President Trump has been in office for over a week now, and his efforts to motivate automakers to manufacture vehicles in the U.S. have so far been met with controversy and mixed results. There’s been a substantial amount of press over Ford’s decision to cancel a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico, while still moving small-car production (notably, the Ford Focus) to Ford’s existing Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant. The Ford Focus has been in the spotlight, but it’s worth noting that there are many more models that could be affected by Trump’s theoretical 35% tariff. In fact, the automotive industry in Mexico has had a long and stable history. Continue reading >>>
There are some things we replace, and other things we repair. I have no qualms replacing a toothbrush every couple months, or buying a new pair of running shoes after a few hundred miles. When it comes to more expensive items, however, my point of view shifts dramatically. Companies like Patagonia have made a strong push against disposable merchandise, offering repair services for their products and encouraging shoppers to fix their gear rather than just throwing it away and buying replacements. It’s a commendable, environmentally friendly decision—and considering the price tags on Patagonia products, one that’s appreciated by shoppers, too.
Of course, when it comes to repairing vs. replacing, nothing trumps the auto industry. Drivers spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars per year keeping their cars on the road and, try as a I might, I just can’t visualize disposable cars showing up anytime soon. YourMechanic.com connects car owners with mechanics and in doing so has amassed an impressive data set breaking down the average cost of ownership by brand and specific model, including the maladies that most commonly afflict each brand.
As Boston-area folks know all too well, another year’s worth of college students will soon graduate and move on to their next stage in life. Whether that next stage will be an entry-level job, more school, volunteer or charity work, or getting right to work on their first (next?) startup, we wish this year’s graduates nothing but the best with whatever comes next.
We ran a recent survey that determined more than half of graduating college students plan to buy a car, and we were happily surprised to learn that over half of them expect to buy it themselves. Two-thirds of those getting a new car plan to buy a used one, and almost half expect to spend $15,000 or less, though we also learned that graduating college students don’t understand a car’s true costs. Over half plan to work in the city, and 71% plan to commute by car.
So here’s a graduation present from CarGurus: a list of 10 cars available used at an average cost of $15,000 or less that are all fine commuting cars and should hold their value relatively well. We deliberately avoided sports cars, which might tempt even a valedictorian to drive unsafely and would cost substantially more to insure. We hope all recent graduates plan to continue learning in their next stage of life, and we look forward to celebrating some of their successes in the no doubt impressively near future.
Expected reliability is the single most important factor in deciding on a car, according to J.D. Power. Whether you want a vehicle for off-roading, track days, or everyday commuting, you definitely don’t want one that will cost you a lot of extra money, time, or frustration in repairs. J.D. Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study, now in its 27th year, polls owners of 3-year-old cars to determine the number of problems they experienced during the previous 12 months. The company then ranks each maker and model by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles.
Preventive maintenance is the secret to automotive happiness. Failing that, it helps to own a car with low maintenance costs. A new list provided by CarMD provides some excellent guidance into the 10 best cars for repair costs.
It’s part of CarMD’s annual manufacturer and vehicle reliability rankings. It measures the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles, top 3 vehicles by vehicle category, and common repairs by vehicle make. This year’s Vehicle Health Index™ is based on more than 251,000 repairs recommended for model year 1996 to 2015 vehicles in the United States from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.
Way back in 2010, we noticed the auto world’s inconvenient truth: Manual transmissions are dying out. Any red-blooded gearhead will agree that learning to drive a manual-transmission car is a rite of passage, an art form every true CarGuru has to learn. The trouble is, how do you learn to drive a manual if you don’t own one? Many of us learned in our parents’ cars, where the sound of grinding gears didn’t incite mechanic-shop nightmares. Others had friends who cared about sharing the secrets of the stick shift more than preserving the mechanical well-being of their own transmissions.
We’re not ready to declare summer dead and buried, but football season is nevertheless upon us. This weekend, the NCAA will kick off the Division I College Football season, and with that, we’re bringing back one of our all-time favorite topics: Tailgating. In the past, we’ve shown you plenty of capacious trucks, vans, and body-on-frame SUVs, but this year we thought we’d try something a little different. Sure, a brand new F-150, 4Runner, or Odyssey will offer tons of space for your friends, beer, and grillables, but they also include a major drawback—they’re incredibly expensive.
The ‘buy a car and get insurance’ shtick has been around the block before.
General Motors experimented last year with giving away insurance as a way to entice buyers, but quietly let the program expire after it failed to bring in crowds of willing customers.
Honda has become the latest to try and lure customers with free insurance, but only on a single model that really shouldn’t need incentives or gimmicks to boost sales: The Honda Fit EV. You would think Honda’s first electric vehicle would be popular enough on its own, but the company hopes its offer of no-cost insurance will help get 1,100 people to sign the dotted line on a lease.
If this story seems suspicious to you, you’re not alone. I read about it and immediately asked myself three questions:
In case you thought it was impossible to make the Honda Fit look any weirder, check out the non-Photoshopped image above of the Honda Fit Shuttle.
The front three-quarters looks like a regular Fit, but the rear looks like the regular Fit has filled its diaper.
And what’s with the tri-color pointy C-pillar? The Fit Shuttle is certainly an odd duck, but as of now it is meant only for the Japanese market. Which is mostly OK with me, except I think it would make a perfect teen car here in the States. It’s ugly, not too fast, but reliable, and able to haul sports equipment and musical instruments. Because that’s what teens do with their cars, right?
As supply dwindles and production continues to sputter, new-car shoppers are already seeing higher prices for some of the more fuel-efficient Japanese vehicles.
The cost of the imports is going up, because earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing supply of the autos that people are increasingly snatching off dealer lots.
That’s a simple supply-and-demand equation, with cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit becoming more popular as gas prices get closer to $4 per gallon. It just so happens those are also two of the cars hard-hit by production slowdowns, and dealers are raising their prices, in some cases, to over MSRP.
Will a similar price increase trickle down to used cars? It’s entirely possible.