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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

NASA's DART Mission: Deliberately Crash Spacecraft Into Asteroid; British Pound Plummets To Record Low Against U.S. Dollar; High Interest Rates, Limited Inventory Make Car Buying Tougher. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 26, 2022 - 05:30   ET



JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But despite the crackdown, despite the attempts to crush these protests, on Sunday, with nightfall, we saw more protesters back out on the streets. Even in one Tehran neighborhood that hasn't seen any protests so far, we saw protesters taking to the streets with their now familiar slogans "Death to the Dictator" and "We will not be afraid -- we are all together," Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jomana Karadsheh. Thank you so much for that.

All right. Ahead this morning, the moment a train crashed into a police car with a woman in the back seat. And next, all science and no fiction. What's behind today's NASA mission to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid?



ROMANS: All right. At first glance here on Earth, it might seem like a case of cosmic negligence, intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid. But NASA is focused on the big picture here -- saving humanity, of course. The impact is scheduled tonight 6 1/2 million miles from home. The mission to test whether deflecting a giant space rock could one day protect earth from a catastrophic collision.

Let's bring in Don Lincoln, senior scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He's the author of "Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos." Don, thanks for getting up early for us.

Why is this test so important? Are we actually worried about an asteroid hitting Earth?

DON LINCOLN, SENIOR SCIENTIST, FERMI NATIONAL ACCELERATOR LABORATORY, AUTHOR, "ALIEN UNIVERSE: EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE IN OUR MINDS AND IN THE COSMOS" (via Skype): Well, yes and no. I mean, it's not like something is going to happen tomorrow but the earth has been hit many times before. A big time it was hit back in 2008 in Russia where it actually injured and hurt like 1,200 people. So, we are going to be hit again and so we should be worried. It's not a thing you should be keeping up at night about but it's something we should prepare for.

ROMANS: So, you mentioned 2008 in Russia. What kind of damage can this cause? And why this asteroid in particular?

LINCOLN: Well, two things. It depends on the size of the rock. We get hit by meteors all the time. You see shooting stars and that causes no damage whatsoever.

On the other hand, a long time ago, 66 million years ago, a meteor hit outside of Mexico and killed all the dinosaurs except for the birds. So there's a range and you have everything in between. There was an impact in 1908 in Tunguska which had the impact of something like a hydrogen bomb.

So it's important that we do this and it could be very dangerous.

ROMANS: So tell --

LINCOLN: Why this particular -- oh, go ahead.

ROMANS: Oh, no -- why this particular asteroid?

LINCOLN: Well, this particular asteroid is because there are actually two of them together called Didymos and Dimorphos. One is bigger and one is smaller and, of course, the smaller one orbits the bigger one. And we are able -- because the way they orbit, it's in a plane that -- where one cuts right across the other.

And so, astronomers here on Earth are able to time precisely when it goes in front of the bigger asteroid. And so, what they'll do is they will time how long it takes -- or they have done that -- how long it takes to go around it now, and then how long it goes after it hits the -- the spacecraft hits it. And it should change by enough to measure.

ROMANS: What could go wrong here? I mean, what do we want to see happen?

LINCOLN: What you want to see is you want to see the spacecraft hit the center of the small asteroid. If it hits to the side, then it's going to still deflect the small asteroid but it will cause it to spin. And this is tricky because it's very far away. It is 11 kilometers -- not 11 kilometers, 11 million kilometers away from Earth, so it's very -- it's far enough away that we can't control the spacecraft. So it's actually being run autonomously and that's going to be kind of fun to watch.

ROMANS: Kind of fun to watch. I think it is kind of fun to watch. It sounds like a -- you know, sort of a disaster movie in the making. But I like that we're going to try to figure out whether we have this capability.

So nice to see you, Don. Thank you for getting up early for us.

LINCOLN: It's a pleasure.

ROMANS: All right.

Rihanna is returning to the live stage to headline the Super Bowl halftime show.


RIHANNA, BARBADIAN SINGER: Singing "This Is What You Came For."


ROMANS: All right. The pop star -- the highly successful entrepreneur, by the way, last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018. Rihanna posted a picture on social media Sunday of her hand holding an official NFL football with the caption "Let's go."

The halftime show is the first under the NFL's new sponsorship deal with Apple Music. Super Bowl LVII will take place February 12 in Arizona.

All right, the deadliest drug in the U.S. right now comes in rainbow colors. And next, buying a car in America not as easy as it used to be.



ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Looking at markets around the world, you can see Asian shares have closed down sharply, and Europe has opened down here. On Wall Street, stock index futures, this morning, a little bit mixed here but leaning down another 176 points for Dow futures.

It was a really rough, rough week last week. All three major indices fell sharply Friday. The Dow hit its lowest level since November 2020, and just about two years of gains wiped away for the Dow 30.

It comes as the Federal Reserve turns toward a take no prisoners approach here. No one is spared from these higher interest rates, folks -- not investors -- as the central bank has made it clear it will continue to raise rates and keep them there until inflation comes down. Not homebuyers, with mortgage rates well above six percent here. Fresh data on home prices and new home sales coming later this week to show us just what's happening there in the housing market with these higher rates.

The British pound plunging to a new record low, falling more than four percent against the U.S. dollar.

CNN's Clare Sebastian popping in here for us, live from London here. I woke up this morning to this headline. Wow -- this has been, what -- there have been predictions of plummet -- the pound could plummet even further here? CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, it was a pretty brutal morning -- not just the fact that it had edged closer than ever towards parity -- hit a record low -- but the speed of the fall. Analysts are calling this an emerging market-like moody -- disorderly.

It's now stabilized. It's gone from about 1.03 to the dollar up to about 1.07, so some significant stabilization.


But still, calls you're hearing this morning from various quarters that perhaps the government to come in and say that it's on top of its debt situation. For the Bank of England, perhaps, to step in with an emergency rate rise just a week after its last scheduled one. Perhaps even to come in with a speech to reassure the markets that it's on top of this, flagging perhaps a big rate rise at its next meeting in November.

The trigger for all of this, and it's been coming for a long time, the pound has been falling against the dollar since about the middle of last year. But this acceleration came off the back of what was called a mini budget by the new government, just in office for just a couple of weeks, where they brought in huge tax cuts and spending, which led to a sort of drop in confidence in the U.K.'s position -- it's economic and fiscal position. Whether its debt will be sustainable at a time of rising interest rates.

That, on top of the fact that the U.K.'s outlook in terms of inflation and growth is lagging much of the developed world.

All of that together, plus the fact that, of course, as you know -- as you just said, this is also a dollar story. The Fed just raised rates by three-quarters of a percent for the third consecutive time. That is sending people flocking to the dollar and there you see what's happening to the exchange rate.

ROMANS: It's noticeable enough that I mean, anybody's who traveling to the U.K. from the U.S. is going to -- they'll notice --


ROMANS: -- they're getting more for their dollar. But for all the reasons, a little scary.

All right, thank you so much. Nice to see you, Clare.

Back here in the U.S., buying a car -- one of life's big expenses ranking right after closing on a house and paying for a college education. In some ways, it has never been tougher to buy a car. Interest rates are just one reason. A 5-year loan on a $35,000 SUV with zero down will cost you $669 a month today. Back in January, it was $642 a month. That's another $27.00 a month and another $1,500 in interest over the life of the loan.

Let's bring in Pat Ryan, the CEO of the personal finance app CoPilot. Good morning, Pat. Thanks for getting up early for us. PAT RYAN, CEO AND FOUNDER, COPILOT: Good morning.

ROMANS: Is this -- is it really as hard as it seems out there to be buying a used car right now?

RYAN: It is. I mean, there aren't many new cars available. Toyota and others have said they just don't have a lot of supply -- that they're really scarce. And the used cars are incredibly highly-priced. We're off a peak. I mean, used cars were peaking maybe 6-8 weeks ago but they started to come down. But the problem is the rate increases have increased payments faster than the decline of prices have brought relief.

ROMANS: Yes. First, you had those supply chain woes and now you have higher interest rates, so a different -- a different reason but still trouble for home -- for car buyers.

Now, some models are selling at, what, like 20 percent above the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Why is that?

RYAN: Well, there's just a shortage. I mean, Honda has almost no cars on the ground. Toyota has almost no cars on the ground. Toyota said that they're not -- their new car supply probably won't start to recover until next August. Volkswagen said they don't think it will recover in '23. And then, Ford is building cars but they can't finish them, so they have lots of mostly-built cars that they can't sell.

So it's very hard to get selection. It's very hard to get a car with everything you want. And so, it's really -- the used market is the only place there's supply, but those prices are still just early coming off of record highs. They're starting to really ease a bit. But it's just so expensive on the used side and so hard to get on the new side that those prices just remain astronomical.

ROMANS: Yes, and you've got limited inventory because of the supply chain issues. Prices for cars are up. Is it pushing consumers away or are they buying regardless of the markups? I mean, if you need a car to get to work you just -- you've got to suck it up and pay the price.

RYAN: Yes. I mean, what you're really seeing is that the new market -- the supply is so short -- you know, maybe 12-13 million SARS is what we've been running for a while here -- seasonal annual rate of sales. And there's probably 15 to 16 million cars worth of demand. So we have a lot of pent-up demand that's not making its way into new car purchases, so that continues to sort of keep strength there.

We are seeing dealers drop prices for what we call the nearly-new cars. The one- to three-year-old used cars are down 4.2 percent since July 31. So the rate increases are putting pressure on dealers, pressure on payments, and they are starting to go down.

The problem is they're just coming off of such high peaks that there's a lot more room to run. And we expect to see a real decline in used car prices, particularly those nearly-new cars that have the highest prices and are most affected by interest rates in terms of dollar increase in payments. We expect to see those go down throughout the fourth quarter --


RYAN: -- in a meaningful way.

ROMANS: You know, it's so interesting. Anybody who leased -- had a 3- year lease, say, from 2019 and is now getting out of that lease is really trying to figure out what to do, right? I mean, in some cases, buying your leased vehicle from 2019 at the 2019 prices might be the biggest sort of like arbitrage you could do in car buying in your life.

RYAN: You are crazy to turn your leased car in -- there's no question. You are sitting between $5,000 and $15,000 profit in that car, more often in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. And so, to turn it in, you're just going to give all that away.


And that's not just profit for the manufacturer or finance company. The truth is that's overpayment you had. They had set your payments assuming there would be depreciation, not appreciation. And so, it's crazy to give up the money you paid -- you really overpaid unintentionally, so you have to get it.

And by the way, your 2019 car is likely, for many brands, better equipped than any new car you can buy today because any new features that came out in the last couple of years were almost all computer chip-dependent. And with the scarcity of chips, the cars coming out in '22 and '23 are often less equipped. They have less bells and whistles than, like, a 2015.

ROMANS: That is all upside down and inside out. If you don't have a car that you leased in 2019 and you need a car now, should you lease now or buy now?

RYAN: Well, it's tricky. Leasing -- you know, manufacturers don't really want to lease. It's -- you know, dealers are never making bigger profits. Manufacturers have so little supply they don't really want to subsidize much.

So only 19 percent of cars are being leased back in --


RYAN: -- the peak. Say, in '19, it was 33 percent.

If you can find a good lease it's worth looking at, but there's not a lot. Maybe the BMWs of the world who think of leasing as a business strategy are good.

The truth is the money ball play for consumers today is to actually buy, but don't go to a bank and don't get it from the dealer. Go to a credit union. They have lower rates because they don't pay tax.

ROMANS: Yes. RYAN: And you're seeing huge increases in the number of consumers coming in with credit union loans. And it's the banks, frankly, that loan to auto consumers who are seeing their portfolios shrink by 50 --

ROMANS: Interesting.

RYAN: -- percent monthly.

ROMANS: All right, Pat Ryan, CoPilot CEO. Thanks so much. You'd be crazy not to buy your lease -- your 2019 lease. That's what he says. All right, thank you. Nice to see you.

All right. Just minutes ago, Tropical Storm Ian turned into a hurricane. Cuba and Florida bracing right now for that storm.



ROMANS: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers come up just short in their comeback attempt against the Packers.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Top of the morning to you, Christine.

This was hyped up to be a dual between two of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL history -- 7-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady against 4-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers meeting for maybe the last time on the field.

And in the battle of heavyweights, the Packers looked like they were as ready to land a knockout early, throwing two touchdowns on the first two possessions of the game. Green Bay would hold on to a 14-6 lead into the final minutes.

But Brady does Brady things. TB12 leading his troops on an 89-yard march that ends up finding Russell Gage in the end zone with 14 seconds to go, coming within two. But Packers defense coming up big on the 2-point conversion attempt. It is no good. That pass batted away.

The cheeseheads hang on to win 14-12.

And afterwards, Rodgers had nothing but great things to say about Brady.


AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: It's special, you know. I've been really fortunate to play in a great era of quarterbacks -- some absolute legends -- and the all-time pantheon of NFL quarterbacks. And I just feel really blessed to still be here and still be playing. I can't believe Tom -- he's 45 and still doing it at a super-high level with not a lot of guys to throw to tonight.

But it's a big win for us. It's going to be a great plane ride home -- 2-1 going back. It's exciting. It'll be a fun locker room.


WIRE: The Bills and Dolphins squaring off in a battle of undefeated.

A scary moment for Miami quarterback Tua Tagovialoa in the first half. The back of his head appears to hit the turf. He stumbles as he walks away. And he leaves the game to be evaluated per the NFL's concussion protocol. The NFL is launching an investigation into how the Dolphins handled that concussion check, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, because Tua did return to the game.

Now, the Dolphins had a lead with under two minutes remaining but were forced to punt out of their end zone and it didn't go well. The punter kicked his own teammate right in the rear end. That was a safety and two points for Buffalo. And that also meant they got the ball back with one more chance to get this one, Christine. But Isaiah McKenzie cannot get out of bounds and so then they have to hurry up, hurry up, hurry up to try to stop the clock. The crowd is counting down three, two, one. Christine, this one is over. Miami wins 21-19.

And Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey letting out his frustration by smashing just about anything he could get his hands on in the coach's box.

Finally, a rough day for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The quarterback getting into it with his own offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy just before halftime. The Indianapolis Colts upsetting K.C. thanks to Matt Ryan. A touchdown pass to Jelani Woods in the final seconds as Woods' second of the game. Indy wins 20-17. The Chiefs losing for the first time in September in five years.

Only three undefeated teams remain, Christine, and we're not even finished with week three yet. The Dolphins, Eagles, and the Giants, who face off with the Cowboys tonight on "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL."

ROMANS: All right, a big weekend. Thank you, Coy. Nice to see you.

WIRE: You got it. You, too.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" starts right now.