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  1. Back in June, we learned that Skoda (a Czech brand under the Volkswagen group) was investigating possibly entering new markets. One of those new markets was North America, a place where 20 percent of global car sales take place. At the time our original report, Skoda hasn't set a timeframe for a decision. Also as we noted, Skoda would need to get more crossovers and SUVs ready if they want to try and make inroads in the U.S. Speaking of SUVs and the U.S., a recent article done by Autocar piqued our interest. Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said if they were to launch the brand in the U.S. in the near future, they would have their upcoming seven-seat Kodiaq leading the charge. “If we do decide to compete in the US, we will have one chance to make a good first impression. We feel that if we were there now, the Kodiaq would be a home-run car,” said Maier. Maier did stress that the U.S. isn't on Skoda's immediate radar. At the moment, the brand is looking closely at Iran, Singapore, and South Korea as possible new markets. But Maier isn't saying the U.S. isn't on their radar at all. “America is the one that we don't currently compete in with the biggest potential.” Skoda appears to have taken a page out of PSA Peugeot Citroën's playbook. Autocar says the automaker has begun a feasibility study as to whether or not it makes sense to enter the U.S. Source: Autocar
  2. The good news is that consumers are visiting the gas station less. The bad news is that consumers are spending more at the pump. Wait, those two sentences contradict each other. Which one is true? According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), both of these sentences are correct. Let us explain. As new fuel economy and emission regulations come into effect, automakers are trying to figure out ways to make that gallon of gas go farther. One method that a number of automakers are using is turbochargers. They allow automakers to use smaller displacement engines to improve fuel economy and retain the power of larger engines. The EIA says the market share of turbo engines has climbed from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 17.6 percent in 2014. But the problem is that many turbo engines require premium fuel to operate at their full potential, which costs more than regular and midgrade fuel. Yes, you can fill them with regular and not have the issue of knock - premature fuel detonation due to increased cylinder pressure. But you lose some of the power that the turbo is providing. The EIA says that only 12.5 percent of vehicles recommended premium fuel in 2010. This increased to 14.2 percent in 2013. With turbo engines projected to be in 83.3 percent of new vehicles by 2025, expect to pay more at the pump despite going there less. Source: Energy Information Administration
  3. With the rise of services of car and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, a number of people have said this would begin the downfall of buying and owning a new vehicle in the U.S. But a new study commissioned by Kelly Blue Book says that isn't happening for the majority of the country. The study revealed many Americans consider vehicle ownership to be more convenient, reliable, safer than car- and ride-sharing services. It also revealed that 76 percent of respondents that use these services are planning to buy or lease a vehicle within the next two years. "While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. Other findings of KBB's study include, 73 percent of respondents said they have heard of these ride-sharing services, but only 16 percent have used them. This is similar to car sharing services as 43 percent said they have heard of them, but only 7 percent have taken advantage.Most of the respondents using these services are young people living in urban environments. This makes sense as owning a vehicle in this environment is more of a pain. [*]Car and Ride sharing services are seen more as substitutes for taxis and rental cars. [*]Affordability was the top reason given respondents who don't own a car. Only 5 percent said using a ride-sharing service was the reason they don't own a car. 3 percent said gave the same reason for why they use car sharing services. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Kelly Blue Book Press Release is on Page 2 Kelley Blue Book Study Reveals Ride-Sharing, Car-Sharing Services Do Not Pose Threat To Car Buying KBB.com Finds Americans Not Ready to Give Up Freedom Associated with Vehicle Ownership IRVINE, Calif., March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The results are in, and according to Kelley Blue Book, ride- and car-sharing is not an imminent threat to new-car buying and vehicle ownership, despite the growing number of services being offered to consumers. This is just one of many interesting findings from the recent 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study, released today by KBB.com, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Commissioned by Kelley Blue Book and conducted by Vital Findings to understand the motivations behind ride-sharing and car-sharing usage, as well as opinions and behaviors surrounding current and future transportation, the survey found that these sharing platforms primarily are used as substitutes for taxis and traditional rental car companies, and have very limited impact on current or future vehicle ownership. In fact, the expected transportation method of the majority of Americans that currently own or have access to a vehicle (74 percent) is to drive themselves in the next six months. When asked what statements about owning or leasing a vehicle respondents agree with, 80 percent completely or somewhat agreed that owning or leasing a vehicle provides a sense of freedom and independence, followed by 62 percent that completely or somewhat agreed that owning or leasing a vehicle gives you a sense of pride/success. Ride-sharing services, including Uber and Lyft, among others, use a Smartphone app for consumers to request and pay for a ride on demand from drivers who typically own the cars they drive. On the other hand, car-sharing companies, such as Getaround, ZipCar and Car2Go, among others, provide consumers with the opportunity to borrow vehicles and drive themselves, using a Smartphone app to schedule, unlock and pay for borrowed vehicles. "Ride- and car-sharing services are getting a lot of attention these days, and we wanted to better understand the current landscape of these app-fueled platforms and how they may impact both consumers and the auto industry moving forward," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors." Looking down the road, the field is relatively level for potential ride-sharing providers to enter the market with more than one-third of respondents (37 percent) giving the most consideration to companies with a ride-sharing app, followed closely by rental car companies (32 percent) and taxi/limo companies (26 percent). In addition, 24 percent of those surveyed also would consider vehicle dealerships as a potential ride-sharing provider over vehicle manufacturers (16 percent) and individuals with a vehicle (15 percent). Respondents were least likely (14 percent) to consider tech companies as potential ride-sharing providers. Similar to ride-sharing, the opportunity for new car-sharing services to enter the market is fairly level, as traditional vehicle rental companies (36 percent), companies specifically created to provide vehicle sharing (33 percent), and notably, vehicle dealerships (31 percent) were among the most considered car-sharing providers among respondents. Sample of Additional Findings from 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study Awareness Doesn't Mean Use: Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) are aware of ride sharing, but only 16 percent have actually used these services, with Millennials and city dwellers leading usage. As for car sharing, 43 percent of respondents are aware, but only 7 percent use these services. Still Planning to Buy or Lease: Vehicle-sharing services are viewed as substitutes for taxis (41 percent) and rental cars (39 percent), with more than three-quarters (76 percent) of vehicle-sharing users reporting their intent to purchase or lease their own vehicle within the next two years. Ownership Has Its Benefits: According to respondents, vehicle ownership is more reliable (81 percent vs. 19 percent for ride sharing; 78 percent vs. 22 percent for car sharing), safer (80 percent vs. 20 percent for ride sharing; 80 percent vs. 20 percent for car sharing) and more convenient (74 percent vs. 26 percent for ride sharing; 75 percent vs. 25 percent for car sharing) than depending on sharing services. Budget Is Primary Ownership Factor: Among those surveyed who did not currently own or lease a vehicle, more than half of respondents (57 percent) name affordability, which also was the highest listed reason, as the main deterrent for not purchasing or leasing their own vehicles. Only 5 percent said utilizing ride sharing and 3 percent said utilizing car sharing as reasons for not owning a vehicle in the future. Safety First: More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) believe that ride-sharing services are a great way to combat drunk driving; however, only 33 percent of those surveyed deemed ride-sharing to be safe. In fact, 48 percent stated they wouldn't be comfortable riding alone with a ride-share driver. The national survey reveals the responses from more than 1,900 U.S. residents between the ages of 18-64 years old, weighted to Census figures by age, gender and ethnicity that have a variety of residential and ownership patterns.
  4. Congratulations America. It seems we now buy more SUVs and crossovers than sedans according to a new study from IHS Automotive. Through May of 2014, IHS says that SUVs and CUVs account for 36.5 percent of new car registrations, compared to the 35.4 percent of registrations for sedans. This is a reversal from five years ago where sedans stood at 36.3 percent of registrations, compared to the 31.4 percent for SUVs and crossovers. “It’s not that sedans have become unpopular. It’s just that CUVs have really grown. They drive like cars, but they have higher positioning, the option for four-wheel drive and better fuel economy. There’s more space for seating. It’s easy to see why they’ve taken off in popularity,” said Tom Libby, analyst for IHS Automotive. The one thing we wished the study showed is the breakdown in registration percentages if SUVs and crossovers were separated. Otherwise, the results don't come as surprise. Source: Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  5. A new report from IHS Automotive says the average age of a vehicle on the road stands at 11.4 years, the same age as last year. This is change from the past few years where the age was climbing steadily. "In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road. This year, we're seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of today's automobiles," said Mark Seng, director, aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive. But IHS is predicting that the average age will creep up to 11.5 year by 2017, and up to 11.7 by 2019. IHS also reports that at the end of 2013, there were 252.7 million light vehicles operating U.S. roads. This is up by 3.7 million vehicles when compared to 2012. Source: IHS Automotive Press Release is on Page 2 Average Age of Vehicles on the Road Remains Steady at 11.4 years, According to IHS Automotive U.S. Vehicles in Operation (VIO) Hits Record Levels at More than 252 Million; Scrappage Rate Declines Significantly SOUTHFIELD, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the U.S. remained steady at 11.4 years, based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation taken Jan. 1 of this year, according to IHS Automotive, which incorporated Polk into its business last year. Total light vehicles in Operation (VIO) in the U.S. also reached a record level of more than 252,700,000 -- an increase of more than 3.7 million (1.5 percent) since last year, said the IHS Automotive analysis from July 2013. In addition, new vehicle registrations outpaced scrappage by more than 24 percent for the first time in a decade, according to the analysis. The average age is in line with the trend shift first seen in 2013, in which the combined fleet of cars and light trucks on the road is older than ever. New analysis, however, indicates the average age of light trucks has increased in the past year to the same age as passenger cars, both at 11.4 years. This milestone marks the first time this has happened since 1995, when the data was first reported. “In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road,” said Mark Seng, director, aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive. “This year, we’re seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of today’s automobiles.” Looking ahead, IHS forecasts that average age of vehicles is likely to remain at 11.4 years through 2015, then rise to 11.5 years by 2017 and 11.7 years by 2019. This rate of growth is slowing as compared to the last five years due to the substantial increase in new vehicle sales. Scrappage Rates Decline amid VIO Growth The number of vehicles scrapped in 2013 was significantly fewer than in previous years, with just over 11.5 million vehicles scrapped during the 12-month timeframe analyzed by IHS Automotive. In comparison, a record high of more than 14 million vehicles were scrapped in 2012. This while VIO is up 1.5 percent, a rate the auto industry hasn’t seen in the U.S. since 2004-2005. Dynamics of Fleet Age and Mix With the shift in ownership comes shift in the age of vehicles within segments of the overall fleet, which is important to business planners in the aftermarket and service industries so they can manage inventories of parts required and plan for sales and service activity accordingly. Based on the growth of new vehicle registrations in the past few years as the U.S. auto industry has rebounded, IHS Automotive forecasts that the volume of vehicles 0-5 years old will increase by 32 percent over the next five years while vehicles in the 6-11 year old category will decline by 21 percent. Because of improved quality and consumers holding their cars and light trucks longer, vehicles 12-plus years old continue to grow and will increase by 15 percent by 2019. The IHS Automotive aftermarket team is working with customers in all areas of the aftermarket to help them best identify opportunities and specific planning efforts that may help improve their business. Likewise, business planning opportunities are under way at the OEMs to help them identify additional sales opportunities as vehicles are taken out of service and newer vehicle are coming into the U.S. vehicle fleet.
  6. While many still think electric vehicles are a niche, a new study from IHS Automotive suggests that EVs are actually catching on more quickly than hybrids when they were first introduced. The study looked at the cumulative global sales of the first-generation Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Leaf in the first four years. IHS Automotive found that the Toyota Prius moved 52,200 units from 2000 to 2004. However, the Volt and Leaf have sold more vehicles in their respective four-year timeframes. The Chevrolet Volt and all of its derivatives saw sales of 68,507 units, while the Nissan Leaf saw sales of 96,477 units. It should be noted that while Toyota Prius went on sale in 1997 in Japan, IHS Automotive uses 2000 as the starting point for figuring out sales as that is when Toyota launched the model worldwide. The IHS Automotive study also points out that early expectations for EVs may have been inflated a lot, causing many to think of early EVs and plug-ins as failures in sales despite the relative success in sales around the world. Source: Automobile Magazine William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  7. For the first time in sixteen years, J.D. Power and Associates says data from its recent vehicle dependability study shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. This year's study charted 2011 models over three years of ownership and tracked the number of problems. Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, J.D. Power reports an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (or shorten to PP100). This is an increase of six percent when compared to 2010's 126 PP100 average. The reason for this climb in problems comes down to problems with engines and transmissions. J.D. Power found that engines and transmissions problem accounted for a 6 PP100 boost. "Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles. However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. Among individual brands, Lexus ran away with the most dependable brand title for the third year in a row. With just 68 problems per 100 vehicles, the brand was far ahead of Mercedes-Benz (104 PP100), Cadillac (107 PP100), Acura (109 PP100), and Buick (112 PP100). Source: J.D. Power William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study 2/12/2014 J.D. Power Reports: Increased Engine and Transmission Problems Contribute to Decline in Vehicle Dependability for The First Time in More Than 15 Years General Motors Company Receives Eight Segment Awards, While Toyota Motor Corporation Garners Seven and Honda Motor Company Earns Six WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: Owners of 3-year-old vehicles (2011 model year) report more problems than did owners of 3-year-old vehicles last year, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today. The study, now in its 25th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study finds that overall vehicle dependability averages 133 PP100, a 6 percent increase in problems from 126 PP100 in 2013. This marks the first time since the 1998 study that the average number of problems has increased. "Until this year, we have seen a continual improvement in vehicle dependability," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "However, some of the changes that automakers implemented for the 2011 model year have led to a noticeable increase in problems reported." Increases in Engine and Transmission Problems Reported Engine and transmission problems increase by nearly 6 PP100 year over year, accounting for the majority of the overall 7 PP100 increase in reported problems. The decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with 4-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100. These smaller engines, as well as large diesel engines, tend to be more problematic than 5- and 6-cylinder engines, for which owners report fewer problems, on average. "Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles," said Sargent. "However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge." Dependability Leads to Loyalty; Poor Dependability Creates Avoidance J.D. Power also finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combined data from previous years' VDS results and vehicle trade-in data from the Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power show that 56 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slipped to just 42 percent among owners who reported three or more problems. Also, a comparison of data from the 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study with data from the subsequent J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Avoider StudySM shows that consumers are much more likely to avoid vehicles from brands that rank lower in dependability. On average, 23 percent of consumers avoided brands that ranked in the lowest quartile of the 2013 VDS because of concerns about reliability. In contrast, only 9 percent of consumers cited that same reason for avoiding brands that ranked in the top quartile. "By combining our customer research with trade-in data, we see a very strong correlation between dependability and real-world brand loyalty," said Sargent. "Also, we see that brands with lower dependability are likely to be shut out of a significant piece of the market, as many consumers will not even consider purchasing one of their vehicles because of concerns about its likely reliability." Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates for a third consecutive year. The gap between Lexus and all other brands is substantial, with Lexus averaging 68 PP100 compared with second-ranked Mercedes-Benz at 104 PP100. Following Mercedes-Benz in the rankings are Cadillac (107), Acura (109) and Buick (112), respectively. General Motors Company receives eight segment awards?more than any other automaker in 2014?for the Buick Lucerne; Cadillac DTS (tie); Cadillac Escalade; Chevrolet Camaro; Chevrolet Volt; GMC Sierra HD; GMC Sierra LD; and GMC Yukon. Toyota Motor Corporation garners seven awards for the Lexus ES; Lexus GS; Lexus LS (tie); Lexus RX; Scion xB; Toyota Camry; and Toyota Sienna. Honda Motor Company receives six model-level awards for the Acura RDX; Honda CR-V; Honda Crosstour; Honda Element; Honda Fit; and Honda Ridgeline. MINI receives one model-level award for the MINI Cooper. The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles, which typically translates into higher resale values and customer loyalty. It also helps consumers make more-informed choices for both new- and used-vehicle purchases. The 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 41,000 original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded between October and December 2013.
  8. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 9, 2013 Don't own a vehicle? You are not alone. In fact, the number of people who don't own a vehicle is increasing. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released a brief that states the number of American households that don't own a vehicle has seen a uptick. Starting in 1960, the number of households that didn't own a vehicle declined steadily, reaching a low of 8.7 percent in 2007. But since that time, the share has been rising. In 2011, the latest year for which data is available, the share had risen to 9.3 percent. While the economic fallout from the recession plays a key role, authors of the brief say there are other factors in play. "Changes in alternatives to travel, such as communication substituting for travel and renewed interest in and availability of options such as transit, bike and walk, helped dampen interest in expanding auto ownership," the brief stated. This correlates to data released back in February by Federal Highway Administration which showed the number of vehicle miles traveled peaked in the U.S. in 2004. Since then, the number of vehicle miles traveled has declined steadily. Another factor in play is persistent narrative that Millennials don't own vehicles since they cannot afford one. Source: AASHTO, Aol Autos William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  9. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 31, 2013 J.D. Power and Associates recently released their 2012 U.S. Navigation Usage Satisfaction Study and the results aren’t that surprising. Consumer happiness dropped 13 points in the study’s 1,000-point scale to 681, one of the lowest scores J.D. Power has ever recorded in the six years the study has been taken. Even worse was the overall satisfaction in voice controls, scoring 544 points out of 1,000. Even worse news for automakers: people are using their smartphones for navigation and point-of-interest searches.47% of the people surveyed had downloaded a navigation app to supplement their in-car system, up from 37% last year. The survey also revealed that owners “definitely would not” or “probably would not” buy the system in their vehicles if their smartphone’s navigation could be displayed on the screen. “Manufacturers of navigation systems face a serious challenge as smartphone navigation usage continues to rise and gains preference among vehicle owners. Free apps, up-to-date maps, and a familiar interface allow for quicker routing and improved interaction, including better voice recognition,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power. Source: Wired Autopia William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  10. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 2, 2012 According to research firm Baum and Associates, American buyers are taking a liking to diesel vehicles. Through June of this year, 61,214 diesel-powered vehicles have been sold in the U.S., an increase of 27.5%. That number might not sound like a lot, but sales of diesel vehicles are steadily climbing. From April to June, Diesel vehicles saw increases in sales ranging from 14.4% to 28.2%. This news comes in the face of the high price of a gallon of diesel compared to gas. AAA reports that the national average cost of a gallon of diesel is $3.780, compared with $3.521 a gallon for regular gas. "Despite some volatility in the auto market, clean-diesel auto sales have increased in 22 of the past 23 months with double-digit increases in 20 of those months. And diesel auto sales increased by more than 30 percent in 12 of these months," Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said in a statement. Source: Kicking Tires
  11. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 22, 2013 AAA recently released their annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study and finds that average American driver is now paying $9,122 per year to keep their vehicle on the road, an increase of 1.92% when compared to 2012. Assuming a person is driving around 15,000 miles a year, that breaks down 60.8 cents per mile. The study looks at the costs of keeping a vehicle on road such as gas, maintenance, and insurance to name a few. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle. This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. Fuel, insurance, and depreciation were the biggest costs in the study, totaling $6,700 per year. Source: AAA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Cost of Owning and Operating Vehicle in U.S. Increases Nearly Two Percent According to AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study Increase in maintenance, insurance and fuel drive up average cost for sedans to $9,122 yearly, 60.8 cents per mile ORLANDO, Fla., (April 16, 2013) – AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today, revealing a 1.96 percent increase in the cost to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average cost rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile.” The findings of the 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include: In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure which is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded in the additional resources bar. Nielsen continued, “Before you make any vehicle purchase, it is important to determine ownership and operational costs and compare them to your current and future financial situation.” To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle. Maintenance Costs Up 11.26 Percent The costs associated with maintaining a vehicle had the single largest percentage increase from 2012 to 2013, growing by 11.26 percent to 4.97 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. AAA’s estimates are based upon the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty policy. Driving the increase in maintenance costs is significant increases in labor and part costs for some models and a major increase in the price of extended warranty policies due to high loss ratios by underwriters. Fuel Costs Up 1.93 Percent Gasoline prices were relatively stable compared to the prior year, leading to a minimal fuel cost increase of 1.93 percent to 14.45 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) actually rose 3.84 percent, from $3.357 to $3.486 per gallon. However, several vehicles in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had small improvements in their fuel economy ratings which partially offset the fuel cost increase. Fuel costs in the 2013 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2012. Tire Costs Remain Unchanged The cost of tires did not change from 2012 to 2013, remaining at one cent per mile on average for sedan owners. The stable price is attributed to a leveling off of past increased costs for raw materials, energy and transportation from factories to distributors across the country. Insurance Costs Up 2.76 Percent Average insurance costs for sedans rose 2.76 percent (or $28) to $1029 annually. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. Quotes from five AAA clubs and insurance companies representing seven states showed across-the-board modest increases for all sedan sizes, with large cars having less of an increase than small- and medium-size sedans. Depreciation Costs Rise .78 Percent After seeing a drop in 2012, depreciation costs were up slightly in 2013, increasing .78 percent to $3,571 a year. This change may be a consequence of recovering new vehicle sales, resulting in more used cars available in the marketplace and thus the softening of the resale value of clean older models. 63rd Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon. The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary. See AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure for a list of vehicles and additional information on the underlying criteria used in the study.
  12. Automakers are leveraging new technologies such as automatic parking systems, concierge services, and mobile internet to bring people into showrooms. But a new study done by J.D. Power reveals that a number of owners aren't using it. J.D. Power published today the 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report, a new study which looks at 33 tech features in vehicles and ask owners if they have ever used them. According to the report, at least 20 percent of owners have never used 16 out of the 33 features (about 48.4 percent). The top five features that owners said they never use includes, In-Vehicle Concierge Services - 43% Mobile Routers - 38% Automatic Parking Systems - 35% Heads-Up Display - 33% Built-In Apps - 32% So why do owners not use these features? A key part comes down to dealers not explaining the features, which in turn causes an increase of an owner not using it. Also, the report says that if a feature isn't activated when a vehicle is delivered, it sometimes mean an owner doesn't know it exists. “The first 30 days are critical. That first-time experience with the technology is the make-it-or-break-it stage. Automakers need to get it right the first time, or owners will simply use their own mobile device instead of the in-vehicle technology,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 Automakers Spending Billions on Technologies That Many Consumers Don’t Use Built-in Connectivity among Least Used Technologies, Creating Lost Value WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 25 August 2015 — Automakers are investing billions of dollars to put technologies in their cars and light trucks that are not being used by many of the owners of those vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report.SM The 2015 DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership. The report finds that at least 20 percent of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); head-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%). There are 14 technology features that 20 percent or more of owners do not want in their next vehicle, including Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. Among Gen Y[1], the number of features unwanted by at least 20 percent of owners increases to 23, specifically technologies related to entertainment and connectivity systems. “In many cases, owners simply prefer to use their smartphone or tablet because it meets their needs; they’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers.” Among all owners, the most frequently cited reasons for not wanting a specific technology feature in their next vehicle are “did not find it useful” in their current vehicle and the technology “came as part of a package on my current vehicle and I did not want it.” In addition, owners who say their dealer did not explain the feature have a higher likelihood of never using the technology. Furthermore, features that are not activated when the vehicle is delivered often result in the owner not even knowing they have the technology in their new vehicle. Kolodge noted that the technologies owners most often want are those that enhance the driving experience and safety, which are only available as a built-in feature rather than via an external device. In-vehicle technologies that most owners do want include vehicle health diagnostics, blind-spot warning and detection, and adaptive cruise control. “The first 30 days are critical. That first-time experience with the technology is the make-it-or-break-it stage,” said Kolodge. “Automakers need to get it right the first time, or owners will simply use their own mobile device instead of the in-vehicle technology.” Because the first few weeks of ownership are so critical, dealerships play the most important role in helping owners get off to a good start with the technology in their vehicle, Kolodge noted. “While dealers are expected to play a key role in explaining the technology to consumers, the onus should be on automakers to design the technology to be intuitive for consumers,” said Kolodge. “Automakers also need to explain the technology to dealership staff and train them on how to demonstrate it to owners.” Safety and Repair Costs Use of in-vehicle technologies has implications beyond the auto industry. For example, the insurance industry is closely tracking automotive technology for safety and financial purposes. Insurers are concerned that difficult-to-use technology may distract drivers and cause an accident. Using smartphones instead of in-vehicle technology also creates safety issues. Additionally, in-vehicle technology can significantly increase claims costs for vehicles damaged in an accident. “While some technologies, such as lane-departure warning, are making vehicles safer, the insurance industry is very concerned about the driver-distraction hazards caused by some of the other technologies,” said Chip Lackey, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. “In addition, technology drives up the repair and replacement costs. A slight bumper scrape that would normally cost a few hundred dollars to repair can catapult a claim into thousands of dollars when a park assist camera or other sensors are damaged.” The 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report is based on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees after 90 days of ownership. The report was fielded in April through June 2015.
  13. What is the big problem with new cars? According to a new survey, it happens to be the infotainment systems. A study done by automotive consultants SBD and polling firm Nielsen asked some 14,000 owners about features in their cars and asked which ones were the best and the worst. The ten that scored the lowest in the survey were all related in some form to the infotainment system. These included smart phone integration, built-in apps, customizable instrument panels, and voice recognition. “It’s sort of an arms race -- who can have the most technology in the vehicle -- and consumers are confused,” said Nielsen Vice President Mike Chadsey at a connected-car symposium yesterday. The study also showed that 43 percent of participants said automakers are adding too much infotainment tech. So why are automakers adding all of this tech? Andrew Hart, director of SBD explained that automakers add all sorts of tech to draw in customers and to help boost revenue. But this might backfire as owners might go to another brand because of how bad the infotainment system was. If you to improve the chances of owner sticking with your brand, just get the infotainment right, getting the right set of features that people actually want to use and making them easy to use,” said Hart. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  14. While Americans are keeping their cars longer (Experian Automotive says the average ownership length is now 7.75 years), there are some models that owners can't wait to get rid off within a year of buying. iSeeCars.com recently compared new car sales against used-car purchases in 2014 to figure out which vehicles were traded-in the fastest. Their analysis showed that on average, around 2.7 percent of all new vehicles are traded in after only a year’s ownership. More surprising was the vehicles that had the highest amount of trade-ins. The expectation would be that the vehicles with the highest amount of trade-ins would be cheap. Not so fast. iSeeCars.com in their analysis the vehicles with highest trade-ins range from $18,000 to $45,000. “iSeeCars.com analysts think the fact that consumers are giving more of these cars up than the average is directly linked to quality or perceived quality of the cars,” says Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com. “Because purchasing a new car is expensive and something most people tend to spend a lot of time on, it stands to reason they would make a change shortly afterward if they felt the quality was lacking.” Here's the list of the vehicles with the highest trade-in amounts, Buick Regal - 10.7 Percent Traded-In Chevrolet Sonic - 8.9 Percent Traded-In BMW X1 - 7.8 Percent Traded-In Dodge Charger - 7.7 Percent Traded-In Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 7.4 Percent Traded-In Chevrolet Cruze - 7.2 Percent Traded-In Nissan Frontier - 6.9 Percent Traded-In Source: Forbes
  15. The past few years in the automotive industry has seen an explosion in technologies - whether its dealing improving the overall safety of a vehicle or figuring out a way to hook up your smartphone. Some of the tech makes the driving experience better, while others don't. So what do consumers think about the new technologies coming into vehicles? J.D. Power decided to find out. In their 2015 US Tech Choice Study, the company asked 5,300 consumers who either bought or leased a new vehicle within the past five years about the technologies that are being put in vehicles. Their results are interesting to say in the least. For example, safety tech is a big item for consumers. 40 percent of those surveyed expressed interest in blind-spot monitoring systems, 33 percent were interested in night vision systems, and 30 percent said they were intrigued by crash mitigation systems, along with backup cameras. Was there technologies that consumers couldn't really care about. Very much so. Only nine percent on consumers wanted gesture controls and further eight percent said they wanted haptic feedback in the touchscreen. J.D. Power also asked consumers about Apple's Carplay and Android Auto, systems that allow you to use phone via the infotainment system. Unsurprisingly, preference for either system came down to what phone you had. Notably, neither system garnered high marks in the survey. "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market. For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. Finally, J.D. Power's survey showed that Gen Y is willing to spend for tech. According to the survey results, Gen Y willing to spend an average of $3,703, followed by Gen X with an average of $3,003, and Baby Boomers spending an average of $2,416. Source: J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 J.D. POWER 2015 U.S. TECH CHOICE STUDY Consumer Preference for Collision Protection Technologies Paves the Way for Autonomous Driving Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto? It Depends on Your Phone WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 22 April 2015 - Three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to collision protection, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice StudySM released today. Technologies that reduce the overall burden of driving and enhance the safety of the vehicle and its occupants receive the most consumer attention. Among the technologies consumers express most interest in having in their next vehicle are blind spot detection and prevention systems, night vision, and enhanced collision mitigation systems. These findings demonstrate growing customer acceptance towards the concept of the vehicle taking over critical functions such as braking and steering, which are the foundational building blocks leading to the possibility of fully-autonomous driving. The only non-collision protection technologies to crack the top five are camera rearview mirror, which falls into the driving assistance category, and self-healing paint, a comfort and convenience category. The inaugural study uses advanced statistical methodologies to measure preference for and perceived value of future and emerging technologies. A total of 59 advanced vehicle features are examined across six major categories: entertainment and connectivity; comfort and convenience; collision protection; driving assistance; navigation; and energy efficiency. "There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations, which creates opportunities across the market," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. "In contrast, there is very little interest in energy efficiency technologies such as active shutter grille vents and solar glass roofs. Owners aren't as enthusiastic about having these technologies in their next vehicle because of other efforts automakers are taking to improve fuel economy, as well as relatively low fuel prices at the present time." Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto Smartphones play an increasingly vital role in everyday life, and vehicle technology is beginning to mirror what is offered on those devices, yet Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto technologies consistently have among the lowest preference scores across all generations. Consumer preferences for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are uniquely dependent on which smartphone they own. Those who currently own a smartphone that is compatible with one of these technologies would choose the technology compatible with their phone at only a moderate rate, while those with the opposite brand of smartphone will rarely, if ever, choose that technology. For example, Android owners indicate that Apple CarPlay is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as they indicate that solar glass roof is unacceptable. Similarly, Apple phone owners indicate that Android Auto is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as solar glass roof. Kolodge noted that "lukewarm interest in these technologies that connect your phone to your vehicle coupled with consumer loyalty to their phone poses a unique challenge for automakers, which could be remedied by knowing their customers' phone preferences." "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market," said Kolodge. "For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them." Gen Y Willing to Spend Most for Technology Across all generations[2], price is the most important consideration for technology, accounting for 25.2 percent of importance. Gen Y is the least sensitive to technology price and shows a greater willingness to spend on new technologies than the other generations. Gen Y consumers, who have accounted for 27.7 percent of new-vehicle sales thus far in 2015[3]-second only to Boomers at 37.1 percent-are willing to spend an average of $3,703 on technology for their next vehicle. Gen X is willing to spend $3,007, while Boomers, who show the greatest price sensitivity, and Pre-Boomers are willing to spend only $2,416 and $2,067, respectively. Importance of Technology A certainty in the automotive domain is the impact the consumer electronics world has had upon it. From shifting consumer expectations of user interaction, to the rapid pace of technology introduction and importance of keeping software up to date, to the miniaturization and creation of cost-effective solutions for sensors and cameras, "the auto industry is standing on its head to keep technology up to consumers' new standards," said Kolodge. "Those who haven't done so have seen negative feedback from consumers." KEY FINDINGS Full self-driving automation technology, part of the collision protection category, is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions. The younger generations (Gen Y and Gen X) have substantially higher preference for the technology than the older generations (Boomer and Pre-Boomer). The Pre-Boomer generation, in contrast, has a greater preference for lower levels of automation, such as traffic jam assist. ŸBlind spot detection and prevention has high preference across the range of vehicle price segments. In contrast, reverse auto braking systems have low preference across the vehicle price segments and preference wanes as vehicle prices increase. ŸAdvanced sensor technologies, such as hand gesture controlled seats, biometric driver sensors or haptic touch screens have low preference. ŸTechnologies in the navigation category have low preference across all vehicle price segments. The 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study was fielded in January through March 2015 and is based on an online survey of more than 5,300 consumers who purchased/leased a new vehicle in the past five years.
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 9, 2013 Don't own a vehicle? You are not alone. In fact, the number of people who don't own a vehicle is increasing. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released a brief that states the number of American households that don't own a vehicle has seen a uptick. Starting in 1960, the number of households that didn't own a vehicle declined steadily, reaching a low of 8.7 percent in 2007. But since that time, the share has been rising. In 2011, the latest year for which data is available, the share had risen to 9.3 percent. While the economic fallout from the recession plays a key role, authors of the brief say there are other factors in play. "Changes in alternatives to travel, such as communication substituting for travel and renewed interest in and availability of options such as transit, bike and walk, helped dampen interest in expanding auto ownership," the brief stated. This correlates to data released back in February by Federal Highway Administration which showed the number of vehicle miles traveled peaked in the U.S. in 2004. Since then, the number of vehicle miles traveled has declined steadily. Another factor in play is persistent narrative that Millennials don't own vehicles since they cannot afford one. Source: AASHTO, Aol Autos William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  17. While many still think electric vehicles are a niche, a new study from IHS Automotive suggests that EVs are actually catching on more quickly than hybrids when they were first introduced. The study looked at the cumulative global sales of the first-generation Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Leaf in the first four years. IHS Automotive found that the Toyota Prius moved 52,200 units from 2000 to 2004. However, the Volt and Leaf have sold more vehicles in their respective four-year timeframes. The Chevrolet Volt and all of its derivatives saw sales of 68,507 units, while the Nissan Leaf saw sales of 96,477 units. It should be noted that while Toyota Prius went on sale in 1997 in Japan, IHS Automotive uses 2000 as the starting point for figuring out sales as that is when Toyota launched the model worldwide. The IHS Automotive study also points out that early expectations for EVs may have been inflated a lot, causing many to think of early EVs and plug-ins as failures in sales despite the relative success in sales around the world. Source: Automobile Magazine William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  18. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 31, 2013 J.D. Power and Associates recently released their 2012 U.S. Navigation Usage Satisfaction Study and the results aren’t that surprising. Consumer happiness dropped 13 points in the study’s 1,000-point scale to 681, one of the lowest scores J.D. Power has ever recorded in the six years the study has been taken. Even worse was the overall satisfaction in voice controls, scoring 544 points out of 1,000. Even worse news for automakers: people are using their smartphones for navigation and point-of-interest searches.47% of the people surveyed had downloaded a navigation app to supplement their in-car system, up from 37% last year. The survey also revealed that owners “definitely would not” or “probably would not” buy the system in their vehicles if their smartphone’s navigation could be displayed on the screen. “Manufacturers of navigation systems face a serious challenge as smartphone navigation usage continues to rise and gains preference among vehicle owners. Free apps, up-to-date maps, and a familiar interface allow for quicker routing and improved interaction, including better voice recognition,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power. Source: Wired Autopia William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  19. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 2, 2012 According to research firm Baum and Associates, American buyers are taking a liking to diesel vehicles. Through June of this year, 61,214 diesel-powered vehicles have been sold in the U.S., an increase of 27.5%. That number might not sound like a lot, but sales of diesel vehicles are steadily climbing. From April to June, Diesel vehicles saw increases in sales ranging from 14.4% to 28.2%. This news comes in the face of the high price of a gallon of diesel compared to gas. AAA reports that the national average cost of a gallon of diesel is $3.780, compared with $3.521 a gallon for regular gas. "Despite some volatility in the auto market, clean-diesel auto sales have increased in 22 of the past 23 months with double-digit increases in 20 of those months. And diesel auto sales increased by more than 30 percent in 12 of these months," Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said in a statement. Source: Kicking Tires View full article
  20. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 22, 2013 AAA recently released their annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study and finds that average American driver is now paying $9,122 per year to keep their vehicle on the road, an increase of 1.92% when compared to 2012. Assuming a person is driving around 15,000 miles a year, that breaks down 60.8 cents per mile. The study looks at the costs of keeping a vehicle on road such as gas, maintenance, and insurance to name a few. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle. This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. Fuel, insurance, and depreciation were the biggest costs in the study, totaling $6,700 per year. Source: AAA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Cost of Owning and Operating Vehicle in U.S. Increases Nearly Two Percent According to AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study Increase in maintenance, insurance and fuel drive up average cost for sedans to $9,122 yearly, 60.8 cents per mile ORLANDO, Fla., (April 16, 2013) – AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today, revealing a 1.96 percent increase in the cost to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average cost rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile.” The findings of the 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include: In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure which is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded in the additional resources bar. Nielsen continued, “Before you make any vehicle purchase, it is important to determine ownership and operational costs and compare them to your current and future financial situation.” To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle. Maintenance Costs Up 11.26 Percent The costs associated with maintaining a vehicle had the single largest percentage increase from 2012 to 2013, growing by 11.26 percent to 4.97 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. AAA’s estimates are based upon the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty policy. Driving the increase in maintenance costs is significant increases in labor and part costs for some models and a major increase in the price of extended warranty policies due to high loss ratios by underwriters. Fuel Costs Up 1.93 Percent Gasoline prices were relatively stable compared to the prior year, leading to a minimal fuel cost increase of 1.93 percent to 14.45 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) actually rose 3.84 percent, from $3.357 to $3.486 per gallon. However, several vehicles in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had small improvements in their fuel economy ratings which partially offset the fuel cost increase. Fuel costs in the 2013 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2012. Tire Costs Remain Unchanged The cost of tires did not change from 2012 to 2013, remaining at one cent per mile on average for sedan owners. The stable price is attributed to a leveling off of past increased costs for raw materials, energy and transportation from factories to distributors across the country. Insurance Costs Up 2.76 Percent Average insurance costs for sedans rose 2.76 percent (or $28) to $1029 annually. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. Quotes from five AAA clubs and insurance companies representing seven states showed across-the-board modest increases for all sedan sizes, with large cars having less of an increase than small- and medium-size sedans. Depreciation Costs Rise .78 Percent After seeing a drop in 2012, depreciation costs were up slightly in 2013, increasing .78 percent to $3,571 a year. This change may be a consequence of recovering new vehicle sales, resulting in more used cars available in the marketplace and thus the softening of the resale value of clean older models. 63rd Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon. The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary. See AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure for a list of vehicles and additional information on the underlying criteria used in the study. View full article
  21. For the first time in sixteen years, J.D. Power and Associates says data from its recent vehicle dependability study shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. This year's study charted 2011 models over three years of ownership and tracked the number of problems. Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, J.D. Power reports an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (or shorten to PP100). This is an increase of six percent when compared to 2010's 126 PP100 average. The reason for this climb in problems comes down to problems with engines and transmissions. J.D. Power found that engines and transmissions problem accounted for a 6 PP100 boost. "Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles. However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. Among individual brands, Lexus ran away with the most dependable brand title for the third year in a row. With just 68 problems per 100 vehicles, the brand was far ahead of Mercedes-Benz (104 PP100), Cadillac (107 PP100), Acura (109 PP100), and Buick (112 PP100). Source: J.D. Power William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study 2/12/2014 J.D. Power Reports: Increased Engine and Transmission Problems Contribute to Decline in Vehicle Dependability for The First Time in More Than 15 Years General Motors Company Receives Eight Segment Awards, While Toyota Motor Corporation Garners Seven and Honda Motor Company Earns Six WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: Owners of 3-year-old vehicles (2011 model year) report more problems than did owners of 3-year-old vehicles last year, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today. The study, now in its 25th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study finds that overall vehicle dependability averages 133 PP100, a 6 percent increase in problems from 126 PP100 in 2013. This marks the first time since the 1998 study that the average number of problems has increased. "Until this year, we have seen a continual improvement in vehicle dependability," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "However, some of the changes that automakers implemented for the 2011 model year have led to a noticeable increase in problems reported." Increases in Engine and Transmission Problems Reported Engine and transmission problems increase by nearly 6 PP100 year over year, accounting for the majority of the overall 7 PP100 increase in reported problems. The decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with 4-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100. These smaller engines, as well as large diesel engines, tend to be more problematic than 5- and 6-cylinder engines, for which owners report fewer problems, on average. "Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles," said Sargent. "However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge." Dependability Leads to Loyalty; Poor Dependability Creates Avoidance J.D. Power also finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combined data from previous years' VDS results and vehicle trade-in data from the Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power show that 56 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slipped to just 42 percent among owners who reported three or more problems. Also, a comparison of data from the 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study with data from the subsequent J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Avoider StudySM shows that consumers are much more likely to avoid vehicles from brands that rank lower in dependability. On average, 23 percent of consumers avoided brands that ranked in the lowest quartile of the 2013 VDS because of concerns about reliability. In contrast, only 9 percent of consumers cited that same reason for avoiding brands that ranked in the top quartile. "By combining our customer research with trade-in data, we see a very strong correlation between dependability and real-world brand loyalty," said Sargent. "Also, we see that brands with lower dependability are likely to be shut out of a significant piece of the market, as many consumers will not even consider purchasing one of their vehicles because of concerns about its likely reliability." Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates for a third consecutive year. The gap between Lexus and all other brands is substantial, with Lexus averaging 68 PP100 compared with second-ranked Mercedes-Benz at 104 PP100. Following Mercedes-Benz in the rankings are Cadillac (107), Acura (109) and Buick (112), respectively. General Motors Company receives eight segment awards?more than any other automaker in 2014?for the Buick Lucerne; Cadillac DTS (tie); Cadillac Escalade; Chevrolet Camaro; Chevrolet Volt; GMC Sierra HD; GMC Sierra LD; and GMC Yukon. Toyota Motor Corporation garners seven awards for the Lexus ES; Lexus GS; Lexus LS (tie); Lexus RX; Scion xB; Toyota Camry; and Toyota Sienna. Honda Motor Company receives six model-level awards for the Acura RDX; Honda CR-V; Honda Crosstour; Honda Element; Honda Fit; and Honda Ridgeline. MINI receives one model-level award for the MINI Cooper. The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles, which typically translates into higher resale values and customer loyalty. It also helps consumers make more-informed choices for both new- and used-vehicle purchases. The 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 41,000 original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded between October and December 2013. View full article
  22. A new report from IHS Automotive says the average age of a vehicle on the road stands at 11.4 years, the same age as last year. This is change from the past few years where the age was climbing steadily. "In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road. This year, we're seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of today's automobiles," said Mark Seng, director, aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive. But IHS is predicting that the average age will creep up to 11.5 year by 2017, and up to 11.7 by 2019. IHS also reports that at the end of 2013, there were 252.7 million light vehicles operating U.S. roads. This is up by 3.7 million vehicles when compared to 2012. Source: IHS Automotive Press Release is on Page 2 Average Age of Vehicles on the Road Remains Steady at 11.4 years, According to IHS Automotive U.S. Vehicles in Operation (VIO) Hits Record Levels at More than 252 Million; Scrappage Rate Declines Significantly SOUTHFIELD, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the U.S. remained steady at 11.4 years, based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation taken Jan. 1 of this year, according to IHS Automotive, which incorporated Polk into its business last year. Total light vehicles in Operation (VIO) in the U.S. also reached a record level of more than 252,700,000 -- an increase of more than 3.7 million (1.5 percent) since last year, said the IHS Automotive analysis from July 2013. In addition, new vehicle registrations outpaced scrappage by more than 24 percent for the first time in a decade, according to the analysis. The average age is in line with the trend shift first seen in 2013, in which the combined fleet of cars and light trucks on the road is older than ever. New analysis, however, indicates the average age of light trucks has increased in the past year to the same age as passenger cars, both at 11.4 years. This milestone marks the first time this has happened since 1995, when the data was first reported. “In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road,” said Mark Seng, director, aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive. “This year, we’re seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of today’s automobiles.” Looking ahead, IHS forecasts that average age of vehicles is likely to remain at 11.4 years through 2015, then rise to 11.5 years by 2017 and 11.7 years by 2019. This rate of growth is slowing as compared to the last five years due to the substantial increase in new vehicle sales. Scrappage Rates Decline amid VIO Growth The number of vehicles scrapped in 2013 was significantly fewer than in previous years, with just over 11.5 million vehicles scrapped during the 12-month timeframe analyzed by IHS Automotive. In comparison, a record high of more than 14 million vehicles were scrapped in 2012. This while VIO is up 1.5 percent, a rate the auto industry hasn’t seen in the U.S. since 2004-2005. Dynamics of Fleet Age and Mix With the shift in ownership comes shift in the age of vehicles within segments of the overall fleet, which is important to business planners in the aftermarket and service industries so they can manage inventories of parts required and plan for sales and service activity accordingly. Based on the growth of new vehicle registrations in the past few years as the U.S. auto industry has rebounded, IHS Automotive forecasts that the volume of vehicles 0-5 years old will increase by 32 percent over the next five years while vehicles in the 6-11 year old category will decline by 21 percent. Because of improved quality and consumers holding their cars and light trucks longer, vehicles 12-plus years old continue to grow and will increase by 15 percent by 2019. The IHS Automotive aftermarket team is working with customers in all areas of the aftermarket to help them best identify opportunities and specific planning efforts that may help improve their business. Likewise, business planning opportunities are under way at the OEMs to help them identify additional sales opportunities as vehicles are taken out of service and newer vehicle are coming into the U.S. vehicle fleet. View full article
  23. Congratulations America. It seems we now buy more SUVs and crossovers than sedans according to a new study from IHS Automotive. Through May of 2014, IHS says that SUVs and CUVs account for 36.5 percent of new car registrations, compared to the 35.4 percent of registrations for sedans. This is a reversal from five years ago where sedans stood at 36.3 percent of registrations, compared to the 31.4 percent for SUVs and crossovers. “It’s not that sedans have become unpopular. It’s just that CUVs have really grown. They drive like cars, but they have higher positioning, the option for four-wheel drive and better fuel economy. There’s more space for seating. It’s easy to see why they’ve taken off in popularity,” said Tom Libby, analyst for IHS Automotive. The one thing we wished the study showed is the breakdown in registration percentages if SUVs and crossovers were separated. Otherwise, the results don't come as surprise. Source: Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  24. Back in June, we learned that Skoda (a Czech brand under the Volkswagen group) was investigating possibly entering new markets. One of those new markets was North America, a place where 20 percent of global car sales take place. At the time our original report, Skoda hasn't set a timeframe for a decision. Also as we noted, Skoda would need to get more crossovers and SUVs ready if they want to try and make inroads in the U.S. Speaking of SUVs and the U.S., a recent article done by Autocar piqued our interest. Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said if they were to launch the brand in the U.S. in the near future, they would have their upcoming seven-seat Kodiaq leading the charge. “If we do decide to compete in the US, we will have one chance to make a good first impression. We feel that if we were there now, the Kodiaq would be a home-run car,” said Maier. Maier did stress that the U.S. isn't on Skoda's immediate radar. At the moment, the brand is looking closely at Iran, Singapore, and South Korea as possible new markets. But Maier isn't saying the U.S. isn't on their radar at all. “America is the one that we don't currently compete in with the biggest potential.” Skoda appears to have taken a page out of PSA Peugeot Citroën's playbook. Autocar says the automaker has begun a feasibility study as to whether or not it makes sense to enter the U.S. Source: Autocar View full article
  25. The good news is that consumers are visiting the gas station less. The bad news is that consumers are spending more at the pump. Wait, those two sentences contradict each other. Which one is true? According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), both of these sentences are correct. Let us explain. As new fuel economy and emission regulations come into effect, automakers are trying to figure out ways to make that gallon of gas go farther. One method that a number of automakers are using is turbochargers. They allow automakers to use smaller displacement engines to improve fuel economy and retain the power of larger engines. The EIA says the market share of turbo engines has climbed from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 17.6 percent in 2014. But the problem is that many turbo engines require premium fuel to operate at their full potential, which costs more than regular and midgrade fuel. Yes, you can fill them with regular and not have the issue of knock - premature fuel detonation due to increased cylinder pressure. But you lose some of the power that the turbo is providing. The EIA says that only 12.5 percent of vehicles recommended premium fuel in 2010. This increased to 14.2 percent in 2013. With turbo engines projected to be in 83.3 percent of new vehicles by 2025, expect to pay more at the pump despite going there less. Source: Energy Information Administration View full article
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