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.
Sales are up but customer satisfaction when it comes to new cars took a hit this year for the first time in two years.
Compacts and sub-compacts were the most popularly searched in AutoGuide.com’s new cars section this week.
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
Gas prices always hit a spike in the summer, and this year is shaping up to be a doozy with prices likely to pass $4.00 per gallon by Memorial Day.
With fuel costs jumping to such dramatic heights, it might feel like a logical decision to jump ship on your current car for something less thirsty. Smart as that seems, an article published in Forbes proves otherwise.
The truth is, a car that gets a few mpg better than what you’re driving now would amount to a few dollars in savings but nothing substantial to most people.
“Assuming the average consumer drives 12,000 miles per year in a vehicle that gets 20 mpg, an increase of $1.00 per gallon, from $3.60 to $4.60 per gallon as an example, would only result in an approximate increase of $11.50 per week in fuel expenses,” Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book told Forbes.
Moving from a full-size SUV to a something significantly smaller is the only instance where trading cars in favor of fuel economy yields noticeable savings, but it’s important to consider that most people driving larger cars do it for a reason. It will be tough moving the whole family around in a Fiat 500 when you become accustomed to your Chevrolet Suburban.
The move is still difficult to justify if you’re one of the people who bought an SUV just to have one. High-milage hybrid cars come at a premium because of the new technology they rely on. Even if you get lucky and trade that Ford Explorer in for a decent rate, you’re still probably going to pay a lot — both at signing and in installments.
Even if it means buying a couple new handkerchiefs to dab away the tears as you fuel up, it’s probably not cost-effective to make the car trade unless you’re in the market anyway.
Ford announced that they are investing $446 million into their Sao Bernardo do Campo plant near Sao Paulo, Brazil towards the production of a new global vehicle.
Unfortunately Ford didn’t announce any more details in regards to the new model, but it will likely be something geared toward’s Brazil’s emerging middle class.
The Sao Benardo do Campo plant currently produces the Ka, Courier and F-250 models and has an annual capacity of of 160,000 cars and light vehicles in addition to 40,000 trucks.
Brazil has become an emerging market for many vehicle manufacturers. Nissan also announced previously that they’ll be building a $1.5 billion factory in Brazil to supply some of the brand new models
[Source: Automotive News]
Toyota has announced its three-man tea of pro racers, who will pilot the brand’s hybrid LMP1 car in the 2012 Le Mans and other races. The list includes former F1 driver and winner of the 2009 24 Hours of Le mans (under Peugeot) Alex Wurz, Team Oreca pilot and last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring winner Nicolas Lapierra and former F1 racer Kaxuki Nakakima.
“I can’t wait to get started and I am fascinated by the new challenge of competing with a hybrid car. It is the future of racing so I am very excited that Toyota comes in with this technology,” said Alex Wurz, one of Toyota’s new drivers.
He, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakakima will start training early in the new year, though it already sounds like their team spirit is coming together.
“Alex is a two-time Le Mans winner so he is a great benchmark for us, but he is also able to build a strong team spirit. I believe the choice of drivers is very good and I am looking forward to working together as a team,” Lapierre said in a press release.
While Wurz brings Le Mans experience to the table, all three drivers are familiar with World Endurance Championship racing.
“Le Mans will be a new experience for me but it is one that I am very much looking forward to. The challenge of Le Mans is famous throughout motorspot so I can’t wait to race there for the first time. Obviously it is a new experience but I am familiar with endurance racing thanks to my time in Japanese Super GT and this will help me to adjust,” Nakajima said.
Today’s announcement comes after Toyota telling the press late last month that they plan to partner with ORECA Racing Group in developing their new hybrid LMP1 class car.
The decision came after Toyota’s previous solo endeavor at Le Mans failed. Toyota hopes for more success after pairing with championship-winning ORECA. Toyota will contribute the hybrid powertrain while ORECA plans to develop the chassis for their 2012 entrant.
Those of you buying or selling a used car now have another weapon at your disposal during your hunt for the perfect clunker. The EPA is offering window stickers for a all kinds of used cars that give estimates of a vehicle’s fuel economy, so buyers and sellers can advertise (or obfuscate) how much gasoline their car consumes.
The figures are based on revised EPA ratings, which came into effect in 2008. The window stickers also come with a QR code (that strange looking bit of black and white squares) so you can scan it with a smartphone and get details digitally. The new figures are supposed to accurately reflect a vehicle’s true fuel economy, and we experimented with a 1997 Mazda Miata, which was at one point rated at 18/25mpg for city and highway driving. The new figures show 20/26 mpg, a slight bump in both areas, but still relatively poor for such a small 4-cylinder vehicle. For comparison, a 2011 model gets 21/28 mpg on the highway. You can satiate your own curiosity here, and find out what kind of rating your own vehicle will get. Be sure to let us known in the comments.