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Google (no surprise to most) is at the front-end of cutting research trends. They are after all the leading consumer insight company in the world, leveraging the power of billions upon billions of pieces of data to arrive at search trends of what truly lies at the preference points of most people.

Google Search and YouTube data is one thing. But speaking to folks sets the stage for much richer data. In the auto segment, the Silicon Valley behemoth put together their Google’s 2018 Auto Trend Report. The purpose is to communicate the top searches consumers are making regarding cars. Google interviewed roughly 1,000 folks across three distinct markets (Japan, Germany and the U.S.) and arrived at some interesting findings.

First – pets are huge. HUGE! Millennials increasingly refer to their pets as family members which are leading companies to re-think how to incorporate these furry companions into their product/service offerings. For example, Starbucks [...]

How certain things affect your insurance rate (or don’t for that matter) are constant talking points. After all, our main goal with anything that involves a payment out of your pocket is to lessen it as much as possible, right? The following is some fantastic tid-bits on items that will affect your rate, and some that you thought might have but end up being more talk, and less financial burden.


Insurers have begun to penalize drivers caught texting while driving. The average premium hike is 16 percent and compared to running a red light (22 percent hike), the impact is nearly identical. A couple years ago, texting was rarely penalized if even an issue. Insiders attribute the hike to companies becoming increasingly aware and police and municipalities cracking down in a tangible way.

Payment activity

How you pay matters. For example, if you pay your premium in full instead of monthly you can shave [...]

Harman International Industries is a subsidiary of Samsung that designs connected car systems among a host of other items. Acquired by Samsung in 2017, the company has always been an aggressive player in the tech space and based on some latest developments they clearly have their eyes set (along with Samsung) on completely remaking the interior of your car.

Now, when we say interior, we’re talking much more than what your A/C knob is going to look like. Harman like many of its competitors is focused on “experience.” More specifically, they are seeking to change the way you interact with your vehicle, and that encompasses the entire driving feeling. At the most recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Harman put on a mind-boggling presentation with an LED dashboard that literally stretched across the entire interior of the vehicle. Known as a curved QLED, the Maserati GranCabrio was chosen to pilot the display and can be yours [...]

We’ve already talked Best Subcompact SUV/Crossover, and now we’ll get into some other SUV/Crossover categories.

Best Compact SUV/Crossover

With a starting price of $23,000 and loaded with bells and whistles, the Subaru Crosstrek wins the Compact SUV/Crossover classification. Equipped with a 2.0-liter, 15 hp engine, not exactly “mind-blowing” but the Crosstrek is excellent on ragged, rough roads and blends hatchback versatility which is rare. In all fairness, the Jeep Wrangler scored neck-in-neck and the 5-Year Cost to Own for both is nearly identical – $34,724 vs $34,874 for the Wrangler. Both solid bets, no doubt.

Best Full-Size SUV/Crossover

Another three-time winner, the Chevy Tahoe takes best in the show once again. This is a truck-based SUV (not common in this segment) and features roughly 95 cubic feet of cargo. To no surprise, the Tahoe seats up to nine which is perhaps one of the most family-friendly cars one can find. The interior has kick-butt infotainment, [...]

Each year Kelly Blue Book releases their 5-Year Cost to Own Awards. The title is a bit wordy, but the concept is brilliant. Kelly team analysis helps prospective buyers go beyond simply assessing the price of a new car. They deliver a bigger picture, a 5-year picture, adding in items like fuel, financing, insurance, and depreciation to arrive at what a car will cost you over 5 years.

Once that number is calculated, vehicles and brands are compared across segment areas. As you can probably imagine, the segments are numerous, enough to easily fill 15 posts. As such, we’re going to narrow this down to two posts and concentrate on the more frequently purchased segment areas (SUV heavy).

To begin, we’ll start with the best brand, best luxury brand, and then launch into some individual models.

Best Brand

Hyundai, and to no surprise. The Korean automaker has consistently proven over the years to be one [...]

In 1969 Chemical Bank, based out of Long Island, installed the first ATM in the U.S. Over the 70s growth was a bit slow, but by 1990 the number of ATMs in the U.S. was in the 100,000 range, with that number currently hovers at 500,000. The common thought at the initial roll-out was the rise of the ATM would naturally result in the fall of bank tellers. After all, what use is a bank teller if you can withdrawal, deposit, and engage in a host of other operations with an ATM?

Well, curiously, the number of tellers did not fall. They held steady or in some cases, rose. Sounds counterintuitive, but what ended up happening is banks did indeed cut back on the number of tellers per branch, but they ended up opening more branches. A teller’s job changed over time to do more than simply depositing or charging checks. Rather, they began to [...]

Usage-based car insurance (UBI) is a form of insurance where the costs are contingent on the make and model of the car and the behavior of the driver (distance driven, etc). Different from traditional insurance, UBI attempts to reward safe drivers with the most competitive quotes possible. Frost & Sullivan estimate that the demand for UBI policies will grow to roughly 100 million folks by 2020 with markets such as the U.S. and U.K. playing a heavy role.

While it might sound novel in theory, insiders have already fleshed out the benefits and drawbacks. On the benefit side, there are social and environmental advantages that derive from more responsible drivers who are on the road less. The insurance company will be able to improve their customer segmentation as actual risk can be better managed via this model. Responsible customers would pay less and there could be more choice for consumers as well.

On the downside, [...]

Super Bowl viewership has averaged over 111 million folks over the past five years. The starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles this year makes 5 times less (not more) than the cost of a 30 second commercial. Five million dollars. That’s the price-tag on a 30-second spot and only 13 players on both rosters of more than 100 players this year made more than that.

This year Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) will have a whopping five commercials during the Super Bowl. If we assume each is at a 30-second minimum, that’s 25 million dollars. More than likely some will stretch over, so FCA could be spending in the 30 to 40 million range. Unbelievable!

Toyota is coming in with three while Lexus, Kia, and Hyundai are also rumored to be participating this year. Over the years there have been some real doozies from automotive groups. Here are a handful of the more notable ones:




Craigslist is an internet dinosaur at this point. We say this with full affection, as the neighborhood sharing/buying/etc site has evolved over time but remained very much the same – community-centric. While the web has propelled us into completely new realms, Craigslist fans remain loyal, and many of us have purchased/found a range of items off the site over the years.

Here we are going to talk cars. Sites like eBay Motors or Bring-a-Trailer are great, don’t get me wrong. They are also very reputable which is a plus. But if you put in the time, getting a better deal off Craigslist is likely. The first step is to set up what’s called an alert. Log on to Craigslist, create an account, and then search for something. For example, “2015 Lexus RX.” You’ll hit “save search” on the top right-hand side of the screen and Craigslist will then alert you via email if new [...]

Prior to his passing, former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was advancing well with the ride-sharing community. He was one of the first, if not the first, public figure to propose pickup and drop-off spots in the city for ride-sharing. The biggest challenge outside of this new fleet of vehicles masquerading as taxis was nailing down an accurate ETA (estimated time of arrival). As we all know, waiting for Uber, Lyft, etc on a street corner can be daunting at times. Depending on the city, one can be out on a busy corner, sometimes mired in traffic, waiting for a car that might arrive on time, or get delayed as it tends to happen especially in peak hours.

To nail down an accurate ETA (Uber, in this example) must locate a driver and then find the best possible route to get to the passenger. Once the route is established, the program needs to literally repeat [...]

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