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Here Comes Tesla’s Competition

March 28th, 2014

Commuter Cars Tango and George Clooney

When you think of electric cars, the first maker to come to mind is probably Tesla. The company has done an amazing job branding itself as the leader in vehicles powered by electrons. With sexy car designs, lots of media coverage and a personable-yet-eccentric CEO, Tesla has become the gold standard in electric vehicles.

That doesn’t mean Tesla is alone, though.

Other carmakers build and sell vehicles that use alternative fuels, and there’s no way the legacy automakers are going to sit down and watch Tesla silently drive into the sunset with all the cash.

From the big boys to some small guys with big ideas, it seems EVs are here to stay. Keep reading for some interesting competitors Tesla may face.

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Underdog Chrysler 200 Goes for the Win

March 27th, 2014

2015 Chrysler 200C and 2015 Chrysler 200S

We root for the underdog.

We want the Cinderella team at the NCAA tournament to advance to the Elite Eight. We want to see the #15 seed defeat the #2 seed, and we get excited when a 35-point football underdog pulls out an overtime victory.

In the automotive world, there is no greater underdog than the Chrysler 200. It has to overcome the stigma of being based on the Sebring, the constant deriding by reviewers across the land and the low-quality association of being a rental-car stalwart.

With the 2015 model, Chrysler and new owner FIAT know things have to change. In order to be a viable and profitable company, Chrysler simply must field a competitor to the top-selling cars in its class: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and even the Nissan Altima.

This is an underdog story like no other.

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Subaru Dealer Wins Union Fight

March 26th, 2014

subaru_union_fight

Kill ‘em with love and humor.

What better way to combat a hostile situation than by offering up some comedy. Maybe we could avoid everything from wars to domestic disputes by simply opening our arms and asking for a hug, then telling a joke.

I know it sounds like I’ve gone all hippie, but when we all just get along, things are so much happier. For the latest proof of this concept, I direct your attention to a Subaru dealership in Wichita, which has effectively diffused a union protest.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Car Shopping, General Chat , , ,

Ultra Long-Term Car Loans: A Great Idea!

March 25th, 2014

2014-Aston-Martin-DB9-coupe

Financing a depreciating asset is rarely a good idea. How does it make sense to purchase a $40,000 vehicle, finance it over many years, and then end up with a money pit that costs more to keep maintained than it’s worth? On top of that, not only do you have a car worth a fraction of what you paid, you’ve handed a bank many thousands of dollars for the privilege.

Very few people can afford to pay cash for a car, so financing for a few years makes sense logically, if not financially. There’s not a financial advisor on the planet who will say financing a car over 60 months is a good idea.

Unless, of course, you’re the bank or a very specific kind of buyer.

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Tesla Challenging Dealer Franchise Laws, and Winning

March 24th, 2014

2012-Tesla-Model-S

The American dealer franchise system might be on its last tank of fuel.

Since the advent of the mass production of cars, their sales have been filtered through a system of dealerships not affiliated with the carmakers. By acting as the middleman between the factory and the consumer, the dealer is free to negotiate and attempt to maximize profits. The downside for consumers, of course, is that uneducated people can be taken advantage of and charged more than necessary. The upside is that car buyers have local sales people and reliable service.

Tesla wants to change things up by selling directly to consumers in a retail model that could, and probably will, revolutionize how we buy cars.

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

GM Crisis Escalates, More Cars Recalled

March 19th, 2014

Saturn ION

What started as a simple and routine recall has exploded for General Motors into a worst-case scenario of negative public opinion.

This is bad.

Take the Audi PR nightmare of unintended acceleration in 1986, combined with Toyota’s recent battle with allegations of the same problem and then multiply it by a million. This is so much worse because there are documented deaths as a result of the problem, along with proof that GM has known about the fault for over a decade.

This is really bad.

It all started in 2001 with a single faulty ignition switch.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, General Chat

Mercedes-Benz Starts Car Shopping, Looks at Aston Martin

March 18th, 2014

Aston_martin

We all want more. Whatever it is, we’re never content with what we have. We need more money, a bigger home, more ice cream and a better car.

This is as true for corporations as it is for individuals.

The guy with a BMW eventually grows tired of his ol’ Beemer and wants a Rolls-Royce. The Porsche driver might tire of his sports car and want to upgrade to a Lamborghini. It’s the nature of humans to strive for the next attainable goal.

Since humans own corporations, they too never stop making purchases to expand.

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Cars of Ireland: The Shamrock and the Costin

March 17th, 2014

Shamrock_car

Since everyone’s Irish today, let’s take a moment and remember the cars that were built on the green isle. The first one to come to mind, and the most successful car assembled in Ireland, was the DeLorean DMC-12. Regardless of the fact that the DeLorean is also a time machine, it sold only about 8,500 copies before the company shut down.

Because we’ve covered the DeLorean on this blog again and again, that’s the only time it’ll be mentioned here today.

Yes, believe it or not, it’s possible to discuss Ireland’s car industry without mentioning the DeLorean. The country certainly isn’t known for its auto industry, which today is non-existent, but a couple of interesting little automotive gems existed there in the past.

Good luck finding one today, though.

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10 Cars We’re Going to Miss Next Year

March 14th, 2014

2014 Ford Mustang

Cars are no different than anything else in this world—even the best will meet their end at some point. It happened with the original Volkswagen Beetle, it will happen soon for the Land Rover Defender, and there are rumors swirling about the future of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

With all the announcements of new models in Geneva last week, we got to thinking about what won’t be around next year. There are a lot of truly great cars that will not see 2015 (along with plenty we wished never made it to 2014). While not all of them will be gone forever (some are simply moving on to their next incarnation with a redesign), others will be saying their final farewells once automakers start shipping 2015 models to dealer lots. For a closer look at what we’re going to miss, keep reading to see the 10 cars we’re not quite ready to see go.

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Car Industry News, Car Lists, Car Minded, General Chat

New Fisker Owner Alienates Existing Owners

March 14th, 2014

Fisker Karma

Let’s say you bought a Chevrolet. Not just any Chevrolet, but a really nice expensive one. In fact, let’s say you went crazy and checked all the boxes on a 2014 Corvette Stingray 3LT with the ZL5 performance package, carbon fiber roof, racing stripes—the whole shebang.

The purchase set you back about $75,000, but you love the car.

Now fast-forward two years. Let’s say General Motors had some serious trouble, went bankrupt (again), but this time was purchased by a foreign company. That company vowed to put products, like your Corvette, back into production but stop supporting, warranting or servicing models produced before bankruptcy.

How would you react?

For the answer, please speak with your nearest Fisker Karma owner.

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