The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Car Price Inflation:
The Wild, Wild West

May 29, 2023

The multi-millionaire owners of nine car dealerships in the Washington, D.C. area will have to pay a total of more than 3.3 million dollars to over 18,000 people to make up for illegally adding unnecessary fees onto car prices, according to a settlement announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Passport Auto Group also discriminated against Black and Latino customers by charging them hundreds of dollars more for loans. The FTC claims this is only one of dozens of its legal actions which forced different kinds of retailers around the country to repay over 392 million dollars last year alone. So, the regulatory system works, right?

Not so much when you remember that this only saved people in this county just over one dollar each last year. Inflation was a lot higher than that! And in terms of cars specifically, new car prices jumped nearly $12,000 in the last five years. Used cars shot up nearly $9,000 in that time. Above and beyond prices rising because the chip shortage kept inventories low, dealers also jacked up delivery fees and other dealer additions while not offering the usual discounts, simply to make more profit. Average new vehicle profit margins more than doubled from 2019 to 2022. All of this was totally legal and outside of government regulatory control.

Working people can’t rely on the government to fight inflation. We have to make the fight ourselves for wages and retirement benefits that keep up with high prices.