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Archive for March, 2011

GM to broadcast Malibu launch on Facebook

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

General Motors has announced that the new Chevrolet Malibu will be officially unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 19th, but fans can follow along at home as the event will be simulcast live on the internet through the use of social media.

The first teaser image of the new 2012 Malibu is now available on the brand's Facebook page. Facebook is an integral part of the launch for the vehicle, as it's also where drivers interested in seeing the new car will go to watch the unveiling live in Shanghai. Beginning at 8:30 P.M. on April 18th, users who log on to the website will be able to pick up the live feed from the event. GM will also hold a live question and answer session, choosing questions posted to the company's Facebook wall and Twitter feed.

"It's definitely a new and different approach," Dave Darovitz, a GM spokesman, told the Detroit News. "But because of the global reach of this car, social media is a big part of our launch plans."

The 2012 Malibu is an important launch for GM, as the car is the automaker's best selling vehicle and has won numerous awards in its current incarnation. Still, GM has yet to catch the sedan segment leaders, like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Drivers interested in a new or used Chevrolet Malibu or any other vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction for all their purchasing needs.

Cadillac to use vehicles as mini-theaters at festival

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Automakers typically reserve the showing off of their vehicles for official auto shows, but Cadillac is so confident in the new entertainment system for its models that it's bringing them to a film festival.

Cadillac has announced that it will be onhand at the Vali Film Festival in Colorado with three of its vehicles: the SRX Crossover, CTS Sport Wagon and Escalade Platinum. What's an automaker doing at a film festival? The company is showing off the new in-car entertainment systems. These cars are outfitted with a 10-speaker Bose system providing digital surround sound and four screens. Essentially, attendees will have a chance to watch some of the films expected to be on hand at the festival from the comfort of one of the vehicle's backseats.

"The passenger entertainment systems in our Cadillacs truly bring the movie experience into the vehicle," said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing. "We thought the Vail Film Festival provided a great opportunity to showcase our latest technology and also give attendees another way to enjoy these fine films."

Drivers interested in a Cadillac or any other vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of cars for sale at affordable prices.
 

Chrysler may delay IPO until 2012

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

After the U.S. government was forced to bail out both Chrysler and General Motors during the economic downturn, all eyes have been on the two companies to determine when they'll be paying the U.S. Treasury Department back. GM repaid much of the money invested in it with its recent IPO, and many analysts assumed Chrysler would be soon to follow.

Yet things aren't quite that simple at Chrysler, which is now owned by the Italian automaker Fiat. CEO Sergio Marchionne previously said an IPO would be in the works for later this year, but recent comments seem to suggest that the company may hold off until 2012.

Fiat holds a 25 percent stake in the automaker, while the United Auto Workers health care fund owns approximately 63 percent. Over time, Marchionne hopes to slowly increase his company's share in the automaker until it reaches 51 percent. Then, he wants to pay off nearly $7 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments.

This new timetable has caused many to believe that Marchionne is actually planning to hold off on the IPO this year and instead push it back to 2012.

Drivers interested in a Chrysler or any other vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of cars for sale at affordable prices.

Consumer Reports picks top models in each segment

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

When a driver comes in to New Jersey State Auto Auction, they'll be able to browse a massive selection of cars for sale. It can be quite difficult to sort through all these vehicles, so a buyer likely has to narrow it down by segment – but even then it can be tough to choose.

It'd be a lot easier if there was simply a clear-cut "best" car for each category. While there's no official designation for the "best" models, Consumer Reports' highly-anticipated automotive issue does list their best picks for each vehicle type. The consumer guide bases its ratings on safety, reliability and a comprehensive road test with more than 50 individual data points. This doesn't necessarily mean that the cars are head-and-shoulders above their competition – after all, personal preference comes into play as well. However, these vehicles are a good starting point for overwhelmed drivers.

Toyota made a strong showing on the list as usual, with three of its models named as the best in their class. The Toyota RAV4 picked up the win for small SUV, while the Prius was named the best green car and the Sienna minivan was picked as the best "family hauler." It's worth noting that there was a bit of controversy in the minivan category, as the Honda Odyssey actually scored a bit higher – but because it was released so recently, the guide didn't have reliability data to work with.

Small cars are all the rage right now with high fuel prices, and Consumer Reports devoted two categories to compact vehicles. The Honda Fit won for best budget car, with the guide praising its "amazing" interior space for such a small car. Meanwhile, the redesigned Hyundai Elantra was named the best compact sedan, as the news source liked the 39 highway miles per gallon and well-rounded nature of the car's features.

Okay, so those are the practical choices – but what about the fun to drive vehicles? The news source didn't disappoint in this category either. The Infiniti G37 has dominated the magazine's "sporty sedan" category for the past five years, and with good reason – the car features unrivaled performance combined with a luxurious interior. In terms of a coupe, the winner was the Ford Mustang, with the news source praising both its V6 and V8 offerings.

These chosen vehicles aren't the only cars on the market, but they're a good starting place for drivers looking to purchase a vehicle. 

Dodd-Frank reforms could change lending market

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Drivers in the market for an auto loan may soon see some changes in the types of offers from financiers, as the new Dodd-Frank act is introducing some reforms to the lending business.

In the past, lenders have been able to write bad loans (loans that don't have a good chance of being repaid in full) but remove themselves from having to deal with any risk by then selling those loans in a package to investors. When this practice got out of control in the mortgage industry, however, the housing bubble burst and contributed to the economic collapse.

So, Congress has taken steps to curtail the practice in the future, according to CBS Marketwatch. Now, lenders are only allowed to sell 95 percent of any one loan – they still have to be on the hook for the remaining 5 percent. The only way a lender can now sell off 100 percent of a loan is if they curtail the loan to meet certain requirements.

To meet these new requirements, the borrower must use 20 percent of the loan's total value as a down payment. The length of the loan can also not exceed 5 years, and for used cars loans the age of the car plus the length of the loan cannot surpass five years. Finally, the buyer must not have any 60-day missed payments, bankruptcies or foreclosures on his record over the past few years.

Drivers who are planning on taking out a car loan to finance their purchase may want to make sure that they meet their requirements. It won't be impossible to get a loan if they don't, but the terms could be less than favorable. When drivers are ready, New Jersey State Auto Auction can help them with all their financial needs.
 

Hyundai ends job-loss protection

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Hyundai is dropping its job-loss guarantee program, which gained national attention during the economic downturn, in a sign that the nation may finally begin to recover from the sky-high unemployment numbers of the past few years.

The South Korean automaker introduced the Hyundai Assurance plan in January of 2009, according to the Detroit Free Press. Essentially, the automaker felt that many buyers were ready to make a purchase on a vehicle, but were worried about their job security in the tough economy. So Hyundai offered drivers an escape clause. If they financed or leased a vehicle and then lost their job within the first year of owning the car, Hyundai would take the vehicle back and the driver would be free of their financial obligation.

It's tough to quantify how many people ended up buying a car because of the guarantee, but analysts say that the Assurance program at least partially accounted for the strong sales that Hyundai showed even during the economic downturn. Hyundai says that it ultimately took cars back from 350 people who lost their job.

Now, however, Hyundai says that not many people are taking advantage of the program, which the automaker says is a good sign.

"It's another small indication that things are getting a little bit better," spokesman Jim Trainor told the news source.

Drivers interested in a Hyundai or any other vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of cars for sale

More Japanese automakers announce changes due to earthquake

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

More news seems to be coming in every day on the effects that the Japanese earthquake has had on automakers around the world, and analysts are still not sure quite how widespread the problems will be. However, recent word from the automakers involved seems to indicate that issues will continue for quite some time.

"We have no idea how bad this really is. The one thing I'm absolutely certain of is that everything is completely uncertain," Rebecca Lindland, veteran auto analyst at IHS Automotive, told USA Today.

Although the full extent of the complications may not be completely known, automakers have given some indication of what the future problems could be. Honda announced that it will be adjusting production levels at many of its North American factories, in some cases slashing hours in half. Subaru also announced that it will be cutting production at many plants.

Toyota, meanwhile, has said that workers should expect "some production interruptions" at the manufacturer's North American plants, although it has yet to make any official announcements. Still, the automaker took steps to address the shortage of critical parts that many manufacturers seem to be suffering from. Toyota has placed restrictions on dealers ordering parts for their repair shops, hoping to cut down on franchises panicking and "hoarding" parts.

With production levels down, it's possible dealers could be seeing vehicle shortages in the near future. Drivers planning on purchasing a vehicle may want to act sooner rather than later.
 

Trading in a gas guzzler isn’t always the best move

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

It seems like a no-brainer. Gas prices have spiked past $4 and many drivers' wallets are getting hammered at the pump. So it might be a great time to trade in that gas guzzler for a new, more fuel-efficient model, right?

Well, drivers should consider all the options before pulling the trigger on that trade-in. It's true that upgrading to a more fuel-efficient vehicle can be desirable with gas prices seemingly getting higher every day. But drivers will have to weigh the benefits against the costs – which can be significant, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

SUVs typically get somewhere around 15 miles per gallon, while many of today's new models can get above 30. So essentially, drivers who are upgrading from a gas-guzzler to a hatchback or sedan can expect to cut their monthly gas prices in half.

But whether this is worth it or not ultimately depends on how much you are spending on gas each month. If you're putting a lot of miles on the car, you might be able to save yourself $100 per month or so. Of course, you'll have to take into account the costs associated with purchasing a new vehicle. If you're using a car loan, you'll likely have an increase in monthly payments – one that would likely offset the monthly savings on gas. Your insurance premiums could rise as well, which also lessens the fuel efficiency savings.

That doesn't even begin to factor in the initial investment for a car. Hatchbacks are all the rage right now and as such are selling for high prices. SUVs, on the other hand, aren't exactly in high demand – so you may not be getting a lot on your trade-in.

"If you have a large SUV and are wondering whether to trade it, I would say absolutely not unless something dramatic has changed in your life – like the miles you drive daily," Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insight at TrueCar.com told the news source. "You're trying to buy something that's hot and trade something that's not – which is not a good scenario."

That's not to say that trade-ins aren't a handy tool – it's always nice to get some money for a vehicle, and if it really is time for a new car it's probably the best way to handle it. But switching out of a car early simply because of the gas mileage typically leads to buyer's remorse. For example, savings could be significant now with gas prices high, but drivers may miss the size and utility of their SUV when the prices drop again.

A smart driver will look past the miles per gallon and factor in all the costs that can come with a new vehicle. If they don't, a move to save money could end up quickly costing them. For some guidance on how a driver can make their vehicle work for them, the experts at New Jersey State Auto Auction can recommend a vehicle that will make sense financially. 

Many dealers marking up Volt, Leaf

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf debuted with much fanfare as the first mass-market electric vehicles. However, it appears that the supply did not match up with the reception. Many dealers were only able to receive a select few of the electric vehicles, creating a situation where many buyers were vying for one car.

That situation is essentially a dealer's dream, as the competition creates an opportunity to take advantage and charge as much as possible. Many dealers frown on so-called "price gouging" – marking the price of the vehicle up by thousands of dollars – but others see it as standard operating procedure on vehicles such as this.

According to BNet, the prices for some of these Volts and Leafs are getting astronomical. One California dealer is reportedly asking for an extra $20,000 on top of the Volt's already-high $41,000 MSRP. An early adopter of the Nissan Leaf told the news source that he was once offered $70,000 for the car, and many others offered to pay as much as $10,000 over retail.

Fortunately for buyers, combating price gouging is simple – just wait. If you need a new car today, it's better to spend a few thousand on a used car and wait for the price of the car you really want to drop. Even better is to wait until the model you're eyeing hits the used car market itself, where you can really snag it at a discount. When the time comes for a vehicle purchase, New Jersey State Auto Auction is a great spot to take advantage of low prices. 

Honda issues recall for Odyssey due to window issue

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Drivers in the market for a vehicle should be sure to do research on all the latest auto safety news before making a decision, as cars are frequently recalled for a variety of problems.

The latest company to issue a recall on one of its vehicles is Honda. Most issues serious enough to warrant a recall typically involve the engine or critical parts beneath the car, but this recall, targeted at 2,800 units of the 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan, actually affects the windows.

According to the automaker, the issue seems to deal with the front windows on both the driver and passenger sides. Due to a power failure, the window can become inoperable or possibly even become stuck within the door. In some cases, the company says that the window can actually shatter, sending glass into the cabin. Although the company has not heard of any crashes or injuries due to this problem, it was enough to make Honda issue a recall for the affected vehicles.

Drivers considering purchasing a used Honda or any other vehicle may want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of cars for sale at affordable prices.
 

Jaguar dealership offers $1,000 for test drive

Monday, March 28th, 2011

A California Jaguar dealership has made national headlines after announcing that it will be giving away $1,000 just for test-driving one of their Jaguars.

Normally, dealership publicity stunts don't get much play other than in the local area, but the promotion for Galpin Jaguar in Los Angeles is just bold and unusual enough to merit mentioning. USA Today reports that the company will be giving $1,000 to anyone who test drives the Jaguar, then ends up purchasing or leasing a comparably-equipped Lexus, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Porsche.

Obviously, the drivers who will end up taking advantage of the deal will likely be those already in the market for a luxury vehicle – if they decide not to go with the Jaguar.

"Our belief in the new 2011 Jaguar line-up compelled us to offer something extraordinary as proof to our customers that we believe today's Jaguar is a superior choice," said Vice President of Galpin Motors Beau Boeckmann.

According to the news source, more than 15 people had signed up for the promotion just a few days after it was announced, although nothing has been given away yet.

You might not be getting $1,000 just for a test drive, but the deals on used luxury vehicles at New Jersey Auto Auction are well-worth a look. There's a wide range of cars for sale at affordable prices, and car loans are also available.

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid outselling expectations

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Ford has announced that its Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is selling better than expected, surprising many analysts and even the company itself.

Automotive News reports that Ford is somewhat surprised at the recent totals for the MKZ Hybrid. In what is believed to be an industry first, the hybrid version is priced the same as the gas version of the MKZ. Despite this attractive incentive, Ford only expected 15 percent of total MKZ sales to be for the hybrid. Instead, it's been selling close to 22 or 23 percent.

"Lincoln’s latest models continue to be well received by luxury car customers," said C.J. O’Donnell, Lincoln group marketing manager. "The MKZ Hybrid is just the start of the journey we are taking in redefining the Lincoln brand and its new model range for the future."'

A hybrid that's priced the same as it's gas-powered counterpart is relatively unique in the auto industry, but the fact is that the Lincoln MKZ is still priced as a luxury model. Smart shoppers may want to wait for the price to drop on the used car market, then take advantage of further discounts by purchasing from New Jersey State Auto Auction.
 

Japanese earthquake leading to widespread shortages

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The Japanese earthquake has had widespread effects on the automotive industry, even causing some American manufacturers to stop production due to a lack of parts.

Prices on some popular Japan-only models, like the Toyota Prius, have spiked in recent weeks. Meanwhile, automakers have told dealers and shoppers not to panic and remain optimistic about resuming production. However, several analysts told The Associated Press that the effects of the quake were just beginning.

"This is the biggest impact ever in the history of the automobile industry," Koji Endo, managing director at Advanced Research Japan, told the news source.

The problem isn't so much the major factories – those are almost all back online. It is the parts manufacturers that supply everyone from Toyota to GM are still in question. Some have yet to be contacted. Without key parts, production can't continue.

According to the news source, prices will likely spike over the next few weeks as dealers face an inventory shortage. Dealers may also end up running low on certain trim levels or colors. For example, Ford has put the brakes on black versions of its Expedition, Navigator and F-150 models, taking no further orders on those.

The lack of supply could mean some high prices for vehicles over the next few months. Those who were considering purchasing a new or used car may want to head over to New Jersey State Auto Auction before prices skyrocket. 

AAA’s TripTik app reveals nearby gas savings

Friday, March 25th, 2011

AAA has announced the release of a new app designed to help drivers take advantage of low fuel prices, as the program reveals the closest gas stations and displays their pricing information.

The company's new TripTik Mobile app is aimed at consumers looking to save every penny possible as some gas prices skyrocket to more than $4 per gallon. Users with an iPhone will be able to download the app for free and use its GPS-integrated capabilities to locate nearby gas stations. The pricing information effectively allows consumers to comparison shop without stopping to check the signs at every station. Additional features allow users to sort by fuel grade and distance.

Also included in the app is support for nearby hotels and restaurants. The program will identify local points of interest and use AAA's nationwide "Diamond Ratings" system to display info about each place.

AAA has released two previous mobile apps in the past – one which showed locations that accepted the AAA discount card and another that integrated with the company's roadside assistance program. Unlike those apps, however, TripTik users don't need to be a AAA member to take advantage.

The new program should help drivers save some money at the pump, but if they want to really save on automotive costs, they may want to make their next purchase at New Jersey State Auto Auction.

Japanese automakers recovering from earthquake effects

Friday, March 25th, 2011

After the devastation of the March 11th earthquake forced many automakers to suspend production, speculation has run rampant over what the effects would be on the auto industry. Some analysts believe that the disaster will amount to nothing more than a minor hiccup, while others predicted some major shortages for popular models.

Several of the big-name Japanese automakers recently provided updates on their production schedules in the wake of the disaster. Toyota has announced that it will resume production on the Prius and two Lexus hybrid models based on the same platform, somewhat quelling fears of a shortage on the popular hybrid. The automaker predicts that some U.S. plants may have to shut down temporarily, however, as getting parts to the factories may be difficult.

Nissan, meanwhile, is telling its dealers to expect normal, routine service from the company. The automaker is taking orders for May as normal and doesn't anticipate any delays in the delivery of models. The company also says that most dealers have a healthy stock of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles already.

Honda is continuing to suspend production at its two major auto production plants through April 3rd, when it will reassess the situation.

Drivers in the market for a Toyota, Nissan, Honda or any other vehicle may want to shop at New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers various models from all of these brands at affordable prices.

Edmunds predicts Ford could overtake GM in March

Friday, March 25th, 2011

The official sales total for March aren't actually in yet, but analysts are predicting Ford will end up the big winner when all is said and done.

General Motors has long been the king of U.S. auto sales, and its crosstown rival Ford has only been able to surpass GM once since 1998. The big moment for Ford came in February 2010, when both GM and Toyota, which occupied the top two spots for many years, were left reeling by a government bailout and recalls, respectively. Ford only held the title for a month before GM regained its footing.

Now, Edmunds.com reports that Ford may once again end up in the top spot. The company believes that GM's recent scaling back of incentives offered in January and February will allow Ford to slip by.

"GM seems to have pulled back on incentives in March and could suffer a sales hangover through the next few months, given that the company’s earlier offers have been quite generous and may have pulled ahead future sales," said Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell.

The website estimates that Ford's sales will grow by approximately 34 percent compared to February, while GM's will remain nearly even.

Drivers interested in a Ford or any other vehicle may want to visit New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of cars for sale at affordable prices.
 

Nissan Murano mixes convertible with crossover

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Some of the more popular models that luxury automakers offer include convertibles and crossovers. Yet Nissan is perhaps the first company to ask "why not both?"

The upcoming Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, set to debut next month, continues the Japanese automaker's recent trend of thinking outside the box. Whether it's the fully-electric Leaf, boxy Cube or unorthodox Juke, it's safe to say Nissan's recent efforts haven't been lacking in the "bold" department.

Yet the new Murano takes the cake. Upon first glance it might appear to be another luxury crossover, designed to compete with the Lexus RX and BMW 3 Series – and it is. But it's also a convertible, featuring a drop top normally reserved for sporty two-seaters.

"We continue to challenge what people think about what they drive and why they drive what they do," Mike Drongowski, Nissan senior manager of product planning, told Automotive News. "It might not be a typical choice for a product, but it's consistent with who we are as a brand and our history of innovation."

It remains to be seen if the strategy will pay off for Nissan, but the company is pricing the model at $47,300 – so it clearly feels drivers will be willing to shell out for this one.

Drivers interested in a new or used Nissan may want to check out New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of models from the manufacturer and other brands.

Audi to utilize T-Mobile for new wireless system

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Audi will be partnering with T-Mobile for its new in-car wireless system, Connect, a feature that will be debuting with the A7 sedan in April.

Connect allows drivers to access a broad range of web-based services via a wireless network, which is where T-Mobile comes in. Much like a smartphone, drivers will be able to select a monthly data plan upon purchase of the car, although the luxury automaker will also offer a free six-month trial.

"The launch of Audi Connect is part of a foundational strategy to help Audi lead with first-to-market, cutting-edge connected services," said Johan de Nysschen, President of Audi of America. "We're looking forward to a productive relationship with T-Mobile USA as we give motorists and passengers the ability to access the most current information and enhance their enjoyment of their Audi vehicle."

AT&T's recent acquisition of T-Mobile for approximately $39 billion is not expected to affect the agreement between the two companies.

The new system will surely send drivers flocking to the new A7 sedan, but buyers should keep in mind that the older versions of the model are excellent cars as well. Those looking to score a deal on a used Audi may want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of new and used cars for sale at low prices.