Affordability & Cars

I’ve been thinking over the last few days about money, affordability and the growing trend of consumer debt in the form of car loans. These thoughts were spurred on by some comments on a joke I made on the FP about financing tires. I realize that you can finance tires and more and more these days I see “we offer financing” on sites for car parts, mods, tires and mechanic’s shops. Usually at higher rates.

On one hand, I get it, times are tough for a lot of folks and credit is fairly cheap. This means that a lot of people who are not well off are financing basic repairs and a lot of people who want fancy new cars are plopping down $0 and driving away in a new Crosstrek or whatever.

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When is the shit going to hit the fan? We are seeing growing term lengths for even the cheapest new cars and people taking out loans/financing on basic maintenance to keep the cars they currently own (or finance) on the road for high rates. People in the USA and Canada have never been more in debt, job security seems to be declining and costs seem to be rising.

I don’t buy that “modern” cars (let’s say 2012 and up) with their infotainment screens, sensor suites, adaptive exhaust/suspension hybrid systems or fully electric drive-trains last as long as the cars that came before them, at least, not without a significant amount of maintenance that I don’t think the average consumer is able to do.

When I see pickups from the 80’s and 90’s still being used as work trucks or a senior couple driving to coffee in their Crown Victoria they bought new off the lot 25 years ago, I just don’t feel that if we fast forward 20-30 years that we will see cars sold today doing the same thing.

I guess TL:DR, we are spending more money at higher rates/longer terms on items that, in my opinion, won’t last as long. And it stresses me out.

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Also, I understand there is an element of hypocrisy at play since I have a 2014 Fiesta ST, 2016 CX-3 and 2018 Forte.  

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