I believe the lower priced cars are still there

but not being sold by dealers who care about maintaining a good reputation or offering anything in the way of a reasonable warranty. From some of my past knowledge, used cars were passed around between family, friends and strangers even more often than they were sold on lots. If you needed a certain type of car at a giveaway price, there was always somebody who know somebody else brother in law who was looking to unload some rattletrap for a couple hundred bucks. Cars within families were also just transferred from one owner to another quite frequently. That got to be so common that, in my state, the tax man wanted to apply some minimum value to any car sold or transferred in order to collect sales tax. This was mainly targeted against private sales in which the seller would write down a much lower selling price than the actual price paid.