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12 Nov 2014

2015 Ram Promaster City will work for $23,130* [UPDATE]

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2015 Ram ProMaster City

UPDATE: Comparing the disparate specification levels on commercial vehicles especially can be bewildering, but as Ram spokesman Nick Cappa points out, the ProMaster City is only offered in long-wheelbase form (unlike the Ford Transit Connect, for example, that starts in short-wheelbase spec). Just which model is the better bargain, then, is up to each customer to decide.

Need a cargo van, but nothing too big? Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have the answer in the form of its new Ram ProMaster City. Essentially a domesticated version of the Fiat Doblo, the ProMaster City joins the Ram family as the baby brother to the larger ProMaster (née Fiat Ducato). But if you’ve been wondering how much one will set you back, Auburn Hills has now announced pricing.

The 2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo starts things off with a $23,130 MSRP, plus a $995 destination charge. Upgrade to the Tradesman SLT Cargo and you’ll be looking at $24,655, while the passenger-oriented Wagon and Wagon SLT start at $24,130 and $25,655 respectively (again, plus $995).

The base delivered price of $24,125 makes the new Ram ProMaster City more expensive than its competition, with the Nissan NV200 the cheapest in the segment at $21,605, the Chevy City Express starting at $22,950 and the Ford Transit Connect starting at $23,125 (all prices including destination fees).

If the price discrepancy doesn’t deter you, whichever trim and configuration you choose, you’ll be motivated by the 2.4-liter Tigershark four, offering a class-leading 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Along with pricing, Chrysler has also revealed fuel economy figures of 21 miles per gallon in the city, 29 on the highway and 24 mpg on the combined cycle. Those figures give the ProMaster City the worst fuel economy in the city and on the combined cycle, but the second best on the highway (just behind the Ford’s quoted 30 mpg rating with its optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine).

Continue reading 2015 Ram Promaster City will work for $23,130* [UPDATE]

2015 Ram Promaster City will work for $23,130* [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Nov 2014 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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06 Nov 2014

Car dealer lingo dictionary is filled with gold balls and green peas

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Used car salesman and cars

Every industry develops its own slang – mastering it brings people together as part of a group and makes communication harder for outsiders to understand. Given the less-than-sterling reputation that car salesmen have among many consumers, it should be no surprise that they also have their own insider jargon. Much of the lingo is now finally coming to light in one place thanks to an Ohio lawyer specializing in ‘lemon law’ cases who keeps a dictionary of the terms on his website.

According to Automotive News, the list is the ongoing project of lawyer Ronald Burdge from Dayton, OH. The dictionary reportedly started about 15 years ago when Burdge obtained it from a dealer’s employees as part of a lawsuit. Since then, he’s kept it up to date.

The lexicon varies from commonly understood and innocuous terms, including “low ball” and “tire kicker.” Beater, iron, sled and toad are all words for a worthless old jalopy.

However, Burdge also lists jargon for some lesser-known and often very unscrupulous acts. For example, the “five-finger close” happens when a sales manager hides a portion of a document with a hand to keep the buyer from noticing that the final numbers aren’t as discussed. The move is somewhat related to “sealing the customer,” which involves putting signed papers in a sealed or even stapled envelope as a way to hide things from buyers. There’s also the “high penny roll” where the finance computers increase payment amounts to a higher number without changing it by a full dollar to keep consumers from catching on.

Not everything is quite so negative, though. For example, most buyers might want to be known as want a “chiseler” – someone who is a hard negotiator. And one of the best terms on the list is a “gold balls” – a person with a high down payment and good credit. The whole dictionary goes into even deeper detail and is definitely worth browsing, even just for a laugh.

Car dealer lingo dictionary is filled with gold balls and green peas originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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05 Nov 2014

What you missed on 11.4.14

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SEMA 2014We’ll obsessively cover the 2014 SEMA Show

Today is the day that all the craziness that is the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas begins in earnest. We’re live from the show floor, bringing the best, the worst and all the rest of can’t-miss automotive content from inside and outside the Las Vegas Convention Center right onto your computer screen. You can thank us later.

2015 Yamaha R1Two-wheeled highlights from EICMA in Milan

What do the Aprilia RSV4 RR, BMW S 1000 RR, Ducati 1299 Panigale, Honda RC213V-S and Yamaha YZF-R1 all have in common? Well, besides the obvious – they’re all motorcycles, duh – they are all either completely new or heavily reworked for 2015 and were just displayed for the first time at the massive EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.

2015 Ford Edge Sport2015 Ford Edge priced at $28,100*

Despite all kinds of improvements, Ford has managed to hold the line on pricing of the Edge crossover for 2015. At $28,100 (plus destination), an Edge in ’15 costs the exact same as an Edge in ’14. That’s great, but what’s even better is the 2015 Edge Sport, which, for just $500 more, boasts a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine with over 300 horsepower.

Top Stories

What you missed on 11.4.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Nov 2014

2015 Ford Edge holds line on pricing, starts at $28,100*

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2015 Ford Edge

The Ford Edge gets an updated platform, bolder styling and a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine pumping out 245 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque for the 2015 model year. You might expect that all those new features would result in a big price bump, but you’d be wrong. Ford is keeping costs identical to the 2014 model with a starting MSRP of $28,100 (*plus an $895 destination charge), according to Edmunds. Ford spokesperson William Mattiace confirmed the numbers to Autoblog.

That’s a pretty good deal, but the real ticket here might be the model’s Sport trim. Buyers get a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine with over 300 horsepower and standard adaptive steering for $28,600 plus destination. That’s just $500 more than the base model.

Pricing for the Titanium trim has not yet been announced, but it’ll be a short wait to find out. Mattiace tells Autoblog that full pricing and the configuration for the model will launch on November 5. He has also confirmed that the 2015 Edge will begin hitting dealers in the first quarter of 2015.

The 2015 Edge is the first Ford in the US to come with a standard EcoBoost engine, although a more traditional naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 is also an option. All models come with a six-speed automatic, with the 2.0L EcoBoost available exclusively in front-wheel drive and the 2.7L and 3.5L models gaining optional all-wheel drive traction. The Sport and Titanium trims have active steering, and other tech upgrades include active grille shutters for select models and an air-curtain system to improve aerodynamics around the wheels. Look for even more details when the configurator comes online.

2015 Ford Edge holds line on pricing, starts at $28,100* originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 04 Nov 2014 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 Oct 2014

Dealers pressure Edmunds to remove ‘Haggling’ videos from YouTube [w/videos]

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Screencap of Edmunds ad depicting haggling over groceries

Many people absolutely abhor the car-buying process – especially haggling back-and-forth with a salesman to settle on a price. A 2014 study from Edmunds found that 83 percent of respondents would like to cut negotiating from the purchasing experience, and about 20 percent of them would have given up sex for a month to do it. However, Edmunds might have taken advertising that point a little too far recently, as it’s had to remove a series of ads for its Price Promise no-haggle service from YouTube because they angered the company’s dealer partners.

The commercials put hidden cameras in a grocery store and tried to convince people to negotiate for goods including milk, bread and squash. The checkout cashier used classic tactics like calling his manager and offering to throw in things the buyer didn’t want to try to persuade them to overpay. While the ads are no longer on Edmunds’ YouTube page, Ad Age still has two of them available, and they’re viewable below.

Edmunds claims that the commercials were meant as an exaggerated joke showing off outdated sales techniques, but dealers evidently didn’t get the joke. According to Ad Age, some showrooms even cancelled their subscriptions with Edmunds to advertise cars on the website. The sellers felt that the company was undermining their business when they were supposed to be partners.

According to Ad Age, Edmunds initially had no intention of removing the commercials, but it eventually took them down. In a statement, company president Seth Berkowitz said in part, “Our digital videos illustrating the ‘Absurdity of Haggling’ missed the mark. Some of our partners were deeply insulted, expressing that our attempt at humor reinforced outdated stereotypes. That was obviously never our intent.”

Scroll down to watch two of the ads, and see for yourself, then let us know what you think in Comments.

Continue reading Dealers pressure Edmunds to remove ‘Haggling’ videos from YouTube [w/videos]

Dealers pressure Edmunds to remove ‘Haggling’ videos from YouTube [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 Oct 2014

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

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Auto Sales

2014 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability SurveyThe Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year’s list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year’s list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.

Acura isn’t the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker’s reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about “in-car electronics” were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.

The biggest offender was Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system on its new Q50, with over 20 percent of owners reporting problems. The QX60 SUV also was dinged on its reliability. Hence, the Japanese brand dropped 14 places in just a year.

Ford has reason to celebrate, though. Lincoln deserves a gold star for the best improvement by moving up 12 spots to take 15th place. Also, improvements to MyFord Touch helped the Blue Oval to jump three places to 23rd position. According to CR, the Explorer had just a 3-percent complaint rate for its infotainment system, versus a peak of 28 percent for the model in years past.

The data in the table above (click to expand) is based on responses to surveys from CR subscribers. The institute claims that 2014 was its largest one yet, with info gathered for about 1.1 million vehicles. Scroll down to read the full press release about the results.

Continue reading Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’

Consumer Reports says infotainment systems ‘growing first-year reliability plague’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 Oct 2014

Tesla lowers Model S lease price, adds 3-month ‘happiness guarantee’

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Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors is offering an enticing deal for potential buyers who might not be entirely sure whether they actually want to own a Model S for the long term. A deal through US Bank not only lowers the cost to lease the EV but also turns leasing the brand’s electric sedan into a long-term rental.

Curious buyers who lease a Model S are now able to return it in the first three months with no penalties and with the remaining payments waived, something Tesla is calling the “happiness guarantee.” CEO Elon Musk announced the deal on the company’s blog, and he said the payments were also as much as 25 percent lower because US Bank “has a much lower cost of capital than us.” Currently, a Tesla lease starts at around $800 and can be up to $1,300, with down payments around $6,500. Tesla leasing is available in 38 US states (full list below).

Of course, there is a catch for the offer. If people turn in their Model S within three months, they can’t immediately lease another one. Musk doesn’t say how long the wait is.

The new leasing deal isn’t a solution for those owners who want their Model S to always have the latest and greatest features. However, for folks who are on the fence about one of these electric, luxury sedans, the offer might prove too enticing to pass up. Of course, Tesla has a history of announcing lease details only to change them later, so we’re not sure how long this deal will last or if it’ll get better in a month.

Continue reading Tesla lowers Model S lease price, adds 3-month ‘happiness guarantee’

Tesla lowers Model S lease price, adds 3-month ‘happiness guarantee’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Oct 2014

Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales

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Toyota Prius

“As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes,” – Ed Kim, Autopacific

Fuel prices in the US have been tumbling for the last several weeks, with the average price of a gallon of gas at $3.120 as of October 20, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That price reflects a serious recent drop from $3.299 on October 6. Reports have even suggested that those low numbers might not change for a little while, perhaps as long as years. While drivers certainly love paying less at the pump, the change may be hurting the market for more fuel-efficient models, including the Toyota Prius.

According to a report from National Public Radio, sales of hybrids, plug-ins and EVs are down around 5 percent for the year, but trucks and SUVs have seen a 17 and 20 percent improvement, respectively. Autoblog Green’s By the Numbers reports indicate similar figures of around a 5.4 percent drop so far in 2014. In fact, as of September, green-car sales have endured their fourth straight month of declines. That segment of the market fell 11 percent year-over-year in August and 9.6 percent in September.

“As Prius represents by far the biggest chunk of the hybrid marketplace, where Prius goes, the segment goes,” Ed Kim, Vice President of Industry Analysis at AutoPacific tells Autoblog. That paints a bleak picture for hybrids, because at the moment, the Prius is doing pretty poorly. For the year through September, its sales are down 11.39 percent, off by 10.15 percent for just that month.

Of course, the Prius also has things twice has hard. Not only does it have to deal with the falling fuel prices like the rest of its segment-mates, it’s about to be replaced. Rumors suggest that some versions of the next generation could get as much as 60 miles per gallon. “I do think that the next Prius will reignite interest in the segment, especially if it offers the 10-percent fuel economy improvement that Toyota has been claiming,” said Kim.

That improvement still might make things tough, though. According to Autotrader senior analyst Michelle Krebs speaking to Autoblog via email, “The next-generation Prius – and other hybrids and electrics – have a big challenge against traditional gas vehicles, which keep improving with every version in terms of fuel economy.”

Meanwhile, the overall US auto market is booming. As of August, the Seasonally Adjusted Sales Rate showed the best figures since 2006, at about 17.5 million units. “Right now, gas prices are dropping, sales of fuel-sippers are also falling (or at least not growing) and sales of pickup trucks and SUVs, including big ones, are way up,” said Krebs. Scroll down to listen to the full report from NPR.

Continue reading Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales

Aging Prius, dropping gas prices putting hurt on hybrid, EV sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Oct 2014

What you missed on 10.21.14

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2015 Mercedes S550 Coupe2015 Mercedes S550 Coupe

Mercedes has a new flagship coupe coming to a dealership near you, and we just tool the keys to one such machine, a 2015 S550 Coupe Edition 1, to be exact, all over the great State of Rhode Island. The autumn weather was lovely, the changing colors were beautiful, and the newest Benz was pretty much a perfect vehicle with which to take it all in. Read on for all the details.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder‘Anti-Tesla’ bill signed into law in Michigan

Is House Bill 5605 accurately described as being ‘anti-Tesla?’ Well, that depends on who you’re talking to. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder doesn’t seem to think so, and State Representative Aric Nesbitt, who introduced the bill itself, has specifically stated that it’s not directed at the electric-vehicle manufacturer. Tesla, for its part, seems to disagree, as do a large number of its adoring fans.

putting fuel in carEPA to mandate new mileage test procedures

“Your mileage may vary.” We all know what it means, and we all expect at least some variance between what we actually record with our own cars versus what was originally displayed on that car’s window sticker when it was new. Thing is, some automakers have recently been found to have been rating cars after testing with inaccurate procedures, and the EPA is planning to put that problem to an end.

Top Stories

What you missed on 10.21.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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22 Oct 2014

How China is at war with its pickup trucks

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Great Wall Wingle5

Create a law, and people try to find some way to get around it. That’s basically a fact of life whether you’re in the US or the People’s Republic of China. For example, recently in the PRC, a man attempted to convert his pickup into a sedan to avoid road tolls, and photos of the vehicle became a story in Chinese media. The whole incident shined a light on the government’s antagonism towards trucks (like the Great Wall Wingle 5 pictured above).

According to Automotive News, this intrepid driver made his attempt during the National Day earlier in October. For the holiday, China removed its road tolls for sedans, which made it free for them to drive on highways. This fellow apparently had places to go, and he converted his four-door truck into a “sedan.” Although, his undertaking was pretty mediocre by just installing a sloping bed cover with a hatch on the back of his pickup. The endeavor didn’t fool police, either, because they fined him for the scheme. Still, it was a noble effort, we suppose.

Not many owners are willing to go to the lengths of this guy, but trucks in China are fighting an uphill battle for popularity. According to Automotive News, a legal loophole means that in some cities, all pickups are classified as commercial vehicles, and they are kept from entering. Those limits keep sales to less than two percent of the country’s massive auto market, and those numbers are continuing to fall. No wonder automakers like Great Wall want to sell models in the more pickup-friendly US.

How China is at war with its pickup trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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