The Truth About Cars » Studies The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 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 (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 » Studies Average Car Price Affordable Only To Washington, DC Customers Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:37:39 +0000 1000px-Capital_Beltway_Map_Color.svg

Unlike the average Beltway insider, a report by claims the majority of medium-income American households in 24 of 25 cities studied cannot afford the average new-car price of $32,086.

AOL Autos reports the study focused on each city’s median income in relation to the new-car price average as pegged by Kelley Blue Book. Said price was broken down to monthly payments of $633 per month for 48 months with 20 percent down while interest, insurance and principal exceeded no more than 10 percent of the household’s gross income.

The only city out of 25 to pull off the feat? Washington, D.C., whose residents can afford the average of $32,531 on a new car, broken down to 48 monthly payments of $641. San Francisco and Boston trailed the nation’s capital, while everyone else in the remaining cities were paying too much for their new car, according to managing editor Mike Sante:

Too many families are spending way too much on new cars and trucks. Just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn’t mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up such a huge share of your paycheck.

Experts recommend spending up 20 percent of take-home pay on a vehicle purchase and subsequent payments.

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Australians Favoring Imports Over Domestics In Study Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:35:24 +0000 Mirage (6)

In a study conducted by Roy Morgan Research, one in eight Australian consumers prefer locally made vehicles for their next new-car purchase today, down from one in four a decade earlier.

WardsAuto reports that while cars such as the Holden Commodore, Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Camry are at the top of the list for Australian-built new vehicle purchases, the overall decline in is due to the kind of vehicles made in Australia, as Roy Morgan Research Automotive Account director Jordan Parks explains:

Over the last 10 years, Australian car-buying preferences have changed substantially – with the small-car market in Australia now clearly the dominant segment. SUVs are also taking share from the once-dominant large-car segment, with more than 20% of buyers now after either a medium or large SUV.

Parks also adds that more options available to Australian consumers, a stronger Australian dollar, and decreasing tariffs also are among the growing number of factors fueling the import boom:

When combining the increase in choice, changing vehicle preferences, higher local labor costs, strong Australia dollar, increasing petrol prices and decreased tariff protection, it is not surprising to see the gradual demise of the locally built large car.

With the end of the local industry coming over the horizon, Parks believes that the tariffs that once protected the industry would all but vanish, allowing new-car prices to fall to more affordable levels as a result of savings of up to $1 billion AUD in annual fees paid by importers.

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The bell tolls over Seattle, but not for most commuters Thu, 17 Oct 2013 10:30:48 +0000 520_sunset510

It would appear as though the price of admission to traverse the longest floating bridge in the world on a daily basis has had quite the impact on commuting patterns in Seattle. A study to be issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation this week – barring another tragicomic display by the powers that be, of course – has uncovered that use of the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge – Evergreen Point (colloquially known as the 520 floating bridge) has gone down by half since tolling began near the end of 2011.

The tolls, ranging from $0 for late-night and early morning travelers, to $5.25 for those rush-hour commuters who prefer to pay the man by mail, have caused 9 out of 10 drivers to find another path to work and play across Lake Washington. The majority of those avoiding the toll have annual incomes of $50,000 and under, while those making $200,000 and above (and are no doubt enjoying the more open road) pay little if any mind to being tolled.

On the upside, more commuters are using mass transit due to the tolls – which were enacted as one of the five DOT demonstration projects under their $1 billion Urban Partnerships Congestion Initiative – with around 45 percent preferring to “ride the wave” than drown in a congestion pricing tsunami.

The information provided by the study will be considered by Olympia, Wash.’s best and brightest this week as they debate on whether to set tolls upon the other two floating bridges (both carrying east- and westbound traffic on I-90) over Lake Washington to help fund the construction of the 520’s replacement, set to open in 2014.

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Toyota: The Battle Of The Papers Sun, 14 Feb 2010 12:17:33 +0000

The Toyota case is heading towards hearings in DC and to courts all over the country. Both sides are putting heavy artillery in position. Both sides of the SUA wars commission heavy caliber studies – both with inconclusive results. Toyota funded a study into the electronics in its vehicles. Before that, a group of lawyers had “sponsored” Safety Research and Strategies, a company that makes money by investigating auto-safety for those suing auto makers. Ford, which had been at the receiving end of an SRS fusillade during the Explorer crisis, called the company “supposed safety advocates who are actually just shills for trial attorneys.”

Here are the latest dispatches from the front lines:

SRS produced a Big Bertha of a 180 page research report, that can be downloaded here (if your Internet connection is up to it – I’m on one of Tokyo’s finest 50 Mbit connections, and I’m still waiting… ah, download completed.) The conclusion of the monster is that “sticking accelerator pedals do not appear to cause the SUA events,” and that basically nobody knows what the reason may be. SRS is pointing fingers at the drive-by-wire system, which they call – duh – “significantly different and more complex than the older, mechanical systems.”

The computer gremlin theory “taps into our almost instinctual fear that our machines will suddenly turn on us,” writes Popular Mechanics. “To judge by press accounts and statements from government officials, those innocuous-looking Toyota sedans and SUVs in millions of American driveways are somehow kin to the homicidal ’58 Plymouth Fury in the Stephen King novel “Christine”—haunted by technological poltergeists and prone to fits of mechanical mayhem.” Primordial fear at its finest.

Washington quickly took advantage of the automotive angst. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform lobbed a heavy caliber staff memo that says: “Attention is now being focused on the electronic throttle control system (ETC) to determine whether sudden acceleration may be attributable to a software design problem or perhaps to electromagnetic interference.”

To provide counter-battery fire, Toyota hired the engineering research firm Exponent of Menlo Park, CA, to dig into its computers. Exponent found ”no evidence of problems in the electronics in Toyota and Lexus products,” says their study, that somehow found its way (guess how) to the Wall Street Journal.

Exponent bought six Toyota and Lexus vehicles, all equipped with the electronic throttle-control system. Then they threw all kinds of tests and stresses at the cars. When failures were induced in these sensors, Exponent says the electronic control module detected the problem and took appropriate action.

“Imposing these perturbations resulted in a significant drop in power rather than an increase,” Exponent says in the study. “In all cases, when a fault was imposed, the vehicle entered a fail-safe mode.”

So basically, instead of accelerating like a banshee, the cars on which Exponent performed a vivisection went in to limp mode, just good enough to crawl back to the next Toyota dealer.

Exponent is not finished with their investigation. “Testing and analysis by Exponent will continue for several months,” says the WSJ. So will the trench warfare. Armies of lawyers will record record amounts of billable hours, while the arms merchants of this war will deforest the earth to produce huge amounts of paper.

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1000s Injured and Killed in Non-Driving Car Accidents Mon, 09 Feb 2009 14:54:33 +0000

A US Department of Transportation study released last month shows that thousands of Americans (documented or otherwise) are injured or killed each year in vehicle-related accidents unrelated to driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “Not in Traffic Surveillance – 2007 Highlights” study reveals that a total of of 1747 fatalities and 841k injuries were attributed to non-traffic crashes and non-crash incidents. The agency compiled the annual estimates to provide the first-ever look at the magnitude of accidents that cannot be resolved with a new law enforced with traffic citations. Among the findings: 168 individuals are killed each year by falling vehicles. Another 88 peg it by falling out of a car. Electric windows reduce the gene pool by five unlucky souls, and three die while locked in the trunk. About 22 percent of injuries are caused while entering or exiting a vehicle. Twenty percent of injuries are caused by car doors. Some 10k end up in ER after getting jiggy with jacks or hoists. The NHTSA compiled the information from a number of sources including police reports, hospital records and an injury database maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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