Posts By: Doug DeMuro

By on July 24, 2015

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I recently had the opportunity to test drive an automobile, and I remembered why I hate it so much: because test drives are insanely short.

They’re not just a little short. They’re wildly, absurdly, ridiculously short. Some test drives last for eight minutes, even though you will likely own the vehicle you’re driving for several years, you will pay tens of thousands of dollars for it, and you will spend several hours in it every day of your life.

Obviously, we know why this is: dealers don’t want to waste time with test drives. They want these things to go by quickly, so the cars don’t accumulate very many miles, and then they want you to get back into the showroom and start arguing over the price. This is how they get ya. The more time you spend arguing over the price, the more you want the car. “I don’t really want this car,” you think to yourself. “But I’ve already devoted six hours to arguing about the price. So I’d better get it.” This is how Chevrolet sold so many Cobalts.

But is the car buying public really content with these test drives?

(Read More…)

By on July 23, 2015

I think the time has come to wave goodbye to one of the auto industry’s most fickle segments: the small luxury convertible. Once formerly strong and full of life, the segment now consists of a bunch of cars that leave people asking: Do they still make that?

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2015

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Several times in the last few weeks I have had a friend come up to me and tell me that they bought a used car, there is some problem with it, and now they want to sue the dealer. And if not a lawsuit, then at least they want some sort of compensation, like a free replacement car.

I generally listen intently to their problem, and confirm that I’m understanding it, and make eye contact to show that I care, and then tell them something along the lines of the fact that this is the single stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

Here’s a newsflash for everyone out there who bought a used car with a problem: You bought your vehicle in as-is condition. This means you must accept it “as it is,” even if how it “is” is fitted with brake pads that are actually USB sticks. Even if its mirrors are sun visor mirrors taped on the mirror housings. Even if it is a Pontiac G6. You now own this car and you signed the papers saying so. The dealership held up its part of the obligation in selling you the car. Now you must hold up your part of the obligation in getting the thing the hell off the dealer’s lot.

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By on July 10, 2015

Jaguar F-Type S AWD

So I’m reading through Autoblog (Motto: All the recall stories that are fit to print!), and I come across an article about how Jaguar is now developing an even higher performance version of the F-Type sports car.

That’s right, folks: soon, Jaguar dealers across the country will be graced with yet another six-figure car that nobody wants to buy.

If you’re an F-Type fan (who isn’t?), then you might be surprised to hear me say this — but it’s true. Cars.com does a monthly list of the slowest selling cars on the market — not by sales volume, but by actual days each car spends on the lot — and some version the F-Type is always near the top. It’s often stopped from being the true number one vehicle by only more overpriced cars, like the BMW 6 Series and the Kia K900.

So why are they developing a high-performance version? Because Jaguar remains convinced that this is the way to attract younger, hipper car shoppers: by offering the same old thing with more power at an even higher price tag. The main problem with the F-Type, Jaguar apparently believes, is that it isn’t expensive enough.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2015

Escape to which mountain?

Another day, another recall. Or, at least, this seems to be the growing trend lately in the automotive industry.

Years ago, I remember recalls being a rarity. My mom owns a Ford Escape that she bought new in 2003, and I distinctly remember her thinking about getting something else because she was worried about all the recalls. It had, at the most, three. This is what used to pass for a high-recall vehicle.

No longer.

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By on July 3, 2015

volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08

Today is the beginning of the Independence Day holiday in America, which is this beautiful historical moment where we all take a few days off work and light things on fire. It’s also an excellent time to examine precisely what makes a car American.

I want to do this because there are a lot of Americans out there who will only buy an American car, just like there are a lot of Japanese who will only buy a Japanese car, and a lot of Germans who will only buy a German car, and a lot of South Africans who will only buy cars with bulletproof windows. But in today’s globalized world, what exactly defines a car’s country of origin?

Some would say where the car is manufactured – and that’s reasonable. After all, if a car is built in America, and sold in America by an American car dealership to someone in America, this is a pretty damn American vehicle, correct? You can only get more American if you were to get on a plane and ask personal questions to the stranger sitting next to you, even though they’re obviously trying to read the newspaper.

But wait! There are millions of cars that fit this definition that aren’t made by “American” automakers! The Volkswagen Passat, for example, is built somewhere in the marry-your-cousin hills of East Tennessee by an American factory worker, then shipped to an American dealer by an American truck driver where it’s prepped by an American employee and sold to an American rental car company for use in the commission of an American felony, likely with an American gun.

So is the Passat an American car? (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2015

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I always get a little dismayed whenever I hear a car company talking about sales volume targets.

Yes, sure, reasonable sales targets are OK. Acceptable sales targets. If Toyota wants to say they’re going to sell one billion Camry units this year because they sold 997 million last year, that’s fine with me. If Honda wants to say they’re going to sell 950 million Accords this year because they’re contractually obligated by a higher power to slightly undersell the Camry, that’s fine too. And if Dodge wants to say they’ll sell 100,000 Grand Caravans this year, of which 99,000 are going to Enterprise, and the remaining 1,000 are going to people who don’t know any better, I guess I can accept that.

But I’ve never really understood why automakers set insane volume targets that keep them desperately reaching for sales for the next few decades.

(Read More…)

By on June 19, 2015

Range Rover in Albania. Picture courtesy of autowp.ru

As many of you know, I drive a Range Rover, which is a giant, gas-slurping SUV that simultaneously kills babies and harms small animals. This is a horrible vehicle, according to the majority of people I meet, and because of it, I’m always being judged for having more car than I “need.” It is, after all, overkill.

Right?

(Read More…)

By on June 17, 2015

2015-jeep-wrangler

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to mourn the loss of the four-seat convertible. We have known for a while that its time was coming. First, they came for the Pontiac G6. Then, they came for the Toyota Solara. Then, they came for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. And when it was time to come for the Chrysler 200, nobody cared, because nobody buys these cars anymore.

But surely some people still buy them. I mean, there are still millions of people out there having midlife crises, looking for the last modicum of driving excitement before they start ranting about how mobile apps are tearing at the fabric of our society. But sadly, the fun is over: there are no reasonably priced four-seat convertibles left.

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By on June 12, 2015

2001 Toyota Voltz - Tokyo Motor Show 2011

Today, we are going to talk about an automobile called the Chevrolet Voltz. Never heard of it? Few have. That’s because it was one of the most bizarre and unusual rebadges of our entire automotive lives.

(Read More…)

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