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Hyundai Replaces GM as Top NFL Sponsor

Korean maker paying $50 million annually for new deal.

by on Jun.29, 2015

Hyundai's profile is going to get quite a bit higher with its new four-year sponsorship deal with the NFL.

For hours on end every Sunday this fall, American football fans are going to see something new on their television screens: the Hyundai logo. The South Korean automaker is taking over for General Motors as the league’s top sponsor in a new four-year agreement.

No figures were released on the deal, but ESPN reported that Hyundai will pay $50 million annually: double GM’s $25 million payout. Unlike the GM deal, the NFL can still sell the truck category and the rights to give away that vehicle to the Super Bowl MVP. GM’s three-year deal was exclusive, but was tied specifically to GMC.

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“We value our relationship with the NFL and its fans, but have decided to focus our sponsorship resources in other areas in the future,” GM said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

July 4 Holiday Likely to be a Deadly One

National Safety Council predicts highest highway fatality rate in 7 years.

by on Jun.29, 2015

Highway deaths are expected to surge over the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

With highway fatalities already on the rise after years of steady decline, the upcoming Independence Day holiday could be a particularly deadly one.

As many as 409 Americans will be killed on the road during the long weekend, with another 49,500 injured, forecasts the National Safety Council. That would be the highest number for an Independence Day holiday since 2008 if the numbers prove accurate.

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“Drivers always need to be vigilant, but this weekend, focus on the safety of your family,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “A few precautions can help ensure a memorable weekend. Spending the holiday with family is preferable to spending time in the ER.”

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Auto Brand Loyalty Hits Highest Level in a Decade

More choices, great lease rates help push numbers upward.

by on Jun.29, 2015

New car buyers are remaining loyal to the brands they're getting out of, according to a new study.

New vehicle buyers are visiting dealership in droves these days, and more often than not, they’re sticking with the brand that brought them there, according to a new study.

IHS Automotive reports that brand loyalty among new car buyers is up to 52.8% in the first quarter of this year with several makes enjoying new high-water marks for loyalty, including Chevrolet, GMC, Infiniti, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru and Volvo.

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New vehicle sales in the U.S. through May are tracking for sales in excess of 17 million units in 2015 and June sales are only expected to continue the trend, according to Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst, Kelley Blue Book. Read the rest of this entry »

Audi Reveals New A4 Ahead of Formal Frankfurt Debut

Evolutionary exterior hides more revolutionary changes.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The exterior of the 2016 Audi A4 doesn't change much - but there's more here than meets the eye.

You might need to take a second glance if you see the 2016 Audi A4 glide by. But while the German maker has opted for a relatively subtle and evolutionary exterior update, this all-new model delivers a number of more revolutionary changes.

Despite growing longer and wider, the 2016 Audi A4 is as much as 265 pounds lighter than the outgoing sedan. And it offers a variety of new technologies, including an updated infotainment interface that will recognize your handwriting as well as your voice.

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With a variety of new four- and six-cylinder gas and diesel engine options, the fifth-generation Audi A4 will make its official debut a few months from now at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Court Approves NYC’s Taxi of Tomorrow Plan

Ruling paves the way for future fleet of Nissan NV200s.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The New York Court of Appeals ruled that New York City can mandate that the NV200 be the city's only option for taxis in the future.

The State of New York’s top appeals court has ruled that New York City can launch an all-Nissan taxi fleet under its $1 billion contract with automaker. The court rejected the Greater New York Taxi Association’s argument that the city exceeded its authority to require a specific vehicle.

The full Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed an appellate court decision that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission can require all cab drivers to operate the Nissan NV200 compact cargo vehicle, dubbed the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” when it was selected by the city in 2011 to replace the majority of its taxi fleet, which includes everything from Ford Crown Victoria sedans, Toyota Prius hybrids models and various kinds of minivans.

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The decision to standardize New York’s roughly 15,000 medallion taxi cabs has been resisted up until now by the taxi owners, who pay nearly $1 million for their medallions. The group said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but it was “time to move on,” and that it would not appeal the decision. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeep Expects to Hit 1.2 Million in Sales in 2015

Company struggles with Wrangler production issues.

by on Jun.29, 2015

FCA is struggling with what to do about increasing the production capacity of the Wrangler's long-time home plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Sales of Jeep-branded vehicles are on track to hit roughly 1.2 million this year, according to the FCA U.S. executive responsible for the nameplate.

Michael Manley, president of the Jeep brand, noted that Jeep sales have increased by 20% so far this year, after topping 1 million units for the first time ever in 2014. The plants belonging to FCA U.S., formerly the Chrysler Group, building vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are having difficulty keeping up with the demand from customers, he told reporters at the company’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.

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Sales of the Jeep Cherokee, which was introduced last year, and the sales of the Jeep Renegade introduced this past spring are also doing well in the U.S. The Renegade is proving very popular with European customers and sales of other Jeep products also remain strong in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Nine in Ten Millennials Say it’s “Important” to Own a Car

Rental cars provide alternate way to test drive vehicles.

by on Jun.29, 2015

Millennials may be more interested in buying cars than the auto industry has realized.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Millennials are more interested in cellphones than cars, that they’d rather walk or bike, or at least stick to mass transit, rather than planting a vehicle in their driveways.

If a new study by Enterprise Holdings is any indication, conventional wisdom – as is often the case – needs to be stood on its head. The study finds 91% of Millennials calling it extremely or very important to own a vehicle, whether to commute, run errands or simply enjoy their lifestyle.

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Perhaps not surprising, considering the source, the study indicates that Millennials are turning to rental cars as an alternative way to go for a test drive.

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Nissan Packs 600 HP Under Hood of Juke 2.0

Supercar Crossover makes its debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

by on Jun.29, 2015

The Juke-R 2.0 picks up the 600-hp Nissan GT-R NISMO powertrain.

To some, it’s one of the coolest cars on the market; to others the goofiest. What’s hard to debate is that the latest update of the Nissan Juke is also the most powerful vehicle in the small crossover market.

The maker took the wraps off what it has dubbed the Juke-R 2.0 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend, and this cross between a crossover and a sports car gets a big bump in performance.  First shown at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the original Nissan Juke-R made a mere 545-hp. For those who want more, the Juke-R 2.0 will churn out an even more crazy 600-hp.

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“The JUKE-R 2.0 is a perfect ‘crossover’ of the best bits of Nissan – real innovation showcasing our crossover prowess fused with the excitement of the GT-R supercar engine,” said Gareth Dunsmore, Marketing Communications general manager for Nissan Europe.

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Summer Time Means Driving Time

Low gas prices + tech friendly cars = road trip.

by on Jun.26, 2015

Summer's here and its time for Americans to get in the car for vacations and weekend road trips.

The U.S. is a nation of drivers and summer is when we like to hit the road the most. In fact, 71% of people in a recent survey plan to take at least one road trip this season.

A recent Harris Poll shows that seven in 10 Americans will be hopping behind the wheel with family or friends for some warm weather fun. More immediately, AAA projects 41.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day, the most since 2007 and a 0.7% increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year.

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Rising income, driven by a strong employment market, is prompting more Americans to take a holiday trip this year. Despite recent seasonal increases, gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, which has helped boost Americans’ disposable income. Nearly 85% of travelers will drive to their holiday destinations, which an increase of 0.7%. Read the rest of this entry »

New Grand Cherokee Delayed, Jeep Says

Manley claims Marchionne’s search for partner played no role.

by on Jun.26, 2015

The next iteration of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is on hold until 2018, Jeep officials said today.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plans to push back the introduction of the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee until the 2018 -2019, Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, confirmed during a meeting with reporters at the company’s Chelsea Proving Ground.

Manley said the talk of FCA merging with another automaker played no part in the decision to delay the introduction of the next generation Grand Cherokee, which has been at the heart of the Jeep line when it was first introduced by Chrysler back in the 1990s.

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Reports from Italy also have indicated that FCA has delayed the introduction of some models to free up cash for new investment in Alfa Romeo, which is expected to total $5 billion by the end of the decade. Read the rest of this entry »