March 2014

Auto buyers gravitating to compact SUVs

(March 31, 2014) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Whether it's weather-related, the wide range of model options available or low gas prices — or a combination of all three — consumers are buying compact SUVs in increasing numbers, according to an analysis by J.D. Power.

The compact SUV segment has been the most popular segment among U.S. new-vehicle retail buyers so far in 2014, accounting for 17.6 percent of all new-vehicle sales, an increase of 3 percentage points from the first quarter of 2013 when compact SUVs was only the third best-selling vehicle segment, behind compact cars and midsize cars.

Toyota, Buick, and Lexus earn top spot in auto dealer ratings

(March 27, 2014) WABAN, Mass. — Toyota, Buick, and Lexus dealers deliver the best customer experience in the auto industry, according to the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual ranking of companies based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

The three companies all earned a 74% rating — only narrowly surpassing Subaru at 73%. While this is both Buick's and Lexus's first time evaluated in the Ratings, this is Toyota's second straight year in the top spot.

Stingray driving school maximizes Corvette driving experience

(March 27, 2014) PAHRUMP, Nev. — Chevrolet is helping owners get the most from their new Corvette Stingray through the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School. The two-day program is available to 2014 Corvette Stingray owners for $1,000 — a $1,500 reduction from the standard rate. 

Developed and managed by legendary Corvette racer Ron Fellows, the performance driving performance-driving curriculum at Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump, Nev., accommodates drivers of all skill levels. 

New-car sales expected to rise in March, fall 0.3 percent for quarter

(March 27, 2014) IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle sales are expected to rise 2 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.48 million units, and an estimated 15.7 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book.

First quarter total sales are expected to hit 3.68 million, down 0.3 percent from the first quarter of 2013. A 15.7 million SAAR would mark the 17th consecutive month above 15 million and the best March since 2007.

Toyota Tacoma, 4Runner have highest retained value after three years

(March 26, 2014) MCLEAN, Va. — Large pickup trucks have the highest retained value of all three-year-old light duty trucks and SUVs at 62.5% of the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a typically equipped model, says the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Used Car Guide in the March edition of NADA Perspective, a monthly industry trends report. Mid-size vans ranked the lowest at 49.2%.

Toyota predicts strong March based on increased showroom activity

(March 25, 2014) TORRANCE, Calif. — Toyota recorded its best non-holiday sales weekend of the year in the U.S. with sales of nearly 20,000 units.  This is a 12 percent volume increase when compared to the same weekend last year (March 22-23).  Additionally, this weekend outsold the three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend in January.
Overall retail sales are running 4 percent above the same period last year (March 1-23, 2013).  A 5 percent combined sales increase in the Midwest and Northeast also signals an early spring.

U.S. market will be key for Audi advancement

(March 24, 2014) Audi of America is expected to play a pivotal role as AUDI AG seeks to solidify and extend its early lead in the global premium-auto sales race. And some journalists and market analysts expect the new Audi A3 sedan to launch at just the right time to be very helpful in that effort. predicts strong sales within small SUV category this spring

(March 24, 2013) CHICAGO — Despite the changing seasons, vehicle popularity in the United States has remained largely consistent over the past two years, dominated by light trucks and mid-sized sedans. predicts the rapidly growing small SUV segment will shift make/model sales rankings in 2014.

Melting snow gives way to potholes

(March 22, 2014) WASHINGTON — As winter snows recede, an epidemic of potholes has broken out across the nation, luring unsuspecting motorists and their vehicles into concrete or asphalt traps, causing damaged wheels, suspensions and tires.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association, the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S., is urging motorists to be extra careful to avoid potholes that can ruin tires or jar a vehicle out of alignment.

Bridgestone's Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience to visit 12 cities

(March 21, 2014) NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Young drivers across the country will have a chance to learn potentially life-saving driving skills through the Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience. The free program pairs classroom instruction with hands-on driving exercises to teach drivers how to better handle accident avoidance and the importance of eliminating distracted driving behaviors.