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Gas Prices Fall as Labor Day Approaches

Prices expected to remain low as Saudi Arabia keeps production high.

by on Sep.03, 2015

Gas prices are expected to continue falling for some time as Saudi Arabia is unlikely to cut production.

With the Labor Day holiday looming, the price of oil continues to bounce around on global markets.

However, the price of gasoline continued to drop across the country and most drivers should find themselves paying the lowest Labor Day weekend gas prices since 2004. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 14 consecutive days for a total of 20 cents per gallon, according to AAA.

The Back Story!

Market fundamentals remain bearish, even as oil prices staged a rally late last week that pushed prices a bit higher compared to early-week trading sessions where both Brent and WTI exceeded multi-year lows. Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6

No-compromise diesel is fuel-efficient, quick and powerful.

by on Sep.02, 2015

In the U.S. both the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport now offer a Td6 diesel option.

The rock and gravel path seems to vanish as we approach the edge of the cliff. But we’re determined not to give up. So, tapping a few buttons on the center console , we press on – and over, the big SUV maintaining complete control all the way down.

A moment later, we come to an equally daunting challenge. The only way to continue is to climb up and over a slick wall of granite. It’s the sort of obstacle that might leave other vehicles stranded. But not the 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6. We point the noise, tap another button on the steering wheel and lift our feet off the pedals. Requiring only a little guidance on the steering wheel, the Range Rover begins its climb as confidently as a mountain goat.

Trailblazing!

The British SUV has long had a reputation as one of the most competent trailblazers you could find. The 2016 model takes things to an entirely new level. And with the addition of the first diesel powertrain bound for the U.S., the 2016 Range Rover Sport Td6 adds to the formula unexpectedly compelling fuel economy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Less Than Perfect: Consumer Reports Worst Four Vehicles

Magazine flogs cellar dwelling 2015 models.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The Chrysler 200 was rated one of the four worst vehicles in 2015 by Consumer Reports.

Lost in all the fanfare surrounding Consumer Reports awarding a perfect score to the Tesla Model S in its recent listing of best vehicles is the fact that there is a bottom of the list and the cellar dwellers may be surprising.

The four worst vehicles for 2015 are: Chrysler 200, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Lexus 200t/300h and Kia Sedona. The magazine separated these four vehicles from the pack in its annual analysis of new vehicle releases.

A Smart Source for Auto News!

The 200 may be the most disappointing to see on the list as it’s substantially better than the 200 it replaces. However, once you get past the dramatically improved styling and quality improvements, buyers are saddled with a “raspy” four cylinder engine, a balky transmission and a “klutzy” handling package. Editors also noted the back seat is not large enough to be comfortable for adults. Read the rest of this entry »

Jeep Will Keep Wrangler Production in Toledo, Add New Wrangler-Based Picked

But maker will relocate production of popular Cherokee model.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The question has been answered: Jeep is re-entering the truck market with the Wrangler-based truck.

After a long debate that put thousands of jobs at risk, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to retain production of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio. And CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that the maker will add a long-rumored, Wrangler-based pickup to the Jeep line-up.

But Toledo did get one setback in its bid to maintain its long-standing role as Jeep’s ancestral home. FCA will now move production of the Cherokee model to another, as yet-unspecified plant. The compromise follows an intense round of negotiations by Toledo and Ohio officials who struggled to help the automaker reduce costs and update the Toledo plant to handle what will be a radically redesigned version of the ever-popular Wrangler.

Your Reliable Source!

“We found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some product around,” Marchionne told trade publication Automotive News. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (to know) that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it into the other Toledo plant.” Read the rest of this entry »

Takata Airbag Recall Likely to Be Smaller Than Projected

More than 19 million vehicles still impacted, and figure could yet grow.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The number of vehicles recalled due to Takata's potentially deadly airbags is likely to get cut to 19 million: a 40% drop.

Federal regulators have sharply reduced the number of U.S. vehicles that will be covered by the recall of potentially deadly Takata airbags – but the total is still expected to be more than 19 million.

The Japanese supplier has been linked to a defect that can cause airbags in older vehicle to trigger with too much force, sending metal and plastic shrapnel spewing into the passenger compartment. At least eight deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the problem.

Your Source for Auto Safety News!

After expanding the scope of the recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 11 different automakers would have to replace inflators used in 34 million driver and passenger airbags. The agency has now reduced that by about 40%, to 23.4 million airbags used in 19.2 million vehicles. Read the rest of this entry »

Autonomous Technologies Coming to Market Faster Than Expected

But regulations, insurance issues could stall tech push, industry leaders warn.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The new 2016 BMW 7-Series will be capable of driving on its own for short periods of time..

“Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel,” Doors frontman Jim Morrison sang in Roadhouse Blues. But that traditionally healthy line of advice soon may no longer be necessary.

With the debut of the 2016 BMW 750i, motorists will be able to take their hands off the wheel for as long as 15 seconds at a time, the car’s semi-autonomous technologies temporarily taking over driving duties. And a year from now, Cadillac is promising to go a step further. The Detroit maker’s new Super Cruise system will allow drivers to cruise well-marked freeways for an extended period of time hands-free. Or so Caddy can only hope.

Global Insight!

Some automakers are promising to go even further, bringing fully autonomous vehicles to the road within the next decade. But it’s far from certain they can pull it off. It’s not necessarily the technical issues that could derail the push, but regulatory and insurance hurdles, industry leaders warn. Read the rest of this entry »

Going Topless, Mercedes Pulls Covers off New S-Class Cabriolet

Top can be operated at speeds up to 37 mph.

by on Sep.02, 2015

The new S550 will be the first Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet in 45 years.

After offering up a few teaser images, Mercedes-Benz is finally revealing the new ragtop version of the big S-Class, the fourth variant of its flagship line set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in barely two weeks’ time.

The launch of the 2016 S-Class Cabriolet will mark the first flagship convertible from Mercedes since 1971, and in keeping with its position in the line-up, the German maker says the new model will be one of the most lavishly equipped in the S-Class family.

Clear the Air!

“Two years after its launch, the S-Class family is complete,” proclaimed Thomas Weber the Daimler AG board member in charge of passenger car development for Mercedes-Benz.

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Auto Sales Slip a Bit, but Beat Expectations

Prices continue to push upwards.

by on Sep.01, 2015

Keep on trucking. Vehicles like the new Renegade helped Jeep score some of the industry's biggest gains in August.

Despite Wall Street’s shake-up, China’s sliding economy – and a fluke of the calendar – the U.S. auto industry did a bit better than anticipated in August, with far less of a downturn than some had predicted and a number of manufacturers managing to eke out strong gains.

While some brands, such as Toyota, saw sharp declines, others pushed into record sales numbers. And carnakers continued to see average transaction prices rise again last month, prices running at or near record levels for most of them, according to industry analysts.

Industry News!

“In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealer’s competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us to our 65th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Our Jeep brand turned in a double-digit increase while eight individual models, including four Jeep brand vehicles, set sales records.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Fiat’s Reborn 124 Spider to Make LA Auto Show Debut

New model will share platform with latest Mazda Miata.

by on Sep.01, 2015

The new Fiat 124 Spider will share platforms with the Mazda Miata, shown here, but get a unique body and its own powertrain options.

Fiat will bring an old name back to life next year when it launches an all-new version of its once-popular 124 Spider.

But it has gotten a helping hand from an unusual ally. The little two-seater will share platforms with the recently redesigned Mazda Miata, and both models are expected to be produced side-by-side at the Japanese maker’s plant in Hiroshima.

Your Inside Source!

That said, company officials promise that the new Fiat 124 Spider will feature a distinctly different look than the well-reviewed Mazda. And it is expected to opt for a different powertrain line-up, as well.

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NHTSA Says Traffic Fatalities on the Rise in 2015

More miles logged offsetting improved safety equipment.

by on Sep.01, 2015

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said he won't let up on automakers in a push for safety.

New vehicles in the U.S. are the safest vehicles ever built, but the country’s highways are seeing the highest fatality rates in nearly a decade and that has safety officials scrambling to figure out what to do about it.

Despite more cars and trucks than ever being equipped with collision prevention equipment and vehicles designed to crash in ways to better protect vehicle occupants, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced U.S. traffic deaths jumped 9.5% to an estimated 7,500 during the first quarter of 2015.

Your Source for Auto Safety News!

Part of the increase is being blamed on the fact that due to an improved economy spurred by low gas prices, Americans are driving more. Miles logged are up 3.9% during the same period, but that doesn’t account for everything, according to safety experts. Read the rest of this entry »