Archive for July, 2009

Now is the time to trade in your luxury used car on a brand new 2009 vehicle

  If you’re the owner of a five-year-old luxury car, you might finally be thinking about getting a new one. Five years ago demand for BMWs and Bentleys were sizzling as the stock market climbed to the moon. Then the double whammy of high oil prices and an economic crisis cooled even the wealthiest buyer’s appetite for exotic machinery. Many luxury car owners thought it prudent to hold on to their wheels while taking stock of their financial situation. At the same time, high-end automakers, seeing the market for their products seize up, are now aggressively promoting discounts and deals to their existing customers. Manhattan Mercedes-Benz, for example, is offering $0 down payment and annual percentage rate financing of only 1.9% for a trade-in on a 2009 E-Class. That’s more than 60% off the standard 4.9% APR. Not only are there …

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How to keep your car cool in the summer heat

  Have you ever walked across a hot asphalt parking lot, and, with each step, dreaded the moment you have to open the car door and climb into an oven? That hot summer sun: we love it, we hate it. But who enjoys burning their hammies, their hands, and every other body part that makes contact with a car’s interior on a hot summer day? The good news is that I am the “Sultan of Cool,” bearing tips to help you keep your car cool during the summer. Keep these tips in mind to beat the summer heat inside your car: 1. Parking tips The most obvious thing we can do to keep the car cool is park in the shade. If there is no shade, try to park so that the sun comes in the back window. At least that way the front …

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GM to start leasing vehicles again after a yearlong hiatus

  General Motors Co. and its financing affiliate GMAC Inc. are eyeing an Aug. 1 return to the auto-leasing market, according to people familiar with the matter, after massive government bailout packages allowed both companies to get back on their feet. GM and Chrysler Group LLC pulled out of leasing in August 2008 amid a steady decline in vehicle resale values, a sales slump and troubles at their respective lending affiliates. At the time, leasing represented about 20% of GM’s new-car business in the U.S. and was causing losses for GM and other car makers. Many of their key competitors, including Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp., scaled back leasing but didn’t pull out of the business completely. In a recent conference call with analysts and reporters, GM said many of the company’s former lease customers have decided to purchase vehicles instead …

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The New Ford Taurus to hit dealer showrooms next week

  This Taurus is no bull. That’s the message Ford Motor Co. wants to send with its newly redesigned Taurus sedan, which once dominated American auto sales before being gored by Toyota, Honda and the SUV invasion. It won’t hit local showrooms until next week, but the Detroit automaker brought the new Taurus to town as part of a nationwide preview tour. In a briefing at Fossil Creek Golf Club on Monday, Ford marketing exec Ken Czubay touted the car, which starts at around $25,995. “The design is stunning,” Czubay said. “This is going to be a wild, cool car.” Those are not exactly the words that would have been applied to the last vehicle to bear the Taurus nameplate. The car was considered a styling leader when it debuted in 1985, but by the time the name was dropped from the line in the …

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Toyota and Honda want to increase interest in cars among Japan’s women

  More than 300 young women, sporting curly chestnut brown-dyed hair, heavy make-up and manicured nails crowded into a Toyota Motor Corp. showroom, peering at a Prius hybrid, painted candy-apple red and decorated with rhinestones and heart-shaped pink stickers. “I’m not really interested in cars,” said Erika Horiki, 23, wearing a cowboy hat, fringed boots and denim shorts. “But by making us think these cars are cute, it’s a step toward becoming curious.” Cars have lost their “cool factor” in Japan among young people, contributing to a decades-long decline in sales. To attract women into showrooms, Toyota came up with the “DecoPrius,” inspired by the jewel-covered “DecoDen” mobile phones. Honda Motor Co. has enlisted the help of Cozy Tomato, a book and magazine illustrator, for story-telling events centered around cars for young mothers and their children. “If we don’t challenge ourselves …

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Rising used car values this year has bolstered profits for auto lenders

  A rise in used-car values this year that has bolstered the profits of auto lenders may be running out of gas. In January, a 2006 model of a Ford Explorer XLT fetched $13,000 to $14,000 in an auction of used cars. Today, the going rate is about $16,500, according to one dealership. It is this bump-up in value that helped Ford Motor Credit’s bottom line Thursday, when its parent, auto maker Ford Motor Co. (F), reported second-quarter results. Used cars are rising in value as budget-conscious U.S. consumers flock to them amid the economic slump. Also playing a part is a shortage of second-hand cars as more people opt to stick it out longer in their existing cars, instead of turning them in for costlier trade-ups. But further gains in used-car prices are unlikely in the coming quarters. Ford Credit …

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Cash for clunkers could increase new car sales by twenty percent

  Vicki Duckett put herself behind the wheel of a new car Friday, and a $4,500 rebate from the federal government helped get her there. Duckett, of Boise, took home a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, which gets about 25 miles a gallon, while giving up her 1993 Mazda Navajo, which she says gets only 13 miles a gallon. “It’s a huge gas savings,” said Duckett, who is buying from Bronco Motors in Boise. “It kind of all worked out for us.” Duckett is among the Idahoans taking advantage of the federal government’s Car Allowance Rebate System – dubbed “cash for clunkers” – which gives new car buyers up to $4,500 off qualified vehicles if they trade in their gas-guzzling older models. Dealers get a small fee for handling the clunkers, which will be subject to strict salvage rules that ensure the engines will be destroyed. Dealers …

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“Cash for clunkers” program begins today

  Local auto dealers are already reporting steady interest and deposits for new cars as part of the federal government’s “cash for clunkers” program, which begins today. The program offers $3,500 to $4,500 to car owners who trade in a gas-guzzler at least eight years old — and dating back no further than 1984 — for a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. More information on the program is available online at www.cars.gov. “We have 16 vehicles with deposits on them (and) signatures on buyers’ orders — just waiting for the final registration process to take place,” said Rick Resing-er, general sales manager with Champion Chevrolet in Genoa Township. Today is the day that dealers can start registering for the program. The government won’t start approving transactions until Monday. Rob Gatchell, sales manager at Brighton Honda, said his dealership is offering additional discounts in an attempt to …

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US Government to distribute $2 billion in grants for car battery research

  The White House plans to unveil the first group of grants from a $2 billion fund for battery research in the next few weeks with some of the funds directed to states like Michigan, a top economic adviser said tonight.As part of the $787 billion stimulus package approved in February, Congress agreed to include $2 billion in battery research grants. Unlike the $25 billion advanced vehicle retooling program, the grants for battery research do not have to be repaid. Ed DeSeve, the president’s special adviser on the stimulus program, said an announcement on the first round of battery grants would happen shortly. But he declined to say what automakers, suppliers or battery companies might be receiving the grants. “I think you’ll see over the next week or so … some industrialization focus for example on the battery grants that are coming,” DeSeve …

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Global automakers have two battery choices for their electric vehicles – lithium-ion or nickel metal hydride

  As the auto industry race twists and turns over which metal to use in electric cars, the first lithium-powered sports car has hit the streets of Europe. Start-up Tesla Motors opened a London showroom late last month to coincide with the European launch of its lithium-ion powered sports car – a first of its kind. The Tesla electric roadster uses lithium-ion batteries from Japanese suppliers but is mainly built in the east of Britain. “Governments in the United States, UK and European Union are supporting the electric initiative heavily,” said London store co-ordinator Audra Oliver. “Tesla has just received $465 million in low interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate the production of affordable all electric vehicles.” On Monday Nissan said it will invest more than $328.6 million in a new UK plant to build lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. Demand for …

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