CONSUMER

Gearhead paradise. Utah International Auto Expo opens in Sandy

Jan 13, 2023, 6:45 PM | Updated: 7:53 pm

SANDY, Utah – The 2023 Utah International Auto Expo opened Friday at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy.  People can discover hundreds of new cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, and electric vehicles throughout the holiday weekend.

When you step out on the expo floor, luxury cars, sports cars, and fully-electric trucks and SUVs are the real attention-getters.  You also find great cars if you’re looking for something under $30,000. 

“Whenever you go for the popular thing, you’re going to pay,” said Brian Moody, executive editor of Kelley Blue Book.

Keep that in mind if you’re kicking the tires for your next car and not at the expo just to soak in the latest and greatest.

“Electric cars get lots of headlines. But they’re also very expensive.  A hybrid is a way you can make the most of that technology, but still keep it within your existing budget,” he said. 

The average electric car costs $65,000.  But they make up only 5% of the market.  The average cost of all new vehicles now is $47,000.  Hybrids typically cost in between.

“But much closer to the gasoline-powered car, because the expensive thing about an electric car is the battery, and a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid has that same type of battery but it’s much smaller,” Moody said. 

Prices are up due to high demand and low production in recent years.  Also, Moody said, more people than ever before are buying luxury cars. 

“Luxury cars are making up almost 20% of the market,” he said. 

That drives up the average cost.

“It’s not that all prices are high, you can find pockets of savings and less expensive cars,” Moody said. “But, it’s not going to be luxury, and it’s not going to be the thing that everybody else wants, which is a full-size SUV or a pickup.”

There are better deals on hatchbacks and sedans like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry because demand is not as high.  Sedans typically cost $10,000 less than a similarly equipped, full-size, or mid-size SUV Moody said. “We’re talking about cars that are nicely equipped that are around $25,000 or less and still get the job done.“

The Toyota Corolla hybrid gets 50 miles per gallon with a sticker price under $25,000.  The Kia Soul, VW Jetta, and Honda HRV are also just under $25,000, and great looking cars with good technology.  They are all on the floor at the expo this weekend.

“Those types of vehicles are the ones that tend to be slightly less expensive than say a full-size truck-based SUV. Everybody wants those, those are expensive to build. So you’re going to pay more.“

If you’re waiting for the cost of new cars to come down, the executive editor of Kelley Blue Book said there’s still too much demand.  He advises to do your research online or at the auto expo where a product specialist can answer questions in a non-selling environment.  You want to have all of your information lined up before going to the dealer.

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Gearhead paradise. Utah International Auto Expo opens in Sandy