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02 Oct 2014

72-month loans enticing consumers to buy loaded cars

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auto sales

Longer loan terms and favorable interest rates are tempting consumers into pricier and more feature-laden vehicles, consequently driving average transaction prices up about three percent since 2009, according to a new report by Automotive News.

It’s that first bit, about longer loan terms, that has helped bump transaction prices. The availability of no-interest, 72-month loans, AN reports, is allowing buyers targeting a maximum monthly payment of $500 to spend $6,000 more than on a more traditional five-year loan. Even for those with a more mainstream, $400-per-month target, a 72-month loan means customers can spend an extra $4,800.

Not only is this good news for automakers, who are enjoying rapid sales of pricier cars, trucks and SUVs, but dealers are enjoying the move to six-year loans. “I can’t tell you the last time I saw something less than 72 [months],” Pete Munson, general manager of Great Lakes Chevrolet in Ohio, told Automotive News. “They just want the most car for the least amount of monthly payment. They don’t look at the overall price of the car.”

Kris Byrd, of Sheehy Nissan in Virginia, echoed Munson’s statement. “More people will come in and pay for the leather and pay for the navigation,” Byrd told AN. “People are coming in and wanting the Rogue SL with the Premium Package and all the bells and whistles.”

More than just optional goodies, buyers are moving to bigger vehicles in general, thanks to the generous loan terms. AN reports that sales of compact CUVs is up 14 percent and that overall SUV sales are up 24 percent, both of which compare very favorably to the flat growth rates of compact and midsize sedans. This is far from the first time we’ve heard that sedans are struggling against CUV/SUV popularity.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you consider a 72-month loan? We’d really like to hear from you, so head into Comments and have your say.

72-month loans enticing consumers to buy loaded cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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01 Oct 2014

Rolls-Royce to reach 4,000 units this year

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Rolls-Royce showroom

Rolls-Royce is, by nature, an exclusive auto marque, but it has been steadily increasing its sales to the point that it could be looking at 4,000 units by the end of this year, setting a new record for the German-owned British automaker.

You don’t even need to go back a decade to find Rolls-Royce sales hovering around the 1,000-unit mark. But that was when Goodwood only offered the Phantom saloon. The subsequent addition of the Phantom DHC and Phantom Coupe helped expand its portfolio, enlarged even further by the addition of the Ghost in 2010, by which time total sales were reaching 3,000 units.

The Spirit of Ecstasy marque has been hovering around the 3,500 mark ever since, but with the Wraith now in the mix and its reach extending into growing markets around the world, Autocar reports that global sales could top 4,000 units this year. (Of course that pales in comparison to one-time sister brand Bentley, which topped 10,000 deliveries last year, but Rolls-Royce typically competes at a higher price bracket.)

That’s all well and fine in the abstract, but what that means in concrete terms is that Goodwood stands to generate around $800 million in profits this year. That means it has the cash on hand to fund the development of its own models internally, without needing to rely on parent company BMW to provide the capital. The financial independence will be brought to bear first on the next-generation Phantom as well as on the next Ghost, but also on the SUV project that’s currently on the table.

Rolls-Royce to reach 4,000 units this year originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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26 Sep 2014

2015 Ford F-150 configurator is ready to go to work

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Ford F-150 Configurator

Ford is inching towards the on-sale date for the eagerly anticipated, aluminum F-150 pickup. While we’re preparing to drive the new truck (expect our take on it sooner rather than later), the best-seller has reached another, albeit more minor, milestone as its online configurator has officially been switched on.

We took to Ford’s consumer website to mess about with it and see just how ridiculous of a truck we can build. Among the fun things we discovered were these two nuggets – the most expensive truck we could configure was not the top-end Platinum model, but instead the King Ranch, which rang up at $65,955. The other exciting discovery? The new truck would be available in a questionable shade called Blue Jeans (shown above with the optional contrasting Caribou paint). Yep, Blue Jeans.

You can head over to Ford’s consumer page and build your very own aluminum F-150 now. Take a look.

2015 Ford F-150 configurator is ready to go to work originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Sep 2014

2015 BMW i8 configurator is ready to show the future

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BMW i8 configurator

Good news if you’re one of the lucky few that can afford the new BMW i8. The high-performance hybrid’s configurator has gone live on BMW USA’s consumer website, meaning you can head in and customize till you drop.

If you’ve ever played with a BMW configurator, you’ll instantly feel at home with the i8’s. You have the choice of four trim packages (your author refuses to use BMW’s pretentious “World” trim names), followed by wheel and exterior paint options. The interior choices are fixed to the trim level, so aside from trim, color and the choice of two wheel options, there isn’t a lot to pick out on the i8.

Head on over and take a look.

2015 BMW i8 configurator is ready to show the future originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Sep 2014

2015 Mustang-based Saleen S302 to boast as much as 640 hp

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2015 Saleen S302 Mustang

2015 Saleen S302 MustangThe Ford Mustang is obviously a famous performance vehicle in its own right, but it often works even better as a platform for the aftermarket to upgrade. With the all-new 2015 model just now hitting the scene, the famous tuners at Saleen are getting their improvements for the new pony car ready for the world. After recently teasing it, the specs for its fresh S302 model are officially here, along with a first look at it in profile.

Of course, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is how much power the company can get from the Mustang’s V8. With the 2015 V8 model rated at 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet, Saleen expects to bump the Ford factory numbers slightly to 450 hp and 410 lb-ft in naturally aspirated form, or with the benefit of a supercharger, it will rocket the engine’s output figures to 640 hp and 565 lb-ft. No matter which powerplant a buyer chooses, there are a wide variety of available final-drive ratios with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

Available as either a coupe or convertible forms, Saleen will offer its S302 in three trim levels – White Label, Yellow Label and Black Label. The White Label is the only naturally aspirated one of the bunch, but it still benefits from upgrades like a new exhaust, limited-slip differential, improved suspension, heat extractor hood and rear wing.

The real action is in the supercharged Yellow and Black Labels. The Yellow version basically follows the same path as the White trim, except with extra power. However, the Black gets the full suite of mods, including a center induction hood, side skirts, a new rear fascia integrated with the exhaust, further suspension upgrades, illuminated sill places, leather and Alcantara seats, plus a whole range of optional colors.

The company is currently taking reservations for the S302 for $2,015 (we see what you did there, Saleen). Scroll down to read the company’s brief press release about its latest, tuned Mustang, and click through the gallery to read the whole order guide, including this supercharged pony car’s specs.

Continue reading 2015 Mustang-based Saleen S302 to boast as much as 640 hp

2015 Mustang-based Saleen S302 to boast as much as 640 hp originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Sep 2014

.xyz on Net Neutrality

All the buzz these days is something near and dear to our hearts – and that’s the topic of Net Neutrality. Here at .xyz, our core mission to provide the most affordable and flexible domain extension is rooted in the same principles as Net Neutrality. Regardless of age, location, or interests, everyone should have equal access to the internet.

The internet is one of the world’s greatest inventions that allows us to connect, share ideas, conduct business, and even spur social change from our living room or a cafe. Here in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is trying to set new rules that essentially give Internet Service Providers (like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast) the ability to charge HUGE amounts of money in order to get faster internet. Equal access – the backbone of Net Neutrality – is taken away if this ruling goes through.

What does that mean for you, #GenXYZ? Say you’re ready to take your amazing new venture online. Today, you register your .xyz domain, build an awesome website, and start promoting your business. That’s the beauty of the internet – it makes it easy for individuals like Nader.xyz to showcase his portfolio, build his business, and get found online.

Now, if the new FCC rules are put into place, individuals and businesses will all of a sudden be asked to pay a premium for the bandwidth and service they already signed up for. That’s like waiting in line at the buffet and watching people cut in front of you because they tipped the server.

What do you do when a website doesn’t load for even 15 seconds?

 

3

 

….Exactly. You’ll move on. Unless you can shell out potentially big bucks, visitors will turn away from your site because the faster internet speeds will be reserved for the guys that are willing to pay more for it.

The FCC accepted public comments and almost 3.7 million poured in (that’s equal to the entire population of Los Angeles)! And the majority are in support of Net Neutrality. Join us, #GenXYZ, in fighting for Net Neutrality. First step? Visit SaveTheInternet.com to learn more and take action.

We promise to continue to offer .xyz as the most affordable and flexible domain extension for every website, everywhere, so YOU have the power to shape and grow your place on the internet. As the only global domain extension that gives unlimited choice to individuals and businesses alike, Net Neutrality is what we strive for.

In support of Net Neutrality,
Team XYZ

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20 Sep 2014

Man orders $20M-worth of Rolls-Royce Phantoms

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Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase order by Stephen Hung

Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase Louis XIII HotelThe term “luxury” gets thrown around a lot when speaking about vehicles that are actually somewhat affordable like BMWs and Cadillacs, but Rolls-Royce and hotel magnate Stephen Hung (above in the wild suit) are proving what real opulence really is with the largest single order from the fabled British marque, ever. Hung is purchasing 30 custom examples of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase (pictured right) for $20 million. To push the deal even further over the top, two of the Phantoms are the most expensive examples ever commissioned.

This assemblage of über-luxury sedans isn’t for Hung’s personal collection. Instead, the cars are going to be part of the fleet for the swanky hotel and casino that he’s opening in Macau, China, in 2016 called the Louis XIII. According to The Washington Post, when the 200-room resort opens, the Louis XIII is supposed to be one of the most mind-blowing places in the world, including a suite that costs $100,000 a night.

When completed, the 30 cars will be in matching crimson red to echo the exterior of the hotel. That color will be carried into the interior trim, as well, including the gauges, and the seats will have a checker board pattern. Each one will be outfitted with a bespoke clock from Graff Luxury Watches. The two most expensive Phantoms will get all of this attention, plus gold-plated trim covering the interior and exterior.

As this huge order suggests, Hung doesn’t do anything on a small scale. If you need even more proof of that, Rolls-Royce isn’t just providing him with the cars, the automaker is also helping to design the parking area to house them and training the staff to drive the special fleet. Scroll down to read the full announcement of this historic order.

Continue reading Man orders $20M-worth of Rolls-Royce Phantoms

Man orders $20M-worth of Rolls-Royce Phantoms originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18 Sep 2014

Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybrid

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1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D Pickup with a Lexus V8

You have to love someone who gets incredibly committed to a very weird idea. What you see for sale here is a right-hand drive 1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D in South Africa, but this old Mercedes is now converted into a pickup, complete with bed cover, and there’s big secret under the hood, too.

The pickup conversion appears well done based on seller Sedgefield Classic Cars’ photos. Even the tonneau cover fits well. You could almost believe that this Mercedes lived its life as a Chevrolet El Camino-like pickup from the very beginning.

However, the rear-quarters conversion might not be the weirdest thing about this Mercedes. The original diesel is gone from the engine bay in favor of a Lexus V8. It seems really odd to pop the hood and find a Japanese mill in this German car, but the photos make it look like a fairly well performed swap. So, bravo to the crazy thinking. According to the seller speaking to Autoblog by email, “as far as we can establish, this was done a few years ago, with all Lexus components.”

Given the quality of the pickup conversion and engine swap, the interior could use a refresh. Though still useable, the seats are pretty beat up. We’d like to see the existing ones recovered, possibly in a modern but appropriate Lexus leather to subtly carry on the theme indoors.

After all of the work, this Mercedes is now a hybrid of German styling and Japanese power wrapped up in a pickup. However, the pricing for all of this weirdness is incredibly reasonable. The seller is asking a pretty reasonable-sounding 75,000 South African rand (about $6,810 at current exchange rates). We just wish it were located in the US.

Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18 Sep 2014

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe configurator is ready to get personal

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If you are in the market for a luxury coupe but would prefer it to be American, then you are in luck because the configurator for the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is now online.

Prices for the Cadillac start at $38,990 (including the $995 destination fee) for the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, or $46,145 for the 321-hp, 275-lb-ft 3.6-liter V6. Gearbox options include a six-speed manual on some 2.0 models or a six-speed automatic on both of them, and they can be ordered with all-wheel drive for $2,450 to the four-cylinder or $2,600 to the 3.6.

One thing that Cadillac does especially well here is giving customers a plethora of models and options to choose from. Trim level choices include standard, luxury, performance and premium for the four-cylinder or luxury, performance and premium for the V6. There are also 10 colors available, five of which carry an extra premium of $495 or $995. Upgraded interior packages for $1,295 add improved trim and leather, as well.

The two major option packages for the ATS Coupe are Cadillac’s Cue Infotainment, the price of which varies with the various trims and is standard on premium models. There’s also a Driver Assist Package for $3,035 that adds adaptive cruise control, collision preparation with brake assist, automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert and lane change alert.

If you like the angular looks of the ATS sedan but just wish it had two fewer doors and a touch more style, then go build an ATS Coupe to see what you think.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe configurator is ready to get personal originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18 Sep 2014

What you missed on 9.16.14

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Daily U-Turn

Bugatti VeyronBugatti Dynamic Driving Experience

Ever wonder what it’s like to have so much money that you can literally buy anything you want? What would that be like? Our man Basem Wasef gets to play the part of the rich distinguished gentleman as he learns what it’s like to be courted by Bugatti, and it sounds just as amazing as you would expect it to be.

robotic car Do we need a Federal Robotics Commission?

In case you hadn’t noticed, today’s cars and trucks are incredibly complex pieces of machinery with an ever-increasing bevy of computer programming baked in. And that’s a trend that isn’t going to be changing any time soon. Does the US need a Federal Robotics Commission to monitor such future tech as driverless cars?

Bentley Mulsanne SpeedBentley Mulsanne Speed is a monster of torque

Torque. It’s good. In fact, it’s great. Torque is the force that gets a car’s wheels moving, and the more of it an engine produces, the more smoke its rear wheels can create on their way to pushing a car forward. So, how much torque is enough? How about 811 lb-ft at just 1,750 rpm? Yes, Bentley, that sounds like *just* enough.

Top Stories

What you missed on 9.16.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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