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No Auto Down Payment? Consider a Lease Takeover…


lease-takeover.jpgIf you’re one of the many people who would like to get into a new or newer automobile, but you’re concerned about shelling out the down payment, consider a lease acquisition. In the current economic climate, the opportunity to get a top quality vehicle for little or no cash out of pocket is rising. And, while many automobile manufacturers also offer “no down” car sales or leases, there is a big difference in commitment to consider. Many leases offered for takeover have less than two years remaining, giving you an opportunity to drive your way through the current recession, without committing yourself to 36, 48, or 60 months on a loan or lease.

Posted in: Car Buying, The Car Biz

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Job #1 at Ford: Debt Reduction


Ford-dealership.jpgIn the midst of ongoing media attention aimed at the auto industry in general and the Detroit “Big Three” specifically, some positive and important news emerged this week as Ford announced it had reduced its debt load by just under $10 billion dollars. The Detroit automaker said it was spending $2.4 billion in cash, in addition to 468 million shares to improve its balance sheet and distance it from federal aid.
The news is seen as important, because buyers are reluctant to step off the sidelines, even with incentives and greatly reduced pricing. A just-completed AutoPacific online survey showed that buyers are disappointed by automakers taking bailout funds and that Ford tops their choice options in U.S. vehicles, in part due to its ability to avoid an Uncle Sam handout. The same survey respondents indicated they were unlikely to purchase vehicles from either GM or Chrysler.

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Exhaust Note #23: Dude, Where's My Lease?


No doubt many of you have heard the news about the Domestic manufacturers pulling back from leasing. Chrysler has pulled out of leasing altogether effective August 1 while Ford and GM are significantly raising their lease rates on many vehicles, particularly trucks whose residuals are now in the tank.


What’s the rationale here, and what does it mean for the consumer? Well, let’s start off real quick with a one-paragraph explanation of leasing for the benefit of those of you who are still a bit confused as to what leasing is (it’s ok to admit it – there are more than a few of us!). In a nutshell, when you lease a vehicle, you’re essentially paying monthly payments that add up to the difference between what the vehicle is worth new and what the car is pre-determined to be worth (residuals or resale value) when the lease term is up. This means that among similarly priced vehicles, those with higher resale values will generally have a lower lease price since the difference between the sales price and the pre-determined residual value at the end of the term will be smaller.

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BMW 1 Series Arrives Plus Cabrio Update


This week, BMW dealers across the United States began receiving the initial run of the new BMW 1 Series Coupe. Previewed on video (watch) by AutoPacific during the Los Angeles International Auto Show, the coupe looks even better on the showroom floor. While some dealers greed factor could be seen on the window sticker (between $2,000 and $5,000 over sticker), the real sales prices are more likely to be at or near the manufacturers price ($28,600 MSRP for the 128i ).


The 1 Series represents a significant step for BMW. As the 3 Series has become larger with each new edition, room has opened up at the bottom of the model range for a new addition. And the 1 Series is only new in America – European models being available since 2004. The 1 Series is currently the only vehicle in its class featuring rear-wheel drive and a longitudinally-mounted engine

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Video Reviews, Test Drives, and Opinion from VehicleVoice


Video is rapidly becoming an important component for any new, magazine, or entertainment website. At VehicleVoice, we’ve been using video for nearly two years and we want to make certain you know how useful and entertaining our video stories can be.
Our video stories are typically fairly short, so you can enjoy them during a coffee break, or while waiting for that report to print. Two recent surveys show that more than three quarters of the people who use the Internet watch an hour or more of video every week. And, a huge percentage of that audience takes advantage of the lunch hour to enjoy the various video clips and stories now being posted everywhere from CNN to political campaigns to your own private website — to, yup, right here at VehicleVoice.


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2007 Motorist Choice Awards Announced


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The Motorist Choice Award is in its second year and is a collaboration between AutoPacific and AutoPacific, widely known for its industry expertise and research, and IntelliChoice, known for its comprehensive cost of ownership information, designed the Motorist Choice Award to help consumers identify the most satisfying cars and trucks that are also the least expensive to own.
Using data from AutoPacific’s national Vehicle Satisfaction research and the IntelliChoice Best Overall Value information, AutoPacific and IntelliChoice have developed a unique tool that can be used by consumers to help them sort through the myriad of choices in today’s automotive marketplace.
Here are the 2007 Winners of the 25 individual segment awards:
SEGMENT – Winner
Aspirational Luxury Car – Lexus IS
Compact Car – Mazda3
Compact Crossover SUV – Chevrolet HHR
Compact Pickup – Toyota Tacoma
Compact Sport Utility/ORV – Toyota Tacoma
Economy Car – Honda Fit
Image Compact Car – Volkswagen GTi
Large Car – Toyota Avalon
Large Heavy Duty Pickup – Chevrolet Silverado HD
Large Light Duty Pickup – Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Large Luxury Car – Cadillac DTS
Large Sport Utility – GMC Yukon XL
Luxury Crossover SUV – Acura MDX
Luxury Mid-Size Car – Nissan Maxima
Luxury Sport Utility – Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Mid-Size Car – Volkswagen Jetta
Mid-Size Crossover SUV – Honda CR-V
Mid-Size Sport Utility – Toyota 4Runner
Minivan – Honda Odyssey
Premium Luxury Car – Lexus LS
Premium Mid-Size Car – Nissan Altima
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV – Nissan Murano
Premium Sports Car – Lexus SC
Sports Car – Porsche Boxster
Sporty Car – Scion tC
The press release can be found below the fold.
• • • • •

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Chrysler's Lifetime Warranty Announced


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If you want to get attention you do something really spectacular. Right?
Well, beginning on July 26, 2007 Chrysler began offering a lifetime powertrain warranty for the initial owners on all 2006, 2007 and 2008 model year vehicles with the exception of diesels and high performance SRT models.
Chrysler Leapfrogs Competition with Lifetime Powertrain Warranty
Having been a laggard in the warranty wars up to now, Chrysler one-ups Hyundai’s and Kia’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, General Motors’ 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, and Ford’s 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. Even Mitsubishi is in the game with a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty for initial owners.
Chrysler needed this bump to get its vehicles more competitive and to eliminate a barrier to sales that dealers have been finding. It was too easy to use warranty as one excuse among many not to buy a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep. Now that Chrysler can tout the ONLY lifetime warranty in the industry, maybe this is just what is needed to boost sales and welcome their new owners – Cerberus Capital Management.
How Will Competition Respond? Lifetime Bumper-to-Bumper Warranties?
Over the next few weeks and months it will be interesting to watch how Chrysler’s competition responds to this move. It is known that several other companies have considered lifetime warranties – even including lifetime bumper-to-bumper warranties – but Chrysler is the first to commit.

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Mercedes GL450 Buying Experience – Nightmare at Fletcher Jones


The following story tracks the actual sales and service experience of long time AutoPacific project manager Mary Beth Martin. Mary Beth’s husband leased her a new Mercedes GL450 from Fletcher Jones Motorcars. The GL450 is the top-of-the-line Mercedes SUV – not cheap by any means. Fletcher Jones is the largest Mercedes-Benz dealership in the USA if not in the world. Located in Newport Beach, California Fletcher Jones is admittedly a bit landlocked for the amount of business they push through the dealership, but that is a feeble excuse for the experience Mary Beth had when acquiring her new ride. Read on, the story will surprise you.

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Nightmare at Fletcher Jones Motorcars
Purchasing or leasing a new vehicle is a wonderful thing or at least it should be! My husband surprised me with a new Mercedes GL 450 as an early Christmas present. He said all I had to do was pick out the color (I had already told him what features I wanted on my next vehicle), sign (documents) and leave (December 5th). He had prearranged the deal with a salesman at Fletcher Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach, California.
I need to give you a little background information: my husband arranged to lease two vehicles in the deal, one for myself and one for his partner’s wife. Both vehicles were to be GL450s equipped the same way (or were supposed to be). We were to sign for the vehicles and Fletcher Jones was to bill my husband’s company. So I was all excited about my first luxury vehicle (my husband already has a S500, but my vehicle was a Ford Expedition schlepmobile) and since purchasing my Expedition had been wonderful I anticipated this to be even better (at least that is what the Mercedes and Fletcher Jones ads implied).
Read on for my story of woe…

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The Perfect Gen Y Car – A Used Car?


The horrific parade of cars “designed to meet the youthful needs of Generation Y” seems to have taken its proper course. I pray the trend is dead. (No, Dan, as VehicleVoice correspondent and AutoPacific president George Peterson found at a recent Dodge Caliber press event, cars targeted at GenY are alive and well. At least Dodge admitted they would not be embarrassed when the Caliber sells to older folks.)
I remember watching Trevor Creed, head of Chrysler Group design, unveil the Dodge Razor designed for “millenials” at the 2002 Detroit Auto Show. The typical Chrysler todo included boom boxes and kids on Razors, those small-wheeled scooters that pre-adolescents use for terrorizing shopping mall parking lots. “What are they thinking?” was my first thought. “Did Trevor get into a terrible Razor accident?”

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Used 2004 Civic Coupe – Perfect GenY Car

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Buying Your Teen a Car


First of all, nobody should have a vehicle purchased for him or her. Cars are a responsibility, both financially and from a safety standpoint. So when my wife asked me what kind of car we were going to buy my daughter Danielle for her 16th birthday I was not exactly enthusiastic. “Shouldn’t she save her babysitting cash and get a car when she goes to college?” I thought. By then she might have a better handle on both financial responsibility and safety. Besides, the cash she gets for watching some of my neighbor’s offspring is amazing.

Posted in: Car Buying, Kids & Kars

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