Revolutions in the auto industry are few and far between, so this year we are not surprised to report that the most expensive automobiles are, again, sports cars. A couple of premium sedans appear here and there in the slide show that follows — a slide show that features our annual list of the ten most expensive cars available in the United States.
The average price of a vehicle on the list has gone up to $351,000 from $341,000, an increase of 3 percent. Automakers increase the prices of blueblood automobiles to hedge against inflation, to compensate for disappointing sales or because they have added new features to the cars.
Sometimes the price increases seem like highway robbery. Saleen's S7, this year's most expensive car, costs $120,000 more than it did last year. According to Manhattan Motorcars, Saleen's New York dealer, the price hike is due to modifications to the S7's V-8 engine, whose horsepower is now up to 575 from 550. Assume for argument's sake that's the only reason for the extra $120K on the sticker, and we're talking about a cost of about $5,000 for each additional unit of horsepower. If Honda Motor charged $5,000 per horse, a high-end Civic would cost about $800,000.
Of course, follow the link below and you will realize how each car on the list is aimed at buyers for whom money is as disposable as garbage. That's perhaps why the most expensive cars are sports cars: if you're going to throw away a ton of money, it had better be on something extremely fun.
© 2012 Forbes.com