have the Level II restrictions removed, the license holder must appear at the Driver License Office with a
    parent/guardian to request the full provisional license

    • Versus …

      Previous generation: took driving test on 16th birthday, got license, made deliveries in the pickup at work the same day (personal experience). Went out with 14 to 16-year-old friends in the car that weekend.

      Generation before that: using any deliverable mailing address, filled out a short form, paid a dollar, got a license on the spot no questions asked. Like buying a fishing permit.

      Whose streets? Our streets!

      • “Generation before that: using any deliverable mailing address, filled out a short form, paid a dollar, got a license on the spot no questions asked. Like buying a fishing permit”…..

        The migrants get licenses now without even that…for free……..

    • That’s not only North Carolina, that’s pretty much every state, thanks to the Driver License Compact and other agreements between states.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver_License_Compact

      On the one hand, it’s nice to know that when you cross state lines the laws pretty much match your home state. On the other, well, when one idiot legislature passes a stupid law, they all do.

      Thing is, does all that mandatory this and restrictions on that make better drivers? Many people wish the US would adopt a more European approach to driver’s ed. But they also realize that would eliminate most of the left side of the IQ bell curve, and that might affect commerce a little. Not to mention the cost! So we continue with moms and dads training young drivers, or once you turn 18 suddenly you don’t have to do any of that nonsense. Get your license in half a day, be driving whatever you like that afternoon.

      • RK, you wrote, “Many people wish the US would adopt a more European approach”

        Like Germany, dinking age is 16, driving 18. It seems to work better. But, we can’t have “children” consuming Alkeehall. It also brings into question the whole concept of “adolescence” which is a real money maker for GovCo skulz and labor unions.

        In that vein, a bit of history. In the American Revolution at the Battle of Kings Mountain there were over 80 participants who were under the age of 18(of those whose ages were known). Some as young as 12 and officers that were 14. They fought, were captured, escaped and returned to battle in some cases.

    • Hi Zane,

      I agree with you on that completely. The child “safety” seat is singularly responsible for the general alienation of young people from cars and driving. They have no idea how fun it was to just jump in the back seat and go when it was time for mom/dad to go somewhere. I sometimes watch parents today as they struggle to deal with strapping their kids in those god-damned seats. It often takes them five minutes or longer. And then I think about how the kids must feel – and what it must do them, psychologically.

      40 years ago, only neurotic liberal Volvo drivers did this. Now they all do it.

      • Yes, because it’s the laaaaaaw.

        It’s interesting, the decline in driving interest began with the millenials. They were born in the 1980s, the beginning of the child safety seat bullshit coupled with “baby on board stickers.”

        In terms of cars, the millenials are largely a lost generation (there are always exceptions), but the strident members of Gen Z may just be able to carry the virtues of car ownership through. We will see.

      • Not only that. Smaller adults like myself at 52 kg have trouble lifting 15 kg kids up into the child seats without bumping their heads or yours against the door frame while you are stooped over. Very bad for the spine to be doing this. I stay away from that now and really despise these seats enough that none are allowed in my large Holden Statesman.

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