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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Toyota Prius sales have been up over the last couple of months, but Toyota isn't interested in seeing them fall again. So there's a little money on the hood of each Prius. In fact, the incentives are actually discounts on option packages, and they could be anywhere from $600-$2000 in the States. Toyota is making more Prius hybrids and is seeing more competition, so this action becomes necessary to maintain sales.........

Along with pictures of botoxed and nose-jobbed S40/V50s, Volvo had some great news. Here's the background: The first S40 we saw on this side of the pond was a rehash of the Mitsbushi Carisma, but ironically it had none. It was a wagon or sedan. The average buyer's age was high and sales were accordingly low. The S40/V50 we see now shares some architecture with the Mazda3 and Euro-Ford Focus. It is a cool car with a great interior and a pleasant drive in all respects. Now 45% of S40 buyers are under 35 years of age; that's up 22%. The average age as a whole is down 10 years to 40. So good job, Volvo.........

Car magazines and other car websites will often tell you about a car that is only available on another continent. So will The Good Car Guy. The other websites make reference to its price equivalency, but GoodCarBadCar will not. And here's why. Taking the price of just about any car available in, say, England, and doing a straight conversion with the currency exchange has no bearing on what the actual price would be here IF it were to ever come across the ocean. How do I know this? Well, here's a couple examples from our
own continent first.

  • Honda Accord (United States) base price $18,625
  • Honda Accord (Canada) base price $24,800
Wait a second, $18,625 USD converts to $21,316 CDN today. So why does that say the Accord in Canada is $24,800? Could it come down to trim levels and equipment alone? Some of the reasoning could, but the price must also correlate with import costs, export costs, and the simple cost differences of selling vehicles in different countries. Another example...
  • Chevrolet Impala (United States) base price $21,700
  • Chevrolet Impala (Canada) base price $25,230
The currency exchange would have you believe - if that's all you're to believe - that the price should be $24,830 in Canada, much closer to currency reality than the Accord differential. Why? Any number of reasons.

So this becomes a real annoyance to me when one of my favourite automotive news sources says that the Renault Megane, now available with a really hot diesel, would cost $38,525 USD, were it to be available here in that form.

No, it wouldn't.
If any diesel Megane were to cost nearly $40,000, it would match the US price of a BMW 335i sedan. That same BMW in the UK would cost at least £31,000. Just out of curiosity, convert that. You get a price of over $61,000 USD.

OK, have we learned anything? The currency tells us the price in the USA would be $23,000 more than it's true $38,000 cost.
Renault UK lists that very same Megane at around £19,000, or £12,000 less than the BMW. The BMW comes to the States and costs only $7,000 above its pounds sterling price, so what makes us think the Renault would double its British price? The currency exchange; that's all. Just the currency exchange.....

Nobody in their right mind would ever say business was just money changing hands. So don't try telling me that business is just money changing countries.

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