Too Many Cars or Too Few?

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Obviously, there is political pressure discouraging everyone from driving their cars, but is it really going to work? Has it already worked? Or is the answer to simply make cars more environmentally friendly? Do the powers that be want us to buy more cars or less? These are some of the questions we’ll look at today.

Carbon emission problems are discouraging folks from driving yet the need for domestic manufacturing jobs means it shouldn’t affect people’s car buying habits. The answer could be electric cars—that seems to be what car manufacturers are planning to do in response to the situation. The environment seems to be leading car production decisions.

Gridlock & Congestion

One issue with simply reducing vehicle carbon emissions is that it doesn’t eliminate gridlock. Unlike traffic jams, which result from accidents or construction, gridlock is that annoying traffic slowdown created by having too many commuters on the road at the same time. Gridlock is named for the grid pattern of city streets where efforts to coordinate traffic flow breaks down when capacity is reached. Clearly, your city doesn’t need a good grid-like layout in order to have gridlock—London and Rome manage to lockup pretty well and their streets meander about in every direction, seemingly at random.

People dislike gridlock but it doesn’t seem to detour them from going out at the prime times of the day when everyone else wants to go out–commuters for instance. Most people start and end work about same time as each other, which creates high demand. The laws of fluid dynamics come into play and suddenly congestion slows you down.

We reference fluid dynamics because that’s truly what governs traffic flow. It’s worth noting that gridlock and congestion don’t occur when traffic stops, they’re already happening when traffic goes under the posted speed. The simple act of having too much traffic causes the roadways to reduce capacity for throughput. Think of it in terms of supply and demand. Since supply can’t increase to meet demand, the price goes up. What are we paying the price with? Not dollars but time. Time is more precious than gold because when it’s spent, it’s gone forever.

Avoiding Gridlock

If you avoid the busy periods like rush hours you can avoid some of the gridlock.

Another way is to use public transport, although it cannot go exactly where the commuter wants to go and runs on it’s own schedule, and let’s face it, services are often delayed or interrupted. Even a gridlocked road may get you to your place of work quicker than public transport. So if you have a problem paying a lot of time to gridlock you may pay just as much for mass transit.

Peak Car

Traffic seems to be shrinking since 2007, also known as “peak car.” (Peak Car is a term that came from Peak Oil, or the theory that oil will become too hard to pull out of the ground, and at some point, no longer be cost effective.)

We know empirically that there are fewer cars on the roads because traffic cameras count the number of cars on high volume roads. But why? The population as a whole has continued to grow.

One possibility is demand reduction people are moving out of cities to rural places that don’t suffer congestion. We’ll return to demand in a minute. Another possible reason would be people using mass transit, but we also know the ridership levels and while they’re on the rise it’s not enough to account for reduced traffic.

Car Prices

The key way to tell if we’re truly diving less or if it just people not using high traffic roads (where they’d get counted), is if people are buying fewer cars. If we really had a peak car situation then you’d see people avoiding new cars in favor of cheap and plentiful used cars. And that has been a trend since 2016.

But as with everything in this article, Peak Car isn’t the only explanation for people buying used over new. As cars become too expensive, drivers are opting to share a vehicle or find an alternate way to get to work. It especially affects the supercar market but even names like General Motors are decreasing in new car sales.

Automakers are trying to respond to car prices by including high class extras, but the customer still needs to be able to afford these extras. Another possible way to counter the “too expensive” issue some auto makers are trying is to make cars less luxurious, cutting corners but not compromising safety.

This may be linked to the bad economy and people using public transit; however, affordability might not be the reason new car sales are down.

Demand Issues

There are demand issues. The baby-boomers are starting to not be able to drive. More people are working from home and the unemployed don’t need to commute to work. The digital age means people don’t need to drive to go shopping.

A big reason both road use and car buying are down is that millennials just don’t seem to want to buy cars, or even get a licence. In 2008 less than half of eligible drivers had a license when in 1998 two thirds of the population used did.

Is the car no longer a status symbol? It seems to be the case with young people and the trend continues: 26% of US 16 years old had a license in 2017. However, many Americans love having a car, even millennials. Vehicle registrations did go up in 2018.

There are a number of factors which affect car buying, not just finances. Some people think the reduction of cars is cyclical; others think it may be more permanent. This is why e-scooters, e-bikes and mini-motos are trying to gain a foothold.

“Research and forecast firms Cox Automotive, Edmunds and J.D. Power/LMC Automotive expect sales declined about 1% last year to roughly 17 million vehicles compared with 2018. Such results are considered healthy but would mark the lowest sales since 16.5 million vehicles in 2014.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/americans-bought-fewer-new-vehicles-in-2019-but-spending-to-hit-record.html

Despite research into this field, no one exactly knows what the future holds regarding the car economy.

The Future of Commuting Based on Current Trends:

The way things are going seems to be moving towards self-driving technology and electronic technology and we are moving into SUV, crossovers, and trucks. The kind of car to get away from the crowd, not the urban dweller.

What about taxis and Ubers? 95% of all trips will be made by taxis by 2030. This could be a piece of the answer, if not the whole, no matter what forces are driving the problem. It resolves the gridlock issue and affordability issue, and even the environmental issue. People are using Uber and Lyft – $20,000 a year and many people feel they won’t go back to a private car. Didi, a Chinese version of this kind of service took 10 million.

When we combine the trend toward larger off road vehicle purchases with the increase in rideshare usage the trend is easy to predict—people in cities will increasingly avoid owning a car and people in rural areas will insist on having them so they can “get away.”

An Alternative Look At Mercedes

Do we still pray for a Mercedes-Benz and if so, which ones? Though people associate Mercedes-Benz with passenger cars, there are many other vehicles out there, both light commercial and more heavy ones, even buses as far as the German branch of the company is concerned. It depends on whether you want something for you personally or one for your business.

Emil Jellinek raced in an event in 1899 under the name Monsieur Mercedes as a way of an alias, actually Mercedes was the name of his young daughter. Nor would it stay an alias for very long as he registered it as a trademark as early as 1901. A merger between Jellinek with Karl Benz and Gottleib Daimler and the Mercedes-Benz factory was created.

In 1999 the company Mercedes-AMG became the largest division of the company. There are so many individual classes it’s hard to keep track; A class is a subcompact luxury hatchback or sedan and B class is a subcompact MPV and so on.

Let’s say you require a Mercedes van for your brood; Metris is marketed as the ultimate in van building, it can seat between 5 to 8 passengers; so ideal for your family and friends at the same time. They were built in Germany and so unfortunately are subject to tax.

The eVito can be charged for 92 miles or 103 miles for the “extra urban range”, taking approximately 6 hours. It has cargo space for up to 905Kg. In order to be used away from home there’s a special recouping mode. The charge point is free. The vehicle monitoring software can assist you.

The PRO connect monitors the vehicles in “real time,” especially useful if you are running a business. The GPS tracking will make sure that you know where you are. The upgrade includes air conditioning and parking assist (which can also help with reversing).

The Sprinter is a large sized van while the Vito is medium sized. The Citan is the most compact. There is a eSprinter and eVito panel van, a panel van – also known as a sedan delivery van – being one which is based on the chassis of a passenger car but lacking in side windows at the rear of the vehicles.

You can ask for a video demonstration to see what the van feels like to drive. Essential for some businesses, there are chiller vans available. Alternately if you are requiring a van with extra capacity you may like to try the Vita or Citan.

The Mercedes pickup resembles a Misubishi or VW pickup though it hasn’t been all that popular unfortunately so buy it while you can before it is discontinued. It has a dual cab design and acts as either a 6 speed manual or 7 speed automatic.

Maybe this article doesn’t name the more usual suspects, but then again, most people know about the coupes and the sedans, the vehicles you may call “roadsters.” The normal passenger cars may have sealed their reputation but there are hundreds of different types which come under the Mercedes brand.

Tesla Cars – Their Success Continues

Tesla seems to have a different way of selling than its rivals. They speak of being mission-focused, consumer-focused and giving a consistent experience, but how does it stack up?

There is certainly expansion occuring, not only in the US but also they are building factories in China and Germany. But why have they reached such lofty heights?

Despite various models, such as the Roadster, Model S and Model X they seem more than a car company. With (according to CNN) revenue valued at 24.6 billion, they are also a hardware and software company.

There are other authorities which speak well of Tesla – the Owner Satisfaction Survey in 2017, run by Consumer Reports, placed them highest. The survey looked into such variables as the driving experience, comfort and value amongst other items.

These cars are in majority sold online, selling cars directly to the customers instead of using dealerships. Their showrooms are in malls and places with high footfall instead of the regular out of town places. There is remote diagnosis and even remote repair so no need to visit the customer. Relying on mobile technology they don’t make a profit on service.

The prototypes of the Tesla were revealed in July 2006 in Santa Monica to 350 invited guests. It was certainly about quality, not quantity.

A loan from the US Department of Energy in January 2010 of a massive 465 million dollars was certainly good for business. It was repaid in 2013 in full. Tesla has been developing its technology in an environmentally friendly way ever since.

Surprisingly, the patents aren’t heavily protected but can be used by other companies. As a sidenote, the number of patents registered is certainly a sign that it’s a technology company with a emphasis on the internet; most car companies have only the odd patent. While they are flexible with their patents, there are several trade secrets of Tesla which do remain private.

If you wish to let Tesla self-drive, there is an autopilot program available. If you wish to drive it yourself reviews of the cars talk about a “feeling of acceleration” in addition to “ride quality.”

There is some controversy as to whether it is actually “self-driving,” the car still needs to be supervised. The Tesla can handle various automatic tasks such as lane centering, lane changes, self-parking and summoning cars from a parking space or a garage. It all sounds pretty cool.

20% of all electric cars were produced by Tesla, which given the strong Japanese and German electric car market this is quite an achievement. So in the grand scheme of all cars made in the world, Tesla has a tiny piece, however in an apples to apple comparison to similar cars produced they are a big fish in their tiny pond.

So, are you self-driving or are you supervising the driving? In September 2020 someone was charged with driving over 90mph, it appears both “passengers” where asleep. According to the authorities these support systems are meant to be complementary, the human behind the wheel is ultimately responsible.

Despite this differentiation from how other car makers sell their cars, there is a huge amount of choice with a Tesla. The sky is the limit—did you know they were developing a space program as well?

Trying a Test Drive

There’s a number of things you can’t determine from a test drive, such as safety features and reliability. Many people feel guilty about taking a car on an overnight test drive, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If you require a test drive, it may be tougher to do a private sale–dealerships are set up for a test drive. Ironically, if you want the car inspected, you may have more luck getting a private seller to let your mechanic or pre-purchase inspector look at the vehicle. We recommend prepurchase inspection and not just because one of our sponsors (tirekickers.biz) is a leading provider of car inspections. One of the largest used car dealers in the US absolutely forbids you from getting a prepurchase inspection…makes you wonder why, doesn’t it?

The challenging thing about test driving a car is trying to evaluate the value and safety of the car while also determining if it’s a good car for you. Pulling double duty here is the primary reason you should get a prepurchase inspection so you don’t have to think about anything except if the car is a good fit for you.

Before you drive the car:

Before you go on test drive you might like to check around the car for dents, rust and cracks. Check the windshield for little nicks. Kick the tires—take a close look at them. Take a flashlight with you and shine it on the brake pads. It’s your  responsibility to verify working brakes before you drive a vehicle.

After walking around the car, look under the hood. Check for obvious problems and check too, that the engine is cold. Sometimes when a seller knows the car has trouble starting cold, they’ll make sure to run the engine a bit before your scheduled to drive the car.

The engine should be quiet when it runs. Leave the hood up, start the car and get back out to close the hood. Listen for clicks and knocks that you can’t hear inside the cabin.

How easy do you find getting in and out? It’s these little things that determine a sale.

Are the instruments clear to you? Can you reach the controls? How easy is it to reverse? Look at the handling-can you drive it without the need of adjustment?

It helps to find out how your children find it, if they require child seats do they fit as well as the previous one? Is there enough space for their feet? And so forth.

During the Drive:

Changing gears shouldn’t be clunky and cause a crunching sound, doing so may be sign of wear.

While driving slowly down a neighborhood road let the steering wheel go and see if the car is pulling in one direction or the other. A little probably okay since most roads aren’t level, but a lot could mean you need an alignment. Slow to 10 miles an hour and jam on the brakes. The steering should be responsive, and the brakes should only stop in a straight line.

The test drive looks at the drivability or roadworthiness of the vehicle. How simple is it to operate? How are the signals and the brakes?

Car sellers seem to get nervous when you take the car down a hill, but it’s one of those things new drivers have to check. How does the car steer while feathering the brakes.

You do need to look at how the car handles in a town road, country road and on highways, just so that aren’t any surprises. Ideally, you could see how the car handles different weather conditions, but since you only have a weekend to test drive this would be asking too much.

You should also look at low speed maneuverability and parking as this can be a problem with new cars. Does it work as well as other cars you have driven?

There is technology to help you park these days, but some cars are harder to park than others. Definitely try to park the vehicle to see how hard it is. If you know you struggle with things like parallel parking, consider eliminating cars from your list that don’t have that tech, before you ask for a test drive.

An electric car especially needs to be taken for a test drive, you may not be familiarwith how to charge it for instance. You either need to be able to drive to work on a single charge or find somewhere to charge it when you’re at work. Some employers have become used to supplying a charge station at their place of work, it depends on the demand.

In the end, the question is–does the car feel right?

Car Buying On A Budget

There are a number of things that might go wrong buying a cheaper car. For starters, some automakers have a better reputation for reliability and maintaining value even at high mileage. You will see that reflected in what’s not available at many used car lots.

So, there is an increased chance of getting a lemon, and it’s unlikely to be green car if that’s your desire. Most people’s first cars need to be a cheap car, so let’s dive into the topic.

Strategy #1 Do you really need a car?

Do you even need a car? Maybe look towards buying a motorbike or similar. Okay, you still have to look at tax and insurance, but it does bring some of the costs down. Or, perhaps you could continue with mass transit until you can afford a reliable car.

Strategy #2 Really ask yourself what your must have in a car!

Look at which sort of car you want. Is it just for two people or a family car? Should you wish to compare prices there are a number of websites that do that. Get a sense of what cars cost by shopping online before your ever talk to a salesman. TrueCar.com (https://www.truecar.com/), Carvana.com (https://www.carvana.com/), Cars.com (https://www.cars.com/shopping/).

Strategy #3 Small Car

You are looking at a small car, such as a Volkswagen or Toyota Yaris. If you are looking at a secondhand car you may avail yourself with more choice, but top-of-the-league motors may be out of your league, like something like the Octavia.

Small cars tend to be less expensive. Especially used.

Strategy #4 Buying Used.

Buying second hand can add to the number of breakdowns. If it does break down often it you may still be able to use it as a commuter car, just not for traveling long distance.

If you have some skills with a wrench, maybe a car with some problems is a good way to save money. Put in the sweat equity and get more bang for your buck. If you aren’t a skilled mechanics and you have to pay for service, you may spend what you saved and more on a mechanic’s bill.

Do some additional research on the cost and availability of parts for different makes and models of cars. You want to find a car with an engine that was used for many years on more than one model of car.

Strategy #4 Budget

While you’re on the web researching, definitely compare the price of insurance, which can change if the car is too old or too new. Budgeting isn’t a sexy topic but it’s step 1 in car shopping.

If you need it there is also online budget planners to look at fuel, insurance, maintenance, service and vehicle tax along with the household costs. Edmunds has one so does NerdWallet.

It’s always a good idea to stick to the budget as much as possible. A car loan (against the value of the vehicle) can make car buying ore doable. The problems come from paying it all back. You can help yourself a lot by raising your credit score.

Inspection

Just because you are on a budget there’s no reason why you should get conned; always have someone with you when you see the car. Have a mechanic check it over, or better yet, have a pre-purchase inspection from a company like Tirekickers .

In closing, as well as cost you need to look at practical matters, like how big is your garage? Do you have parking near where you live? Would you need to start paying for parking near work?

You can’t be prepared for every eventuality, but you might see why buying on a small budget can introduce extra considerations. As a last practicality, consider buying a big car because if you screw up your budget too badly, you’ll be living in it.

Why is buying a used car so hard?

It’s time-consuming, you need some way to save time, like maybe not going around every used car dealer in town. This is where searching through the classified is a better way of doing things. It is helpful to locate a site with a huge inventory. It is essential to research the site as not all of them are reliable, “buyer beware” could be the simplest way of putting it.

The challenge is if you don’t actually have some idea of the make and model you are looking for when you search online. You need to type in a search term and if you don’t know the difference between a coupe and hatchback you’re going to struggle. Some cars may be considered “family cars” while others as “commuter cars.” Maybe start with the kind of vehicle you really need then look for the type of cars which aren’t in demand so much but have an okay reputation.

A common buyers mistake is seeking out “trending cars.” Be careful about this! These might not be the cars to look for If you are on a budget. It might mean that the car could have some value when it comes to sell it, but there’s not guarantee. The problem is of course you do require a reliable make and model.

There are hundreds of low mileage cars out there, some are courtesy cars, some are rentals, some are used by management. There are hundreds of reasons why a car has so few miles on the clock, but do your research to be on the safe side.

Key elements to watch out it is whether the car is badly damaged, stolen or altered. Look for a trader with some quality reviews. It may be possible to find independent reports done by several companies.

Haggle for the price, stop the deal if you feel uncertain. Ask to take the car on a test drive. Bring your license–people do get pulled over on a test drive.

If you pay cash, there is sometimes a discount but there is not as much protection. And most people don’t like carrying thousands of pounds around.

One of the simplest ways to know if you’re dealing with a quality trader/dealership/individual seller is if they will let you make arrangements for an independent inspector. This helps you negotiate over price too. You can offer the seller a copy of the inspection as an enticement to cooperate with the process. If they won’t cooperate, walk away.

Auctions!

The auction is a riskier way to buy as you are unlikely to have any legal protection. Remember to read through the terms and conditions. As with any auction it’s important to have a budget and to keep to it, though If you have your heart set on a specific vehicle this may be not be easy. Take time to consider your action and, as before, walk away if needs be. It’s easy to say these pleasantries, but many people don’t.

Beware of getting involved in a financial agreement, these cause more problems than they might solve. It’s best to check if you actually qualify—don’t fall in love with a car then try to figure out how to afford it. And don’t just take the seller’s word for it.

Getting a discount on diesels is relatively easy as there is less demand than a hybrid or electric car, so this is one way to save money.

When you think about it, it’s not that surprising that car shopping is so stressful, there are so many intricacies here. But if you like your cars you may feel the potholes you encounter are worth it. If you don’t love car shopping look for help from someone you know that does. Another option is to hire a car inspection service like TireKickers.

Selecting a Merc

When selecting a Mercedes it helps to have a dedicated consultant. This one person who guides your client journey from the website to vehicle delivery. There is a backroom group of people checking that the car is the right color and age for you.

To help you when buying online it helps to be able to explore the exterior and the interior as well as being able to scroll over to change the design. The difficulty on buying online is you might be reducing the act of buying a car to deciding on the fuel type and the transmission-this can only be a starting point.

It helps too gaining information on the CO² emission and the transmission, but we’re not sure by how much. You can get confused by too much detail. The pictures tend to be what sell the car, ultimately.

There seems to be a big thing about having the selling price upfront. In other words, you can’t negotiate on the price. If you are buying online, it is hard to negotiate in any case, so it doesn’t seem that vital a selling point. Although it’s designed for help at the car dealership it might be construed as “we can’t be bothered to negiotate.” How upfront is the dealership being?

They may have a good argument. We associate negotiating with dodgy car salesman, even though you can negotiate with any retailer (not that you will always get the right result. It seems unusual for any retailer to advertise that you can’t negotiate, though many will advertise they accept buyers who lack good credit.

Still it shows that they are selling a premium product, which is presumably why it is on their website.

If you are looking for a vehicle which oozes style you require something like a Shooting Brake, SUV, Cabriolet or a Coupe.

But what exactly is a Shooting Brake?

The brake in the Shooting Brake isn’t a brake pedal but derives from an earlier form of brake used by horse-drawn vehicles when the chassis were used to stop the horses. It’s immediately clear how it is linked to this Mercedes specifically, but it does evoke an older style of vehicle and creates a feeling of individuality.

Shooting Brake

The name is used to distinguish Volvos and Scimitars from hatchbacks and wagons. A shooting-brake is a sleeker car than the run of the mill sedan and is more iconic in style. Unlike the sedan it’s not a family car, being a two-door vehicle but more of a car for the single man or for man about town.

Although Coupes tend to be two-door, Mercedes Coupes have four doors. In addition, it has a sloping roof. The Cabriolet is the one with a roof that folds up.

For space you need to look at vehicles such an Estate or MPV (multi-purpose vehicle). If you are looking for both space and style you should look for something like an SUV. If you require a family car look towards a sedan or a hatchback. It all depends on what you want from your vehicle—which is why you should employ a guide to help your search.

Dealing with Rust in Cars

Why does it happen? In older cars it can mean that scratches went untreated or that a below average paint sub was left in the weather with no protective coat of wax for too many years. BUT why do newer cars rust?

You may have noticed some rust on your car, which feels out of place because your car just isn’t that old. Well there are several reasons for this, but generally it’s the result of something that happened, or didn’t happen, during the production of the vehicle.

Most newer cars don’t get a rust problem, but it’s such a pain to deal with let’s look at it in this post.

It’s the places we don’t see which tend to be where problems flare up. One factor that causes the underside and the wheel wells to rust is that this area gets a lot of exposure. Rainwater falls on your car and runs off, but water in puddles on the road get picked up and thrown up into the car from underneath as long as the roads are wet.

However, all cars get exposed to rain so why do some rust? The second factor is a lack of under-sealing. Under-sealing is essentially a coat of paint, which doesn’t have to look good, it just covers the raw metal preventing rust.

You most often hear the term under-sealing from a car salesperson, but it’s a real thing. It might seem like they’re charging you for something and then waving a magic wand over the car, but mechanics do recommend an under-seal. Its factory standard for most cars made in the US, but imported cars are hit and miss. Japan in particular often skips the undercoat as they have milder winters and want the buyer to have the option of saving the money. Under-sealing is particularly vital to make sure that cars don’t rust underneath the trim and bumpers, and the wheel-arches. This tough pain cope with road chippings.

A third factor in auto rust is if salt is used as a deicer in winters, or if you drive on rough roads. Rough roads can expose areas of your suspension that aren’t really made to sit out in the open. Even if this is temporary it can introduce dirty water to these parts, which will act abrasively to create areas that eventually rust.

Vehicles which travel through salty water are more likely to rust because the salt will act on metals such as nickel and chromium. Cars with an underside of metals such as aluminium and magnesium are less likely to rust, which are generally modern cars. It’s the steel chassis which are the pain.

Prevention

To help prevent this you should wash behind the tires using clean, soapy water. Applying a pipe cleaner to hard-to-reach areas is also a plus. If there is an excess of paint or putty substance on the underside use sandpaper or an abrasive wheel to remove it.

Although pressure washers use massive amounts of water, they can also damage the underside and should be done sparingly.

Even when you get your undercarriage sealed.

The coating may get chipped when a person jacks up your car who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Some “underseals” are a type of thick wax, which will prevent rust by denying air and water to the metal parts. It generally prevents rust but could melt in hot weather or be washed away too much water on the underside of the vehicle.

When you discover rust.

It’s best to start by cleaning surfaces like the wheelarch with a wire brush to remove flaking rust. Then apply a rust converter with a paintbrush for the best results.

Bitumen is a traditional patch for a rusty area, but it’s really inferior for a couple reasons. It doesn’t last that long. It should be applied with gloves and masks. It’s awkward to remove the excess. When dry it turns into a brittle substance and is liable to break off.

Some old-school mechanics will apply grease or old engine oil to problem areas. The problem is that this drip on the road and cause a hassle for motorcyclists and other road users.

When you have a classic car you will just have to face it, you will have to deal with tricky things like rust. It’s just one of those annoying things in life.

Sedan Cars – Who Buys And Should It Alter?

First What is a Sedan?

Sedan, according to Wikipedia, is a style of car which characterized by a box 3 design. Box 3 is when the engine, passenger and cargo compartments are separate and enclosed.

Why are sedans shaped as they are? The design started as a box to hold the engine, the second box used for the driver and passenger, the trunk makes up the third box, which came last of all. The focus is getting the second box right in design terms, is the interior up to date? Does it have all the modern conveniences? Not that you shouldn’t ignore the hood or trunk areas.

We get the name Sedan from rather unsavory roots. The name refers to a form of transportation much older than vehicles. Royalty and wealthy people used to sit in a box protected from the elements. The box was then lifted by poles and carried by servants or slaves.

The UK name has a better connotation. Saloon car originated after luxury carriages in trains, which in turn comes to the French word saloon, a hall (the hall being the most luxurious part of a house).

The Sedan’s Fall from Popularity

For many decades, the sedan or as the call them in England, Saloon car, was the primary car displayed and sold by automakers around the world. It was either a sedan, a truck, a van, or a motorcycle.

However, the bosses of Ford and GM hinted that sedan cars are dead in the water in 2019. Is that really true? What happened is the birth of car design more tailored to purpose. Traditionally a vehicle was more than just a major purchase, it was a cornerstone of your lifestyle. You were driving or you were walking. In those days you bought a swiss army knife vehicle for commuting to work, shopping for groceries, or taking the family outings. Sedans reigned king.

Now cars cost more than ever, but if you’re going to buy one, you buy it to suit your current life circumstance. Automakers have brought us compact (and subcompact etc.) for commuting on minimal gas. They’ve brought us station wagons, which are better suited to family transportation. They’ve brought us sports cars for driving enjoyment, and so on. Then they came full circle and started offering minivans, crossovers and 4 door trucks. It’s all an attempt to let you get a vehicle that fits your custom needs instead of one that is good at everything but not great at any of them.

But is the Sedan Dead?

American automakers might be a bit myopic in their judgement of sedans. US car makers sell a lot of trucks, which has pulled so much of the market for them to one side that the SUV has become the primary showroom product in the US.

There are a number of good sedans, Germans, British, Swedish and South Korean, which sell just fine even in the US. With the big US players not manufacturing sedans the smaller US players have also stepped up. It’s worth noting that Tesla started with a sedan.

So Who in the Market Is buying Sedans?

There are some identity problems with sedans, it’s the type of car politicians and tycoons use, with higher end models used also as a chauffeur’s car. They aren’t popular at showroom but are sold nonetheless with several pockets of society.

One group of sedan shoppers is the Hispanic community. They are one of the fastest growing sedan buyer groups, and the Toyota Corolla is currently most popular among this group.

Another market segment preferring sedans are young people. There is some disconnect in that large engines mean higher insurance, but that doesn’t stop the under 30s buying them. (It is worth looking for a 1 liter engine. They can be still be described as turbocharged, but they don’t break the bank so much.)

Why Sedans might still Compete.

Sedans have bigger engines but not to the exclusion of fuel economy. 38 miles per gallon is not uncommon and some vehicles could possibly convert higher.

Another plus to that big engine to weight ratio is the power to get out of the way when you need to.

The sedan is sportier (it picks up easy and gives better vision to the driver and passengers) than SUV. They drive like a proper car, well what people suppose a proper car to be.

They’re described as better looking than SUV’s, which to some people look like a car on stilts. The SUV having a higher viewer point as a passenger/driver has some advantage but ultimately not that much.

In conclusion.

Although the sedans might not set showroom on fire they are comfortable and practical. The term reliable bring visions of not breaking down, so let’s market with words like purposeful or practical.

Crossovers might be coming up to compete with SUV and sedans. Sedans might be harder to sell, they make up 30% of the American markets, so SUVs and Crossovers maybe more about fixing something that isn’t broken…even money says that the market for sedans is long from dead.

Cars and Smoking – A Bad Combo.

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A. Bunch

Imagine a cartoon scene that’s all too familiar for most of us. The picture is of a car lot complete with a dodgy car dealer in front of a number of dubious vehicles. In the cartoons he (it usually is a he in the cartoons) has a Clarke Gable mustache and a wide brim hat. You can almost smell his cologne and you know when he smiles a gold tooth will glint in the sun. As he sells you the car he smokes a cigar which produces smoke rings in the shape of dollar signs. And all is clear what is on the car dealer’s mind; fleecing the punter.

Would he really do that in the non-cartoon world? Only if he’s dumb. It’s not advisable to smoke near tires or engines not to mention smoking while showing a customer the interior, it’ll only mean trouble.

It’s common knowledge, unless you’re Kelley Bluebook, that bad smells, like cigarette smoke, reduces the value of a car. KBB.com doesn’t seem to have a category for bad smelling vehicle. Either they assume you have a magic wand that will erase the smell, or they lump it in with poor condition. It’s an unofficial reduction, but it’s a reduction all the same.

Smokers’ cars can be 7-9% cheaper than non-smokers, according to a survey from the year 2000. (20 years old but sentiment is not likely to have relaxed on the topic.) Cigarette smoke will form part of the dust in the car, not mention sticking to surfaces. You probably don’t need to be reminded that this dust contains nicotine and similar toxic ingredients.

But is it possible to remove the smell?

Not really, it would be like smoking in a closet and to expect the smell to vanish! Most methods you encounter online tend to temporary, the smell will come back a bit weaker in a few days.

The chief problem, which smokers don’t truly grasp, is just how detectible smoke is to a non-smoker. Smokers have a dulled sense of smell and often think they’ve taken precautions to remove the smell. The reality is quite different.

So, what do I use if I bought a great runner with a B.O Problem?

Something like furniture polish won’t cut it, you’ll need anti-bacterial or bleach wipes to remove the oils from the plastic surfaces like dashboards.

The seats, the carpets and the area underneath the carpets need to be steam cleaned. An ozone generator is another option, but again it can only be temporary. Steam cleaners and ozone generators are not cheap but if you got $700 bucks off the price…

Change the cabin filter!

Really Kicker, No Ninja tip to Fix this Oder Problem?!?!

OKAY! If you’ve tried everything else…you can take dryer sheets and put them all over the dashboard and rear window area (on the inside you…) on a hot day. You want heat to activate this little miracle. It’ll do a pretty great job of pulling the smell out.

Car Dealers aren’t the only ones who try to pull a fast one.

We hear stories of potential buyers “looking at the engine” and then you notice white smoke emitting from your car. You’ve not seen any smoke from the engine before, what should you do?

Well, don’t feel pressured into dropping your price. What it may be is the potential buyer surreptitiously applying a coolant on the vehicle in order to make it smoke—then asking for a discount. It’s a general rule that if you notice something strange when selling your car to take it to a mechanic as possible.

Also consider reporting the potential buyer to the police. If local police are alerted the scammer may move onto better hunting grounds.

(But don’t jump to the conclusion that your buyer is trying to pull a fast one. An engine overheating will cause irreversible damage. If there’s a fuel smell in addition to the smoke it’s could be something like faulty fuel injector or the valve timing?)

In summary, cars and smoke in any form is best avoided. If you smoke and have children under 18 please consider not smoking in your car. That’ll protect your resale value and preserve the other things you care about.