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Honda Sweeps Top Two Spots on Most Stolen List

Ford F-150 takes third place, was most stolen 2014 model.

by on Sep.04, 2015

The Honda Accord was the most stolen vehicle in the U.S. in 2014, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The Honda Accord and Civic are popular sellers, annually ranking in the top 10 in sales; however, they’re also eye-catchers for car thieves as well as the two were the most stolen vehicles in 2014.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual “Hot Wheels” report, the Honda Accord was the most stolen vehicle in America last year. Thieves nabbed 51,290 Accords in 2014 while the Honda Civic (43,936) and Ford F-Series (28,680) rounded out the top three.

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Drivers of Accords and Civics may feel like they’ve got a big bulls eye on their vehicles as they were the most stolen vehicles in 2013 as well. However, statistics show that auto theft is on the decline. (more…)

Musk Unwrapping Tesla Model 3 Next Spring

Mass-market model production can't start until Gigafactory up-and-running.

by on Sep.03, 2015

Tesla's Elon Musk tweeted recently that the Model X crossover will be slightly more expensive than the Model S sedan.

Any time Elon Musk starts tweeting, Tesla aficionados scramble to see if there’s news or even hints about what’s to come and in a recent string of tweets, he didn’t disappoint.

Musk, the company’s founder, took to social media to talk about both of the California-based EV maker’s anticipated vehicles: the Model 3 and Model X.

Industry News!

The Model 3, which is slated to be maker’s mass-market entry, is expected to transform Tesla from a money-losing, niche operation into a profitable, high-volume manufacturer, Musk previously laying out a goal of hitting sales of at least 500,000 vehicles annually by decade’s end, or 10 times what he expects in 2016. (more…)

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. (more…)

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.

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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. (more…)

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.

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“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.” (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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.

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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. (more…)

Quality Issues, Higher Prices Make New Car Buyers Cranky in 2014

Better vehicles don’t equate to happy customers, survey shows.

by on Aug.31, 2015

Lexus finished atop the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index beating Mercedes.

Despite the fact that new vehicles have more convenience and safety features than ever – equipment expected by new vehicle buyers – those same people are growing tired of the quality issues and higher prices that often come with those add-ons.

Car buyer satisfaction fell 3.7% in 2014, the third year in a row, to 79 on a scale of 100, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The slide isn’t entirely unexpected as the industry recalled more than 60 million vehicles last year.

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Owners reported a 40% increase in recalls in the second quarter of last year, the ACSI reported. Many of the actions were related to the electronics and safety options that are supposed to make driving safer and more enjoyable. (more…)

Marchionne Adding CEO to Title at Ferrari?

FCA boss could step in next month.

by on Aug.28, 2015

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne appears poised to add the chief executive officer's title at Ferrari to his chairman's role.

Just as Ferrari is preparing to stand on its own two feet, the man who led the effort, Sergio Marchionne, may be the man leading the company on a day-to-day basis as its new CEO.

Marchionne, who heads up Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., is already the Italian sports car maker’s chairman. He’s rumored to be taking over the Chief Executive’s role when the current CEO, Amedeo Felisa, steps down next month.

A Smart Source for Auto News!

Felisa, who has been CEO for seven years, has been rumored to be leaving the post since July and the maker has been searching for a replacement since then. Marchionne, who’s already replaced a top exec at the company, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, appears to be the choice. (more…)