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After 38,000 layoffs, Wall Street wakes up to 'peak car' (businessinsider.com)
78 points by ryan_j_naughton 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 114 comments



The problem with cars is that they are great for individuals, but terrible for society.

For individuals, they greatly increase your mobility and open new possibilities.

For societies, they are loud, dirty, dangerous, and require expensive roads which take up large swaths of land.

It is this dichotomy that prevents us as humans from properly understanding the cost of the vehicles we drive. I see all over this thread people calculating the cost of their vehicle in dollars, but this grossly underestimates the cost to society as a whole.

In regards to the article, how much visibility do western analysts have into the Chinese automotive market? If domestic sales aren’t accurately monitored, this would explain why the Chinese market has dropped.


Society also benefits from individuals having increased mobility and the options that brings.


Well obviously, as societal utility is the aggregate of individual utility. The point was about the parts of the utility (or disutility) equations that are hidden from individuals.


Cars are a textbook example of the tragedy of the commons. Everybody would personally benefit if everyone else drove less, as long as they themselves can keep driving.

Capitalism is exceedingly poor at accounting for negative externalities, and many armchair economists don't seem to even acknowledge negative externalities exist because they are a "hidden" cost not determined by the market and paid by third parties. Any economist worth their salt, of course, says that as a mechanism created specifically to solve coordination problems like this, it's the government's job to put a real price on negative externalities.


Trains, electric scooters (think Vespa, not Lime) and electric rickshaws are all extremely popular in China.

If we changed traffic laws (and automotive subsidies) in the US to make them more feasible in cities, I imagine small electric vehicles would take a huge dent out of the automotive industry here.


I am not surprised honestly. Cars are a money pit. They cost a lot to run and a lot to buy and depreciate in value.

Take for example our car: - we bought a used 2007 Yaris 3 years ago for AUD$ 6K. - every year we have to pay a registration fee in Australia which is AUD$ 650. - insurance is $AUD 200 per year - car service every 6 months is AUD$ 330. - random repairs in the last 3 years: AUD$ 700 - Petrol cost is AUD $60 every second month on average.

We only use the car on the weekend to go to the beach 1h30 hours away, to buy groceries and visit my wife's family 600 km from where we live twice a year.

The total cost of ownership: AUD$ 12310 The car is probably worth AUD$ 4.5k now and we only drove 35k km in the last 3 years as we use public transports a lot.

The only reason that we have kept it around is for the what ifs.

I am starting to think that this is probably the last car that we will own.


That insurance of $200/year (AUD, let alone USD) sounds super cheap. Also $1.5k deprivation for 3 years of use sounds super good as well. Is car ownership in Australia really that cheap?

I drive even less than you do (6k for around 3 years), and bought new as well, but find the car super useful because of our toddler, Uber simply doesn’t do car seats well and the bus doesn’t go to the pediatrician.


His car is a Yaris, one of the smallest Toyotas (comparatively) that have ever been made, and Australia scales registration to size/purpose of the vehicle.

Larger SUV's or 4WD's have anything in the $300-$600 yearly registration fee, ~1500-2k for yearly insurance, and a LOT more on fuel.


That still seems quite reasonable vs where I live in the Seattle area. Well, put gasoline costs are much cheaper, and we probably do t pay for parking as often, but otherwise I was expecting Australia to be a lot more expensive like Europe is.


More specifically, Australian vehicle registration fees, in the three states I've owned vehicles, are based on the number of cylinders and whether the vehicle is used for commercial or private use.


It's not only cylinders. A 2.5L 4cyl diesel 4WD is more than a 2.5L 4cyl petrol sedan.


Oh, I wasn’t aware of that. Are you taking about the registration component only, or does this include the compulsory third party bodily insurance? I guess the two are wedded, so it’s sort of an academic distinction.


I live in Tasmania, and this page[1] seems to support my claim. Most of my previous vehicle registrations have been in South Australia where the fee schedule is structured similarly to Tasmania, last time I checked.

Of course the voluntary insurance component, ie. fire / theft / third-party property / comprehensive, is going to depend on a few factors, predominantly vehicle type and age, garaging address, driver age and gender, driver history, insurance-claim history.

1. https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/fees_forms/registration_lic...


My vehicles have all been in WA. I haven't looked into it to closely, but I imagine they'd be the same. You're right, it's probably the insurance side of things that increases it.


So you spent $2500 per year on having a car. How much would those 6x 600km trips cost you? Then add in the beach trips, each of those is going to cost a fortune with Uber or over $100 if you hire a car.

12,000km per year in Uber’s or hire cars will cost you far more than $2500. Sounds like you’re the perfectly rational car owner. As are a lot of people, this isn’t isolated to US only.


Not sure about Australia but the situation of living without a car in the US is dismal. We spent decades making sprawling suburbs and exhurbs that cannot be lived in without a car and there is much apathy and even antagonism in the US to change that.


I grew up in the U.S. suburbs without a car — I only got a car when I was 21. This was because my office moved to a completely transit and pedestrian-hostile location. I’m now living and working downtown and am again car free. Unless you’re at the suburban-rural edge, it’s quite possible to live car free.


I regularly go weeks without driving anywhere and don’t live in a city just reasonably close to mass transit. So, while I do live in the US I treat a car as an affordable luxury not a requirement


> just reasonably close to mass transit

The problem is not that people live outside of cities, it's that many people do not live near viable mass-transit options.


Yeah, I think most of the people killing off the personal car live in bubbles.

>Mass transit will replace car ownership

Mass transit sucks in a lot of places. Where I'm from, the bus came every hour, stopped running before evening and covered only some of the town.

>Self-driving cars are here in a few years

I'm still waiting for the self-driving tech companies to start doing tests in the Finnish Lapland during winter.


I think generally mass transit is pretty bad in the US compared to most other cities in the world, but it does vary quite a bit depending on where you live since the US is such a large place and diverse place, so it always makes talking about this stuff difficult. A better qualification of my above comment is to say a significant enough fraction of people in the US live in situations that require them to have a car. If anything, having access to mass transit that enables a decent enough quality of life is the exception (which says something given how large the US is).


While the US has an incredible amount of land, most people live on a tiny fraction of it.

NYC for example is ~1/38th the US population on (including parks and office space for commuters) ~1/12,000 the the land area of the US. It’s hard to do these kind of comparisons across the US, but the car culture has a lot more to do with how rich the US is than absolute need. Consider the school buss system is a form of mass transit available across most of the US. It’s inexpensive and something similar would work if most people could not afford cars.


Yep. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the US decrease in ownership has to do with people moving closer and closer to major cities. In a good number of them, if you're truly centrally-located (not in the suburbs) you can make do with the bus system.


Living with a car in the US, OTOH, is pretty awesome. Roads are usually pretty great, and you can go on hikes and road trips without it being a logistical nightmare.


Do you live in a city?

We've been able to get by on GoGet and Car Next Door for the occasional trip to the shops (although we mostly get groceries delivered; it saves time and allows you to pre-plan what you need easier) or for a weekend away. Works out much much cheaper than owning a car.


Some people have pointed out that some numbers are probably off, they may be right. I don't have the exact numbers in my head as the last time I used the car was a few weeks ago actually as my wife usually drives it more than me.

The petrol cost is averaged and when I say AUD$60 every 2 months, it really depends on the trips we make and if we go see my in-laws.

I guess what's important is the trend, the first year we owned the car, we drove everywhere because we were living in the outer suburbs but then we moved closer to the city. So we barely touch the car these days.

We use it even less in winter as its too cold to go to the beach, so I can safely say that for the next 3 months we are probably going to be using the car once a week to go buy groceries at the supermarket that is located about 5km from where we live. So we will average 10km per week for the next 12 to 15 weeks. That would translate in maybe a full tank of gas if that.

All in all, if I average the cost of petrol over the last 3 years, it's probably close to the numbers I gave, plus or minus a few hundred dollars.

As for the insurance, we both have a clean driving record(no tickets ever), we don't drive a lot and we live in a very safe suburb and keep the car in a closed/locked garage overnight. We also have the lowest tier in terms of insurance and we wouldn't get much back if we were to total the car.

Finally, as for the current value of the car, I just had a quick look on google and those were the first numbers I could find. I presume that if we were to sell it we probably would get less maybe $AUD 3.5k.


You bought a cheap throw away car, of course it's losing money. How is that worth making broad arguments about an entire industry?


Any car will depreciate (except for collectors items). Cars don't make money, they aren't an investment, unless you're using them to run a business.


How can petrol cost $30 a month if you only travel 35 km in 3 years?


Its an average, sometimes we go months without touching the car, some months we use it every day.

As for the 35000km in the last 3 years, that's an estimate.

It may very well be 30k or 40k and as for petrol, we used to drive a lot the first year we got the car but since we moved closer to the city, we started using less and less so, for example, during the last 12 months, we only filled the tank maybe 7 or 8 times and its a small tank, probably worth 60 dollars each time.

Again all the numbers I gave are estimates and in the end, the total ownership cost may be off by plus or minus $AUD 1k.


Don't be so pedantic, he obviously meant 35km per month as he already explained he only uses it on weekends or grocery shopping.


He says 35k km over 3 years so nearly 12,000km per year. He claims gas is $360 per year. That would get you about 5,000km in a small car like he describes. He’s obviously understated the gas cost, probably by leaving out the larger than normal costs when taking the longer trips to the beach/wife’s family. $30 (400km) of usage a month driving to the shops/short trips sounds about right.


The sense of security that comes with keeping a gassed (or charged) vehicle in my driveway doesn't seem like it will go away any time soon. If a family member needs to go to the emergency room, or a natural disaster strikes, Uber isn't going to cut it.


If a material disaster strikes, my local highways will be locked up harder than a diamond.


Nevermind a natural disaster, rush hour traffic seems to be enough...


That car doesn't need to be replaced every 3 years though, especially if new features aren't being added.


A lot of people live a "payment" lifestyle. They'll just keep buying/leasing new cars every few years. If something's gonna break it's gonna be the CPO market.


Sure, but if you only use your own vehicle for those kinds of situations it could last your entire adult life (and your partner wouldn't need a separate one).


If natural disasters strike, is it possible for you to bug out without getting stuck with thousands or hundreds of thousands other car users as well? Just asking, because a backup secondary route either on foot or smaller off-road vehicles (motorbikes or just regular bikes) might be prudent for planning.

But yeah, many time-sensitive events are able to be easily solved with our own cars. There's a flexibility that is absent when relying on public transit and ride-sharing. Does it worth the trade-off of maintaining your own vehicle and it's attendant issues? In my opinion, it is. For some others, it isn't. It would be better if cars can become a non-essential for everyone in the world though, or at least the urbanites. Less traffic jams for the rest of us.


https://imgur.com/fLNs3k0

Have you ever considered how

trains

are our best implementation

of the abstract idea

of efficient, terrestrial mass transit?


However, you can obtain that security without one and a half cars per adult in the family.

If you can figure out how to bike, walk, or bus most of the time and your significant other can too, you get nearly all of that security with one vehicle per family and a lot of money to put towards other things.


You call an ambulance if there’s a medical emergency.


You could purchase a used car outright for the cost of 1 ambulance ride in the United States.


You could well be right, but the article is about a global trend, car sales in the US by contrast seem to be stable in the last few years, perhaps for these kind of reasons. There are a lot of places in the developed world that have a different context from the US in terms of car culture or healthcare costs.

I’m not sure what’s actually creating the 3% drop, though, the evidence in the article for a lifestyle shift seems to be relatively weak outside of the charts they give for the EU.


"There are problems in our society that we circumvent by things that cause even more problems because we can't coordinate to solve the original problems."


That is interesting, in Australia it is the same by default, but many people (especially those with families or sick relatives living with them) have Ambulance Cover which is a fairly nominal fee covering your whole family, in which case the cost of an ambulance is vastly reduced.


Don't know why you got downvoted; this is absolutely true.


Another factor to watch as this plays out is that electric cars have the potential of a 50 year useful life. The drive train of some makes is purported to be 500,000 in the current shipping battery technology and advances are expected to take that to 1,000,000 miles on the drive train. Compare that to ICE cars that wear out pretty reliably in the 200,000 - 250,000 range.

For a typical US buyer who drives 12,500 miles per year, 1,000,000 means they can drive the car for 80 years. They could skip buying the next 4 cars.


The problem with this is that the most expensive component of electric cars: the batteries, have a ridiculously short lifespan, and they become less and less powerful with every recharge


Old electric cars that had to push the envelope of the usage margins of their batteries were bad, but Tesla batteries show minimal degradation on average. If you stay within safety margins and within temperature ranges batteries go on for a long time. The higher the range of the battery, the more luxury you have to stay within a safety margin, and proper thermal management is becoming standard even at the lower end of the market.


A group of owners in the Netherlands have been tracking their electric cars and found that after 160,000 miles, the degradation is at only 10% [0]. The trend lines forecast the life span to over 400,000 miles.

The CEO of the maker of those cars claims (unsubstantiated at this time) that his company's battery technology will be capable of 1,000,000 miles[1]. TBD, but if true, changes the game for the auto industry in an additional vector.

[0] https://electrek.co/2018/04/14/tesla-battery-degradation-dat...

[1] https://electrek.co/2019/04/23/tesla-battery-million-miles-e...


Are you assuming that cell phone batteries and car batteries are the same? Empirical data shows that the engineering tradeoffs made for car batteries leave them with incredibly long lifespans (at least for Tesla or Nissan Leafs).


The lifespan of car batteries is 15 - 20 years, and they only cost a few thousand bucks to replace.


The cost of replacing Prius batteries was a big concern ten years ago. Seems less of a concern today. As in no one talks about ti anymore. Probably because it takes a mechanic half an afternoon to do. And the cost of the batteries has come down.

With the new generation of electric cars the cost of replacing the battery isn't what it would cost today, but what it will cost in 15 years. Probably will be reasonably cheap.


> The cost of replacing Prius batteries was a big concern ten years ago.

It was never really an issue in practice, because (iirc) they had a 10 year warranty but if they failed on year 11 or 12 then Toyota would still usually just replace them for free anyway. And for the last several years you've been able to just get individual cells replaced rather than the entire battery, so it's no longer expensive to begin with.


I think Hyundai warrants hybrid batteries for the life of the car. California considers batteries to be part of the emissions control system. So has a longer warranty.

Actual experience seems to show that hybrid and electric car batteries are lasting longer than expected. Except for the Leaf with it's crummy thermal management.


Battery costs are falling at 10-15% every 2 years and with the battery tech improving with more battery users setting up recycling plants for these will start making economic sense.10 years from now replacing the battery would be trivial and also cheap.


Are cars really built to make them impossible to replace? I had been under the impression that multiple companies were working on the replace & reclaim model.


50 years? It's replacing the suspension parts and rust that writes off 15 year old cars as uneconomic repairs. I don't see that being electric car changes that.


I’ve had three cars fall apart. None had a serious problem with the drive train.

Having said that, electric cars are simple, so maybe there will be a luxury “100 year car” brand that removes all the planned obsolescence and provides repair parts / service indefinitely.


> Another factor to watch as this plays out is that electric cars have the potential of a 50 year useful life.

That's the drive train, but the interior is a different thing. As modern cars are essentially computers on wheels, their UX will feel outdated and sluggish after five years tops (for what it's worth, even current top of the line cars have serious problems there), stuff like the n-th iteration of CarPlay or whatever wasn't updated for ages, navigation systems don't have upates any more... and that's only the electronic interior.

The "real life" interior aka dashboard plastics, veneers, seats, ... will be of exactly the same durability as with current ICE cars, which means after 10 years of regular usage the car is for all intents and purposes to be considered a beater.

In addition, spare parts are going to be a major issue. While the aftermarket is decent in supplying parts for common cars (you can still get original parts for VW vans), I wouldn't be so sure about "non-common" cars. Tesla doesn't even manage to supply their own garages with parts to fix customer vehicles at the moment.

All of this has to be considered when thinking about "useful life".


There has been enormous progress on the longevity of interiors, I remember cars that started disintegrating the moment they left the factory. I imagine if the drivetrain lasted longer, interiors could be engineered to fit. The issue is more whether longer lasting, more expensive cars would be profitable. It may be that rideshare apps and carshare schemes, and other business model that rely on high utilisation could actually move the needle on that. It would be good for the environment if so.


My dad bought a new car in 1968. After 10 years in the California sun the interior was utterly falling apart. Dash was a spider web of cracks, the upholstery was ripped. The paint was chipping.

GF's 1999 Toyota Camry's interior is 'fine'

What I think is if the drive train is good for 30-50 years that'll push manufacturers to improve the lifespan of the rest of the car. Also possible the government regulators will also apply pressure. For a lot of countries automobiles negatively effect their balance of trade. Anything to get that down.


> I imagine if the drivetrain lasted longer, interiors could be engineered to fit.

I doubt it is possible to get it to more than 15 years. People do all kinds of stuff with and in their cars, especially if there are kids and/or pets involved. Vomit, feces, spilled food/drinks, cigarette smoke, scratches and dents from transported stuff, animal claws, the list of things that can damage a car is pretty much endless.


Well, yes. Most of the developed world hit "peak baby" a while back. We're going to see a lot of "peak ..." over the next decade or so.


If you're assuming it is a global maximum sure your sentiment is right. The key is in the word global, where the domain is the history of mankind and its entire future.


please allow me to vote here for the "peak Amazon" prediction


I totally believe that many people no longer are enamored of owning a car. I do not believe Uber/Lyft/etc. will be the cause of "peak car". For one thing, given their cash burn rate, I don't believe that Uber/Lyft/etc. will be around in 5 years, at least in their current form. They will either merge with a conventional cab company, fold entirely, or massively downsize.


I think Uber / Lyft can mostly replace cars for people who don't have unusual hobbies. It's relatively easy to find a place to live where you can use public transportation to get to work, and it's relatively easy to use public transportation or car sharing / rental to visit friends and family or go away for the weekend. But if you live in NYC and your hobby is gold prospecting or something then that model breaks down really fast.


> Why would you, when it's cheaper to ride around in someone else's?

As if there's zero risk associated in getting into someone else's car...

Not to mention any vehicle I willfully own will never barrage me with advertisements or surveil my movements.

Uber is burning billions of dollars in an attempt to corner the market. When/If they succeed, do you really think they won't put the screws to the customers living in circumstances where car ownership has likely become all but impossible?

The prices will shoot up, the monetization of the personal data will increase, the in-vehicle advertising will increase, the whole experience will become worse than what the end-game of yellow cabs looked like.

I fully expect the self-driving Ubers of the future to partner with the police in arresting people. You get in the car you ordered, it knows your identity, it reports all rides to the police system, if a boolean comes back true, the doors lock and it drives you to the jail entrance for processing. It's just another revenue stream.


> I fully expect the self-driving Ubers of the future to partner with the police in arresting people.

What!? I'm not following your logic. If there is a warrant for your arrest, and law enforcement is tracking your phone, law enforcement can simply come pick you up in a squad car.


What do you think is more cost effective?

Do you actually think there are sufficient LEOs to run around chasing phones for every petty outstanding warrant? Why bother even trying when they can just be delivered by a robot.


>Do you actually think there are sufficient LEOs to run around chasing phones for every petty outstanding warrant.

Cities are ringed with rich suburbs with overstaffed police departments full of bored cops. I can see them being very interested in a product that scrapes cell subscriber and location data to ID people with outstanding warrants.

I fully agree with you that there's aren't sufficient resources to track down every deadbeat that failed to show up in court, or accumulated too many parking tickets or whatever. However, things that make it easier and cheaper to find people do not bode well for free society. Think about the kind of sigint that went into catching Bin Laden. Now imagine a world where 99% of that is automated and the police feel it's reasonable to use it to catch petty thieves.


Not only this but Uber even give you the passenger's destination, tracking a phone doesn't give you that.


Your car of the future will likely surveil your movements.


Not if I can help it.

I'm very likely to be the old dude driving a beat up classic driver's car with a home-grown performance-oriented EV conversion under the skirt.


RE: As on-demand services like Uber and Lyft grow their customer bases, more people will decide they no longer need to own a car of their own.

Is it really more expensive to own than use a ride share service? Seems to only be reasonable when you have a monthly payment and even then depending on how much that payment is and how much you go out; it still may be less expensive to have your own.

I own my car outright. Calculated, it costs me roughly ~2500 a year to keep it, baring any catastrophe. Thats Insurance, gas, maintenance, inspection, registration, and a few hundred on top for surprise road trips. On the other hand to take an uber/lyft "only" to-and-from work each weekday would cost me ~6000 per year (ride + tip using the cheapest option). Add on for any additional activities and it goes up considerably from there.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to not have to own a car, but it really is cheaper and more convenient for me to do so. I live in a major US city.


I live in a major US city as well. It would cost me around $300/month to park near my home, and hundreds more to park at my various destinations over the course of a month.

I don't own a car outright - many people obviously do not - so that's another $400+ every month for a rapidly depreciating piece of equipment that will inevitably cost me additional money in maintenance and repairs in the years to come.

And of course there is insurance, gas and registration.

And once I'm spending this $1000/mo for the benefit of owning my very own car, I'd still be using ride shares or public transit anytime I'm going to consume alcohol.

Instead, I spend maybe $50/mo on transit, $100/mo on ride shares and another $200 or so every other month to rent a car for a weekend (and on those occasions, I get to pick the car).

Transportation, to me, is a minor line item in my budget. I never have to search for or pay for parking. I am never in a situation where I would be inclined to drive after drinking. My car can never be broken in to because it doesn't exist. It's actually a pretty sweet setup if you can pull it off.


I'm in a similar boat. I drive my car a few times a month, so I made a spreadsheet calculating the cost of car ownership, and it was ~$1600 per year including insurance, depreciation, regular repairs, car registration, investment losses, etc (a fairly large portion of the cost is the "opportunity cost" of having funds locked up in a car vs investments). For the number of trips I take Uber ended up costing me about the same, but I lose a fair amount of flexibility in the process.

Based on this I went without a car for about a year and used ride sharing services exclusively, but I found it to be more hassle for very minimal savings. (Some of the variables obviously depend on where you live though. ex: parking)

The fact of the matter is that owning a used car that's 5-10 years old actually isn't that expensive. I purchased my current car for $8k when it was ~6 years old, and did the same for the car before that. Repairs have been basically non-existent, just the normal oil change every year or two (I drive a few times a month).


> I own my car outright. Calculated, it costs me roughly ~2500 a year to keep it,

Does that include depreciation? Even if you own the car outright, it seems to me that a proper cost accounting should include the cost of eventual replacement of the car.

> On the other hand to take an uber/lyft "only" to-and-from work each weekday

Yes, I think if your daily commute depends on a car, ownership is the most cost effective model. But an increasing number of people are finding ways to commute in other ways.


> But an increasing number of people are finding ways to commute in other ways.

Outside of LA/SF & NYC and maybe Chicago are I wonder what other ways people are looking to commute. Mass transportation even in my own city doesn't service enough areas to be in any way convenient. Biking in most cities (there are a few good ones for it) is just right out in most places due other traffic. I just feel that the people who write these kind of articles can't see beyond where they are, which is probably in one of the aforementioned cities and think the rest of the US is similar.


> Does that include depreciation? Even if you own the car outright, it seems to me that a proper cost accounting should include the cost of eventual replacement of the car.

I did a similar calculation and found it cost me ~$2k, and this includes depreciation, car insurance, opportunity cost (funds would be invested @ ~8% return if they weren't locked in a car - this accounted for ~40% of the cost), registration, regular repairs, and depreciation.

If you have to pay for parking and tickets, this math changes pretty dramatically.


Probably more likely people who commute by public transport but who occasionally need a car. If you wanted a car 20 times a year, and rideshare can plug that 10 times, you’d be better off renting the other 10 times rather than owning a car outright.


Situations vary though and this is just one more thing on the scales.

I bike or ride the train much of the time (~10 miles). This is slower and has it's own costs, but also benefits. I work downtown and parking is not free. I find daily driving miserable (and I love cars). I rent a Home Depot truck whenever I need a truck, which is still probably less the $100 a year. Knowing I can get a ride in a pinch is just one more thing on the scales.

This makes operating a family of four with one small, aging car perfectly reasonable.

Friends and family from Texas and Arizona seem concerned we don't have 1.5 luxury vehicles per adult of course.


If you're driving yourself to work everyday, no, it isn't cheaper. Many people take public transit to and from work, and also own a personal car.


Why are tips becoming customary for Uber rides? Wasn't one of their original selling points the lack of tipping?


Yes. There's convenience in not having to find / pay / be restricted by parking.


Seeing Tesla hit 50B but GM be around 60B makes me wonder if auto is under valued.

Transportation is boring but necessary. These companies also have plenty of experience and infrastructure.

Sales are marketing based.


I think it is more likely that Telsa is simply grossly over valued, even with the recent collapse of its market value.

I used to be quite bullish on Telsa...until I bought a 2019 Mazda 3 this past weekend. It is basically a Telsa that cost me $25K...Prior to this weekend I drove a Mazda 6 that I bought in 2006. While car shopping I came to realize that most of the things that made Telsa exciting are rapidly being integrated into standard consumer vehicles.

With Elon's seeming unsuitability for the role of car company CEO and if it is the case that Telsa doesn't have much of an edge over the competition, it is hard to see Telsa pulling through in the long haul.


The Mazda 3 is such an amazing value that buying one felt like a no-brainer. Also imo looks considerably sexier than any other car in its class if you get the Touring trim in Machine Gray.


Is your Mazda 3 electric?


Not yet but it wouldn't surprise me if Mazda is cooking up a hybrid version...point still remains, Telsa doesn't have much of moat left vis-a-vis other auto makers.


Enterprise Value (EV) is a far better representation of the value of companies, considering that both shareholders and debt-holders have a stake in the company.

Tesla has an EV of $43B. GM has an EV of $135B.


Yes, GM and F have a lot of debt.


I don't know all the details, but I am led to believe that GM has a lot of retirement commitments, which I would guess Tesla does not. At one point around 2008, people were wondering if GM's retirement commitments would sink it.


It did sink them, they filed for bankruptcy.


> if auto is under valued

What does 'auto' mean in this context?


the automotive market


Do you mean cars?


>>>> But that's not all. As on-demand services like Uber and Lyft grow their customer bases, more people will decide they no longer need to own a car of their own. Why would you, when it's cheaper to ride around in someone else's?

Hopefully Lyft and Uber are stepping stones, but at the present moment, both of them depend on someone having bought a personal car at some point. I haven't used them very much yet (my bike is one reason, being a double bassist is another) but from what I can tell, nobody buys a new car to drive Lyft/Uber, and it wouldn't make financial sense.

I've noticed a definite culture shift regarding our relationship with cars. My generation: Every kid arranged their affairs so they could get their drivers license on their 16th birthday, and worked a job so they could have a car. My kids and their friends are ambivalent about cars and driving. When they finish college, taking on a car payment will be the last thing on their minds.


The funniest thing I heard, which totally makes sense, was from my 16 year old cousin. Apparently it’s common to sneak out, walk a few blocks and take an Uber to a house party!


I think this is another one of those massive divergences in culture coming to a head.

In SOME places, people are driving less and need to drive less. In other places, both farther suburbs and smaller areas, cars are no less essential than they've always been. In some cases of aging infrastructure in terms of public transit for cities that have it, suburbs are getting even more car dependent in places where you could have once been fine on transit (looking at you crappy DC metro system combined with extra development in housing).

Now, many of these places aren't dense enough for rideshare, scooters, or whatever else have you to be worth a damn. Alternately, in places like Phoenix, and loose cities with little transit, plenty of people still need cars, and rideshare just craps up the roads even more.

Curious to see how this ends, because I don't think it will go well.


"Honda said it would close its factory in Swindon, England"

Exceptionally sad news for car nuts like myself. Swindon is the birthplace of the magnificent Honda 2.0 turbo powering the Civic Type R.

BTW, I love the pics that accompany the article. Starsky and Hutch's Torino, the Duke's Charger are car show staples.


This is like predicting peak real estate. Often predicted, never comes true. Nothing has changed that would affect US demand for cars. Public transit is even more underfunded. Commutes are lengthening, not shortening.


> The most dramatic example of just how vulnerable automakers are came from Britain last week. The country prides itself on being the Detroit of Europe.

Now I understand Brexit. Good job, Britain. You’ll soon look just like Detroit.


I believe it is more a matter of affordability than anything else and it only applies to people living in or around the downtown core of major cities in NA. Unless one of the on-demand ride sharing services, gets some kind of membership going, that would be cheaper monthly than owning a car outright, I don't see it. Most people need the convenience of owning a vehicle and having it available 24/7. I do see more services like Turo helping with reducing the financial burden of car ownership though.


Then how else do you explain the data presented in the piece?


Finally. Let's start building again things designed for humans ?


Cars are designed for humans.


Trouble is everything around them is designed for cars. Shopping and other amenities get spaced out too far, residential areas are bisected and cut off by unfriendly, loud and smelly tarmac rivers. Acres of space are given to resting, care and feeding of cars. They get special places to gather: the out of town shopping centre. They get priority over other forms of transport in most places. The humans come next.

We should design residential areas, cities, shopping and communities for people first once again. Then we wouldn't need to think about a car as often.


Cars are designed for humans, then infrastructure is designed for cars.

That step of removal from being designed for humans conflicts with any idea that designing for cars is design for humans by proxy: disproportionately catering to automotive concerns has negative affects on humans relying on their infrastructure to facilitate other forms of transport, or otherwise to not excessively distort either the urban or natural environment they are members of.


Only if you’re in one - otherwise that oversized pickup is designed to just plow on through puny humans in their path -crosswalks and bike lanes are no match!


If you look at autofatalities (including of pedestrians and cyclists), share of public transit and bike usage, and other such related statistics over time, they closely track the cost of gas. Ironically, of course, production of new cars doesn't neccessarily mean less car usage over the <10 year term (since cars don't magically burn up), but it may mean good news for those who want to wean their cities off of cars.


> ...they closely track the cost of gas.

Could you post a source backing your claim?




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