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Archive for May, 2011

May 2011 Auto Sales: Up or Down?

May 31st, 2011

May 2011 Car Sales up, but not much

Today is June 1, 2011.  That means automakers will report May 2011 auto sales later today, and auto sales are expected to rise slightly compared to May of last year.  Additionally, May is expected to bring a significant decline in the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) when compared with the first four months of 2011. The SAAR balances the total number of vehicles sold with projections for the year based on historic data for a given sales season.

The expected SAAR for May translates to a total annualized figure of between 12.1 and 12.4 million units sold, according to industry expert predictions gathered by Business Insider and Bloomberg.

Through the preceding months of 2011, projections were closer to 13 million units. This was on pace for the highest sales figures since 2008.

May 2011 Car Sales Good for Hyundai

Hyundai/Kia are expected to overtake Toyota's brands for third in total U.S. car sales in the month of May.

The difference boils down to financial aftershocks due to the Japan natural disasters of this past March. Parts shortages have hit Toyota and Honda production particularly hard, with Ford, GM and Hyundai/Kia making gains in sales that would have otherwise gone to Toyota and Honda.

Hyundai and Kia, which fall under the same corporate umbrella, are projected to sell more combined cars than Toyota/Scion/Lexus for the first time ever in May, taking over the third spot behind rebounding GM and Ford at first and second.

The general consensus boils down to figures for May being somewhat of anomaly, with yearly pace still on track to bring big gains for the industry as a whole. The causes for less-than-stellar May figures?

Incentive spending is down industry-wide, leading to higher actual out-the-door prices paid by consumers. Those seeking to purchase a new car have heard so much in the media about production shortages that are likely putting off their purchases off until later this year.

This should bring even better than originally projected seasonally adjusted sales numbers for the late summer and fall as supply chains return to normal.


2012 Honda Civic Joins the 40-MPG Club

May 27th, 2011

2012 Honda Civic HF gets 41 mpg highway

In the modern small car landscape, more and more automakers have been able to produce new compact models achieving at least 40 mpg on the highway. Not to be left behind by Chevrolet, Ford, and Hyundai, Honda has announced that its 2012 Civic HF model achieves 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

Note that the HF is a special trim level incorporating a few changes to achieve such impressive numbers over standard Civic cars. The car shares the standard Civic’s 140-horsepower 1.8-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, relying on a few body tweaks to achieve better mileage.

The CIvic HF uses revised aerodynamics for better mpg

An aerodynamic rear decklid spoiler and unique alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires are important to fuel savings. Rounding out the efficiency package are a lowered ride height and revised underbody panels.

Priced at $19,445 to start, the HF costs around $3,500 more than a base model Civic Sedan or Coupe. The base Civic sedan sees 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway with the automatic transmission. It is worth mentioning that the HF package includes a higher degree of standard equipment in addition to the wind-cheating aero pieces.

2012 Honda Civic HF Interior


Honda Resumes Regular Production Schedule

May 27th, 2011

Honda factories near full production by August

Honda Motor Co., Ltd (NYSE:HMC) was hit hard by the Japanese natural disasters this past March, though the company is now on the rebound nearing full North American production, Tom Krishner writes for The Associated Press. Honda expects to be at full capacity for all models built in North America by August, with the exception of the 2012 Civic.

This is good news for the Japanese automaker, which along with Toyota Motor Corp. saw production slashed to a fraction of normal after the disasters. Honda builds 87 percent of cars sold in the U.S. at its North American factories in the U.S. and Canada, the company says.

2012 Civic production has been plagued by parts shortages.

2012 Civic production has been plagued by parts shortages.

The all-new 2012 Civic compact, Honda’s most important model at the present, likely will remain at around 50 percent production capacity until the fall, due in large part to shortages in electrical and rubber components shipped in from Japan.

Honda vehicle inventories beyond just the Civic have dwindled, meaning the company is expected to avoid too much spending on customer rebates and incentives. With Toyota and Nissan ramping up incentives leading into the summer despite limited production, Honda may need to do the same to stay competitive.


Three Days Only: Top 10 Memorial Day Deals on a New Car

May 27th, 2011

May Gray is finally leaving (at least on the west coast) and the kickoff to a sunny summer, otherwise known as Memorial Day, is just a three short days away. Contrary to what the media has been reporting, deals on a brand-new car are still available, and we have the proof to back it up.

If you’ve been patiently waiting on the sidelines, the time has finally come as dealerships across the country are offering 0% financing, lease specials and big cash-back incentives.

2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

Our take: The 33-mpg midsize sedan that still has an incentive making it the value-leader in the Hybrid class.
Invoice: $25,116
MSRP: $26,800
Engine: 2.5L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 158 HP
Fuel Economy: 33 city/33 hwy Rating: 4.6 Stars
Incentive: Up to $5000 Cash Back*
Learn more about the 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

2011 Toyota Camry

Our take: The industry benchmark for reliability and low cost to operate in the midsize sedan class.

Invoice: $18,882
MSRP: $20,195
Engine: 2.5L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 169 HP
Fuel Economy: 22 city/33 hwy Rating: 4.5 Stars
Incentive: $219/mo Lease Special*
Learn more about the 2011 Toyota Camry

2011 Ford Mustang

Our take: Front-engine, 305-hp and a well-balanced chassis for under $23k make this the flat-out best bang-for-the-buck sports car currently available.
Invoice: $21,078
MSRP: $22,145
Engine: 3.7L V6
Horsepower: 305 HP
Fuel Economy: 19 city/29 hwy Rating: 5.0 Stars
Incentive: Up to $2000 Cash Back*
Learn more about the 2011 Ford Mustang

2011 Honda CR-V

Our take: You won’t find a better Crossover/Small SUV out there.  The CR-V boasts the highest quality and reliability history in the Crossover/Small SUV class.

Invoice: $N/A
MSRP: $21,695
Engine: 2.5L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 180 HP
Fuel Economy: 21 city/28 hwy Rating: 5.0 Stars
Incentive: $0 Due at Lease Signing*
Learn more about the 2011 Honda CR-V

2011 MINI Cooper

Our take: Fun to drive and fuel-efficient.  What more could you possible want?

Invoice: $17,460
MSRP: $19,400
Engine: 1.8L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 121 HP
Fuel Economy: 29 city/37 hwy Rating: 5.0 Stars
Incentive: $199/month Lease Special*
Learn more about the 2011 MINI Cooper

2011 Kia Sorento

Our take: 10-year 100k mile warranty and quality that’s leap years ahead of the Kia’s of the past, the Sorento is worth a serious look for those who want a fuel-efficient Crossover.

Invoice: $19,615
MSRP: $19,995
Engine: 2.4L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 175 HP
Fuel Economy: 21 city/29 hwy Rating: 4.8 Stars
Incentive: $239/month Lease Special*
Learn more about the 2011 Kia Sorento

2011 Volkswagen CC

Our take: Stylish and stout, the CC is a fuel-efficient sedan that looks and drives like a coupe.

Invoice: $27,345
MSRP: $28,515
Engine: 2.0L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 200 HP
Fuel Economy: 21 city/31 hwy Rating: 4.4 Stars
Incentive: As low as 0.0% APR*
Learn more about the 2011 Volkswagen CC

2011 Volkswagen GTI

Our take: The most fun you can legally have with four doors, all for under $25k while still getting 31-mpg on the highway.

Invoice: $22,747
MSRP: $23,695
Engine: 2.0L 4-cyl.
Horsepower: 200 HP
Fuel Economy: 21 city/31 hwy Rating: 5.0 Stars
Incentive: $279/month Lease Special
Learn more about the 2011 Volkswagen GTI

2011 Mitsubishi Endeavor

Our take: Lots of torque, lots of power and lots of space.  And with $4500 cash back, the Endeavor is a veritable steal in the SUV class.

Invoice: $27,105
MSRP: $28,299
Engine: 3.8L V6
Horsepower: 225 HP
Fuel Economy: 15 city/21 hwy Rating: 4.5 Stars
Incentive: Up to $4,500 Cash Rebate*
Learn more about the 2011 Mitsubishi Endeavor

2011 Dodge Nitro

Our take: Gobs of torque and rugged good looks make the Nitro a solid pick for those who want an SUV that has a compliant ride on asphalt and a capable drive off-road.  And it tows.

Invoice: $21,652
MSRP: $22,245
Engine: 4.0L V6
Horsepower: 260 HP
Fuel Economy: 16 city/21 hwy Rating: 3.6 Stars
Incentive: Up to $3,000 Cash Back *
Learn more about the 2011 Dodge Nitro



2012 Nissan Versa Coming Soon

May 27th, 2011

2012 Nissan Versa $10,990 Base Price!

Some hot (or not) info on the totally redesigned 2012 Nissan Versa thanks to our friends at When Nissan’s newest subcompact hits the market later in the Summer this year, it will carry a bargain basement MSRP of only $10,990 for the base “S” model. That’s around $1,500 cheaper than Hyundai’s new 2012 Accent, at one time the cheapest car sold in the United States.

The Versa's styling mimics the new Altima.

All models are powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with dual fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing. Power production measures 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft. of torque. The base model offers either a 5-speed manual or a CVT automatic, while up-level SL and SV trims are equipped only with the CVT. Nissan promises 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway with the 5-speed and 30 mpg city/37 mpg highway with the CVT.

The Versa's interior is rather spartan.

Front, side and roof airbags are standard, as are stability control and traction control. The interior features basic features like air conditioning, AM/FM CD with auxiliary input and power windows, locks and mirrors. Available features are a standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat on the SV, and a navigation package. Only a four-door sedan will be available at launch, with a hatchback variant following soon after.

Check back for cash incentives soon to bring invoice pricing under $10,000, especially if Versa sales are slow out of the gate, which they might be due to Chevy’s upcoming 2012 Sonic.