When it comes to naming and shaming car manufacturers and others for greedy price increases on their showcase products, I’m at the top of the queue.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for companies and individuals making reasonable profits. An unprofitable business or job is relatively little more than a hobby. But over-profitability is another matter, less palatable. Example: Elon Musk. In 2022, he boasts a net worth of about $220 billion. That’s about 186,000 billion pounds. I’m not jealous!
Does he need this level of wealth? Too many wedges for one time? He can afford to charge some of his customers less for TeslaS? No, yes and yes, I would love to object.
The richest man in the world can at least prove that he has a big heart and an even greater social conscience by selling a certain (i.e. unlimited) number of pensions. heavy grade, low specs EVs for poorer people such as key workers. And before you ask, the subsidies in question will be financed in-house, through the assets he has accumulated from the products he sells for what is generally considered a high retail price.
Badge of modest, unpretentious EVs for the less well-off and vulnerable are ‘Musks’ and/or ‘E-lons’ and he’ll be rewarded with an extra bonus for creating one or two cheap and cheerful sub-brands that comfortably hang beneath the massively more prestigious Tesla brand.
A very different kind of ‘greed’ emerges when some big enterprise companies take the lead with their too frequent price hikes. For example, the purchase cost Renaultbasic Zoe EVs have more than doubled since 2012 – admittedly when you could rent out batteries separately – and other companies have sinned by imposing massive spectacular price increases over the same period. Volvo‘S S60 almost doubled (although now it’s only sold as mixture), as well as Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Fiesta. I understand that specs and technology improve a lot from generation to generation, but from the perspective of drivers who just want to buy the latest car at the same inflation-free salary , that is simply not good, fair, justifiable, or consumer-friendly.
But what I saved up to in the end was more than encouraging, because I think it ranks as one of the best new car price news I’ve heard in years. High quality German models such as Audi‘S TT RS Roadster and Q3, Porsche‘S 911 Carrera and BMW X1 increased by only a quarter or less in the same decade.
Better still, BMW car‘S X3 deserves special recognition and praise for an increase of only a few thousand pounds – an increase of less than 10%. This means that an example purchased new today is cheaper in real terms than a version wearing the same badge back in 2012.
But the greatest bargain of all, a long way? It must be Nissan Leaf, which cost around £25,990 in 2012, but is now £26,995. A decade ago, I complained that the Leaf was twice as expensive as a basic petrol Golf. Now the two are almost the same price – so Nissan is moving prices in the right direction, while the VW brand is definitely not.
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