Out with the old, reticent about the new. That’s the mood for New Year’s Day 2022. We’re tired of predictable surprises and surprising predictabilities. The world of the automobile is no exception to this cautious weariness. There have been promising developments such as EVs and self-driving technologies as well as alarming statistics showing an increase in dangerous driving habits such as distracted driving.
Worry not, dear reader(s). Here are some predictions for the New Year, as well as a few resolutions we would all be wise to keep.
Used-Car Price Crash (Maybe)
We’ve heard a lot of talk about the impending nosedive of used car prices. July saw the worst time in recorded history to buy a pre-owned vehicle. In the United States, the average price for a used car with a little less than 110,000 kilometres on it was $31,426. Used cars were selling for the same price as new ones. The pandemic caused less new stock to be available. Canadian rental companies unloaded 30-40 per cent of their vehicles and flooded the market. Then they held on to their fleets anticipating a surge in automobiles over the summer. The biggest factor in pushing up prices is the continued shortage of microchips.
All this was supposed to correct itself, and there has been a levelling. A recent report from KPMG predicts, “a 20-30 per cent plunge in used-vehicle prices is in the cards.”
Expect used car prices to lower, but don’t bet on a dramatic crash anytime soon.
Yellow Taxicab, meet Uber
If ride-sharing companies are going to thrive they must diminish their contribution to pollution. That means getting rid of the rag-tag mish mash of everyday vehicles and adopting automobiles designed specifically for ride sharing.
Consider the “Arrival Car” prototype recently unveiled by U.K.-based Arrival, which in May 2021, partnered with Uber to develop an EV designed for ride sharing.
Arrival maintains its prototype is designed to “bring clean air to urban environments where most ride-hailing mileage occurs.” The Arrival Car has twice the leg room of an average car of the same length and “prioritizes cost, uptime, driver comfort, safety, and convenience, given an average ride-hail vehicle will on average drive 45-50,000 km a year, versus 12,000 km, for a typical vehicle.”
No Automobile Manufacturer will release a 2022 or 2023 vehicle called the “Omicron.”
Suzuki is the only manufacturer that allows its customers the option of returning their new purchases. If you live in the United Kingdom, you have 14 days to change your mind and return your new Suzuki no questions asked as long as the car is returned “to the original selling dealer no later than 14 days following the day of first registration. The 14-day period starts on the day after the day of first registration.” Since the company introduced this option last year, only 30 out of a possible 15,337 customers have returned their vehicles. Look for other companies to take note.
Drive the New Porsche 911 Sport Classic at Least Once
Old is new again and I want to be a part of that. Carscoops recently caught a glimpse of Porsche’s 911 Sport Classic. It’s Porsche perfection – a new ride with all the style and class of the vintage version. It may debut in February 2022. According to Carscoops, Porsche made only 250 units of the “previous iteration (2010 Porsche 911 Sports Classic). The company sold out before the model even debuted.”
Solve the Mystery of Passenger Play
Shortly before the holidays, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an official probe of Tesla after allegations that its vehicles allow motorists to play video games while driving. The NHSTA planned to evaluate Models 3, S, X and Y produced between 2017 and 2022. The New York Times reported that an update to Tesla’s Passenger Play option added at least three games drivers could access while the car was in drive.” The car warns drivers “that playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers.”
The day after the probe was announced, Tesla said a software update that would disable the feature while driving. The NHTSA told The New York Times that, “Passenger Play will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion.”
How in this world, or world’s unknown, could anyone think it was okay to play a video game while driving?
I guess we’ll need to ask the folks at Tesla.
Divine How Getting Rid of Parking will Speed Commuting
Municipal governments want to decrease automobile use and have determined to get rid of parking spaces by allowing condo developers (read: our overlords) to construct their monstrosities without them. On Dec. 15, Toronto City Council adopted zoning bylaw amendments that “will remove most requirements for new developments to provide a minimum number of parking spaces. At the same time, limits on the number of parking spaces that can be built will be added. With a goal of building healthy and sustainable communities, this change helps better manage car dependency and strikes a balance between too much and too little parking.”
“These zoning bylaw updates encourages residents to use alternatives to the car such as walking, cycling and taking transit, which lessens traffic congestion and creates space to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and transit.”
Unfortunately, Toronto City Council is not offering its citizens enticing alternatives. The TTC is erratic, dirty, slow, crowded, opening windows in winter to allow for ventilation, and is cutting routes; oh, and by the way, we’re in the middle of another “wave.” Nothing says, “all aboard” like a virus spreading at the speed of light. Meanwhile, city council has gone to war with Uber.
Toronto is addicted to the automobile. That’s a fact.
Want to cure that? Simple – cut the cost of taking public transit. Stop sticking riders with the costs. The TTC has promised to freeze fares. So what? An adult pays $3.25 a fare for four subway lines (the TTC considers the six-stop “Scarborough” and five-stop “Sheppard” to be lines). The subway in New York City costs $2.75 for 26 lines. Rome has three lines, and its fare is 1.50 Euros ($2.18 CAD).