posted on Nov, 2 2008 @ 09:02 PM
I'm kind of shocked to see that it's the only car under 10 grand on the market. I guess I've been here too long, and I've forgotten how things are
back in North America.
A big part of the Japanese domestic auto market - and something crucial for keeping manufacturing going through the post-bubble economic doldrums - is
the number of cars available under the 10 grand mark (1M¥, give or take. The figure is more psychologically important than the literal exchange
Including the Kei car
class, there are at least 15 models on the market here that can be driven away
brand new for less than 10 grand. The base model Daihatsu Esse lists at about $6800US - I think that's the cheapest right now.
The cheap cars are plentiful. Young people buy them outright as a first car - rather than buying used. Families buy them as a second car. Companies
buy them by the truckload for fleet cars. My company has three older Dahatsu Miras. They're small, excellent on gas, mildly entertaining to drive,
and above all, cost $15,000 US. For three of them. Not each, for all three.
That alternative keeps people buying cars even when the economy is bad. It softens the blow. It keeps the factories open, keeps the dealerships busy,
keeps people employed. And the cars are good - good enough that most people buying their second car tend to stick with the same brand when they
upgrade. Makes sense, doesn't it?
I don't think this will be the final nail in the coffin for the Big 3. That coffin's got a lot of nails in it already, though. It's certainly going
to hurt. The question is, can they roll out a better car for cheaper in time? Or, barring that, a worse car for substantially cheaper?