In many respects, the 21st century seems to bear no resemblance to the 20th. As technology continues to grow at an exponential rate, we often wonder how everyday tasks were accomplished before the proliferation of the internet. Yet, the necessity of moving from Point A to Point B has remained a constant through the decades. This necessity demanded an affordable vehicle for the masses, and throughout the years two vehicles filled the void: the Ford Model T and the Volkswagen Beetle. Nearly 2 decades into the 21st century, a vehicle has yet to emerge as the next standard bearer in affordable transportation. We believe that the Elio will be that vehicle.
To say that the Model-T had a dramatic and instant effect on mass transportation would be a gross understatement. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History “In 1900, Americans owned 8 thousand cars, in 1920, 8 million.” The primary reason for this sudden influx of new vehicles was the Model T, which initially cost $850 in 1908, approximately $18,000 in today’s dollars. By 1925, the production of the Model T was soaring (more than 15 million vehicles) while costs were lowered ($260, or $6,000 today.) Suddenly, transportation was available to everyday people.
The Volkswagen Beetle was the Model T’s unofficial successor in providing inexpensive mass transportation. The Beetle was attractive to a wide audience due to its unique design and low cost. The 1969 Volkswagen Beetle cost $1,700, or $12,000 today. By 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle surpassed the Model T and became the best-selling vehicle of all-time. The Beetle picked up where the Model T left off and demonstrated the enduring demand for a reasonably priced vehicle.
While the Model T and Volkswagen Beetle were the standards in providing affordable transportation, that position remains vacant today. For American car buyers, this void is deeply felt. In July of this year, Consumer Affairs found that most Americans are unable to afford a new vehicle. In 2014, CNBC reported that most Americans were unable to even afford a used vehicle. The time has come for the 3rd wave of affordable mass transportation.
At Elio Motors, we endeavor to usher in this wave through both our vehicle and our business plan. Our ultra-low base price can save customers immediately, while our impressive gas mileage will provide ongoing savings at the pump. Further, we plan to offer unique financing options to make Elio ownership easier and more affordable.
Countless models have been introduced since the Model T and the Volkswagen Beetle, and none of them have effectively filled the void they left behind. And with new car prices rising to absurd levels, it seems that few automakers have a desire to do so. At Elio Motors, we aspire to bring the idea of affordable mass transportation into the 21st century. We believe that through both our vehicle and our business plan, we can carry the torch and bring the concept of affordable transportation back to the automotive industry.