Why Summer Is a Great Time to Buy a Car

May 28th, 2015

2015 Chrysler 200C My home base is the great Northeast. As such, this past winter I thought summer would never come. But all that snow eventually melted, and with it so have new and used car prices. Summer is a great time to buy a car.

Prices in the used car market begin to drop this time of year for a couple of reasons. Demand declines after tax season and its flood of money from tax refunds. Consumers wait until their returns are filed and IRS checks issued to make down payments.

But the bigger reason is supply grows this time of year. Private sellers get more active, and more people are buying new cars, which increases the used car supply.

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Porsche’s Profitable Problem

May 28th, 2015

2015 Porsche 911 pic-5239915476691723324

Porsche has a problem.

It’s a problem no other automaker has but all of them would want. Most automakers build cars that live comfortable lives, sell pretty well for a while, and eventually evolve into something else or end production when they are no longer popular. If they’re lucky, perhaps they’ll spawn a fan club or two.

The cars that have managed to stay relevant for decades (Ford Mustang, Toyota Camry) are nothing like their former selves.

The Porsche 911 is different. This is one of those cars that’s been in existence for most of the last 50 years and has slowly and gracefully aged. With each passing model year the 911 gets only slight changes while retaining its trademark shape. One could argue that the design no longer belongs to Porsche, but to the legions of 911 owners and fans who have become part of the car’s epic history. The 911 isn’t just a car anymore, it’s become part of our culture.

So how does Porsche go about introducing a “new” 911 when it’s bound to keep the classic shape?

That’s the problem facing Porsche.

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What Happens When a Buyer Never Registers a Car You Sold?

May 27th, 2015

car title transfer

It’s a good rule in life to expect the best but prepare for the worst.

Most humans on Earth are good people who want to live the best life possible, but a few are set on breaking the rules for their own benefit.

Selling a car can be a profitable venture, but it can also provide opportunity for unscrupulous humans to use the seller’s good name in a crime. It’s rare, but it can happen.

When you buy a vehicle from a private seller, you take the transferred title to your local DMV and register the car in your name. All the paperwork is taken care of for you if you buy from a dealer.

Sometimes a private seller will sell his or her car, but the buyer won’t ever register it. Any parking tickets or driving infractions caught on camera will be under the seller’s name. If any crime is committed in the car, it’ll be the seller in the crosshairs of law enforcement.

Here’s how to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

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Do You Prefer a Gas Tax or a Miles-Driven Tax?

May 26th, 2015
Should owners of electric vehicles have to pay taxes for roads?

Should owners of electric vehicles have to pay taxes for roads?

Some ideas are destined to never work.

The hoverboard is one. So is the flying car. A peanut-butter-and-sardine sandwich would also make the list of ideas not likely to catch on.

The state of Oregon is about to discover one more: a miles-driven tax in place of a fuel tax.

The slow rise of electric and hybrid vehicles, in addition to improved fuel economy in vehicles powered by fossil fuels, has presented state governments with a new problem: how to fund roads with less money coming in from fuel taxes.

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Vice President Declares Corvette Better Than Porsche

May 25th, 2015

2015 Corvette Z06

Happy Memorial Day! We’re now in the final stretch of a long weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer. This is also the weekend when we’re encouraged to take a break from work and remember the ancestors who paved the way for us to enjoy life in the United States.

This is also the time of year when people graduate from high schools and colleges across our great nation.

Sometimes these two annual rights of passage converge, and we see America-infused commencement speeches from high-profile celebrities and politicians. There were none bigger this month than the speech delivered by Vice President Joe Biden, who made a shocking claim about the superiority of America.

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NEMPA Panels Dig Into Green Vehicle Technology

May 22nd, 2015

DSCN1961

This week we attended the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA)’s panel discussion on the future of green vehicle technology, California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and mass-market adoption of these technologies. It was a terrific, fruitful discussion. Two 4-person panels brought together expertise and opinions from automakers, energy research groups, electric utilities, and state politicians as they discussed the industry’s current strategies and what needs to change to increase the desirability and sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

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Why Toyota Shouldn’t Build a New Sports Car

May 22nd, 2015

Toyota sports car concept

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think Toyota should build an inexpensive sports car.

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a freak about sports cars. I clamor for rear-wheel-drive, manual-shift, great-handling coupes and roadsters. I was thrilled when the Subaru BRZ came out, and I’ve gushed about the new Porsche Boxster and basically all iterations of the classic 911.

My brother-in-law races Miatas, and my father-in-law raced Porsches in his younger years.

I love sports cars and everything they represent.

There have been rumors that Toyota would build a sub-$20,000 RWD sports car, but, believe it or not, I don’t think it should.

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GM Offers Best Rewards for Military Service

May 21st, 2015

Corvette convertibleMemorial Day weekend fast approaches. It’s a great time for new and used car shopping with summer just around the corner. More importantly, it’s an important time to recognize the military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Some automotive manufacturers extend special discounts to military personnel (and sometimes retired veterans) that might be worth considering if you’re shopping for a new car. Check their websites to find the models you might want. (The website MilitaryRates.com has a list of companies offering discounts.)

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Are Car Dealers the Cheapest for Car Maintenance?

May 21st, 2015

car_dealer_service

I’ve grown up believing that the service department of a car dealership is the most expensive place to get your car repaired or serviced. I attribute that to my Dad, who taught me at a young age to always take my car to an independent repair shop to get the best price.

I carried that belief into adulthood, and only now am I starting to realize that’s not always the best approach.

To be fair to my Dad, maybe that was true 20 years ago. Maybe dealerships have realized they need to be competitive with other shops to keep customers coming back. Whatever the case, it’s time to give car dealerships another look for service.

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How to Find Your Perfect Car

May 20th, 2015

2002 Saturn SL2

“What’s the best car I can buy?”

The question pops up quite often at family gatherings, social events, in random Facebook messages, and anywhere people find out I write for a car blog.

The answer is always the same.

“The one that makes you happy.”

Of course, people want more information than that. They want to be told which car offers the best value, best performance, best fuel economy, best reliability, and so on. Needless to say, there is no “best car money can buy.” There is a “best car for you.”

Today we’ll look at the best car to buy if you want an inexpensive used car with great gas mileage.

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