What’s been happening in the world of cars and peeking into the future!
With the Pandemic seemingly under control, the motor industry was still trying to find its feet again after being virtually shut down for the previous years, but there were more shocks to come. Hopes that severe supply shortages due to a lack of computer chip components, would abate, were quickly dashed when Russia invaded Ukraine and scarcity hit even harder. Aluminium and steel supplies were also reduced.
Meanwhile fuel prices rocketed, reaching over £2 a litre for diesel and almost as much for petrol. Although the rise in energy bills hadn’t yet happened, the early part of the year saw demand for electric cars up over 100%.
We Finally Fell in Love with EVs
Almost all the manufacturers now offer enticing EVs. Even smaller boutique sports car manufacturers such as Lotus announced the Emira would be its last petrol car and revealed its new EV, it’s first family SUV, the Eletre.
At the other end Rolls-Royce confirmed its first all-electric hyper-luxury car, the Spectre two-door coupe, while the latest ID product from VW was the rebirth of its classic minibus as the EV ID.Buzz.
Nissan followed up its super-successful Leaf EV with the Ariya, an electric medium-sized SUV, China announced its presence at the EV party with the fun but practical and very clever Ora Funky Cat from GWM (Great Wall Motors), while MG stunned rivals by pricing its MG4 crossover EV from just £26k.
Motoring News from Pakistan & India
Talking of EV prices coming down, India’s Tata announced several forthcoming EVs for the domestic market, including the Tiago.EV which will sell for the equivalent of less than £10k.
Not to be outdone, the DICE Foundation is developing Pakistan’s first home-grown compact EV, the Jaxeri Nur-E and we were even there for the unveiling in Karachi.
Murtaza Mandviwalla authored the first comprehensive book on the automotive history and car culture of Pakistan, ‘Steering the Pakistani Wheel’ and Shoaib Qureshy launched the country’s first virtual classic car museum, listing 100 rare and collectible cars in Pakistan.
Best New Petrol Cars
The most sensible, useable and exciting new supercar of the year turned out to be the McLaren GT we reviewed, although its sibling, the hybrid Artura promises to be even better.
Alfa Romeo’s junior SUV, the Tonale piqued our interest, as did the all-new petrol Ford Ranger Raptor, the new Honda Civic will surely be brilliant, but we really found ourselves salivating at the sight of the Type R version. Similarly, the new BMW M2 may not be the prettiest, but it’s sure to be an exciting drive.
Market was up and… well, up again!
With low supply and high demand, despite the cost-of-living crisis, accelerated by the antics of our shortest-lived Prime Minister ever, Liz Truss, new prices continue to reach for the skies. The aforementioned Civic Type R gets a jaw-dropping price tag of £47,000 (the previous car was around £35k!). Meanwhile even a humble new Vauxhall Astra now starts at over £25k. As for used cars, the average price is now £17k with increases of just under 20% year-on-year.
The good news is, your car is holding its value, if not actually appreciating. The bad news is it’ll still cost you more money to switch into a newer car.
Great Cars that Died in 2022
As happens every year, several cars either ceased production or were replaced, but there were some surprising gems we lost too in 2022. Possibly the biggest surprise, was the Ford Fiesta. Especially as it was Britain’s top selling car for 12 years up to 2020. It’s part of the fabric of the carscape of the UK.
But as Ford transitions to introducing an EV line-up, prices for small cars increase out of the range of the typical buyer, and profitability plunges, we’ll see more compact cars of this ilk phased out. Sadly, that means one of the best hot hatches on the market, the Fiesta ST is also gone.
As BMW introduces more and more electric variants, it’s pioneering little i3 was consigned to the museum, as was Kia’s game-changing sports saloon, the stunningly competent Kia Stinger. The popular Korean car company’s performance flagship made way for the very quick electric EV6 GT.
Mercedes is starting to retire its V8 engine, which saw the end of several products including from its desirable AMG portfolio. While there is a new C63 AMG, it’s no longer a V8, and the beautiful AMG GT coupe and cabriolet are also discontinued.
Further up the scale, the spectacular and successful Lamborghini Aventador was also sent to pasture and we await with baited-breath to see what replaces it next year. Meanwhile Rolls-Royce lost both the Dawn convertible and Wraith coupe, which were based on the previous generation Ghost and Phantom respectively.
Predictions for 2023
New car prices are likely to stay high and potentially rise further as supply constraints will continue to last well into 2023 and are only predicted to start easing in the second half. This will continue to have a knock-on effect on used car prices, especially cars up to 5 years old.
Many major manufacturers will continue to electrify more and more of their offerings, as further petrol and diesel cars will be killed off. Don’t be surprised to see entire brands disappear from our market as giant groups, such as Stellantis, seek to consolidate – there are already dire warnings regarding Vauxhall.
Along with more electric cars, there will be more technology, and particularly smart technology in our cars, and while the driverless, fully autonomous vehicle is still some years away, we will see more ‘assistance’ features, including driver monitoring, car tracking and more voice activation plus cars that will talk back to you!
Don’t be surprised if we see the introduction on pay-on-demand or subscription services for some optional features in cars, such heated seats and sat nav – oh yes, that’s already being introduced in some countries.
Classic Cars to Buy for Investment and Fun
If the infestation of new tech is making you shudder and pine for the old days, all is not lost, because the classic car market is busy and booming. Classic car values are rising, but there’s still plenty of great value modern classics and a highly active support network of specialist garages and parts-suppliers to keep them on the road.
While not all classic cars prove ideal as daily drivers or commuters, many remain useable on a more than occasional basis, as I have proven with my own 1989 BMW E30 325i (follow #BCGBMWE30 on social media, and see my full blog on BrownCarGuy.com).
And talking of E30s, they make ideal classics that will serve you well both in terms of transport duties and investment. Spend at least £10k for good examples, plus budget around £3-5k for annual repair and maintenance costs, and take comfort in an 18% appreciation of values annually. Plus, the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ tag remains true, and they’re cooler now than they ever were!
Also look at classic Volkswagen Beetles, they’re making something of a comeback. Having historically been the world’s best-selling car, there’s still plenty about, though not as many as there used to. But they can be a blank canvas, so you can update, customise and restomod them to your personal requirements and tastes.
Other cars to consider are Ford Fiestas (with the nameplate now extinct, all good examples will become collectible), the Lotus Elise or Exige (among the best driver’s cars on the planet and Lotus have stopped making them), any older Saab (not from the later GM-owned era though) and if you want to lord it in style, go for the 1980s Bentley Turbo R. Supreme class, graceful performance, unbeatable prestige, but big bills. Budget at least £20k to buy, and £10k for annual bills.
Best new and used cars to buy in 2023
Small Car – The Honda Jazz is amazingly spacious and versatile, but also features a clever hybrid system. If you want go smaller, check out the Kia Picanto (Kia topped the JD Power Dependability Survey last year) and of course the Toyota Aygo X. The Mini Electric is also a fun car for the city, while the VW ID.3 is at the upper end of the small car spectrum.
Family Car – MG4 EV is just about the best budget family electric car at the moment, great style and a thoroughly modern interior, but it’s the value that appeals most. Talking of value, you can’t go wrong with a Suzuki S-Cross. Also consider the new Nissan Ariya EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Sports Car – The Alpine 110 GT remains a hoot to drive, as does the Mazda MX-5, which pretty much is the default choice in the segment. See also the Toyota GR Yaris and GR 86 although supply for the latter is limited. For more power, standby for the forthcoming all-new Ford Mustang. For thoroughbreds, see the Lotus Emira.
Supercar – By all accounts the McLaren Artura should be on your list, along with any current Ferrari. This year will be your last chance to buy an Audi R8 as it will be phased out, but it’s also the best bargain used supercar with prices from just £35,000.
Off-Roader – As an urban off-roader, consider a used Suzuki Jimny, or for something bigger and more capable, a Jeep Wrangler. The new Nissan X-Trail can properly all-road too now. For craziness, await the new Ford Ranger Raptor.
Luxury Car – The EQS from Mercedes (it’s EV equivalent of the S-Class) should definitely be on your list, but make sure you spend more, a lot more, for the full width digital screen. BMW’s iX will astonish you, not just with its opulence, but its crystal-cut buttons. The Rolls-Royce Ghost is supremely ostentation but still real-world usable, while the new must-have top luxury SUV will be the Ferrari Purosangue.