Here's the Thing

Used car values show signs of cooling down, Edmunds reports

(September 17, 2021) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Used vehicle prices and trade-in values are finally trending downward after rising all year and skyrocketing this summer, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds data reveals that the average value for all vehicles traded in during August dipped to $21,058, a 1% decrease compared to $21,261 in July.

New vehicles more appealing than ever, J.D. Power finds

(September 16, 2021) On the strength of some very successful new-vehicle launches for 2021, the auto industry continues its trend of producing ever-more appealing vehicles. The BMW 4 Series, Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Bronco Sport, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis G80, Kia K5 and Toyota Sienna are all-new or completely redesigned models that achieved segment-topping performances in appeal to owners. These models and others have helped boost the industry's overall vehicle emotional appeal this year, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, released Wednesday.

If you think a coupe has only two doors, Mercedes would beg to differ

By Paul Borden

(September 15, 2021) Here we go again. When it comes to distinguishing a car as a sedan or a coupe, most people simply count the doors. Four doors, it’s a sedan. Two it’s a coupe. But it wasn’t always that way. You go back far enough in history and you likely can find references to a “two-door sedan” and a “four-door coupe,” especially when watching old crime movies — and by that I mean from the 1940s and ’50s or earlier, not the Clint Eastwood era.

New-vehicle prices surge to record highs for 5th straight month

(September 15, 2021) IRVINE, Calif. — According to a new report from Kelley Blue Book, new-vehicle prices hit another all-time high in August 2021, marking the fifth straight record-setting month. At $43,355, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle was up nearly 10% ($3,789) from one year ago in August 2020, and up 1.6% ($685) from July 2021.

As fall approaches, national gas price average edges lower

(September 14, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the height of summer in the rearview mirror, motorists are seeing some relief at the pump, as the national gas price average dropped by a penny on the week to $3.17. However, the recovery from Hurricane Ida remains slow, with the latest U.S. data showing just under half of the U.S. offshore oil production in the Gulf still idle after companies shuttered production ahead of the storm, according to AAA.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 — VW’s new battery-powered SUV (hits & misses)

By Jim Prueter

(September 13, 2021) With the introduction this spring of Volkswagen’s first battery-electric crossover, the ID.4 is the beginning of an entire new powertrain offering of vehicles for the brand in North America. The all-new from the ground up ID.4 we tested here is the  1st Edition which as the name implies, is a short run first of several trim levels, and variations yet to come and carries a base price of $45,190 including destination charges.

Survey finds parents want technology to track child's school bus

(September 9, 2021) SEATTLE, Wash. — Zonar, a leading provider of smart fleet solutions, has released a new national study as parents send their children back to school this fall. The findings show that three in four parents (75%) want a better way to track their child's journey to and from school on the bus.

Autotrader reports 20 new vehicles consistently selling over sticker price

(September 8, 2021) ATLANTA — New-car shoppers may be surprised this month to find themselves paying over sticker price for some of the most popular vehicles right now, according to a recent report from Autotrader. The laws of supply and demand are clearly at play in the current car-shopping environment, as the global microchip shortage and resulting automaker production delays continue to affect dealer inventories.

New Calligraphy trim gives premium feel to Hyundai Sant Fe

By Paul Borden

(September 8, 2021) With a history that dates back two decades, the Hyundai Santa Fe was the South Korean automaker's first venture into the SUV segment with the debut of the 2001 model. My oh my how it has grown up over the years. The early Santa Fe was very capable vehicle but featured styling quirks that either turned on buyers or made them immediately head for the staid safety of a Toyota showroom.

Gas price average sees minimal impact from Hurricane Ida

(September 7, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following Labor Day weekend and the remnants of Hurricane Ida, the national gas price average has stabilized at $3.18, which is just 3 cents more expensive on the week. The storm took about 13% of U.S. refinery capacity offline and while there are no firm re-start dates, refineries are expected to be back online this month.