Archive

Archive for February, 2011

Buying a Used Car? Wait for the Price to Drop

February 22nd, 2011

Majority of Used Cars Have Price Reductions After Only 30 Days on Market

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., February 22, 2011 – A study released today by leading online automotive community CarGurus.com shows that the majority (53%) of used cars listed for more than 30 days have at least one price drop. Newer used cars (model years 2007 – 2009) show even more aggressive price reductions, with 63% of cars listed for more than 30 days having at least one price drop. Since these newer models stay listed on average 45 days, the data suggests that consumers looking for deals should wait for the initial price drop before buying a used car.

In conjunction with the study, the company also introduced its new price tracking feature. Users of CarGurus’ DealFinder car shopping service now get access to the price history and days on market data for more than 2 million car listings. The first of its kind in the online car shopping market, price tracking enables users to keep tabs on the price drops for specific listings either online within DealFinder or through opt-in email alerts.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shopping, CarGurus Features and Updates, General Chat

Savior from High Gas Prices: Used Cars, Chevy Cruze Diesel or Federal Government?

February 22nd, 2011

Gas pump prices rising

Just when you think the world is settling down, it goes crazy again.

Egypt kicked out its president, Arkansas experienced 700 earthquakes in the last six months, and Chevrolet will bring (gasp!) a diesel Cruze to the U.S.

All this and I haven’t even mentioned gas prices yet.

I’ve been getting used to prices at my neighborhood pump hovering around $3.15 per gallon. That’s not too bad, considering I can still fill up my little commuter Suzuki for less than $30. My wife’s SUV, though, demands well over $50 of unleaded fossil fuel. That hurts a bit more.

Now, thanks to the unstable situation developing in Libya, oil prices are soaring again, and an uncertain future for car sales lies just around the corner.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Electric Vehicles, Foreign Cars, Gas for your car..., General Chat, Hybrid Cars, Trucks & SUVs

Chevy Corvette Z06 vs. Ford Shelby GT500 vs. Nissan GT-R

February 21st, 2011

We tend to catch quite a bit of flack on this blog for writing about cars that no one but Paris Hilton’s boyfriend could afford to actually buy.

We contend that while such cars fuel a passion for automobiles in general, they are also delightful to write, read and dream about. That, however, is not my point today. Today we’re talking about budget supercars; the ones that offer tantalizing performance but come in at under $100,000. Still a major stretch of the pocketbook for most of us, but at least somewhat attainable with a strict lifelong budget and savings plan.

The good people at Motor Trend took it upon themselves to find out the best budget supercar, and tested the 2012 Nissan GT-R, the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500.

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Car Industry News, Car Magazines, Car Minded, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Totally Useless Creatures: Paris Hilton & the Lexus LFA

February 18th, 2011

Paris Hilton and a Lexus LFA

The Lexus LFA was created for no other reason than to appeal to wealthy auto snobs with gobs of cash who would like to make a splash. Paris Hilton was created for and by the same crowd—and the millions of wannabes out there who enjoy such things.

The big news is that her boyfriend, Vegas nightclub owner Cy Waits, popped out 375 big ones to give her an LFA for her 30th birthday (300 people are expected). She and the car belong together; it’s like mustard on a hot dog, bling in Vegas. Imagine Paris in charge of 550 horsepower, paddle-shifting to the next party.

If that doesn’t upset your stomach, nothing will. Lexus also has a video of the LFA doing close-in donuts around a Sports Illustrated bikini model. This, too, is about as exciting as watching glue dry, though some may find echoes of beauty and the beast. See it after the break.

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Car Minded, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Glass as a Speaker: The Car Audio Invention of the Century!

February 18th, 2011

No more need for subwoofers?

Every once in a while I hear an idea that makes so much sense I slap my palm against my forehead and wonder why I didn’t think of it first.

Today that idea comes from Magna International, the Canadian auto parts supplier that attempted to acquire the Saturn brand from General Motors. While it didn’t succeed in that endeavor, the company just might change the way car audio works.

Magna has just launched a new technology that transforms your back window into a subwoofer. It’s such a crazy idea that it just might work…

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Car Accessories, Car Audio, Car Industry News, Car Minded, General Chat

Go Ahead, Steal My Car

February 17th, 2011

Chicago Jeep owner's sign

Car thefts are going up again, after a year’s decline. In Chicago, crime overall was down 10.6 percent, but car thefts went up 21.8 percent, compared to January 2010. Las Vegas has 20.3 motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents; the U.S. average is 3.15.

Well, why not? A lot of folks have bad nights at the craps table. “The key is under the seat, Frank.”

The economy is still sucking air for most people, and one researcher finds three main reasons for stealing cars: for transport to commit other crimes, to sell to chop shops, or to resell as a complete vehicle, sometimes overseas.

Now there’s another reason: Hard-pressed owners are ditching their cars in lakes or just walking away from them, as they do from upside-down mortgages. Or they try to collect on the insurance—which is called fraud.

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Car Accessories, Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Parts, Car Safety, General Chat

Cars Coming Soon->Ram Brings Swagger Back to Trucks

February 17th, 2011

Ram 1500 Adventurer

In the world of pickups, it seems the most exciting news over the last couple of years was the separation of the Ram brand from Dodge.

Yeah, the Ford F-150 got some new engines, and the HD heavyweights have been trading the crown for max trailer-towing capacity, but no maker of trucks has done anything significantly buzzworthy lately. Where’s the pickup swagger? The Ford Raptor has some, but it’s priced way out in fantasy-land for most truck buyers.

With the roll Chrysler’s been on since the Super Bowl, it should be no surprise that the feistiest of carmakers will add some much-needed excitement to the world of pickups.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Cars Coming Soon, Domestic Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

Mercedes-Benz Takes Over Smart Sales from Penske

February 16th, 2011

Smart ForTwo CDI

The car biz has its own logic. Praised up and down for his business acumen, Roger Penske took over Smart sales in the U.S. in 2008—and has sold maybe 45,000 cars since then. In all of last year, buyers drove home fewer than 6,000 Smarts. Last month (January), Benz sold 17,273 cars in the U.S.

I think this blog did more promotion for the brand than either Mercedes or Penske did: We wrote at least three stories about the car because, despite its problems, we saw its potential, particularly as an EV city car.

Right now, the only logic for Mercedes taking Smart back into the fold is to improve the company’s corporate fuel economy standards in the U.S. (The fortwo is rated at 41 mpg highway.) “More than 1.2 million Smart fortwos have been sold worldwide since 1998,” says the press release. But the far larger share of these sales came in 2008-2009.

So the car has become a loser—for two big reasons, I think.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Electric Vehicles, Foreign Cars, General Chat

BMW: No Manual For You!

February 16th, 2011
2006 BMW M5

I'll take this '06 M5, with a manual transmission

It’s a sad day when one of the most revered and utterly awesome sports cars of all time loses its manual transmission. It’s like a stud Thoroughbred getting neutered or a Ferrari rockin’ a 4-cylinder. It just ain’t right.

Yet when the next-generation BMW M5 hits the streets, all of its raging 550 hp and still-untold-but-surely-tremendous amount of twist will be channelled through an 8-speed automatic transmission. No manual offered. No dual clutch option, either.

Cue the funeral procession music…

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Green Update–>Obama Budget Compromises on EVs and Everything Else

February 15th, 2011

Biden

First off, there will never be 1 million EVs on the road by 2015, as any reasonably informed person knows, even our automotive Cassandras like Niedermeyer. Mr. Obama is using the bully pulpit of the presidency to tout the coming EV revolution, but he has so compromised the government’s role in it as to send mixed messages to everybody.

To get to 1 million cars, the administration would have to make some politically hard choices, and that is simply not in their deck of cards. The most obvious is raising the tax on gasoline, and that won’t happen.

So the fallback is to throw bones to the consumer. The $7,500 tax rebate, which you now can get only at tax time, would become an instant rebate in the Obama budget. There are real problems with that, as we detailed here. Dealers aren’t thrilled about having to fork over the cash, then waiting to be reimbursed by the government.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Domestic Cars, Electric Vehicles, General Chat, Green Updates