The Truth About Cars » Dealer News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:00:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Dealer News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/dealer-news/ TrueCar Involved In “Deceptive Business Practices” Says Lawsuit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/truecar-involved-in-deceptive-business-practices-says-lawsuit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/truecar-involved-in-deceptive-business-practices-says-lawsuit/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1131417 A lawsuit brought forward by a group of 100 auto dealerships are alleging car-buying service TrueCar of “deceptive business practices” in a lawsuit, reports Automotive News. The lawsuit claims TrueCar’s advertising, which proclaims transparency in vehicle transaction prices for customers, does not disclose the $299 and $399 dollar fees that are paid by dealers for new […]

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truecarprice

A lawsuit brought forward by a group of 100 auto dealerships are alleging car-buying service TrueCar of “deceptive business practices” in a lawsuit, reports Automotive News.

The lawsuit claims TrueCar’s advertising, which proclaims transparency in vehicle transaction prices for customers, does not disclose the $299 and $399 dollar fees that are paid by dealers for new and used car sales brokered by TrueCar.

The meaning of “transparency” for TrueCar has been brought to question at TTAC before, as has TrueCar’s use of personal data collected on buyers by participating dealers who must provide said data to TrueCar as a condition of receiving high-quality leads. This data access was reported to be the main reason for a split between TrueCar and dealer group AutoNation.

The group of dealers who’ve launched this latest lawsuit say failure to disclose the fees violates California law as those fees are typically bundled into the final transaction price of the vehicle and passed on to the customer.

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Don’t Buy a 2015 Buick Regal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/dont-buy-a-2015-buick-regal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/dont-buy-a-2015-buick-regal/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1131353 If you are looking for a new midsize car to add to your driveway and the Buick Regal is on your shortlist, you might want to wait a few months. According to a dealer communique sent out by Buick head Duncan Aldred, the Regal will receive a massive price cut for 2016. Even the top-trim […]

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2015BuickRegalGS-6

If you are looking for a new midsize car to add to your driveway and the Buick Regal is on your shortlist, you might want to wait a few months.

According to a dealer communique sent out by Buick head Duncan Aldred, the Regal will receive a massive price cut for 2016. Even the top-trim Regal GS will have its price slashed to make it more competitive as an older offering in a crowded segment.

The letter, sent yesterday, outlines the changes to the Regal as it struggles toward the end of its lifecycle.

The Regal is being simplified and attractively priced to appeal to a broader share of midsize intenders. The 2016 Regal will be available in four trims, with the popular 1SL, 1SP and 1SX all priced dramatically lower than the 2015 trims — with no change in content. Ultimately, we’re giving our customers greater value without sacrificing the features they want.

You’ll find more details in the attached 2016MY Buick Regal Product and Pricing Guide, but a few highlights of the new pricing structure include:

  • Starting price for 2016 Regal GS is $34,990; more than $3,300 lower than the 2015 model
  • 2016 Regal 1SP is priced below the 2015 Regal 1SN (which has been eliminated)
  • 2016 Regal 1SL is now priced below the Nissan Altima SL — yet offers more standard horsepower (+75 hp), more torque (+100 lb-ft) and standard 18-inch wheels

Regal trims will be realigned, eliminating the “Premium I” (1SN) trim and decreasing the “Premium II” (1SP) trim’s price below that of 1SN. GM states there will be no change in equipment. Base price for the Regal will remain unchanged at $27,065 before destination. The biggest cut is to the GS FWD model at $3,320, bringing its price down to $34,065.

In the midsize sedan segment, the Regal only bests the Volkswagen CC and defunct Dodge Avenger in terms of year-to-date sales, having dropped 23.7 percent. June saw sales drop 12.3 percent versus the same month last year.

So, don’t buy a 2015 Buick Regal — unless it’s the base model or a lightly used example traded in by its original owner after less than a year on the road.

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Nissan To Trump-bashing California Dealer Ad: ‘No Bueno’ [Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-trump-bashing-california-dealer-ad-no-bueno-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-trump-bashing-california-dealer-ad-no-bueno-video/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127961 Nissan scolded one of its dealers Tuesday for releasing an ad showing the battering of a piñata resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Automotive News is reporting. The ad depicts salesmen repeatedly hitting a Trump-looking piñata and declaring, “At Van Nuys Nissan, Latinos rule.” The ad was made after Trump denounced some undocumented Mexican immigrants […]

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Van Nuys Nissan

Nissan scolded one of its dealers Tuesday for releasing an ad showing the battering of a piñata resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Automotive News is reporting.

The ad depicts salesmen repeatedly hitting a Trump-looking piñata and declaring, “At Van Nuys Nissan, Latinos rule.” The ad was made after Trump denounced some undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists” in a June political speech.

“We find these advertisements to be neither responsible or respectful, and we do not condone what they represent,” Nissan said in a statement. “We expect our dealers to establish advertising that is responsible and respectful and represents the best interest of the Nissan brand.”

Commenters have blasted Nissan of Van Nuys for airing the ad.

“I’m Hispanic, and I’m embarrassed for you. I’d never go to your dealership based on your crappy reviews. The idiotic piñata thing is the icing on the cake,” one commenter wrote. “Van Nuys Nissan, get your PR crew together and get rid of that racist manager.”

Nissan said it respected the dealer’s right to free speech.

Of course, this is hardly the first dealer to air a controversial ad. Nor is it the most entertainingly profane (link NSFW, obviously).

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Dodge Doubling Hellcat Production, Taking Orders in August http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/dodge-doubling-hellcat-production-taking-orders-august/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/dodge-doubling-hellcat-production-taking-orders-august/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125697 Dodge will roughly double the number of Charger and Challenger Hellcat models it makes next year and will significantly change the way dealers can order the 707-horsepower model in the future, the company announced Monday. Dodge also announced that it would be cancelling nearly 900 unfulfilled 2015 orders and honoring those prices for 2016. Dealers […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Dodge will roughly double the number of Charger and Challenger Hellcat models it makes next year and will significantly change the way dealers can order the 707-horsepower model in the future, the company announced Monday. Dodge also announced that it would be cancelling nearly 900 unfulfilled 2015 orders and honoring those prices for 2016.

Dealers will begin taking new orders for the super-performance cars sometime around Aug. 10 and will only be allowed to order their specific allocation. According to Automotive News, reports surfaced last year of Dodge dealers accepting deposits for many more Challenger and Charger Hellcat models than they were allotted.

Dealers will begin receiving Hellcats in September through February.

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis told Automotive News that customers learning Monday that their order has been cancelled “is probably not what they want to hear, but we’re going to do it so that we have a fresh, clean slate going forward with everything that we learned in 2015.” Dodge said they’ll begin today calling customers who won’t receive 2015 models.

Initially, Dodge anticipated building 1,200 Hellcat-powered models last year. Initial orders topped 4,000 and eventually reached 5,000.

Dealers who don’t sell their allotment of Challenger or Charger Hellcat models right away — if they’ve raised the price far beyond the MSRP, for example — may have future allotments of the model restricted, the automaker said.

Dodge has not yet announced pricing for the 2016 Charger and Challenger Hellcat models.

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Nissan Halts Sales on Some Maximas for Quality Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124145 Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting. The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting.

The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models would be affected by the stop-sale, nor how many of the models may have already been sold.

Nissan hasn’t made available details about the VIN number or how to identify the held cars.

A Denver-area Nissan dealer said he wasn’t aware of the stop-sale at all.

A Nissan spokesman told Automotive News that the company would investigate the issue further before making any public statements.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer service and satisfaction,” the company said in a statement to Automotive News. “This commitment requires Nissan to periodically place certain specific vehicles on a temporary Quality Assurance Hold to assure that these vehicles, as delivered to our customers, meet our exacting standards and our customers’ expectations.”

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Buick Offering 24-Hour Test Drives To Build Brand, Not Sell Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buick-offering-24-hour-test-drives-to-build-brand-not-sell-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buick-offering-24-hour-test-drives-to-build-brand-not-sell-cars/#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119745 Buick is tossing the keys to prospective customers for sleepovers in their driveways as part of a brand-building exercise the automaker says isn’t meant to sell cars immediately. According to Automotive News, the program — dubbed “24 Hours of Happiness” — gives customers the chance to live with a Buick vehicle for 24 hours starting […]

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2015-buick-encore

Buick is tossing the keys to prospective customers for sleepovers in their driveways as part of a brand-building exercise the automaker says isn’t meant to sell cars immediately.

According to Automotive News, the program — dubbed “24 Hours of Happiness” — gives customers the chance to live with a Buick vehicle for 24 hours starting this coming Wednesday.

“Customers thought it showed that we have a real confidence in our vehicles,” Duncan Aldred, Buick brand chief, told AN.

“It’s more of an image builder,” he continued. “Some people can’t believe that Buick has the confidence to send them out in a car without a salesperson sitting next to them to tell them how great the car is.”

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Tesla Dead Last in Dealer Experience, First in PR http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-dead-last-dealer-experience-first-pr/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-dead-last-dealer-experience-first-pr/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1110609 We have opined in these pages before about how for every Tesla sold in America, there are two or three glowing stories written about the electric automaker. There are days when over 50 percent of the pieces on auto industry news feeds are about Tesla, which is not bad for a company capturing 0.1 percent of the U.S. automobile market. Tesla Motors […]

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Tesla Store

We have opined in these pages before about how for every Tesla sold in America, there are two or three glowing stories written about the electric automaker. There are days when over 50 percent of the pieces on auto industry news feeds are about Tesla, which is not bad for a company capturing 0.1 percent of the U.S. automobile market. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is truly a marketing and public relations genius.

Given that, it is fascinating when a negative story surfaces about Tesla’s way of doing business and the slobbering media is strangely silent. 

A customer study conducted by research firm Pied Piper Management Company revealed that Tesla dealers are dead last in converting prospects into buyers. Labeling Tesla sales representatives as “museum curators,” PPMC calls Tesla out for not asking questions about prospects’ driving habits and how they plan to use their new vehicle, as well as their inability to ask for the sale. PPMC noted that the fact that many Tesla outlets are not able to offer test drives, which also contributed to the poor ranking.

2015 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index

Said PPMC chief Fran O’Hagan:

“Dealerships that sell proactively — think of them as doing everything they can to be helpful to a car-shopper — not only end up selling a lot more vehicles, they also end up with happy shoppers and customers. On the other hand, customers don’t usually mind the ‘museum curator’ dealerships, with courteous salespeople who answer questions but do nothing to proactively sell. The difference is that the ‘museum curator’ dealerships end up much less successful; selling fewer vehicles … “

Say what you want about the current franchised dealer system, but what is wrong with showing interest in the customer, offering a demo drive and asking for the sale? It is not happening at Tesla outlets.

Mercedes-Benz backed up their up recent winning of the J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index award by topping the PPMC survey. I can tell you from firsthand experience that Mercedes-Benz has tirelessly worked the past four years to change the culture of their dealerships’ sales operations and the top ranking shows their efforts are paying off.

The PPMC survey supports what we wrote in 2013: If Tesla wants to succeed in America they need to drop their direct sales strategy and join the traditional franchised dealer network by partnering with an established brand. If not, and their government subsidies dry up, Tesla will be a goner.

(As an aside, it is nice to see PPMC emerge as a potential competitor to long-time customer satisfaction surveying firm J.D. Power and Associates, a company despised by automakers. They complain that J.D. Power is a monopoly and that they charge outrageous fees to advertise winning an award. The sheer number of J.D. Power surveys about the automobile buying and ownership experience is so high that I expect to see this headline someday, “Jeep Wins J.D. Power Award For Customer Satisfaction For Windshield Wiper Stalk Operation During The First 47 Days Of Ownership.”)

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Report: TrueCar Drew Hard Line with AutoNation Over Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-truecar-drew-hard-line-autonation-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-truecar-drew-hard-line-autonation-data/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 18:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114737 Automotive News has interesting insight into the tenuous, and now soon-to-end, relationship between TrueCar and car dealer-giant AutoNation. The report details a May lunch between TrueCar CEO Scott Painter, President John Krafcik and Senior Vice President of Dealer Development Mike Timmons, and AutoNation COO Bill Berman and Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon. At the lunch, TrueCar executives reportedly […]

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AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson

Automotive News has interesting insight into the tenuous, and now soon-to-end, relationship between TrueCar and car dealer-giant AutoNation.

The report details a May lunch between TrueCar CEO Scott Painter, President John Krafcik and Senior Vice President of Dealer Development Mike Timmons, and AutoNation COO Bill Berman and Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon. At the lunch, TrueCar executives reportedly said they would require data from all AutoNation sales — regardless if they were generated by TrueCar — for the two companies to continue doing business.

“Over my dead body,” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said later, according to Automotive News.

Last week, when Jackson announced the split between AutoNation and TrueCar he laid most of the blame at TrueCar’s “unconscionable and unprecedented” demand for more than 40 data points for each car sold at AutoNation. AutoNation sells more than 550,000 annually at its 240 dealerships across the United States.

The dealer said roughly 3 percent of its sales can be attributed to TrueCar leads, which it charges $299 and $399 per new- and used-car purchase. AutoNation said it pays TrueCar around $550 per sale, for which TrueCar unjustifiably takes credit. TrueCar said internal auditing revealed that they were responsible for nearly 7 percent of AutoNation’s sales.

“We know exactly the degree to which AutoNation underreported,” Painter said. “It’s massive.”

“Customers go many places before and after a TrueCar visit, and just because they were momentarily on the TrueCar site doesn’t mean I should have to pay them $300. So there’s a big disagreement there,” Jackson said.

In a May 23 letter to Berman and Cannon, TrueCar specifically outlined the customer data it was seeking and said it was already “firing” dealers who failed to comply.

“In the trailing 12 months, TrueCar suspended over 300 dealers who did not meet marketplace or customer requirements. We are prepared to take similar action here should AutoNation elect not to follow our marketplace requirements,” the letter states.

TrueCar’s request for data included customer’s names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses in addition to data on the newly purchased car.

Dealers have said turning over such extensive data could lead to privacy concerns and enable TrueCar to steal customers in the future.

AutoNation said it would start up its own portal for customers similar to TrueCar, and would back away from third-party vendors in the future.

 

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Obama’s New Overtime Rules May Hit Dealers Particularly Hard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/obamas-new-overtime-rules-may-hit-dealers-particularly-hard/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/obamas-new-overtime-rules-may-hit-dealers-particularly-hard/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113673 Car dealerships may be forced to pay some of their employees more under new overtime rules proposed by President Barack Obama, Automotive News is reporting. The proposed overhaul for employees who make less than $50,000 a year could impact dealers who make a significant portion of their earnings from salary, rather than commission. The suggested overtime rules […]

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Barack Obama + Connected Vehicles

Car dealerships may be forced to pay some of their employees more under new overtime rules proposed by President Barack Obama, Automotive News is reporting.

The proposed overhaul for employees who make less than $50,000 a year could impact dealers who make a significant portion of their earnings from salary, rather than commission.

The suggested overtime rules would apply to roughly 40 percent of the American workforce, rather than the 8 percent the current rules apply to now. The Department of Labor estimates more than 5 million workers would be covered by the new rules.

Douglas Greenhaus, an attorney for the National Automobile Dealers Association, told Automotive News that the new rules would apply to mostly support workers in dealerships. Mechanics, service managers or sales staff likely wouldn’t be effected.

“This would impact those who get the majority of their pay from salary,” Greenhaus said.

The changes would raise the overtime threshold from $23,660 annually to $50,440. The federal poverty line for a family of four is $24,008.

Dealers may cut pay for workers who fall under the new guidelines, Greenhaus said. The NADA would analyze the new rules and lobby the administration based on what dealers may want.

“The important thing is to maintain as much as possible the flexibility for the employer and employee on how to compensate,” Greenhaus said.

The public comment period for the new overtime rules ends Sept. 4.

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Details of AutoNation, TrueCar Split Coming into View http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/details-autonation-truecar-split-coming-view/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/details-autonation-truecar-split-coming-view/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113017 Details between the AutoNation and TrueCar split are becoming clear, Automotive News is reporting. After yesterday’s announcement that the web service and nationwide dealership chain were splitting up — in which AutoNation laid most of the blame on unreasonable demands by TrueCar during contract negotiations — the company’s respective CEOs have been getting nasty. “Our partnership with AutoNation just […]

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truecar-screen-1

Details between the AutoNation and TrueCar split are becoming clear, Automotive News is reporting.

After yesterday’s announcement that the web service and nationwide dealership chain were splitting up — in which AutoNation laid most of the blame on unreasonable demands by TrueCar during contract negotiations — the company’s respective CEOs have been getting nasty.

“Our partnership with AutoNation just turned into, in a very real sense, a choice for the consumer,” TrueCar CEO Scott Painter told Automotive News. “It really makes them our competition.”

Automotive News details the dust-up between AutoNation and TrueCar as a war fought over customer data. Roughly 3 percent of AutoNation’s sales could be directly attributed to TrueCar leads, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told Automotive News. TrueCar asked for data on all of AutoNation’s 550,000 annual car sales.

“It’s none of their business,” Jackson said.

TrueCar may have asked AutoNation to comply with rules it enforces with other dealers.

“This isn’t AutoNation dropping TrueCar,” Painter told Automotive News. “This is a very deliberate step on our part. We went to them and said, ‘You must comply with the rules.’”

The added layers of intrigue come from the quickly intersecting business models by AutoNation and TrueCar. TrueCar is rapidly developing dealer-esque services, and AutoNation announced last year they’d move away from third-party vendors like TrueCar to develop their own web-based lead generation.

TrueCar has been beset with several setbacks in recent years, and its customer data collection has come under fire, as well.

 

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AutoNation Dumping TrueCar at End of July http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/autonation-dumping-truecar-end-july/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/autonation-dumping-truecar-end-july/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:05:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112377 The nation’s largest auto dealer will stop using TrueCar’s lead generation at the end of this month, Automotive News is reporting. The split is largely focused on the use of customer information and contract demands. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson didn’t mince words. “TrueCar has made some onerous demands in its new contract negotiations with us […]

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AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson

The nation’s largest auto dealer will stop using TrueCar’s lead generation at the end of this month, Automotive News is reporting.

The split is largely focused on the use of customer information and contract demands. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson didn’t mince words.

“TrueCar has made some onerous demands in its new contract negotiations with us that are unprecedented in my 45 years in business and are unconscionable and unacceptable. We cannot agree to them,” Jackson told Automotive News.

AutoNation has said they would back away from lead-generation services such as Cars.com and AutoTrader, but the dealer giant hasn’t yet moved away from those services.

AutoNation uses TrueCar at 226 of its 240 dealers nationwide.

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Attractive Leases Mean Lower Mileage Caps In Exchange For Low Payments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/attractive-leases-mean-lower-mileage-caps-in-exchange-for-low-payments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/attractive-leases-mean-lower-mileage-caps-in-exchange-for-low-payments/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 19:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090729 Leases are red-hot these days, but those signing up for temporary ownership of their rides will be facing lower mileage caps in exchange for low payments. According to Experian Automotive, 31 percent of all U.S. new-car sales during Q1 2015 were leases, CarsDirect writes, with monthly payments entering the sub-$150 range for small cars after […]

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Sunset Chevrolet Circa June 2014

Leases are red-hot these days, but those signing up for temporary ownership of their rides will be facing lower mileage caps in exchange for low payments.

According to Experian Automotive, 31 percent of all U.S. new-car sales during Q1 2015 were leases, CarsDirect writes, with monthly payments entering the sub-$150 range for small cars after paying $1,999 at signing, $199/mo. for midsize models upon cutting a check for the same amount at the dealership.

However, those deals are coming with a price: in order to keep residual values healthy, annual mileage caps are being trimmed.

The publication looked over the mileage caps of 300 leases, finding the average cap figure came to 10,900 miles per year; Edmunds adds caps have fallen below 11,000 miles/year for the first time ever in Q1 2015. One lease advertised by General Motors dropped the cap from 12,000 miles/year in 2014, to 10,000 miles this year, with the now-extra 2,000 miles amounting to $1,500 for a three-year agreement plus an overage fee of 25 cents/mile.

CarsDirect says concerns over caps aren’t a new thing, akin to data caps on smartphone plans, but adds consumers should keep the new lower caps in mind, lest they end up spending more money than originally thought.

[Photo credit: Sunset Chevrolet/Facebook]

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2019 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Possibly Set For Dealer Show Reveal In Vegas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2019-jeep-grand-wagoneer-possibly-set-for-dealer-show-reveal-in-vegas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2019-jeep-grand-wagoneer-possibly-set-for-dealer-show-reveal-in-vegas/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087545 Jeep dealers heading out to Vegas for the brand’s biennial show in August may have a grand surprise waiting: the 2019 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The revived nameplate will grace an SUV set to be the most expensive Jeep-branded SUV ever, according to Automotive News, and is aimed at those customers who normally shop for high-end […]

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1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Circa September 2008

Jeep dealers heading out to Vegas for the brand’s biennial show in August may have a grand surprise waiting: the 2019 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

The revived nameplate will grace an SUV set to be the most expensive Jeep-branded SUV ever, according to Automotive News, and is aimed at those customers who normally shop for high-end SUVs from Range Rover, Porsche and BMW.

The speculated Vegas debut also contradicts FCA’s recent announcement of delaying key models to reduce overall investment into the products, which include the Grand Wagoneer and its platform sibling, the Grand Cherokee. The two SUVs were scheduled to hit showrooms in the fall of 2017 and 2018, but the introduction of the Grand Cherokee may be delayed up to a year, while the Grand Wagoneer may miss its own deadline, as well.

The previous Grand Wagoneer left the assembly line for the last time in 1991, having been in production relatively unchanged since 1962, aside from numerous facelifts and other necessary adaptations for the time.

[Photo credit: ericncindy24/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Compact Commercial Vans Booming Despite Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/compact-commercial-vans-booming-despite-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/compact-commercial-vans-booming-despite-challenges/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069114 While old-school large vans are still kings in catering and flowers for now, more small business owners are opting instead for compact commercial vans. The new segment, boasting vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, is gaining significant ground thus far in 2015, with sales jumping 58 percent compared […]

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2015 Ram ProMaster City Pursued By Ram 1500 Crew Cab

While old-school large vans are still kings in catering and flowers for now, more small business owners are opting instead for compact commercial vans.

The new segment, boasting vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, is gaining significant ground thus far in 2015, with sales jumping 58 percent compared to the same period in 2014, Ward’s Auto reports. The aforementioned Transit Connect is the segment sales leader, with 43,210 units delivered last year.

The popularity of compact commercial vans is in part due to business owners needing a van smaller and more efficient than the Chevrolet Express, Ram ProMaster, and recently discontinued Ford E-Series. Karl Chevrolet fleet and commercial sales manager Scott Sams says the compacts offer those features, filling “a blank space in the lineup,” and adds a lot of catering and delivery businesses would benefit from exchanging larger vans for smaller models.

Though popular with those who know already, dealers and automakers alike are facing challenges in bringing those customers to the compact commercial van segment. For GM, who sells the Chevrolet City Express, most consumers in the market usually don’t have Chevrolet in mind when shopping. Dealer displays at local events have helped in promoting the compact and boosting sales in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, FCA US is helping dealers interested in adding commercial sales to their retail operations with a go-to-market plan aimed at building rapport with business customers.

[Photo credit: Ram]

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Tesla Gains Renewed Support From FTC For Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-gains-renewed-support-ftc-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-gains-renewed-support-ftc-direct-sales-model/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066378 In its battles for the right to sell its wares directly to consumers, Tesla has found a valuable ally in the Federal Trade Commission. Though the FTC has supported Tesla in the past, the agency recently reemphasized its pro-direct sales stance via a post regarding a new proposal working through the Michigan Legislature allowing so-called […]

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Tesla Showroom In California Circa August 2014

In its battles for the right to sell its wares directly to consumers, Tesla has found a valuable ally in the Federal Trade Commission.

Though the FTC has supported Tesla in the past, the agency recently reemphasized its pro-direct sales stance via a post regarding a new proposal working through the Michigan Legislature allowing so-called “autocycles” – i.e., Elio Motors’ wares – to be directly sold to the public, TechCrunch reports.

The autocycle bill – SB 268 – comes just months after Michigan passed legislation to clarify its position on automakers directly selling to the public, which the state has said was always verboten. The clarification, however, left the door open for further conversation on the matter of direct sales, such as the one proposed by SB 268.

The FTC said the final decision involving the business model would remain in the domain of each individual state’s regulators, though it would prefer policymakers to leave said decisions on such business models to both automakers and their consumers “absent some legitimate public purpose” in prohibiting certain selling methods.

[Photo credit: Ming-yen Hsu/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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FCA US, Strayer University Offering Dealership Employees Free College Education http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-strayer-university-offering-dealership-employees-free-college-education/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-strayer-university-offering-dealership-employees-free-college-education/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 17:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060850 FCA US dealerships in the Southeastern United States are among the first to offer free college scholarships to their employees. The program – Degrees@Work – is a partnership between FCA US and private for-profit institution Strayer University. It will offer associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 40 fields of study to any employee interested, Automotive […]

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Fiat Dealership In New Jersey Circa January 2013

FCA US dealerships in the Southeastern United States are among the first to offer free college scholarships to their employees.

The program – Degrees@Work – is a partnership between FCA US and private for-profit institution Strayer University. It will offer associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 40 fields of study to any employee interested, Automotive News reports.

The partnership deal is voluntary for all dealerships in the U.S., with those in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama and Tennessee offering the tuition-free education program beginning Monday. The remaining eight U.S. dealership regions will follow in Q3 2015.

In addition to the standard curriculum offered through its online and on-campus education offerings, Strayer will incorporate industry- and dealership-related studies into the coursework with help from FCA. Credits for previous coursework and/or life experience will also be offered through the program.

In return for the partnership, FCA US aims to stem the tide of turnover at its dealerships by attracting and retaining qualified employees who wouldn’t otherwise consider working in the industry. FCA dealer training director John Fox says Degrees@Work’s promise of a no-cost, no-debt college degree – normally a $42,000-$50,000 investment at Strayer; the FCA program pays less per degree – would attract “the best and brightest” to FCA’s dealership network, improving both retention rates and customer service.

[Photo credit: p_d_s/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Consumers Union: California Recall Bill Backed By Dealers Is “Not Enough” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumers-union-california-recall-bill-backed-dealers-not-enough/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumers-union-california-recall-bill-backed-dealers-not-enough/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 16:47:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1059402 A proposed bill in California aimed at closing a loophole in federal recall law is being rushed through the legislative process. Consumers Union, the parent of Consumer Reports, is not happy about it. Neither are automakers. The bill – AB 287 – is being supported by California car dealers as a way to defend themselves […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia StoreA proposed bill in California aimed at closing a loophole in federal recall law is being rushed through the legislative process. Consumers Union, the parent of Consumer Reports, is not happy about it. Neither are automakers.

The bill – AB 287 – is being supported by California car dealers as a way to defend themselves against future lawsuits, even though it requires more work on their part. If passed, the law would make it illegal to rent or sell a recalled vehicle in California without prior disclosure, force dealers to fix used vehicles of the same make as their franchise, and require automakers to reimburse dealers for recalled vehicle storage.

The current federal law states dealers only be required to fix new cars before sale; rental and used cars are absent from the legislation.

Consumers Union says the new law is a “half-measure” and still doesn’t cover the problem of fixing used cars sold by non-franchised dealers, used vehicles of other makes at franchised dealers and rental vehicles before they are rented to customers. Oddly enough, the Association of Global Automakers agrees with Consumers Union, though for vastly different reasons. The automaker association – representing companies such as Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai – believes any such law should be a federal affair instead of complying with a patchwork of state-level laws which could be quite complex.

Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, told Automotive News, “The regulation of recalls on used cars in the United States is zero” and “doing something is way better than where we are today.”

For their part, Consumers Union believes if the law goes into effect it will become a model for other states, eliminating the willingness of governments to introduce additional legislation fixing the underlying problem: repairing recalled vehicles before they are sold or rented.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

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Chevrolet Spark EV Sees Price Drop, Bonus Cash For Base Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044706 In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model. Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months […]

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior-003

In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model.

Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months with no money down upon signing; the down payment was $999.

In addition to the new lease and purchase figures, the brand is also throwing bonus cash on the hood, the amount varying depending on which of the three states — California, Maryland (as of this summer), Oregon — one happens to reside. The California bonus comes to $1,000 in addition to the state’s $2,500 rebate, while Oregonians receive $3,500 outright, and those in Maryland gain $1,200 on top of the state’s $2,300 excise tax exemption.

With the price cuts, bonus cash, state incentives, and the $7,500 federal tax credit, one could drive away from the lot having paid just $14,995 for the pleasure of bouncing around from the office park to the coffee shop and bakery in a vehicle meant to help General Motors come into compliance with fleet economy standards.

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Toyota Delivers Increased Incentives For Prius Models In April http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/toyota-delivers-increased-incentives-prius-models-april/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/toyota-delivers-increased-incentives-prius-models-april/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041001 Live in California and shopping for a Toyota Prius? Your bank account will love this news. CarsDirect reports Toyota has dropped a number of rebate incentives on the hood of the hybrid and its siblings for the month of April, going as high as 9.8 percent off MSRP. Thus, one could come away with not […]

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01-2015-toyota-prius-c-la-1

Live in California and shopping for a Toyota Prius? Your bank account will love this news.

CarsDirect reports Toyota has dropped a number of rebate incentives on the hood of the hybrid and its siblings for the month of April, going as high as 9.8 percent off MSRP. Thus, one could come away with not only a Prius c, but also a $2,000 discount off of the price, beginning at $20,365 before the dealer discounts come into play.

Alas, that incentive is for the 2014 model; the 2015 version comes with a $750 rebate. Meanwhile, the original Prius, as well as the Prius v and Prius Plug-in, come with a $500 boost in incentives. The incentive campaign will come to a close May 4.

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NHTSA To Gain Broader Powers Upon Transportation Bill Approval http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-gain-broader-powers-upon-transportation-bill-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-gain-broader-powers-upon-transportation-bill-approval/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033457 A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems. Automotive News reports the bill — the $478-billion, six-year Grow America Act penned by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — would give the agency “imminent hazard authority” to ground vehicles “in cases […]

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NHTSA-logo-large

A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems.

Automotive News reports the bill — the $478-billion, six-year Grow America Act penned by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx — would give the agency “imminent hazard authority” to ground vehicles “in cases where there is an imminent risk of injury or death,” which would be used before a determining a problem exists, and without input from the affected automaker or supplier.

The bill also triples the funding and doubles the staffing for the NHTSA, increases the fine it can levy from $35 million to $300 million; introduces a pilot program to improve the recall process on the owner’s end; requires dealers to check for recalls every time a vehicle comes in for servicing; and mandates that all used and rental vehicles with open recalls to be repaired before sale or rental.

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Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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tesla-china-charger-620x350

Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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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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