Sub-prime borrowers are buying completely different cars than everyone else, at least according to data gathered by Carfinance.com. This financing company that specializes in helping "below-prime" borrowers finance their car purchases looked at data gathered from between October 2012 and March 2013. According to their numbers, the top 10 new cars bought by sub-prime borrowers during that time are as follows.
Small and midsize sedans dominate the sub-prime borrowers shopping list, though not the same four-doors as the general public is buying in droves. Whereas the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima are the three top-selling midsize sedans in the US overall, sub-prime borrowers only have eyes for the midsize Dodge Avenger. In fact, the only vehicle that makes an appearance both here and on the list of top 10 selling vehicles overall is the Ram 1500.
Speaking of which, the Ram pickup also tops the list of top 10 used vehicles purchased by sub-prime borrowers (below), which also includes fullsize pickups from Ford and Chevy, as well as the lone example of what might be considered a less-than-practical purchase on either list, the Ford Mustang. The list of top used vehicles also shows that buyers are getting more car for their money, moving up to mid- and fullsize cars with nary a compact in sight.
What's the takeaway? Considering this data comes only from a six-month period, and from a single company's set of customers as well, we shouldn't give it too much weight. Still, the lists do suggest what we already expected, that sub-prime borrowers aren't usually buying what they want, but rather what they need.
Sometimes we feel bad when cars get damaged or destroyed in ridiculous accidents. Take that ultra-sad Lamborghini Miura fire from a couple weeks ago, for example. But this Dodge Avenger falling into a Chicago sinkhole? I can't say I feel too bad here.
Automotive News reports Chrysler may finally send the Dodge Avenger out to pasture. Reuters spoke with Reid Bigland, head of the Dodge brand, who said Chrysler would look to focus on a single mid-size car in the next three years or so, and that focus would likely alight on the recently refreshed Chrysler 200. Both the Avenger and the 200 enjoyed a sales boom last year thanks to improved drivetrain options and new interiors, though the two still lag far behind their competition. Removing one of the twins from the picture would allow Chrysler to save money on both development and marketing while eliminating the issue of having competing models on the same dealer lot.
Reports have previously suggested Chrysler will work to slim duplicate models across its brands by eliminating the Dodge Grand Caravan in favor of a Fiat-based crossover. The death of the Avenger is wise step in that direction. Last year, the vehicle sold 63,023 units, and while that figure marks a 26 percent improvement over the 2010 numbers, it's a far cry from the 308,510 Toyota Camry units sold last year.
Chevy Colorado, rotary not dead, Caravan and Avenger dead, Nissan IQS, VW Golf R
Episode #251 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, with Chris, Zach and Dan making up this week's crew. Topics include the next-generation Chevrolet Colorado being confirmed for the U.S. market, Mazda confirming via Twitter that there will be a new generation of the Rotary engine, Nissan's troubles with the JD Power Initial Quality Study scores, Sergio Marchionne's plan to axe the Dodge Grand Caravan and Avenger and the Volkswagen Golf R pricing information. Your questions and comments power the last third of the podcast, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. We've embedded our Q&A module after the jump for you to scroll through and follow along, too. Thanks for listening!
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If you've just purchased a new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you have our sincere congratulations, but you also might not want to read this post any further.
The 2012 Grand Cherokee, which goes on sale next month, will reportedly benefit from a $3,220 price decrease versus the 2011 model. This means that the base Laredo trim level with two-wheel drive will now carry an MSRP of $26,995. It also means that the resale value of your 2011 model has likely just taken a pretty severe whack.
Jeep introduced the all-new Grand Cherokee for the 2011 model year, and thus, only minor changes have been made for the 2012 model. The 5.7-liter V8 is now mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, rather than the aging five-speed, and models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 will now come with electro-hydraulic power-assisted steering. These enhancements are good for very minor increases in fuel economy - likely no more than a single mpg here or there.
The folks at Kicking Tires point out that the lower base price may be a reflection of higher price points for option packages and the removal of once-standard equipment. For example, the 2011 Grand Cherokee Laredo came standard with an eight-way power seat, whereas the 2012 model does not. What's more, the Laredo's leather seating package now costs a whopping $5,300 instead of $4,000.
Dodge seems eager to inject a shot of sportiness into any model it can. The redesigned Avenger is a model that could certainly use the help, thus the 2012 Dodge Avenger R/T seen here. While we would love to see an SRT-tuned version of the sedan (or a better sedan entirely), the R/T touches are a good start.
Rather than focusing efforts on the 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, the engineers at Dodge have elected to fiddle with the suspension. Roll stiffness, strut damping and spring rates have been increased both front and rear, while the rear stabilizer bar has grown from 19-millimeters out to 21-millimeters.
In order to let you know you're looking at an Avenger R/T, Dodge has added a signature decal across the front fenders, an R/T badge on the back, a rear spoiler and 18-inch painted-aluminum wheels. You can see the upgrades for yourself by strolling through the gallery below. Pricing has not yet been released, but the car will arrive in the third-quarter. Click past the jump for all the details in the full press release.