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Archive for November, 2008

Best/Worst Performing Cars

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

According to an article at Forbesautos.com, it may be no surprise what are the current best and worst performing vehicles.  First of all, let me tell you how these cars were categorized.  There were five factors (these are for the 2008 model year):

1.  Number of recalls to date - according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) database

2.  Reliability - ratings from Consumer Reports

3.  Safety - from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test ratings

4.  Depreciation - in the form of Automotive Leasing Guide’s (ALG) star ratings

5.  Fuel Economy and Annual Fuel Costs - from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

So here they are:

Best Performers

1.  Toyota Prius

2.  Honda CR-V

3.  Honda Civic

4.  Toyota Rav-4

5.  Toyota Camry Hybrid

Worst Performers

1.  Dodge Avenger

2.  Chrysler Sebring

3.  Jeep Grand Cherokee

4.  Nissan Xterra

5.  Hyundai Santa Fe

So, here’s the top 5 best and worst performing cars for 2008. The best are really no surprise, but the worst are not absolutely terrible either, when you look into the actual specs of the cars.

Automakers backing out of Auto Shows

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

As the worst sales year in decades is creeping upon us, many automakers are cutting spending on auto shows, which has always been considered a “customer-courtship event,” according to Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times.  Bensinger wrote an article entitled “Firms put brakes on auto shows.”  This article is all about how many automakers are not spending on auto shows.  General Motors Corp. has “scrapped plans”to debut its new Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac CTS Coupe at the Los Angeles Auto Shownext week.  GM also has cancelled its only news conference planned for the event.  

Ferrari, Rolls RoyceLand Rover, and Suzuki Motor Corp. are withdrawing from the country’s premier auto show, the North American International Auto Show, which is held in January in Detroit.  The bottom line is that in this economy, it is too expensive and not worth transporting vehicles 1000’s of miles, renting floor space, and employing staff at these auto shows.

Most of the time automakers like to debut their latest models, and get some media buzz to interest potential buyers, but now cost is playing such a major role, that these automakers have to determine, what if any, are worth their dollar. 

Ford, the second largest automaker in the U.S., will be at the LA show and introducing six vehicles, including two new hybrids. They are also having a big party for the debut of the 2010 Mustang redesign.

It’s amazing to me how this economy and its problems, affect EVERYONE. These auto shows have been around for up to 101 years (the Detroit show), and now it will have less automakers, less customers, and make less money.  Hopefully, everything can turn around for the auto industry and next year these big auto shows will have a better year.

 

     

Ford’s MyKey

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Image: Ford MyKeyFord MyKey from Ford Motor Co./AP

Ford Motor Co. is introducing a new technology that will help parents feel a little more at ease when giving their teenage children their cars.  The new technology is called MyKey, and it will be standard on the 2010 Ford Focus as well as other models of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercuryas they become updated.  With MyKey, you will be able to limit the speed limit on the vehicle to 80 mph, limit the audio volume on the vehicle, as well as have continuous sound alerts if the driver and passenger does not put on their seat belts.  MyKey works with a computer chip that is in a specially designed key.  You give your teenager the MyKey key and then you can have a regular key that will have no restrictions.  You also have the option of having a chime sound every time the car exceeds 45, 55, or 65 mph.  I think this is a great option and I hope it’s standard on even more cars when my children turn 16!    

 

Toyota Venza

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

www.webwombat.com.au

Have you ever seen this car?  It’s the new Toyota Venza that will be rolled out in the United States in December and January.  It is a five-passenger wagon that is being built in the United States in Kentucky.  The Venza is trying to use this model to continue to push into the small vehicle market.  Toyota will be pricing these vehicles as follows - $25,975 for the V-4 front-wheel drive, and $29,250 for the V-6 all-wheel drive model. The V4 Venza will get 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway, and the V6 will get alittle less than that. 

The V6 Venza will be available in December, and the V4s in January.  This vehicle will be exclusively sold in the United States.  Toyota is hoping that the Venza will be as successful as the Yaris has been for them.

  

President-Elect Obama looking to help

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

An article on detnews.com, President-elect Obama has said that one of his first goals in this presidency is to help the Big 3 automotive companies that are the “backbone of American manufacturing.”  Ford, GM, and Chrysler have had major, major financial problems recently.  There is some great concern that one or all could have to file bankruptcy.  GM lost $2.5 billion in the third quarter, which brings their losses to more than $70 billion since 2004.  Ford lost money in the third quarter as well and spent more than $2 billion a month.  It’s scary.  Obama will help to get these companies the federal loan that they are to be given through the major buyout that was approved by Congress.  The problem is that the companies say that they need private loans in order to try to get themselves out of debt, even ever so slightly. 

The seriousness of the Big 3 having all of these financial problems then hurts everyone. The suppliers, small businesses, and communities, especially those that have plants, are hurt by the problems. Thousands and thousands of people have been laid off by these three companies.  It’s a downward spiral, but hopefully through the government and if the economy can improve soon, these three companies can have a upward spiral instead.

 

Upcoming Car Shows

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

If you are looking for some upcoming car shows in the United States, I have a couple for you.  The first one is in two weeks the weekend of November 21-23 in Hartford, CT. It’s called the Connecticut International Auto Show.  It is held at the Connecticut Convention Center.  According to their website, there will be more cars “on display than ever before” including hybrids, clean diesels, and ”fuel sippers.”  The newest model year crossovers, cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs will be on hand as well.   

The next car show is December 3-7. It is in Boston, MA. It’s called the New England International Auto Show.  It will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.  This show has 9 football fields worth of new model year domestic and international vehicles.  There are lots of aftermarket accessories as well.  Sounds like a good time! 

So, if you are in the area of these shows (or even if you are not), you may want to take a break from the holiday shopping, and check out these shows!

 

 

Fastest Car-Buggati Veyron

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/rich-tehrani/bugatti-veyron.htmlhttp://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/rich-tehrani/bugatti-veyron.html

Have you ever heard of the Bugatti Veyron?  Well, this is the fastest full production car currently available in the world.  Here are the specs…….1001 horsepower and 922 pound-feet of torque, 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, 8.0 liter 16 cylinder engine with 4 turbo chargers that give you the crazy horsepower, and it has a top speed of over 253 mph! The Buggati Veyron also gets 19 mpg on the highway.  Pretty impressive, huh?  Well, the kicker is that the Bugatti Veyron costs $1.2 million!!  But according to autofacts.org, they say it’s worth it. Can you even imagine that?  I surely can’t. The Bugatti Veyron must be something VERY special.   

 

All Electric Mini Vehicles

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Wanna lease a BMW Mini car?  Well, you will be able to very soon.  According to MSNBC.com, BMW will be testing the market and leasing 500 Mini E vehicles in California, New Jersey, and New York.  The Mini vehicles will be completely electric.  This vehicle will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.  

The obvious positive to this vehicle is that there will be no emissions given off by this vehicle and it will save a lot of energy.  Another positive are the specifics for the Mini. It will have a lithium-ion battery range of 150 miles, a top speed of 95 mph, and 0-60 in 8.5 seconds.  Also, the Mini will cost only pennies per gallon to charge.  The vehicle can be charged overnight at any standard power outlet, or you can have a high-speed wallbox charger put into your garage that will recharge the battery in 2 1/2 hours.    

One negative for the Mini is that currently the car is only available as a two-seater.  The battery takes up the would be backseat.  Another negative is that it will cost $850/month to lease.  This includes all technical maintenance that needs to be done. Each vehicle will have a “huge yellow plug logo on the roof and a serial number on their front fenders.”  It will be “quite a fashion statement” to lease one of these Minis!

We’ll have to wait and see if these 500 “test model” Minis lease quickly or will people not be interested.  I just saw someone driving a Honda Fit the other day, and the thing is that everyone turns their head to check out the car. If you are looking for some attention on the road, the BMW all-electric Mini may be the car for you!

 

How do you avoid buying a lemon?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The last thing you want to happen to you when buying a used car is to get a lemon.  According to Consumer Reports, there are several things you need to do before you buy a used car to try to make sure that you don’t get a lemon. 

1.  Make sure that you select a model that with a good “reliability record” before begin shopping for a used car.

2.  Read the window sticker.  The information will let you know if the car will be sold “as is” or with a warranty.

3.  Check the exterior.  Look for any dents, rust marks, mismatched panels, etc.

4. Check the interior. Make sure that everything looks perfect. Certain smells, sagging seats, stains on carpets can mean that the car was in an accident or flood damage. You just have to make sure you inspect the interior.

5.  Check under the hood. The engine, radiator, and battery should be grease-free, and then check the transmission fluid and oil to make sure that everything is as it should be.

6.  Check the tires.  Heavy wear on the outside shoulder of the tire can mean that the car was driven hard, which in turn could indicate other problems with the car. Make sure the wear is even on the left and right sides.

7. Check the steering.  Make sure that the car doesn’t go to the right or left when driving on smooth roads at normal speeds. Some problems with steering are minor, but some are not and very expensive to fix.

8.  Check the suspension.  This can be done by pushing down on each fender hard and then let go.  The car should “rebound softly, once or twice.” If not, there could be problems.

9.  Check the tailpipe.  If any colored smoke comes out, beware of a problem.

10.  Step on the gas.  If the car revs excessively before it accelerates, this could be a sign of a worn-out clutch or damaged automatic transmission, which are REALLY expensive to fix.

11.  Check for recalls. Go to www.nhtsa.dot.gov to see if there are any for the car.

12.  Check the vehicle’s history.  Go to www.carfax.com or www.autocheck.com to check and make sure the information that you are getting about the car is correct.

13.  Check with a mechanic.  Before you buy a used car, have a qualified mechanic look at the car. This usually costs about $120, but it’s worth it if they find something that would cost a lot more than that. 

So, here is the information that will help you with buying a used car. For more details descriptions, you can go to consumerreports.org to help you make sure that a lemon is not in your future!

 

 

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