Archive for October, 2010

How customizing your car can lower resale value

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  In case you haven’t heard, the 2010 Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, Show is coming up next week. Car fanatics from all over the world look forward to the show, mostly because it sports some of the wildest and most beautiful custom cars anywhere, put together by the very best shops on the planet and supported by big money from automakers. Looking at the amazing creations at SEMA may put thoughts into your head about what your own car would look like with candy paint and gleaming rims. But, like the demented Santa in A Christmas Story grumping “You’ll shoot your eye out,” at Ralphie, I’m going have to point out that from a financial perspective, modifying your car isn’t a great investment.That’s because car modifications involve a great deal of risk to your resale value without much financial upside. …

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A pre-purchase inspection is always a good idea before buying a used car

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  Buying a new car wasn’t in Jordan Frye’s plans until he said he got burned on a used one. Frye said he paid La Reina Auto Sales, located on North Tryon Street, $2,000 down on a 7-year-old Saab and drove it off the lot. Within six hours, he said, the car lost acceleration. Frye took it to a Saab repair shop, which found major problems. “They said the car was in an accident (and) it (had) hoses missing, hoses in wrong places,” Frye said. La Reina Auto Sales agreed to take the car back, but Frye said it refused to return his $2,000. The salesman said it was sold “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, Frye said. The car is now back on the lot for sale. A salesman told Action 9 they fixed it. Action 9’s Don Griffin said Frye made a mistake by not …

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Honda raises its profit forecast for 2010

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  Honda Motor Co. raised its full-year profit forecast today after reporting a surge in earnings for the July-September quarter on the back of higher sales. Tokyo-based Honda beat analysts’ estimates, reporting net profit of 135.93 billion yen, or $1.7 billion, up from 54 billion yen, or $680 million, despite a rise in the yen to near-record levels. Honda’s operating profit also more than doubled, to $2 billion, in the second quarter of the Japanese fiscal year. Sales rose across all of the company’s main businesses. Best known as the manufacturer of the Accord and Civic cars, Honda also is the world’s largest motorcycle maker and it sells motors for products ranging from boats to lawnmowers. Honda raised its net profit forecast for the year ending March 31 to 500 billion yen, or $6.25 billion, up from a previous forecast of 455 billion yen, or …

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Hyundai will launch several new models over the next few months

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  Hyundai Motor Co. Thursday posted a better-than-expected 38% rise in third quarter net profit and sounded an upbeat note for the current period, saying planned new car launches and higher selling prices will help its performance.  Hyundai is planning to launch several new models in the U.S. over the coming months, starting with the Equus large sedan in November, as it pushes to expand its global market share, which stood at 5.5% in the third quarter. Hyundai, together with its 39%-owned affiliate Kia Motors Corp., is the world’s fifth-largest car maker by sales. South Korea’s No. 1 car maker by sales posted a net profit of 1.353 trillion South Korean won ($1.2 billion), compared with 979.1 billion a year earlier. The average of estimates in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 12 analysts was for a net profit of 1.166 trillion won. “Robust …

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JD Power forecasts sales of electric cars to remain low for the next 10 years

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  A well known auto-industry forecasting firm on Wednesday suggested that the heavily promoted battery-powered vehicles about to appear on roads around the world are “overhyped” and headed for a much slower takeoff than some auto makers and industry analysts expect. In the new study, J.D. Power & Associates said sales of electric cars are likely to remain low for the next several years and won’t make up more than a small slice of the global market even 10 years down the road. The combined sales total of hybrid cars such as the Toyota Motor Corp. Prius and all-electric models like the Nissan Motor Co. Leaf will come to just 5.2 million in 2020, J.D. Power said. That would represent just 7.3% of the global market in 2020, which J.D. Power sees reaching 70.9 million passenger vehicles then. Some auto makers and other forecasters …

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Chevrolet Cruze could get a corporate mate at Buick

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  It appears that Chevrolet Cruze is about to get a corporate mate at Buick. It could be called the Verano and would go on sale in 2012. General Motors wouldn’t have to work that hard to get it here. It has already talked about creating a Verano from a model it calls the Excelle in China. The car is actually a more luxurious version of the Cruze, GM’s highly touted compact car that took the place of the Cobalt, the Associated Press says. The Associated Press says the announcement could come as soon as Thursday: If the announcement comes to pass as predicted, Verano would come in just below the new Buick Regal in size. It could help Buick with trying to attract younger buyers, a goal that it seems to have pursued for decades but one that it never seems to …

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Car sales continue to rebound in 2010

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  The automobile industry was hit particularly hard by the recent economic downturn, but there are signs of a rebound, especially in New York City. Roughly 1,500 dealerships closed in the U.S. in 2009 because of falling sales figures. Hundreds more closed the year before that. Now sales are creeping back, up almost 3 percent nationwide. But in Manhattan, sales in 2010 are up a whopping 16.5 percent. “We think we’ve seen the bottom, which was last year, about 10.5 million units,” Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Auto Dealers Association, said about national car sales. “We’ll sell about 11.5 million units this year, but when we see 14 (million) you’ll see a lot of happy dealers, and you’ll see the automalls, I believe, coming back,” said Taylor. The comeback is alive and well in the Big Apple’s “Autobahn Alley,” a stretch of 11th Avenue …

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North American Car and Truck of the Year short list revealed

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  The short list for the North American Car and Truck of the Year has been revealed. In the next couple of weeks, 50 jurors and will vote to narrow the field to three cars and three trucks. The finalists will be revealed Dec. 16. After that, the jurors evaluate the finalists before voting for the winners. Criteria for car and truck of the year include innovation, value, significance, performance and design.The 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year will be named Jan. 10, in the first news conference at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Cobo Center. I couldn’t tell you what the finalists will be, much less the winners, but here’s a rundown on the candidates’ strengths and possible weaknesses. Cars Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf: The first modern electric cars. It’s hard to underestimate their significance. The battery-powered …

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Used car prices not much lower than similar new vehicles

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  Used-car price increases are accelerating as a little scuff on the tires becomes a sought-after commodity in a tough economic climate. Lacking buyer incentives that come with the latest models, used cars increasingly can cost more than a new one. Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and others that rode solid, but not spectacular, September sales look to benefit as secondhand sticker prices surge. The average price paid for a three-year-old used car has spiked 8.5%, to $18,832, since last September, according to figures from Edmunds. The percentage of those cars being sold rose as well, with 18.5% of all used cars sold at dealerships being three years old or younger, compared with 13.5% last year. The prices of used cars are up. The price of a three-year-old BMW X5 increased 27.7% since this time in September 2009, to the $39,185 average price it …

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Consumers are not buying cars based on fuel economy

  The head of one of the biggest automotive industry groups said Americans are shunning small, fuel-efficient vehicles despite recent increases in the price of gasoline and the arrival of new small models in showrooms. “Consumers today are not buying cars based on fuel economy,” National Automobile Dealers Association Chairman Ed Tonkin said in a speech hursday. “We may wish it were different. But that doesn’t change anything.” Hybrid sales continue to fall, from about 315,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. two years ago to 290,000 last year, Mr. Tonkin told the Detroit Automotive Press Association. That number is projected to fall by 12% this year. “The fact is, manufacturers have struggled for years to make money on small cars,” he said. “And consumers remain skeptical that small cars are safe.” Mr. Tonkin’s comments come as auto makers have recently launched …

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