Seattle's priciest cars by neighborhood and the Subaru myth | KUOW News and Information

Seattle's priciest cars by neighborhood and the Subaru myth

Oct 10, 2016

The most expensive car in Seattle is a $653,000 Enzo Ferrari (2003). It is registered to someone who lives somewhere downtown. 

It ties with an Enzo Ferrari in tony Medina for most expensive car in King County, followed by a Ferrari F40 in Bellevue that cost $643,000.

Ferrari seems to be the make of choice for the elite: Fifteen of the 20 most expensive cars in Seattle are from the Italian manufacturer. A couple Lamborghinis and a 2004 Maybach (an ultra-luxury Mercedes with faltering sales) are also in the mix.

Data from the Washington State Department of Licensing reveals that nearly 2,000 cars in Seattle are listed as having cost more than $80,349 – the current median household income for Seattle.

But the average price for all cars in the city hovers around $26,000, according to the data.

The most popular make of car is Toyota, which is the case nationally too. There are nearly three times as many Toyotas as there are cars from all American companies combined. Only about 20 percent of Seattle vehicles are from American companies.

After Toyota, the most popular makes are Honda, Subaru, Ford and Volkswagen.

After Japan and the U.S., Germany falls in third. France is the weakest manufacturing country with just 46 vehicles in the city (but don't tell them that).

The greatest concentration of cars is in 98115 (Ravenna, Wedgwood, Sand Point), followed by 98103 (Fremont, Green Lake, Greenwood) and 98118 (Columbia City, Rainier Valley, Rainier Beach).

When it comes to cars, perception doesn’t always match reality. Seattleites think of themselves as a Subaru city, yet Subaru accounts for about 9 percent of all Seattle cars. (Still impressive compared to national figures.) There isn’t a Seattle ZIP code where Subaru is the most – or even second most – popular make.

Subaru thrives north of the Ship Canal, particularly in 98103. But even there, Subarus account for just 13 percent of all cars.

The city has about 350 Teslas, the fancy electric car produced by Elon Musk’s company. Thirty are registered to people in the Magnolia neighborhood area.

The starting cost of a Tesla Model 3 (coming in 2017) is $35,000, touted as the affordable electric sedan, and $67,200 to $135,700 for the Model S. In our data set, the Tesla cost $98,450 on average.

There were also two DeLoreans: One in 98103 and the other in Magnolia.

And a 1907 Roadster, the city’s oldest listed car.

We started this story with the most expensive cars, which hints at Seattle’s explosion in wealth. 

Graphing the year of car models in Seattle recalls more trying times – the effect of the Recession on Seattle. (Note: the data doesn't say when the car was purchased, just the model year of the car.) There is a noticeable dip in cars with a model year of 2009, but the climb starts again soon after, peaking in 2013.