Survey Says

Autolist Survey: Despite economic uncertainty, many car shoppers still expecting to buy in 2020

A new Autolist survey shows that American car buyers are still likely to buy a car in 2020, just not right now.

Photo by Getty Images

As the stock market see-saws between positive and negative territory on an almost daily basis, the chief question for automakers is, "Will people still buy our cars?" There's no need to produce more vehicles if no one has plans to buy the ones already on dealership lots.

A recent Autolist survey of 1,500 current car shoppers found that many had worries about the economy but were still planning on buying a vehicle at some point this year.

Respondents submitted their answers between March 2 and March 24. On March 12, the COVID-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The results received between March 2 and 11 were grouped together and those received post-pandemic announcement were grouped separately.

According to Autolist,

"Prior to the pandemic declaration on March 11, 80 percent of the car shoppers Autolist polled said they didn't expect the coronavirus to affect their decision to buy a vehicle in 2020. That number fell to 60 percent for shoppers who responded after the pandemic declaration."

Many automakers are recognizing the road ahead is uphill. They are currently offering heavy incentives and zero percent financing for qualified customers. Still, J.D. Power has revised its new vehicle sales projections for 2020 for 16.8 million sales to between 14 and 16 million, estimating that March sales will end up down around 41 percent from 2019.

Some vehicle sales companies, like Carvana, offer the opportunity to purchase a vehicle online, with very little human-to-human contact. Cadillac recently launched a virtual shopping experience and Ford is promoting low-risk vehicle maintenance services in addition to producing supplies for medical workers to use to help combat the effects of the coronavirus.

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Mitsubishi Motors North America is adding 10 new dealerships in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America

Mitsubishi Motors North America has added 10 new dealer partners to its nationwide sales network. The company is also investing in dealership upgrades and launching a number of new models in the coming year.

The list of new dealerships includes:

  • Auto World Mitsubishi in Bedford, Ohio
  • Crossroads Mitsubishi-Lumberton in Lumberton, North Carolina
  • Foundation 45 Mitsubishi in Houston, Texas
  • KDK Mitsubishi in Brunswick, Ohio
  • Nielsen Mitsubishi in Rockaway, New Jersey
  • Redondo Mitsubishi in Redondo Beach, California
  • Route 17 Mitsubishi in Ramsey, New Jersey
  • South Shore Mitsubishi in Freeport, New York
  • Team Mitsubishi – Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Jim Shorkey Mitsubishi-Youngstown in Youngstown, Ohio
Foundation 45 Mitsubishi is located just off I-45 on the east side of the interstate about halfway between Houston and Spring, Texas. It is next to CarMax.
Arrotta's Mitsubishi in Spokane, Washington also just completed construction, undergoing an extensive renovation as part of the brand's new Visual Identity Program. Dealerships that undergo renovations evolve to feature a retail space colored in muted black and gray tones with red accents. There is clean branding throughout the showroom and "Drive Your Ambition" brand messaging is present.

"We continue to invest in and improve every aspect of the vehicle shopping experience with our dealer partners, and we are thrilled to have 10 new partners join the Mitsubishi Motors brand," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer, MMNA. "2021 is a pivotal year for Mitsubishi Motors, with one all-new and three substantially revised vehicles that are now arriving in dealer showrooms. New or long-standing, it's an exciting time to be a Mitsubishi dealer, and we're looking forward to working together with all of our dealer partners to make the most of this opportunity for mutual success."

New versions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Outlander will be making their way to dealer lots in the U.S. The revised Eclipse Cross and completely redesigned Outlander are just two of the new models that Mitsubishi is planning to sell in North America this year.

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The Lamborghini Huracan EVO RWD is a fresh addition to the supercar company's lineup.

Photo by Jordan Golson

There's something about a supercar that is deeply enthralling. This is particularly true when that supercar is a Lamborghini Huracán painted in an outrageous matte purple called Viola Mel.

There's much more to a supercar than the price, but let's get that out of the way up front: My test car stickers for an honestly-quite-reasonable $278,516 after it was fitted with $66,250 worth of optional extras and an eye-watering $3,695 destination charge.

Much like the Rolls-Royce Ghost previously reviewed last week, the question of whether its "worth it" is entirely up to the potential buyer. Specifically whether or not they a: want a Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD; and b: have $278,516 to spend on a wildly impractical 610-horsepower sports car. If the answers to both are true, then yes, it's worth it.

The car's Viola Mel color attracts a lot of attention.Photo by Jordan Golson

But first, the basics: Getting in the Huracán isn't easy. And I don't just mean coming up with a house worth of cash to buy one — I mean literally climbing in. I had to teach a few people how to do it and it goes something like this: Open door; put one foot inside the footwell; set butt on the door sill; slide butt into seat; bring other foot into footwell; close door. To leave, reverse it.

It's not an elegant process and doing it in anything remotely approaching a dignified manner is tricky. But, if you do it right, your car will be painted in that Viola Mel color and folks won't be paying any attention to your haphazard attempts to not fall over when exiting the car because they'll be too busy falling in love with the paint. That's a $16,500 paint job by the way, courtesy of Lamborghini's Ad Personam customization program and words fail when trying to describe how good it looks in person.

It looks so magnificent that people think it's fake. I brought it to the weekly South OC Cars and Coffee event — ostensibly it's an impromptu car show for all manner of car enthusiasts, but an awful lot of Lambo drivers show up to show off. There were at least ten Huracáns in attendance, including a spyder in what a Porsche enthusiast would call Miami Blue — but none garnered as much attention as the Viola Mel.

Storage space is at a premium.Photo by Jordan Golson

This is what owning a supercar (or borrowing one for the weekend, in my case) is all about. Except the paint job was so outrageously unique that nearly everyone thought it was a really good wrap, or temporary vinyl covering. It costs a lot of money to have Lamborghini paint their car in such a way that it convinces people that you put a wrap on your car. And then you get to explain that no, it's not a wrap, it's paint and here let me show you this sticker under the hood that proves it's an original factory paint job. There aren't many cars that could get me going about the paint for hundreds of words, but here we are.

This was my second Huracán, and the first was wildly uncomfortable. A friend that I gave a ride to still talks about how awful it was, and that was five years ago. I wasn't sure if it was because of the car or because of the seats — but it was a little bit of both. That one had the most hardcore racing seats Lambo offers fitted to it, while this one has the mid-tier Sport Seat ($7,500). They're fairly comfortable, as sports car seats go, and are manually adjustable which is good for racing but I might skip them and get the "base" comfort seats instead unless you're going racing, in which case go for the uncomfortable race chairs.

Enough about the look; now on to that 610-horsepower V10. I'm not usually one to get emotional about the good old days, but there is something really special about a giant naturally aspirated engine that's going to be lost from the world soon due to new engine and fuel economy regulations, not to mention the advancement of technology.

The engine fires up with a ferocious bark that rattles the soul like a bolt of lightning and happily revs to terrifying heights with the slightest twitch of the throttle. The start button, hidden beneath an absurdly wonderful red missile-launcher-esque protective cover, might as well inject dopamine directly into your brain in such prodigious amounts as to make you forget about the pandemic, the fact that Trump isn't President or that he ever was (your choice), and that Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl rings and you don't.

And that's before you aim that Viola Mel nose at the nearest interstate on-ramp and punch it, Chewie.

Troubles forgotten. Smile affixed. Life ain't so bad.

At least until you have to slow down because you're well into triple digits and you haven't even merged onto the highway yet. Still. It's a good day.

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