The cost of buying a car has hit an all-time high. In the United States just five years prior, people in the market for an affordable automobile had dozens of cars to choose from. Back then, several makes and models sold for under $20,000 – but now, there is only one small car that comes equipped with a $20,000 price tag. The Mitsubishi Mirage is currently the only car whose average sale price falls under the 20 grand mark.
$20,000 may seem like a low price point, but it was once considered to be a reasonable cost for a driveable automobile. Many Americans have traded in their compact cars for trucks and SUVs in recent years, making the Mitsubishi Mirage an even less appealing car option – even though it remains the only option for a somewhat “minimal” expense.
You can drive your very own Mitsubishi Mirage off the lot for $19,205, but other versions have previously sold for a few thousand dollars less. With the average automobile cost exceeding $48,000, the Mitsubishi Mirage costs less than half of what other vehicles are sold for in the U.S.With the average automobile cost exceeding $48,000, the Mitsubishi Mirage costs less than half of what other vehicles are sold for in the U.S. The cost of cars, trucks, and SUVs has increased by more than 25% since the global pandemic in 2020.
Karen Schaeppi, a 78-year-old resident of Minneapolis, recently purchased a Mirage sedan for $19,000. Unhappy with the overall cost of cars these days, she said, “I just won’t pay that kind of price,” before adding that she chose the Mirage because of its small size. At just five feet tall, Schaeppi wanted to be able to comfortably see over the hood. When the time came to trade in her 2008 Ford Focus, Schaeppi said there were no cars available at all, let alone affordable ones. “There was nothing that existed,” she insisted. “Not even close.”
The pandemic brought on a shortage of many things – with cars being one of them. Due to the increased demand and limited supply, the price of cars kept going up. Another problem for car consumers is that 32 models sold in the United States cost more than $100,000. In 2018, only 12 models were being sold for that price. At this point, even the majority of used automobiles cost more than a brand-new Mirage. The increase in car costs may be an irritating reality to some, but others simply can’t afford to buy a car anymore. Andrew Lang of Flint, Michigan, said that he can’t afford to buy a car due to the high cost. “I don’t make enough money,” the 26-year-old said.
There are other car options that cost slightly more than $20,000. The Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Venue, and the Nissan Sentra can sell anywhere between $20,157 to $23,994 depending on the make and model. While the cost of new cars is expected to drop slightly as factories continue to make new vehicles, the $20,000 car is likely a thing of the past. When discussing the possibility of an affordable automobile coming back to the market, auto analyst Michelle Krebs doesn’t see it happening. “I can’t imagine that unless a Chinese automaker came in and sold cheap,” Krebs said. “Politically, that doesn’t seem likely,” she said.