Archive for June, 2008

Top 10 Best and Worst Mileage Cars with fuel economy ratings

  BEST FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS 1. Toyota Prius Hybrid (48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway) — You’ll whiz past most gas stations in this roomy sedan, but acceleration is so-so, and it has a complicated design that requires Toyota mechanics. 2. Honda Civic Hybrid (40/45) — Lacks Prius’ special “hybrid” styling and is a little slow off the line, but more fun to drive than that Toyota. 3. Nissan Altima Hybrid (35/53) — One of the largest hybrids because it’s a mid-size sedan, but rear seat room isn’t a strong point for tall passengers. However, with 198 horsepower, it is one of the quickest hybrids. 4. Ford Escape and similar Mazda Tribute / Mercury Mariner hybrids (34/30) — Roomy but not oversized compact SUV hybrids. Acceleration is leisurely, with only 133 horsepower. 5. Toyota Camry Hybrid (33/34) — Refined, roomy, but a near-zero on the fun …

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AUTOS: Big trucks, shrinking values – Amid high gas prices, rising glut of large vehicles leaves some “underwater”

  With gas prices edging toward $5, there has never been a better time to buy a vehicle that weighs 5,000 pounds and travels 12 miles on a gallon. Spiraling fuel costs have made many commuters desperate to trade in their gas hogs for fuel-efficient passenger cars, and the changes are showing up on lots and in classified advertisements. In Southwest County and across the nation, the hefty supply of – and thin demand for – used sport-utility vehicles and full-size trucks have combined to drive down prices by 15 to 30 percent in the last year. In newspapers, car-advertising magazines and online Web sites, trucks with leather seats and low mileage are listed for thousands of dollars below the standard values recommended by Kelley Blue Book and other benchmarks. Russell and Geri Campbell of Temecula recently bought a Kia Rio sedan to replace …

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CarMax seen gaining in used-car sales race

  Some investors think that once the dust settles in North American auto markets, used-car seller CarMax Inc. will be in the winners’ circle. But those shareholders, who include Warren Buffett, could face a bumpy ride in the meantime. Amid soaring gas prices and sagging consumer confidence, buyers are flocking to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. That has roiled the market for older vehicles. CarMax President and Chief Executive Thomas Folliard said in a recent conference call that the “superior CarMax model will facilitate our ability to outperform our competitors in any environment and allow us to focus on our long-term growth proposition.” But for now, he added, CarMax can’t give investors any meaningful guidance for the rest of 2008. Richmond, Va.-based CarMax does have an innovative growth proposition, and its concept has drawn a lot of attention since the company began in 1993 as a unit …

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Hundreds of auto buffs show off vehicles at the Greenwood Car Show

  About 500 car owners took part in the 16th annual Greenwood Car Show, showing off vehicles ranging from vintage to street rods to those run on gas alternatives. Hundreds of spectators came out to enjoy the sun and fun. Jim Freeburg loves his 1962 Chevrolet Impala convertible. Silver on the outside, bright fire-engine red on the inside. A beauty ready to be shown off. Except that most of the time, she sits in a garage. He takes her out for a spin every now and then. But he worries about getting dings if he leaves her in a parking lot. And she doesn’t exactly get great gas mileage. But Saturday was a different matter for Freeburg and fellow enthusiasts. About 500 car owners took part in the 16th annual Greenwood Car Show, showing off vehicles ranging from vintage to street rods to those run …

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Buying a Used Car makes a lot of sense financially if you do your homework

  You want to make sure you don’t end up sinking lots of money into repairs and paying for someone else’s problem. Tom McLaughlin manages Triple-A Mid-Atlantic Auto Repair division and knows how to spot a car with a troubled history.. “If you see a car with mismatched paint and stuff look underneath to see if there’s anything bent where it shouldn’t be immediately obvious to indicate it had a hard hit.” Another common problem is water damage , and the used car market is likely to soon be saturated with water-logged vehicles after all the flooding in the Midwest this season. “Inside of the car,” McLaughlin says, “where its difficult to clean, some cars will have a seam in the carpet somewhere in the front seat area and you can pick that up and see if there’s any mud underneath it. Or you can …

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Auto recycling has changed through technology, global demand

  Walk into an automotive junkyard and you might expect to be greeted by a scruffy old man sitting next to mounds of parts guarded by a couple of vicious dogs. Walk into Norfolk Recycling Corp., an automotive salvage yard along U.S. 58 in Suffolk, Va., and you’ll find vehicles neatly parked side by side. Inside the garage, parts are categorized and bar-coded for inventory control.Each part is labeled with an internationally accepted damage code describing the accident and the damage suffered by the original vehicle. A nearby office is staffed with salespeople sitting at laptops selling parts all over the world. Welcome to the new state of the auto recycling business, says S. Warren Richard Jr., president of Norfolk Recycling. Sitting in his office on a recent spring day, Richard is tracking an online auto auction. On the screen, a Ford Ranger …

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Some Dealers stop buying Used Trucks as Auto Buyers shun SUVs

  Record fuel prices have ended America’s love affair with the SUV. But the break-up is proving to be more painful than anyone anticipated. Some U.S dealers have stopped buying used trucks. Lenders are bracing for losses. Automakers have slashed output, and Americans have seen the value of their big rides drop by thousands of dollars in recent weeks. The decline in sales of the heavy sports utility vehicles and trucks favored by Americans for more than a decade has gathered momentum in the last month, leading to a glut on dealer lots and sharply lower trade-in values. But unlike the last recession in 2001, discounting from Detroit is not showing signs of reviving demand. “The auto downturn appears to be entering a problematic second phase,” Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson said in a recent note for clients. “In this phase, with gas prices …

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Consumer Reports surveys cars with best gas mileage

  As gasoline prices top $4 a gallon, Consumer Reports hits the newsstands in July with a cover story on gas-saving cars. The cover auto is a redesigned Toyota Corolla that got 32 miles per gallon in the magazine’s tests. The magazine rates 31 new small sedans and 21 top used cars with the best mpg. Consumer Reports’ survey includes Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet and Subaru. And who topped the list? It depends on which list you look at. The magazine has developed a useful new statistic – cost “per miles per gallon.” This is calculated by dividing the vehicle’s purchase price by its overall miles per gallon during Consumer Reports ’ testing. The lower the price per mpg, the better. In that category, the Honda Fit Sport (manual transmission) with 34 mpg and a $464 price per miles per gallon topped the list. The …

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GMAC in worse shape than rival Ford Motor Credit as residual values on leased vehicles fall

  The one bright spot for GMAC used to be its auto lending business. Now that too is dimming. Declining values of fuel-guzzling pickups and sport-utility vehicles are looming over the lender, adding to its existing problems with souring mortgages through its ailing home loan unit. This leaves GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors, in worse shape than rival Ford Motor Credit, the lending unit of Ford Motor. And it is unlikely that GMAC can look to GM for help. The auto maker, struggling to cope with a steep decline in sales of pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, announced production cuts on Monday. The company has a 49 per cent stake in GMAC after a consortium led by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, parent of Chrysler, bought 51 per cent of GMAC in 2006 for about $US14 billion ($14.6 billion). GMAC, set …

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Used Car market may soon be flooded by flood damaged vehicles

  Cars damaged by recent flooding may start flooding the used car market soon.  Consumer advocates are putting out a warning for car buyers; make sure a car you might buy is ready for the road. Insurance companies are evaluating flood damaged vehicles. They’re being trucked in by the thousands and stored at designated parking lots. “Once the claim is settled, we do prepare the vehicles for auction to cosmetically improve the appearance of a car that’s been underwater,” said Patrick Walsh of Insurance Auto Auctions. Cars that had water get inside the dashboard, they are usually totaled.  Some with lower water levels can be fixed. In Indiana, sellers are obligated to list on the title if a vehicle was salvaged or flood damaged. That’s something that people can also find by purchasing a vehicle history report. “That’s going to remain on the report for the life …

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