If your head has not been too far in the “I’m-sick-of-bad-news” sand lately, you’ve likely heard talk of rising auto prices, limited supply and even closing plants due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Here at CarWoo!, we’ve been keeping close watch of the marketplace trends, charting the discounts our dealers offer our buyers to see if these rumors are coming true. While it may be a bit early to be sure about some patterns, we have found one interesting tidbit in our research - the recent decrease in car savings actually originates much more with to the rebellions in the Middle East and North Africa; and it was only exacerbated by the earthquake in Japan.
How do we figure? Well, when looking at the offer prices for new Prii in the CarWoo! marketplace, we found that actual dollar savings began to decrease in late February, just a few days after the rebellion in Egypt grew serious, and weeks before the earthquake in Japan. And if you follow the graphs below, you’ll see that dollar savings continued to fall at the same rate, even after the earthquake in Japan.
And, as follows, when we calculated the percentage savings for new Prii, the same pattern emerged. This graph looks even more exaggerated due to the scale, but savings dropped from around eight percent in mid-to-late February to almost zero percent in early March. In other words earthquake simply worsened an already bad situation.
This data is especially interesting because it clearly demonstrates the effect that world events have on the auto marketplace.
The demands for the fuel-efficient Prius rose in February, along with the price of gasoline. But most dealers still haven’t felt the full effects of the earthquake on their inventory, as it may be weeks, even months, before the backlog reaches most showroom floors. So if you’re currently in the market for a new Prius (or, any fuel-efficient car, really), look to North Africa and the Middle East for the real cause of current rising prices.