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Vast Majority of Car Shoppers Worldwide Now Ready to Buy Cars Entirely Online

Nearly half would be happy with a “virtual test drive.”

by on Apr.17, 2015

Chinese car buyers are the most interested in purchasing vehicles entirely online, finds new study.

Eight out of 10 shoppers in key markets around the world now use the Internet to help them choose what vehicle to purchase, and the vast majority would carry that a step forward, according to a new study, completing the car buying process entirely online.

Nearly half, in fact, wouldn’t even bother going to a showroom for a test drive, telling researchers they’d be happy with a “virtual test drive.”

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“The impact of the digital customer is becoming pervasive, disrupting the traditional car-buying experience and the competitive landscape,” said Christina Raab, global managing director for Digital Consumer Services in Accenture’s Automotive practice. “This is clearly supported by the fact that many would consider conducting the entire car-buying process online.”

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10 American Cities with the Greenest Car Shoppers

Go West, young eco-buyer!

by on Apr.16, 2015

The Tesla Model S has won over many buyers with its performance, as well as its eco-friendly nature.

Spend some time out in Los Angeles and you’ll spot a seemingly endless stream of Ferraris, Maseratis and other exotic sports cars. In fact, Southern California is the world’s largest market for high-performance Mercedes-AMG models.

But Tinseltown drivers also love their Teslas, and Toyota Prius hybrids, making L.A. one of the country’s largest markets for green machines, as well.

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Just in time for Earth Day, the folks at Cars.com probed their search data to see which cities have the most eco-friendly buyers. And they were in for a few surprises. For one thing, the Top 10 was made up entirely of West Coast cities this year. And while it might seem reasonable that places like Portland, San Francisco and LA made the cut, there were some smaller cities represented as well.

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Bolt and Volt Will Share Chevy Showrooms, After All

Chevrolet sticking with name for long-range battery-car despite potential confusion.

by on Apr.16, 2015

The Chevy Bolt will deliver significantly longer range than almost any current battery-electric vehicle - for around $30,000. Photo by Len Katz.

It may be a bit confusing, but Chevrolet will be sticking with the name “Bolt” when it launches its 200-mile battery-electric vehicle next year. Following the unexpected debut of the electric model, the maker had been debating whether to come up with an alternative less like the name of its current plug-in hybrid, the Chevrolet Bolt.

Despite sluggish sales of battery cars at a time when gas prices have plunged to lows not seen since before the Great Recession, the General Motors brand is convinced there’s a future for the technology, Chevy officials have stressed.

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“Since unveiling the Bolt EV three months ago, the name has quickly become associated with Chevrolet,” the company said in a statement. “Therefore, we will use the name when the vehicle goes into production. The Bolt EV is a significant statement of Chevrolet’s commitment to electrification and the name suits this game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity.”

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Court Upholds GM’s Bankruptcy Shield from Death Claims

But judge leaves potential loophole for plaintiffs.

by on Apr.16, 2015

The faulty GM ignition switch could inadvertently move to the Off position, causing a crash.

General Motors has been handed a major victory in its effort to shield itself from lawsuits linked to the defective ignition switches it used in older vehicles.

A federal judge has ruled the “new GM” is not liable for death and injury claims for crashes that occurred prior to the automaker’s emergence from bankruptcy in July 2009 – even in the event of misconduct by the “old GM.” But ruling from the federal bench in New York, Judge Robert Gerber did say owners could seek damages if they prove vehicles equipped with those switches have lost value since GM exited Chapter 11.

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The automaker hailed the news which, it said, “doesn’t establish any liability against GM.” It also noted that the burden will be on plaintiffs to prove any new claims for losses.

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Ford, Toyota to Invest Combined $3.5 Bil in Mexico

Makers join growing list of makers expanding ops South of the Border.

by on Apr.15, 2015

Toyota confirms it will build the next-generation Corolla model at a new plant in Mexico.

Following announcements of major investments in both Mexico and India, Ford Motor Co. is set to make a $2.5 billion bet closer to home. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Co. has confirmed recent reports that it will invest $1 billion in a new Central Mexican plant to produce its compact Corolla model.

Toyota and Ford will join a growing list of manufacturers either entering or expanding operations in Mexico which is now one of the world’s largest producers of automobiles. That includes carmakers from Europe, Asia and Detroit, as well.

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While Ford is not officially confirming the announcement — stating it “cannot comment on future product or manufacturing plans” – Toyota North American CEO Jim Lentz said the new Corolla plant is part of a “strategic re-thinking of how and where we build our products will create new opportunities for our company, our business partners and our team members across the region.”

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GM Slashes Price of Chevy Spark EV

Maker is the latest to try price cut to boost sluggish sales.

by on Apr.15, 2015

The Chevy Spark can launch to 60 in 8 sec.

General Motors is slashing the price of its slow-selling Chevrolet Spark battery-electric vehicle in a bid to boost demand.

It’s the latest in a string of price cuts by automakers struggling to build interest in plug-based vehicles, and the announcement comes just days after GM confirmed it will next month shut down production of its Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid due to lack of demand. It will re-launch production with the second-generation Volt that was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

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“Chevrolet is committed to making EV driving more accessible, affordable and fun” Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Car and Crossover Marketing, said in a statement. “Spark EV customers will benefit from an impressive blend of technology, capability and low cost of ownership, now at an even more impressive price.”

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Is Fiat Chrysler Looking for a Merger Partner?

Deal may occur before CEO Marchionne’s ’19 retirement.

by on Apr.14, 2015

FCA CEO Marchionne appears interested in pulling off another major deal before his 2019 retirement.

Senior officials at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are sending out signals that they’d like to find another partner, barely a year after the trans-Atlantic alliance was officially completed. Such a deal could be come together – if a willing partner can be found – before CEO Sergio Marchionne’s planned retirement in 2019, according to various sources.

Marchionne has made a number of comments in recent months underscoring his desire to address fundamental problems that could limit FCA’s ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global auto industry.

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Now, FCA Chairman John Elkann has weighed in. While he didn’t specifically say his company was on the prowl, Elkann wrote shareholders at Exor, which owns 29.2% of FCA, “I’m convinced that the industry needs and will see more consolidation in the future.”

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Maine is Cheapest State for Auto Insurance, Michigan the Most Expensive

Laws often matter more than fraud and insurance claims.

by on Apr.14, 2015

Your record matters, but where you live may have an even bigger impact on what you pay for insurance.

While it might not get you to pick up and move, a new study reveals a big gap in what you’ll pay for auto insurance depending upon what state you live in. Maine is, by far, the cheapest place to get coverage, while you’ll pay nearly twice the national average if your car is registered in Michigan.

A number of factors influence the insurance rates a motorist will pay, even for two motorists driving the same vehicle, noted website Insure.com, which averaged rates for the 20 best-selling vehicles across the country, comparing rates from six major insurance carriers.

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“The car you drive matters, of course,” said Insure.com consumer analyst Penny Gusner. “But where you live usually matters more.”

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Automakers Put Their Cars on a Diet

Bigger can be better -- and lighter, too.

by on Apr.13, 2015

The Cadillac CT6 - as big as a BMW 7-Series, but as light as a 5-Series.

With the launch of its 2016 CT6 sedan, Cadillac says it is setting out to “reinvent” itself, but some of the steps the maker has taken in the development of the new model will likely trigger changes across the industry.The new Cadillac CT6 is the same size as a big BMW 7-Series – but it weighs barely as much as the German maker’s smaller 5-Series sedan. In fact, the new Caddy flagship weighs less than its own midsize luxury sedan, the CTS.

“Lightweighting” has become one of the big buzzwords in today’s global auto industry as maker’s race to get the weight out of their vehicles.

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The primary reason is to meet the tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards that will jump to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Mass, explains Cadillac Chief Engineer Dave Leone, “is the enemy of efficiency.”

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Over Half of All Cars to Feature Stop-Start by 2024

But consumer complaints remain a problem.

by on Apr.13, 2015

The new Malibu is one of many new vehicles adding Stop-Start and other advanced fuel saving technology.

When the new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu rolls into showrooms later this year it will offer a variety of powertrain options including a base 1.5-liter turbo package that will feature standard Stop-Start, making it the latest in a growing list of models equipped with the fuel-saving technology.

Within the next decade, forecasts Navigant Research, Stop-Start will be standard equipment on the majority of new cars, trucks and crossovers sold worldwide, according to a new study by Navigant Research. That’s more than double today’s numbers.

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“The basic Stop-Start system is gradually evolving into one piece of a multifaceted approach to improving fuel economy in light duty vehicles,” according to Navigant’s senior research analyst David Alexander.

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