Dancers Anonymous > Economic Casualties Club

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by waltzgirl, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I don't think a lot of people will be buying a new car just out of sense of responsibility. Actually I think in the current climate more people will be more inclined to drive their cars into the ground before considering replacement.
  2. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    It's not just the car companies. The city of Detroit is run like a third-world banana republic. A few years ago, a wealthy benefactor wanted to donate something like $200M to the city to establish charter schools. The Detroit board of education and the teachers' union had a conniption fit over it, called the guy a racist, and forced him to withdraw the offer. Now the schools are begging for toilet-paper donations. Something like 70% of Detroit public school "graduates" are functionally illiterate. And this is despite being one of the highest-taxed cities in the nation.
  3. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    A school system like that serves primarily to keep kids off the street during the day :( There has got to be a better way....
  4. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Kwame Kilpatrick.
  5. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    There's buying a new car out of a sense or responsibility, and then there's choosing which replacement car to buy with such factors taken into account. "Buy american" actually could score a few points in that regard right now, but only a few - there needs to be actual interest in the car itself, and unless you want a pickup truck there really isn't much of interest.

    Two years ago, my choices basically boiled down to Corolla or Civic, and I went with the former. But even that was disappointing - it's almost as big as a Camry now. Where are the practical little cars?
  6. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    I agree with Chris. There is a demographic that is thinking exactly the way he describes, and I think it may be pretty sizable. I am part of it.

    Our two cars are 1997 Toyota Camry and a 2000 Ford Taurus. (The Taurus has more miles on it, though.) We are not necessarily planning to buy a car in 2009, but we are probably going to have to replace at least one of these cars sometime in the next 3 years, and we have cash in the bank for this purpose.

    We are definitely looking for a "greener" car.

    We are definitely looking for a 4-door, mid-size type vehicle. (As much as I think the SmartCars are cute, I have a child and I need a backseat.)

    We are definitely looking for a "safe" car.

    American car = BONUS points, but the car has to be competitive.
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Little cars? Practical?
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    cadillac CTS
  9. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    In about 2-3 years, we will be looking for a car for a *gasp* teenage driver. I am thinking gently used mid-sized sedan will be it. I am not sure which brand yet, there is stil some time to think about it, but safety record and life expectancy would be the two top criteria. With our own cars, the plan is to drive them into the ground.
  10. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I'm not convinced that simply allowing foreclosures would result in foreclosures on any "massive scale". Nor are housing prices depressed today; rather, there was a housing bubble the past few years, and like all bubbles, it has burst, and prices are back to normal.

    As you note, renegotiation can help in some cases, and it is being done in a lot of cases. However, what I've read says that recent renegotiations have a very low chance of success: the mortgage usually goes back into default immediately. Evidently most of the homebuyers who can realistically afford a mortgage can afford the ones they have, and the ones who can't afford the ones they have can't really afford anything close.

    This isn't at all specific to Detroit. Toyota's U.S. sales fell more than those of Ford or GM (37% for Toyota vs. 31% for GM and less for Ford - I think those were December figures; Chrysler reports a higher figure, but that's because they report production as "revenue" and they shut down their lines). The types of cars they make does not explain the difference between the Detroit car companies and other car companies.

    You may not have checked out how big Camrys are now.

    I had a somewhat similar experience. Evidently there aren't enough people who think like that to get such cars produced. (Granted, the side impact safety standards also make it far harder to produce a practical little car - the old, smaller Corollas and Civics wouldn't be legal to sell today.)

    Now, there is an obvious solution: higher gas prices. The gas price spike over the summer had lots of people buying Priuses out of practicality rather than out of conscience. If we're going to have government regulation, gasoline taxes similar to those of Europe is probably the right regulation for this situation.

    Oh, and I do think the Civic hybrid is a practical, fuel efficient car, even if it's not that little - and not that economical if you include the pricing.
  11. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    The 554,000 is a gross number: it's new applications for unemployment insurance. I haven't seen figures for the net number.

    For those who like to look on the bright side of things, the 554,000 number is also smaller than expected, and smaller than the previous period - though there's some question as to how the holidays might have affected the comparison with the previous period.
  12. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Is there a "bright side of things" to consider? :confused:

    There may be for some of us on an individual basis, but I don't see much of a "bright side of things" to the U.S. economy at the present moment. I guess I read my newspapers through darker colored glasses than some other DFers. Not sure if that makes me a pessimist or a realist.

    Another sad set of stories yesterday, this time on the problems of the recently unemployed who want to continue health insurance:

    "Washington Post"

    "U.S. News and World Report"

    -->That these are the four best suggestions out there is not encouraging to me.

    I swear to you that I'm not a generally pessimistic person, but from where I stand, the newspapers are not simply being alarmist. This is real, and I don't think it's going to end any time soon. (But I will be happy beyond belief if I am proven wrong.)
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Excepting carpooling to comps and occasionally moving stuff, yes, quite practical.
    I would have seriously considered the smart car if it had been readily available two years ago...
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I considered my little del Sol incredibly practical. It got good gas mileage, was easy to park, and had the largest trunk of any car I've ever owned. Sure, it was only a two-seater, but that wasn't an issue for me. It fit two people comfortably. For as little as I actually use the back seats in my car for people (I can probably fit the number of those times on one hand.) it's just wasted space for me.

    Of course, the fact that it was basically a rolling death-trap is a separate issue.
  15. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    But foreclosure is allowed, and has been occurring on a massive scale in some areas. And prices are falling for those properties (if they can be sold at all).

    If there aren't enough people who can afford to pay the cost of living in the homes that have been built available to live in them, then they are over valued...

    My gut feeling is that the difference is not in what percentage of sales they've lost, it's in how saleable they were in the first place. People like corollas and civics; but they buy small-medium GM or Ford vehicles for $1-2K less only if that discount is what makes buying possible at all. Until they can make a small affordable long-lasting car that people want, and make money making it, they are in big trouble.

    Yes. Unfortunately this is going to be quite painful and unpopular until it's been in effect long enough change the economic landscape and makes a change of behavior possible. As long as the non-inner-city working poor are driving old vehicles substantial distances to work, its about the most regressive type of tax imaginable.
  16. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I think you underestimate how price sensitive people are, and how much difference that $1k-2k makes.

    I also think there are substantial numbers of people who dislike Toyotas and Hondas, and would prefer a comparable GM or Ford vehicle even at the same price. I was one of them three years ago, and had the Solstice been available then, I might well have bought that without even looking at the Honda I have now, given my previous positive experience with Pontiac. I'm now favorably disposed towards Honda, but you'd have to work very hard to get me to consider a Toyota.

    I don't think gasoline taxes are now as regressive as a few years ago; it used to be that the passenger vehicles with the poorest gas mileage were old 1970s cars owned by less affluent people, but these days, the vehicles with the poorest gas mileage are luxury SUVs owned by more affluent people.

    That said, I'd suggest that a good way to spend the gasoline tax might be to fund incentives for junking gas guzzlers and replacing them with more fuel efficient cars; for example, a $2 per gallon gasoline tax could be used to fund perhaps a $4000 bounty to purchase and crush gas guzzlers. Such a benefit would be more regressive than a gasoline tax, with a net benefit to the working poor you mention.
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I wonder if there are any numbers available about brand loyalty and such when it comes to cars. Just as you are averse to Toyotas and, to a lesser extent, Hondas, I am just the opposite. There would have to be some incredible incentives for me to consider an American car at this point; I vastly prefer Toyotas, Hondas are OK. (Good cars, but I don't care for how they drive.) After one horrible experience with a VW, I will never own one again. The pricing would have to be vastly different for me to consider a non-Toyota.

    Also, I don't put much stock in the whole "Buy American" idea when it comes to cars, among other things. These days, with parts and assembly being carried on god-knows-where, there's no real guarantee that buying an America car will help American workers all that much more.
  18. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Nonsense. I'd rather be in a del Sol than almost any SUV you'd care to name. Some people think they can't get hurt in an SUV; I've seen first-hand evidence that demonstrates otherwise. The best way to avoid being hurt in an accident is to not be in one in the first place. If I'm in a del Sol, I can dodge anything.
  19. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Ask and ye shall receive:

    I believe I am correct in saying that at one point, my spouse and I both had Ford Tauruses and my dad also had a Ford Taurus. We're not a very exciting group of people when it comes to cars.

    But if I had to guess this far in advance, I would say our next car will be a Prius. If Ford wants to keep my business, they've got to make something Prius-like.
  20. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Replacemennt for my truck will be a Tacoma, but I might go for a Sky whenn I add a car.

    FWIW, current vehicles are both Japanese companies (Isuzu and Honda), and models actually made in Japan.

    Course, prior to the truck i had a Cadillac.

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