AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
To Frugality and Beyond!
Fuel economy is a major purchase consideration for new-vehicle shoppers; in fact it’s the No. 1 thing they look for in a car or truck. Consumers continue to demand ever greater mileage, and so does the federal government. Washington keeps turning up the wick on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. In response to these stimuli automakers are working day and night to improve the efficiency of their products.
SEE ALSO: Used Car Reviews
Of course not everyone is in the market for a shiny new ride. Many people opt for a pre-owned vehicle instead. Used cars and trucks can be terrific values, especially when certification programs and extended warranties are factored in. If new-vehicle buyers want better fuel economy it’s a safe bet second-hand shoppers are salivating for it as well. Here’s a list of 10 economy-minded used vehicles that will maximize you MPG. To qualify the cars and trucks listed are at least one generation behind the latest model on the market.
Unintended acceleration is an ugly phrase to throw around in the automotive world after the scandal that involved Toyota in 2009 and 2010.
10. 2009 Ford Fusion: $2,890
Insurance isn’t kind to teenage drivers. Rates are usually double the price of experienced drivers. Luckily CarInsure.com has provided a list of the top 10 best vehicles to insure for teenagers.
The rates are calculated based on a Washington family: a married couple driving a 2011 Honda Accord and a 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, with a clean driving record and good credit. Their teenage driver is a 16-year-old male, also with a clean driving record. This list covers a five-year insurance impact. The vehicles on this list are from 2008, or 2009.
Tenth on the list is the 2009 Ford Fusion, equipped with ESC. This car gains its price thanks to a perfect NHTSA front impact score and the highest score possible for frontal-offset and side impact tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The key to this model though is the optional electronic stability control.
After encountering 30 incidents involving cracked wheel studs and steel wheels separating from the vehicles, Ford will be recalling 128,616 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans to fix the issue.
An investigation by NHTSA led to the recall, though no injuries have been reported. Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles, inspect them at dealerships and replace any components free of charge. Check out the official article below the jump for more information.
After 71 years of acting as Ford’s middle child, the final nail in the Mercury coffin was pounded in, as dealers removed all remnants of Mercury logos and signs from their dealerships, marking the end of the brand’s existence once and for all.
Mercury vehicles ended production in October, although a final order for government agencies continued to be produced. Although Mercury produced some iconic vehicles, such as the early sedans used in the hot-rodding community, and the Cougar muscle car, the brand became little more than cosmetically enhanced Ford products throughout the 1980′s and 1990′s, giving consumers scant reason to purchase a Mercury vehicle.
[Source: Detroit News]
It’s official. Ford has announced that production of Mercury vehicles for retail customers will end on Sunday, October 10 this year. It’s not entirely the end of Merc manufacturing – vehicles will continue to roll off the assembly lines for a few more months, but they will be aimed strictly at fleet buyers – rental car companies, government agencies and the like.
But even as production winds down, there actually seems to be fewer deals to be had – including the loss of bonus cash offers – quite extraordinary, since sales of Mercury vehicles have spiked recently. In August, the brand sold 9,039 vehicles for the month, comprising 2,976 Mariner SUVs, 2013 Milan mid-size sedans, 651 Mountaineer SUVs and, get this, 3,399 Grand Marquis full-size sedans – proving that even on its deathbed the old body-on-frame rear drive mastadon is just as much a gravy boat now as it ever was.
Although production will be ending on Sunday, Mercury dealers will still be selling cars as long as inventory remains available. So if you fancy getting yourself one of the last examples of Ford’s original medium priced brand, better get your skates on. Here’s some of the offers currently being pedaled by dealers and good at least through Monday next week.
- 2010 Mercury Grand Marquis: 0% for 36 months, plus $1,000 bonus cash and two years of free maintenance, or $4,000 in total cash back .
- 2010 Mercury Mariner: 0% for 60 months and two years of free maintenance, or $2,000 in total cash back .
- 2010 Mercury Mountaineer: 0% for 36 months, plus $1,000 bonus cash and two years of free maintenance, or $3,000 in total cash back .
- 2010 Mercury Milan: 0% for 60 months and two years of free maintenance.
- 2011 Mercury Milan: 0% for 60 months, or $2,000 cash back.
- 2011 Mercury Mariner: 0% for 60 months, or $2,000 cash back
[Source: USA Today/Drive On]
Car and Driver’s campaign to “Save the Manuals” campaign is spreading, with Consumers Reports doing their part for the movement by compiling a comprehensive list of all new cars available with a manual gearbox.
A few years ago, you could find some real oddities with a stick shift – a BMW X5 for example. Now, the list is largely what you’d expect; compact pickups, economy cars, the occasional luxury sedan with sporting pretensions, and of course, performance cars.
But there is one totally-out-of-left-field choice on the list that stands out from the others; the Mercury Milan (though not the hybrid pictured above), which can be had with a stick like its Ford Fusion counterpart. Better act fast if you want one.
Hit the jump to see the full list of cars that will let you shift for yourself
[Source: Consumers Reports]
The taste of irony must be bitter for Ford Motor Co, as its dying Mercury division outsold Lincoln, Ford’s luxury division, in the month of June.
Mercury sales were up 26.2% compared to June, 2009, while Lincoln sales dropped 11% in that same time period. Leading the charge was the Mariner SUV, which reported a 37.5% percent increase in sales. However, the data did not cite whether fleet sales were included, as Mercury is tremendously popular among big fleet buyers like rental car agencies.
Ford canned the Mercury brand to focus its attention on its Lincoln brand, which is taking dead aim at Cadillac. Lincoln is expected to receive on onslaught of new product, starting with the redesigned MKX crossover this summer.
Ford announced today that five of their vehicles have been selected as Top Safety Picks By The IIHS, boosting their total to 11 vehicles. The 2010 Ford Flex and Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and MKT and the Mercury Milan all scored the highest possible ratings in the IIHS’s front, side and rear impact tests as well as their roof strength test. The ratings mean that Ford now leads the industry in Top Safety Picks as well as government five-star crash ratings.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
The investigation involves 249,301 Fusion and Milan models from the 2010 model year where an accessory floor mat may entrap the accelerator pedal – in essence causing a sticking throttle. The problem occurs when the floor mat is placed on top of the existing carpet floor mat – something all automakers warn against. “We do not recommend stacking floor mats in any vehicle from any automaker,” said Ford spokesman Said Deep.
NHTSA commented in a statement that, “Any Ford ‘all weather’ optional floor mat should be placed in the driver’s side foot well only after first unfastening and removing the standard, carpeted floor mat.”
No accidents or injuries have been reported but NHTSA has said it received three complains – one of which came from Edmunds.com boss Dan Edmunds, who experienced the problem on a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Toyota recently recalled 5.4 million vehicles for what is essentially the very same issue – a hint that Ford could be facing a recall similar in scope. NHTSA has been on the war path recently, issuing a spate of new recalls and investigations based on fewer and fewer complains.
[Source: Detroit News]
Mercury‘s glory days are long over, with the brand lacking anything exciting or unique since the muscle car era. With the Grand Marquis scheduled to die alongside its customer base, and every other Mercury product available right next door at the Ford showroom, the storied brand is set to be euthanized by its parent company, Ford Motor Co., according to a report by Bloomberg News Service.
Ford executives are reportedly readying a proposal to kill Mercury, and will present the plan at a board meeting this July. While Ford is in good financial shape, shuttering Mercury would make sense, as two of its four cars are scheduled to die next year, leaving it a lame duck amid strong Ford and Lincoln lineups. General Motors has closed down three brands within the last decade, and Chrysler closed down its Plymouth division in 2001, so the move would not be unprecedented. Ford has spent 88 percent less on the brand from 2005 to 2009, as sales declined rapidly.
Want to know where a car is made? Look at the VIN.
The All-American Impala: Made in Canada
During President Obama’s press conference last week when he announced that Chrylser would file for Chapter 11, he asked Americans that if they were looking to buy a car, to look at American cars. The “buy American” philosophy drew harsh criticism from the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), which pointed out that buying American doesn’t necessarily mean buying a car from an American brand.
“AIADA objects to President Obama’s ‘buy American’ solution for the auto sector,” AIADA President Cody Lusk said in a statement. “In today’s globalized economy ‘buying American’ can mean anything from buying a Chevy Avalanche built by Mexican workers in Silao, Mexico to buying a Toyota Camry built by Americans in Georgetown, Kentucky.”
On that note, there is one way to tell exactly which country a car is manufactured in – the VIN number. That’s right, that odd 17-digit sequence of numbers and letters found on the dash under the windshield (and in numerous other places on a vehicle) holds the key to a vehicle’s country of origin.
Many VIN numbers, actually start with a letter. Those that start with a “J” are built in Japan and those with a “K” are from Korea. Most of the rest, however, aren’t so intuitive. VINs that start with a “W” are from Germany, while an “S” signifies England. Swedish cars get a “Y.”
The United States, Canada and Mexico all use a number system, with American-made cars using a VIN that starts with the number 1, while Canadian-made cars use a 2 and Mexican made cars use a 3.
The number of American vehicles made outside the U.S. is actually quite significant, while many “foreign” cars are built in American. In fact, one of America’s best-selling vehicles (and one that is also typically American) is actually built in Canada – the Chevy Impala.
Other made-in-Canada cars include the Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis and the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
Made-in Mexico cars include the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Chevrolet HHR. And as for the the Chevy Aveo sub-compact, it comes from Korea.
On the flip-side, there are plenty of Japanese (and even some German) vehicles built in the U.S. of A. Some of the most significant include the high volume Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the Honda Element and Toyota Avalon are also U.S. products. Nissan builds several models in the United States while BMW manufactures the Z4 as well as the X5 and X6 in South Carolina.
… The more you know…
[Source: La Times]