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Dodge Charger, F-250 popular with car theives

Auto thefts decline because of technology, but statistics conflict

img-1The most theft-prone vehicle in America might be the Dodge Charger. Or it might be the Ford F-250 pickup truck.

Those are the contradictory conclusions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the insurance industry-funded Highway Loss Data Institute.

Still, the government agency and private group agree that the theft of late-model vehicles is on a rapid decline in the United States. One reason: automakers’ increasing use of ignition immobilizers, which stop thieves from hot-wiring cars. Nearly 90 percent of 2012 models are equipped with them.

In a report released on Monday, NHTSA said the car stolen most often during the 2011 calendar year was the Charger, with 4.8 thefts for every 1,000 cars produced in 2011. It was followed by the Mitsubishi Galant, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet HHR among vehicles with more than 5,000 units produced that year.

Pickup trucks took the top [...]

img-2Global sales of BMW Group’s core brand rose faster in June than at Audi and Mercedes-Benz as demand from China and the United States helped the premium carmaker to extend a lead over the two rivals in the first six months of the year.

Sales at the brand were up 9 percent last month to 153,075, the group said today, compared with growth of 5 percent to 140,300 and 8 percent to 131,609 at Audi and Mercedes respectively.

Six-month sales at BMW brand rose 8 percent to 804,000 cars, expanding the lead over runner-up Audi to 24,000 from 11,000 after five months. Half-year sales at Audi and Mercedes rose 6 percent each to 780,500 and 694,000 respectively.

“BMW has stronger momentum than Audi and Mercedes, that won’t change in the second half,” said Hanover-based NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “Design of their cars has improved and they’re ahead [...]

img-3Tesla Motors Inc., the world’s best-performing automotive stock this year, will join the Nasdaq-100 Index next week, filling the spot vacated by Oracle Corp., which is moving to the New York Stock Exchange.

The electric-car maker will be added to the gauge, which tracks the biggest companies on the Nasdaq, before the start of trading on July 15, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. said in a statement Monday. Oracle, which last month said it will join the NYSE, is the biggest company to jump between the competing exchanges.

Shares of Tesla, the carmaker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, have more than tripled this year as the popularity of its new Model S sedan helped the company turn its first quarterly profit. Gaining entry to benchmarks tracked by investors is attractive to public companies because it provides a guaranteed shareholder base.

“It’s a coming of age, recognition that a [...]

img-4The Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic, the top-selling mid-size and compact cars in the U.S., face risks of reduced production as inventories of the models rise, an RBC Capital Markets report said.

Toyota’s Camry exceeded its seasonal historical average inventory by more than 15 days supply in June and Honda carried about 25 days more Civics than usual, Joseph Spak, a New York-based analyst for RBC, said in today’s report. Camry and Civic were the only models identified as at risk for reduced output among 16 of the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. market. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC all added U.S. market share in the first six months of 2013, the first time that all three gained first-half share in 20 years. Models such as GM’s Chevrolet Cruze compact and Ford’s Fusion mid-size sedan, leading Detroit’s most competitive set of [...]

Fiat exercises option to buy additional 3.3% of Chrysler shares

Purchase brings closer a merger of the two automakers

img-5Fiat today exercised an option to raise its stake in Chrysler by 3.3 percent.

The move is part of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s step-by-step purchases intended to lead to full control of Chrysler and the creation of a merged company that would be able to compete better with industry leaders Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen.

Fiat has been exercising options since mid-2012 to buy holdings of about 3.3 percent from the VEBA, a medical-benefits trust for the U.S. carmaker’s retirees.

Including today’s purchase, Fiat has exercised three of its six-monthly options, increasing its stake to 68.49 percent.

Fiat has said it wants full control of Chrysler, which would give it access to some of Chrysler’s cash flow for investments in new models.

Chrysler has become Fiat’s most reliable profit generator as the Italian company struggles to end losses in Europe that totaled 704 million euros ($903 million) in [...]

Prepare your car for winter driving

Having moved from a single season state, to a full four-season state, keeping my vehicle in proper running condition in the winter months was a learning experience. Like many of today’s society I looked to the Internet for answers to my many questions about tire pressure, battery life, oil weight and so forth.

Here are some of the things I learned about keeping my vehicle in proper running condition in the colder months.

  1. Change the Oil. Your engine relies on oil to run smoothly. When the weather gets cold, oil can thicken and cause your vehicle to run rough or stop running all together.
  1. Check the Tire Pressure. When the weather gets cold, the pressure in your tires can drop, reducing your traction on slick roads. Keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure to ensure safe driving and precise handling.
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There are literally hundreds of different choices of vehicles on the road today. Colors, options, brands, and price all influence our buying decision, but how do you know you’re making the right choice? Let’s take a look at the most important deciding factors.

Price – No surprise here, but price is the most important factor in the car buying decision. How much can you afford per month? Luxury brands like Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and BMW carry much higher sticker prices than their non-luxury counterparts, although they often have very similar features.

Cost of Ownership – How much is this vehicle actually going to cost you to own? This is where things like fuel cost, insurance costs, repair costs, and maintenance all enter the equation. Once again, luxury brands are going to be more expensive in every aspect. A headlight replacement on a Ford Fusion is about $240. The same repair on a BMW 335i? $880.

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We all know the feeling of opening up your banking app or website and having a notification that your car payment is late. Your stomach sinks, heart drops, and all you can think is, “oh crap!” The good news is that there is usually a grace period before your payment is actually considered “late,” and paying your loan a few days late is not going to end up in repossession. The bad news is this can negatively affect your credit and your reputation with the lender. If you really are in danger though, what steps do you take to avoid a repo, and what exactly does it mean for you?

The first thing you should know about repos – nobody wants them to happen. Your lender does not want to take your car back. There is a very long, very expensive process behind it. On average, lenders lose at least $5,000 every time a car [...]

The holidays are a busy time as we spend time with family and friends. Statistics show that the 35 days between Thanksgiving and New Years are the busiest long-distance-travel period of the year. Many drivers travel 50 miles or more away from their hometown – more than any other time in the year.

This is also one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. According to a national study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 100 people die per day in car accidents across the US. The ten deadliest days are around holidays are Dec. 23 through Jan. 1.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), around 30 people are killed each day in the United States in crashes involving a drunk driver. That’s more than one per hour.

Of course, every person is different and alcohol affects everyone differently. Still, knowing what kind of impact a few drinks [...]

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