Bad Timing for the New Prius, But Does It Matter?

June 30th, 2015

2015 Toyota Prius Five pic-5640244198888418979

Gas prices are low, hybrids have lost their luster, and competition is fierce for alternative-fuel cars. So now is a great time to introduce a hybrid, right?

There was a time when the Toyota Prius was the only option for buyers who wanted to advertise the fact that they love the environment. Celebrities and consumers alike proudly drove the efficient little soapboxes as a statement of being different.

Today things have changed, as relatively low gas prices and an influx of new hybrids, electrics, and diesels sit on dealer lots around the world while the Prius has lost favor among trendsetters.

Basically, the timing for an all-new Prius couldn’t be worse. You know who doesn’t care?

The all-new Prius.

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Should Fiat and General Motors Merge?

June 29th, 2015

Fiat_GM_merger

Is Chrysler ready for another merger?

The U.S. automaker recently wrapped up a takeover by Italian automaker Fiat and was subsequently renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA.

Now FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has his eyes on another merger:

A takeover of General Motors.

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Alfa Romeo Giulia: Hard to Say, Easy to Love

June 26th, 2015

alfa_romeo_giulia

I have mixed emotions about the arrival of the Alfa Romeo Giulia in the United States.

On one hand, it’s one of the biggest moments in the history of cars in this country. On the other hand, the Pagani Huayra is no longer the hardest car name for me to spell and pronounce. If this thing takes off, I’m going to have to commit the spelling to memory.

Darn you, Giulia.

Thank you, Giulia.

Alfa Romeo this week has revealed its all-new, highly anticipated, Giulia sedan for the world to admire. It’s something special, even if you never figure out how to say it.

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Should You Trade In or Sell Your Used Car?

June 25th, 2015

Car keys & cashSo, the time has come to part with your used car. You’re moving on to a different vehicle, but what should you do with the one that has served you so well? Do you trade it in or sell it privately? What should you consider before you take the next step either way?

Let’s take a moment to look at trading in your used car first. This is the simplest step to take, because you let the dealer handle all the hassles. It’s popular with most used car owners.

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The Next Porsche Killer: A Baby NSX?

June 25th, 2015
Can anyone beat it?

Can anyone beat it?

There aren’t many ways to compete with the Porsche Cayman.

Porsche is the most formidable player in the sports-car world, and the Cayman is as good as somewhat-affordable sports cars get. Very few companies field competitors to the Cayman. In fact, the biggest competitors are other Porsches, so the German automaker pretty much has a monopoly on the market for performance and luxury.

Buyers looking to avoid the price premium of Porsche can look to the Nissan 370Z and pay half the price but get half the car. There’s also an exciting newcomer on the scene in the form of the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is probably the fiercest competitor to the Cayman. The problem with the 4C is availability. Even if you can afford one, the odds of getting one aren’t good.

So who can step up and actually deliver a genuine competitor to the Cayman?

Honda.

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The Big Subaru Sell Out

June 24th, 2015

2013 Subaru Legacy off-road

While Volkswagen remains obsessed with selling enough cars to become the largest automaker in the world, Subaru remains content with being one of the smallest.

This is the tale of two opposite strategies, and it seems to be paying off for the smaller underdog while the larger champ slowly falls to its knees.

Volkswagen has entered desperation mode and is giving away cars in order to boost its sales numbers. That’s almost a literal statement, as $39/month lease deals on the Jetta have popped up around the country.

Subaru, meanwhile, routinely sells out of its production runs and has no need to slash prices or offer major incentives.

Subaru supplies what the market demands, while Volkswagen tries to create a market and inflate demand. Guess which business model is more profitable?

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Don’t Roll Your Car This Summer

June 23rd, 2015

rollover1

The white Tahoe sat in the median between the north and south lanes of the freeway. Personal belongings were scattered for dozens of feet in all directions. The rear window was broken out, and about 10 people milled around inspecting the damage.

This could have been any of the accidents that are unfortunately all too familiar on American Interstates, except this particular vehicle had come to rest on its roof.

Yesterday was clear and warm with nothing but blue skies, dry pavement, and light traffic. I don’t know how the Tahoe rolled over or what circumstances led to the accident, but it appeared that it happened just moments before I passed. No other vehicles were involved.

How can a single-vehicle rollover happen on such a perfect day for driving?

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Have You Ever Heard of These Toyotas?

June 22nd, 2015

Toyota_Vitz_TRD_Turbo_M_1

Do you recognize the logo in this picture?

Look close. You’ll see a familiar shape in the car but the logo itself is probably completely unknown.

For car people like you and me, seeing a logo on the road that isn’t instantly recognizable is a little jarring. Questions swirl in our heads. We wonder if a new brand has quietly been launched or if we’re spotting something rare and exotic.

This happened recently on the streets near my home but after some research I discovered the logo in question didn’t belong to anything exotic, but was a disguise for something far more common.

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Comparing Cars from Back in Our Fathers’ Day

June 19th, 2015

1961 Jaguar E-Type

No matter what the application, technology always advances. In the 1980s, Casio was famous for its Databank watch. It included enough storage memory for some addresses and phone numbers, and it had a handy calculator, just in case you decided to tip 18.7%. In April, 2015, Apple released its own smart watch. It’s roughly the same shape as Casio’s Databank, but the technology now allows for 8 gigabytes of storage, a touchscreen, haptic feedback, and a range of apps that cover everything from the weather to the Red Sox score to what Jeremy Clarkson’s been tweeting this week. Cars are no different.

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How Many Decades Does It Take for an Ugly Car to Look Cool?

June 19th, 2015

Ford Edsel 2-Door

When you’re asked to think of the biggest car flop of all time and the ugliest car ever made, there’s one car that is most likely to come to mind.

The 1958 Ford Edsel (officially known as the Edsel Ranger).

The car has ended up on countless lists of the world’s ugliest cars and has become synonymous with failure. The Washington Post called it The Flop Heard Round the World.

The Edsel did fail upon its introduction, but that’s not necessarily because it was a bad car. It failed because of bad marketing.

Ford over-promised on the Edsel and over-hyped the car to the point of unrealistic expectations. When it was finally revealed, the public was left with the bitter taste of disappointment and turned their backs on the car that Ford had spent the equivalent of $2 billion to develop.

More than 50 years later, though, the Edsel might finally be cool.

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