New-car buyers left waiting four-plus months

Looking to buy a new car in Australia but struggling to find one with a reasonable delivery wait time? You’re not alone, as pandemic-related delays have gripped the automotive industry for the better part of two years. But now we have a better idea of exactly how patient you must be.

According to data published by local car pricing advice website Price My Car, January 2022 was the first month since November 2020 that the average delivery wait time for a new car decreased over the prior month, with June 2020 the previous example.

That said, the average delivery wait time for a new car in January 2022 was still 126 days, just three days shorter than the prior month. Comparatively, at the start of the pandemic in January 2020, it stood at ‘just’ 36 days, meaning it has increased 3.5 times in two years.

Of course, the protracted

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Average new-car transaction prices are up 13% this year

New cars populate the front row and obscure the street-level view of an otherwise empty new-car lot at Toyota of Orange in Orange, Calif., in November. (Getty Images)


In today’s installment of the U.S. inflation story — and how new and used vehicle prices are major factors driving it — we hear from the folks at vehicle valuator Kelley Blue Book, who note that new car prices had another modest increase in November to keep them in record territory. KBB reports that average new-car transaction prices are up more than 13% from November 2020.

People still need cars. Dealer inventories are low, due largely to the worldwide microchip shortage and other supply-chain issues (plus a growing realization on the part of both dealers and automakers that they can maintain smaller inventories going forward). So dealers have responded to that basic supply-and-demand situation in a predictable way, by holding prices at

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Why the new-car destination charge is the worst fee to pay

Unfortunately, the price you see when automakers advertise a new car isn’t the price you end up paying. We’re not even talking about taxes. We’re talking about the destination charge. Even after haggling or finding a discount to lower the car’s cost below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, a destination charge typically adds at least $1,000 to the car’s price. But why?

Consumer Reports recently examined the rise of destination fees and found they’ve climbed from an average of $839 in 2011 to $1,244 in 2020, a massive 48% increase in less than a decade. Over the same period, the price of an average new car has risen “just” 27%. I join CR in calling for destination fees to be made part of MSRP and not a footnote to it.

Ford F-150 destination fee

The destination fee is chunky, but it doesn’t even get put in bold.

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The Science of the New-Car Smell

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

Sit behind the wheel and take a deep breath. Ah, that new-car smell, right? It’s a scent so desired that it comes in bottles and air fresheners, all to help drivers recapture those first few months of new-car ownership. But what exactly is traveling into our noses from all those various automotive plastics, leathers, carpets, and seat cushions, and why do we like it so much? We like it, in part, because of what it signifies.

“What’s really interesting about the smell of anything new … there’s often a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said Dawn Goldworm, who runs 12.29, a scent-based branding and marketing company in New York City. Along with her sister Samantha, Dawn Goldworm works with top fashion houses, five-star hotels, and an A-list clientele of automotive brands to help them figure out what their brands should smell like.

Their work includes creating

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