Scanning the Auto Blogosphere

January 27th, 2009

Much as we’d like to, CarGurus’ bloggers just can’t cover *all* the automotive news out there each week. So here’s a quick look at some stuff we haven’t gotten to yet. We welcome your comments – please let us know if you’d like to see more info on any of the topics addressed here (or any other topic, for that matter).

The Aptera

The Aptera

Electric vehicles get almost as much coverage these days as the Audi R8 and new Dodge Challenger did last year. But most, including the Tesla Roadster we’ve covered extensively, are designed to compete with supercars in both speed and price, leaving them out of reach of most auto buyers. (Lotus has worked on a few of them, too, so many look similar as well.) But Aptera, a southern California start-up, plans to produce electric cars that will cost $25,000 to $45,000 dollars, and they certainly don’t look like Lotuses. They’ll be available only in California at launch, but the company hopes to take them nationwide ASAP. Wired’s Autopia posted a great article with technical details and a nice photo gallery – that is, if you like cars that look like spaceships. You can reserve one at Aptera’s website, but it will cost you $500.

Another unavoidable topic these days is the Fiat-Chrysler “strategic alliance.” We covered that story last week and share most car fans’ enthusiasm for the possibility of buying a new Fiat 500 or Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione here in the U.S., but many have taken the time since then to note that Fiat’s CEO visited Chrysler headquarters on Saturday, without providing much detail on what happened. Of all the coverage out there, though, we most appreciate Car Envy’s post, which has a great headline and includes a music video featuring two great cars. That singer’s voice is annoying, but can you name the other car in the video?

Two studies on traffic tickets drew attention recently. The first will get published in the Journal of Law and Economics, and while it’s not surprising, it’s bad news for Americans for at least the next couple of years. Looking at 14 years’ worth of data from North Carolina, the study’s authors determined that more traffic tickets get issued the year after a drop in revenue. Given what’s happening all over the U.S. right now, I’d guess most states already have and will likely continue to up traffic enforcement to combat revenue shortfalls.

The second study looked at what kinds of cars are most likely to get tickets. The two cars determined most likely to get tickets – the Hummer H2 and the Scion tC – don’t have much in common, but they’re both more than four times as likely to get a ticket as the average car. Ouch! Least likely to get a ticket? The Jaguar XJ. Maybe there’s something to that British elegance and reserve after all.

And we were a little amused by Car and Driver’s recent article on “aggressive” car-buying tactics. The article basically lists eight statements or scenarios that will likely come up if a typical car salesman’s trying to close a deal with you quickly, and tells you to counter most of them with pretty much the same statement, changing one word to make yourself the subject or the victim. While the article’s advice may very well work, following it will make your new-car negotiations sound like the prelude to a high-school fight: Oh yeah? *I’m* already losing a hell of a lot of money on this deal!

What would you like to see covered on the CarGurus Blog?

-Steve Halloran

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