The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 29 Mar 2015 18:57:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/customer-relations/ Compact SUVs Gain Popularity At Expense Of Midsize, Compact Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030297 While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales. In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2

While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales.

In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen percent, meanwhile, traded like for like.

Either way, both groups have their reasons for choosing models from this segment:

Compact SUV popularity is truly a product story. They are a desirable size, but concede very little in efficiency and are comparably priced with models in other popular segments. They combine aspects of the market’s best-selling and pragmatic segments — establishing a new middle.

The report says that transaction prices for compact SUVs are on par with midsize sedans, averaging $26,420 compared to the latter’s $25,887 average. It adds that the popular segment is having an effect on dealer inventories as well, as midsize and compact cars take the longest to leave the lot; the aforementioned Rogue has 36 days-to-turn, while the Sentra takes 85 days to do the same.

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Operation Ruse Control Brings The Hammer Down On Deceptive Dealer Practices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-brings-hammer-deceptive-dealer-practices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-brings-hammer-deceptive-dealer-practices/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030209 The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday its results from Operation Ruse Control, a collection of investigations over deceptive dealer practices. The FTC-led campaign involved 32 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, resulting in 252 enforcement actions (187 in the U.S., 65 in Ontario and British Columbia), six of them involving monetary judgements […]

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Cory Fairbanks Mazda Dealership

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday its results from Operation Ruse Control, a collection of investigations over deceptive dealer practices.

The FTC-led campaign involved 32 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, resulting in 252 enforcement actions (187 in the U.S., 65 in Ontario and British Columbia), six of them involving monetary judgements of over $2.6 million.

Two of those cases involved vehicle purchase add-ons, defined by the agency as “the practice of a dealer or other third party adding to the vehicle sales, lease, or finance agreement charges for other products or services.” In both, National Payment Network made promises to save consumers money, but the associated fees were too high to deliver on the promise. NPN agreed to refund $1.5 million and waive $949,000 in fees, while partner New Jersey-based dealership network Matt Blatt — the latter having received commissions for each of the 1,000 consumers it enrolled into NPN’s scheme — will pay $184,000 in fines to the FTC.

Three cases involving deceptive advertising on the part of Cory Fairbanks Mazda of Longwood, Fla., Jim Burke Nissan of Birmingham, Ala. and Ross Nissan of El Monte, Calif. led to all three from “misrepresenting the purchase cost or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing or leasing of a vehicle,” with the former two also barred from “representing that a discount, rebate, bonus, incentive or price is available unless it is available to all consumers or all qualifications and restrictions are clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”

The last of the six involves a lawsuit against Florida-based Regency Financial Services. The company is alleged to have charged consumers upfront for auto loan modifications, only to deliver nothing in exchange. The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction to stop RFS’ practices, as well as to refund deceived consumers.

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Takata Recall Sees More Rapid Response In Japan Than US http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027417 While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster. Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic […]

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Takata information steering wheel + airbag combo

While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster.

Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic failure — 2.13 million — 70 percent — have been repaired through the end of February 2015.

Meanwhile, out of the 17 million vehicles in the U.S. under recall for the same issue, less than 2 million — 12 percent — were repaired through late February.

The stark differences between the two countries are the result of how Japan’s authorities and consumers deal with recalls compared to those in the U.S. In the former, consumers respond well to recalls, and few keep vehicles for as long as those in the latter do. Further, tighter safety and emission inspections not only help keep vehicle records up to date, but can serve to warn consumers of potential problems. Finally, the used car market isn’t as robust as it is in the U.S., making it easier for automakers to contact owners in case of a recall, as cars don’t change owners as often.

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More US Consumers Signing Long-Term Auto Loans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025785 In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity. NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says […]

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Signing his life and wallet away for the next six or so years with a long-term auto loan agreement

In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity.

NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says the cars are one of the reasons for the long loans:

Consumers are demanding a lot more technology in their vehicles, infotainment technologies. There’s also a lot more safety features that are in vehicles right now. Emissions and efficiency technology that are in vehicles right now, that are making vehicles cost a lot more.

Kim adds that the main driver is that most consumers are still crawling out of the Great Recession, which Experian Automotive’s Melinda Zabritski says isn’t much of a problem as far as lending goes. She says that while it would be sensible to take on 36- or 48-month loans on a new vehicle, “the average consumer just can’t afford that.”

Critics counter that the long-term loans could hurt consumers and automakers alike in the near- and long-term. Consumer advocate Mike Sante states that those who are taking out those loans have no business doing so in the first place, and should buy a less expensive new or used vehicle with a loan of no more than four years. Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel, whose company offers 36- and 48-month loans, says loans beyond five years are too long, and adds that he hopes his competitors come to their senses.

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Report: ‘Hundreds’ Of Recalled New Vehicles Sold Without Prior Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-hundreds-recalled-new-vehicles-sold-without-prior-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-hundreds-recalled-new-vehicles-sold-without-prior-repairs/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025769 In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it. Automotive News reports the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, was purchased by an undercover producer from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, N.J. The truck was under recall for a potential risk […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it.

Automotive News reports the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, was purchased by an undercover producer from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, N.J. The truck was under recall for a potential risk of rolling away while the transmission was in neutral, as well as the possibility for the transfer case to switch to neutral while being driven, leading to loss of power and an increased crash risk.

The recall, issued in June 2014, affected 467,000 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet and GMC Silverados, Suburbans, Tahoes, Sierras, Yukons and Yukon XLs. Per General Motors, 86 percent of the trucks and SUVs — 402,000 units — have been repaired thus far. The Silverado purchased by ABC News was not among them, however, in violation of federal law that requires dealerships to repair vehicles with a safety defect, including those under recall, prior to delivery.

GM representative Alan Adler said his employer spoke with Hawthorne after the segment aired, stating that no disciplinary action is planned. Adler added that while the incident occurred at a Chevrolet dealership with a GM product, such incidents aren’t exclusive to the automaker. ABC confirmed this in its report, having found “hundreds” of new cars from various manufacturers in New York and New Jersey that were under recall, but were not repaired prior to sale.

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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Uber Overtakes Traditional Taxis In NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024921 Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days. The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC. The […]

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Uber Driver in NYC

Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days.

The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC.

The transportation network company has served the city’s five boroughs since May 2011, but its competitive rates and higher wages are the main drivers that have led it to overtake the traditional livery service.

On the other hand, taxis make 10 times more trips than Uber drivers, and some veteran drivers aren’t likely to make the jump, even if Uber drivers can make double the average salary of a medallion driver.

Meanwhile, critics have accused the TNC of taking tax revenue that could go into public transit and taxi services, as well as increasing congestion issues in Manhattan, where most Uber trips occur.

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US New-Truck Leases Rise Thanks To Higher Residuals, Transactions, More Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023753 Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content. Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as […]

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2015-ford-f-150

Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content.

Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as the ~50 percent figure for luxury vehicle leases.

For automakers, this means they can continue to ride the strongest streak in sales the light truck market has experienced in current times, while also bringing customers into showrooms every three years. In exchange, they also gain less profit from leases — even with higher residuals — and more risk on whether or not the resale value will be strong in three years’ time, especially with external factors like fuel prices and the strength of the economy when the leases are up.

Factors driving the current leasing boom in the light-duty truck segment include higher average transaction prices — hitting a new average high of $41,029 in 2014 — the aforementioned residuals that are several points higher now than in 2010 — leading to more cash on the hood and other deals for potential lessees — and more content and features, like Wi-Fi, luxurious materials and advanced connected-vehicle systems.

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Newly Revealed Documents Linked To GM Ignition Recall Contradict Valukas Report http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/newly-revealed-documents-linked-gm-ignition-recall-contradict-valukas-report/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/newly-revealed-documents-linked-gm-ignition-recall-contradict-valukas-report/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023953 Previously confidential documents linked to the General Motors February 2014 ignition recall will give plaintiffs more ammunition for their lawsuits. According to Automotive News, the documents were unveiled after GM settled last week with Ken and Beth Melton for a second time over the death of their daughter Brooke through the compensation fund administered by […]

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Valukas Report

Previously confidential documents linked to the General Motors February 2014 ignition recall will give plaintiffs more ammunition for their lawsuits.

According to Automotive News, the documents were unveiled after GM settled last week with Ken and Beth Melton for a second time over the death of their daughter Brooke through the compensation fund administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, per attorneys Lance Cooper and Jere Beasley.

However, those documents — which includes communications between the automaker and its lawyers — contradict the conclusions found in the report published by attorney and independent investigator Anton Valukas, which stated that “incompetence and neglect — not an intentional effort to conceal” the ignition switch problems led to the recall last year after a decade of inaction.

As a result, Cooper and Beasley will begin deposing “all important General Motors witnesses” linked to the recall this May, including all current and former execs and employees.

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Dodge Restricting New Hellcat Orders Until Older Orders Are Fulfilled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023097 Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up. MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative: […]

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up.

MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative:

Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats, we are temporarily restricting orders while we validate current orders that are in the system.

As of now, over 9,000 orders have been placed for the Hellcats; over 2,200 have been delivered thus far.

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Uber, BYD Sign Deal To Test EV Fleet In Chicago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023025 Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company. Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as […]

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byd-e6

Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company.

Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as charging stations. UberX drivers can lease from the fleet — which could expand to around 200 by year’s end — for $200/week, allowing them to drive the e6 during their shift before returning the vehicle to Green Wheels for recharging; lease-to-own and traditional leasing programs are also available.

The e6 program, part of the TNC’s overall financing program meant to put drivers into new or used vehicles through purchases or lease agreements, could help pave the way for BYD to bring all of its offerings to the U.S. market. So far, the automaker has only brought over electric buses and a limited number of e6s, the latter for pilot programs.

As for why the two companies teamed up, none would comment on the deal, which could expand to cover more cities should Chicago’s test run prove to be viable.

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General Motors Cutting Back 100K-Mile Powertrain Warranty http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-cutting-back-100k-mile-powertrain-warranty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-cutting-back-100k-mile-powertrain-warranty/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1021025 Due to lack of interest, General Motors is cutting back its 100,000-mile/five-year powertrain warranty for 2016 Chevrolet and GMC models. Automotive News reports the new warranty will cover the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles, with courtesy transportation and roadside assistance still available for the period. The new standard matches those of […]

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Silverado-Custom-Sport-4

Due to lack of interest, General Motors is cutting back its 100,000-mile/five-year powertrain warranty for 2016 Chevrolet and GMC models.

Automotive News reports the new warranty will cover the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles, with courtesy transportation and roadside assistance still available for the period. The new standard matches those of Toyota, Ford and Honda. The coverage’s two-year free maintenance scheme will also be cut from four free visits for oil changes, tire rotations et al to just two.

Though the original extended warranty was meant to give consumers more confidence in GM products when first introduced for the 2007 model year, the memo sent out to dealers this week stated the following:

Through research, we have determined that when purchasing a new vehicle, included maintenance and warranty rank low on the list of reasons why consumers consider a particular brand over another. As a result, we have benchmarked our competitors, reviewed our current offerings and have concluded the following modifications to align closely with our customers’ needs and expectations.

Only the Chevrolet Volt will retain the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty for its battery pack and drive unit; Buick’s and Cadillac’s six-year/70,000 warranty will remain unchanged, as well.

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Google Introduces Comparison Tool For Auto Insurance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/google-introduces-comparison-tool-auto-insurance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/google-introduces-comparison-tool-auto-insurance/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020121 Shopping around for an auto insurance policy? Google has a comparison tool that might just help you find what you seek. TechCrunch reports the tool, Google Compare for Auto Insurance, allows consumers to compare rates either directly through the tool or via a questionnaire that pops up upon entering the words “car insurance” in Google’s […]

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Google Compare for Auto Insurance

Shopping around for an auto insurance policy? Google has a comparison tool that might just help you find what you seek.

TechCrunch reports the tool, Google Compare for Auto Insurance, allows consumers to compare rates either directly through the tool or via a questionnaire that pops up upon entering the words “car insurance” in Google’s search engine. Either method asks for the consumer’s zip code and information about their car, then compares up to 14 quotes from Google’s insurance partners like Mercury Insurance, MetLife and Stillwater Insurance Group; insurance giants like Progressive, State Farm and GEICO have declined to work with the tech giant on this project thus far.

Said partners become involved through a flexible cost-per-acquisition scheme, with Google adding that partner ranking and eligibility aren’t based on payment. The tech giant says its partners can use the service to set themselves apart from the others by mentioning what features make one partner different from the rest.

For now, the tool is limited to California residents, with other states to join in later this year per Google. Further down the road, however, the company could use the information gathered from how its partners price a given risk to enter the insurance game as an underwriter, possibly pairing its offerings with its autonomous car.

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Insurers, Suppliers Face Potential Disruption From Autonomous Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/insurers-suppliers-face-potential-disruption-autonomous-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/insurers-suppliers-face-potential-disruption-autonomous-vehicles/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 16:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016754 Work in the insurance industry? Ever wonder what life would be like insuring the owners of autonomous vehicles? The Wall Street Journal reports insurers Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and Travelers, along with supplier LKQ, are warning investors that autonomous technology would one day come to disrupt the way insurers and suppliers do business. How? For […]

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Google Autonomous Clown Car Amid Wind Turbines

Work in the insurance industry? Ever wonder what life would be like insuring the owners of autonomous vehicles?

The Wall Street Journal reports insurers Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and Travelers, along with supplier LKQ, are warning investors that autonomous technology would one day come to disrupt the way insurers and suppliers do business.

How? For insurers, decreased demand for certain policies, changes in policy marketing, pricing and underwriting, and predicting risk when the driver no longer drives. For suppliers, declines in accident rates and repairs from those that do occur, leading to less demand for parts overall.

Barclays insurance analyst Jay Gelb, however, says insurers would have plenty of time to prepare for the autonomous future, especially since such vehicles are more complex; thus, requiring more money to fix them. He adds that it was “hard to see how a product that has been in place for more than a century is just going to go away” because a different breed of vehicle is just now entering the development phase.

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Smart Follows Opel Out Of Australia Amid Weak Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/smart-follows-opel-australia-amid-weak-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/smart-follows-opel-australia-amid-weak-sales/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016730 In 2013, Opel left Australia amid poor sales in the land down under. This year, it’s Smart that is bowing out of the market. Just-Auto reports the Smart ForTwo would soon return to Europe after finding little success in Australia, due mainly to consumers not wanting to pay a premium on a city car; the […]

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In 2013, Opel left Australia amid poor sales in the land down under. This year, it’s Smart that is bowing out of the market.

Just-Auto reports the Smart ForTwo would soon return to Europe after finding little success in Australia, due mainly to consumers not wanting to pay a premium on a city car; the ForTwo’s $18,990 AUD ($14,727 USD) price is nearly on par with the much bigger, more roomier Toyota Corolla.

Since arriving in 2003, Smart has sold over 4,400 of its models, 3,517 being the aforementioned ForTwo. However, demand began to fall in 2005, and reached a point that by 2013, the brand only took orders online. Additionally, only 22 ForTwos have been sold in 2015 so far as the Australian market recovers.

Mercedes-Benz said it would continue to offer parts and service for the vehicles, and would do its best to move the remaining 60 days’ worth of inventory before Smart’s days in Australia came to a close.

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Automakers Continue Support Of Electric Vehicles Despite Weak Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015890 Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term. Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are […]

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2015 BMW i3

Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term.

Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are registered annually. BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said as much when stating that his company cannot leave EVs like the i3 behind, proclaiming such vehicles would be in demand in the future.

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche says hybrids were “truly attractive cars that represent the best of both worlds” as his and other companies cross the bridge toward a zero-emission future. However, Zetsche adds that the battery technology needed to get to the other side — long-lasting battery packs — are at least five years away.

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Geneva 2015: Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Pulls Up To The Bumper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-maybach-s600-pullman-pulls-bumper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-maybach-s600-pullman-pulls-bumper/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:27:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010498 Though the festivities have truly yet to begin, a few images and details from the 2015 Geneva Auto Show are coming out from behind the curtain. First up: the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman. The big daddy of all Mercedes-based limos, the Pullman is a full 3.5 feet longer than the standard S-Class, big enough to accommodate […]

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Though the festivities have truly yet to begin, a few images and details from the 2015 Geneva Auto Show are coming out from behind the curtain. First up: the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman.

The big daddy of all Mercedes-based limos, the Pullman is a full 3.5 feet longer than the standard S-Class, big enough to accommodate four standard seats facing each other in the back. Other configurations are available if you need more room for groupies and/or dignitaries and/or ultra-alpha Wall Street types, however.

Power for the Pullman comes from a twin-turbo V12 delivering 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque, though ‘Ring times aren’t this limo’s raison d’être. Aside from emphasizing luxury over everything else, it can also be had with body armor for those whose stations in life merit extra protection, and the aforementioned seats are positioned so the adoring (or blood-thirsty) public cannot see who’s inside.

As for the price, the S600 Pullman will move for $500,000 to $600,000 sans said body armor.

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Geneva 2015: Magna MILA Plus Hybrid Concept To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-magna-mila-plus-hybrid-concept-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-magna-mila-plus-hybrid-concept-debut/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009354 Magna Steyr doesn’t build cars on its own, but the supplier always brings a concept to Geneva when it can, and the MILA Plus is no exception. The MILA Plus is a PHEV deriving power from a three-cylinder gasoline mill linked to an electric motor on the front axle and between the main engine and […]

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Magna Steyr doesn’t build cars on its own, but the supplier always brings a concept to Geneva when it can, and the MILA Plus is no exception.

The MILA Plus is a PHEV deriving power from a three-cylinder gasoline mill linked to an electric motor on the front axle and between the main engine and transmission to send power to the back. Range in all-electric is nearly 47 miles, and CO2 emissions come at just 32g/km. Total power is 268 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. Total range is 310 miles, and nil to 60 comes in 4.9 seconds.

The lightweight extruded aluminum space frame and bio-plastic panels help bring the overall weight to 3,351 pounds, and the cold-mechanical-joined body-in-white — a process used on the Mercedes SLS AMG and Aston Martin Rapide — uses modular construction to “ability to accommodate different driveline configurations,” as well as “the use of components and systems from large series production” for greater flexibility and efficiency on the production line.

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General Motors Cutting Production To Relieve Inventory Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008274 Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand. Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is […]

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Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand.

Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is responsible for the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, while the Flex line handles the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS.

The reduction in production comes amid consumer demand for trucks and crossovers over said vehicles, of which the Sonic and Regal hold the highest inventory levels at 216 and 213 days as of February 1, 2015. The Sonic’s inventory level is the highest since the subcompact’s August 2011 debut, while the Regal jumped to its level from just 96 days back on January 1.

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Lexus Takes Gold In 2015 JD Power Dependability Study http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lexus-takes-gold-2015-jd-power-dependability-study/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lexus-takes-gold-2015-jd-power-dependability-study/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008050 For the fourth consecutive year, Lexus is tops among the brands ranked in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study. The research group says owners of the premium brand’s offerings reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. However, its parent company was bumped down to third place on the podium this year by Buick, the latter making […]

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For the fourth consecutive year, Lexus is tops among the brands ranked in JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study.

The research group says owners of the premium brand’s offerings reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. However, its parent company was bumped down to third place on the podium this year by Buick, the latter making a huge leap from fifth place in 2014 to take silver with 110 problems per 100 vehicles reported. Toyota had one more problem compared to Buick.

Among the rest, Cadillac took home fourth, while Honda and Porsche tied for fifth. Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion and Chevrolet round out the top 10 for 2015, while Land Rover and Fiat landed at the bottom of the list with 258 and 273 problems per 100 vehicles, respectively.

As for the problems themselves, most took issue with their vehicle’s Bluetooth and voice-recognition systems, followed by problems with the vehicle’s engine or transmission, the latter mostly focused on “automatic transmission hesitation and rough shifting.”

This year’s study surveyed over 34,000 original owners of 2012 models after three years of ownership, with the survey taking place between November and December of 2014.

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Volvo S60, V60 Polestar Enter Second Run, Middle East For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-s60-v60-polestar-enter-second-run-middle-east-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volvo-s60-v60-polestar-enter-second-run-middle-east-2015/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007730 Been wanting a Volvo S60 or V60 Polestar? The Sino-Swedish automaker is making a second batch for 2015, with 13 countries to take delivery this time. Volvo plans to make 750 S60 and V60 Polestars this year for the 2016 model year, citing the performance vehicles’ sales success in 2014 for the second production run. […]

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Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, model year 2016

Been wanting a Volvo S60 or V60 Polestar? The Sino-Swedish automaker is making a second batch for 2015, with 13 countries to take delivery this time.

Volvo plans to make 750 S60 and V60 Polestars this year for the 2016 model year, citing the performance vehicles’ sales success in 2014 for the second production run.

Meanwhile, the Middle East will see some of the blue Volvos on its roads this year, as Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates are the newest additions to the list of markets the automaker sells its high-performance wares, which currently include Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

As for what they’ll receive, the Polestars feature power from a turbocharged 3-liter I6 pushing 345 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque through a Polestar-calibrated paddle-shifted six-speed automatic to the vehicle’s Haldex four-wheel drive system. The S60 goes from nil to 60 in 4.7 seconds, while the V60 does it in 4.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, and Brembo brakes stop the 20-inch wheels — shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sports — before any moose are hit. Price of admission in the U.S. starts at around $60,000.

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Lincoln ‘Dares Greater’ Than Cadillac In Google SEO Game http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lincoln-dares-greater-cadillac-google-seo-game/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/lincoln-dares-greater-cadillac-google-seo-game/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007698 Oscar viewers who are seeking on Google the Cadillac that “dared greatly” are suddenly hearing Matthew McConaughey’s voice, thanks to Lincoln’s SEO skills. Autoblog reports the first instance of Lincoln’s slogan hijacking appeared less than 24 hours after Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” adverts aired during the 87th Academy Awards. As seen above, those wanting to know […]

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Lincoln Dares Greater Than Cadillac In The SEO Game

Oscar viewers who are seeking on Google the Cadillac that “dared greatly” are suddenly hearing Matthew McConaughey’s voice, thanks to Lincoln’s SEO skills.

Autoblog reports the first instance of Lincoln’s slogan hijacking appeared less than 24 hours after Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” adverts aired during the 87th Academy Awards. As seen above, those wanting to know more about Cadillac — and about that mysterious car making a brief appearance in a separate Oscars advert — will find a sponsored link for the brand at the top, followed by Lincoln’s version of the truth in second.

Originally, the second sponsored link — which read, “Dare Greatly – It’s not about making a statement, it’s about doing what you love” — directed consumers to Lincoln’s homepage, greeting them with the sight of the 2015 MKZ Hybrid. Since then, the link directs to the same page, but the image is that of the 2015 MKC. The link’s slogan, meanwhile, changes with every search; for this author, it currently reads, “You don’t have to make a statement when you know who you are,” likely a swipe at brand president Johan de Nysschen’s and brand director Melody Lee’s ambitions and aspirations for Cadillac.

As for the Oscars campaign, AutoTrader said that searches for Cadillac jumped 53 percent within an hour after the first advert aired.

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Study: US Auto Sales To Rise Through 2017, Modestly Decline Through 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006458 Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020. According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales […]

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Bill Colwell Ford Dealership

Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020.

According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales will hit 17 million, peaking at 17.24 million in 2017.

Per AutoPacific industry analysis vice president Ed Kim, the boom is fueled by both “continued increases in truck and SUV sales,” and the rapid growth of compact crossover sales among mainstream and premium brands. Combined, such sales would make up 55 percent of the overall U.S. market this year.

As for the aforementioned downturn beginning in 2018 and going forward through 2020, Kim cites rises in interest rates, Millennials waiting to purchase their first vehicle, and extended loan terms as factors in the upcoming decline. He adds that despite this, sales are likely to bottom-out at 16.8 million by the start of the next decade, 60 percent better than the 10.4 million vehicles sold in 2009 during the early days of the Great Recession.

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NHTSA To Congress: Pull Recalled Used, Rental Vehicles Off The Road http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006322 The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being […]

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Rental Car Corridor - SeaTac International Airport

The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being repaired; current legislation only asks of such things for new vehicles prior to sale.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution” that would improve road safety. Foxx adds that Congress should follow the lead of both safety advocates and the rental-car industry in taking a stand on the issue.

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Ford Cuts $900 From Fusion Hybrid, Energi Price Tags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-cuts-900-fusion-hybrid-energi-price-tags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-cuts-900-fusion-hybrid-energi-price-tags/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004482 Shopping for a Ford hybrid or PHEV? The 2016 Fusion Hybrid and Energi models won’t be as thirsty for your wallet as before. CarsDirect reports both models will see a price drop of $900 across all trim levels, from $26,575 to $25,675 for the Fusion Hybrid S, to $33,900 (from $34,800) for the Fusion Energi […]

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2015 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium

Shopping for a Ford hybrid or PHEV? The 2016 Fusion Hybrid and Energi models won’t be as thirsty for your wallet as before.

CarsDirect reports both models will see a price drop of $900 across all trim levels, from $26,575 to $25,675 for the Fusion Hybrid S, to $33,900 (from $34,800) for the Fusion Energi Luxury SE.

Despite the cuts, no decontenting will occur among the Fusions; the Hybrid, in fact, will have a new driving mode called EcoSelect, which offers more regenerative braking while delivering a softer launch from the light and less intense heating and cooling.

The price drop follows a similar action last year, when Ford chopped up to $1,200 off the price of C-Max Hybrid and Energi models, and is meant to draw interest away from the upcoming redesigned Toyota Prius, set to begin production later in 2015. Both 2016 Fusion models are due in showrooms at around the same time.

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