Posts Tagged ‘Cruze’
After a strong year for car and truck sales, automakers have a flood of new models in the works to woo buyers in 2015.
Here are some of the vehicles expected to debut over the next 12 months:
■ Acura NSX: Designed, developed and built in the USA, this all-wheel drive hybrid super car is the heart of Acura’s plan to become a leading luxury brand. The two-seat NSX will be one of the most eagerly watched introductions at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While it will sell in small numbers, Honda engineers are throwing the kitchen sink at the NSX — including separate electric motors for each of the front wheels and a mid-engine gasoline-electric hybrid package — to reestablish Acura as a go-to brand for performance, technology and excitement.
■ Cadillac SRX: The SRX crossover was an immediate hit when Cadillac introduced it, but the handsome five-seater has grown old. Cadillac needs a new model with the latest features and improved fuel economy to cash in on the boom in luxury SUVs.
“Luxury crossovers are incredibly popular,” IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley said. “The SRX replacement is a chance for Cadillac to cash in on that and continue their run of excellent products.” The SRX replacement will have a new name as Caddy switches to names that combine letters and numerals, like BMW and Audi use.
■ Chevrolet Cruze: By far the best small car Chevrolet has built, the current Cruze’s features and fuel economy gave the brand its first legitimate competitor for the best from Japan, Korea and Germany.
GM puts such high stock on the Cruze that CEO Mary Barra, who was then in charge of product development, delayed the new car a year to make sure it didn’t repeat the mistakes of the botched redesign of the Malibu midsize sedan. The result: a roomier interior and other improvements in the sedan that goes on sale next fall.
■ Honda HR-V: Honda’s entry in the hot subcompact SUV market, the HR-V could win the brand new buyers, thanks to slick looks and one of the larger engines in the segment. “It’s going to get a lot of attention,” Brinley said. “We’ll be talking about small crossovers all year.”
Fuel economy, price and features will be key for the HR-V, whose competitors will include the Chevrolet Trax and Fiat 500X. The HR-V looks to have one of the roomier interiors in the pack.
■ Hyundai Tucson: Hyundai’s smaller SUV will grow slightly larger in 2015 to make room for — you guessed it — a future subcompact crossover. That will push it closer in size to the Santa Fe, potentially creating a traffic jam on Hyundai dealership floors.
“These vehicles are smash hits in the rest of the world,” Cars.com Detroit bureau chief Aaron Bragman said. Hyundai thinks a roomier interior and new looks could make the Tucson a hit with U.S. buyers.
■ Jaguar XE: Jaguar’s first compact sedan launches the British brand into direct competition with aggressive sport sedans like the BMW 3-series and Cadillac ATS. It’s a tough market, but success is vital to Jag’s global growth plan. An expected all-wheel drive model could help.
“Jaguar’s never had a viable candidate in this segment, but this one ticks all the right boxes” with contemporary looks and features, Bragman said.
The XE is one of the first tests of the Indian Tata Group’s ability to develop a luxury car without former Jag owner Ford’s help.
■ Jeep Renegade: Developed primarily for sale in Europe, China and other regions, the subcompact Renegade’s appeal in the U.S. is unknown, but Jeep could use an appealing entry-level model. A lot will depend on whether the Renegade delivers on Fiat Chrysler’s promise of serious off-road capability.
“It gives young buyers the classic Jeep looks and all the benefits of a Wrangler with a better price, higher fuel economy and more safety equipment,” Bragman said. “You’re going to see them all over college campuses.”
■ Lexus RX: Like the similar-sized Cadillac SRX, the RX is one of the older five-seat midsize luxury SUVs on the market. It’s also the best-seller in its segment, and the vehicle other automakers gear themselves up to compete with.
“The RX is the most popular luxury crossover in the U.S.,” Bragman said. “It’s the vehicle that made Lexus a volume brand.”
Expect advanced features and a luxurious interior to keep the competition on its toes.
■ Lincoln MKX: Ford’s luxury brand is basking in the warm response to the smaller MKC SUV it launched in 2014. The five-seat MKX needs to make a big impression to maintain that momentum and compete with the replacements for the SRX and RX.
“The MKX’s success is very important to Lincoln,” Brinley said.
Look for Lincoln to build on its strength making high-end interiors with the new MKX. The new Revel audio system will also debut on the MKX, which should be on sale this spring.
■ Mazda MX-5: Mazda might still exist without the affordable little roadster also known as the Miata, but its “Zoom-zoom” claims to be a brand for enthusiasts would ring hollow. The curvy new model boasts a 50/50 weight distribution for handling and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
“The MX-5 is Mazda’s icon, the car that sets the stage for the rest of the brand and defines Mazda as a company,” Bragman said. “It impacts the whole company, every model in the lineup.”
■ Nissan Titan: Nissan was the first Japanese automaker to build a full-size pickup, but the Titan has never met sales targets. At one point, Nissan nearly quit Titan development all together to use a truck developed by Chrysler’s Ram division. When that deal fell apart, Nissan doubled down on the Titan, developing the 2016 Titan that will debut at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The new Titan promises to be more capable, with a wider choice of models and a powerful and efficient 5.0-liter V8 diesel from Indiana-based Cummins Engine.
■ Toyota Tacoma: The midsize Tacoma pickup is one of Toyota’s core models, with as avid and loyal a following as the Camry or Corolla. The 2016 model debuting at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit faces unexpectedly strong competition from the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups.
“Toyota’s likely to remain the sales leader, but it’s possible they were caught a little off guard by the Colorado,” Brinley said. The strong likelihood that the Nissan Frontier midsize pickup expected later in the year will offer a V6 Cummins diesel adds to the 2016 Tacoma’s challenges.
■ Volvo XC90: The XC90 was one of the most popular European SUVs when it debuted, but it’s been on the market too long, with too few updates. Volvo product development slowed to a crawl when Ford sold the Swedish brand to a Chinese company during the Great Recession.
The company’s getting back on its feet, and the XC90 is key to winning back safety-conscious family buyers who are Volvo’s core audience.
“The interior is striking,” Bragman said. “They used some very creative materials and design themes. It’s a stunning place to sit.”
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The world’s seven largest automakers don’t seem spooked by the record level of recalls throughout the industry, and neither of the consumers. Cumulatively, auto sales surged 5.8% during the month of October, and on an annualized basis, global sales should reach or exceed 16 million cars for the eighth month in a row.
Growth rates at Jeep and Ram put Fiat Chrysler in a leading position, and Chevrolet and GMC both saw gains as well, though Cadillac served as an anchor and GM gained just 0.5% for the month. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all saw meaningful gains, though Ford’s sales haltered.
“For Ford, the slow month was not unexpected. The company is currently undergoing some serious revamps to its production process as it gears up for the unleashing of the all-aluminum F-150 pickup truck,” Sam Becker from the Autos Cheat Sheet wrote. “General Motors, on the other hand, is still trying to claw its way back from an absolutely disastrous beginning to the year, in which the company was forced to recall millions of vehicles.”
As for the top 10 best-selling vehicles of the month, there were few surprises, but recent model updates and refreshes have done their part to boost growth for several vehicles. See how the top selling vehicles in the country faired in our ranking below, courtesy of Cars.com’s Kicking Tires blog.
10. Honda Civic
An 11.6% decline in sales to 24,154 units versus the October from a year ago put the Honda Civic in tenth place, a few spots behind its usual 7th-5th place finishes. While other compacts have been renewed for 2015, the Civic is still riding its 2014 refresh, which seems to be losing its spark; sales for the year through October sit at 277,584, or 1.2% below the same 10 months of 2013.
9. Chevrolet Cruze
Though it’s very much the same car from 2014, Chevrolet made a few tweaks to its popular Cruze for the 2015 model year, and the results appear to have made quite a splash. Sales of the compact carleapt 51% over October of last year, and sales of the car for the year to date of 232,403 units puts the Cruze ahead of the same period last year by 9.7%.
8. Ford Escape
Despite little to no change for the 2015 model year, Ford’s popular crossover SUV got a 12% boost to 24,919 units for October, putting its year-to-date tally at 255,081 vehicles sold since January. This translates into a year-to-date gain of 1.8%, which is admirable for the Escape, which is starting to age against newer competition.
Toyota’s venerable Corolla seemed to get off to a slower start coming off its redesign for the 2014 model year, but it has kept up enough steam throughout the year to maintain its rank of 7th for October on a 5.6% gain, or 24,959 units. Overall, the venerable Corolla — which was one of the first cars to wear Toyota’s new design language — is up 10.3% on the year, to 283,764 cars.
6. Honda Accord
The Accord has been on a winning streak this year, occasionally outselling the consumer favorite Camry and at one point, even the Chevrolet Silverado for a second place finish in the monthly rankings. Sales in October tempered, however, to 27,128 units, which is still good for a solid 7.8% gain, and the car is up 7.9% on the year with 331,510 units moved.
5. Honda CR-V
With the 2015 model year refresh hitting dealerships about now, the Honda CR-V is seeing a reigniting of consumer interest. October sales spiked to 29.7%, or 29,257 units, to leave the popular crossover SUV up 7.4% on the year, at 270,272 models sold since January.
4. Toyota Camry
America’s favorite midsize sedan has gotten a healthy redesign for the 2015 model year, to help shed its beige personality with a sportier, bolder appearance. Now arriving at dealers, the new Camry saw October sales surge 13.8% to 33,164 cars, leaving its year-to-date sales up 5.7% at 368,142 units with two selling months left in the year.
3. Ram Pickup
Ram has been on fire this year, essentially from start to finish. That streak continued through October, as the brand sold 39,834 pickups, to seal a 33.5% spike over October’s sales from last year. This leaves Ram’s pickups — the 1500 line and the larger heavy duties as well — at 359,702 models sold since January, or a 22.9% leap over the same sales period of 2013.
After a disconcertingly slow start for Chevy’s updated line of pickups, the portfolio has thrown the salesthrottle open and sold 46,966 pickups in October, for a handsome 10.1% year-on-year gain over October of 2013. So far this year, Chevrolet has sold 429,119 of the bow tie-branded pickups, leaving the truck 6.4% in the green for the year so far.
1. Ford F-Series
As Ford readies to transition from the 2014 to 2015 model year F-Series pickups, the company has seen a dip in sales leading up to the awaited release — perhaps in anticipation. That streak continued through October with 63,410 units moved, or down 0.6% from October of 2013. To date, Ford has sold 620,447 trucks, which falls behind the first 10 months of last year by 0.5%.
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While they’re just starting to catch on en masse in the U.S., diesel-powered vehicles have long been in service around the world. Diesel cars offer a more miserly approach to fuel consumption but not to the detriment of performance, which consumer-grade hybrids tend to suffer from.
A new round of emissions standards punched a dent in diesel sales, but since then, their numbers have seen steady increases, and more manufacturers are developing cars and trucks that are readily compliant with America’s newer diesel standards. Even American companies are jumping on the bandwagon.
Here are six new diesel models slated for 2014, hand-picked by GreenCarReports, each offering some not-insignificant fuel consumption advantages over traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
1. Audi A6
Audi has a whole slew of new diesel models bound for the U.S. next year, and the A6 is one of them. The midsize sedan achieves a combined 29 miles per gallon from a 3-liter V6 turbo diesel that puts out 240 horsepower and an impressive 406 pounds-feet of torque. Diesel variants of the A7, A8, and Q5 will be joining the A6 as well as the incumbent Q7.
2. BMW 328d
In BMW’s revival of the 328d, the new car will use a 2-liter, four-cylinder power plant, good for 180 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque. The new 328d is aimed at improved fuel efficiency, with 37 miles per gallon combined, whereas the previous generation was more power and performance oriented.
3. Chevrolet Cruze
As one of the more affordable options shown here, General Motors (NYSE:GM) has slid a diesel unit with 151 horsepower into its compact car, which is good for 33 miles per gallon combined — 27 in the city and 46 on the highway. The 2014 Cruze is Chevy’s first diesel passenger car in 28 years.
4. Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
Like the Chevy, the new Grand Cherokee with the EcoDiesel option is Jeep’s first foray into the oil-burning market in several years. The 3-liter V6 turbo diesel unit produces 240 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque, and is offered courtesy of Jeep’s parent, Fiat (FIATY.PK). It’s good for 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway when equipped with four-wheel drive.
5. Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The Ram represents the only diesel-powered light-duty pickup in the market, as its competition only uses the diesel units in its heavy-duty trucks. The Ram uses the same 3-liter V6 that’s fitted to the Jeep, presumably with similar consumption figures. Ram says owners can make back the higher purchase cost — $2,850 over the standard ICE model — in fuel savings within three years,depending on how many miles the truck covers and the local price of diesel fuel.
6. Volkswagen Golf TDI
The Golf TDI has long represented one of America’s top-selling diesel models, andVolkswagen (VLKAY.PK) is throwing a redesigned version at the market next year as a 2015 model, though no 2014 model will be introduced. Currently, the car manages around 30 miles per gallon in the city and 42 on the highway, but it wouldn’t be outlandish to expect higher figures upon the car’s release.
At 46 miles per gallon highway, the newChevy Cruze Turbo Diesel gives even hybrids a run for their (gas) money.
The number of diesel models on the U.S.market should double during the 2014 model-year, according to various industry-watchers, the high-mileage powertraintechnology set to get its biggest boost since falling out of favor with American motorists back in the 1980s.
The surge reflects the advent of new diesel technology that not only maintains an estimated 30 percent mileage advantage over gasoline engines, but also resolves traditional concerns such as noise, roughness and foul-smelling emissions.
It also reflects the return to the diesel marketby manufacturers like General Motors, the emergence of new makers including Nissan, and the expansion of offerings by diesel leaders such asVolkswagen and is luxury arm Audi.
“This year, the number of diesels will be doubled,” said Andreas Sambal, the North American director of marketing for German supplier Bosch’s diesel systems division. “By the end of the 2014 model-year there will be 40 diesels on the market and this will give consumers a lot more choice.”
Audi is introducing several diesel-powered models.
Diesels have been a bit player in the U.S. market ever since the late 1980s when American buyers largely abandoned the technology due to endemic problems with earlier diesel designs—and in the wake of major and embarrassing failures of several GM engines.
Since then, proponents of diesel technology have lamented a chicken-and-egg problem. Many manufacturers were reluctant to enter the diesel market because of low sales. But proponents warned that sales wouldn’t grow until there were now more diesel offerings. The coming model-year will put their claims to the test.
Nissan this week became the latest maker to announce plans to launch a diesel option for its full-size Titan pickup—a first for a Japanese maker. The 5.0-liter V-8 turbo–diesel will be supplied by Cummins, Nissan noted.
“Truck owners told us there’s a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn’t require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup,” said Fred Diaz, vice president for North American Nissan sales and marketing.
Diaz’s former employer, Chrysler, just last month announced plans to add a diesel option for the 2014 Ram 1500 pickup. There is speculation GM will soon do the same for its GMC Sierraand Chevrolet Silverado trucks.
But Chevy has already staked out a return to the diesel passenger car market with an “oil-burner” option for its 2014 Cruze sedan. And Mazda will become the first Japanese maker with a passenger car diesel with a new version of its Mazda6 sedan.
Those makers have a long way to go to catch up on the German makers who have spearheaded the diesel revival—notably VW and its luxury arm Audi. A third of the Q7 crossovers the highline brand sells in the U.S. are equipped with diesels and more than half of the old A3 wagons were equipped with oil-burners.
Audi will bump its diesel model count from two to five for the 2014 model-year and will add a sixth when it introduces a new version of the A3.
Diesels have accounted for less than 3 percent of the total US new vehicle market even after recent growth spurts but Bosch forecasts that will reach as much as 10 percent by 2018. That is an admittedly “bullish” forecast, said the supplier’s Sambal. But other, more cautious forecasts predict the share could rise to 8 percent or higher.
Notably, diesel sales surged by 24 percent during the first seven months of 2013.
There are still obstacles to increased acceptance, cautioned Nicole Barranco, Audi’s diesel lobbying chief, ranging from higher fuel taxes to outdated perceptions by consumers unaware of modern diesel technology changes.
On the other hand, there are some key factors that could help diesel gain traction as awareness grows, said Bruce Belzowski, assistant research chief at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
For one thing, he noted during a forum sponsored by Audi, there’s the roughly 30 percent mileage boost the technology offers. And that, in turn, means that “almost all” diesel models”have a positive total cost of ownership” despite the typically higher purchase price.
A recent study by the institute found that even a small Volkswagen Jetta will save the typical owner about $3,000 over a three-year period while the total cost of buying and operating a Mercedes-Benz GL diesel is about $15,600 less than the gasoline version.
Meanwhile, advocates suggest, more diesels going into production could lower the cost penalty, further improving the appeal of the technology.
Apparently consumers know a good deal with they see one. Driven largely by high residual values, rock-bottom interest rates, loosening credit and aggressive marketing, new-car leasing is at record high rates, according to Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill. Leasing now accounts for 27.5 percent of all new-vehicle transactions, which represents a sturdy 12.5 percent increase over 2012 levels.
“Consumers tend to shop for vehicles based within the limits of their budget, and leasing is often seen as a viable path to a lower monthly payment,” says Melinda Zabritski, senior director of Automotive Credit. “Lenders have seen overall stability come back to the market since the recession, and leasing has gradually returned as a larger part of many lender strategies.”
Not surprisingly, Experian says average lease payments are likewise dropping, from $462 a year ago down to $459 in the first quarter of 2013. If that number still seems high, consider that a large majority of costly luxury cars are leased, rather than purchased outright. Still, automakers in all market segments are now pushing cut-rate leases aggressively on a wider range of models to attract bargain hunters – including those on some of the smallest and least expensive cars on the lot. They love leasing as it brings new customers back to dealerships with clocklike regularity and helps dealers maintain an inventory of recent-model used cars.
We scoured the Internet and found some incredible deals on 12 of the most desirable makes and models, including iconic cars like the BMW 3 Series and the Mini Cooper – all leasing for less than $300 a month. We even came across one car that’s leasing for as little as $99 a month, which is less than the cost of a daily grande latte at Starbucks.
Be aware that we’re identifying the lowest promoted monthly payments available for each make and model; lease terms can vary widely according to a number of factors and the numbers can be juggled according to a lessee’s preference to reflect a lower monthly payment or down payment, longer or shorter lease period and/or more or fewer miles allowed.
While the cost of a new-car lease is based largely on the available interest rate and a given model’s residual value, automakers and leasing companies can manipulate other provisions of the agreement to help sweeten the deal on a given model. Called “subventing” a lease, this often involves subsidizing a below-market interest rate, artificially inflating a vehicle’s residual value or offering bonus cash to lower a car’s transaction price.
Another way automakers can lower a lease’s monthly payment is to reduce the number of annual miles allowed. This is typically 12,000 miles per year, though some leases might include as few as 7,500 annual miles. Be sure not to enter a lease that unduly limits your mileage – particularly if you have a distant daily commute or like to take long road trips – as it may cost you dearly down the road. Depending on the lease terms you could be assessed as much as an extra 15 to 30 cents a mile for exceeding the limit, which means you’d have to come up with $150 to $300 per 1,000 extra miles on the odometer at the end of the lease. However, those who worry they might exceed the stated annual mileage can often purchase additional miles up front at a discounted rate.
Be aware that if you tend to be hard on your car or truck, think twice before leasing one. Leased vehicles must be returned in excellent condition, without dents, deep scratches, window cracks or torn upholstery and with all accessories in good working order; otherwise you’ll be assessed costly “excessive wear and tear” fees.
Finally, keep in mind that the lowest advertised lease rates are typically available only to so-called “well qualified lessees” with top credit scores who represent the lowest risk. Those with less than stellar credit will typically pay a higher financing charge that will, in turn, result in a costlier monthly payment.
The fine print: Monthly payments quoted for vehicles in our list of top lease deals are 2013 models and trim levels specified and do not include additional options, taxes or registration fees. All offers are good through July 1, 2013. Keep in mind that you may be able to garner an even better deal by negotiating a lower transaction price with the dealership. Typically the down payment and first month’s lease payment are due at signing. None of the deals listed here require a security deposit. Dealer participation may vary and the rates and provisions quoted may vary according to region. Check the automakers’ websites and local dealerships for additional deals and details.
Monthly payment: $299; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $3,774; Annual mileage: 10,000. This is without doubt one of the best deals we’ve ever seen on what is without quarrel one of the most desirable sport sedans in the industry. This deal includes the base 320i model with the Premium Package and is subject to $1,125 dealer contribution and a $750 lease cash incentive.
Monthly payment: $239; Term: 24 months; Due at signing: $2,009; Annual mileage: 10,000. Pound-for-pound this deal on the midsize LaCrosse delivers the “most” car for the money, with a quiet and comfortable five-passenger interior residing under a sleek and stylish exterior. This deal is for the base “eAssist” mild hybrid four-cylinder model and includes two complimentary years of OnStar Directions & Connections, SiriusXM Radio and two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first) of free vehicle maintenance; it’s subject to a $2,000 lease cash incentive.
Monthly payment: $149; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $2,469; Annual mileage: 12,000. This price gets you a Cruze LS with automatic transmission, and represents a terrific deal on this nicely styled, accommodating and solid-performing compact sedan.
Monthly payment: $199; Term: 39 months; Due at signing: $3,069; Annual mileage: 12,000. This rugged-looking smallish midsize five-passenger crossover SUV is family friendly and a real bargain at this price; it’s for a SLE-1 model with front-wheel drive. A similar deal is offered on its near twin, the suburban-chic Chevrolet Equinox.
Monthly payment: $169; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $2,299; Annual mileage: 10,000. One of the industry’s best-selling compact sedans received assorted improvements for 2013, with a low lease rate being the icing on the proverbial cake. This deal is for a Civic LX Sedan (including PZEV models) with automatic transmission.
Monthly payment: $219; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $3,399; Annual mileage: 10,000. Arguably one of the most amenable compact crossovers currently in production, it’s difficult to find fault with the peppy and perky CR-V, especially at this low monthly payment. It’s for a base EX model with front-wheel drive and is subject to a $500 lease cash incentive.
Monthly payment: $199; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $2,215; Annual mileage: 10,000. It may be too small for some, but the venerable Mini Cooper is among the most enjoyable little cars on the road with pleasing go-kart-like handling and an eccentric nature. This deal is for the base Cooper hatchback with automatic transmission and is subject to a $500 dealer contribution.
Monthly payment: $299; Term: 39 months; Due at signing: $2,999; Annual mileage: 12,000. With 332 horses under the hood the 370Z costs less to lease than a buck per month per horsepower. Talk about fast money. This deal is for the base coupe with manual transmission equipped with floor mats and splash guards, and is subject to dealer contribution.
Monthly payment: $199; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $1,999; Annual mileage: 12,000. Think you can’t afford to drive an electric car? Think again. Assuming your daily drive is within the Leaf’s range (about 75 miles give or take on a charge), this can be a terrific deal, especially with the EPA rating the Leaf at the electric equivalent of 129/102-mpg city/highway. This deal is for the Leaf S and is subject to a $7,500 lease cash incentive and dealer contribution.
Monthly payment: $299; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $1,999; Annual mileage: 12,000. Arguably one of the hottest new models for 2013, the FR-S is a stylish and thoroughly entertaining rear-drive sports car that’s being offered at an attractive price. This deal is for a base model with automatic transmission.
Monthly payment: $99; Term: 36 months; Due at signing: $1,393; Annual mileage: 10,000. Granted, this is a small car that’s small even by small car terms, but it’s basic transportation for two passengers and can be had for just over three bucks a day. Deal is for the base Pure Coupe model and is subject to dealer contribution.
Monthly payment: $249; Term: 39 months; due at signing $0; Annual mileage: 10,000. Not only is the incredibly spacious midsize Passat sedan being offered for a low monthly lease rate, you can drive one off the lot for zero down, which makes this an even better bargain. Deal is for a Passat S with Appearance Package and automatic transmission and is subject to dealer contribution.
As consumers clamor for cars with higher mpg numbers and with rigorous new federal fuel-economy standards on the horizon, carmakers are exploring all their options. This has largely meant improving the gasoline internal combustion engine’s efficiency and offering a few hybrid and electric vehicles. Conspicuously absent from many lineups in the U.S., however, have been vehicles with diesel powerplants. And understandably so: The American public has been reluctant to embrace diesels ever since General Motors and other automakers sold noisy, dirty, and unreliable versions back in the ’80s. But modern diesel systems are clean, powerful, and fuel-efficient.
Recent diesel options in the U.S. have largely been limited to luxury European brands, but Volkswagen‘s years of steady diesel sales show that there is a demand for them in mass-market segments. Now other automakers want in on the action. Three cases in point: the new Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet Cruze, and Mazda6—mainstream debuts this year from automakers not typically known for diesels. In addition, Porsche has introduced a diesel version of the Cayenne, and Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are all slated to expand their diesel selections. Even the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster vans are joining the fray. All told there will be more diesel-powered passenger vehicles for sale in 2013 than ever before in the U.S.
This is good news. Because diesel engines operate at a high compression ratio and the fuel has a higher energy density (about 15 percent more than gasoline), fuel economy is high and torque is abundant. With excellent thrust off the line and long cruising ranges, diesels fit the driving style of most Americans. Of course, there’s a catch: Diesel vehicles come at a premium, and in the past two years diesel fuel has cost 10 to 70 cents more per gallon than gasoline. Making up the purchase- price difference in fuel economy takes tens of thousands of miles. Even so, consumers already pay extra for hybrid efficiency. For those seeking an alternative, or for people who just hate stopping to fill up, a diesel vehicle might be the perfect solution.
Reprinted from Popular Mechanics 2/19/2013
With increased automaker emphasis on safety and stricter seatbelt laws, auto accidents are at an all-time low. However, fatal crashes still occur — at a national rate of one every 16 minutes according to 2010 statistics.
Trying to find a vehicle that is safe, fuel efficient and works for your lifestyle is always a challenge. When considering a smaller vehicle, keep in mind that all things being equal, smaller vehicles, due to their lighter weight will usually tend to do worse in a crash than heavier vehicles; so it’s important to really research the safety rating of a small vehicle before buying one.
Fortunately, Forbes.com has provided us with an overview of the 10 Top Safety picks for 2012 in the small car category according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To qualify, a car must get top scores in front, side, rollover and rear-end crashes, so it’s not easy to earn the top spot. Following are 10 that did:
Along the lines of safety, keep in mind that auto glass tint can even further protect your car in case of a crash. Window film applied to your auto will hold shattered shards of glass together so they won’t injure you or your passengers. Auto tint also protects you and your passengers from over exposure to the sun’s rays, and helps keep your car safe from thieves. For more information go to www.midwestglasstinters.net
It’s been a long time since the American Auto Industry has been seen as strong, but as we move into 2012, it appears to be stronger than it has been in many years.
Restructurings and government-assisted programs have helped domestic automakers, but product improvements for all 3 , that have been in the works for quite some time, are now coming to fruition.
The automaker enjoying the most success is Chrysler, whose ratings for the Dodge Charger, Challenger and Durango all topped their categories in a recent J.D. Power survey of how much new car owners liked their vehicles. Consumer Reports’ car testers have called the new Chrysler 300, “the best Chrysler in decades,” and also praised the Jeep grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. Chrysler’s retail sales were up 45% in 2011 as compared to 2010. Doug Betts, the executive in charge of improving Chrysler’s quality, credits this gain to increased quality initiatives.
Ford and GM have both had quality ups and down, with Ford dealing with dual-clutch transmission problems in the Focus & Fiesta as well as with its entertainment and navigation systems.
GM is struggling with dependability issues, but its new head of vehicle quality, Terry Woychowski, is working hard to improve dependability with new processes and checks. Citing the 25% reduction in warranty claims since its Cruze was relaunched, he says the system is working.
With continued emphasis on quality by all three American automakers, popularity of American cars should continue. “One of the biggest drivers of quality improvements of Detroit automakers will be the introductions of completely new products,” said David Sargent of J.D. Powers and Assoc. Auto quality isn’t just the job of the factory line, but emphasis on quality design and dependability from the start will be what makes the difference going forward.
For the first time in a long time, this year has seen a surge in the purchase of domestic vehicles with 6 of the top 10 best-selling vehicles made by GM, Ford & Chrysler. Some of the shift can be attributed to the natural disasters in Japan affecting imports, but with domestic producers having really stepped up their game, that void was filled by American-made vehicles.
Surprisingly, two past favorites – the Honda Civic and Honda CR-V as well as the Hyundai Sonata dropped from the top 10, nudged by more popular American-made vehicles. According to Forbes.com, Ford’s F-Series pickups and GM’s Chevy Silverado continue to be America’s sales champs, as they have been for the past 3 years. Pushing their way to the top are the Ford Fusion and Escape and the new compact from Chevy – the Cruze.
Based on year-to-date results through October, 2011, following is the list of best-selling vehicles from Forbes.com:
- Ford F-150 Pickup
- Chevy Silverado Pickup
- Toyota Camry
- Nissan Altima
- Ford Escape
- Ford Fusion
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Corolla
- Chevy Cruze
- Ram Pickup
With new models launching, it will be interesting to see what 2012′s best-sellers will be.
In these challening economic times, it’s more important than ever for businesses to keep existing customers, and it’s especially important in the automotive industry. While we tend to think of automakers in the luxury segment as having the most loyal customers, the brands that are enjoying the most customer loyalty recently might surprise you.
Experian Automotive just released a report based on second-quarter 2011 sales, and found the following repeat-purchase results:
- Kia leads the pack with nearly 48% of buyers returning to purchase their next car. Three Kia models ranked in the Top 10 vehicles having the most brand loyalty with Kia Forte compact sedan showing a whopping 68% buyer loyalty.
- Ford comes in second with 46.5% buyer-loyalty
- Chevy, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda all followed with about 40% brand loyalty
- And Subaru followed with 36% buyer-loyalty
In the luxury-car category, the top brans were:
- Mercedes-Benz with 34.8% repeat buyers
- BMW with 31.7 % buyer-loyalty
- Porsche at 23%
- And Jaguar with 16%
Of mainstream domestic brands, the Chevy Cruze lead the pack with 64% brand loyalty, and the remainder were Ford models including the Fiesta subcompact, the Fusion sedan, the Flex crossover SUV, the Taurus full-size sedan and the compact Focus.