Chevy announces 2012 Corvette changes

The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most famous models in existence, and each year General Motors keeps making adjustments. The 2012 version of the vehicle isn't a complete redesign, but it does feature a number of upgrades over the 2011 version that drivers may want to consider.

This year, GM has focused on upgrading the interior of the Corvette for a more pleasurable driving experience. The optional Bose audio system has been upgraded from seven speakers to nine, and buyers can also upgrade to a technology package that includes Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port. Comfort has been addressed as well, with a brand-new seat featuring padded armrests.

"We constantly strive to make the Corvette a better car on the road and the track," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. "For 2012, the Corvette lineup achieves its highest performance level ever, while at the same time being easier to drive and enjoy thanks to several changes and new features inside the car."

Drivers interested in purchasing a used Chevrolet Corvette may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of cars for sale at affordable prices.

Chrysler to pay back government debt

Chrysler has announced that it is finally paying back the nearly $7.5 million dollars that it owes the U.S. and Canadian governments after accepting bailout loans during the economic recession.

With the company on the verge of going under, Chrysler was forced to accept the money to stay afloat. However, the loans came with high interest rates of nearly 12 percent, which were causing Chrysler to lose more than $1 billion each year.

In order to avoid paying that extra cash and get out from debt with the government, Chrysler has secured a refinancing package funded by several major banks. Under the terms of the deal, the banks will pay off Chrysler's debt in full, effectively ending the automaker's bailout. Chrysler will still be in debt to the banks, but will presumably be enjoying a significantly lower interest rate on the loan.

Paying off the debt owed to the government was one of Fiat's key goals for Chrysler when it assumed control of the automaker. Now that the company is no longer in debt to the government, Fiat will be able to increase its stake in the company to a majority share. 

Ford details car color trends

Ford has been studying buying trends lately in order to improve its offerings, and one of the areas that the company has looked closely at is how the color of a vehicle factors into a driver's decision.

The company found that the vast majority of consumers in America and Europe played it quite safe with their choices – white, black, silver and gray are the most popular color selections. Yet it's not completely true across the board – tastes vary a bit depending on the region.

For example, silver and gray are the top choice for big cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Black is king in Boston, while white is the top color for San Francisco. Tastes vary in Europe as well: Ireland prefers silver, Denmark likes black, and both French and Italian drivers are fans of tan.

Some places buck the trend of grayscale-inspired car colors and branch out into the rainbow. The Czech Republic, for example, is the only country studied to break out of the gray/black/white/silver mold, as drivers in this country generally buy blue. Red is very popular in the American midwest, while Philadelphia and Pittsburgh drivers "go green."

Drivers interested in a vehicle of any color may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of cars for sale in any shade you desire. 

Why to refinance your car loan

Drivers in the market for auto loans have a wide variety of sources to choose from when attempting to secure financial assistance. Whether they go to a bank, credit union or the dealer themselves, getting a loan is a pretty simple process, even for those with poor credit.

If you've already got a loan, however, you should keep in mind that it's always possible to refinance your loans and receive more favorable terms. The term "refinance" can conjure up images of mountains of paperwork for some people, as the term is typically associated with the mortgage industry. Contrary to popular belief, however, refinancing in the auto industry is much, much easier.

Refinancing can be very useful for drivers with bad credit. For example, if you have less than stellar credit, you'll slowly but surely build your score as you make the payments on your car loan. As your score rises and negative marks fall off your credit report, you could end up with a much better score down the line. This is where refinancing can be really helpful.

Take a five-year auto loan as an example. Good payments over the first two years will likely repair your credit score substantially, at which point you can begin shopping for refinancing options. The terms that are now available to you will likely be a big step up from the previous interest rates, meaning you'll be able to save a boatload of money for the final three years of the loan.

Refinancing is still applicable even if rates haven't gone down or your credit score hasn't improved. If you feel like you're spending too much money paying off your car loan each month, you can actually lower your monthly payment simply by extending the terms of the loan. By adding an extra year or two, you'll end up with more money each month.

Finally, choosing to refinance can essentially serve as a "do-over" to the initial loan. Dealers make a lot of money off of their financing departments, and some can be less-than-reputable, offering inflated interest rates or unfavorable terms. If you feel like you've been taken advantage of, refinancing can ensure that you get a much more reasonable rate.

When you've chosen a vehicle and are ready to talk financing, consider New Jersey State Auto Auction. Not only do they offer a wide variety of cars for sale, but they offer trustworthy auto loans at competitive rates and work with borrowers with all types of credit scores.

Mercedes announces pricing for new coupes

Mercedes-Benz has announced the pricing for three of its upcoming models, and as you might have expected, they're not cheap.

The 2012 SLK and CLS coupes are on the way, and they'll be fetching a pretty penny. The SLK350 is the cheapest of the lot at $54,800, while the CLS550 is priced at $71,300. Neither approaches the CLS63 AMG however, which will sell for a whopping $94,000.

All three models have significant upgrades for the 2012 model year. The SLK features a new V6 engine with direct injection and multispark ignition. Both versions of the CLS will be sporting a new V8 engine: a 4.6-liter and 5.5-liter, respectively. The larger version reportedly produces a staggering 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque for the CLS63 AMG, according to USA Today.

The prices on these cars might be high, but there's no denying that they're great vehicles. Drivers who want to get in a luxury vehicle without breaking the bank may want to wait for the cars to hit the used auto market. New Jersey State Auto Auction has a wide selection of used Mercedes and other vehicles at affordable prices.

Volt, Leaf, earn safety commendations

Customers who buy a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt can now drive not only knowing that they're helping the environment, but that they're also in a very safe vehicle.

Both electric cars received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) coveted "Top Safety Pick" award, which puts them in the top 57 percent of vehicles tested. Both vehicles posted strong marks in front, side and rear crash tests.

Joe Nolan, chief administrative officer for the test, said that the vehicles' extra body mass and weight of their battery packs made them overall safer vehicles compared to similarly-sized hatchbacks and compacts.

"What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers," he told Reuters.

The IIHS is underwritten by insurance companies and primarily provides them with data on the safety of a vehicle so that the insurers can adjust their premiums accordingly.

The Volt and Leaf are still pricey, so drivers might be better served by waiting for them to hit the used car market before they make their purchase. Once they do, New Jersey State Auto Auction can provide a fair deal on the two models or any other vehicles that a driver may be considering.

Nissan to recall used Pathfinders for steering issue

Japanese automaker Nissan is recalling 196,000 American used SUVs for a potential flaw in the steering column that could cause it to wear down and potentially crack over time.

According to the company, the recall affects used Nissan Pathfinders from 1996 through 2004 and Infiniti QX4 models from 1997 through 2003. Road salt can build up over time in the steering assembly and cause corrosion, which may potentially trigger the entire column to break.

"The strut housing may crack and pull away from the inner hood ledge assembly," Nissan said in an NHTSA filing. "This may lead to grinding noises, increased steering effort, and possibly the steering column to break, resulting in the loss of steering control, which could result in a crash."

Nearly 163,000 Pathfinders and 33,000 QX4s were recalled as part of the notice. Additional units were recalled in Canada, bringing the North American total up to 271,000 vehicles.

Nissan will inspect and fix the problem free of charge. The company says that for the problem to affect a driver, they would have to ignore a very noticeable grinding noise for an extended period of time.

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

Ford’s small cars cleaning up on balance sheet

Stock analysts are predicting big gains for Ford when the automaker officially announces its first-quarter earnings tomorrow, as the company is expected to do well on the back of its fuel-efficient vehicles.

According to an average of three analysts compiled by Bloomberg, the automaker is expected to report earnings of $2.1 billion for the first quarter, which would be the largest gain to open a year since 1998. Through the first three months, the company's sales are up a reported 15.9 percent compared to 2010, due largely to rising gas costs.

"With the fuel prices moving up, we now have the vehicles that people want," Ford CEO Alan Mullaly told the news source. "The largest vehicles are slowing down a little bit, but all these smaller ones from Ford are now available."

Examples of models that have sold well during the first few months include the Explorer, one of the top SUVs in term of fuel economy, and the Fiesta hatchback, which is rated at 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

Drivers in the market for a fuel-efficient car may want to shop New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of used Fords and other brands. Many of the newer models can be found lightly-used and at significant discounts off their retail price.

Toyota predicts production woes until December

Toyota has issued a statement warning consumers and dealers that its production levels will likely not return to normal until November or December, as the fallout from the Japanese earthquake continues to take its toll.

The automaker says that its factories in Japan are currently operating at 50 percent of their normal output, while American plants are at 30 percent. The primary reason is a lack of parts: many suppliers that the automaker relied upon were heavily damaged in the earthquake. While Toyota's plants were largely spared by the disaster, getting the parts to make the vehicles has proven difficult.

"To all the customers who made the decision to buy a vehicle made by us, I sincerely apologize for the enormous delay in delivery," Akio Toyoda, the company president, said in the statement. "Our entire company is committed to solving the problems before us so that we can achieve production recovery even one day sooner."

The shortage could cause vehicle prices to spike over the summer when cars are in short supply. If you're in the market for a vehicle, you may want to consider buying now. New Jersey State Auto Auction offers a wide variety of cars for sale at affordable prices.

Chrysler teams with Dr. Dre

Chrysler already teamed up with hip-hop star Eminem for their memorable Super Bowl commercial where they debuted the Chrysler 200, so which music industry icon is next on their list?

Turns out its Dr. Dre, Eminem's original mentor, who will be teaming up with the brand through his audio company, Beats. The new 2012 Chrysler 300S will feature a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system installed in the car.

Yet Chrysler didn't just outsource the production of an audio system to the company. Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine worked side-by-side with engineers at the automaker to develop a ten-speaker system specifically for the vehicle. That means drivers will be getting exceptional acoustic quality that Chrysler says attempts to replicate the sound producers hear in the studio.

"Beats By Dr. Dre has always been about restoring the emotional music connection between an artist and the listener, and Chrysler vehicles beginning with the Chrysler 300S will let drivers hear music the way the artists intended, replicating the feel and the sound that artists and producers work so hard to achieve," said Iovine.

Drivers interested in a used Chrysler or any other vehicle may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide range of cars for sale – some with killer sound systems of their own.