Archive for July, 2012
In warm weather, the interior temperature of a car can get very hot very quickly, which is extremely dangerous to a child left alone in the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports heatstroke is the leading cause of death for children under 14 involved in non-crash vehicle-related accidents.
"With summer temperatures hitting record highs around the country, child heat stroke is clearly an issue of national concern," said U.S. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Public education is the best way to help parents and caregivers prevent tragic accidents and keep their children safe."
There are many products on the market that claim to prevent parents from accidentally leaving their kids in the car, but a recent study by the NHTSA and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found these devices are unreliable and cannot be trusted as the only line of defense in preventing child heatstroke. CHOP analyzed the effectiveness of available products that connect to a child's safety belt and found any number of situations can render them useless. If a child slouches in his or her seat or spills a drink on the device, it may not alert the driver if they leave their kid in the car when exiting.
These devices are also ineffective when it comes to children finding their way into their parents' parked cars. If a kid decides to play in the car, he or she may get locked in. It is important for parents to consider other strategies to ensure their child is safe around the vehicle. Keeping a car locked and leaving the keys out of a child's reach can stop children from trying to play inside a vehicle. Putting a purse, wallet or phone with the child can also serve as a reminder to double check the backseat when getting out of a car.
Drivers looking for a new family car can head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. The dealer carries a variety of vehicles, from minivans to SUVs and midsize sedans, so shoppers will be sure to find something that fits their families' needs.
George Clooney is selling his barely driven Tesla Roadster for charity at the upcoming Pebble Beach auction, and it will likely go for at least $100,000. Tesla discontinued the Roadster line a little while back, making the limited number of vehicles on the road even more valuable to collectors, according to Green Car News.
The vehicle, which only has 1,700 miles on the odometer, is a 2008 "Signature 100" model, the eighth of its kind to roll out of the factory, the Los Angeles Times reports. Clooney plans to donate the money he makes on the Roadster to the Satellite Sentinel Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors border tensions between South Sudan and Sudan for signs of violence to prevent a civil war from breaking out. The auction will be handled by Gooding and Co auction house, which specializes in selling celebrity cars.
"This is an incredible opportunity to purchase a modern collector car with all the right elements – one owner, celebrity provenance, historical significance, limited-edition rarity and philanthropic ties," said David Gooding, president of the auction house.
According to Forbes, Gooding expects the car to sell for as much as $125,000. The initial base price of the vehicle was around $98,950, but Clooney's model likely had a few upgrades, including a premium two-tone leather interior. The auction featuring the Tesla will also have a $10 million 1936 Mercedes-Benz Von Krieger 540K Special Roadster, Jay Leno's Fiat and a Ferrari Scaglietti owned by Andy Warhol available to interested buyers.
Drivers in the market for a more modest ride may want to head over to New Jersey State Auto, which carries a wide variety of vehicles. Every car on the lot is CARFAX certified, so buyers know they'll be driving away in a reliable ride.
Most major automakers have electric vehicles or hybrids in their lineups, but these options are typically accompanied by higher price tags than comparable gas-powered options. There is now a new option for drivers looking to make the switch to electric without spending too much. Alvarez Electric Motors Company (AEMC) recently unveiled its very first vehicles, the Eco-E Commuter Car, EcoVan and EcoTruck.
The Eco-E has a maximum range of 30 to 40 miles and can reach a cruising speed of 25 miles per hour, making it a possibility for drivers who spend most of their time on city streets. The car starts at about $10,000, and is expected to use up about $5 of electricity on a monthly basis. AEMC partnered with the Liuzhou Wuling Special Purpose Vehicle Manufacturing Company in China to create these new electric vehicles.
"Americans who love the environment and hate the price of gasoline are showing an increasing level of interest in owning an electric vehicle, but they sometimes have been stymied by the relatively high cost of ownership," said Ramon Alvarez, the president of AEMC. "AEMC is going to bridge that gap with a commuter car that is priced just under $10,000 and is eligible for thousands of dollars in rebates and tax credits through our local, state and federal governments."
Alvarez believes the Eco-E could be perfect for commuting across a college campus, getting around a golf course or at large-scale manufacturing sites. The new car is smaller than a Smart ForTwo, and only seats two, so drivers who want something bigger may want to consider used options that don't break the bank and can be driven on the highway. NJ Auto Auction features a wide variety of makes and models at affordable prices, including the Toyota Prius and other alternative fuel options.
While it is important for drivers to always pay attention to the road and watch for pedestrians, some situations don't leave a lot of reaction time. For instance, if a person steps into the road from behind a large truck, a driver would not be able to see them until they were already in the street. General Motors is working to find the solution to this problem – a Wi-Fi application that can detect pedestrians, bicyclists and other dangers on the roadway.
"This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car's blind spot," said Nancy Boules, GM's global research and development director of the electrical and control systems research lab. "Wi-Fi Direct has the potential to become an integral part of the comprehensive driver assistance systems we offer on many of our Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles."
GM's safety assistance technology is based on Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer development that allows wireless devices to connect with one another directly. Most peer-to-peer technology involves signals being sent to and from cellphone towers, which could add seconds to the delivery of a warning signal. Vehicles with the Wi-Fi Direct technology would be able to interact with nearby smartphones and other wireless devices that has the same app almost instantly. Drivers would be alerted if there was a potential danger ahead or in their blind spot, which could help prevent countless accidents.
While this technology may not be available just yet, drivers looking to get behind the wheel of a safe, reliable vehicle should head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. Every model is CARFAX certified, and there is a wide variety to choose from.
For the past 25 years, Discovery Channel has hosted a week-long homage to sharks, and this year Volkswagen will be one of the presenting sponsors of Shark Week. For the occasion, Volkswagen has built its very own shark cage in the likeness of the 2012 Beetle. The automaker will present its creation – from designing and building the cage to putting it underwater – in three one-minute clips that will be aired throughout Shark Week.
"Shark Week has a loyal and enthusiastic following of fans, and we're thrilled to partner with Discovery Channel on this 25th anniversary special," said Justin Osborne, general manager of marketing communications for Volkswagen of America, Inc. "We wanted the integration to be authentic and fit naturally with the Volkswagen brand, imprinting our signature style on Shark Week. The Beetle shark cage plays on the silhouettes of two of the most iconic images – the shark fin and the Volkswagen Beetle."
The Beetle has not commonly been associated with the ferocity of the shark, as it's had more of a happy, bubbly appearance until the 2012 redesign came along. The new model has a more muscular design than its predecessors, and the dash-mounted flower vase is gone as well. Volkswagen even chose to reveal the new car during the 2012 Super Bowl to appeal to a more masculine consumer base. Scott Clark, one of the project's creative directors, told AutoBlog that "Shark Week is Discovery's Super Bowl," which may be why the German automaker has chosen to sponsor the television event, which runs August 12 to 16.
Drivers in the market for a Volkswagen of their own can head to NJ Auto Auction, which offers a variety of used makes and models at affordable pricing. Financing is not an issue either, as a partnership with the Credit Acceptance Corporation means every driver will be approved for a loan.
New federal guidelines for fleetwide fuel economy improvements as well as consumer demand for better fuel economy have spurred automakers to strive to improve their vehicles' gas consumption. The hard work has paid off, as industry analysts Baum and Associates found new cars that came onto the market in the first half of 2012 set the record for high fuel efficiency.
The average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles in the first six months of 2012 was calculated to be 23.8 miles per gallon (mpg), which is a 1.1-mpg improvement over the previous six months. The estimated averages are already ahead of expert predictions of 23.4 mpg for the year, and they will only get better as the year progresses.
"Thanks to a bumper crop of fuel efficient models in the most popular segments, consumers don't have to choose between fuel efficiency and performance," said Alan Baum, principal of Baum and Associates. "No matter what type of vehicle you want, midsize car, minivan, SUV or pickup truck, car makers are now upping fuel efficiency performance across the board. The new era of fuel efficiency is truly here."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets fuel economy guidelines for automakers to meet, and last year they set the new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard to be 54.5 MPG by 2025. These guidelines will be finalized by the fall, which means consumers can expect to see the average fuel economy continue to improve over the coming years.
While new cars, in many cases, have vastly improved mileage over their predecessors, this does not mean there are not fuel efficient used models available. In fact, there are many options available for used car shoppers at NJ Auto Auction. Plus, every vehicle on the lot is CARFAX certified, so drivers know they'll be getting behind the wheel of a reliable ride.
Reports of July car sales are already flooding in, even though the month is not quite over, and overall vehicle sales are experiencing the second strongest growth rate they have seen in the past 12 months, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The automotive experts at J.D. Power predict new vehicle sales for the month will come in around 969,200 units. Although it is a modest decline from June sales, it's still promising for the year. Total sales, including used cars, will reach about 1,168,000 units in July, which is approximately 20 percent better than July 2011.
"Retail sales got off to a fast start in July, and while they've slowed down a bit as the month has progressed, through the first 16 selling days, they're still up 15.1 percent compared to July 2011," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. "The positive growth has continued to build, as July is looking strong across most vehicle segments."
In particular, subcompact, compact and midsize vehicles are expected to show year-over-year gains of at least 28 percent in July. Sales of midsize crossover SUVs, on the other hand, are projected to slow in July.
Economic recovery, consumer confidence and pent-up demand for new vehicles has taken some of the strain off used vehicle sales, resulting in slowly declining prices for used cars. This makes it an excellent time to head to NJ Auto Auction to find the perfect used ride. All the cars, SUVs and trucks on the lot are CARFAX certified, so drivers know they'll be leaving in a reliable vehicle.
Traffic accidents can occur at any moment, whether it's during inclement weather or under blue skies, if there is a traffic jam or the road is nearly empty. Sometimes a crash is unavoidable, and drivers should be prepared in the event they find themselves in this situation. AAA recently released a few pointers to help motorists know what to do if they get into accidents.
"Even the most prepared and competent drivers sometimes find themselves involved in a crash," said Dr. William Van Tassel, manager of AAA Driver Training Programs. "It does not matter who is at fault, the most important thing to do first is make sure everyone is OK, then seek medical and law enforcement help and know what to do to protect yourself from legal or financial problems down the road."
When you get into a crash, the first thing to do is make sure everyone in your vehicle and the other vehicle, if there is another car involved, is all right. If anyone is hurt, call for help right away. If not, move to the next step, getting everyone to safety. Move the cars, if you can, off the road. Then, you have to call the police. This is the law, and a traffic accident report needs to be filed. You will need to explain to the cops what happened, and the report will help if you need to file a liability claim later on.
The next step is to trade contact, vehicle and insurance information with the other driver. You will also want to document the accident, taking pictures of damage and the scene of the accident. Then, submit all the information to your insurance company and have the other driver do the same.
If your car needs work, you can bring it to New Jersey Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. The repair shop, located in Jersey City, is open to the public and the maintenance experts can help you get your ride back on the road.
There used to be a dramatic difference in quality between smaller and larger vehicles, but that is quickly becoming a thing of the past. J.D. Power and Associates recently released findings from the annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which shows more than twice as many drivers "downd," or downsized when they traded in their old vehicle for a new one, than those who "upd," replaced their old model with one from a larger segment.
The former group accounted for 27 percent of new-vehicle buyers, while the latter made up 13 percent of this group. The remaining 60 percent stayed within the same segment when replacing their old cars. The study found that trade-in cars were on average about 6 years old, and since these drivers have last purchased new cars, there have been major changes and advancements across the board that have made smaller vehicles more appealing.
"New-vehicle buyers who down are not making sacrifices that they once were," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "Automakers are heavily focused on providing the U.S. market with appealing smaller models, and buyers may be surprised at just how good some of them are"
Smaller vehicles these days provide better performance, fuel economy, styling and features than many older models. That's not to say older compact and subcompact vehicles are lacking in quality. There are plenty of options available for drivers looking to purchase used vehicles at New Jersey State Auto. Every vehicle on the dealer's lot is CARFAX certified, so buyers know they'll be driving away in reliable rides.
San Francisco drivers may soon be paying taxes for how far they drive rather than how much gas they use. According to The Associated Press, the local government is determining the effectiveness of taxing motorists per mile driven rather than by gas consumption. To measure mileage, odometer-like equipment will need to be installed in personal vehicles. Drivers may be charged anywhere from less than a penny to 10 cents per mile, the news source reports.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments have decided to take this approach as an answer to the improving fuel economy, according to The Associated Press. They are also hoping this taxation may reduce congestion and vehicle emission pollutants by encouraging drivers to drive more frugally.
"The last thing we're interested in is where you go and what you do," Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler told the AP. "What we're trying to do is get people to figure out a way to raise revenue that they could support."
San Francisco is not the first city to consider this taxation method, and it may not be the last. The Jacksonville Business Journal reports Florida officials are thinking about a similar tax, in which drivers will be required to report their mileage when they renew their registrations. Being taxed per mile can encourage drivers to think more about how much they're getting behind the wheel.
Drivers can counterbalance these potential taxes by driving vehicles with excellent fuel economy. There are many fuel efficient models for drivers to choose from at NJ Auto Auction. Plus, every car is CARFAX certified, so buyers know they'll be driving away in a reliable ride.
Compact SUVs are rapidly growing in popularity among drivers, as they offer the interior space of an SUV and the handling and fuel economy of smaller vehicles. Cars.com recently got together with USA Today and MotorWeek to determine which of the leading compact SUVs stood out most among its competitors. The Compact SUV Shootout compared six different small SUVs against one another in a series of tests. The Honda CR-V beat out the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage.
The vehicles were put through tests including a 200-mile drive across highways, city streets and other environments and test drives by families looking to purchase small SUVs. Each model was also driven across the same track by the same professional driver to discern any noticeable differences in their handling and other qualities.
"This was a competitive shootout of an important segment, and we were impressed with all of the vehicles," said Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief for Cars.com. "The winning Honda CR-V is a great choice for compact SUV shoppers because of its impressive lineup of standard features, great comfort and overall ride, all combined with Honda's history of strong reliability."
Drivers who are in the market for a used compact SUV like an older model CR-V can head over to NJ State Auto Auction. The dealer carries a wide variety of makes and models, and every vehicle is CARFAX certified, so drivers know they'll be getting a reliable ride. The SUVs tested in the Shootout each cost under $25,000 new, so used models are likely to be even more affordable.
Driving is a serious responsibility that requires complete attention of the person behind the wheel. While most motorists know that driving while tired is unsafe, a recent study conducted by the National Safety Council found younger drivers may not be as aware of the risks of drowsy driving.
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as operating a car while intoxicated, as drivers exhibit similar behaviors when they are sleepy as when they are drunk. The report also indicated people under 30 are the most likely to get behind the wheel when they're feeling a bit tired, especially on longer trips.
"Drunk driving is universally viewed as dangerous, but young people especially don't understand the very serious risks associated with drowsy and distracted driving," said Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "All drivers need to understand the dangers of driving while tired."
Parents of teen drivers should discuss this safety issue with their kids to ensure the young motorists are aware of the risks. Many younger drivers do not consider drowsy driving a serious offense, and find it acceptable to get behind the wheel while groggy, the study found. Alerting young motorists to the truth will help them stay safer on the road and avoid getting into car accidents.
Parents and teens shopping for cars for the new driver can head to New Jersey Auto Auction. The dealer carries a variety of makes and models, and each one is CARFAX certified. This allows parents to know their teens are getting behind the wheel of safe, reliable cars.
Total Car Score recently released its list of the Top 10 Best Off-Road Vehicles for 2012. The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee was ranked the number one model, due to its V8 engine and off-road capabilities. Land Rover's Range Rover and the Ford F-150 came in a close second and third, respectively. Two other pickups – the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma – rounded out the top five. The Jeep Wrangler came in last, even though it is known for being one of the most impressive off-road vehicles available.
"The Jeep Wrangler is arguably the most capable off-road vehicle currently produced, but it gets a low Total Car Score because the industry rates it against compact crossovers that have a smooth ride and a quiet cabin at highway speeds – but very little off-road talent," said Total Car Score's editor-in-chief, Karl Braur. "That's why the Wrangler is on this list of the Best Off-Road vehicles despite its low score, and why shoppers seeking off-road prowess should look past high-level ratings to confirm what influences them."
The Total Car Score list provides a useful guideline to help narrow down your choices. Reading reviews online and talking to other owners of models you're interested in can also help you make an educated decision when it comes to choosing the appropriate vehicle. One of the best ways to better understand a particular model is to take it for a test drive. New Jersey State Auto carries a wide variety of makes and models, making it easy to try out the different cars you're interested in.
The San Diego Comic-Con became the site of a new car debut last week, as a specially-designed Hyundai Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine was unveiled. Hyundai recently teamed up with the creator of The Walking Dead, a popular comic book detailing life during a zombie apocalypse, to design the ideal post-apocalyptic, zombie-crushing machine.
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman added his personal touches to the Elantra, including a spiked zombie plow, armored windows, a rooftop escape hatch, a CB radio, a trunk filled with weapons and many other additions that make the car the best ride for surviving the zombie apocalypse. The car is obviously not street legal, but fans of the comic have the chance to win another Hyundai – an Elantra GT – that has been wrapped with a design based on the cover of the comic's 100th issue. This vehicle is also being displayed at the comic convention.
"Our custom Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine is the ultimate car for The Walking Dead fans and anyone who wants to survive a zombie invasion," said Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America. "We are excited for fans to come and experience the Elantra Coupe and GT in a unique, post-apocalyptic way."
Drivers who are in the market for a vehicle and want something reliable in case the dead begin to walk the earth should head over to NJ Auto Auction. The dealer has a wide variety of makes and models, from SUVs perfect for driving through hordes of zombies to speedy sports cars that can facilitate a quick getaway when running is the best option.
Even though gas prices may have ebbed lately, the cost of fuel is still a primary concern for the majority of drivers. A recent poll taken by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an association of nonprofit consumer advocacy organizations, found consumer needs and demands are perfectly matched with the latest federally issued Corporate Automotive Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that were decided upon earlier this year. The CAFE standards, which will be finalized this summer, require automakers to have a fleetwide fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025.
"The 54.5 mpg by 2025 standard will be one of the most important consumer protection measures to be adopted in decades," said Dr. Mark Cooper, director of research for CFA. "Record spending on gasoline for American families, combined with consumer demand for better mileage and a broad political consensus over higher national standards, are driving faster improvements in fuel economy than at any time since the oil price shocks of the 1970s."
Not only do consumers want to save at the pump, but they are also concerned for the environment and the impact the U.S. has on on it – 88 percent of survey respondents are in favor of reducing oil consumption across the nation, and believe improving fuel efficiency is an effective way to do so. Industry experts have raised concerns that higher fuel economy standards will result in more expensive vehicle costs, but 66 percent of consumers are not worried about this factor.
There are already many different vehicles that offer excellent fuel economy on the market today, and a number of these models can be found used. NJ Auto Auction carries a variety of makes and models at affordable prices, so drivers looking to save on a car and at the pump should head over to the used car dealership.
For many people, a cup of coffee is the most important part of the day, but sometimes there isn't enough time to make a cup at home or grab one on the way to work. Fiat has introduced a possible solution for coffee lovers on the go by installing an Italian espresso maker in the new 500L.
"The 500L is the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine that utilizes the technology of the 'A Modo Mio' pods," Fiat said in a press release. "It is perfectly integrated in the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat."
The unique feature, which will only be offered in Europe, has raised some eyebrows, according to AOL Autos. Many see the espresso machine as another distraction, but Fiat says the machine will only work when the car is in park. Rather than waiting in line at a coffee shop, 500L drivers can get their coffee before they get out of the car.
If you want to modify your vehicle, whether you want to install your own coffee maker or you'd like to upgrade the stereo system, opting for a used car can help you save money to put toward these aftermarket enhancements. You can find the perfect car at NJ State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of makes and models at affordable prices. Plus, every vehicle is CARFAX certified, so you know you won't have to worry about getting repairs done the moment you drive the car off the lot.
Electric vehicles (EVs) have been on the market for a few years now, but these cars tend to cost more than gas-powered models due to their expensive batteries. However, a recent study by McKinsey and Co. found the cost of manufacturing these lithium-ion batteries could drop as much as 70 percent by 2025. This will drive down overall production costs, which could make it cheaper for automakers to build EVs and pass on the savings to consumers. This, coupled with stricter fuel economy regulations, may result in a bigger push for more EVs on the road, according to Reuters.
Currently, the price of a lithium-ion battery pack is between $500 and $600 per kilowatt-hour, but the U.S. Department of Energy requires manufacturers to reduce the price to $300 by 2014. Reuters reports the Ford Focus Electric's 23-kilowatt-hour battery currently costs between $12,000 and $15,000 to build, but if the price reduction works, this expense will decline as well.
"Regulation around the world, not just in one region, is getting increasingly stringent," Russell Hensley, a McKinsey consultant, told the news source. "If you want to play in the automotive markets around the world, you actually need vehicles that are emitting less carbon."
While the pending price drop will likely lead to more affordable alternative energy vehicles, those in the market for a car today can head to NJ State Auto Auction to check out the variety of used makes and models available. Whether drivers are looking for an alternative fuel option or just want something with a decent fuel economy, NJ Auto will have something to fit their needs.
Owning a car comes with a variety of other expenses, from registration and maintenance costs to gas and car insurance. The cost of insurance varies depending on a number of different factors. Luxury and sports cars tend to cost a great deal more to insure than standard sedans, and even the color of a vehicle can influence the insurance costs.
Drivers looking to purchase new or used vehicles may need to take the cost of insurance into account to ensure a particular model will fit their budget, and sometimes the competition can be quite fierce. Automobile.com recently conducted a survey that examined the difference in insurance costs between a Hyundai and a Kia.
"These were the most competitive auto insurance comparison survey results we have witnessed to date," said Automobile.com writer Andrew Evans. "The two South Korean automakers were deemed to be close competitors in terms of annual insurance policies."
The results showed that Hyundai drivers spend an average of 7.03 percent more on their insurance policies than Kia owners. The average annual price Hyundai owners paid was $946.05, and Kia drivers averaged an annual cost of $884.23. While this is not a huge variation, it can make the difference for someone on a tight budget.
Some drivers may want to look into used cars, as older models can be less expensive to insure than new vehicles. New Jersey Auto Auction has a wide variety of makes and models to choose from. Plus anyone requiring financial assistance is guaranteed credit approval thanks to a partnership with the Credit Acceptance Corporation.