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Auto tariffs likely to send used car prices higher, experts say



taxes increase on vehicles

Prepare to pay more for your used car.

If the U.S. Commerce Department adopts President Donald Trump’s proposal of a 25 percent tax on imported new cars and car parts, the higher costs for carmakers to assemble and sell new cars could boost demand for used vehicles, analysts predict.

“The parts would be the most affected for sure, assuming that the administration will put tariffs in place for parts as well,” said Augusto Amorim, senior manager for Americas vehicle sales forecasts at LMC Automotive in Troy. “I don’t think they’d consider any tariff on the used car at this point.”

Automakers have warned their costs to build, and subsequently sell, new cars will rise. That’s because every car assembled in the U.S. contains a large percentage of foreign parts, analysts said.

Toyota has said the costs of its cars could rise by thousands. General Motors last week said it would be forced to downsize and cut jobs.

Carmakers of course could choose absorb some of a 25 percent duty and not raise prices that much, said Maryann Keller, principal of Maryann Keller & Associates in the New York area

“If a car doesn’t have a lot of imported content, they might raise prices slightly and over time adjust it” depending on the imported parts in the vehicle.

For example, a Mercedes S-class sedan is fully imported, so a 25 percent duty on it would make it “incredibly expensive,” Keller said. The 2018 S-class starts at $89,900.

“Would Mercedes raise the price on that car by 25 percent? I don’t think so,” she said. “They may decide it’s more important to maintain sales. The more likely action would be a measured price increase across all models.”

But even a nominal hike across all the models, Keller said, might be enough to push customers into the used market.

And if a new car is priced higher, its rate of depreciation is now starting at a higher point, said Keller. This will bump up prices on late-model used cars.

Secondly, there are the simple laws of supply and demand, said Ivan Drury, senior manager of industry analysis for Edmunds in Santa Monica, California.

“The used market could be injected with millions of consumers it never had before,” Drury said. “It will cause a huge uptick in demand and we will see prices go up across the board for used cars.”

The supply of used cars might be hit further if the U.S.-Canadian currency exchange rate suffers. Car dealers in Canada regularly send thousands of used cars to the U.S. to sell at auto auctions. It’s lucrative for them because the U.S. dollar is stronger than Canadian currency. But that influx of used cars from Canada could freeze depending on what happens with tariffs, said Amorim.

“If the U.S were to impose this tariff, how Canada would retaliate and how that would impact the currency” isn’t known, said Amorim. “We’d have to see the ratio between the U.S. dollar and the Canadian dollar and if that differs, we could see a higher or lower influx of used cars from Canada.”

Likewise, if consumers can’t afford new cars, new car sales will decline, reducing the number of trade-ins and making the used car supply tighter, said Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at Cox Automotive.

If 1 million customers switch to the used car market, the average transaction price could rise about 10 percent, said Drury. The average price of a used car is about $20,000, meaning it would go up by at least $2,000, he said.

The U.S. used car market is already on pace for 39.5 million sales this year, said Charlie Chesbrough, Manheim’s senior economist and senior director of industry insights. By comparison, 16.8 million new vehicles are expected to be sold in the U.S. this year.

Besides the potential impact of tariffs, rising interest rates will pull some consumers out of the new car market altogether or push them into used vehicles, Chesbrough said. That’s because a new-car lease costs about $480 a month. The average loan to buy a new car is about $540 a month. But the average loan to buy a used car is about $400, he said.

If interest rates continue to rise, those monthly payments will continue to swell, making used cars considerably more attractive for many consumers, said Chesbrough.

Keller said despite a consumer shift to the used market, “There isn’t going to be a flame-out, the markets will adjust.”

Drury agrees the rise in the prices for used cars won’t be severe enough to dissuade consumers, analysts said.

“They’ll be a fit there, but they’ll pay the price,” Drury added.

Ultimately, though, “Everything’s a lot of speculation at this point,” said Amorim. “Nobody knows what the administration will do. We think these tariffs, at such a big increase, would be bad for the overall market” new or used cars.


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Couple arrested in fatal 2016 attack on Long Island woman




couple arrested in fatal 2016

A former New York City correction officer and his 21-year-old girlfriend have been charged in the fatal beating of the woman’s mother on Long Island.

Nassau County police say 27-year-old Ralph Keppler and 21-year-old Francesca Kiel, both of Lynbrook, were arrested Sunday on murder charges.

Police say the victim, 56-year-old Theresa Kiel, was brutally attacked and struck in the face with a metal barbell at her apartment in Long Beach in December of 2016. She lost and eye and remained in a vegetative state until she died this Saturday.
Prosecutors had alleged the motive to be a business dispute.

Keppler had been charged back in January with attempted murder and assault and was out on bail. His lawyer says he’s innocent.

Information on Francesca Kiel’s lawyer wasn’t immediately available. Both Defendants were scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in First District Court in Hempstead.


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Woman Beaten in Subway Station by Man Yelling Racially Charged Words: Family, Police




woman beaten in subway

A woman was punched and stabbed when she got off the subway in Brooklyn by a man yelling racially charged words, her family and police said.

The victim, 57-year-old Ann Marie Washington, was hospitalized Sunday after having surgery for a collapsed lung due to the stabbing, her family told NBC 4 New York.

Washington, a mother of two, was on her way home from work Friday evening and had just stepped off the subway at the Church Avenue stop in Brooklyn when she was attacked, advocates said.

The man, who was white, punched her in the mouth and stabbed her in the chest while calling her a “black b—-,” advocates said. Washington, who is black, is a native of Trinidad.
The attacker fled on a Q train, police said. The victim said he appeared to be in his early 30s, about 5-feet, 3-inches tall, and wearing grey and black sweatpants and a black hooded sweatshirt.

Police didn’t initially call the attack a hate crime, leading to outrage from neighborhood advocates who held a news conference Sunday.

“If this was a white resident, a new gentrifier to this neighborhood, there would be swarms of cops here,” said Imani Henry of Equality for Flatbush. “But when it is a black person who is attacked by a white racist, there isn’t anything.”
Afterward, the NYPD said its Hate Crimes Taskforce would look into it. Police said they didn’t have all the details at the time the crime was reported.

Washington didn’t realize she had been stabbed until she got home, advocates said. Even then, she thought she had been scratched in the chest until she woke up the next morning, said Kenzia Bernard Nau, a witness and a neighborhood advocate.

Advocates said witnesses shot video and there should be surveillance video of the suspect, but police haven’t released it.
“The fact that the video isn’t out right now, this is completely insane,” Bernard Nau said. “This is going to keep happening.”


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It’s back: NYC’s rare Mandarin duck makes grand return to Central Park




mandarin duck

The Mandarin duck that has caused crowds of people from around the world to flock to Central Park has made its grand return after a brief disappearance.

The duck, native to Asia, was first spotted in the Central Park Pond at 60th Street and 5th Avenue on Oct. 10. Tourists and New Yorkers alike couldn’t resist the urge to see the bird for themselves and headed to the park in search of the rare bird.

After making appearances at multiple bodies of water in the area, some cried “fowl play” when the bird seemed to suddenly disappear earlier this week.

The NYC Parks Department released the following statement:

“While we are not tracking the Mandarin duck, we’ve noted that he’s appeared healthy and has regularly moved between water bodies in Central Park. We don’t know his exact location at this time. Almost all ducks migrate seasonally. While we’re happy to have had him visit our parks, it’s important to remember that at some point he may leave New York for warmer temperatures.”

As long as the duck doesn’t appear injured or in need of care, rangers will not make an attempt to capture it.

“While it’s exciting to spot such a rare bird in NYC’s backyard, like every other celebrity sighting, New Yorkers should know to give him space and not to disturb him,” Deputy Director of the Urban Park Rangers John McCoy said.

It remains a mystery how exactly the duck ended up in Central Park. There has been some speculation he may have formerly been a pet, but he has since effortlessly been adopted into the park’s urban flock.

By Thursday afternoon, social media was abuzz with the bird’s return to its home base in the park.


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