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Posts Tagged ‘Honda’

Owners Prefer Tesla Model S over Porsche Per Consumer Reports

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO FINANCE

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) drivers were more likely than Porsche owners — or anyone else — to say they’d buy their cars again in this year’s edition of the closely watched Consumer Reports buyer survey.

 

Tesla’s Model S luxury electric sedan topped the U.S. survey a second year in a row, scoring 98 out of a possible 100, after posting a 99 last year. This year’s No. 2 brand, Porsche, scored an average of 87 out of 100 across its model lines. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, co-founded and led by billionaire Elon Musk, said last month that it expects to sell 50,000 Model S cars next year.


“Not only is the Tesla roomy, comfortable, and a lot of fun to drive, but it also has low operating costs,” Consumer Reports said.

 

The survey may bolster the 11-year-old carmaker’s image as the leader in the business of making high-end electric cars. It comes about a year after U.S. regulators started a four-month investigation into fires that took place after Tesla’s cars struck road debris.

 

The investigation ended without a formal recall, giving Musk more room to expand sales of the Model S and develop the long-awaited Model X SUV, whose delivery Tesla postponed again last month. It’s now expected in the third quarter of 2015.

 

Tesla shares fell 1.6 percent to $227.79 at 10:20 a.m. in New York. The stock gained 54 percent this year through yesterday, outpacing the 11 percent rise in the Russell 1000 Index.


Sports Cars

The next three most satisfying vehicles in the Consumer Reports Survey, after the Model S, were sports cars: General Motors Co. (GM) ‘s Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, with a 95 percent satisfaction rating, and Volkswagen AG’s Porsche Cayman and Boxster, which tied for third with 91 percent of buyers saying they’d purchase them again.

 

The survey covered 350,000 vehicles from one to three years old and took into account “attributes such as styling, comfort, features, cargo space, fuel economy, maintenance and repair costs, overall value, and driving dynamics,” Consumer Reports said.

 

Hybrid, electric and diesel-powered cars outscored gas engines throughout the survey, with the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Prius leading the compact-car category and Honda Motor Co. (7267)’s Accord Hybrid and Ford Motor Co. (F)’s Fusion Energi atop the list of mid-sized sedans.

 

 

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The Most Durable Cars

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   YAHOO AUTOS

 

 

Everybody wants to own a keeper. A car that provides so much personal satisfaction that the years and miles can just fly by, while the enduring qualities of that daily driver remain picture perfect.

 

The hard part for most folks comes down to hype.

 

To sell more cars, manufacturers continue to promote short-term quality studies that have little or nothing to do with the long-term ownership experience. For example, J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study only covers the first 90 days of ownership, while its long-term survey tracks three-year-old vehicles over a short 12 month span.

 

In a market where the average car and truck is now over 11 years old, a long-term reliability study requires a much longer view of car ownership. For those of us who are looking to find a good used car, or even feel concerned about how a new car will hold up, we should be able to know the longevity of a vehicle for the entire life cycle instead of just a random early point in time.

 

This is why Nick Lariviere and myself have developed the Long-Term Quality Index. With over 550,000 data samples from all over the country, we have been able to look specifically at measuring the three key ingredients that tell you how well a given model has performed in today’s marketplace; mileage, age and condition.

 

To make this study fair and impartial, we have also taken two unique steps that represent a first for long-term reliability studies in the auto industry. The first is removing owner bias. Certain people will always recommend a car simply because that’s what they bought in the past and if something bad happens, they won’t tell you about it. Others are just oblivious to the thumping of a bad transmission, or the knocking of a bad motor. That is why we only have mechanics and skilled professionals appraise the vehicle’s condition.

 

Second, we focus exclusively on condition and longevity. Cars that are either 18 years or older, or have 180,000 or more miles, have endured well past the average life-span of the average vehicle.

 

In our study, we’re finding that only a chosen few can routinely achieve these two levels of longevity without a major mechanical defect. It’s this level of engineering excellence that we want to highlight in our study.

 

So what have we found so far? Some of what you might expect, but a lot of surprises.

 

Rennett Stowe via Twitter

The Over-300,000 Club Is Still Pretty Exclusive: Five types of vehicles make up more than 60% of the cars and trucks with at least 300,000 miles. They are:

By our calculations, these models are about 2.5 times more likely to hit 300,000 miles than any other vehicle.

 

One Nissan model is greater than all of Volkswagen:

We’re not talking about a mid-sized Altima, or the Sentra compact which has become the official taxi south of the border. The biggest surprise so far in the study has been the Nissan Maxima. Older models (2002 and earlier) with the 3-liter engine and four-speed automatic offer exceptional long-term reliability.

 

In the long-term reliability study, 1,038 Maximas out of 4,825 have gone over 180,000 miles (21%), versus only 785 Volkswagens out of 14,518 (5.4%)

 

Cadillac has VW levels of long-term reliability:

Both brands have abysmal long-term reliability with Cadillac scoring the same 5.4% as Volkswagen, which is less than half of the industry average. Head gasket issues for most years of the Northstar V-8 along with high maintenance costs make older Cadillacs a nadir when it comes to finding a long-term keeper.

 

How bad does it get for Cadillac? Well, here’s a shocker for you.

 

Cadillac Cars = Older Kias: If you removed the Cadillac Escalade, which is nothing more than a full-sized primped-up version of the less expensive Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the Cadillac brand becomes a true bottom dweller. Kias that were made before Hyundai’s takeover of that brand show similar levels of long-term failure.

 

The Honda Accord Crushes Nearly All of Europe: Thanks in great part to the sound reliability of older Volvos, all European brands are barely able to beat the number of Accords that have been traded-in with over 180,000 miles. The Honda Accord‘s tally of 3,826 trade-ins with over 180,000 out of 12,398 nearly beats Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, VW, Volvo, Saab, Porsche, and BMW’s sub-brand MINI combined. These European models required a staggering 67,484 vehicles and an army of old Volvos to surpass the mileage tally of one popular Honda model.

 

British Roots Do Not Bear Reliable Fruit: You have about as much chance of dying from an injury this year as you do buying a Land Rover and a Jaguar with outstanding reliability. The chances of both vehicles combined lasting over 180,000 miles before getting kicked to the curb is an eye-popping 1,700:1.

 

The Accord and Camry Are Workhorses: Even with well-known transmission issues for certain six-cylinder Honda Accords, the two most popular mid-sized vehicles continue to be kept for far longer periods of time than their competition. The Accord and Camry have remained cars worth keeping with 28% of all Accords traded-in with over 180,000 miles, and 24% of all Toyota Camrys following suit. Both are more than twice the industry average of 11%.

 

Exceptional Reliability Is Still A Rare Thing: A lot of manufacturers have applied cost-cutting measures and decontenting methods to extremes. These engineering shortcuts often don’t reveal themselves until after the vehicle goes beyond 100,000 miles. However, there is still a very wide gulf that separates the market leaders from the market laggards as those miles and years add up.

 

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Best Selling Vehicles in October

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   WALL STREET CHEAT SHEET

 

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.

 

7. Toyota Corolla

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.

 

2. Chevrolet Silverado

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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2015 Car of the Year

 

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

Overwhelming. That was our first reaction as we began the task of choosing the best new car for our annual Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. The previous winners — the Tesla Model S in 2013, and the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in 2014 — had been drawn from a tight pack of favorites. The 2015 model year offered dozens of new models, yet not one had emerged as the front-runner by the time we assembled in California last month.

That would hold true as we winnowed our choices down to 17 vehicles and ran them through our most extensive battery of tests to date — with hundreds of miles of driving loops and countless sessions around our autocross course. We set loose at speed, opened and closed everything with a hinge and debated questions from the nature of transportation in the 21st century to seat-fabric stitching to whether 707 hp was too much or just enough.

 

2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Photo illustration by Robert Kerian
2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Photo illustration by Robert Kerian

 

Yes, our gathering included the whooping Dodge Challenger Hellcat, along with that other high-end piece of Detroit iron, the Chevy Camaro Z28. Ford sent the new Ford Mustang Ecoboost, while the luxury performance world was represented by the Alfa Romeo 4C and BMW M235i. From the more affordable side came the Honda FitSubaru WRX and a pair of new midsize sedans, the Hyundai Sonata and Chrysler 200C. For luxury cars, we invited the Mercedes-Benz C-ClassHyundai GenesisKia K900Acura TLX and Maserati Ghibli. Rounding out our class was the Mercedes GLA-Class and the quirky BMW i3 electric car.

When we ran our final poll, none of the editors chose the same top three models — yet only one car landed on most lists and topped a majority, proving itself worthy of our highest endorsement. For 2015, our Yahoo Autos Car of the Year honor belongs to the new Volkswagen Golf GTI.

As we have in years past, the editors at Yahoo Autos weighed five categories when making their choices: Performance, efficiency, value, design and engineering — not just how well individual pieces worked, but how they meshed as a whole. Because we were judging so many different types of vehicles, managing editor Justin Hyde offered what he called the Westminster Kennel Club rule: A car has to be among the best in its breed before it can compete for the top prize.

 

 

In that light, the GTI might seem like a dachshund winning Best in Show. The previous generations of the 40-year-old hot hatchback brand have built a fervent but limited fan base in the United States. “A lot of people who were attracted to the GTI over the years would walk away because it was too small, too expensive or too European for them,” said Hyde. “This 2015 edition should make them reconsider.”

Built from VW’s new MQB chassis — an attempt to make a Lego-like kit of parts to underpin almost any size and style of vehicle — the 2015 GTI has grown longer, lower and lighter; about two inches in overall length and wheelbase, about 80 lbs. fewer overall. On the inside, those extra inches have gone into cargo space; the GTI now has 22.8 cu. ft. behind the rear seats, more than our favorite compact car from 2014, the Mazda3.

Outside, the new dimensions and sharper bodywork make the GTI the most attractive model VW sells on these shores. Inside, the cabin and sightlines feel solid and Germanic in the best sense. The interior “brings Audi-level refinement,” said contributing editor Steve Siler. “I wish the styling had evolved a bit more, because no one will be able to tell how much better it is merely by looking.”

Power comes from the traditional 2-liter turbo four, boosted this year to 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed, dual-clutch automatic with launch control.

But that’s not exactly what we drove. Instead, our tests of a four-door automatic GTI included what VW calls the Performance Pack — a set of upgrades that adds 10 hp, better brakes and a trick new style of limited-slip differential known as VAQ. Like its competitors such as the Ford Focus ST, the regular GTI has software that can lightly blip an individual front brake to even power delivery. The VAQ goes much further; it’s a set of electric clutches and software controls on the front driveshaft that anticipates what wheel needs more power. In the right moment, VAQ can send the engine’s entire grunt to one wheel, and add power when coming out of a turn to nearly eliminate understeer.

No other front-wheel-drive car in the world has this technology, and it’s the key innovation that defines the GTI and set it apart on our custom-built autocross route. You might assume, that, being front-wheel drive, the GTI would have a hard time navigating the tight, twisty course we constructed — the kind that makes such cars stumble into curve-destroying understeer.

 

 

Only it didn’t. The GTI managed a 44.9 second lap time in editor/racer Alex Lloyd’s hands, bumper to bumper with that of the Ford Mustang and not too far off the more powerful, rear-wheel-drive BMW M235i. The only hint of understeer came under hard acceleration from tighter turns. Trail-braking into a corner, the hot hatch is lively — the rear end dances on its toes. At corner apex, the slowest part of the turn, there’s a delightful pivot around the front axle that none of us have personally experienced before from a front-wheel drive machine.

The GTI also beat the 707-hp Challenger Hellcat on our autocross, by a decent margin. Admittedly, the big ol’ Hellcat isn’t at home on such a tight course, but it’s an able demonstration of the GTI’s prowess. The GTI’s time was a far cry from the 40.5-second fast lap set by the Camaro Z28, but then the Z28 was built to go fast around a track and little else.

The GTI, however, can ably serve as a Costco-to-schoolhouse shuttle. The rear seat of the GTI was more comfortable than some of the midsize cars we tested. The suspension lets you feel the road but not so much that you tire of driving around rough urban pavement. And, as we’ve seen, it can handle itself on track with more poise and dignity than expensive cars whose handing was their calling card. Did we mention it was faster than a Subaru WRX?

“Out on the streets, it’s composed with excellent road feedback that makes you feel connected,” said road test editor Aki Sugawara, “yet it’s still refined enough to pass as a luxury car.”

When we ran down our five categories, the Golf GTI shined in all of them. As equipped, our GTI was rated at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway. Sticker price on our full-boat edition was $31,040, but the regular GTI starts around $24,000 for a two-door stick (with the traditional plaid-cloth seats), and the performance pack will list for $1,495 when it becomes available next month.

The GTI “constantly delivers more than you expect,” said Lloyd. “It’s a lovely cruiser, nippy and fun during city driving, and downright magnificent for a front-wheel drive machine on the autocross.” For all those reasons and more, we’re glad to welcome the Volkswagen Golf GTI into our garage of vehicles we’ve deemed worthy of being a Yahoo Autos Car of the Year.

Five other cars impressed us enough to earn their own individual accolades as the best new vehicles in the performance, enthusiast, luxury, value and green categories, and several others came close. Click the tiles below to see what cars prevailed, and which ones left us wanting more.

 

 

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Check Here to See if your Car Affected by the Air Bag Recall

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  MERCURY NEWS

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded the number of vehicles and manufacturers covered by a warning about air bags. Ten automakers and almost 8 million vehicles are covered.

 

The agency is urging owners to get air bags repaired due to the potential danger to drivers and passengers. NHTSA says inflator mechanisms in the air bags made by Takata Corp. can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed.

 

On Monday the agency included 4.7 million vehicles on a list. But Wednesday it added multiple models and removed about 133,000 older General Motors cars that were put on the list by mistake. NHTSA says the number of vehicles could still change because some may have been double-counted.

 

The agency is urging people in high-humidity areas such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and “limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana” to get their cars repaired quickly.

 

The safety agency urges owners to use their vehicle identification number on manufacturer sites to see if vehicles are have been recalled by the manufacturer.

 

Here’s the latest list of models:

 

BMW:

Total affected: 627,615

Models: 2000 to 2005 3 Series Sedan, 2000 to 2006 3 Series Coupe, 2000 to 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon, 2000 to 2006 3 Series Convertible, 2001 to 2006 M3 Coupe and M3 Convertible.

Chrysler:

Total affected: 371,309.

Models: 2003 to 2008 Ram 1500, 2005 to 2008 Ram 2500, 2006 to 2008 Ram 3500 and 4500, 2008 Ram 5500, 2005 to 2008 Dodge Durango, Dodge Dakota, and Chrysler 300; 2007 to 2008 Chrysler Aspen.

 

Ford:

Total affected: 58,669 (Field service campaign)

Models: 2004 Ranger, 2005 and 2006 GT, 2005 to 2007 Mustang.

 

General Motors:

Total affected: About 10,000

Models: 2003 to 2005 Pontiac Vibe made by Toyota, 2005 Saab 9-2X made by Subaru.

 

Honda:

Total affected: 5,051,364

Models: 2001 to 2007 Accord, 2001 to 2005 Civic, 2002 to 2006 CR-V, 2003 to 2011 Element, 2002 to 2004 Odyssey, 2003 to 2007 Pilot, 2006 Ridgeline, 2003 to 2006 Acura MDX, 2002 to 2003 Acura TL/CL, 2005 Acura RL.

 

Mazda:

Total affected: 64,872

Models: 2003 to 2007 Mazda6, 2006 to 2007 MazdaSpeed6, 2004 to 2008 RX-8, 2004 to 2005 MPV, 2004 B-Series Truck.

 

Mitsubishi:

Total affected: 11,985

Models: 2004 to 2005 Lancer, 2006 to 2007 Raider.

 

Nissan:

Total affected: 694,626

Models: 2001 to 2003 Maxima, 2001 to 2004 Pathfinder, 2002 to 2004 Sentra, 2001 to 2004 Infiniti I30/I35, 2002 to 2003 Infiniti QX4, 2003 to 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45.

 

Subaru:

Total affected: 17,516

Models: 2003 to 2005 Baja, 2003 to 2005 Legacy, 2003 to 2005 Outback, 2004 to 2005 Impreza.

 

Toyota:

Total affected: 877,000

Models: 2002 to 2005 Toyota Corolla, 2003 to 2005 Matrix, 2002 to 2005 Sequoia, 2003 to 2005 Tundra, 2002 to 2005 Lexus SC.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automakers.

 

 

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Updated 2016 Acura ILX will Debut At Los Angeles Auto Show

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

Acura had high hopes for its newest gateway vehicle, the ILX compact sedan, which was introduced at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The idea behind its creation seemed logical enough: by basing an Acura model on the Honda Civic, the automaker could lower the price of entry and attract a younger, hipper audience to the brand.

 

What the automaker didn’t count on was the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Audi entering the segment with compact sedans of their own, priced just a couple of grand higher than the ILX. Acura attempted to tempt buyers with a few sweeteners for 2014 but now a much more substantial update is coming.

 

Yes, Acura has confirmed that for the 2016 model year the ILX will receive some styling updates, a new powertrain and a substantially upgraded interior. Acura also released this teaser image of its 2016 ILX, which shows new graphics and clear lenses for the tail-lights.

 

The ILX currently offers the choice of 2.0- or 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines. A hybrid option was available at launch but dropped for the 2015 model year.

 

We’ll get our first look at the updated car at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, which commences November 18.

 

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RECALL – 1.6 Million BMW’s for Airbag Concerns

REPOSTED BY  MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS – AUTO   FROM:  CNN MONEY

BMW Group is recalling 1.6 million of its popular 3 Series vehicles, making it the latest global automaker to issue a massive recall based on concerns over safety.

Last month the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said seven automakers — BMW, Honda (HMC), Nissan (NSANF), Toyota (TM), Mazda (MZDAF), Chrysler andFord (F) – would be recalling vehicles to fix a possible safety defect in air bag inflators built by the Japanese firm, Takata.

 

Thousands of GM (GM) vehicles have also been recalled over similar Takata-built airbag problems.

 

The recall affects BMW cars manufactured between mid-1999 and mid-2006. The company said roughly 574,000 cars could be recalled in the U.S.

 

This follows a NHTSA investigation into six reports of airbag inflator ruptures that occurred in other vehicles, all of which happened in Florida and Puerto Rico. High levels of humidity are believed to contribute to the airbag problem. Over 7.9 million vehicles have been recalled globally due to the problem.

 

BMW said it had not received any reports about problems with its airbags.

 

Including an earlier announcement, BMW has now recalled about 1.8 million 3 Series vehicles over these airbag issues. Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda have also recalled millions of vehicles related to issues with the Takata-made airbag inflators.

Takata said last month it would work with the automakers to replace the problematic parts in Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands — places that are known to have high humidity.

 

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REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS/REUTERS

 

Honda Motor Co and other Japanese automakers on Monday recalled almost 3 million cars with potentially explosive air bags supplied by Takata Corp, bringing the total recall so far to about 10.5 million vehicles over the past five years.

 

The series of recalls cover both passenger-side and driver-side air bags, which the world’s second-biggest automotive safety parts maker manufactured in 2000-02. The total ranks it among the five biggest recalls in the industry’s history.

 

And the tally is expanding further as Honda and six other automakers also said on Monday they were recalling more vehicles in some high humidity regions in the United States, in what they called a “field action” at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to replace Takata air bag inflators.

 

In the wider action, Honda said it was recalling about 2.03 million vehicles globally over potentially flawed Takata air bag inflators made in 2000-02 with a risk of exploding and shooting out shrapnel at drivers and passengers, expanding a recall from April 2013. It cited how explosive material used to inflate Takata passenger-side air bags had been handled and processed in 2000-02 at plants in the United States and Mexico.

 

Nissan said it would recall 755,000 vehicles worldwide, while Mazda said it would call back 159,807 vehicles, both also expanding April 2013 recalls.

 

Takata Chief Executive Officer Shigehisa Takada and Chief Operating Officer Stefan Stocker said the company was working with safety regulators and car makers. “We will aim to further strengthen our quality control system and work united as a company to prevent problems from happening again,” they said in a statement.

 

A Takata spokeswoman said it was unclear what the financial impact of the recalls would be, but last year’s recalls cost the supplier $300 million. The 2013 recalls were intended to close the book on a problem that emerged as early as 2007 and has been linked to two deaths.

 

Separately, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Ford, Chrysler and BMW said they are conducting regional recalls in the United States to replace Takata air bag inflators in certain vehicles in high humidity regions of Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Most of the companies said NHTSA had determined the regions affected, when asked why other humid areas were not covered.

 

However, Honda is also recalling affected vehicles in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

 

Ford said it was recalling 58,669 vehicles, including certain 2005-2007 model Mustang cars, 2005-2006 model GTs and 2004 Ranger pickup trucks. Mazda said the recall affects about 34,600 vehicles, including 2003-2006 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX8 and 2006-2007 MazdaSpeed6 cars, and 2004 MPVs. None of the other automakers have determined the number of vehicles affected.

 

NHTSA did not have an immediate comment.

 

Nissan said it is determining which models are affected by the recall. A Chrysler spokesman said the 2006 Dodge Charger was the affected model but the scope beyond that has not been determined. BMW said 2001-2006 model year 3 Series cars were affected, while a wide range of Honda models were covered.

 

TURNING OFF AIR BAGS

The recalls come as General Motors is under scrutiny over why it took more than a decade to discover a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths.

 

Monday’s global recalls by Honda, Mazda and Nissan follow Toyota’s recall last week. Prior to Monday, the four Japanese car makers and BMW had recalled 7.6 million vehicles equipped with potentially defective air bags.

 

Short of Takata replacement parts, the automakers said they would turn off air bags in Japan as customers bring recalled vehicles into dealerships – judging that an inoperable passenger side air bag is safer than a potentially defective one.

 

In the United States, NHTSA opened a probe earlier this month on whether Takata inflators made after 2002 are prone to fail, and whether driving in high humidity contributes to the risk of air bag explosions.

 

In a June 11 letter to the NHTSA, Takata said it would support “regional campaigns” to replace certain driver-side air bag inflators made between January 2004 and June 2007, as well as certain passenger-side inflators made between June 2000 and July 2004. Takata said it will support the replacement of those inflators in vehicles in high humidity areas of Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.

 

But it did not admit that there is any “safety defect” in the air bags, saying information currently available does not indicate that.

 

Among previous large-scale global recalls, about 14 million Ford vehicles were affected over a 10-year period to 2009 over a faulty cruise control deactivation switch. From 2009, Toyota recalled more than 9 million vehicles related to unintended acceleration and, in 2012, recalled more than 7.4 million vehicles to fix power window switches

 

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9 Cars That Average 50 MPG or Better on the Highway

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  THE MOTLEY FOOL

 

My nose would shoot to about six feet in length if I exclaimed that gas mileage was an important feature to me when purchasing a car. However, I’m very much in the minority on this one.

 

Fuel economy has grown to become an increasingly important factor which sways car buyers when making their decisions. One reason this has come to be is that gasoline price growth, adjusted for inflation, is handily outpacing wage growth, also adjusted for inflation, since 1980. This means the real cost of gasoline is rising faster than consumers’ wages, so consumers are having to look toward improved fuel economy when they purchase vehicles.

Another reason we see fuel economy in the spotlight is the negative sentiment built up against the world’s largest oil producers. A number of consumers believe that big oil is evil and are looking for vehicles that run solely on electricity, a mixture of gas and electricity, or on gasoline, but that sip rather than guzzle fuel.

 

Finally, we’re also seeing beefed-up pressure from individual states and the federal government to improve mile-per-gallon, or mpg, standards, as well as reducing noxious emissions. In August 2012, the Obama administration announced new vehicle fuel-efficiency standards that would require U.S. auto fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which was up dramatically from its previous target of 34.5 miles per gallon due to hit in 2016. The goal, of course, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing oil consumption with presumably even more cars on the road.

 

But, here’s the good news: automakers are listening! In fact, according to a recent Consumer Reports study, nine automakers have managed to build vehicles capable of delivering 50 mpg (mpg equivalent, or mpge, for the ones that don’t burn gas) on the highway or better, leaving their peers decidedly in the dust.

 

Today, we’re going to look at those nine vehicles and their manufacturers to see what they’re doing right, and determine if these vehicles and automakers truly do have an edge over their peers.

     2014 Honda Civic Hybrid

 

9. Honda Civic Hybrid – 50 mpg
Interested in jumping into a hybrid capable of getting you a cruise-a-licious 50 mpg on the highway for less than $30,000 MSRP? Then the Honda (NYSE: HMC  ) Civic Hybrid could be your car of choice. Honda combines its two best attributes with the Civic hybrid – top-notch dependability which we’ve come to expect from Honda and its subsidiary Acura, as well as impressive fuel economy with an electric motor powering the car at lower speeds and kicking over to the gasoline engine at higher speeds. It may not be among the top five, but the Civic Hybrid has attributes that should keep it selling well in the U.S.

 

8. Volkswagen Passat TDI SE – 51 mpg
No folks, that’s not a misprint – that’s 51 mpg on the highway from a fossil-fuel-burning engine. In this case Volkswagen has turned to its highly reliable diesel-engine technology to get even more impressive gas mileage than the Civic Hybrid. Volkswagen’s U.S. sales have been stagnant for years, and the Passat TDI SE could be the first step in the right direction for the company in the U.S. market. With a base price just north of $26,000, this is vehicle worth keeping an eye on.

 

7. (tied with six) Toyota Prius Plug-in Advanced – 55 mpg (composite of electricity and gas)
Believe it or not, Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) doesn’t dominate this list, but you will see two of its vehicles lined up in the next two spots. The Prius Plug-in Advanced allows for a nice go-between of the electric-gas-hybrid vehicles and solely electric vehicles by giving consumers the option to plug their Prius in to get up to 15 miles of all-electric range at 62 mph or less. A more efficient and higher capacity lithium-ion-battery pack is what allows the Prius Plug-in Advanced to achieve this superior electric range. In other words, for those with short commutes, this could be a smart choice! However, at a price point north of $34,000, the Prius Plug-in Advanced, even with its reduced price for 2014, may not offer enough fuel efficiency based on its price.

 

6. (tied with seven) Toyota Prius Four – 55 mpg
Now the Toyota Prius Four certainly hits a perfect chord with consumers looking for the iconic Prius styling and impressive fuel efficiency which topped out at 55 mpg on the highway. With a base MSRP of $28,435 for the Prius Four, which comes with a few premium upgrades, including the solar roof package, navigation, and head-up display, it’s right in line with the price point of the Honda Civic Hybrid while providing superior fuel economy.

 

5. Chevrolet Volt – 76 mpg (composite of electricity and gas)
Similar to the Prius Plug-in Advanced, the Chevy Volt, which is manufactured by General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) , allows consumers to travel an EPA-estimated 38 miles before its gas-powered generator kicks in and allows the car to go an estimated 380 miles on a full tank. Simply put, if you have a relatively short commute, it’s incredibly likely you could go weeks or months between a gas fill-up. On the flipside, the Volt has also been associated with a number of battery issues and recalls, and even with a reduced price point for 2014 still appears a bit pricey. It may be a few more years before General Motors and Chevy have a success on their hands with the Volt.

     Tesla Model S

 

4. Tesla Model S (base, 85 kWh) – 102 mpge
No list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on an mpg or mpge basis would be complete without including America’s most vaunted electric vehicle, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) Model S (in this case with the superior 85-kWh-battery package). The advantage of the Model S is that it provides the most comparable all-electric driving range to gas-powered vehicles, but it does come with a hefty price point that’s north of $60,000 and will price most consumers out of the market. Furthermore, with the Model S being so new, there’s no used market, so leasing isn’t an option at the moment. The car certainly could be called exclusionary, but there is undeniable demand for the Model S in the U.S. which could translate to big profits for Tesla moving forward.

 

3. Ford Focus Electric – 107 mpge
If you absolutely don’t want to leave a carbon footprint, but can’t stand the high price point of the Tesla Model S, Ford‘s (NYSE: F  ) all-electric Focus could be the answer. The Electric Focus will only run about half the price of the Model S, but it still comes with some hefty drawbacks, including a driving range estimated to be only 76 miles, and a top speed that caps out at 82 mph. In addition, the same exclusions apply for Focus Electric owners in that they’ll need a plug for overnight charging, meaning condo owners and apartment renters probably need not apply.

 

2. Mitsubishi i SE – 116 mpge
Someone had to produce the cheapest electric vehicle; and why not Mitsubishi! The subcompact Mitsubishi i SE is an all-electric vehicle with absolutely no frills attached. Its stodgy interior can fit four people and the car itself can get an EPA-rated 62 miles on a single charge for an MSRP of less than $29,000 before tax breaks. Of course, this cheaper price comes with some drawbacks as well. The car has top speed of just 81 mph (perhaps with the wind at its back), but more importantly has just a 62-mile range and can take 21 hours on a standard 110-volt charger to reach a full charge. If you pony up for the 240-volt charger (which I strongly suggest you do), the charge time dips to an expected six to seven hours.

 

But the No. 1 most “fuel-efficient” vehicle on the highway is…


Nissan Leaf

1. Nissan Leaf SL – 118 mpge
Taking the top spot in terms of highway fuel-efficiency is Nissan‘s Leaf SL which gets an average of 84 miles per each full charge. Although the Nissan Leaf costs a few thousand more than the Mitsubishi i SE, it comfortably seats five people, offers a respectable 107 horsepower, and the SL model comes with upgrades such as 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, and leather-appointed seats. Long story short, with the exception of price point, the Nissan Leaf SL appears to be superior in every way to the closely rated Mitsubishi i SE. It may not compared with the Tesla Model S driving range by any means, but it gives cost conscious and carbon footprint aware consumers a perfect vehicle to turn to in the U.S.

 

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Consumer Reports Names each Brand’s Best and Worst Cars

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS / CONSUMER REPORTS

 

While car brand reputation can be a strong influence on purchase decisions, such perceptions can be misleading. The reality is, every brand offers models that perform across a spectrum, with some clearly better than others.

 

As we see in our annual Car Brand Perception survey, how consumers view brands can often be a trailing indicator and not reflect the current reality. To further illustrate this point, we have compiled a list chronicling the best and worst models by brand based on our overall test scores.

 

The test performance variation differs from brand to brand, with some brands’ worst model being still doing rather well, while others span a wide range, making any generalities quite misleading. Take Audi, for example. Even its worst model, the A5, scores a 74 (out of 100) and meets our performance standards, safety, and reliability criteria to be Recommended. Meanwhile, the best Jeep is the Grand Cherokee Limited. It earns 77 points in our tests, only three points more than the worst Audi. But the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited marks the low point in our current ratings, scoring only a 20. The gap between best and worst can be even broader. Chevrolet, for instance, spans from the Impala (95) to the Spark (36).

 

The list below includes all brands for which Consumer Reports has tested at least three different models recently, thereby excluding Land Rover, Mini, Ram, Smart, and Tesla.

 

Make Best Worst
Acura Acura TSX (4-cyl.) Acura RLX Tech
Audi Audi A7 3.0 TDI Audi A5 Premium Plus (2.0T)*
BMW BMW 328i BMW 750Li*
Buick Buick Regal Premium I* Buick Encore Leather
Cadillac Cadillac XTS Premium Cadillac SRX Luxury
Chevrolet Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ (3.6) Chevrolet Spark 1LT
Chrysler Chrysler 300 (base, V6) Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L
Dodge Dodge Durango Limited (V6) Dodge Journey Limited (V6)
Fiat Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500L Easy
Ford Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Ford Fiesta SE sedan
GMC GMC Sierra 1500 SLT (5.3L V8) GMC Terrain SLE1 (4-cyl.)
Honda Honda Accord LX (4-cyl.) Honda Insight EX
Hyundai Hyundai Sonata Limited (2.0T) Hyundai Accent GLS sedan
Infiniti Infiniti Q70 (M37, V6) Infiniti QX80 (QX56)
Jaguar Jaguar XJL Portfolio* Jaguar XK Convertible*
Jeep Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (V6) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Kia Kia Cadenza Kia Rio EX hatchback
Lexus Lexus LS 460L Lexus IS250 (AWD)
Lincoln Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Lincoln MKS (base, 3.7)
Mazda Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Mazda2 Touring
Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec (AWD) Mercedes-Benz CLA250
Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR Mitsubishi iMiEV SE
Nissan Nissan 370Z Touring coupe Nissan Versa SV sedan
Porsche Porsche Boxster 2.7 Porsche Cayenne (base, V6)
Scion Scion FR-S Scion iQ
Subaru Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium Subaru Tribeca Limited
Toyota Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Toyota FJ Cruiser
Volkswagen Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium (V6) Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L (MT)*
Volvo Volvo S60 T5* Volvo XC90 3.2

 

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