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As we’ve reported on in earlier posts, Consumer Reports is at it again with their hotly-awaited annual publication – “10 Top Picks of 2019: Best Cars of the Year.” Many folks base their purchasing decisions on this very list which is the result of a daunting effort by Consumer Reports staff to test roughly 50 new cars and then crunch the numbers. Crash test performance, safety features, interior/exterior design, it’s all meticulously judged, and the winners are then categorized into 10 separate areas. Of those 10 separate areas another round of winners emerge and these are the best bets for the year.

Midsized SUV

The winner in this category is the Subaru Ascent. Smooth, powerfuldelivery, a functional interior, the Ascent sports a turbocharged four-cylinder with all-wheel drive standard. A kid-friendly third–row seat brought this model to the top as did a very intuitive infotainmentcenter.

Midsized Car

Toyota is [...]

No industry on the planet is impervious to scandals. When there’s cash and human resources dedicated to anything in massive quantities, scandals will occur. The auto industry is a monster as we all recognize, and scandals have been plentiful. In this post we’re going to touch on some of the juicier ones.

To begin, we’ve got a new one. And this one is local born. That’s right, Ford is the latest manufacturer to be hit with an exhaust testing system flaw which has become more commonplace due largely to increasing pressure on emission rules. The issue was initially raised by employees back in September and Ford swiftly hired an outside agency to investigate. While they’ve indicated there have not been any inaccurate fuel-economy ratings to date, it’s clear they’d prefer to get out in front of the issue and not end up like Volkswagen AG (diesel-gate scandal).

Speaking of diesel-gate, [...]

Occupying a fleet of test vehicles in Ann Arbor, University of Michigan engineers attached sensors to windshield wipers and subsequently tracked their use in conjunction with onboard vehiclevideo footage. The researcher’s narrow focus was to build a model that could communicate in real-time when flash floods are occurring. In the weather world, this is the Holy Grail. Apparently, flash floods are tough to predict and when they happen intense destruction typically follows. To predict when a flash flood will occur one needs to know how hard it is raining in an area, ideally down to one the size of a typical city block. This is the tough part as predicting, “it will be 55 degrees today in Ann Arbor with 83% precipitation” is one thing. But that rain’s intensity could vary, arriving harder for example on Pine Street as opposed to Green Street, and as such Pine Street might be ripe territory for a [...]

In the auto world, most if not all the new technology that comes into play is for the benefit of the driver – bluetooth, geo-tracking, satellite radio, etc. These are all things that add value to the driving experience. But an interesting study out of the University of Michigan proposes mining auto data for the good not only of the driver, but communities at large.

Prior to the widespread use of smartphones and apps like Waze, there was a lot of talk surrounding the ability of cars tocommunicate to each other in real-time surrounding road or traffic conditions. For example, if you’re on Pine Street and 2 miles down a crash just occurred, all cars traveling towards said crash would receive an alert from the cars already at the crash to take a detour. Now, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) is in play with some manufacturers. Ford most famously has been testing it with the [...]

The J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is an annual piece and widely regarded as one of the benchmark documents for the wider industry. The 2019 version has arrived and this year especially folks are buzzing over a handful of findings.

To begin, the study found most people are still into their cars three years down the line. This is a 4% improvement over last year and a real testament to the hold a car can now have on someone. Flashback 40 years, and even in year 1 it was common to see some failures and expensive fix-its. But as the years have gone by cars have become more and more reliable which is showing up in the data.

With this said, not all is rosy in the reliability department. Issues like voice recognition, battery failures and transmission shifts continue to be issues unfortunately, which in the case of battery [...]

Opinions are like (blank), we all got one! Ever heard that expression? Ever placed a word that cannot be repeated in a forum like this where the “blank” is? Of course, you have, and the point of this expression is opinions sometimes are meaningless. Anyone can spout out what they think on a certain subject or person and that freedom is endless. But one guy who throws his opinions around should be listened to, and that guy is Adam Jones.

Don’t know who Adam Jones is? Don’t fret, you’re in the majority. Adam Jones is a Global Auto Analyst at Morgan Stanley and famously years ago forecasted Tesla’s impending dominance in the electric vehicle (EV) world. We think of Tesla now and that sounds like an easy prediction to make. But Jones made said prediction in a time when Tesla sounded like a newly discovered planet or the name of a board [...]

Not too long ago, Korean cars were widely considered the cheap,unreliable versions of their Japanese peers. Japanese engineering in the auto world is renowned, right up there with their German counterparts. But Korea was taking note, and nowadays that early stereotype certainly does not hold.

In many ways the Korean auto sector’s evolution to vehicles that are now considered some of the best in class resembles the country’s own progression from a third–world, fringe nation to first-world status. With an economy that is ranked in the Top 10 worldwide, it is no surprise that the auto sector followed suit and two prominent Korean brands, Hyundai and Kia, continue to grow and evolve bythe year.

While improvement has certainly taken place there is one segment that is a tough nut to crack, regardless of the manufacturer. This is the luxury end of the market, and Hyundai specifically has been looking for [...]

If you’re thinking, “another post on auto debt,” that’s correct. But the reason we’re posting yet again on auto debt is because it’s become a serious issue, ladies and gentlemen. We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports an eye-popping 7 million Americans were behind (3 months or longer) on their car payments. After 2 months,being behind on any payment can be problematic. When you get to 3, the ability to pay that off in full and get back to a monthly payment schedule is tough, if not impossible.

This 7 million number has been steadily rising and is 1 million more than in 2010. Subprime borrowers have seen their delinquency rates rise to 16.3% from 12.4% in 2015. The big worry now is the economy is in an up-swing, but as with all cycles, there will be a downturn [...]

We’ve wrote before on this split in the auto world, one where more focus is being turned towards Silicon Valley and away from traditional auto cities like Detroit. Technology, not traditional manufacturing, is re-defining the industry and with autonomoustechnology already at our fingertips, it would appear Silicon Valley has taken the lead.

Now, when we say, “taken the lead,” this does not mean geographically. If there was one thing Apple and Google quickly realized upon embarking into the auto world is the barriers to entry are steep. It is a business that requires complex manufacturing processes, a tremendous physical infrastructure, and a network of suppliers/providers that unless tried and tested, can absolutely ruin a business characterized by very tight margins.

With all this said, Google’s self-driving spinoff, Waymo, came out with a bombshell announcement that they’ll be constructing a 200,000 square-foot manufacturing center in where else …Michigan. That’s right, not [...]

Last year the Center for Automotive Research, based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, released a report indicating that a 25% tariff on global, auto related imports to the U.S. would equate to a revenue loss of $66.5 billion for dealerships across the States. In parallel, this would also result in 117,500 fewer jobs. Now, this is a political issue, no doubt. Regardless of which side of aisle you fall on however, it is helpful to know the effects of tariffs on an economy.

Everybody imports. When we say everybody, we mean every country. Some import more of product X than product Y because there are comparative advantages of manufacturing or building product Y at home. When it comes to cars, many U.S. car brands sell cars stateside that were built outside the U.S. We’ll say that again – U.S. auto companies make some of their cars outside the U.S., import them to [...]

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