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Over Twenty-One Million Served


In car design, the redesign of an icon is always a challenge. The 2012 beetle, in showrooms this October, will be a test of just how far styling changes and overall sophistication can take a vehicle that’s original appeal was its retro character.

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2011 Chevrolet Volt: No Fear of the B.S.O.D. with this Tech-Laden Halo


In November of 2010, General Motors delivered on a promise they made to start producing the Chevrolet Volt.  Just after production started I had the opportunity to spend a day with a Volt.  While it was a very interesting car to drive for a day, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to drive a vehicle that had the ability to be plugged in, so Chevrolet let me drive one for a week earlier this year.

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2012 Nissan Versa Sedan Lowest Price New Car, or Is It?


There are no bad cars.  It’s been years since I’ve seen a really bad car to be sold as new in the USA.  Maybe the not lamented Chrysler Sebring came close before it evolved into the Chrysler 200 for 2011.  So, as the new V-Platform Nissan Versa is poised to be launched for the 2012 model year as the lowest price new car available in the USA you wonder if a new car priced so low is a bad car?  The answer is a resounding no.  But with the Versa and new Hyundai Accent arriving almost concurrently on the market it begs brief comparison.

2012 Nissan Versa Sedan

2012 Hyundai Accent Sedan

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2011 Hyundai Elantra: Breaking the Paradigm of Econoboxes


First we had the Sonata and now we have the Elantra.  The Sonata was the direct hit to the gut but the Elantra is the uppercut that no one saw coming.  Gunning for the respect of Hyundai naysayers, the Elantra delivers the quality, fuel economy, and price tag that will change minds and make believers.

While other automakers have raised the price of their new c-segment vehicles to make them in America with a profit, Hyundai has changed the game again.  Hyundai seems to be bucking the trend these days of lofty price tags.  The Elantra is a stylish value package assembled in the good ol’ U.S. of A. that needs to be at the top of your test drive list.

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Just a Party?


VehicleVoice just got back from the 2010 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. Talk about a party. After two years of cautious optimism, this year’s show gave the impression that things are looking brighter. From Toyota’s Swagger Wagon Supreme to Audi’s V-10-powered R8 Spyder boasting 710 hp, the show reminded us of the glory days. No doubt, the SEMA show is less outrageous than in the past, and that’s a good thing. But this year’s show seemed to shrug off the negative vibes of consumer confidence, replacing them with a healthy dose of fun.
With significant OEM participation in the show, one has to ask, “Is this just about the aftermarket? Does the aftermarket fuel new vehicle sales?”
AutoPacific recently conducted research into this subject for SEMA and reached some interesting results.
• Modifiers are vocal: Over one-third of them give car-buying advice to five or more people in a given year.
• Modifiers are influenced by parts and accessories availability when they make a new vehicle purchase: Twenty-nine percent indicated that the availability of parts for their vehicle influenced them to buy that vehicle versus a different vehicle.
• Non-modifiers are influenced by customized vehicles: Eleven percent of non-modifiers surveyed indicated that a customized vehicle influenced them to purchase that particular vehicle.
When you add up the affect of aftermarket parts on both modifiers and non-modifiers, AutoPacific estimates that over 1.3 million new vehicle sales are positively influenced in a ten million year. That’s impressive. Perhaps the photos below tell a story that includes a lot more than a party.
SEMA Honda.jpg
SEMA Off-Road.jpg

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2010 Toyota 4Runner Shares AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size SUV


Toy_10_4RunnerTrail.jpgThe 4Runner is an SUV icon, and the way the freshly 2010 model satisfies its owners demonstrates why. 4Runner does well in areas critical to SUV owners including durability, overall quality, safety features, reliability/dependability, and overall satisfaction.
In creating the new 2010 4Runner, Toyota has clearly paid attention to the factors that have made the nameplate such a longtime success – one that brings loyal owners back time and time again.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.

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2010 Nissan Pathfinder Shares AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size SUV


Nis_10_Pathfinder.jpgThe Nissan Pathfinder remains a compelling choice for those who need a real SUV. As a seven-seater with a rugged frame underneath, Pathfinder was rated highly by its owners for being reliable/dependable, providing a feeling of being safe while driving, exterior size and overall seating capacity.
Though today’s drivers continue migrating toward Crossover SUVs, Pathfinder still remains a very satisfying choice for those who need rugged capability.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.

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Consumer Brands — Auto Brands — How Do They Relate?


Which Consumer Brands Resonate with Auto Brands and Vice Versa?
TUSTIN, Calif. (December 10, 2009) — You won’t likely find many Porsches parked in front of Walmart. Only one in 17 Walmart Shoppers will even consider a Porsche. On the other hand one in six REI shoppers will consider a Porsche. A Generation Y new vehicle buyer is much more likely to also purchase an Apple product — computer, iPod, and iPhone than older new vehicle buyers. Shoppers at H&M — a trendy “cheap-chic” clothier — are much more into their vehicle’s image than their vehicle’s power and acceleration. Trader Joe’s customers are more likely to drive an Audi, BMW or Volvo.
A just released study of consumer brands and automotive brands sold in the United States provides in-depth information on the relationships existing between new vehicle buyers and twenty-seven consumer brands. This information gives insight not only into who is buying the consumer brands, but what is important to them, what other brands are cross-shopped and how it all plays into their automotive brand preferences.
“Our research indicates that American car buyers have dramatically different buying profiles for consumer brands. Selection of a consumer brand and selection of a vehicle brand and type are heavily tied together. The parking lot at Whole Foods is a lot different from the one at Walmart,” notes George Peterson, President of AutoPacific.

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AutoPacific Announces 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards


AutoPacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award Highlights Consumer Opinion As Industry Struggles
National Survey Measures Satisfaction with New Vehicles

TUSTIN, Calif. (May 19, 2009) — In the most challenging auto sales market in years, AutoPacific today announced its 13th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA). For the second straight year, Cadillac ranks highest among new car owners, taking the Highest Satisfaction Brand honors even with the turmoil surrounding General Motors and the industry as a whole.
Overall brand satisfaction ratings among Hyundai purchasers jumped 11 positions earning Hyundai 2009 Rising Star honors. This positive move was more than any other manufacturer in the survey. Hyundai scored higher in 40 of 48 rating categories in 2009 compared with 2008. Two Hyundai products took VSAs this year: the Genesis in the Aspirational Luxury Car category and the Sonata in the Premium Mid-size car class.
“These are difficult times, with news of automaker bankruptcies, companies restructuring and dealer closures a daily occurrence,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “Clearly, the dynamics surrounding the Vehicle Satisfaction Award in 2009 are far different from anything we’ve seen in many years. Winners needed to overachieve to earn their awards.”

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2009 NAIAS: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EV


Who says extended-range vehicles can’t tackle trails? Not Jeep, as they explore the application of in-wheel motors to a vehicle with full Jeep capability. This concept is not officially Trail Rated, but that’s the direction Jeep is heading.




The full Jeep description is available after the jump.

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