Buick: America’s Shining Star for Reliability?

Buick Cascada by Mike Perkins

Since they began flooding the U.S. market in the mid-1970s, Japanese cars have always enjoyed a reputation for reliability American companies could seem to only covet. So, naturally, it comes as no surprise that Lexus and Toyota continue their best Jimmie Johnson and Sebastian Vettel impressions, respectively landing the top two spots of Consumer Reports’ Annual Brand Reliability Survey for the 4th straight year. Instead, this year shoppers will need to scroll down to the 3rd place finisher if they’re looking for a shock. Buick, of all brands, has brought an American nameplate to Consumer Reports’ podium for the first time in over three decades. Continue reading >>>

The Intersection of Technology and Design Isn’t Boring

Toyota's FCV Plus concept

Toyota’s FCV Plus concept

On May 26, the New England Motor Press Association, of which some of us here at CarGurus are members, will host a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the theme Technology Intersecting Design. It may sound like a boring topic, but as you’ll see, it’s a compelling one.

The NEMPA conference will include prominent industry figures like Timothy Anness, head of advance design, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – North America; Mary Gustanski, vice president of engineering, Delphi; Michelle Tolini Finamore, curator of fashion arts at the (Boston) Museum of Fine Arts; Dr. Gill Pratt – CEO, Toyota Research Institute; and John J. Leonard, professor of mechanical and ocean engineering at MIT.

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LC 500 Ushers in Change for Lexus

lexus-lc-500

“Lexus is like Neiman Marcus. The quality isn’t that much better than what you’d get at a discount store, yet it’s incredibly expensive.”

Those aren’t my words, mind you. I’ve owned a Lexus and found it exceptionally nice, though certainly not overly thrilling. Those are the words of my lovely wife, who has very engrained perceptions about certain car brands.

She associates Lexus with spiffed-up Toyotas and doesn’t see the added-value proposition of the L logo on the grille.

That’s a sentiment that obviously isn’t widely shared, because Lexus remains one of the best-selling luxury car brands in America. Lexus has, however, suffered from a lack of performance and design credibility, especially when compared with BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

Lexus knows it has a problem in those areas and has determined to do something about it.

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Lexus Wants to Change the Rules of the Game

Lexus NX

Some people buy cars with reckless abandon. They need a car, they go to their favorite dealer, they pick a car, they agree to buy it, they write a check, and they drive away.

These people don’t worry about the cost of the car, because they’ve decided the MSRP is reasonable, since the car will serve its intended purpose for the next couple of years or so.

I’ve known plenty of people who purchase cars this way. They buy vehicles with names like Denali, Benz, Porsche, Lexus, and more.

I am not one of those people. I’m a negotiator, and when I think I’m at the rock-bottom price, I try to go lower.

Then again, I don’t buy new luxury cars. The people who do would rather have a good experience at the dealership than spend hours trying to save a few bucks.

Lexus hopes to take advantage of that and could offer a no-haggle pricing policy. Could Lexus become the Saturn of the 21st century?

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The Two Tiers of Luxury: Which Do You Prefer?

"Tier 2" does not mean "inferior."

“Tier 2” does not mean “inferior.”

Is a Lincoln as good as a Lexus?

Can an Acura take down an Audi?

Will an Infiniti be as good as a BMW?

There are two groups of cars in the luxury world: the ones that command respect and the ones that desperately want it. Automotive News breaks these down a little more formally, calling them the “Tier 1” group and the “Tier 2” group.

Tier 1 includes BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz. Tier 2 includes Lincoln, Acura, Cadillac, and Audi.

If I were making the rules, I’d put Audi up in Tier 1, because it has decidedly outsold the others in Tier 2 and has, in my humble opinion, eclipsed the quality level of BMW.

The Tier 1 group continues to establish its dominance, while the Tier 2 group struggles to maintain relevance. Are cars from Tier 2 worth considering?

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Cars Coming Soon: The $1 Million Toyota

Lexus LF-LC concept

Lexus LF-LC Concept

While Toyota has no plans to build a Camry that costs a cool million, the company responsible for the remarkable Lexus LFA just might have a supercar sequel in mind.

How can the automaker top its efforts on the $375,000, 202-mph, 552-hp, 4.8-liter V10-powered scream machine? Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible without striving for Bugatti Veyron-type numbers. Which, it turns out, could be a possibility. The rumor mill is churning with “leaked information” that Toyota isn’t satisfied with the LFA’s performance and wants a car that’s faster, more powerful and priced at close to a million bucks.

This is the type of story I’d take with a hefty dose of the proverbial salt, but the thought sure is enticing. It’s also a bit more believable considering the recent efforts Toyota has made at building sporty cars. In addition to the untouchable LFA, the Scion FR-S will arrive shortly, and the Lexus LF-LC concept looks hot.

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