Car Central: Gas prices have dropped, but so have car sales
As gas prices dropped to a recent three-month low, new vehicle buyers increasingly opted for light trucks over cars. Learn how to save on the trends.
Gas prices hit three-month low
The national average price of regular gas plunged to a new three-month low of $2.42 per gallon on December 17 after peaking at a two-year high of $2.67 in early September, according to data tracked by GasBuddy. Gas prices were highest in Hawaii ($3.53), where drivers paid $0.11 more than a month ago, Alaska ($3.25) and California ($3.15). They were lowest in Missouri at $2.13, which is among the states that have seen the biggest drop in gas prices over the past month. Drivers received the most relief from pain at the pump in Ohio (down $0.27), Illinois (down $0.22), Michigan (down $0.19), Missouri (down $0.185) and Indiana (down $0.18). Prices were also low in Arkansas ($2.16), Alabama ($2.16), Mississippi ($2.16) and Oklahoma ($2.18).
Flashy cars and trucks are hot, smart cars are not
The hottest-selling cars year over year for November were Alfa Romeo trucks (up 1,000%), Lamborghinis (up 82.9%), Ferraris (up 40.2%), Mitsubishi trucks (up 45.8%) and Rolls Royces (up 37%), according to the latest statistics from Motor Intelligence. Falling out of favor were Daimler’s smart cars (down 76.9%), Bentleys (down 36.2%), FCA Group cars (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and FIAT cars down 31.5%), Mazdas (down 30.3%) and Hyundais (down 22.2%).
Overall, light trucks were most popular. Buyers of new vehicles have increasingly opted for light trucks (up 7.9%) over passenger cars, for which sales have hit the brakes by almost one tenth (9.3%) over the past year. Total light vehicle sales edged up (1.3%) to 1.4 million in November.
Partial to a specific brand? General Motors sold more vehicles (245,181) than Ford (210,205), Toyota (191,617), FCA Group (154,919), Nissan (135,985) and Honda (133,156).
Near luxury cars are holding their value the most
The depreciation of the value of a vehicle is one of the biggest expenses that comes with owning a car, but some hold their bottom lines up a little higher than the rest. Currently, near luxury cars are faring the best, dropping just 0.26% per week ($39 on average), according to Black Book’s latest Market Insights. Prestige luxury cars (-0.32% or $101), premium sporty cars (-0.45% or $167), compact cars (-0.49% or $35) and full-size cars (-0.64% or $65) held their values above the average loss, while money flew out the window if you owned a luxury car (-0.71% or $129), mid-size car (-0.97% or $80), sporty car (-1.02% or $143) or sub-compact car (-1.19% or $64).
Safety recalls for defective seat belts and air bags
Hyundai calls back previously-recalled Sonatas
Hyundai’s earlier fix for front seat belt anchors didn’t do the trick, and now the manufacturer is recalling 2011-2014 Sonatas and 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrids for further repairs. The risk is that the seat belt linkage could detach from its anchor and not properly restrain the driver or front-seat passenger in a car accident.
GM recalls GMC Canyons, Chevy Colorados and Chevy Volts
A risk for airbags to improperly inflate during a high-speed crash has prompted General Motors to recall certain 2015-2016 GMC Canyons, 2015-16 Chevrolet Colorados and 2016 Chevrolet Volts for a free airbag replacement.
Mercedes-Benz, Nissan bring back a host of vehicles
Dozens of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the 2017-2018 models of the Nissan Infiniti QX30 are being called back to dealers over the risk of the driver’s air bag inadvertently deploying. Mercedes-Benz has also recalled certain 2016-2017 G550 4Matic, G63 AMG, and G65 AMG vehicles due to a potential Electronic Stability Program malfunction that could cause the engine to maintain power and speed despite a driver’s attempt to slow down.
Each month, Car Central gives you ways to save, whether it’s at the car lot, in the garage or on the road.