Archive for February, 2011

Sedan version of Hyundai Genesis Coupe in the works?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Hyundai has announced that it may be expanding its luxury offerings by debuting a new sedan based off of its current Genesis Coupe.

According to Automotive News, the South Korean automaker is looking to create an entry-level sedan that could compete with vehicles like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Acura TL. The Genesis Coupe has been a successful luxury vehicle for the company, so the automaker is currently considering a model that is based off the car's sharp styling cues.

"The Genesis Coupe is in the same segment, really, as the 3-Series coupe," Hyundai CEO John Krafcik told the news source. "One of the things we're thinking is: Should we do something that's a sedan version of that?"

Although only recently talked about, unidentified sources with knowledge of the automaker's plans told the news source that the car had been in development for some time now, dating back to 2006. Hyundai execs call the vehicle the "RK" internally.

Those interested in a used Hyundai or any other vehicle may want to seek out an online third-party provider of auto financing. These companies can allow drivers to negotiate with dealers using cash, which puts them in a stronger position when it comes time to talk about the price of a car. 

Top choices for off-roaders

Monday, February 28th, 2011

In the early part of this decade, consumers looking for an SUV would have had no trouble finding a wide array of options to choose from. While that's still somewhat true today, many automakers have shifted away from traditional SUV models in favor of more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly crossovers.

Although crossovers are popular, fans of off-roading vehicles may bemoan the lack of "utility" in many modern sport utility vehicles. Crossovers are less about off-roading and more about family road trips.

However, full-size SUVs have been making something of a comeback in recent years, as many automakers have reported increased sales for large vehicles in recent months. With that in mind, MSN Autos recently profiled some of the top models – both used and new – that can still conquer the toughest terrain.

The Ford Expedition is one of the classic SUVs that was around during the boom of the late nineties, but drivers might not recognize the vehicle now thanks to all the upgrades that Ford has made. This massive truck has proven its towing capacity in the past and obviously features four-wheel drive to handle any kind of off-roading adventure. With power from a 5.4-liter V8 cranking out 310 horsepower, it's easy to see why this made the news source's list.

Another classic model with a fresh facelift is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The SUV was recently updated, although previous versions are quite versatile as well and can likely be found on the used car market at a discount. The Jeep brand is basically synonymous with off-roading, and the Grand Cherokee is the flagship. However, those who don't want to spend the money may be interested in something a bit smaller, like the Wrangler, which also made the list.

A similar budget option is the Nissan Xterra. These SUVs can typically be found for under $30,000, but still offer drivers plenty of value when it comes to off-roading. The news source recommends the Pro-4X trim level, which features rugged essentials like skid plates, Bilstein shocks and BFGoodrich off-road tires.

Finally, the Toyota 4Runner is still one of the best SUVs on the market. This midsize SUV strikes a nice balance between price and features. To top it off, it was recently redesigned just last year, and the news source notes that it now features a whole host of electronic aids to help handle tough terrain.

Drivers interested in purchasing a rugged off-road vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of cars for sale at affordable prices. 

Analysts predict February sales gains

Monday, February 28th, 2011

It wasn't just couples who were in a romantic mood in February – the auto industry got some love, too.

Most major analysts are predicting significant sales increases for the industry in February, as consumers helped automakers post some big gains. J.D. Power and Associates announced a forecast of 917,000 total units, or a 17.3 percent increase over February 2010. Edmunds was a bit more optimistic, with 937,000 units, or a 20.1 percent gain. Those figures also represent an improvement over January.

Both analysts acknowledged that the month started off slow, with J.D. Power attributing the sluggish sales to the fact that much of the country was pounded by snowstorms. Edmunds said that traffic began to pick up over President's Day weekend, however, as dealers held special sales to entice buyers.

Among automakers, GM is forecast to have the biggest gains by far. Edmunds pegged the company as posting a 37 percent increase year-on-year, with a 9 percent rise over January. Other major manufacturers expected to post above-average sales figures include Toyota (29 percent) and Nissan (27 percent).

It's a great time to buy a vehicle, but drivers who want to get the best deal while browsing a wide selection should consider paying a visit to New Jersey State Auto Auction.

The secrets of resale value

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Even novice car buyers have heard the term "resale value" over and over again. In short, a car with good resale value will eventually command a higher price when you eventually decide to trade in your vehicle. However, what exactly goes into determining a car's resale value?

The quick answer is "everything." Nearly every detail of a car goes into determining its resale value. Many car dealers use pricing guides, like Kelley Blue Book (KBB), to get a rough estimate of the starting point for a negotiation. However, everything from the make and model to the service history to even the color can cause that initial value to fluctuate wildly.

It's also a price that's open to negotiation. Some dealers will offer you what initially sounds like a great price for your trade-in. Then they'll make that money back by playing tough on the negotiations for the new car. Others will do the opposite – seemingly give you a break on the car being sold but lowball you on the trade.

So, how can buyers pay attention to this very important value and turn it so it works in their favor? FoxBusiness talked to Mark Scott, a senior manager at AutoTrader.com, for some of his tips.

The biggest factor is likely the make and model. Some brands tend to hold their value well over the years, while others simply don't. The winners and losers in resale value are largely based on consumer taste at the time and can change quickly. Every year, KBB posts some of the top models that it predicts will hold resale value well. That's a good starting place for those looking to maximize their resale value.

Other factors, like color, are also important. You might love your bright pink car, but it's unlikely that many other drivers will, killing the resale value.

But what if you already have the car? Unfortunately, you can't change the make, model or color. Still, you can maintain your resale value simply by maintaining your car. An accident-free record and no major service incidents go a long way. As does avoiding things like aftermarket parts and accessories.

Timing and location are also big factors. As a general rule, dealers are more interested in trades when they're less busy. And geography is important too; a dealer in snowy Minnesota isn't likely to be too interested in your rear-wheel drive convertible in the middle of winter.

Finally, it's important in the negotiation to handle the trade and the buying of the new car as separate transactions. Doing so can ensure that you get a fair price on both. Drivers looking for a good deal on their trade-in may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which accepts all trades and offers a wide variety of new and used cars for sale

Ford recalls F-150s under government pressure

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Ford has announced that it will recall 144,000 F-150 pickup trucks from the 2005 and 2006 model years for an issue in which the airbag may deploy without cause.

In November 2010, the company was made aware of the issue in a memo from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA requested that Ford look into the issue after it received 238 separate complaints that resulted in 77 injuries.

The government agency recommended that Ford recall all 1.3 million trucks manufactured between 2004 and 2006. However, Ford has limited the recall to a subset of that. According to the company, all of the incidents could be traced to a specific shift at the plant in Norfolk, Virginia. The automaker believes that an airbag wire may have been installed incorrectly, making it liable for a short circuit.

When the vehicle is turned on, it can cause the wire to accidentally trigger the airbag. That means that most of the cases occurred in driveways while the car was stopped, although the NHTSA claims that a few were on public roadways.

The NHTSA has said it will investigate the matter and determine if the limited recall will adequately address the issue.

Drivers interested in a used Ford F-150 may want to avoid the 2005 and 2006 model years for the time being, but they'll be able to find a wide range of other pickup trucks at New Jersey State Auto Auction.

Chevy Cruze to get diesel option

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

General Motor's new Chevrolet Cruze just had a successful launch a few short months ago, but it looks like GM isn't content to just rest on its laurels. A new report claims that the car will be offered with a new 2.0-liter diesel engine.

According to GM Inside News, an independent website, sources at the Lordstown, Ohio, factory revealed that workers have been told that they will begin building a diesel-powered Cruze for the 2013 model year.

In addition, test models of the Chevy Cruze have reportedly been spotted on the streets of Detroit, with the cars sporting a "diesel" badge on the rear.

If true, the report is not all that surprising. According to the news source, the Cruze is GM's first truly global vehicle, and is sold in more than 60 different countries. Many of those countries have both gas and diesel-powered versions available for purchase.

A 2.0-liter diesel engine is offered on one version of the Cruze in Australia. That model reportedly gets approximately 34 miles per gallon while producing 147 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque.

Drivers interested in a used Chevrolet or any other vehicle may want to check out New Jersey State Auto Auction.  

Nissan to debut Esflow at Geneva Motor Show

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Nissan has unveiled some teaser images and initial information about its new Esflow concept electric sports car, which is set to make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3rd.

The new Esflow is just a concept at this point, although Nissan reportedly has plans to design some version of the vehicle. Using the same technology as the brand's heavily-hyped Leaf, the Esflow takes the philosophy behind the subcompact and applies it to a high-end sports car. The new model would reportedly be able to go from zero to 60 in under 5 seconds while traveling approximately 150 miles on a single charge.

As with any sports car, however, performance is only half the battle. They need to look good, too. Nissan has apparently nailed that concept, as the Esflow looks somewhat like a cross between its 370z coupe and the new Juke SUV. The shape and size borrow from the popular 370z, while the Juke supplies the sharp edges and lines on the front of the vehicle. It's all topped off with two electric-blue lights that make the car appear as if it just warped in from a futuristic sci-fi movie.

Drivers interested in a used Nissan or any other vehicle may want to head down to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a variety of models at prices well below their Kelley Blue Book values.
 

Griffin’s dunk gives Kia Optima national exposure

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Many automakers focused the bulk of their early marketing efforts this year around extensive Super Bowl campaigns, but Hyundai's budget brand Kia may have just scored a massive coup with a cameo during the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

The Kia Optima was one of the official sponsors of the event, but the model got some extra exposure when it was prominently featured in the finals of the Slam Dunk Contest. Going into the contest, Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin was the odds-on favorite to win the title, as he's dazzled fans with some thunderous dunks on an almost nightly basis.

Griffin did not disappoint with his final dunk of the night. It required a bit of setup, but the Optima was driven out onto the hardwood for the spot. Griffin's teammate Baron Davis then got in the car with a ball. Then, a full chorus took center court and began belting out "I Believe I Can Fly."

It was at that point that Griffin jumped over the hood of the car, caught a pass from Davis in mid-air and slammed it home, cementing his victory in the competition.

Griffin may have won the event, but the Kia's role in the stunt was a marketing coup – as it will surely be featured again and again in countless highlight videos.

Drivers interested in a used Hyundai, Kia or any other vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of vehicles at affordable prices.

“BMW i” to launch in 2013

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Luxury automaker BMW has announced that it will be launching a new sub-brand, BMW i, in order to market its upcoming slate of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Unlike other BMW-owned brands like Mini Cooper and Rolls Royce, BMW i will fully acknowledge the BMW name in advertising and marketing. However, BMW executive Ian Robertson says that the new venture will be "an independent brand, but committed to the BMW brand promise of joy through pure driving pleasure."

Initially, BMW i will feature two models, set to be launched in 2013. The i3 is a four-seat battery-powered car aimed at city dwellers. It seems as if nearly every manufacturer with a toe in eco-friendly technology is introducing some variant of these subcompacts, much in the style of the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf.

However, the new i8 promises to be something that hasn't been seen yet. This hybrid sports car will reportedly be able to go from zero to 60 in just five seconds, while still offering drivers all the fuel efficiency that comes with most subcompact vehicles. The company plans to add additional models over the next decade.

Those interested in a BMW, hybrid or any other vehicle may want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which features a wide variety of new and used cars for sale

Audi announces carbon fiber partnership

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

German luxury automaker Audi has announced a partnership with carbon-fiber producer Voith, following in the footsteps of its rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

In recent months, BMW and Mercedes have both announced new manufacturing deals with SGL and Toray, respectively. SGL, Toray and Voith all make carbon fiber, an extremely lightweight yet sturdy material that many believe will be the future of automobile construction.

Many drivers want the best of both worlds – increased performance and fuel economy – but bigger engines mean less miles per gallon. One way to address both is to make vehicles lighter, and that's where carbon fiber comes in. The main drawback is that the material is much more expensive than typical sheet metal at this time, which is why it's usually only seen on high-end supercars.

However, the three German automakers jumping onboard with the material manufacturers seems to indicate that they see a future in mass producing carbon fiber. Audi already uses some carbon fiber parts in the R8, and BMW is building its strategy around the material with the new Megacity electric vehicle.

Extensive use of carbon fiber will likely cause a vehicle's price to go up. Those interested in a luxury car that won't break the bank may want to seek out a used auto at New Jersey State Auto Auction. 

ClearBook hopes to ease trade-in process

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

When planning to sell or trade your car, it can be difficult to determine exactly how much it's worth. Some websites will quote one price, while others another. And when you finally get to the dealer, rarely is the price in the same ballpark. But is the dealer playing hardball, or are you just getting faulty information?

Used car pricing is a bit tricky because every car is different. Mileage is a good indicator of the general condition of the car, but then there are 100,000 mile cars that run great and 50,000 mile cars with service histories a mile long.

A new website called ClearBook.com is hoping to make things a bit easier, according to the New York Times. Sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds have strong reputations for providing prices, but the folks behind TrueCar argue that their prices are ultimately determined by editorial guidance and estimates.

ClearBook instead combs the web for millions of used car listings and sorts by make, model and mileage. It then averages out the data so that customers can see the full range of prices that the vehicle is selling for.

In the future, the creators told the news source that they hope to incorporate actual transaction data from buyers and sellers in order to give buyers better context for the price ranges that they quote.

Those interested in trading their vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers great prices on trade-ins and a wide selection of cars for sale

Toyota sells 3 millionth used car

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Toyota has announced that it has become the first single line manufacturer to sell 3 million used cars backed by a certified pre-owned program.

The Japanese manufacturer is the largest automaker in the world, so it's somewhat unsurprising that it became the first to sell 3 million used vehicles under a factory-backed program. Still, Toyota celebrated the news with some special deals for its 3 millionth customer.

Sara Hirschhorn of Chicago, Illinois, was presented with a check reimbursing her for the $22,500 that she spent on a used Toyota Sienna minivan, essentially giving her the car for free. Toyota also made a donation to the hospital that Hirschhorn works at in her name. The company noted that the Sienna was a "smart choice," as it has been named the minivan with the best resale value by Kelley Blue Book two years running.

"Our sales success in 2010 validates the tremendous confidence that our customers have in the Toyota brand," Bob Carter, Toyota group vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "Our Toyota Certified Used Vehicle program helps our dealers to build a strong portfolio of customers that frequently return to buy a new or certified pre-owned Toyota."

Drivers interested in a used Toyota or any other vehicle may want to check out New Jersey State Auto Auction. They probably won't end up with a free car, but there are plenty of models priced well below their Blue Book value.

Top green car is… gas-powered?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its annual "greenest cars" list, and surprisingly, a hybrid or plug-in did not take the top spot.

It was the natural gas Honda Civic GX that ended up as the most efficient vehicle overall, beating out cars typically thought to be "green" like the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius. The reason? The ACEEE takes into account not only fuel efficiency and consumption, but emissions and the effects on the environment as a whole.

The group pointed out that hybrids and plug-ins, while emitting nothing from the tailpipe, cause a drain on energy when they're plugged in. They also lose points as their batteries cause emissions when made and will eventually end up as waste that's difficult to dispose of.

"As U.S. power generation becomes cleaner, these vehicles' scores will rise," said Therese Langer, ACEEE's transportation director.

The highly-touted Chevrolet Volt didn't make the top 10, coming in at twelfth on the list. Other top finishers included the Nissan Leaf in second, Smart Fortwo in third and Toyota Prius in fourth.

Drivers interested in a green vehicle may want to shop New Jersey State Auto Auction, as they offer a wide range of used vehicles, both hybrid and gas-powered.

Mercedes to take over U.S. Smart distribution

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take over sales duties for Smart cars in the U.S., after a tie up with Penske Automotive Group failed.

The small and distinctive Smart car is owned by Mercedes-Benz, but the group sold the U.S. distribution rights to Penske rather than market the car itself in the U.S. International Mercedes showrooms include the Smart brand.

Penske, which owns a string of new and used auto dealerships across the country, largely failed in its promotion of the vehicle. In 2010, when fuel efficiency and cost were top priorities for many Americans, the brand reportedly moved less than 6,000 units.

Now, Smart will find a new home in Mercedes showrooms. The move makes sense for the German luxury automaker, as the Smart Fortwo's 41 mpg fuel economy rating will help Mercedes achieve the U.S.-mandated average of 35 mpgs across all fleets by 2016.

A previous deal between Penske and Nissan to produce a larger version of the Fortwo has now been scrapped, Nissan said.

Smart cars may be difficult to find, but those interested in a fuel-efficient vehicle will have tons of options at New Jersey State Auto Auction, which boasts a wide range of new and used cars for sale

Report exonerates Toyota for sudden acceleration

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

A new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and NASA has revealed that electronic systems in Toyota models are not to blame for sudden acceleration in some vehicles, despite widespread speculation.

In fact, the report, which was the result of a ten-month study by the groups, largely cleared Toyota of any wrongdoing in relation to the numerous crashes and accidents blamed on "sudden acceleration." Toyota eventually addressed the issue by recalling and fixing vehicles for sticking pedals and floor mats, but continuously denied any fault in the programming of the electronic systems.

The study found that the floor mats only contributed in one instance, where the mat became dislodged and trapped the accelerator. In the rest of the cases, it was actually driver error – hitting the gas rather than the brake – that led to the crashes.

"The jury is back, the verdict is in," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas. Period."

Drivers who were holding off on purchasing a used Toyota may want to reconsider, as the report essentially deems the vehicles safe to drive. Those interested in these or any other vehicles may want to visit New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of models at low prices.

Hyundai details lineup changes

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Hyundai has been enjoying a wealth of success as of late, and the company is looking to continue that with three new updates to its existing lineup.

The South Korean automaker recently showed off some of the changes expected for the company throughout 2011 at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) convention in San Francisco.

Of the scheduled changes, the two-door Elantra coupe could likely be the closest thing to a brand-new model. This car will offer the same performance options and ergonomics as the standard Elantra sedan, but in a sleek two-door coupe shell.

According to the Automotive News, dealers were perhaps most enthusiastic about the redesigned Azera. Hyundai has given the car a stylish facelift for the 2012 model year, but performance-oriented consumers will likely be impressed by the new engine as well. The direct-injection V6 upgrades the horsepower to 260 while also improving on the existing model's fuel economy.

Finally, the Genesis R-Spec is a new high-end luxury trim level aimed at performance enthusiasts. Expected to retail for around $50,000, the R-Spec will reportedly offer 429 horsepower coupled with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Those interested in a new or used Hyundai may want to check out New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide selection of Hyundais and other models in a variety of styles.
 

Sonata Hybrid eschews tradition in quest for mileage

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid features an EPA-rated 40 miles per gallon on the highway, which leads its class and beats out popular models like the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima hybrids. So how did Hyundai's engineers pull it off?

CNET recently profiled the innovative powertrain lurking in every Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Engineers were given a task to maximize the car's fuel economy, so they started by sculpting the body in order to make it as aerodynamic as possible, which reduces drag and slightly increases mpgs.

Hybrids are at their best when the electric motor is powering the car, but many of the strategies for achieving this are patented by the South Korean automaker's top rivals. So Hyundai invented the TMED, a transmission-mounted electrical device. The TMED features the motor and clutch in one package, allowing the car to use an automatic transmission without a torque converter. The system not only lets Hyundai to get the best gas mileage on the highway in its class, but also run up to 75 miles per hour on electric power alone.

Looking for an upgrade to your own mileage? Then it might be wise to trade your vehicle in for a new one, as technology has increased significantly in recent years, leading to drastically increased mileage ratings without a significant dip in power. Those interested may want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which features a wide variety of vehicles available for well below Kelley Blue Book value.

Chevy unveils new Camaro ZL1

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The pony car war between the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro just got a performance boost.

Chevy pulled the lid off its new Camaro ZL1 at the Chicago Auto Show today, revealing a 550-horsepower monster designed to go toe-to-toe with the various special editions of the Mustang that Ford has been rolling out in recent years. The automaker claims that the new ZL1 is the fastest Chevy ever built, powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine and equipped with a "track-ready" suspension and brakes

"Camaro ZL1 is about high-tech performance and design, and is a type of car no one has ever brought to this segment previously," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing in a news release. "It's the most technically advanced Camaro ever, so we've chosen a name from the most elite and exclusive Camaro in history."

For those who only came onto the pony car scene recently, the ZL1 moniker refers to limited edition engine offered in some versions of the 1969 Camaro. The Wall Street Journal calls the ZL1 the "Holy Grail" of Camaro engines.

While the sleek and powerful ZL1 certainly wowed the audience, it's unknown when the limited edition car will eventually hit showrooms – or how much it will set drivers back.