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New-car transaction prices continue to climb, Kelley Blue Book reports

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(August 3, 2015) RVINE, Calif. — The analysts at Kelley Blue Book reported today that the estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States was $33,453 in July, increasing by $856 — 2.6 percent — from July 2014, while remaining flat from last month.

2016 Hyundai Tucson



ANN ARBOR, Mich.  — In the past year, car registrations have dropped 3.9 percent while light truck registrations have increased by 10.7 percent. Why then have Hyundai’s crossover utility vehicle sales fallen 14.5 percent over that same period? “The U.S. market is currently 56 percent truck and CUV,” says Dave Zuchowski president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, “and this has made it hard for us to keep our sales momentum. It’s not that we don’t have the capacity to build these vehicles. It’s that we have to reallocate our current production from cars to light trucks.”

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander



SAN FRANCISCO — Sales of Mitsubishi's Outlander were up 6 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to 2014. The second half of the year should bring even more success to Mitsubishi's largest vehicle in North America with a considerably refreshed 2016 edition now reaching showrooms. And more good news arrived early in July when Cars.com ranked the compact crossover the most affordable three-row in America based on sales price, fuel cost, and five-year residual value.

2016 Volvo XC90



LOS ANGELES — By early summer the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 will be rolling into a showroom near you. Volvo is referring to the next generation XC90 as “all new” because almost nothing but its name has been carried over from the 2014 version. Some might take issue with the term all new, as opposed to “totally redesigned,” but Volvo makes a pretty convincing argument for this choice.

Vehicle of the Week

2016 Fiat 500X — Charming little crossover



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Fiat's newest entry in North America, the 500X — a sub-compact crossover — takes the best of the Fiat 500 design and molds it into a tiny people mover with a fun-to-drive personality offering a very comfortable and pleasing interior. It's practical and it gives the struggling brand a new lease on life in North America.

Here's the Thing

Honda puts its Odyssey vacuum cleaner in special $33,375 edition

(August 3, 2015) TORRANCE, Calif. — The 2016 Honda Odyssey goes on sale Aug. 4 with a trim lineup expanded to eight models and a starting price of $29,275. Slotted between EX and EX-L trims, a new Special Edition (SE) is $33,375

It comes with the acclaimed HondaVAC and a comprehensive selection of premium features available lower in the trim lineup, along with class-leading EPA fuel-economy ratings of 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined. Honda says the new pricing lineup for the 2016 Odyssey is designed to comfortably and efficiently accommodate the lifestyles of American families.

Nearly 80 percent in survey think vehicle hacking will be frequent problem

(July 31, 2015) IRVINE, Calif — The vulnerabilities of vehicle hacking have made an impression on car owners and shoppers, and nearly 80 percent say it will be a frequent problem within the next three years or less, according to an all-new survey by Kelley Blue Book. 

Awareness of the recent Jeep Cherokee hacking incident is very high, and nearly half of respondents said they will keep this event in mind when buying or leasing their next car.  Moreover, the majority of consumers do not think there will ever be a permanent solution to the problem of vehicle hacking.

Honda Fit ranks highest in Kelley's '10 Best Back-to-School Cars'

(July 30, 2015) IRVINE, Calif. — With the 2015-2016 school year right around the corner, many students and parents of teens are considering their transportation needs to and from campus and activities.  To help shoppers narrow down their choices, the editors at Kelley Blue Book kbb.com have named this year's 10 Best Back-to-School Cars of 2015.

For the second consecutive year, the Honda Fit leads the rankings.

Inside the Industry

GM reports retail sales up 14 percent

(August 3, 2015) DETROIT — General Motor’s Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands sold 272,512 vehicles in the United States in July, a 6 percent increase and the four brands’ best combined July since 2007. The month was paced by an 18 percent increase in Buick sales, a 1 percent increase at GMC and an 8 percent increase in Chevrolet sales. 

Chevrolet’s results included a 24 percent increase in pickup, van and SUV sales, and the brand’s best July crossover sales ever.

Ford's newest vehicles lead best July sales since 2006

(August 3, 3015) DEARBORN, Mich. — Strong demand for its newest products lifted Ford Motor Company to its best July U.S. sales performance since 2006, with a total of 222,731 vehicles sold last month. Retail sales increased 5 percent.

“We continue seeing even stronger demand for our newest products, especially F-150, Explorer, Edge, Mustang and Transit,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

Fiat Chrysler reports best July sales since 2005

(August 3, 2015) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — FCA US today reported U.S. sales of 178,027 units, a 6 percent increase compared with sales in July 2014 (167,667 units), and the group’s best July sales since 2005. The Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram Truck brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in July compared with the same month a year ago.

The Jeep brand’s 23 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any FCA US brand during the month. The group extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 64-consecutive months.

Abandoned Car of the Week

Big rig resting in the weeds



This Peterbilt cab, probably from the late '70s to mid '80s — we admit no expertise when it comes to large trucks — is resting (perhaps permanently) in some eastern North Carolina weeds. Peterbilt Motors was founded in 1939 and continues to be a builder of Class 5 through Class 8 trucks, headquartered in Denton, Texas. (Photo by Ralph Gable)