Q. Does a new car dealer make
more on new or used cars? -- (R.A., via Internet)
A. A new-car dealer generally makes more on used cars.
Q. How come cars cost so much? I bought Fords, Chevrolets, Buicks and such, and they cost much less than today's autos. -- Frank K. (via Internet)
A. Sounds like you've been out of the market for awhile. General Motors says its average transaction price rose to $34,000, up about $660 from a year ago. More people now lease cars they couldn't afford if they bought them outright. They also take out long-term loans when buying a car. That costs them more interest, but they don't seem to care if they feel they can afford the monthly payments. Also, today's cars, trucks, crossover vehicles, etc., have more safety and fancy technology features--even pickup trucks that once were strictly workhorses. And you can't get certain features on a vehicle unless you order an often-costly "option package" that contains some items a vehicle buyer doesn't want. Or you can't get, say, a sunroof unless you order a top-line model. Automotive News says automakers "are investing billions into fancy tech that driver's don't touch." J.D. Power said a study found that at least 20 percent of new-vehicle owners never have used 16 of the 33 technology features measured.
Q. Why isn't Jaguar doing better? It was around decades before Asian luxury cars arrived. -- D.M. (via Internet)
A. It should do better. Its cars have been greatly improved for years. It's lowering prices for 2016 and will offer free scheduled maintenance.
Q. What was the first
production car to break 200 km/h (124.6 m.p.h.) -- W.G. (via Internet)
A. It was the Jaguar XK-120 sports car, introduced for 1949. Even expensive American cars then strained to reach 90 m.p.h. and had poor handling if they hit that speed. Some of today's truly exotic road cars can top 200 m.p.h., but they're not mass produced, as was the gorgeous XK-120.
Q. Why aren't major automakers challenging the highly touted battery powered Tesla Model S? Surely they can do as well as small Tesla, which hasn't even made any money yet. -- J.C. (via Internet)
A. To challenge the Tesla, Mercedes-Benz is working on an electric car with a range of up to 311 miles.