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Gone But Not Forgotten
A lot went down in 2013. It was something of a banner year for the automotive business. Products continued to get better, sales steadily improved and alternative propulsion, whether in the form of electricity or diesel gained significant traction.
Strategic Vision has announced the winners of its 2013 Total Quality Index (TQI), with American automakers reinstating their position in some very competitive segments.
14. Acura ZDX
As 2012 winds to an end, AutoGuide looks back at all the vehicles that received the axe this year, some that will be missed, while others surely won’t be.
Starting it off is the Acura ZDX, a crossover that had a very tough time breaking into the market. Priced at around $51,815 including delivery, the ZDX was hardly a hot seller for the Japanese automaker, and it’s clear that Acura can’t wait to move forward from it.
10. Lincoln Navigator Ultimate $109.76
Gas prices might not have hit the budget-busting $5/gallon yet, but drivers are already feeling the pinch. Consumer Reports has exposed a list of the top 10 most expensive vehicles to fill up. All prices are based on the average fuel price in the United States.
First on our top 10 is the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate. The massive V8 in this thing gets a combined 15mpg according to fueleconomy.gov. That gives it a range of around 504 miles on a tank. Filling up this SUV costs almost $110, which surprisingly is far from the costliest fill up on this list.
Danny White of Washington D.C. has a sense of humor. He loves the Redskins, loves his Chevrolet Avalanche, and loves a good joke. Unfortunately, getting a vanity plate that says “NO-TAGS” (hilarious) is proving to be an expensive joke.
Since White’s plate says NO-TAGS on it, every time the city finds a vehicle that has been abandoned or is missing its plates, parking officials enter, well NO-TAGS in place of the normal number-letter combo. That routes the ticket over to White’s Chevy Avalanche. The poor guy said he’s received over $20,000 in tickets – none of which are even his.
Fortunately every few months he’s able to take time off work to go to the courthouse to get the tickets dismissed, but the ones that are made out for a Chevrolet become a tough sell. It’s become so problematic for White however that he can’t even renew his license or registration at the DMV.
An exception to the rule is being made thanks to local media coverage. A notice went out to all the different D.C. agencies that write tickets. The new protocol instructs officers to not write “NO TAGS” or “NONE.” Instead, they record the last six digits of the vehicles VIN and mark the state as “XX.”
White stands by his plate and refuses to change it. Unfortunately DMV director Lucinda Babers is considering recalling any confusing vanity plates altogether.
General Motors’ T800 series of full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, with specific reference to 1999-03 models of Chevy Silverado, Avalance, Suburban and Tahoe, as well as their GMC counterparts, Sierra and Yukon, have been subjected to an investigation regarding rusted brake lines.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a filling posted last week, has said it has upgraded its original investigation to an ‘engineering analysis’ covering the affected vehicles, following concerns regarding its preliminary findings.
Said findings included no fewer than 26 separate complaints of brake line corrosion which have resulted in vehicle accidents since the agency first began looking into the problem last year.
GM, in a statement last year, said that even if a brake line rusted through, one of these trucks should still be able to stop safely.
In the course of its investigation, NHTSA initially targeted 6 million vehicles, but later reduced this 1.8 million when it decided that only vehicles being driven in rust belt states (where the roads are salted in winter) are adversely affected.
Said states comprise Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.
Considering NHTSA’s recent spate of recalls, we have to think an official recall notice is coming soon.
[Source: New York Times]
Porsche tops list while U.S. automakers show most improvement
Each year J.D. Power & Associates does a study that examines the most appealing cars to consumers and this year there is one big surprise. The Hyundai Genesis sedan topped the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF in the mid-sized luxury segment for the 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
The APEAL Study is based off of owner evaluations of over 80,900 new car consumers from February to May 2009 and takes into account over 90 factors and generally evaluates how those buyers or leasers feel about their car new car.
Other winners include the VW Passat in the Mid-sized car segment, the Nissan Maxima in the Large Car segment, the Honda Odyssey in the Minivan Segment, a tie between the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Avalanche in the Pickup Truck segment and the Smart fortwo in the Sub-compact Car segment. And on that note, we urge you to take the list with a grain of salt, as the Smart beat out cars like the Honda Fit.
In terms of manufacturers, Porsche topped the list for the fifth consecutive year, while domestic brands like Dodge, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac showed the most improvement. As a manufacturer Cadillac placed third overall.
Overall, scores for 2009 improved over 2008, due mostly to improvements in the fuel-economy segment. J.D. Power lists three contributing factors to this increase: improved fuel-economy of the vehicles; an increase in ownership of fuel-efficient cars, with over 50 percent (as compared to 39 percent in 2008) of the surveyed vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines; and a drop in fuel prices that has also meant consumers are less interested in fuel economy.
One other trend that has emerged is the increasing appeal of domestic brands, as they ranked, on average, just five points below import brands. This compares to a difference of 15 points last year and 27 points in 2007.
GALLERY: J.D. Power 2009 APEAL Study
Japanese Automakers Dominate
The Lexus LS460, Rated the Best Overall Car by Consumer Reports for 2008
Consumer Reports has just released its list of the best cars in each class and the Japanese are dominating with 8 vehicles (out of 10) in the top spots. CR says it bases its results on three variables: Road Tests, Reliability and Safety.
For a car to be a top pick it must have ranked at the top of its class in an overall test score, which includes 50 individual tests. A Car must also have an average of better predicted reliability rating and must perform “adequately” in safety tests by the NHTSA or IIHS. Consumer Reports also stipulates that for any car to be a top pick it must have stability control (ESC).
And The Winners are:
Best Overall: Lexus LS460
-powerful, good fuel-economy,uncompromising luxury
Best Family Sedan: Honda Accord
-Roomy, well-rounded and fun to drive, plus ESC (Altima bested Accord in most tests but not all Altimas come with ESC)
Best Pickup Truck: Chevrolet Avalanche
-functional and comfortable
Best Small SUV: Toyota Rav4
-roomy and quiet, good on gas with 4 or 6-cyl, third row seat available
Best Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
-quiet, three rows of seats, decent fuel economy, versatile, AWD optional, Hybrid available
Best Minivan: Toyota Sienna
-versatile, seating for 8, rivals luxury cars for interior, AWD optional
Best Small Car: Hyundai Elantra
-comfortable and roomy wih good fuel economy, ESC on SE model
Best Green Car: Toyota Prius
-Prius wins six years running
Best UpScale Sedan: Infiniti G37
-Agile, great interior, AWD optional, luxury and sport all in one.
Best Fun to Drive Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
-Tied Boxster in testing but costs half as much
[Source: Consumer Reports]