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Compact/Subcompact Cars: Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L
An attractive price tag doesn’t always mean you’re getting a good deal for your money. That’s especially the case when you’re shopping for a car and you have to take into account its depreciation, cost of maintenance and even how much it’ll run you each time you have to fill up the gas tank.
Because of all those variables, Consumer Reports has released its list of new cars with the worst value, taking into account all the previously mentioned variables. As a result, the publication determined the five-year ownership cost for each vehicle and ranked them accordingly to determine which vehicles in today’s market gives you the worst bang for your buck.
While it certainly has its appeal as an iconic model in the automotive world, the Volkswagen Beetle 2.5-liter is actually the worst value in the compact/subcompact car category. With a starting price of $20,815 including destination, the Beetle 2.5-liter isn’t exactly an expensive car but considering it only gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, it’s not the most fuel efficient either. The Beetle is powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 170 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, but over five years its depreciation is worse than the average car in its category and its cost to maintain certainly gives it poor value.
Congratulations, you’re all grown up! At this point in life you’ve probably made it through college with more than an associate’s degree in the field of interpretive dance; you’ve more than likely claimed a life partner that’s the opposite gender and of breeding age and, consequently, you’ve manufactured a genetic replica or two. You’re going places, and you need a suitable vehicle for this exciting new lifestyle.
Strategic Vision has announced the winners of its 2013 Total Quality Index (TQI), with American automakers reinstating their position in some very competitive segments.
20. BMW 7-Series
In the market and shopping for a used car? Consumer Reports has released a list of 20 used vehicles to stay away from as they have a reputation for causing trouble. Listed is a top 20 list of used cars from 2003 to 2012 model year to avoid in alphabetical order. These vehicles had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey.
The BMW 7-Series may be the German automaker’s luxury flagship, but used models aren’t without their issues. From 2001-2008, the 7-Series featured the good ‘ol “Bangle Butt” and sported some highly controversial styling. Early production of that generation was overwhelmed with issues even causing BMW to purchase back some of the vehicles back in 2002-2003. BMW of North America even extended its warranty on all 2002-2003 model year 7-Series vehicles to six years/100,000 miles from the original four years/50,000 miles.
According to Consumer Reports, the BMW 7-Series ranked “worse” in the categories of Engine Major, Engine Minor, Transmission Major, Transmission Minor, Body Hardware, and Audio System.
A concept minivan, little information was available on it at the show. All we could get from Chrysler was that the 700C is “a styling exercise, designed to gauge public reaction.”
When Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne toured the Windsor assembly plant which builds the current Dodge Grand Caravan and Town & Country models, he talked about “big plans for the future,” though declined to reveal much more.
With minivan sales still a staple part of the Chrysler’s business in North America, yet the segment for the most part suffering from a lack of new investment, perhaps the time has come to reinvent the concept of what a minivan should be.
And if the Chrysler 700C concept is any indication, that might just result in the most exciting people mover seen in more than a quarter of a century.
GALLERY: Chrysler 700C
The Toyota Sienna and the Dodge Grand Caravan are neck-in-neck to become the top selling minivan of 2011. What it will come down to will most likely be determined by parts availability and end-of-year consumer deals… and perhaps a fleet transaction could pull one automaker ahead of the rest?
Here’s what it looks like so far. As of the end of October, the Dodge Grand Caravan was in first place with 92,930 sales, followed closely by the Toyota Sienna with 91,955 sales. In third is the Honda Odyssey with 86,436 sales and in fourth is the Chrysler Town & Country with 78,255 sales.
There are a few factors that could make or break this race for the top spot. The first is parts availability, and with the earthquake and tsunami drastically affecting production, Japanese minivan sales could suffer. Another is end of year deals, and to really make a push for the close of 2011, both Toyota and Dodge could pull out some pretty sweet sale prices to give the automakers’ respective vehicles an edge in the competition. Finally, fleet sales could turn out to be the secret weapon that drives one competitor out above the rest. Dodge, Chrysler and Toyota sell minivans to fleets, but Honda doesn’t, so a final fleet push could be just what cinches the race.
What minivan do you think will win the race? And is Chrysler crazy for having announced it will discontinue the Grand Caravan?
[Source: Automotive News]
With a new look, a new engine, a much improved interior and better ride quality you’d think the folks at Chrysler would be pleased with their new Dodge Grand Caravan? After all, it has even been met with much-improved comments from the automotive media.
It may have started the entire minivan segment, but Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne apparently cares little for history, deciding instead to axe the family hauler from the Chrysler brand lineup some time in 2013. According to a report by Automotive News the van will be replaced (along with the Dodge Avenger) by a single Fiat-based crossover model in 2014.
The Chrysler Town & Country (generally the volume seller and the more expensive model) will continue on as the brand’s only minivan. Of note, however, the Grand Caravan has actually outsold the Chrysler model by roughly 14,000 units so far in 2011. The decision is also a bold move outside U.S. borders where the Dodge Grand Caravan is the top selling minivan in Canada.
GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
Chrysler is issuing a recall for a small number of vehicles equipped with the new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6. According to the automaker a total of 657 vehicles may be affected and could exhibit a loss of power as a result of manufacturing debris left in the engine.
Chrysler saw the problem was caught early on, but not until those 657 models had been shipped out. Models affected include the Chrysler 200, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Journey, Durango, Grand Caravan and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Chrysler says it will be sending out letters to retail and fleet customers in October, but that the majority of the vehicles have yet to be sold.
Fans of Italian cars should prepare to dry heave, as Lancia has just released an image of their new Flavia Cabrio, looking like a poorly rebadged Chrysler 200.
The only engine available is a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. Thrilling. Lancia will also get a re-badged Chrysler Town & Country, known as the Voyager as part of their rejuvenated, Chrysler-infused lineup. You can check back for AutoGuide’s for live Frankfurt coverage starting on September 13th.
Hit the jump to see the press release below
Hard-hitting Consumer Reports, recently tested a plethora of updated Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, revealing that while Detroit’s number three automaker has made significant gains in terms of vehicle improvement, levels of quality between vehicles remain varied and there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Speaking at CR’s Auto Test Center, located in East Haddam, Connecticut, David Champion, senior director at the center, said, “we see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model.”
The models rated as the most significantly improved, were the re-designed seven-passenger Dodge Durango SUV and the 2011 Charger full-size sedan, both of which received ‘very good’ ratings during CR road tests.
The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan also received a ‘Very Good’ rating, however other vehicles tested at the same time, including the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, as well as Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot, while still improved over their predecessors, were still rated as ‘mediocre’ by the publication.
Consumer Reports also said that in terms of overall reliability, based on its Annual Auto Survey, Chrysler vehicles still rank below average, in fact scoring the lowest overall road test scores for any major automaker. In the last three years, CR has only only given a single Chrysler vehicle a ‘recommended’ rating, the Ram 1500 half-ton pickup.
The results from the eight 2011 Chrysler models tested will appear in the August issue of Consumer Reports, the publication had planned to also include the Fiat 500, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger, but those vehicles weren’t available for testing at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see what the magazine makes of those when it gets around to evaluating them.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Chrysler has said that it is recalling some 11,351 vehicles from the 2011 model year, including Chrysler 200s and Town & Country minivans, Dodge Avengers, Calibers, Journeys, Nitros and Grand Caravans, as well as Jeep Compass, Patriot and Wrangler models.
The problem? An incorrectly installed steering column rivet that could potentially cause the steering system to fail, resulting in loss of vehicle control and even an accident.
The automaker said the cause of the problem was “improper identification of rejected components by new employees during the second shift.” Out of some 14,000 steering columns Chrysler inspected, it found that seven of them boasted missing or incorrect rivets.
So far the Auburn Hills, Michigan automaker has said there have been no consumer complaints nor records of accidents or injuries resulting from the issue. Nevertheless, owners of the affected vehicles will be notified starting next month and urged to contact their nearest Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealer to have the problem fixed free of charge.
[Source: The Detroit News]
The only automaker that currently offers an AWD minivan is Toyota, but that is about to change says Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne. In a recent product briefing Marchionne indicated that the next-generation Chrysler minivan (the Town & Country) will gain all-wheel drive.
Nearly a decade ago Chrysler did offer an AWD version, but it was axed due to low take rate and because it took up space that Chrysler then used for its Stow ‘n Go seats.
Previous reports have indicated Chrysler’s intention to deliver a small pickup truck based off the minivan platform. This news indicates that the truck could also get the same AWD system.
In addition, Marchionne referred to the new vehicle as a “classic minivan”, indicating a decision on an earlier proposal to drop a minivan model from either the Dodge or Chrysler brands. With Chrysle’rs van now moving ahead, it is expected that the Dodge Grand Caravan will be axed, and instead replaced with a smaller MPV style vehicle along the lines of the Mazda5.
The new Chrysler Town & Country is expected in 2014, roughly the same time an agreement with Volkswagen to extend the Routan could be extended.
GALLERY: 2011 Chrysler Town & Country
[Source: The Detroit News]
Chrysler announced a recall of 248,000 Dodge Journey, Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country models for a chance that the key could slip out while driving, shutting down the engine without warning.
At least two rear-end collisions have occurred from this fault, says Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From driver contact or bumpy road conditions, the key could get knocked into the accessory position, which would shut down the engine as a result. Chrysler received 32 complaints and 465 warranty claims from customers, and launched an investigation last September to respond to these. The key’s supplier is Continental AG.
The models affected are all 2010 vehicles, built between August 3, 2009, and June 17, 2010. About 3 percent of the 248,000 vehicles recalled may have this problem.
When Volkswagen announced a few years ago, that they would give Chrysler the contract to build a minivan based on the Town and Country,it took auto fans by surprise. Afterall, in Europe, VW has its own minivan, a vehicle that was previously sold here in one form or another as the Eurovan.
The Routan was not much different from the Town and Country, even sharing the same mechanicals. It was also more expensive and lacked the ‘Stow and Go’ seating that made the Chrysler vans such a hit.
Last year, VW sold just 15,961 Routan’s and it seems its days are now numbered. Jonathan Browning, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America has recently said “Volkswagen has not decided on whether to offer a minivan after its contract with the Chrysler Group expires in about two years.”
Browning has also thwarted the idea of entering the U.S.-made 2012 Passat in NASCAR, saying “it’s not something we are looking at.” They do however plan on building 150,000 Passat sedans per year out of the Chattanooga, TN. plant. These American-made Passats will be on sale in Canada, Mexico, Korea and possibly even the Middle East once production starts in August.
Chrysler Corporation will look to introduce a new compact van for either Dodge or Chrysler, with the new model replacing that brand’s current minivan offering. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, made the comments to reporters gathered at the North American International Auto Show.
The move will take place by 2013 says Marchionne, with the small MPV set to rival the Mazda5 and newly-released Ford C-Max. If Chrysler gets the small van, then the Town & Country will be cut, while the Grand Caravan will face a similar fate if Dodge gets the new model.
With the Town & Country the stronger seller in the U.S. and the fact that it commands higher prices, the Grand Caravan’s fate would appear numbered.
Like how the C-Max rides on the Focus platform and the Mazda5 on the Mazda3 architecture, the new Chrysler Group model will be based off of an upcoming compact car platform, that will not only be used for the Caliber replacement, but it also expected to be used to build Jeep crossovers, like the next-generation Compass and Patriot.
Few people pay attention to minivans, but an interesting sales war is heating up, with what could be Chrysler’s first major sales victory in their post-bailout era.
Chrysler‘s Town & Country minivan, which just underwent a pretty substantial refresh, is the leading minivan according to sales data, moving 102,495 units through November. The perennial leader, the Honda Odyssey, trailed by about 4500 units, amid a surging minivan market. Toyota’s Sienna is over 10,000 units behind the Chrysler.
It seems unlikely that the Odyssey will prevail, and 2011 is sure to be an interesting year if the upward sales of minivans continues, especially with a predicted rise in gas prices.
[Source: The Detroit News]
Kia‘s Sedona minivan, an often ignored but solid bargain in the minivan segment, gets a new grille for 2011, along with an upgraded powertrain.
The Sedona’s new V6 puts out 271 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque with power being put down through a 6 speed manual transmission. This gives the Sedona a 27 horsepower gain over the old motor, but a 5 lb-ft loss…not that it matters.
With all new versions of the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country and Nissan Quest about the flood the market, the Sedona has a tough fight ahead. But with a low MSRP, it’s destined to achieve at least some success.
Chrysler has announced pricing details for their upcoming 200 mid-size car and their Town & Country minivan. Both cars are notable for their upgraded interiors and 3.6L Pentastar V6s, which should make them infinitely more palatable than the vehicles they replace.
The 200 will start at $19,995 for the base LX model, with the Touring model going for $21,995 and $24,995 for the Limited. A 200S trim level will appear sometime after launch, with no pricing information released.
The Town & Country, on sale for over two decades, is being offered as a more upscale alternative to the Dodge Caravan, and starts at a lofty $30,995, with the mid-level Touring L starting at $33,995 and the top level Limited topping out at $39,495. Prices for both cars include destination charges.
Hit the jump to see the official press release