Say Goodbye To America’s Cheapest New Car

By: James Flippin · August 22, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Disappearing Mirage

Mitsubishi (MSBHF) will reportedly discontinue its classic subcompact hatchback, the Mirage, in 2025, according to Automotive News. This will send the last car on the lot with an average transaction price under $20,000 to the proverbial junkyard.

For consumers who are already balancing the price increases on goods and services across the board, this is just the latest big ticket item to strain their wallets.

Go Big or Go Home

The Mitsubishi Mirage was the last holdout from the era of compact cars.

Over the years, Americans have grown increasingly fond of bigger, pricier SUVs, moving away from passenger cars and toward more spacious options. In Q2 2023, Ford (F) sold 108 F-series pickup trucks for every Mirage sold by Mitsubishi.

With consumers less interested in buying the smaller cars, automakers have slowly discontinued models like the Honda Fit (HMC), Toyota Yaris (TM), Chevrolet Cruze (GM), Ford Focus, and Volkswagen Beetle (VWAGY).

Since SUVs tend to be more profitable, automakers have been happy to make the trade.

Sticker Shock

As of July, consumers can expect to pay an average of $48,334 for a brand new set of wheels. Sticker shock for new cars is pushing more would-be buyers into the used-car market but those are getting pricier, too. According to Edmunds, only 30.6% of used vehicles were sold for less than $20,000 through the first three months of this year.

The silver lining — today’s cars last about twice as long as they did in the 1970s. Back in the day, a car was typically totaled by the time it hit 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Modern cars can easily last for up to 250,000.

As with any major purchase, it’s important to research your options, set a budget, and put systems in place so it’s faster and easier to save. If a new set of wheels is in your future, these simple steps could help you jumpstart the process.

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