Here's the Thing

Move over, mom: Dad’s becoming the car pool king

(September 20, 2011) DETROIT — As children across America head back to school, a new survey commissioned by Chevrolet finds that many fathers in America are taking more of an active role in before-and after-school carpooling duties, with utility vehicles the preferred choice of dads over minivans.

An online survey conducted by Harris Interactive showed that 80 percent of fathers in the United States with children age 17 or younger take an active role in daily family life, with more than 70 percent driving their kids to school, daycare or extracurricular activities.

Study finds parents turning car seats to face forward too early

(September 19, 2011) ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines for child passenger safety in April 2011, recommending children stay in rear-facing car seats until the age of two.  But a new report from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health shows that many parents turn their child's seat to face forward before their second birthday.

Design problems account for majority of vehicle Iinterior quality issues

(September 18, 2011) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — More than two-thirds of owner-reported new-vehicle interior problems are design-related issues rather than defects or malfunctions, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction Study released last week.

New safety features, some good, some not so much

(September 16, 2011) Even though vehicle fatalities are down to their lowest levels ever notes Consumer Reports, there is still more work to be done to prevent the over 32,000 motor vehicle deaths we’re still seeing. One area is through new safety technologies that can help avoid a crash altogether. Automakers have been touting these new car safety features, but some are better than others.

AAA offers tips on selecting an automotive repair shop

(September 16, 2011) HEATHROW, Fla. — Fifty four percent of American drivers report they have decided to keep an existing vehicle rather than invest in a newer one, according to a recent AAA survey. In addition, many drivers are foregoing routine vehicle maintenance to save money now, knowing they risk higher repair costs in the future.

Study finds parents struggle with proper child safety seat use

(September 16, 2011) WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Safe Kids USA research shows that most parents aren't using child seats correctly. Only 30 percent are using the tether straps that keep the tops of child seats — and children's heads — secured in crashes, and many are not using the safest seats for their children's ages, according to the non-profit group.

Study finds increased complexity of multimedia systems creates problems

(September 14, 2011) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — As multimedia systems in vehicles become increasingly sophisticated, owners report more problems using them, according to a J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study.

The study finds that new-vehicle owners report more problems within their vehicle’s multimedia system as the complexity of the system grows.

Majority of car shoppers wait for year-end sales events

(September 14, 2011) IRVINE, Calif. — According to the latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence Consumer Sentiment survey, 62 percent of new car and used car shoppers are looking to purchase within the next three months, due primarily to year-end sales events.

Consumer sentiment is in line with what Kelley Blue Book market analysts anticipate will be a strong fourth quarter with increased cash incentives and attractive lease offerings.

Incentive battle looming between Japanese, domestic automakers

(September 12, 2011) IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book's web site,, reported today that it anticipates strong incentives late in the year in the form of cash and attractive lease offerings. As the Japanese replenish inventory and begin to throw cash on the hood, expect to see the domestics follow suit, setting off an incentive battle.

Prior to the earthquake, Japanese brands were consistently capturing close to 40 percent of all United States sales, but since April they have seen their monthly share of sales dwindle to nearly 30 percent.

Survey finds commute more bearable, but stress levels through the roof

(September 8, 2011) ARMONK, N.Y. — A new IBM survey of the daily commute in a cross-section of some of the most economically important international cities reveals a startling dichotomy: while the commute has become a lot more bearable over the past year, drivers’ complaints are going through the roof.