Auto News for July 6 – When Do You Spot a Lemon?

 Two-thirds of lemon cars started to show symptoms of problems after only one month of purchase, with issues ranging from a check engine light to a non-starting vehicle, according to a survey conducted by YourMechanic.

 The survey results captured the experience of owning a lemon from car owners who went through the experience firsthand. The results proved why it’s important to get a pre-purchase inspection before every vehicle purchase – even for those bought from a dealership. Of car owners who reported they had purchased a lemon, key findings include:

 65 percent of lemon cars came from a dealership.

 44 percent of respondents purchased from a used car dealership.

 35 percent of respondents purchased directly through a private owner.

 21 percent of respondents purchased from a new car dealership.

 More than 60 percent of lemon owners spent $5,000+ on the faulty vehicle.


 Hyundai will stop selling the Azera here in the U.S. at the end of the 2017 model year. Another victim of the demand for crossovers and SUV’s.


 Maserati’s chief executive rang the closing bell on Wall Street yesterday as the 2018 GranTurismo made its world debut outside the trading hall. There will be two models, the Sport and the MC both with a 4.7-liter V8 “hand built by Ferrari in Maranello.” It packs 454 horsepower at 7,000 rpm with 384 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm matched to a six-speed ZF automatic. The higher performance MC model will roar from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds Maserati claims. Top speed is 187 mph but probably not in gridlocked NYC.

 A great quote in “Car” magazine from Dr. Ian Robertson, BMW’s global sales chief on autonomous cars:

 “Mother nature cracked autonomy a while ago. A swarm of a million birds can move fast without a single one flying into another, and they don’t have smartphones! Nature has capabilities we need to understand.”    

 The nominees for 2018 Car of the Year, SUV of the Year and Truck of the Year have been released.


Alfa Romeo Giulia

Audi A5/S5

BMW 5 Series

Honda Clarity

Honda Accord

Hyundai Ioniq

Kia Stinger

Lexus LC500

MINI Countryman

Porsche Panamera

Subaru Impreza

Tesla Model 3

Toyota Camry


 Utility Vehicle

Audi Q5/S5

Alfa Romeo Stelvio


Buick Enclave

Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet Traverse

GMC Terrain

Honda Odyssey

Jeep Compass

Kia Niro

Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Range Rover Velar

Mazda CX-5

Nissan Rogue Sport

Subaru Crosstrek

Toyota CH-R

Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen Tiguan

Volvo XC60 



Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Ford Expedition

Lincoln Navigator

 This long list will be pared down in November, with the winners disclosed, as always, at the Detroit Auto Show next January.

Rolls continental

 Eight historic Rolls-Royce Phantoms will be on display later this month in the heart of the luxury world, Bonhams on Bond Street in London. Among them will be Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Phantom II Continental.

 The short-wheelbase Continental had been introduced in 1930 as a ‘sportier’ version of the Phantom II, which had debuted a year earlier. The Continental, with its improved balance and springing, was capable of 95 mph, which was not fast considering Campbell was setting world speed records in another car at the time.

 Extra equipment on the Pale Blue car were a fire extinguisher, spotlight, an exhaust pipe specified as nine-inches longer than the norm, a klaxon horn, a Bosch horn and a siren. Clearly this king of speed wanted people to know he was coming through!

 As you can see from the picture, this was one beautiful car for the 1930’s.

Auto News for July 5 – Volvo – End of an Era

  Back after a relaxing Fourth of July. Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, with low prices for gas and hamburg.

Volvo electric

 Volvo announced this morning that every car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor. This marks the “historic end of cars that only (have) an internal combustion engine…” the company said.

 It added that “electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.”

 Volvo will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars.

 It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, its performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date.

 While you were grilling automakers were releasing their sales figures for June and the story was much the same. Sagging demand for cars brought down overall sales figures to a degree that even hot demand for trucks, SUV’s and crossovers could not boost.

 But analysts seem to agree that total sales figures for the year, while not record setting, will still be strong.  

 GM sales fell 4.8 percent, Ford was down 5 percent and Fiat Chrysler saw a 7.4 percent setback.

 Subaru, Toyota, and VW enjoyed stronger sales with demand for Subaru’s up a zesty 10.8 percent. Gains were also reported at Honda and Nissan.

 The headline caught my eye – “New Cars Unaffordable for Most Americans.” said that in only one of the 25 largest metropolitan areas can a family with a median income afford an “average-priced new car.”

 The long exception was Washington D.C.

 This involves a transaction of 20% down, a four year loan and principal/interest/insurance payments comprising 10% of a household’s gross income.

 “The main point of this research is to illustrate how Americans are having to overextend themselves to pay for a new car at today’s prices,” says analyst Claes Bell.

 Along that line … As car buyers’ appetites for bigger and more expensive vehicles grows, so does their willingness to take longer paying for them, according to a new analysis from Edmunds. The average auto loan length reached an all-time high of 69.3 months in June — up 6.8 percent from five years ago. The average amount buyers financed recorded the biggest uptick for the year, hitting $30,945 (up $631 from May), also leading to the highest monthly payments for the year, now averaging $517 (up from $510 in May).

 “Stretching out loan terms to secure a monthly payment they’re comfortable with is becoming buyers’ go-to way to get the cars they want, equipped the way they want them,” said Edmunds Executive Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. “It’s financially risky, leaving borrowers exposed to being upside down on their vehicles for a large chunk of their loans, but it’s also a sign that consumers are still confident enough in the economy to spend more on their vehicles and commit to paying for them longer.”

 Speaking of being underwater, another report concludes that the unmanned underwater vehicle market will be worth $5.2 billion by the year 2022.


 Elon Musk said the first Tesla Model 3 will be completed this Friday now that it has passed all regulatory requirements. The company plans a party to mark the first models to be presented to owners with production being ramped up to 1,500 Model 3’s by September.





Happy 4th

The Saturday Road Test column will resume on July 8. Taking the long weekend off.  Hope you and yours have a wonderful long weekend.

Auto News for June 30 – Mustangs Burning Rubber!!!!

 Have a happy and safe Fourth. The Auto News column will resume on July 5

 It will soon be easier for Mustang owners to burn rubber. A “state-of-the-art” electronic line-lock will be available across the Mustang lineup. Until now it was only available on V8 models.

 Using steering wheel-mounted thumb switches, a driver toggles through a menu on the instrument cluster to activate electronic line-lock. Once engaged, the system builds pressure on the front brake calipers. Another button press holds the pressure for up to 15 seconds, allowing the driver to hit the throttle and spin the rear wheels while the car stays in place,

 Drivers with available new 12-inch, all-digital instrument cluster will see on the display an industry-first animation of a spinning alloy wheel creating a cloud of smoke when line-lock is engaged.

 McLaren Automotive accelerates to its fourth consecutive year of profitability from record sales in 2016. It also confirmed that its business plan is on track with launch of new Super Series and Sports Series models

 A record 3,286 McLaren cars were sold in 2016 and the first car available under a new business plan, the 720S, is sold out for this year with 1,500 orders taken. Pictured is CEO Mike Flewitt.

 “The positive financial performance in 2016 was underpinned by a 44% increase in sales revenues and is further proof that McLaren Automotive’s growth plans are both achievable and sustainable,” Flewitt said.

 Aston Martin’s wildest-ever car – the track-only Aston Martin Vulcan – has been taken to new extremes with a performance upgrade package developed by the luxury marque’s new performance brand, AMR.

 Some aerodynamic changes resulted in a major increase in downforce, important on the track. Gear ratios were shortened to “deliver intensified acceleration.” And it is one fine looking vehicle.

 Production of the 2018 Toyota Camry is underway at the plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. The car will go on sale this summer and is the first U.S. produced vehicle to feature Toyota’s new Global Architecture.