Green Update–>Mercedes F-Cell Coming to California

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell

Hydrogen, so far as we know, is the ultimate fuel for cars: zero emissions (only water) and when combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, you get—zap!—electricity to power your Mercedes F-Cell (now built on the B-Class compact platform).

The company has been working on the fuel-cell concept for some years, testing A-Class fuel-cell cars in the U.S. since 2004, but the new B-Class car is more efficient and will be available for lease in California to a limited number of customers in December. By 2012 there will be about 70 cars operating there, out of a total 200, including Europe. Popular Mechanics did an article on what it’s like to drive one.

A three-year lease costs $849 per month and includes the fuel and insurance. Benz has invested around $2.73 billion in the technology over a 15-year period, and from all reports the car is pretty impressive. It will also be the first compact Mercedes to come to the U.S.

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Will You Be Ragin’ Over the Porsche Cajun?

Porsche Cajun rendering

We all have to figure out a way to pay the bills. It doesn’t matter if you’re a single girl living in a New York apartment or the head of a storied German sports car brand.

All of us, on occasion, will stoop to questionable decisions when it involves the promise of making easy money.

The facts are, the single girl won’t make it in New York as a waitress forever, and Porsche would have shut off its lights years ago if it made only Boxsters.

The Cayenne SUV helped change Porsche’s fortunes. Next, the recently confirmed Cajun hopes to do more of the same.

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CarGurus Launches Free Car Listing Tool with “Instant Market Value” Guidance

Instant Market Value

Helps sellers answer the question “What’s my car worth?”Pricing guidance based on live data from 2+ million active listings

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., November 29, 2010 — CarGurus® (, a leading online automotive community, announced today the launch of a free car listing tool that includes “Instant Market Value” pricing guidance. Based on the analysis of 2+ million active car listings, “Instant Market Value” price guidance takes into account numerous factors including maker, model, year, trim, mileage, options and location to deliver an accurate, up-to-date valuation for consumers looking to sell a car online.

Transparent Information Unlike other opaque pricing tools, CarGurus’ “Instant Market Value” provides complete transparency as to the value of the seller’s car. Sellers are shown the four most relevant comparable listings that justify the suggested pricing as well as a graph that plots all the price points analyzed to derive the suggested pricing.

Consumers also get additional feedback on the relative merits of their chosen price. As the seller enters different price points for their car, they’ll receive instant feedback on whether their chosen price is a “good deal” or “bad deal” for buyers and where their listing will rank vs. other listings in their area.

Integrated with Free Listings While the web offers numerous free auto listings services, CarGurus’ is the first to integrate free pricing tools in the listings process to help sellers properly value their cars. Sellers not only get a free car listing on a dedicated automotive site with 3+ million unique visitors a month but also free advice on pricing.

To get started, sellers simply click on:, plug in their zip code and then fill in information about their car. As they input this information, sellers immediately get pricing guidance.

“While free listing sites like Craigslist exist, they are not automotive-focused and don’t provide consumers with any pricing guidance,” remarked Langley Steinert, CEO/Founder of CarGurus. “Pricing a car properly will maximize anyone’s chances of selling the car as well as the seller’s eventual realized profits. With CarGurus’ free listings service, we are bringing full transparency to the process of listing and pricing a car.”

About CarGurus LLC and DealFinder Located in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass., CarGurus LLC is a leading online automotive community founded by Langley Steinert, formerly chairman/co-founder of TripAdvisor LLC, the 2nd largest online travel site in the world.

CarGurus’ DealFinder is an online car shopping service that helps consumers find the best deals on new and used cars in their local area. Indexing over 2 million listings a day, CarGurus’ DealFinder analyzes each car listing and compares the listed price against historic pricing models to gauge whether the listing is a good deal or bad deal. CarGurus’ DealFinder helps consumers save time and money when shopping for a new or used car. For more information about CarGurus, visit us at

Contact: Kerry Metzdorf, Plum Advisors 978-463-2575

2011 Ford Explorer Already a Hit

It won’t hit dealerships until early 2011, but the next Explorer is already exceeding sales expectations. Early indications are that buyers don’t care that the Ford has ditched body-on-frame construction in favor of a unibody structure, or that it shares its platform with the Ford Taurus and Flex and the Lincoln MKS and MKT.

This shift to a traditional crossover construction has not only lured buyers, but Ford reports that Explorer pre-orders have nearly doubled original projections.

I guess the old-school SUV really is dying. What’s next, a unibody Tahoe?

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The Cars and Cash of 50 Cent

It’s ironic that rapper 50 Cent is worth millions.

Only in America can a guy name himself after two quarters and then go on to make enough money to stuff the cash that won’t fit in his bank into his Lamborghini. How’s that for proof that he managed to get rich without dyin’ tryin’?

There was a time when celebs were content to flash their wealth with ultra-expensive cars, but that may not be enough anymore. A new trend looks to be stuffing ultra-expensive cars with cash. 50 Cent jumped on that bandwagon, posing with his Murcielago and a trunk full of crisp bills. He’s been spotted with a Rolls-Royce and a Pontiac G8 too… I wonder how much money is stashed in those.

Keep reading to see his G8, and a certain copycat celebrity (or at least former celebrity) imitate 50 Cent’s pose, though his money looks a lot like it was made with some computer software and a laser printer…

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Buy Your Next Car Without Bank Approval—But Don’t Miss Your Payment!

I came upon an interesting term the other day. It’s called a starter interrupt, and it’s a device that disables your car if you don’t make your payment. “Buy Here Pay Here” used-car dealers have used these to cut down on deadbeats, defaulters and “skippers”—and the repossessions that really drive them nuts. Some even use a GPS system to track you down if you skip.

Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) means a dealership for those who are “credit challenged,” another clever term in the trade. Those who can’t get credit elsewhere make weekly or biweekly payments at the dealership. Of course, the financing costs you more, but if you need a car, you need a car.

The reputation of BHPH, a service which has grown greatly in these bad economic times, is both killer-dreadful and life-saving. You probably won’t need a credit check. For the good side and the testimonials, see this site.

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Giving Thanks: The Car Features Worth Being Thankful For

With ESC...

My wife and son were in a car accident earlier this week. Thankfully no one was hurt and the car is being taken care of by the friendly folks in car insurance land.

But there’s nothing quite like getting a phone call telling you the people you treasure most have been in an accident, and the relief after learning that they’re perfectly OK. It’s a moment that puts life in perspective and, as much as we love cars, it reminds us that they’re only possessions that can be fixed or replaced.

Being thankful for those we love, and for those who love us, is the real point of the Thanksgiving holiday. But let’s also give some thanks to the features on our cars that keep us all safe and comfortable while on the road.

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A $66,300 Bargain: Porsche’s Cayman R

2011 Porsche Cayman R

Never mind the fact that we’re running out of room and good roads to drive such cars. There are still those of us who love midengine, state-of-the-art sports cars, even if they spend too much time in the garage and cost too much.

Porsche knows its market and slipped a new Cayman R onto the stand at the LA Auto Show last week. This car represents what Porsche has always been best at—tweaking existing designs to get the last ounce of performance. And, unlike the recent bloated Speedster, it looks like a Porsche should look.

To be available in the U.S. in February, the Cayman R is lighter (by 121 pounds), more powerful (now 330 hp), and faster (0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds with the PDK transmission) than its standard brother, the S (which itself doesn’t do too badly). Press release and full details are here.

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Toyota Could Add Turbo, Direct Injection to Lineup

Is a new turbocharged hybrid MR2 in Toyota's future?

turbocharged, hybrid Toyota MR2 could be right around the corner.

A week ago that would have been really hard to believe. But a report from Autoweek yesterday says Toyota has big plans for its model lineup, as the automaker intends to introduce 11 new or redesigned vehicles by 2012. The plan would introduce all-new hybrid vehicles and more-efficient gasoline engines that use turbochargers and direct fuel injection.

I guess that means my theory that some older Toyota models are better than current ones will go down the toilet…

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Green Update–>Nissan Leaf Rated at 99 mpg; Your Mileage May Vary

Nissan Leaf EPA rating

I do not want to get into the contentious business of how to rate fuel economy for EVs, hybrids, plug-ins, and multiples thereof like the Volt. We pay the EPA to do that, and they came out with figures for the Leaf yesterday.

Nissan was pleased that the Leaf achieved a rating of 99 mpg (average of 106 mpg city and 92 mpg highway). Toyota’s Prius gets a 50-mpg rating. The Volt has not been rated yet because its “fuel economy will vary enormously depending on how far the car is driven between charges.”

So the Leaf gets to display some very impressive figures on its window sticker, which will be great advertising indeed: best in class for mileage, zero tailpipe emissions, and an estimated $561 per year to charge its batteries (7 hours to recharge on 240 volts).

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