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New Cars

Kissing Astra – Saturn’s, that is

Are automakers taking a cue from new-home sellers, by offering some of the strangest contests or incentives imaginable?

For months homebuilders have worked diligently to attract potential buyers and boost traffic in their models, by giving away gas cards, free tickets to amusement attractions, and the like.

A woman blowing a kissSome have had contests for no mortgage payments for a year; others have pitched contests for rooms full of Disney furniture.

Saturn is Pulling Away

A recent media release by Saturn puts them to shame.

The General Motors division has launched a national photo contest, called “Kiss My Astra.” Read more

Marketing the Crossover to Cure the SUV Blues

It reminds me of the OP shorts boom of the early 80s. Once California teen-agers made them must-have, the race was on among surf short designers to come up with something even gnarlier.

Same goes for smaller cars today. It’s been written ad nauseum that American motorists are turning toward smaller cars and away from the beastly sport utility vehicles and trucks of the turn of the century.

Small, But Gets the Job Done

Op ShortsThe term crossover is being loosely applied to a variety of vehicles, a new marketing tool for car sellers. Consider it the corduroy shorts of the OP shorts era. Read more

Not Quite a Mid-Size Crisis

June 2008 was a calamitous disaster for new-car sellers all the way, to tap a baseball term, around the horn.

Well maybe not at every base. Mid-size and crossover vehicles surprised auto executives and analysts alike, faring decently among a battlefield of gloom.

People Just Aren’t Buying

Huge Monster TruckAutodata Corp., which monitors and reports on vehicle sales, noted that the month was one of the worst car-selling months in many years, with sales dropping 18.3% compared with the same month a year earlier.

Sales figures were shackled by a 28.4% decline in sales of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles – based of course on their poor fuel economy in this high-gas-price era. Read more

Ford Flexing Muscles for 2009 Model Year

Ford’s Flex, a full-size crossover just hitting showrooms summer 2008, has created a considerable buzz among automotive journalists.

It’s both difficult and easy to understand the interest in this vehicle.

This is an American automaker rolling out a brand new vehicle which is essentially built to move lots of people that looks like a sport utility vehicle.

Does America Have Room For Another CUV?

A headline that reads Frugal Gas-GuzzlersOur question is this: Wait, isn’t the SUV dying a slow death due to high gas prices?
Sure, it’s a crossover, which results in better fuel economy, but enough to entice prospective new-car buyers to return to big? Read more

Keep It Simple, Silly: the smart fortwo

When you see photos or illustrations of the smallest cars available today, the smart fortwo is often displayed.

It’s easy to understand if viewers believed the car was a toy, or just a prototype of something that might be built someday, but wouldn’t be seen anytime soon on American roadways.

What’s difficult to comprehend is this tiny vehicle – not even 9 feet in length – was developed by the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

A New Trend

Microcar from the 60'sWhile Mercedes built a legacy of stylish, comfortable-to-ride-in luxury vehicles, the smart fortwo is appropriately named. Read more

New Malibu Changing the Way Chevrolet Thinks

When the Chevrolet Malibu was named the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show at the start of 2008, some car-watchers were left scratching their head.

What was a nearly 50-year old car, a former muscle car at that, doing taking the top prize at a car show in the auto heartland of America?

The Malibu’s Big Makeover

A woman holding makeup brushesThe Malibu gets an overhaul pretty regularly for years that end with an “8” –  2008 being no different.

This time around Chevrolet went all out, and the results were evident: a sales jump of 23% in 2008. Read more

Resurgence of the Mid-Size Sedan

In this era of downsizing automobiles to improve fuel economy, not everyone is quite ready to squeeze themselves or their family into a Prius.

Mid-size sedans might not be able to compete directly with the hybrids and compact cars out there, but they can present good bang for your buck if you still need passenger and cargo space without the crappy gas mileage of sport utility vehicles.

Middle of the Road

A desert roadwayThe mid-size sedan is and has been a fixture on American roadways for quite some time. They often top lists of the nation’s best-selling automobiles. Read more

The Real Total Cost of Owning a Car

People tend to forget just how expensive it can be to own and operate an automotive vehicle. 

Gas prices aside, many other things can add up in a hurry.

Recently, Edmunds published an interesting report about which vehicles are the least expensive to own. 

The Results

A woman adding change to her piggy bankThey separated vehicles into several classes, from sedans to trucks, and applied a proprietary program to estimate a five-year cost of owning each new vehicle.

The Yaris
Unsurprisingly the Toyota Yaris topped two categories – sedans under $15,000, and coupes under $15,000. Read more

Time of the Season – Out and About in a Convertible

Summertime is a great time to head out on a road trip, see some sights and blow off steam in a weekend getaway.

What’s better than doing it in a convertible?

Kelley Blue Book’s Top 25 Convertibles

Woman in a convertible
Kelley Blue Book recently listed its top 25 convertible models, starting with the pack leader, the Ford Mustang.

Some entrants are surprising, others not so much. They all bring to the table a feature or two attractive to all sorts of drivers, from more engine oomph to powerful sound systems to enjoy tunes while rolling down the highway in the open air. Read more

Great New Vehicles for Less Than $20,000

It’s no secret that high gas prices and environmental sensitivity has changed the way Americans think about cars.

Gone are the days of Hummer or Avalanche beasts on roadways. In their place are smaller vehicles cheaper on the pocketbook and easier on the atmosphere.

You Don’t Have to Spend a Fortune

Certain models have surfaced to the top of the list of new car sales. Many good, solid cars can be purchased for less than $20,000.

The following is a look at just a few. Some are pure fun, others add great fuel efficiency, and sometimes even some nice extra gizmos thrown in for good measure. Read more