GM and Toyota Dive Deeper Into Car Sharing

MAVEN

How would you like to rent a car in less than a second?

The idea of instant access to a vehicle could be appealing, especially for people who don’t own a car and live in a big city. General Motors and Toyota are the latest major automakers to get on board the car-sharing trend and could help turn it into a new normal for urban-dwelling commuters.

The idea of a car company venturing into the by-the-hour car rental business might seem to fly in the face of their desire to sell cars meant for individual ownership, but the younger generation seems to be demanding a change in how they transport themselves.

They don’t want to own cars, but they want convenient, inexpensive access to them.

Cue Maven.

Continue reading >>>

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 End of the Small Automaker?

nissan-mitsubishi-logos

What if there were no more small automakers?

The automotive world continues to consolidate, and large automakers either push the smaller ones out of the market or swallow them up as part of an expanding empire.

It’s not too hard to imagine a world without small car companies, because they don’t have much of a presence in the United States. Suzuki left the market, Mitsubishi is a small player, and Subaru is only popular in cold climates. A few supercar manufacturers and startups exist to serve a tiny niche, but most of us are never influenced by their success or failure.

Recent news from the Toyota and Nissan camps demonstrates that carmaker consolidation shows no signs of slowing down.

Continue reading >>>

Automakers Can Reach 54.5 MPG, But That Doesn’t Mean They Will

2016 Jeep® Renegade Trailhawk

We’ve all been there: January 1st nears, excitement builds, and you set a lofty goal for yourself. Eat healthier. Hit the gym 5 days a week. Engage friends and family in conversations that are not exclusively about cars. You know, your typical New Year’s resolution. In the following weeks, Whole Foods will record record sales and gym memberships will spike. But by mid-February or so, we’ll return to our old habits, and my loved ones will still be trying to remember which seemingly random collection of letters and numbers is made by Cadillac and which by Mercedes-Benz. Our resolutions—promises we made and agreed to stand behind—have become more akin to suggestions. They’re now goals to strive for and be congratulated on, not requirements by which to live. Don’t feel too bad: as it turns out, the auto industry isn’t too different.

Continue reading >>>

Cars and Crustaceans: Another Successful NEMPA Ragtop Ramble

ramble_opener

With perfect blue skies overhead and a couple cups of coffee in our stomachs, a CarGurus team made its way to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum yesterday in Brookline, Massachusetts, for this year’s Ragtop Ramble and Crustacean Crawl. The objective: mingle with automaker PR folks and New England auto journalists, check out a bunch of cool cars, capture footage, snap photos, and eat lobster.

Continue reading >>>

Are There Any Bad Cars Left? Kia tops J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

2017 Kia Sportage EX EX

If there’s one piece of advice I find myself sanctimoniously preaching to prospective car shoppers, it’s this: There’s no such thing as a bad car anymore.

Long, long ago, in the early 1990s, Kia Motors expanded to the United States, bringing with it little economical runabouts like the Sephia sedan and the Sportage crossover. There was just one problem: These cars weren’t exactly what we’d describe as “good.” Sub-100-hp engines, crude transmissions, and interiors featuring more plastics than Mean Girls. The little Sephia couldn’t even deliver great fuel economy, barely eking out 27 mpg highway with its automatic transmission. A ‘94 Ford Escort could manage 5 mpg better with nearly identical power specs.

But oh, how times have changed. Despite a poor first impression, Kia has emerged as a shining example of the fact that there really are no more “bad” cars. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Initial Quality Study, wherein car owners are surveyed to determine which vehicles deliver the best experience within the first 90 days. By placing first on J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia earned the honor of being the first non-premium brand in 27 years to take home Gold.

Continue reading >>>

Buyers Want Used Cars That Will Last a Decade

1970_ford_bronco-pic-52750-640x480

There’s an interesting quirk happening in used car buying that could affect new car sales for years to come. Almost half of all buyers want the car they buy to last at least 10 years.

The survey from AutoMD.com showed the majority of buyers are thinking pre-owned, or what we mortals would call used cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Price was the most important factor, but so was making sure the car would last a decade.

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.

Continue reading >>>

Toyota Goes Back to the Future for New Concept

2016-Toyota-Tacoma-Back-to-the-Future-front

I realize that everyone is probably worn out on the whole Back to the Future thing. This, though, merits a mention because it’s arguably a major reason why a popular truck became so successful.

The infamous day when Marty McFly and Doc Brown flew into 2015 and wreaked havoc on the past happened last week. Bloggers and Facebookers everywhere spent the day bemoaning the lack of hoverboards, while actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd made the rounds on the talk show circuit.

One of my fondest memories from the trilogy was Marty’s black 1985 Toyota 4×4 truck, which led to my eventual purchase of a similar truck. Last week Toyota announced a modern take on the classic truck, but does is it hold up to the original?

Continue reading >>>