As we bid a not-so-fond farewell to 2021 and put all of our collective hopes and dreams into whatever basket of crazy 2022 holds in store, it’s time to take one more look back at all the cars, the price tags, and the votes that made up Nice Price or No Dice in 2021.
This is our fifth soirée recapping our weekday contest of cars, prices, and crazy ads. And while it wasn’t as surreal a year as 2020, it was still a pretty crazy year. At least we all survived. I mean, I assume that since you’re reading these words that I’m writing that you’re still among the living. If you’re not reading this because, sadly, you passed away, then my condolences to you and yours. I hope someone cleared your browser history for you.
Of course, I’m happy that you’re all here reading this. After all, you’re why we put on this crazy contest every weekday excluding holidays and the occasional minor apocalypse. Let me just say thanks to one and all of you for sticking around and participating in both comments and votes. You make this all worth doing.
Before we get into the numbers let’s go over a few assumptions I made in compiling the 2021 data. When I calculated things like country of origin, I did so based on the manufacturer’s country, not the car’s. That means that a Volkswagen built in Mexico would still be classified as a German car. I also took some liberties with the years on replica cars, estimating the build year rather than the target model year so things like an MGTD built in the ’80s gets slotted into that decade rather than the ’50s. Finally, all Canadian price tags have been converted to freedom bucks for simplicities sake.
Okay, now on to the stats!
The least surprising thing about the chart above is how heavily weighted our contest was in 2021 toward the U.S.A., Germany, and Japan. After all, those three countries are home to some of the biggest and most iconic brands in all of automotivedom. Since we’re mostly based here in the U.S. and because a lot of the cars we looked at came from viewers like you, it’s a pretty safe bet to expect America to have come out on top.
We did have a pretty good showing from a number of other auto-making nations as well as from Canada, which may not be well known for its native car models but still does make a lot of cars in general.
What year were you born? Take a look at the chart above and see if you fall into our more popular decades or if you’re... well, more unique.
At 34 percent, the 1990s proved to be our most popular decade. That seems perfectly logical since that’s a momma bear era — not too old to be ancient and not too new to be crazy expensive. The next most popular decade was the aughts, with 25 percent. The ’80s accounted for 17 percent, also making for a good showing. We filled out the year with a few candidates from earlier decades, but those tended to be far fewer in number.
The whole object of our contest is to determine value — a vehicle’s worth in relation to its presented cost. In 2021, we looked at $3,363,306 worth of cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, and one motorcycle. Admittedly, that motorcycle was a Honda Goldwing and those are big enough to count extra.
The average price of all our cars worked out to be $13,897, which should be considered a bargain after seeing that the average used car price in the U.S. these days is around $27,500. See? We’re saving people money right from the get-go. The 2021 average is only incrementally higher than the $13,551 we averaged in 2020.
As for extremes, the lowest-priced vehicle we looked at was the 2000 Audi TT Gambler we considered in May. The seller asked only $800 for the car, although to be fair, there wasn’t all that much left to the road warrior wannabe. Still, it won your hearts and a Nice Price win.
At the other end of the stripper’s g-string, this past October we looked at a 2015 Mercedes-Benz G63 that wanted $95,000 to put some bling in your driveway.
Now, Geländewagens on the whole continue to bring bank, but this extrovertedly-optioned edition was way too much for most of you in both execution and price, leading to a not-so-fancy No Dice loss.
Considering that a lot of our candidates come from your suggestions, I’d have to say that, as a whole, we do not represent the average car buyer of today.
If we did, instead of the broad panoply of cars and trucks we see, the chart above would be a single long line next to “SUV” and maybe a bit of a bump next to “Pickup.”
Instead, we looked at a bunch of cars that some would say are unfashionable these days, including coupes (32 of them), hot hatches (5 in total), and our beloved wagons (19).
Perhaps most heartwarming was that our most popular category of the year, making up almost 20 percent of our total candidates, was sports cars. We also looked at a slew of sedans, and enough SUVs so that the neighbors wouldn’t think we’re total weirdos.
Perhaps more important than the type of vehicle is the brand. After all, most of us have some sort of brand affinity. I know I do. I’m not sure exactly what this chart says, except that, like in any year, we looked at a lot of BMWs. Twenty one of them to be exact. Heck, that’s almost two a month. I hope you didn’t get tired of them. We also looked at a lot of Chevies (22) and Fords (21, sorry Ford the Bow Tie folks edged you out). In total, we looked at 57 different brands last year, from all around the globe.
You know, I don’t know what is the more enjoyable aspect of Nice Price or No Dice for me, the actual voting or the comments you all leave in support of those votes. Since the comments are harder to quantify and because I am too lazy to do so, we’re going to stick with the votes.
This year, you all voted a remarkable 1,058,382 times. That works out to about 120 votes per hour, 24/7/365. Man, you all must be wicked tired!
As you might expect in a year where used car prices, in general, have gone bonkers, most of those votes over the past year swayed to the negative. Overall, we saw 83 Nice Price wins, 159 No Dice losses, and amazingly, one 50/50 tie.
Our most popularly priced car proved to be the $6,350 2006 Volvo C70 convertible we considered in August. That earned an amazing 91.8 percent Nice Price win
At 96.8 percent each, the biggest losers proved to be a tie between the 1987 Jeep Comanche and 2007 Cadillac Escalade that, in an odd happenstance, we looked at back to back in early January. Priced at $6,000 and $28,000 respectively, neither truck could haul home the love.
Speaking of odd coincidences, our narrowest victory and defeat were cars that both originally came from Lotus but under our contest were versions offered up by other makers. The win was earned by the 1965 Lotus Seven replica for $4,750 we reviewed in April. That tiny-car-that-could squeaked by with a 50.2 percent thumb’s up vote. The loss came by way of the $7,035 1998 Kia Elan Vigato ( i.e. former Lotus Elan) from September, which came up narrowly short in a 50.7 percent loss.
The tie was the $35,000 2013 Aston Martin V8 Vantage that came our way in November, but honestly, that very possibly was a scam so I feel bad even including it.
Last year’s most popular car, as anointed by you through the number of votes, was a Porsche Panamera. I guess there must be something in the water there is Stuttgart since this year’s winner is also a Porsche, the 2005 911 Carrera S we considered all the way back in February.
While not earning the popularity contest when it came to the vote, the 1995 Ferrari 456 GT that came up to bat in March did prove to be the most talked about. That generated over 264 comments (the top vote-getting 911 managed a mere 173) which makes the big Ferrari coupe the gossip king.
The Ferrari’s non-traditional but oh so sexy color scheme may have had something to do with all the chatter. Perhaps its $65,000 asking price helped it along too.
So, as they say, down Hollywood way, let’s break for lunch. No, wait, what they really say is that’s a wrap. Yeah, that’s a wrap. And nicely, we don’t have to fix anything in post-production!
Before I sign off, however, I want to tell you all once again how much I appreciate you and the fact that you come here every day to be part of NPOND. It makes it all worthwhile knowing that, together, we can dream about some great car deals, rant about the bad ones, and generally have a good time.
As you might imagine, I am not keen to mix cocktails and cars — seriously, don’t drink and drive, kids. But, I at least want to raise a glass of good cheer to all of you. Thanks for all the fish, and I’ll see you in ’22.