Is the age of the sub-$10,000 car passing?

As you've likely noticed, new cars aren't getting cheaper. Pack enough options onto a new C-segment hatchback or sedan, and it's not difficult to elevate the MSRP to $25,000 or more. At the same time, there are still plenty of B-segment and C-segment vehicles that can be had for $16,000 or less, and the base Nissan Versa can still be snagged for $9,990; albeit with zero options and no radio. The same goes for the cheapest Hyundai Accent, which starts at $9,985.

How much longer can Nissan continue to offer a new car for under $10,000? USA Today thinks those days are about over, as the 2012 Versa is set to bow at next week's New York Auto Show. The new Versa appears to be better looking and more refined than the model it replaces, making a $10,000 price tag unlikely. The new Accent is another probable candidate to drop its $10K model. It's also expected to make an appearance in New York, and should be markedly improved over the current car in all respects.

So, does the arrival of the next-generation Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent mean the end of the $10,000 vehicle? Does it even matter? While the ultra-cheap stripper models are handy marketing tools for their manufacturers, a shopper with $10,000 to spend can get a lot of car for that money on the used market. With a radio and A/C to boot.

[Source: USA Today]

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