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Toyota Rated as Best Automotive Brand

Sixteen auto brands make Top 100 — GM and FCA brands not on the list.

by on Oct.11, 2018

Toyota was the top automotive brand in this year's Best Global Brands Top 100 list, taking seventh overall.

A quick poll of people asking what automaker is the best might net several folks saying “Tesla!” and while it does have a massive market cap, they’d be wrong. The best brand? Toyota.

According to Interbrand’s 2018 Best Global Brands report, Apple was the top company on the list with a valuation of $214 billion. Toyota was seventh on the list at $53 billion, which was up 6% over last year’s result.

Insight!

Overall, 15 automotive brands made the Top 100 list and while there aren’t really any surprises about what ones are on the list, those that are not on the list may be reason to take pause. None of the General Motors brands made this year’s list. The aforementioned Tesla did not make the list either. Nor did any of Fiat Chrysler’s brands. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Subaru Forester

Automaker continues to better this quirky classic crossover.

by on Sep.26, 2018

The 2019 Subaru Forester continues the brand's leadership in the can-do crossover segment.

The variety of utility vehicles has exploded in recent years and appears certain to grow exponentially for foreseeable future.

Manufacturers are moving quickly to cash in on the consumer interest in vehicles that might not have a lot of charm or sex appeal but are practical for life in a world that has become much more complex.

Reviews You Can Use!

One of the automakers that has deftly capitalized on the trend, of course, is Subaru. Subaru sells interesting passenger cars and has built a strong reputation for building safe vehicles. But it is the strength of utility vehicle line that has helped the brand record, as of the end of August, 81 consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases. (more…)

Subaru Ascending Toward Another Annual Sales Record

New three-row ute pushing company toward another benchmark.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Subaru is set to set a seventh consecutive annual sales record due to the new Ascent.

Subaru is confident it can lock in its seventh consecutive year of sales gains thanks to promising launch of the Ascent, a three-row sport-utility vehicle that has emerged as the Japanese automaker’s flagship since its debut earlier this summer.

Dominic Infante, Subaru’s director of communication, noted during a presentation in North Carolina for the first drive of the 2019 Subaru Forester, which is due in showrooms that through August, Subaru has posted 81 consecutive months of sales gains.

News You Can Trust!

The Ascent has been a great success out of the gate, Infante noted. Subaru hasn’t been able to build them fast enough to satisfy demand. The Ascent is built at the Subaru assembly plant in Indiana and Infante said that Subaru has only 12 days of Ascent inventory in the hands of dealers. (more…)

Infotainment Technology Getting Better, JD Power study says

Systems improve for third consecutive year.

by on Sep.14, 2018

The Ford Mustang earned the highest score in J.D. Power's 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study.

If you own a car built in the last decade, you’ve been there. You attempt to make a call using the hands-free system – regardless of the manufacturer – and you get a list of people the nice lady in the dashboard would like you to choose from and none of the options are the one you want.

It’s this kind of technology that is both enticing and enraging all at the same time and is most often the target of complaints by new vehicle owners. However, the folks at J.D. Power claim the user experience is getting better.

The Last Word!

According to the J.D. Power 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study, the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technologies has decreased for a third consecutive year, with several technology standouts emerging among manufacturers. (more…)

Fade of Zero-Percent Financing Makes Leasing More Appealing

Rising interest rates pushing buyers toward leases.

by on Sep.14, 2018

Zero-percent financing deals are increasingly difficult to find these days, pushing some into leasing.

Car shoppers are always looking for a deal, and often they’re excited by the prospect of zero percent financing; however, those deals are getting tougher and tougher to find.

The percentage of sales with zero percent finance deals has been cut in half in the last two years — dropping from 14.6% of transactions in August of 2016, to 10.4% last August to just 7.4% this August, according to Edmunds.

Product News!

This drop during the last three Augusts sparks interest because zero percent financing deals usually abound in August and September.

“August truly represents the month that we would have expected to see a turnaround in this trend if one was imminent,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. “Moving forward, shoppers will likely need to do a bit more digging to find other ways to save on a new vehicle because it looks like zero percent finance deals are going the way of the dodo.”

(more…)

Lexus, Volvo Tie for Top Spot in New Brand Survey

Overall, consumers slightly happier with ownership experience.

by on Aug.30, 2018

Volvo tied with Lexus for the top brand honors in the latest ACSI survey, receiving its highest score ever.

Vehicle owners in the U.S. are slightly happier with their ownership experience this year than last year, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index, which is the result of surveys of car owners on their overall service and product experience with specific auto brands, creates a score between 1 to 100. According to the latest edition, the industry-wide score for 2018 is 82, up from 81 in 2017.

News You Can Trust!

“Car owners are often highly satisfied—they’ve kicked the tires enough times that they’re happy with their decision when they buy,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI.  (more…)

Could Ford Be Working Up a Sub-Ranger Pickup?

One option would be to go with a car-based package.

by on Aug.01, 2018

The Ford Courier pickup shared platforms with the automaker's Fiesta subcompact.

Several sources are reporting that Ford Motor Co., long reluctant to undercut its full-size F-Series pickup family, could soon have small trucks in its line-up, with a model even smaller than the upcoming Ranger to follow by as early as 2022.

Exactly what it would look like and where it would fit into the spectrum isn’t clear but Automobile magazine’s sources suggested Ford might be looking at a product like the old Courier pickup built in Brazil that was based on the same platform as the prior-generation Fiesta subcompact.

Insight!

Whether there’d be a market for something the size of the old Ford Courier is far from certain, though several automakers appear to be looking at their options, notably including Hyundai which has been slowly moving forward with a production version of the well-received Santa Cruz concept first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015.

(more…)

Nissan Admits to Second Round of Emissions, Mileage Tampering

Officials say 19 models affected in latest scandal.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Nissan's latest emissions and fuel economy testing scandal impacts the Note, the brand's top-selling vehicle in Japan.

For the second time in less than a year, Nissan Motor admitted to employees improperly measure exhaust emissions and fuel economy for 19 vehicle models sold in Japan.

Sample test environments for emissions and fuel economy in final vehicle inspections at most of its Japanese plants were not compliant with domestic standards, according to Nissan, which added the inspection reports were based on altered measurements.

News You Can Trust!

The measurements do not impact any vehicles shipped overseas, including the U.S., Nissan officials said. The company made a similar admission last October. Then it admitted that the practice had gone on for decades with uncertified inspectors signing off on the test results. (more…)

Every Car Sold in the U.S. is an “Import”

Tariffs would impact even “American-made” vehicles.

by on Jul.03, 2018

The Honda Odyssey is one of the most "American" cars but will still be hit by tariffs.

Every single car, truck or crossover sold in the U.S. would be affected by the 25% import tariff being proposed by Pres. Donald Trump, with prices on some models rising by tens of thousands of dollars.

That’s because even vehicles assembled in the U.S. rely on some level of imported parts and components, whether in their suspension, infotainment systems or powertrains.

Beyond the Headlines!

Complicating matters, American-made auto parts and vehicles could become more expensive, and lose their competitive edge, if trade partners enact their own tariffs in response, something a number of them have now threatened to do.

(more…)

Honda, Chevrolet Take Top Spots on Best Family Car List

The VW Atlas also surprised by taking an award.

by on Jun.08, 2018

The new Chevrolet Traverse with its new design nabbed a Top 10 Family Car honor.

Families looking for a new vehicle to haul the clan from soccer game to recital to birthday party should probably start their search as their local Honda and Chevrolet dealers.

The two automakers each had two vehicles fall in the top 10 of top family cars for 2018 as ranked by Parents magazine and Edmunds. The 2018 Honda Odyssey and Accord and Chevrolet Traverse and Malibu are four of the top 10 on the list.

The Last Word!

“We’re not playing favorites in terms of why there are two Hondas and two Chevrolets. The vehicle had to have a top safety score from NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to be considered,” said Brent Romans, senior analyst at Edmunds. “That narrowed down the list.” (more…)