Uber Halts Self-Driving Program, BMW Announces One

The BMW iNEXT: Coming soon!

The drive toward full autonomy in cars continues on its relentless march, but setbacks continue to plague the new technology.

Google was among the first to publicly test self-driving cars and has logged millions of mostly trouble-free miles. Tesla is also proving the technology, though not without occasional tragedy.

Automakers around the world are also going all-in on the self-driving craze. Ford has promised full autonomy by 2021, as have Tesla, Audi, and more.

BMW just announced its intent to join that list, while Uber has abruptly halted its autonomous testing after a crash in Arizona.

Will we see full autonomy in just four short years? Continue reading >>>

Has Any Automaker Improved Faster Than Hyundai?

Spotting these two old friends in a parking lot over the weekend was a stark reminder of just how far Hyundai has come. On the left is a perfect example of what many of us picture when we picture a Hyundai. On the right is the truth of what Hyundai has become.

Now that the South Korean automaker is just about on par with the likes of Honda and Toyota in terms of design and price, it’s easy to forget about Hyundai’s humble beginnings and awkward growing pains.

Today’s Hyundai vehicles are sleek, stylish, reliable, and comfortable. They routinely turn heads and evoke comments of, “That’s a Hyundai?” Unfortunately, an aversion to the growing price tags are a less-desirable first response for some buyers who haven’t shopped the brand in a decade or two.

Hyundai is the seventh best selling automaker in America. Honda is number five. It’s pretty clear that, regardless of the slowly increasing price, Americans have embraced the once-lowly automaker and enabled it to blossom into a household name. Just how far has Hyundai come? Continue reading >>>

Will This Lawsuit Against Ford Boost Camaro Sales?

Marketing can be a company’s best friend when done correctly, or it can incite anger and lawsuits if done incorrectly.

Ford is learning the importance of truth in marketing, as some customers are discovering that their Shelby GT350s aren’t holding up on the track quite as well as Ford promised.

Before we go any further, it’s important to remember that Ford hasn’t done anything wrong, nor is there any confirmation that the automaker purposely sold the GT350 as something it isn’t. What we do know is a group of owners have experienced serious overheating issues while on the track, and a couple of law firms have taken notice. Continue reading >>>

Bad News for Finance Company Means Good Deals on Used Cars

Following financial news is about as invigorating as watching cantaloupe ripen, which is why the vast majority of us don’t include it as a regular pastime.

Financial developments, though, can have lasting impacts on our lives and affect the ease with which we buy houses, cars, and other items that typically require financing. Trends in the automotive finance industry can also provide a glimpse into the future of car prices and help us find the perfect timing for purchasing a new or used car.

With that in mind, we have some interesting news to share from Ally Financial, formerly GMAC, that might be good news for used-car shoppers who love to take home a great deal.

The news is not so great if you’re an automaker, a dealership, or the CEO of Ally. Continue reading >>>

Because We Need Another 3-Row SUV: Here Comes the Subaru Ascent

2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca

The list of the world’s ugliest cars gained a new member with the 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca. Designed to inspire thoughts of the company’s aircraft heritage, the front end of the B9 ended up looking, at best, awkward and quirky.

At worst it’s the feature that kept buyers from driving the B9 Tribeca off the lot. Well, that and the fact that it offered a cramped interior and got less-than-stellar fuel economy.

In 2008 Subaru dropped the “B9” from the name and revised the grille, but it was still the same car, albeit with what looked like a transplanted front end from a Chrysler Aspen.

In short, the Tribeca had few redeeming qualities, and it was discontinued in 2014.

Now Subaru wants to try its hand at a 3-row crossover again, and this time it should get the formula just right. Continue reading >>>

Lexus or Jaguar: Rakish Design Versus Subdued Elegance

Lexus RX 450h

Allow me to take you back in time. Let’s go to the early 1990s and stroll right on up to 2015 or so.

I want us to take a look at luxury cars during our journey. Specifically, let’s focus on Jaguar and Lexus.

Lexus was still new to America after being introduced in 1989 with the LS 400 sedan. The company took pride in creating a luxury car that was high in comfort while possessing a certain understated elegance.

Lexus appealed to people with similar qualities. Conservative older folks flocked to Lexus because it provided the reliability and unassuming looks of Toyota with the comfort and interior class of traditional German luxury brands.

Other luxury makers, including BMW and Jaguar, touted performance and unique design as selling points. Lexus buyers wanted none of that and enjoyed decades of low-profile luxury motoring.

Those days are gone. Continue reading >>>

Dealer Service Scores Improve—How’s Yours?

I bought my first new car in 2003 from a Honda Dealer. The car, a straight-off-the-boat 2004 Honda Pilot, still had its plastic wrapping and something like two miles on the odometer.

I loved the car, but buying it was a high-pressure affair. The Pilot was in-demand at the time and, at least according to the salesman, the SUVs were flying off the lot for about 4 grand more than MSRP. I didn’t even test-drive the specific car I ended up buying.

I managed to get mine for MSRP. Now that I’m older and more experienced, I realize that I didn’t negotiate the best deal. Not only was the sales experience a poor one, the service at the dealership was even worse. High prices and high pressure combined to make any service visit a regrettable one.

Dealership service is a different story today, and two luxury brands have earned accolades for being among the best. Continue reading >>>

GM Downsizing! Which Cars Should Go?

Sometimes downsizing is the most responsible way to rein in spending and guarantee a future of financial well-being.

Getting a smaller house, selling those extra cars, and starting to spend a little bit less every month can have lasting positive effects on your life.

Don’t worry, this hasn’t become a self-help or financial advice blog. Downsizing is just a natural part of modern life, and sometimes even the biggest companies in the auto industry have to pare down their possessions to stay viable and relevant.

General Motors is in the midst of a downsize after selling off its European unit. It might just be getting started, too, with reduced investments potentially affecting North American vehicles. Continue reading >>>

Volkswagen Says It’s “Back on Track”—Would You Agree?

A scandal the size of the one Volkswagen is coming out of would be enough to topple many automotive companies in existence today. With billions of dollars in fines, recall, and repair costs, in addition to criminal charges from the U.S. government, the company took a direct shot to the heart of its brand that left appalled customers clamoring for answers.

Volkswagen could very well have dropped to its knees and succumbed to its injuries. Being the largest automaker in the world, though, has certain perks, and surviving catastrophe is apparently one of them.

The story of VW’s emissions cheating broke in September 2015. Just three months into 2017, the company’s chairman has declared that the automaker is “back on track.”

That statement came just days after VW pleaded guilty to three felonies in a U.S. District Court. How is that “back on track,” exactly? Continue reading >>>

Your New MR2 Dreams Could Come True

If I were to ask a hundred people what car they’d most like to see return as a new model, I bet at least half would mention one of the Toyota sports cars from the 1980s and 90s.

Specifically, the Supra and MR2 routinely top lists of most-missed vehicles and are consistently the subject of comeback rumors.

Toyota brought us the 86, which has quenched some of the thirst for Toyota sports cars, but continued rumors of a reborn Supra (with BMW bones) keep Toyota fans salivating for more.

Things got even more interesting over the weekend as Toyota, at the Geneva Motor Show, seems to have suggested it could return to its past of making affordable sports cars. Continue reading >>>