Here's the Thing

Lexus, Buick top J.D. Power Customer Service Study

(March 14, 2020) TROY, Mich. — As the coronavirus crisis continues to interrupt global supply chains, auto dealers are bracing for parts shortages that could undermine hard-fought gains made in customer satisfaction over the past few years. According to the J.D. Power 2020 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, released this week, overall satisfaction increased to 837 (on a 1,000-point scale), marking the fifth consecutive year of increasing satisfaction.

Consumer Reports proposes standard terms for new safety systems

By Casey Williams

(March 11, 2020) As an automotive journalist who has been driving new cars and covering the industry since anti-lock brakes, side airbags, and stability control were advanced safety systems, it is sometimes difficult to explain all of the latest technology that includes everything from blind spot warnings to automatic braking.  A new wave of semi-autonomous driving is here, too.

Gas pump savings seen across the country could just be the beginning

(March 11, 2020) The national gas price average is 5 cents cheaper on the week and the month and  9 cents cheaper on the year giving the vast majority of motorists savings at the pump. At $2.38, the national gas price average has not been this cheap since February 2019, according to AAA.

“For the third week, U.S. gasoline stocks decreased while demand increased. Generally, growing demand amid declining stocks causes increases at the pump, but crude oil prices have dipped to four-year lows, signaling spring could be cheaper at the pump,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

Hyundai Ioniq offers buyers choice of three fuel-efficient powertrains

By Paul Borden

(March 9, 2020) About at the midpoint of its first generation that was introduced for the 2017 model year, Hyundai’s 2020 Ioniq hatchback gets a refreshing that keeps it at the forefront of its class. It is offered with one of three, fuel-sipping powertrains — traditional gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric — and at prices that, at least by today’s standards, won’t break your bank account.

Edmunds — Auto loan interest rates stay below 6% in February

(March 9, 2020) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The average interest rate for a new vehicle loan stayed under 6% for the eighth month in a row, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. The annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles averaged 5.6% in February, compared to 6.3% in 2019 and 5% five years ago.

Edmunds data reveals that the share of sales with 0% finance deals stayed flat at 3.6% in February, unchanged from January.

Odor Doctors say car sanitization critical to used car market

(March 9, 2020) HOUSTON — Automotive odor removal specialists, The Odor Doctors, has insisted for years that car sanitation is a service that is imperative to the automotive industry due to the money being lost to persistent, unwanted smells. With the increasing concern from coronavirus, The Odor Doctors points out that since a large portion of used car inventory were once rental vehicles, there is a new reason for dealerships to sanitize every used car.

Study finds self-driving cars stuck in neutral on road to acceptance

(March 6, 2020) ORLANDO, Fla.  — A new AAA survey on automated vehicles reveals that only one in 10 drivers (12%) would trust riding in a self-driving car. Even more Americans— 28% — don’t know how they feel about the technology, signaling consumers are stuck in neutral on the road to accepting self-driving cars.

AAA believes consumer sentiment of automated vehicles will be driven by tangible information on key issues and, equally important, quality education and experience.

Kelley — Average new-vehicle price up nearly 3% year-over-year

(March 5, 2020) IRVINE, Calif. — The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $37,876 in February. New-vehicle prices increased $975 (up 2.6%) from February 2019, while falling $126 (down 0.3%) from last month.

"Many of the major manufacturers increased prices by more than 4% by capitalizing on the shift toward SUVs. However, trucks, especially full-size trucks, are exhibiting weakness," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

Coronavirus leads to nosedive in global vehicle sales

(March 4, 2020) Global light vehicle sales figures from the first month of 2020 should make for alarming reading. Just 6.2 million were sold in January — the lowest monthly figure since January 2012 — which saw 5.9 million units sold, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Driving the drop in sales was the emergence in December of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. The disease has spread rapidly and has already infected more than 80,000 people and caused at least 2,800 deaths worldwide.

Bloodhound Land Speed Record team needs funds for record run

(March 3, 2020) The Bloodhound Land Speed Record team, today, announced that time was running out to raise the funding required to attempt the new supersonic world land speed record within the 2021 weather window on the Hakskeenpan, South Africa.