There are sub-$10,000 new cars out there, but you can’t have them

Remember the “low-priced three”? Younger readers will recoil at the notion, but until fairly recently it was common for products to be unashamedly marketed on their purchase price and/or cost of ownership. This was particularly true of cars, which were relatively short-lived and expensive items. So you had the “low-priced three” of Ford, Chevrolet, and Plymouth. The phrase even appeared in advertising during the ’60s.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/04/23/avoidable-contact-sub-10k-cars-we-cant-have

There are many things wrong with America, but not being able to buy a Dacia Logan is not one of them. Used cars exist for people who can’t afford a new car. I get that everything should be built in America, but as long as know-nothing-but-greed Wall Street types continue to pull the strings, companies will continue to outsource production.

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Think of the Dacia Logan as the “Habitat for Humanity” built housing of the automotive world. Used car pricing seemed to spike after “Cash for Clunkers” and values have been buoyant ever since. By the time cars are affordable for lower income people they are often woefully behind modern safety standards. Thus, a Dacia Logan or budget Cruize would bring modern safety standards and a warranty to a lower income bracket.

Let them eat cake indeed.

Well, chevy makes the spark and it lists for right around $11,000 dollars for the base model. Manual trans, crank windows, manual locks. It’s not a bad driver either; the little vvt 16 valve twin cam 4 makes good usable torque and plenty of power for the car, and at idle it is silent. Had to check the tach to see if it was running a few times. Being only about 2300 pounds, it’s a blast to toss around, plus with ten airbags and great gas mileage (if you shift when it tells you to…)it’s a sensible alternative to a used car for less money than most. It’s not the fastest out of the gate but keep the revs up and it’s allot of fun! Cheap doesn’t have to be boring or unpleasant, I think Chevy did a great job with this and I’m surprised they even sell it in the US, even if it’s main purpose is to bring first time buyers to the dealership and the brand for an up sell which works. I’d consider buying a chevy again. More manufacturers should take this approach. We might get some great competition in the low cost sector, and the companies would be providing an affordable alternative to folks who can’t or just don’t want to spend so much money on a car.


@64.snyder - Interesting. I can’t say I have seen the true base car like that one, could only imagine dealers don’t want to stock them. Did you have to order yours?

LOL at the blanket statement “used cars are for people who cannot afford new cars”. 1) This is Hagerty, car enthusiasts abound, 2) the ability to spend $20K+ on a new car still does not present itself as the wisest financial decision.

Nope. They had few on the lot. Several colors to choose from. The fabric seats in the base model are even nicer than the fake leather/vinyl! All in all just a good job by the general.

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Dacia Logan, Dacia Sanders with the outback loonibg package, Dacia Duster and Duster pick up and you have a full range. With manual transmissions too!

BTW I love the Chevy Spark but it is very small. The Logan (available in sedan and wagon) is more compact sized.

Didn’t they also make an EV only version of the Spark?

Or is that just the bolt?

Haven’t been into a Chevy dealership this century yet. Perhaps I should.

My local Dacia dealer here in Scotland can’t get enough of these, but the best seller is the Duster, which comes with 4WD, manual shift, AC, electric (front) windows and comfortable fabric seats, for a (not) massive US$17,800.

I still have high hopes for the Elio 3-wheeler. I receive emails from them twice a week and their site is still active @ eliomotors.com, so they haven’t completely disappeared. I would choose an Elio over a Spark or anything else mentioned so far.

I have a problem with auto makers dictating what I want on my new car. I just bought the last new car of my life, a 4Runner and I chose that model because I’m expected to stay in my lane and I’m expected to stop if someone pulls out or walks out in front of me. Driving is an interactive experience and one to be enjoyed.

There was a sweet spot in automotive manufacturing in the late 90s and early 2000s, great technology, great engine management for both power and economy, and great safety. Today we’re forced to buy what the manufacturer thinks we want. In the end, I’d love to buy a 4 door Toyota truck with 4 wheel drive and a 4 cylinder Diesel with wind up windows and maybe some AC, but, no can do, Toyota USA want’s be to have all that other stuff.

there is no reason that the automakers can’t build a basic car. my wife and I bought a '17 Chevy Traverse. it was built in Lansing, MI and we got the most basic one they had on the lot (maybe should have ordered?). still, it cost 40 grand and has stuff we could do without. like heated seats, satellite radio, back-up camera, I could go on and on. a basic car would enable young folk to afford a new car. sometimes a used car, even a certified one, can be a disaster (been there, done that, got the t-shirt).


The backup camera is now a federal mandate here in the U.S.

You didn’t say whether or not it was a stick or automatic.

Other “features” are added for the financials of the dealership, or the manufacturer.

Satellite radio-remember is a subscription based model.

And remember, the more options on a car, the more that can break and the more that the dealership can try and get at you for repairs…

Sometimes, newer isn’t necessarily better.


Plus 1 on the Chevy Spark. I purchased a new one in 2017 and honestly have embarrassed a few German sports cars with it. just recently I have had a Mk 7 GTI swinging wide in the corners to try to keep up with me. Def get the base 5 speed manual as it’s a lot quicker than the CVT version used in all the tests on this car. The current Spark is actually an Opel design. In the 2017 Consumer Reports new car guide, it was like the 7th fastest of all the 250 or so cars tested in their slalom test, keeping right up there with the Corvette. I also can get 50 plus mpg at 55-60 mph if I baby it a bit with no hills. Get one while you can! BTW, appreciate Jack Baruth’s honesty and “pull no punches” writing style. Thanks-

Have four vehicles, the youngest is thirty, wish it were forty. Not interested in late model anything

We bought our Jetta TSi brand new a couple of years ago for $11,500 out the door. It’s a 5 speed, they had three on the lot and I suspect the manual trans had a lot to do with the low price.It’s quick, comfortable, handles well, great mileage, has the usual power windows,power steering, cruise, bluetooth,etc. like all Jettas. True, it has a cloth interior (easier upkeep) and no seat heaters (who needs them in the Bay Area?) but I thought it was a great bargain

The Chevy Spark is NOT an OPEL design. The Opel Karl was a derivative of the Chevy Spark as is the new VINFAST A Segment entry in Vietnam. I don’t know about the latest pricing in the U.S. but did see them in Canada for less than $10K U.S. It can do well in the 2nd Gen with an M/T & 1.4L. There was an EV version of the 1st Gen that was a rocket from 0 to 75 MPH before petering out. Biggest issue is that the UAW & GM don’t really want to sell many - just look at the lack of promotion.
Signed, Jack, (Global Vehicle Line Executive of both 1st & 2nd Gen Sparks) BTW - I am 6’4” & Sparks are more comfy than my Z3 and some other cars)

Additional FYI. Both Generation Sparks were styled and engineered in Korea. The 1st Gen IC was never intended for the U.S. but was re-engineered for import. Greatly exceeded sales targets (and sales of FCA Fiat 500 & Scion IQ competitors). EV (1st GM EV to be sold) was another re-engineering project. The 2nd Gen was more of clean sheet & included U.S. plans from beginning - hence the bigger engine. It was deemed best Mini in Europe upon introduction.

Traverse doesn’t even offer a stick