What is Pitkin County’s most popular car? Guess again | AspenTimes.com

What is Pitkin County’s most popular car? Guess again

Joel Stonington
Paul Conrad/Aspen Times Weekly

Its not unusual to see a Ferrari or a Porsche cruising Aspens streets, but though there are likely more expensive cars here than in most counties, the most popular make of personal automobile is a Toyota.In fact, you could add up every registered Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Porsche and Ferrari in Pitkin County, and the total would still not equal the number of registered Toyotas. When asked, however, people seem to mention fancy cars in Aspen just as they would mention fancy houses. Perhaps thats why fancy is often referred to as flashy people notice. Sure, theres something interesting about a car worth $561,000 the most valuable car registered in the county, a Ferrari but the 21 Ferraris registered here are nowhere near representative of the county as a whole, where the average vehicle is worth $25,105.And do we tree-hugging Aspenites love cars as much as the rest of America? We love cars quite a lot more. According to the Federal Highway Commissions 2006 statistics, there is one automobile for every five people, in Colorado and nationally. In Pitkin County, there are 1.2 vehicles per person, and that does not even include the commercial automobiles that national statistics take into account. There are enough cars registered in Pitkin County 18,039 to account for 1 percent of the total in the state while the population 14,872 is only one-third of 1 percent. Thats six times more vehicles per capita than the state average.And, of course, cars are big business in Pitkin County, with a current total taxable value of $452.8 million.Volume has increased, said Steve Zeder, general manager of Bighorn Toyota, in Glenwood Springs. Were selling more vehicles than we did three years ago and six years ago and so on. As the population of the valley increases, its increasing across the board.Zeder was not surprised to hear Toyota is the most popular make in Pitkin County. He said the diverse line of products may lead to the higher sales. Toyotas come in all shapes and sizes, and a new vehicle can be driven off the lot for anywhere from $12,000 for a Yaris sedan to $62,000 for a Land Cruiser. Weve seen some subtle changes, said Zeder. In the past few years the sensitivity towards fuel economy has become a large topic. Our Prius is one of our highest-selling vehicles.That trend bucks national leanings, where top-selling cars are generally poor on fuel economy. Only two of the 10 most popular cars in sales volume from the first half of 2007 meet federally recommended gas mileage the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic according to Automotive News. The top two vehicles, the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado, get 16 and 17 miles per gallon, respectively. County statistics do not show vehicle models, so its hard to know exactly how many cars get bad gas mileage and how many are hybrids, like the Prius. Its clear, however, that Ferraris arent purchased for fuel economy: A 12-cylinder, 6-liter Ferrari Enzo purchase price $643,000 burns a gallon every seven city miles. Of course, most cars cant do zero to 100 in 6.6 seconds. So, yeah, Aspen has a few high-end vehicles.We do a lot of stuff on BMWs, Range Rovers, stuff like that, where down in Glenwood or Grand Junction you wouldnt see that many of those, said Dan Sparkman, of D&D Auto Repair at the Aspen Business Center. Just looking out in our parking lot now, I have a Chevy Lumina, a Pontiac, a Toyota, a Rolls getting stuff on it.He said some of the truly unusual stuff he sees are the vehicles that are 10 or 15 years old with only 15,000 miles. Whereas many cars in the rest of the country are driven into the ground, second cars here are just like second homes used for a week or two each year.Some of these cars, they bought at Berthods and the farthest its been is Glenwood, he said. The car is 15 years old and has never made it past Glenwood.In fact, Sparkman said a good deal of his business comes during the spring and fall, when property managers are getting cars ready for people to use them. Huba Topai, at Swedish Asian and Beyond, a repair shop in Glenwood, said he too sees a large number of fairly well-kept cars. But, he mentioned, some of the crap that we see would probably average it out.He was surprised by the statistics of top cars in Pitkin County, where there are fewer than half as many Subarus as Toyotas and only 185 Saabs are registered. I can understand Toyota, but I would think Volvo and Audi would be up there too, he said. I would think there are more Subarus than Volvos.Topai, too, noted the issue with gas mileage and said he would like to see a trend back toward front-wheel drive. Unfortunately, he said, hes seeing more and more SUVs in the area and more vehicles with all-wheel drive. Our society should get back into the trend of saving gas, Topai said. Smaller engines and front-wheel drive works just fine. Thats certainly a way to decrease maintenance and decrease gas-mileage costs. The engines seem to be getting bigger and bigger.Joel Stoningtons e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.comTop 10 most popular vehicles in the U.S.1) Ford F-1502) Chevrolet Silverado3) Toyota Camry4) Toyota Corolla5) Dodge Ram6) Honda Accord7) Chevrolet Impala8) Honda Civic9) Nissan Altima10) Honda CR-V from Automotive News, based on sales volume from the first half of 2007Most popular car makes in Pitkin County Hummer31$49,643 Jaguar50$36,817 Mazda88$15,285 Acura96$26,922 Pontiac102$17,010 Cadillac117$38,233 Isuzu124$20,050 Saab185$25,675 Porsche217$55,551 Chrysler219$13,541 Range Rover224$42,423 BMW250$38,018 Mercedes-Benz298$45,819 Lexus337$42,422 Land Rover344$47,883 Volvo346$31,696 Nissan445$20,245 Volkswagon589$20,032 Dodge615$21,800 Audi668$36,391 Honda714$17,725 GMC1,057$28,814 Subaru1,134$19,918 Chevrolet1,629$22,245 Jeep2,336$21,539 Ford2,435$21,263 Toyota2,522$22,811 Pitkin County statsPersonal vehicles registered in Pitkin County: 18,039Cars per capita: 1.2Vehicles registered in Colorado (2006): 1.8 millionVehicles registered in the U.S. (2006): 241 millionTotal value of vehicles in Pitkin County: $452.8 millionAverage value: $25,105Median value: $22,954 (1995 Toyota SUV)Oldest car registered: 1925 Ford Coupe, $500 valueRegistered cars made before 1950: 60Most valuable registered cars made before 19701953 Jaguar coupe, $23,8001957 Jaguar coupe, $16,9501954 Rolls Royce sedan, $16,0001950 Jaguar convertible, $16,000Most valuable registered cars overall2003 Ferrari coupe, $561,0001995 Ferrari coupe, $413,9502005 Porsche coupe, $375,7901973 Ferrari coupe, $317,5002004 Ferrari coupe, $204,125Highest value, by car makeChrysler219$13,541 Mazda88$15,285 Pontiac102$17,010 Honda714$17,725 Subaru1,134$19,918 Volkswagen589$20,032 Isuzu124$20,050 Nissan445$20,245 Ford2,435$21,263 Jeep2,336$21,539 Dodge615$21,800 Chevrolet1,629$22,245 Toyota2,522$22,811 Saab185$25,675 Acura96$26,922 GMC1,057$28,814 Volvo346$31,696 Audi668$36,391 Jaguar50$36,817 BMW250$38,018 Cadillac117$38,233 Lexus337$42,422 Range Rover224$42,423 Mercedes-Benz298$45,819 Land Rover344$47,883 Hummer31$49,643 Porsche217$55,551 Ferrari21$149,926